Smoky Chipotle Chicken
Oktoberfest in La Mesa

Ree's visit

My long time friend Ree came for a visit last weekend. I was thrilled to see her as it's been a long 5 years since we've seen each other. We had the best visit.

First, I would like to give a tribute to Ree (real name Nancy) I met Ree 37 years ago while I was living in Coronado Ca. I had just come home from the hospital on the condition that I would stay on total bed rest for a while. I was allowed only to get up to go to the bathroom.
While I was in the hospital Ree arrived from Chicago to visit my next door neighbor a friend of hers from Chicago. Ree spent the rest of her vacation caring for me during my bed rest. She fixed all my meals, kept me and my house clean and kept me entertained. I know we OD'd on game shows and soap operas. For the next 37 years she's been there for me through thick and thin, more thick than thin and for that I am eternally grateful.
My wish is that everyone would be blessed with a friend like Ree.

She got the grand tour of the area and that included a trip to the Mexican border to see the marker for the start of the Pacific Crest Trail  O.K. it's a small town what can I say, that's one of our highlights.

Behind Ree is Mexico.


I wanted to make her something special for lunch. I decided to make Malaysian Coconut Prawns in Cognac I found the recipe at Jaden's Steamy Kitchen
Earlier in the day I made the rice to go with the shrimp. I used an organic brown basmati rice. I used part of the recipe on the back of the rice bag and a suggestion from a fellow participant and came up with the following.

Tropical Basmati Rice

1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1  bay leaf
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup onion including one scallion; diced
1/3 cup celery; diced
1/4 cup dried tropical fruit mix; diced
1  1/2 teaspoon ginger; peeled, grated
5 small cherry tomatoes de seeded; cut into fourths


Cook the rice according to package directions including the bay leaf and butter.
While the rice is cooking, in a medium skillet cook the onion and celery in the vegetable oil for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the tropical fruit mix and the ginger.


While the rice is steamy hot gently stir in the onion, fruit mix and the tomatoes.
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation Time:  1:00


After our afternoon excursion I made the shrimp. It is a quick and easy, yet "showy" dish.

Malaysian Coconut Prawns with Cognac
Prep time: 5 minutes  Cook time: 7 minutes
1 lb shrimp/prawns (yes, they are the same thing) - washed, deveined and patted really dry
2 stalks scallions, cut into 2" lengths
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons Cognac (Brandy or Rum make good substitutes)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 tsp table salt)
3/4 teaspoon sugar (omit sugar if you are using sweetened coconut flakes)
few whole small Thai bird chili (if you like very spicy, chop)
1/4 cup grated coconut (try to find unsweetened coconut, but sweetened will work just fine)
2 tablespoons butter

1.  Toast the coconut:  In a dry, nonstick skillet, toast the coconut until golden brown.
2. Fry the prawns:  In a large saute pan or wok, heat 2T cooking oil on high heat. When smoking, add the prawns.  Cook only half way. Timing depends on size of your prawns. When they just start to change color, remove and set aside.
3. Stir-fry:  In same pan or wok, you should have some cooking oil left over. If not, add 1T.  When hot, add the scallions and garlic. Fry for 10 seconds until fragrant.  Add Cognac, butter, salt, sugar. Reduce just a bit - you should have a nice sauce that will coat the prawns.  Add the prawns back in the pan.  Fry until prawns are cooked through.  Again, timing depends on size of prawns. For small = 1 minute; medium = 1.5 minutes; large = 2 minutes; colossal= you prob have a personal chef. Turn off heat, add the toasted coconut and immediately serve.
I assembled the ingredients. Next time I'll cut the scallions lengthwise into slivers. As it was I only cut them in half.


I got to talking so much that I didn't get photos of the shrimp cooking process. I was informed to stop talking so much and take pictures. That came from a true foodie. ;-) on newsgroup.


Close up of the delicious shrimp and rice


For dessert I served Watermelon in Rose Lime Syrup I snagged off the blog as dear as salt

It definitely will not be 5 years before we get together again. We do talk on the phone and e-mail but it's just not the same as getting together. We'll be meeting around half way between San Francisco and San Diego for "girls" weekends.

Thanks Ree for making the trip. I'm looking forward to getting together again soon.