Yesterday was Devin’s birthday and per his request I put on my chef hat rather than racing around to overpriced fancy restaurants (which, let’s face it, are also fun).
Devin wished to have Lowcountry Shrimp & Grits followed by Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (his favorite dessert growing up). Now, I have never made Shrimp & Grits nor have I made Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (although I have made a similar crisp once, it was ehh/blah).
I set out on an online journey to find the finest recipes around and ended up with these two from Epicurious: Creamy Shrimp Grits with Prosciutto and Lattice-Topped Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. No changes to the shrimp grits recipe. With the pie, per the birthday boy’s request, I used my mother’s pie crust recipe, which we have decided is unbeatable.
I am proud to say that the dinner turned out fabulously and that Devin said both the entree and the dessert were the best things I had ever cooked for him in 2+ years.
(Click on any of these photos for a larger image)
The wine (2005 Sur de los Andes Malbec Grand Reserve) and sunflowers are courtesy of my generous brother/sister-in-law duo John and Maggie. The Big Green Salad is a delightfully simple Epicurious recipe to balance out the rich entree. Asiago baguette on the side to sop up leftover shrimp grits.
So let’s start with the shrimp grits. You have to go to a specialty store like Whole Foods to get the required corn grits/polenta but ohhhhhhh are they worth it. I highly recommend trying them out. Of course, they are cooked in butter/garlic/chicken stock/whipping cream. How can you really go wrong with that?
On the other side of the stove I had shallots and garlic in butter, to which I added two pounds of shrimp to saute for a brisk two minutes. I removed the shrimp with a slotted spoon and reserved them in a nearby bowl. Then I deglazed my flavorful pan with white wine for a few minutes before adding diced tomatoes and fresh-sliced prosciutto. I let that simmer and mesh together for a few minutes before adding back in the shrimp and tossing everything with fresh chives and parsley. Then I ladled some creamy grits into a shallow dish and topped with the shrimp mixture. Voila!
Creamy grits with shrimp/prosciutto/tomato/parsley/chive mix
The other big winner last night was the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. I recently made my first homemade pie crust and was so delighted we decided to use it for this recipe. I made the dough, let it chill in the fridge for a half hour or so, and then diced my rhubarb from Whole Foods and hulled/halved my strawberries. Then I mixed the fruit with brown sugar, regular sugar, corn starch (to hold it together), salt and cinnamon.
Then I took the dough back out, rolled it very thin, popped it into a pie plate, added in the fruit mixture, and got to work on my lattice-top.
Once I finished the lattice I brushed the top with an egg/water mixture so that it would turn nice and golden and then I placed the pie on a cookie sheet, since fruit is known to misbehave and spill over in the oven.
I then baked it at 400 for 20 minutes and 350 for an hour and 25 minutes. And it was done right on time!
I whipped up some homemade whipped cream to top the finished pie with, and the taste was perfect. According to Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Expert Devin, the pie was “not too sweet, not too tart, not too runny and not too dry.” Considering how much we both enjoyed it, I would reckon this pie is going to last . . . not too long!
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