Summer isn't over yet. I've only been on vacation for one month. I still have about six more weeks to go. But I've already had some kind of fun! Here's a list of what I've been up to:
-spent time cooking for my boys and hanging out with them
-been to the Durham Farmers' Market every Saturday I've been in town and once on a Wednesday
-sipped rosé on the sofa at Wine Authorities with Martha and Jill a few times
-walked the trail at Duke early in the morning
-grilled - ok, truthfully- watched Steve grill on the deck
-eaten my patio tomatoes and herbs
-met 11 awesome teen chefs who came to NC for Carolina On My Plate cooking camp (Jeremy, Shannon, Aaron, Ryan, Zach, Ian, Rocky, Samantha, Shelia, Katie and Anna)
-written two articles for the Herald-Sun (and gotten paid-- still owe you lunch, MK)
-watched my son play basketball (I'm ready to see you dunk, Grant)
-made shrimp and grits for the first time (not as good as Crook's Corner, Bill)
-fell in love with a herd of goats (thanks, Dave at Elodie Farms)
-woke up to roosters crowing and someone else making coffee and breakfast (thanks, Ben, Noah, teen chefs and the French press coffeemaker)
-started my novel (one chapter down...)
-joined a network of French speakers and made some new penpals (bonjour, mes amis!)
-learned how to make amazing grilled cheese sandwiches with cheddar and goat cheeses (thanks, Colin at Fearrington Inn)
-improved my biscuit-making skills (thanks, Chef Daniel at the Umstead)
-got the new David Sedaris book and laughed my way through the whole thing (thanks, bff!)
-learned how to Moodle and have a new school website (more help needed, Karl...)
-worked out with my older son in the weight room (need more sessions, Jake)
-set up a visit for a DA grad with my favorite French chef (merci, Érick et Natalie)
-ate at Panciuto in Hillsborough (unbelievably good, Aaron)
-had dinner with Nancy (my treat next time!)
-met an amazing man who keeps bees (thanks, Jack- you are my hero)
-watched Lonesome Dove again and fell in love with Gus- again- and cried when he died- again
-watched two Durham Bull games (1-1)
-hit a couple of thrift shops and found a few cute sweaters
-set up Facebook and Twitter accounts- kind of scary, all this technology!
-listened to Jackson 5 tunes that I've always loved (May you rest in peace, Michael)
-finally found a copy of the Junior League cookbook Even More Special at a used bookstore on Franklin St. (still haven't found a used copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
I am sure I've done more... and there is so much more to do. A visit to Pennsylvania Dutch country this weekend, Sunset Beach and a remarriage, a visit to my in-laws and my own family before they disown me, making dinner for friends, tasting Chatham Hill's first rosé, watching Julie and Julia on the big screen, a visit from Tammy, a guest in Arles who has become a friend, more books to read and friends to catch up with, just hanging around the house with my family and our two cats... Summer is good!
If you've never eaten shrimp and grits, you haven't lived! Get in the kitchen and get busy! I plan to try it at the beach with fresh shrimp in a couple of weeks.
Southern Shrimp and Grits
There are many recipes for shrimp and grits, but this version is similar to that served at the Crossroads Restaurant in the Carolina Inn. Thanks for sharing, Dorette.
1 cup grits
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup extra sharp grated cheddar (white will keep the grits white, I didn't have white but it still looked good)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I didn't use)
1 1/2 tablespoon paprika (I didn't use)
tabasco (I used several generous dashed of Texas Pete hot sauce)
salt and pepper to taste
Cook grits according to instructions on package. As grits are finishing, whisk in butter, cheddar, parmesan cheese, cayenne, paprika and tabasco.
3 tablespoons each olive oil and butter (next time I will just use olive oil- grits have enough butter)
2 cup sliced leeks (didn't have any)
½ cup chopped shallots
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon chipotles (nope)
1-1/2 pound 20-30 count shrimp (I used Harris Teeter frozen, peeled uncooked medium-sized)
salt and black pepper
½ cup vegetable stock, or as needed (I didn't need it)
½ cup cream, or as needed (didn't use)
1 cup chopped roma tomatoes (my guys do not really like warm or hot tomatoes so I left them out)
fresh chopped parsley for garnish
cooked crumbled bacon
Heat large skillet until hot, add olive oil and butter. As oil begins to smoke, add the leeks and shallots. Sauté till translucent. Toss in shrimp to cover bottom of pan. Before stirring, season with salt and pepper (brown shrimp but things will go very fast from now on, so have everything ready once you add the shrimp!). Stir until shrimp just begin to turn pink all over (let pan return to original hot temperature). Stir in minced garlic and chipotles (be careful not to burn the garlic). Deglaze with vegetable stock and let reduce, stir for 30 seconds or so until everything is well coated and incorporated. assuming that you are ready to serve, toss in chopped romas for about 20 seconds (if these hold too long before serving they will begin to turn soggy and lose their appeal). Serve over hot grits. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Bon appétit, y'all!