My grandfather used to say that the mountains were his church. I never quite understood what he meant until I became an adult. There is something so incredibly peaceful about being in nature, away from cell phones, email, social media and other distractions. People you meet in the mountains are usually so friendly - unlike in the city. Sure, there are friendly people in the city, too, but not like you find when you're out in nature. There's something about being in "God's country" that seems to bring us all together.
Hiking is one of my favorite activities. I'm slow. My asthma makes it hard to breathe at times. But none of that stops me from getting out and loving every minute that I'm out there. Not every view is the most breathtaking, but sometimes it's more about the journey than the destination. Hiking really speaks to the introvert in me.
This weekend we planned to hike Mount Timpanogos but we didn't leave early enough. It's 18 miles round trip, so you really need to get an early start. Since we were limited on time we decided to hike Bald Mountain instead. I could not believe the wind. I had my hat cinched so tightly on my head I thought I might have to dig it out of my forehead. When we were almost to the top we came across a group of hikers who commented they didn't make it all the way because it was too windy. I felt sad for them when I realized how close they got before giving up. Yes, it was crazy windy and there were times I thought the wind might pick me up and blow me off the mountain. At no point was it unsafe.
That's kind of a life lesson. Things will get hard. Things will come up that may seemingly prevent you from reaching your goal. The message is: Don't give up. You never know how close you are to your destination.
On to the recipe. This is one of those things that I'd like to make more often, but as you know, shrimp can be fairly pricey. You can save a few bucks if you de-vein it yourself. I've de-veined shrimp twice, and it's not something I care to do. It's disgusting. When I was a kid my dad called the vein the "poop shoot," so of course it completely grosses me out to dig that little sucker out of a few dozen shrimp.
I digress. If you can find shrimp that are de-veined your work is more than halfway done. Just pull off the shells, toss it in a bag of marinade, and dinner comes together fairly quickly. This is another one of those things that I broil because I don't care to take the time to prepare my charcoal grill, but grilling them would work great as well. We did that on a camping trip once and they turned out incredible.
This recipe will make 4 skewers, enough for 2 people. It's very easy to double to serve more. The longer you marinate it, the tastier it will be. You could even put it in the fridge in the morning, and it will be good to go when you get home from work.
1 lb shrimp, shelled and de-veined
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. olive oil
2 T. minced garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp chipotle chili peppers (sub red pepper flakes, or omit)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients except shrimp in a small mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously to create an emulsification. Put shrimp in a gallon sized zip-top bag, then pour sauce in bag. Massage the bag to evenly distribute the marinade, squeeze out as much air as possible. Put in the fridge for at least an hour (longer is better).
Preheat your oven's broiler or grill. Put shrimp on skewers, about 6 shrimp per stick. Arrange on a broiler pan (or put directly on hot grill). Broil for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until shrimp turns completely pink. Watch closely to prevent over cooking.