Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Keep It Simple

Last week at South Dakota Magazine, I shared my mantra for summer entertaining: "Keep It Simple". Get-togethers with friends are about the friendship, and as I say in that article, nobody is giving bonus points for knocking yourself out. That doesn't mean that simple food can't still be delicious. You can find the super simple recipe for Smoked Salmon Pizza online with South Dakota Magazine. It is a fabulous combination of creamy, crisp, fresh, and salty. Excellent for sharing with friends and pairing with a cold summer beverage.

I believe that simple and delicious can be carried over into all of summer, even (or especially) camping. Recently, some old friends (old as in I have known them since elementary school...not that WE are old) and I made time in our busy summer schedules for a short camping trip. I packed up some staples for quick meals that were so simple, we hardly had to think about them. In fact, the biggest challenge we faced was when I realized I forgot to pack kindling, etc. for our camp/cook fire. (By the way, if you have an old atlas hanging around in your car, it does work well for kindling.)

Once our fire was roaring, I set a couple cast iron pans over the flames. Those pans heated up while I sliced a few vegetables as we continued our conversations. Shrimp was tossed into simmering salsa. Zucchini was sauteed with some other vegetables. A loaf of buttered French bread was heated. Dinner was done and was delicious.

I frequently repeat this menu at home in the summer, sometimes on the grill, and sometimes simply on the stove top. Shrimp, fresh vegetables, and salsa pair together so well. We love to dip the warm, crusty bread in the sauce of the salsa and leftovers can all be stirred together and served inside flour tortillas as burritos, or with corn chips as a hearty dip. Salsa Shrimp and Sauteed Summer Vegetables are the perfect way to Keep It Simple On My Plate.

2-4 tablespoons butter
1 pint salsa (I use my home canned Basic Salsa, but use whatever is your favorite.)
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Melt butter in a heavy skillet (cast iron, if you are cooking over a campfire).
Add the salsa and bring to a simmer.
Add shrimp and simmer 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through.

olive oil
diced onion
diced peppers (red, green, jalapeno, whatever strikes your fancy)
1 clove of garlic, minced
kernels of corn cut from cob of one ear of corn
small zucchini, sliced
cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
salt and pepper (or Montreal Steak Seasoning, or whatever grill seasoning you love)

Heat oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron, if you are cooking over a campfire).
Saute the onions and peppers until tender.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the corn and cook until warmed through.
Add the zucchini and saute until tender.
Season with salt and pepper (or seasoning of your choice).
Add the tomatoes, if using, and cook just until warm. 

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