Today, Jamie and I finally braved the throngs and made a trip to IKEA, which just opened in Denver this summer. For weeks after the opening, signs warned of traffic delays, and I avoided going near that route when at all possible. But curiosity got the best of me - I've never been to an IKEA - and I needed a better chair for my work-at-home-Fridays, so I had hopes of finding one fairly inexpensively. And I also just wanted to see what all the hype was about!
Did you know IKEA has its own parking garage? And as Jamie pointed out, it was bigger than some airport's parking garages. After looking for a space for 20 minutes and finally parking in the "additional parking section" that was as far from the entrance as was possible, we headed in. The scent of cinnamon rolls overwhelmed my nose as we took the escalator up past the snazziest food court I've ever seen, past the floor of kitchen utensils and household items, and up to the show room. And after walking what seemed like miles through the 400-something-thousand square feet of store, we saw almost everything there was to see, and managed to find our way out with my chair and nothing more. It was all a little overwhelming, an odd combination of a whole bunch of stores, and I can't say it's worth the hassle of parking and all that, unless you're shopping for your kids who need help furnishing their first apartment. Still a fun experience, though. We didn't try anything in the food court, but oh did those cinnamon rolls smell good.
Tonight for dinner we grilled some pork chops, along with skewers of grilled bell peppers and onions, which is pretty much my favorite way to eat bell peppers. Serving food on skewers is also a great way to serve food at a party, since no forks are required, and cleanup is nice and easy. Living in China, food on skewers was something we ate all the time. Spicy squid on a stick, tentacles and all, from a street vendor in Beijing, spicy mutton and beef at the Mongolian restaurant down the road from the school with hot bowls of soup and freshly baked naan, fresh pineapple and strawberries from street vendors in Dalian, freezing cold candied fruit during the ice festival in Harbin...
I hear there's a lot of football watching going on this weekend... :) Not being into football myself, I won't be joining in that "fun" - in fact, I may put in some overtime tomorrow while Jamie's watching the game with some buddies. But if you are having a party and are looking for a last minute recipe that's a healthy alternative to all the chicken wings, pizza and beer, then try these shrimp and pineapple skewers with a side of steamed salted edamame.
All of this is best served steaming hot, so don't try to store any leftovers. We always make 4 servings when we cook at night so that we can have leftovers for lunch at work the next day. But I learned the hard way that all the acid in the pineapple, when stored in the same container as the shrimp, breaks down the protein and makes the shrimp very mushy. And everyone knows that re-heated edamame is just... wrong. So don't even bother. Just eat it all that night. Also, in case you're wondering, those are not olives on the skewers - I added a few fresh cherries to see how they would taste with the pineapple, shrimp and peppers, and they added a nice little burst of flavor.
And if you missed Thursday's post for avocado hummus for your chips, then check out that post for another good option for your menu.
Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers
- 1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and cleaned
- 2 bell peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
- other vegetables such as onion or zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Soak 12 wooden skewers in water for at least an hour. Preheat the grill.
In a small bowl, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Assemble the skewers, then drizzle everything lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Grill until lightly charred and shrimp is cooked through. Serve immediately with steamed edamame.