The weekend before my scheduled California visit to see my family, I received an early Saturday phone call from Claire and Kat to give me the news that Alton Brown is in Monterey making an appearance and signing books at the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium. How perfectly untimely! I mean really, it was one week ahead of my visit. But it so happens that my luck isn’t so sour since my sisters’ playground is Monterey (and also SF) so they happened to be there at the time and came upon the event. Hoo-wee, lucky me! When my sisters told me that they’re getting me a book for him to sign, I could only scream with glee. Maybe I cracked their eardrums given how long and sustained my screaming was—my excited scream also woke up Ryan (and maybe even our neighbors).
My sisters and I are known for being mischievous, so of course they couldn’t help but trick me into thinking that the line was so long that they weren’t able to make it within his signing time block. I shrugged it off though I was a bit disappointed.
During my visit, my sisters surprised me with the book by keeping it in my bookshelf, in the tier where my cookbooks are housed. Claire asked to borrow one of my cookbooks (tricky, tricky) which she had to ask me several times because I didn’t want to be rouse from my lethargy, when I finally did get it for her I noticed something oddly colorful and misplaced so I pulled it out then screamed my parents’ house down. Perhaps my reaction was expected since no one told me to keep quiet. At any rate, check it out.
But this is the exciting part of all (a message that Kat came up with and asked AB to write). They didn’t have a camera on hand with them but if I can’t be in the photo too, then it’s for the best. Besides which, the message rocks enough already.
In case you’re wondering why I would get so elated over Mr. Alton Brown, here’s why… I’ve followed Good Eats since I first saw it which was, if my memory serves me right and it does, 1999. For those of you who are quick with numbers that was indeed a decade ago. I was fascinated with food and cooking at an early age, but Mr. Brown was the one who turned my fascination to a near obsession. I fell for Mr. Brown like a ton of bricks frites. A fact not lost on my family (thank you, thank you, thank you again for the book!). After I learned cooking techniques and the science behind cooking, I began eschewing recipes and tinkering 99.8% of the time. Pretty damn empowering.
In I’m Just Here for the Food, the recipe that made me go “Oooh! Mmmm!” at first glance was Scampi V1.0. I followed the recipe almost to a T (I added a couple of other spices and inflated the amount of garlic than what the recipe called for). Also, the cooking method suggested broiling but I opted for the alternative method of sautéing instead. Nevertheless, the result was finger-lickin’ ‘licious.
Because I was taught to share, here’s a part of the recipe:
“Heat the broiler and position the rack to about 5 inches below the heat source. Arrange the shrimp (1 pound, peeled and deveined) in the broiler pan so there is no overlapping. Drizzle the oil (2 tbs) and scatter the garlic (1 tbs minced) over the shrimp and season with salt, pepper, and Old Bay. Put the pan under the broiler for 2 minutes, until the shrimp begin to turn pink. Stir in the lemon juice (4 tbs freshly squeezed), add the panko (1/4 c) and parsley (2 tbs chopped), and toss to coat the shrimp evenly. Return to the broiler and cook until the bread crumbs are evenly brown. Serve immediately.” Brown, Alton. I’m Just Here for the Food. New York: Stewart, Taboori, and Chang, 2006.