Ronnie Paul: The inner chef |

Ronnie Paul: The inner chef

Ronnie Paul is cooking up a Caribbean dish which features shrimp, rice cooked in coconut milk and a medley of chopped fruits and vegetables to spice up your spring.
Photo by Jeff Kane

No one likes a nag, especially when the nag is the little voice in your own head. Mine issues orders endlessly saying, “Better go write. Don’t eat another slice of cheese cake.”

It’s a testimonial to my sanity that I rarely follow its instructions. For instance, over the past few months I’ve totally dismissed the annoying chatter urging me to work in the garden. But now it’s spring and with my inner commander barking orders like a five-star general, I’ve surrendered.

Last week I trotted off to the nursery to buy some perennials. As soon as I started to admire the Echinacea and daisies, my inner boss started yelling, “Limit yourself to four six-packs.”

As I mentioned before, I generally don’t heed the advice. Sometimes I actually defy it as evidenced by the area where I park my needs-to-be-planted collection: patiently waiting are dozens of Iris bulbs I dug up last year, three on-sale maple trees still in pots, and as of last week, 12 six-packs of Coral Bells.

Yesterday while surveying the overwhelming amount of gardening before me, I shouted to the pesky voice, “Big deal, so I bought too much. Sue me.”

My husband Jeff looked up from his weed-pulling and said, “Who are you yelling at? And by the way, when will you learn to buy fewer plants?”

It’s easy for me to ignore some suggestions, but I always follow my inner chef’s counsel in the kitchen.

Caribbean Shrimp

Serves 2-3

My inner voice was right on with this order.

8 ounces medium shrimp (mine weighed with the tails on)


1 1/2 teaspoons tamari or soy

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

Whisk the marinade in a glass pan. Add the shrimp and toss it around so every piece gets coated. Cover and refrigerate for about half an hour.

Take the shrimp out of the marinade and sauté it over a medium low flame for ten minutes. Because of the marinade color, the shrimp might not turn pink, so check it for tenderness.

When the shrimp is done, put it back in the marinade while you make the rest of the dinner, read a magazine, or go for a walk.

To serve, pour the shrimp and the marinade over the next recipe.

Caribbean Rice

Serves 2-3

My constant chatterer aced this one, too.

1 1/4 cups water

1 cup white basmati rice

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup raisins

1 scallion, thinly sliced

Bring the water to a boil and then stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes until the rice begins to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Put this in a bowl that’s honorable enough for the Caribbean Shrimp topping.

Caribbean Salsa

About 1½ cups

Even your inner nag will swoon when you sample this accompanying condiment.

Mix together:

1/2 cup chopped papaya

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup peeled and seeded cucumber, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Juice of 1 lime (1 tablespoon)

I like to make this in the afternoon so it has time to chill, but it’s good freshly gobbled, too.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.

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