Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Snow Hippos and Shrimp

Living in Las Vegas is like living inside a pinball machine. It's all noise and bustle and lights, and everything is stark and bright and new. There is a distinct absence of trees here, an absence of beauty and life. Everything feels fake. All of the trees are imported because, honestly, nothing is supposed to live here.

But, when you are driving around town you are surrounded on all sides by mountains. They are a strange barricade that keeps what is Vegas confined in this small area, and they make for one heck of a beautiful sunset from the suburbs.

Now that it is October, those mountains are starting to get a little snow on their peaks. It's still in the 90's in the valley, but out there it's cool and breezy. You can see that fall is coming and the leaves are turning. In the shady trails of Mount Charleston, if you are so inclined, you can go on a hike with the other half of you, and build a snow hippo on the way up. Then you can eat tomato and mozzarella paninis and strawberries on top of a mountain, accompanied by a slightly warm but really satisfying bottle of beer. You can find yourself a walking stick, name it Sticky, and let it help you slip and slide back down to the bottom again.

I'm an explorer at heart. I love to travel and I love that there is so much of the world that I haven't seen yet. This week, it was climbing a little mountain and forgetting for a few minutes that you are actually in Las Vegas. Some time in the future, that mountain will be a really really big one, and instead of it being in Nevada, it'll be in New Zealand.

And maybe that day when I get back down from that mountain I'll eat Shrimp Burgers too. And maybe not, who knows. But isn't that a lovely thought?

Shrimp Burgers

Adapted from The Big Book of Fish & Shellfish
by Fred Thompson

3/4lb Shrimp, no heads (About 15 big ones)
2 Tablespoons Green Onion, sliced
2 Tablespoons Fresh Italian Parsley, minced
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Cup Breadcrumbs
3 Tablespoons Plain Yogurt or Sour Cream
2 Large Eggs
Lots of Fresh Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Put a large pot of water on to boil. When it is boiling, throw in the shrimp, turn off the heat, and let them sit for 4 minutes. Then drain them and put them into a bowl of ice water to cool them down. Peel and chop them up. Put them in a medium mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients. Mix everything up really well... I like to use my hands for this.

Heat two tablespoons of canola oil or another light oil in a large non stick frying pan. Form the mixture into six patties and lightly fry them, three at a time, for about 3 minutes each side until golden brown. These will burn easily so I recommend not walking away from them.

Serve on a hamburger bun, with tomato, lettuce and a squeeze of lemon juice. And if you have a couple of extra ones the next day, top them with a poached egg, serve them with a salad, and call them lunch.

Makes Six Burgers

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