For Better or for Worse
Grilled Polenta Shrimp Rounds
Sunday morning our preacher delivered one of those powerful sermons that had half the women in the congregation crying by the end of the service. The basic message was about what the Bible says about marriage and divorce. Before you jump to conclusions – no, I didn’t feel like the message was an attack on divorced people. In fact, watch the sermon for yourself.
What struck a chord in me were the video clips incorporated into the presentation from couples who had been married 40, 50, and 60 years. They gave very candid advice about how they have made their marriages work all this time. When two people get married, they will inevitably get hurt. We are human, we make mistakes and at some point our spouse is going to disappoint us, hurt our feelings, make us mad, or maybe even betray us. At the end of the service, our pastor asked for all the married couples to stand up, look at each other, and renew their vows. It was all very sweet and emotional and before I could finish repeating the vows, I was crying.
Later that afternoon, I found myself washing dishes. I emptied the soapy water and then turned on the garbage disposal. I heard a metallic grinding sound, so I turned off the disposal and felt around inside to see if I could find what was stuck. I expected to pull out a fork or a spoon. Instead, I pull out this:
That, my friends, is the mangled remains of my engagement ring. I took it off and placed it on the windowsill above the kitchen sink before I began washing the dishes and didn’t notice when it fell into the soapy water.
I am a Christian, but I am pretty sure at that moment I dropped an f-bomb under my breath.
The Husband was playing with Little Tot in the living room, so he didn’t see the abject horror on my face when I realized what I was holding in the palm of my hand. Nor did he see my state of panic as I pulled everything out from under the kitchen sink and frantically unscrewed the pipe.
For some reason, at that moment, that morning’s sermon ran through my mind in fast forward. The Husband did not have a lot of money when he proposed to me (hell, we still don’t have a lot of money). It took him awhile to save enough to buy that ring and for weeks afterward I would catch him staring at my left hand. He was as proud of that ring as I was.
No, I didn’t think The Husband would leave me because I destroyed my diamond ring in the garbage disposal. But he would be mad. He would be hurt. He would be disappointed.
I held a mop bucket under the pipe as I removed it. Murky water drippled out into the bucket. I swirled it around and finally pulled out something that at first looked like a tiny shard of broken glass.
It wasn’t a shard of glass. It was my diamond. Perfect, shining, intact, and whole. Rescued from the slimy depths before it was washed away and lost forever.
I clasped my fingers tight around that little diamond and I was so overwhelmed with relief that I rushed into the living room where my husband was still playing with our son and blurted out in a single breath, “My-ring-went-down-the-garbarge-disposal-but-I-found-the-diamond!”
In that moment, I learned two things. One, NEVER, EVER leave your diamond ring sitting on the windowsill above the sink. And two, sometimes life grinds you up and leaves you mangled. But that diamond – like a marriage – was important enough to rip everything apart to try and salvage it. And after searching through the muck, I was reunited with that perfect, glittering kernel that began this whole wild ride in the first place.
What does this have to do with grilled shrimp and polenta? Absolutely nothing. But I thought it was a good story and I wanted to share. This recipe is good too. You should give it a try. But should you need to remove your rings to peel and devein the shrimp, be sure to put them in a safe place.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 4-6 wooden skewers
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1 tube (1 pound) polenta, cut into 12 slices
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- ¼ cup chopped green onions, optional
- In a medium mixing bowl or large releasable plastic bag, combine first six ingredients. Swish the mixture around to make sure the olive oil is well incorporated.
- Add shrimp and marinate for up to two hours.
- In a separate bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Thirty minutes before you are ready to grill, soak your wooden skewers in water to prevent them from catching fire on the grill.
- Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect heat.
- Sprinkle both sides of the polenta rounds with the Cajun seasoning.
- Drain shrimp and discard marinade. Thread shrimp onto metal or soaked wooden skewers.
- Lightly coat the grill rack with oil. Grill polenta and shrimp for 5-8 minutes, turning once, until shrimp is pink and polenta is firm and shows grill marks.
- Place shrimp over polenta. Top with sauce. Garnish with chopped green onions if desired.