Pickled Onions, Creole-Style Shrimp, Pre-Made Cocktails

Good morning! It’s the weekend, which means I will spend at least a small part of today trying to figure out which cocktail I’ll be sipping tonight as the sun slips over the yardarm. (Currently in the lead: Paper Planes.) Over at Life and Money, I wrote about a few things you can do on the weekend to get ahead for a week of easy dinners, including making a jar of quick pickled onions, by far the MVC of our fridge these days. (For the uninitiated: Most Valuable Condiment.) Lastly, the thistle feeder we hung in the backyard in early spring finally attracted a pair of goldfinches. They are stunning, and as I’ve mentioned before, I can’t help but think that their bright, bold presence means good things are ahead. Here few other things going on in my kitchen for your PPP dispatch…

Project: Fried Shrimp with Creole Rémoulade

For my Cup of Jo post this week, I wrote about three no-cook summer sauces, including the above Rémoulade from Bryant Terry’s Vegetable Kingdom. It’s a classic Creole style, mayo-based dipping sauce spiked with minced gherkins and capers and begs to add a big hit of flavor to anything fried, like shrimp. (For the sauce’s second life, I thinned it out into a delicious dressing for a Bibb lettuce, scallion, and radish salad.) Even though my COJ story was mostly about the sauce, a few commenters asked about the shrimp, so I thought I’d share it here, too. The general formula I use:

Add a generous amount of vegetable oil to a large, deep-sided skillet set over medium-high heat. In a bowl mix together 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup club soda (or seltzer) salt, and pepper. On a plate, mix about 1 cup bread crumbs (I used panko) with more salt and pepper. Individually dunk each piece of (peeled) shrimp in the mixture (let excess drip off), then dredge in the bread crumbs. Fry in a pan until cooked through, usually about 2 minutes a side. Drain on paper towels.

I love nothing more than a simply grilled grouper or salmon surrounded by fresh summery salads, but this reminded me: FRIED fish is really freaking good.

Pantry: Ready-Made Craft Cocktails

Must be Friday because there’s one more cocktail dispatch. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical of the pre-made batches from On the Rocks, but so far, the two that I’ve tried (the Aviation, above, made with Larios London Gin, dry cherry, and violet; and the Old Fashioned, made with Knob Creek bourbon, bitters, sugar cane, cherry, and lemon) have been great. Helps that they use all top-shelf booze. My friend Anthony gave them to us as a gift, and I certainly plan to seek them out myself.

Purpose: 100 Books for Kids

My friend Catherine Hong (frequent DALS contributor) assembled a list of 100 Books to Inspire Your Kid in 2020 over at Parents. To gather research she asked her longtime author heroes “What book made you a reader?” Check it out when you can.

Stay safe.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, connected, and USEFUL. It began in March 2020. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at jenny@dinneralovestory.com.

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your first cookbook was where I learned to quick pickle onions — for the black bean burritos!
thanks for that + this. happy weekend.


Long time reader, first time commenter with an embarrassing question I’ve needed to ask for a long time: how long does a jar of capers last in the fridge? (I should probably get real and toss the jar I’m looking at right now, but for future reference…?)

jenn in ga

I followed your link about books to inspire your kid and thought you might want to know about a project I stumbled on (you know how IG works) called @getdiverselit. A mom started this about two months ago because she wanted to do something to help schools provide more diverse literature to students in schools and thought others might see it as a way to invest in the next generation. Anyone can create a list for anyone to purchase books from for any school, but this could be a particularly meaningful way for someone in a community who loves to read but doesn’t know how to affect change in their town to do something that could change minds and hearts through education. Just thought I’d share. Kaeyla Horn is the founder.


Holy god, that spicy avocado sauce is unbelievable. We’re staying with my parents for the summer so the kitchen isn’t as well stocked as I’d like, but I subbed sunflower seeds for the pepitas, and some green pepper and a pinch of pepper flakes for the jalapeño, and this is so good I was tempted (I resisted) to lick the food process blade so as not to lose a drop.

Jessica Clare

The paper plane sounds so good!! For your next weekend cocktail, I highly recommend the Airmail!


This feels like a silly question, but I don’t have seltzer or club soda – can I use tonic water in the shrimp batter?


I wouldn’t use tonic — it can be sweet and has a distinct flavor. Do you have beer? That would work.


I thought the jar of picked onions at the top of the post was the pre-made cocktail you were referring to. Haha, how refreshing!