Callie’s Cabin: Stir fry and bread for the soul (Recipe)

Cal Orey / Special to the Tribune
Stir fry and bread for the soul.

During the past month, I’ve learned to be more creative, self-reliant, and less fussy when it comes to cooking. The thing is, while grocery shopping can be a challenge these days – often a key ingredient is MIA. Worse, it throws off a planned dish.

Case-in-point: I was craving a Shrimp Louis. When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area — a place I left my heart — I loved going to Fisherman’s Wharf. It was calming to watch sea lions while at a popular seafood restaurant overlooking the water. A basket chock-full of fresh, warm French bread with pats of real butter, and house Thousand Island dressing took me back to childhood in the suburbs of San Jose, a safe place.

This week I wanted to put together a familiar salad and bread, for comfort’s sake. Well, I got the veggies and shrimp but there was no kale mix or baby spinach. My nostalgic meal like I ate in my past wasn’t meant to be. I thought, “Stir-fry with shrimp.” Sure, it wasn’t the cold and crunchy salad I was craving as the weather is warmer. But the hot fish paired with broccoli and tomatoes and oh-so good gourmet bread sufficed. It was a sign of the times. More novelty, but some change nourishes the soul.

Garlic Shrimp Stir-Fry

2-3 tablespoons butter

1 ½ cups cruciferous vegetables mix, chop

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

¾ cup shrimp, pre-cooked (I prefer to use medium raw, shelled, deveined, with tails attached)

Pepper to taste

½ lemon, fresh juice

1 cup whole grain pasta or brown rice, cooked (optional)

Sautee vegetables in a pan. Add shrimp and cook until seared. Sprinkle mix with lemon pepper,

and juice. Serve over pasta or rice. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Pull-Apart Cheesy Baguette

1 fresh baguette (I used an artisan rustic French bakery type)

¼ cup European style butter, melted

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup cheddar cheese, ¼ cup Swiss cheese

2 teaspoons thyme, fresh

1 teaspoon garlic, clove, chopped or dried garlic pepper

On a flat pan or piece of foil place baguette. Make deep slices on the top of the bread. Drizzle melted butter on top. Stuff cut grooves with cheeses and fill with thyme and garlic. Bake at 375 for about 15 to 20 minutes until cheese bubbles and crust is golden brown. Serve in a basket and pull apart pieces. Makes 6 servings.

During the pandemic era, I, and perhaps you, too, have learned to swim in choppy times and go with the flow. I admit this wasn’t my fish salad by the water – but the aroma of garlic and shrimp in the kitchen surrounded by outdoor pine trees was heavenly. Ah, this superfood surprise meal complete with a herby-cheesy baguette will whisk you away to your Zen-like happy place.

Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.