I've had the week off and naturally all I've done is spend every minute in the kitchen. I've baked two pies (a pecan for my daddy & a bourbon-chocolate pecan for my boyfriend's parents), fried potatoes and tried to recreate my mom's favorite shrimp dish from our beloved New Orleans.
I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but New Orleans is my favorite city on the face of the Earth--and that's saying a lot. I hate cities. But there's something magical about it. It even has a smell that is completely it's own. Last spring break I went with my mom to New Orleans. It was nice to be back and since it was just us two we did the usual tourist-y things that she never got to do when she lived there, like a walking tour of the Garden District & a hunted history tour of the Quarter. We also ate. We planned our entire trip around food. Eventually I'll devote an entire post to the trip, but for now here is New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp.
It isn't BBQ, it's actually a potent blend of butter, olive oil, spices, chili sauce, Worcestershire and lots of garlic & lemons. And it's magical. Even my boyfriend loved it, and he usually doesn't like creole/Cajun type of food. This recipe is from Southern Living and I highly recommend it. If you've had it in New Orleans, this is probably the closest you can come without a trip to the Big Easy.
Along with the shrimp I wanted grits. I love love love grits. Something about the texture and how they will pick up any flavor you put in them just gets me. I wanted cheese grits, and for ease I decided to try a baked grits recipe (also from Southern Living). Mine looks burned, but that's just the cheese on top that I burned. Turns out patience really is a virtue and putting them under a broiler wasn't a shortcut. :)
For the shrimp....
|Shrimp from the Gulf Coast|
Next we melted the butter and mixed in the spices... We started out with a single batch but for some reason--probably that we didn't label the frozen bags of shrimp and my mom and I decided that it 'looked like about 4 pounds of shrimp'--we decided we needed a double. So this had 2 sticks of butter, 1 cup of olive oil, 4 lemons & 8 cloves of garlic. Yum. We also added 2 bay leaves because I love bay, and it's in everything else we make like this.
|I promise, there are shrimp under all of those lemons.|
|After the baking.|
|Why, yes. That is heavy cream.|
|I promise they were better than they look.|
|Can I say how much I hate this stove? I miss our gas stove.|
I encourage anyone who's afraid of making something 'fancy' to try this dinner. If you don't like grits, serve with a salad or even some good rice. People my age need to learn to cook more and this is too simple to not do it. It would also make for a very fun dinner party--just make sure you buy extra napkins.