Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Camarão na Moranga and Halloween

Yes....I'm quite aware that Thanksgiving is pending....but if you follow my posting history as of late, you'll see that I am rather sporadic and tardy anymore. Life is full, and the demands are great...which means many things are languishing. I would rather write than work, but somehow my employers see this as poor prioritizing. As I have grown addicted to their money they deposit into my account each week, I have set aside the more important things.

Like babbling on about food.

So...after my Brazilian adventures, I was back home, and enjoying all that Autumn in NJ had to offer. To us, this means festivals and food. I started with Oktoberfest in Smithville, where we drank beer, and I got to buy more of the best Oils & Vinegars in the world for the money from my friend Jackie. I say this because it's entirely true, and has nothing to do with this commercial she filmed:

You can purchase this fine product at City 2 Shore Gourmet, by the way.

Next, we attended the Columbus Parade and Italian Fest in Seaside Heights...lots of food and fun every year....but first, a stop at Battleview Orchards for cider....and what do my wondering eyes perceive, but a bin of pumpkins. Not carving pumpkins....but the ones I had in Brazil! They are known here as Long Island Cheese Pumpkins or Moschata Squash...and I had to have one.

So it sat on my kitchen counter for 3 weeks, whilst I  pondered how to make my very own twist on Camarão na Moranga. During this time, my friend and fellow foodie Rebecca dropped very subtle hints that she should be present for that dinner:

Week 1: "My what a beautiful gourd you have"
Week 2: "So.....did you make that Pumpkin without me?" 
Week 3:  "I'd love to be invited for dinner that night, why don't you ask me, and soon?"

Hence, I listened to the little voices I often hear, and had her over....Marissa gave me the idea on how to make it shiny like I remembered it, I loaded it with more veggies than the original, changed the ingredients to make it low-fat, and served it on brown rice. It was, by all accounts, better than in Brazil....and I will provide you the recipe now:

Camarão na Moranga
  • 1 cheese pumpkin, medium (for a switch, use a large acorn squash or two)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups medium-size cleaned shrimp
  • 1 ½ cups onions, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups red peppers, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups bok choy, chopped
  • 4 cloves diced garlic
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder (or to your taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Wondra flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½  cups fat-free half & half
  • 1 cup low-fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup reduced shrimp broth
  • 8 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened
  1. Cut off and discard the top of the squash, remove all seeds and stringy fibers and rub the outside surface with 2 tablespoons oil. Bake 1 hour at 250.
  2. While the squash is baking, clean the shrimp, and use the shells to make a broth reduction of ¼ cup.
  3. In a saucepan heat olive oil, and sauté onion until transparent. Add bell peppers and bok choy and cook until vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, tomato paste, cilantro and curry powder, and sauté until fragrant. Add the Wondra to thicken, and turn off heat.
  4. When the squash is about done, add the half & half, coconut milk and broth to the veggie mixture. Stir over low heat until thickened. Add the cream cheese in bits and continue to stir over low heat until the cheese is melted.
  5. Add the Shrimp to the mixture, and turn the heat off. Pour the mixture into the hot squash. Put the lid back on it.
  6. Place the squash in the oven again, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 5. When ready, place the whole pumpkin on a serving dish on the table. Serve by scooping the shrimp mixture out, making sure to bring chunks of soft  pumpkin with it! Serve over brown rice.