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Spicy shrimp, Cauliflower polenta and Fried kale

It's a rare Saturday that I have time to cook these days; I teach from 11-8 everyday except Sundays when I a off and Saturdays when I teach merely 10-6.. Soon I am going to start rehearsals for a brand new musical in which a play a girl pretending to be a boy to inherit a throne that I don't want; very exciting stuff. In addition, I have a few competitions that I am preparing for so tomorrow I am driving 7 hours away for an hour coaching to help me feel polished. I am really looking forward to meeting this coach; his expertise in languages is something I need.

I just came back from the most magical trip I have ever experienced. I went to NYC with two of my high school students and we attended Chicago on Broadway and La Traviata at the Met. Through some very fortunate connections, we were able to go backstage and meet the actors of both productions. I enjoyed some lovely shopping and fine dining while I was in the big city as well; this dish is partially inspired by something I ate there. 

As much as I love being busy and seeing all the sights, I have missed creating in the kitchen. Tonight was a wonderful moment of peace for me where I could enjoy a glass of wine as I created a dish that I think is superb. Enjoy!

6 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
4 cloves of minced garlic, divided
1 cup whole milk
3 cups chicken stock
14 ounce can cannelloni beans
1/2 cup polenta
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups chopped kale
1 1/2 pounds shrimp
1 teaspoon each cumin, coriander, onion powder, garlic salt, sugar and oregano
Shake cayenne and chipotle chili powder
Lemon juice

Over medium heat in a large stock pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and the cauliflower. Saute until fragrant and lightly browned, then pour in the milk, broth and beans. Raise to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is mashable. Using a potato masher, mash the mixture together. Add in the polenta and cook until thickened, another 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the cheeses and mix until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Meanwhile, toss the kale with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the remaining minced garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste. Saute in a late skillet over medium heat until deep green and the edges of the leaves are browned. Remove to a plate.

Mix together the shrimp, oil, spices, herbs and sugar. Fry the shrimp over medium high heat for 3 minutes each side, until just cooked. Hit with the juice of half a lemon.

Serve up a generous portion of kale, a solid dollop of cauliflower polenta, several shrimps and the sauce remaining in the skillet from cooking the shrimp. Enjoy!


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