Get with the Program

Chucking the computer in favor of an old-fashioned cookbook.

click to enlarge TAILS UP: Shrimp down while you faithful readers cook to this. - Jaden Hair
Jaden Hair
TAILS UP: Shrimp down while you faithful readers cook to this.

Earlier this year, I wanted to change up steamykitchen.com's site design and structure. The look had served me quite well, but I wanted more features and, let's face it, given the choice of "same" or "more bling," you know which I'd pick.

But the only technical thing I'm good at is the three-finger-salute — Ctrl-Alt-Del. I use the move so often that it's implanted in my autonomic nervous system, etching a fat path with sparkly pink synapses. At the grocery store this past weekend, I had an altercation with an old, crinkly bastard who apparently forgot to pluck his golf club out of his ass before he stepped off the 18th green and yelled at me when my grocery cart came within two millimeters of his precious blue Volvo convertible. After walking away and cussing under my breath, my fingers automatically went into position and, from a distance, I held my hands up and Ctrl-Alt-Deleted his 2-inch forehead. It's a powerful gesture, one that stops Windows dead in its tracks and gives me the satisfaction of cursing people from afar. So what if I look dumb — I don't care.

For the site, customizing fonts and colors were a piece of cake, but changing column widths was like trying to move the Statue of Liberty with a salad fork and cheese grater. Do you know what HTML stands for? Hyperactive Total Mental Leakage. Oh yeah. And cascading style sheets, or CSS? That's the sound of precious brain cells seeping out of my head during moments of spontaneous HTML.

This is worse than learning a new language! When I'm flubbing in Spanish, at least I can supplement with hand gestures. In code-speak, if you're missing one tiny little ":" the site just shrugs its shoulders, says "DOES NOT COMPUTE" and goes back to jerking off in the corner.

Finally, last Friday, after countless hours of coding, testing, tweaking and head banging, I was ready to launch. I announced to my friends that I was going to click this little button, chimes would sound and magically all the electronic impulses in the universe would align to unveil Steamy Kitchen's new facelift. I held my breath, shut one eye and clicked.

INVALID ERROR.

"Dammit! I thought you loved me. Say something! Tell me what you want. Our relationship is so much stronger than a colon." No response. I should have included a line item for "therapist" in my design budget.

I was so sick of the computer that, for dinner options, I reached for a cookbook instead of searching through my bookmarks. This recipe is from Crab, which was co-authored by my friend Jennifer Jeffrey. I modified the recipe by using shrimp instead of crab.

serves 4 as part of multicourse meal

1 lb shell-on shrimp

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 stick of butter

3 tbsp minced shallots

2 tbsp fresh rosemary

1 tsp fresh thyme

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp sea salt

crushed red pepper

chopped parsley

loaf of crusty french bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

If you are using extra large shrimp, you can butterfly them, keeping them in the shell, like I did in the photo. Otherwise, leave them whole in the shell. Wash and carefully cut through shell to de-vein the shrimp while leaving the shell on.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. When hot but not smoking, add the shallots, garlic, rosemary, red pepper and thyme. Fry until fragrant. Add wine, salt, pepper.

When boiling, turn heat off and toss in the

shrimp. Send it off to the oven for 7-10 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through. Timing will depend on the size of shrimp, check after 7 minutes. Garnish with sea salt and chopped parsley. Serve with bread to soak up the juices.

Jaden Hair blogs at (and designs) steamykitchen.com.

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