What I had for dinner:
Wanna get rid of that Special SomeThing? How about a sinister tête-à-tête dinner on Valentine day? Putting duty above common sense, I decided to debug the idea on myself.
The rice is Thai black rice, which is actually closer to deep purple, and has a pleasant crunchiness reminiscent of wild rice (though it is a true rice). Half a cup of rice, washed and drained, is cooked with a teaspoon of butter and one minced shallot until the rice just begins to pop. About 1 1/4 cup of water is added, and the rice is cooked under lid until done, about 20 minutes. (The water should be essentially completely absorbed. If not, continue boiling at high heat and with constant stirring until all the liquid is gone.)
Meanwhile, a few large shrimp, peeled and cleaned, are set to marinate in a mixture of the juice of half a lemon, 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper, and a tsp of red pepper paste (sambal oelek).
Toast carefully a mixture of two tbsp of peanuts, coarsely crushed by hand, and two tbsp of coconut flakes (unsweetened) in a small non-stick pan with constant stirring until the coconut has turned pale brown; set aside.
Pan-broil the shrimp over very high heat in a cast-iron skillet until they begin to blacken on both sides. Let the pan cool a few minutes, then deglazed with the marinade.
Top the rice with the shrimp, moisten with the marinade (and if desired with additional lemon juice, for that special sour edge), and sprinkl with the toasted peanut and coconut mixture.
To drink, something bitter. A good India Pale Ale, for instance, or -- if things went that far -- a bottle of Alimony Ale or two.
It is pretty good, though it does look ghastly.