The other day, my eldest son asked me to teach him how to cook. Come again, I said? He repeated that he wanted to learn how to cook.
My first thought, of course, was drugs. My god, he's only been in middle school for two weeks and already they've recognized his knack for science and dragged him into some kind of peer pressure underground meth lab type of situation. My eyes must have gone all big and scary because he slowly backed over to the refrigerator, opened the door, and pointed to its stacked contents.
Oh, wait. He means food.
In order to understand my reaction, you need only take a quick glimpse into my childhood where you would find me pretty much anywhere else but in the kitchen. Did I want to help peel the carrots, shuck the corn, wash the potatoes? No, I did not. At the first sound of pans clanging, I was halfway across the neighborhood. It wasn't until late high school and into college that I realized, hey, wait a minute, who's going to feed me when I turn 18?
Now I have kids of my own. Ideally, I would have been teaching them how to cook all along so they don't end up in the same situation. Just make it part of the ole routine. And I did do that to some extent when they were younger, supervising the usual baking projects and such. But as the kids got older, homework and activities and, yes, their earned hour of screen time coincided with my dinner prep. They weren't clamoring to help and I wasn't going to force it. Let kids be kids while they still can, I thought. Plus, I enjoy cooking alone. It's my me time. What about all those hours that the kids are in school, you ask? Isn't that my me time, too? Well, aren't we cheeky today, Internet. Pipe down or I won't share this recipe.
I taught the 11YO how to make scrambled eggs over the summer. I'm not a morning person and this was a skill that was going to work out well for everyone. Now he makes scrambled eggs with cheese pretty much every weekend. Dinner is more of a commitment, though, and this was the first time he expressed interest in helping out. I was very excited. I was also afraid he'd change his mind.
Quick, to the stove! Let's make some shrimp!
The 11YO can eat his weight in shrimp. As luck would have it, shrimp is also very easy to cook, mere minutes. If you can make scrambled eggs, you can make shrimp. I made the first batch and he watched and helped. He did the second batch by himself while I fried the tortillas on the burner next to him. The 8YO hovered nearby offering to add pepper to anything that needed it. We already had some corn and bean salad left over from the night before. That just left the lime crema, a quick combination of sour cream, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and a couple of drops of honey.
This meal is absolutely delicious. I eat the tostada with my hands, breaking off shards of crispy tortilla and devouring everything that comes with it. The kids like everything separately, shrimp in a pile on the plate, crispy tortilla in hand like the world's biggest chip. My camera didn't pick up on the golden tones of my fried tortillas (jerk), but you want them to be golden brown, puffed, and crispy. Even if you don't have the patience to fry tortillas, the shrimp and the lime crema together are not to be missed.
Shrimp Tostadas with Lime Crema
We made 2 pounds of shrimp for this recipe because we love shrimp. The recipe below is for a more virtuous serving size. Adjust as you see fit.
3/4 cup sour cream
1 medium lime, zested and juiced
1/2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp. for shrimp
4 to 8 corn tortillas (I prefer local Cinco de Mayo brand)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 large avocado, cubed
Chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lime zest, lime juice, honey, and salt. Set aside.
Line a plate with paper towels. In a small frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp. of oil. When shimmering hot, fry the corn tortillas, one at a time, until crispy, golden, and puffed, about two minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, sprinkle the shrimp with paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Add the seasoned shrimp to the hot pan and sauté until the shrimp have coiled and turned from gray to pink, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
To serve, place a tortilla on a plate, slather with lime crema, top with shrimp and avocado, and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with corn and bean salad and additional lime crema on the side. Dig in.