Saturday, August 28, 2010

Au revoir, summer...

Oui, summer vacation is officially over.  I am back on a daily schedule.  A multi-colored one that is not a Monday-Friday 5-day schedule.  Oh no, it is a 7-day rotating one.  I just spend all day in my classroom and teach whomever shows up!  Not really, but I do write my daily schedule of classes on the white board in big, bold letters (so that I can read it from my desk).  It is Friday and I am exhausted.  Mentally more than physically, to tell the truth.  I am happy to report that French enrollment is up this year.  Bravo!  The quote of the week was from the mouth of a 6th grader who was telling us about her trip to France and she said "You know, in France they eat a lot of French stuff."  C'est vrai.
When we get back to school, we all ask the same question... What did you do this summer?  An oral version of the first day of school paper we all had to write back in the day entitled "My Summer Vacation."  Mine is actually better done in photos, so here goes...
I started off with a visit to the home of one of my students to see his goats.

The off to Sunshine Lavender Farms for Annie's annual tour and open house.
A visit to my family and childhood stomping grounds in the Appalachian Mountains, including Grandfather.
Yosef, my favorite Mountaineer, at Appalachian State University in Boone.
A lovely clafoutis of fresh, juicy cherries.
Jeremy Hellickson pitching for the Bulls (before being called up to the Tampa Bay Rays).
Fireworks at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park after a victory.
The Juneteenth celebration in downtown Durham with music by Johnny White and the Elite Band (the Earth, Wind and Fire set was awesome!).
The first lunch in my eating out series... Panini and warm olives from Toast...
High Rock Lake sunset shared with my little sister.
Sharing a huge banana split with the same little sister in Lexington, NC.

Blueberry scones for breakfast.
Hanging out at Sunset Beach with college-age son.
Making shrimp and grits with high school-age son and a friend.
Reading about Vincent Van Gogh.

Wandering around downtown Durham with the Ex-Ex on a summer evening.
Saturday morning farmers' market at Central Park in Durham.
Cold, crisp Picpoul de Pinet and Guglhupf bread at Wine Authorities.
Finally!  Success with macaron-making!
Gardening with the BFF.
A few "fruits of our labor..."
Toby and Trace in concert.
Saturday morning breakfast at Rue Cler (not your everyday bacon, egg and cheese sandwich).
A lovely, relaxing summer.

An update on Shrimp and Grits--

At Sunset Beach, high school-age son ordered this dish at Twin Lakes Restaurant.  They had added sausage and smoked Gouda cheese to theirs.  We tried it ourselves and really liked it.  So, I've updated our recipe.  It continues to be a work in progress.

 Shrimp and Grits with Sausage

1 c. grits
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 c. cheese (extra sharp white cheddar or Gouda)
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Cayenne pepper, paprika, Tabasco, salt and pepper, to taste (usually better to start with small amounts, taste and adjust)

Cook grits according to instructions on package.  As grits are finishing, whisk in butter, cheeses and seasonings.  Cover and keep warm.

3 Tbsp. each butter and olive oil
2 c. sliced leeks
1/2 c. chopped shallots
3 tsp. minced garlic
1-1/2 lbs. 20-30 count shrimp
4-5 grilled andouille sausages, cut into bite-sized slices
1/2 dry white wine or vegetable stock
Chopped roma tomatoes, if desired
4-5 strips of bacon fried crisp
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley, for garnish, if desired

This cooks very quickly.  Be sure to have everything ready and easy to reach before beginning.
Heat large skillet until hot.  Add olive oil and butter.  As oil begins to smoke, add leeks and shallots.  Sauté until translucent.  Toss in shrimp to cover bottom of pan.  Before stirring, add salt and pepper.  Stir until shrimp just begin to turn pink all over.  Let pan return to original hot temperature.  Stir in garlic and be careful not to burn it.  Add sausages.  Deglaze pan by adding wine or vegetable stock.  Stir for about 30 seconds or until everything is well-coated.  Add tomatoes, if using, and toss for about 20 seconds.  Serve immediately.

To serve:
Spoon grits on to plate.  Spoon shrimp/sausage mixture on top of grits.  Crumble bacon on top.   Garnish with parsley, if desired. 

Bon appétit, summer of 2010!

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