I’m not telling you anything if you are a Buckhead resident, but this is “the” season to live in Atlanta.
In the summer we may complain about the heat and humidity, the winter may seem gray and wet, but spring is undeniably beautiful. The landscape is a wonderland of color and activity – whether in a car or on foot. A trip down West Paces, Habersham, Blackland, Tuxedo or you name the street, is a sensual experience. The Farmers Market on Peachtree will open this weekend, the trees are blooming, and the rain earlier this week has cut down on the pollen, woohoo!
Even the birds at the feeder seem to have gotten the message. They have been swooping in and out all week, fat and sassy and chattering away. The winter-weary greenery is perking up, and the azaleas are showing off bright colors. Others may get inspired for a trip to the garden center for annuals and perennials, but for me, spring is all about the herbs. No more buying those puny little sad packages of plastic or spindly herbs in a pot. It is herb season. It’s time to plant and grow my own little bundles of enticing smell and flavor.
I’m just fine with the big beautiful trees that overhang my house, but sadly that means no herbs in the garden. So I have pots of herbs on my back deck. My biggest crop? Basil, basil and more basil, followed closely by parsley, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano and of course, mint. The therapy I get from burying my face in the pots is worth the planting, watering and tending. Herbs find a way into every meal in my house in some way, providing taste and luscious aromas.
Grilling is a perfect way to highlight herbs. So, let the grilling season begin. In case you are as inspired by the weather as I am, here is a recipe worthy of cleaning off the patio, dusting off the grill and dreaming of those full pots of herbs we will enjoy in just a month or two!
Basil-Mint Coconut Shrimp
¾ Cup Fresh Basil, packed
¼ Cup Fresh Mint, packed
½ Cup Coconut Milk
3 Cloves Garlic, grated
2 TB Lime Juice
1-inch Piece Fresh Ginger, grated
2 Tsp Light Soy sauce
2 Tsp Asian fish sauce (nam pla)
1 TB Dark Brown Sugar
18 - 20 Jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 Recipe Peanut Sauce
Sliced Green Onions, for garnish
Combine the basil, coconut milk, garlic, lime juice, ginger, soy sauce, nam pla and brown sugar. Process until almost smooth. Place half the marinade and the shrimp in a Zippy bag and set aside for at least 1 hour, or in the fridge overnight.
Prepare a medium-high heat grill (or grill pan). Thread serveral shrimp onto each skewer. Grill until just cooked through, basting with the reserved marinade, about 2 minutes per side. Serve shrimp with the peanut sauce garnished with the green onions and lime wedges.
½ Cup Natural Peanut Butter
¼ Cup Vegetable Stock
2 TB Coconut Milk
1 Tsp Lime Juice
1 Tsp Light Soy Sauce
1 Tsp Nam Pla, Asian fish sauce
1 Tsp Hot Pepper Sauce
Puree the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.