As I write this I am wondering if my craving for chocolate cake, champagne and cigarettes is because I have been dedicating so much time to being stressed out for the past couple weeks, need to recognize my youthfulness, am wishing I was in New Orleans along with several people I know for Jazz Fest or could it just be that my wonderful best friend (who is more of a sister) is celebrating her birthday thousands of miles away in Paris (where the lucky gal lives). Tomorrow I may have to give in, because conventional wisdom is nowhere to be found.
Things are going to get better, it’s the gray days and my not traveling this winter (sorry Manhattan, I love you …but I need to get on a plane and go somewhere further away to feel I’m on a trip) and the continuing house stuff (which actually is pretty mild) that are getting (have gotten) to me. Just trying to sit with “life is a work-in-progress” brings me back from the brink of “how did I get from there (the fast track big city life of my 20′s) to here (rural home soon-to-be chick and bee momma in my 30′s)”. How the hell did that happen?? Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day I am satisfied with where my choices led me and certainly have no regrets about buying my home or settling in Maine… there are so many gratifying qualities how could I?
The other night I was talking to a friend who shares the there/here scenario and we wanted to go out on the town. Get gussied up, hale cabs, order cocktails, talk to strangers (is it just me or do people in New England really not smile at strangers??) and stay out till the wee hours. Living in Maine this wasn’t going to happen, at least not in our small towns and no sadly folks (no offense to those who hail Portland) not even in Portland….a large town with a fantastic food scene but a nightlife that’s less appealing for a singleton than co-workers looking for a quick after work cocktail, dinner out sans kids for longtime married couples (good for them!) and young twentysomethings who are still trying to guzzle beer the way they did in university (not a pretty sight). Maybe I just need to find out about the house parties or start a bowling league?
Anyway, I have these cravings and though they might seem to have little to do with this week’s recipe…in fact they are just like this recipe: Comfort Food. Well, maybe not the cigarettes (and shush, don’t tell my health insurance agent about those!!). Super simple to make, quick and delicious…this one is a winner. Bonus, I was able to use up the rest of my winter Port Clyde Fresh Catch Shrimp CSF.
Shrimp and Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce from the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook by Elizabeth Sims and Chef Brian Sonoskus
2 Tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp EVOO
1 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted red bell pepper
2 Tbsp Creole Spice (4 Tbsp sugar, 2 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 Tbsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1 tsp white pepper) **I left out the sugar and white pepper.
1/4 cup dry white wine (i.e. Sauvignon Blanc)
3 Tbsp unsalted cold butter
Goat Cheese Basil Grits (see recipe below)
Heat the EVOO in a large skillet on high heat. Add the shrimp and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the shrimp begin to turn a little pink. Add the bell peppers and Creole spice and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the peppers are heated through. Add the wine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the shrimp turns pink. Remove from heat and add butter, swirling the pan to combine all liquids. Serve the shrimp over the grits and top with the warm sauce in the skillet.
Goat Cheese Grits
3 cups water
1 tsp se salt
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking grits
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp cream (I left out)
4 ounces goat cheese
2 Tbsp chopped basil, or garnish (I doubled this amount)
In a heavy saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat. Stir in the grits and butter and bring back to a boil. Add the cream and decrease the heat to low, simmering for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy and thick. Remove the pan from the stove and whisk in the goat cheese until melted. Garnish with the basil.
Yield: 4 servings
Image: Suits in Strange Places