Monday, July 3, 2017

02 July 2017










It has been a rainy but relaxing holiday weekend. Jeff was in Orlando for a conference, so I had some rare alone time at home. I loved every minute and spent a lot of time in the kitchen, watching movies and enjoyed the first dip in the pool this year. I am hoping for dryer weather for Independence Day so we can spend more time in the pool and for the 4th of July celebration and fireworks by the City of Canton. 

I came home from work on Friday and began preparing some dishes for a neighborhood gathering on Saturday night at the beautiful home of Mike and Jamie Morgan. They have done a wonderful job restoring the former Jones home on East Main Street, and they were gracious enough to host a nice crowd from the neighborhood for a BBQ. Some of my favorite people were in attendance, and so many of them are great cooks. Mike's BBQ was delicious, and Jamie made some amazing cobblers and homemade ice cream for dessert. Everyone brought side dishes, and no one left hungry! I decided to try my hand at pickling some shrimp for the event. This was my first attempt at making Pickled Shrimp, and they turned out great. I found some cool gallon glass jars with lids, and the presentation was nice as well. They are relatively simple to make, and you can add any spices or vegetables you want to the brine. I had several requests for the recipe, so I am including it in this week's post. Since I had not tried the shrimp before, I was a little nervous about the results, so I baked a cauliflower gratin as a backup. Everyone seemed to enjoy that dish as well. 

Saturday morning began as usual with a trip to the Canton Farmers Market. There were over 58 vendors there, and the crowd was huge. In addition to the great produce. local beef and pork and fresh baked goods, the market also hosted a watermelon eating contest this week. It was a real slice of Americana, and everyone had a good time. After the cookout on Saturday night, I came home and watched a wonderful documentary, "Eating Alabama." The movie follows the lives of a young couple who moved back to their home town in rural Alabama and their decision to only eat food produced locally for one year. It was really eye opening and showcased the lack of working farmers these days. Their journey began with a real struggle, but they ended up growing a lot of produce in their own front yard. The movie was beautifully filmed, and the filmmaker was a great story teller. I highly recommend the movie.

Sunday began with wonderful everything bagels and fresh farm eggs from Whim-Wham Art Farm. I am addicted to their bagels, as well as everything they grow and bake. Before the rain set in again, I was able to enjoy the first time in the pool, or as we call it – the cement pond. Jeff has adopted the pool as his pet project, and he did a great job opening and cleaning it this year. He didn't get home from Orlando in time to enjoy it, but we are hoping for nice weather on Tuesday. However, he did enjoy a hearty home made dinner for tonight's Sunday Supper. I used some beautiful pasture raised filet mignon's from Hill Valley Farm in Ellijay and leftover pickled shrimp to make a surf-and-turf entree. I bought the filets, as well as some heritage pork, at the Canton Farmers Market last week. Hill Valley is there every weekend, and I highly recommend their products. I also made a buttermilk ranch dressing for a simple wedge salad and baked potatoes as a side. On Sunday morning, I baked some delectable garlic popovers, and we enjoyed them with the meal. 

It has been a wonderful, and filling, weekend, and I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in Canton, Georgia. Happy 4th of July, y'all!


The Menu:

- Surf and Turf – Local Pan Seared Filets with Pickled Shrimp

- Baked Potatoes

- Wedge Salad with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

- Garlic Popovers


The Recipe – Pickled Shrimp with Vegetables

Ingredients:

Brine:

2 cups rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbs. peppercorns
  • 1 Tbs. red chili flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups water

Shrimp and Vegetables:

  • Baby carrots, peeled
  • Green beans
  • One Vidalia onion, sliced
  • One lemon, sliced
  • One orange, sliced
  • Few pepperoncini peppers
  • Okra pods
  • 2 lbs. boiled shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails on

Directions:

For the brine, combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove brine from the heat and cool slightly.
Pack all the vegetables and shrimp, in alternating layers, into a large glass jar or airtight container with lid. I used around a dozen of each vegetable, but just add any produce you like. Pour the warm brine into the jar to cover shrimp and vegetables. 
Cover tightly and let cool before refrigerating overnight, or a minimum of 12 hours. Serve chilled, from jar or in a large bowl. 
NOTE: Use fresh, gulf shrimp if you can find them. If not, simply buy large cleaned and deveined frozen shrimp. Thaw them in some cold water for 25-30 mins, then dry them before adding to brine. If you boil the shrimp, don't boil them too long, or they will get mushy in the pickling brine. 


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