Sunday, August 30, 2009

Enough of the Sweets!

Well, it is time to take a hiatus from all of the sugar-filled baked goods that I have been turning out lately. It's not that we haven't been enjoying good (non-sweet) food, but either I have forgotten to take pictures or it has turned out looking disastrous (like Monday's fajita quesadillas, which completely fell apart when the tortilla stuck to the pan, but tasted great). And besides, sweets are just a lot of fun to make and talk about! I'll move on. I promise.

Our lives have been pretty quiet lately. With my husband studying most of the daylight hours, I have spent time reading, cleaning, cooking, and planning our meals into November! This meal-planning process involves looking at recipes and planning a week's or month's worth of menus on a calendar. It's a process that I love, but once I finish, I want to do it all over again, because there are always more recipes out there that I would love to try. Don't get me wrong, we probably will not follow my little calendar very closely, because usually we get whims for different foods and aren't always good about ignoring those whims. However, I have good intentions, and it is a great method of planning and incorporating fall flavors and seasonable vegetables into our life, and making sure that we get plenty of variety. Besides, my classes will start September 10th, and it will be easier to have a meal plan to go by.

Menu planning gives us a lot of room to try new things, but there are always a few tried and true dishes that I try to occasionally add to our repertoire. Curry chicken, beef stroganoff, roast chicken, low country boil, and shrimp and grits are all menus that the husband has deemed "make again," and that we return to often. That is exactly what we did earlier this week; we had shrimp and grits.

Creole Shrimp and Grits
From Southern Living, January 2009

2 pounds unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup stone ground grits
1-2 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons half-and-half

Peel shrimp, reserving shells; devein shrimp, if desired. Bring shells and 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and cook 20 minutes. Pour shrimp broth through a colander over a large bowl, pressing shells with back of a spoon; discard shells.*

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is caramel colored (about 8 to 10 minutes). Add onion and next 3 ingredients, and cook, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Stir in 2 cups shrimp broth, tomato paste, and next 4 ingredients. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes. Add shrimp, and cook 10 minutes, stirring in 1/4 to 1/2 cup remaining shrimp broth to reach desired consistency.

In a medium pot, whisk together the water, grits, salt and butter. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the half-and-half.

Serve the shrimp over the grits.

*I have made the shrimp stock before using this method, but this time I bought peeled shrimp and used store-bought seafood stock. You could also use half/half clam juice and chicken stock.

Stay tuned for the fabulous herb loaf recipe, pictured in these photos.

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1 comment :

Chandra said...

This looks great! We make a version of this that is a cream sauce rather than a red sauce. Shrimp, cream, white wine, leeks, shallots, a bit of bacon, garlic, S&P. Served over grits. I love, love, love it. But now I want to try this kind too.