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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lucky Lake Weekend

Here I am again, at Lake Burton for the weekend. My husband and the electrician have been busy all day installing something big, I don't really know what they're doing. Me, I've been knitting, reading, doing my nails, sitting in the sun. Yes, I'm lucky.

I'm just along for the ride. And to cook all the meals, of course. But that's no big deal at all!

I spent the morning watching the ducks go by, reading in the swing. Oh yeah, it's the life.

This evening I'll make steaks on the grill, baked potatoes, roasted asparagus, and a big salad. Hopefully Lindsay can relax. I sure am relaxed. And lucky.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shrimp and Grits

I worked this weekend and Monday since I was hired to prepare food for dinner parties to celebrate Valentine's Day. Both dinner parties went very well and each couple had gone all out, including arranging in-home messages, in addition to my meal preparation.

I had requests for seafood so one of the appetizers I prepared was my quick version of shrimp and grits. I've been using these grits that I found at the DeKalb Farmers Market. They are very good and have a smooth and creamy texture and a great grit flavor. They're from a company in Blairsville, Georgia.

To prepare the shrimp and grits, I cleaned 1/2 pound of large shrimp and tossed them with dijon mustard, lime zest and salt and pepper. I cooked bacon about 1/2 way through, then wrapped the shrimp in bacon and cooked the shrimp at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes.

Then, I prepared the grits as directed on the package. Once the grits were done, I added a pat of butter and about 3 tbsp heavy cream. This elevates the grits to a greater creamy texture.

Once the shrimp was done, I added them to the grits. I then added a splash of hot chili oil!

By placing the hot chili oil along the side, each person could use as much as they liked. The chili oil really gives this dish a great added dimension.

This is a quick and elegant appetizer and everyone really liked it. Let me know if you try it....enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pimento Cheese

I don't think I've ever met a cheese I didn't like. And I especially like pimento cheese, best homemade. It's a Southern thing! I love it on top of a turkey burger....yum!

For Superbowl, I decided to make a platter of assorted appetizers, and my husband requested pimento cheese, spread in celery sticks.

He likes the pimento cheese well blended and creamy, and the food processor makes this an easy job. I first use the shredding blade to shred the cheese, then switch to the regular metal blade, adding the pimentos (drained and rinsed) and blend well. Then, dump all this into a large bowl and add the mayo and black pepper. I don't usually add any salt because the cheese takes care of that.

It makes a lot and keeps well. Good for sandwiches and snacks throughout the week.

Here's the basic recipe:

(1) 8 oz block medium cheddar cheese
(1) 8 oz block extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 large jar pimentos (drained and rinsed)
about 1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise
freshly ground black pepper

You could also spice it up a bit by adding some hot sauce. Or chopped bacon would also be good.


I think it's time for a snack.