Blue Sky Paradise

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Lately I’ve been in a tropical mood. I miss the sunshine. Where I live, there is little to no sun these days…mostly just rain and grey skies. Though, today was a relatively nice day. Don’t get me wrong, I love our mountains and north-west nature, it truly is captivating and beautiful. Yet, my soul is most fulfilled laying under a palm tree while sipping on fresh coconut water (or a little virgin mojito out of a coconut).
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I have always said that I was born with the ocean, salty air, and sand in my soul. I greatly enjoy the water – especially listening to the waves. I love the smell and taste of coconuts, pineapples, mangoes, and basically any tropical fruit. I am happiest on a beach, with the sun on my shoulders, starring at a large body of blue water that I can run into and leave the world behind.

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While in my tropical mood, I have been craving all kinds of foods – most of which I’ve had during my travels. Today, I am sharing a recipe with you that brings me memories of hot sand, the salty breeze blowing from the ocean, and sunshine.

Coconut Shrimp with Tropical Rice:

For The Rice:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Zest of 1 lime (removed with a vegetable peeler), plus make wedges for serving
  1. Combine 1 cup water, the coconut milk, salt and pepper, rice and lime zest in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for about 8 minutes or until rice is tender but not fully cooked.
  3. Remove from the heat and discard lime zest; add cilantro, pineapple, and scallions, do not stir. Cover and let sit 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and stir to combine all ingredients.

For The Shrimp:

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking tray with foil and set a wire rack on top; coat the wire rack with oil.
  2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Make a breading station by beating the egg and 2 tablespoons water in one bowl. Then combine the coconut and panko in a second bowl.
  3. Dip the shrimp in the egg mixture, then the coconut-panko, gently press on drink to make sure the coconut sticks; transfer to the prepared rack. Bake until the shrimp are fully cooked – should be about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn on the broiler  and broil for 2 minutes to lightly brown the coating of the shrimp
  5. Serve on side of rice with lime wedges
There is something magical about the beach; particularly if you can find a secluded spot with no one else around. It gives the mind a vacation. I guess you can say the ocean is my soul medicine.
There is also something magical about food. For example, food gives families a time to sit down together after a busy day, it can cheer someone up, it brings contentment to the stomach and spirit, and food creates a unique atmosphere.
I don’t need ostentatious restaurants that cost a fortune for a thumbnail worth of food. Give me a picnic of soul food on the beach with my sweetheart – that’s my perfect evening.
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