Ever since I can remember I have been resourceful in ways I’ve been able to generate income for myself, and I truly believe that I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. When I was 7 I was begging to cut the grass to earn some extra cash. I remember even asking my sister if she’d pay me to clean her room. I did whatever I could to save money and use it wisely on things that mattered to me (it’s all relative, I mean what matters to a 7 year old when it comes to money!?) None the less, I made it a priority to always find ways that I could feel and express my independence and one of those ways was having a job.
So in high school I started working as a life guard during the summers but the rest of the year I needed something else to supplement my income and the little free time I had in between playing volleyball and having an active schedule. I remember deciding I was going to apply for a hostess job at my family’s favorite restaurant near our house. We were regulars at this little family owned Turkish/Mediterranean restaurant. The food was amazing and having grown up in Europe the variety and quality was a welcomed change from the options across the colonnade (Outback).
I got the job as lead hostess and loved it! Aside from my cheeks hurting by the end of the night from smiling so much and my feet aching from running food I really enjoyed working there. The environment was fun and positive and everyone who worked there was truly like family. I know so many friends who have worked in the restaurant industry over the years and it always seems that the running consensus is that in your free time, the LAST place you want to eat is where you work. Well, I can tell you that wasn’t quite the case for me.
I’d meet up with my parents after volleyball practice to grab dinner here, we’d go for family Sunday brunch and my parents would even come in as I was working. Hell, we’d often even order to – go meals. I kid you not when I saw it’s still some of the best Mediterranean food I’ve ever had. Their Doner kebabs and Rollas were dinner staples for me, and when I used to eat gluten their freshly made bread with olive tapenade and the trays of baklava in the back were no stranger to me ;)
My mouth is watering thinking about their food. One of my go-to meals after a practice or even after finishing up a work shift was always their Aegean salad with grilled shrimp. It was so flavorful and a constant staple for my mom and I. So naturally, I have recreated that same idea but in a salad version of my own. It’s not entirely the same since I don’t eat some of the ingredients that are in the original, but it is close and so very reminiscent.
It’s fresh, inviting and really easy to throw together quickly.
AEGEAN SALAD WITH BLACKENED SHRIMP
1 lb wild shrimp
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4-6 cups mixed greens
¼ chopped red onion
2 persian cucumbers (or small cucumbers cubed)
1/2 cup pine nuts (OMIT for AIP!)
balsamic & olive oil to dress
- Mix the spices in a large bowl. Then add the shrimp and coat until all completely covered. Add oil to a hot cast iron skillet, allow to come to temperature and then add the shrimp. Cook on one side for 3 minutes and then flip. Cook on the other side for 5 minutes until crispy and cooked through.
- Add greens, chopped onion, cucumber and dates to a bowl. Add in the shrimp, and pine nuts if not AIP. Dress with balsamic and olive oil!