Thursday, January 15, 2009

Honeymoon & Love (for grits)

We are honored and privileged to have many honeymooners at Sandlake Country Inn. One of the many wonderful aspects of our lives as innkeepers is some of the wonderful relationships we make.

Meet Steve & Tonya Eisele. Last July, Steve & Tonya stayed in the Timbers Suite for their honeymoon for several days. Many of those days they would venture out to the wine areas (just a1 hour drive) and come back with their favorite wine discoveries they bought. One evening they invited Ron and I to join them for some wine and relaxation and we joined them in a bottle of Oregon Pinot (ok, maybe not just 1 bottle!).

They shared with us their amazing love story and we really enjoyed getting to know them better.

They live in the south and we started talking about food, which is one of our favorite subjects, and how a lot of people in the west have never had grits. Now, I love grits! Throw some cheese and garlic in them and I'm in heaven.

Recently, we received a surprise package in our mail. Steve & Tonya surprised us with a couple of packages of some real southern grits and a delicious looking recipe for "Shrimp and Grits".

Thank you, thank you, Steve and Tonya. I haven't made the recipe yet, but it looks so good that I thought I would share it with everyone who is reading our blog. If you make it before I do, leave a comment on this blog and I'd love to hear what you think.

Shrimp and Grits

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
kosher sat and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound spicy sausage, cut in chunks
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 green onion, white and green part, chopped

To make the grits, place a 3 quart pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. When the grits begin to bubble, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the shrimp, place a deep skillet over medium heat and coat with the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, saute for 2 minutes to soften. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until there is a fair amount of fat in the pan and the sausage is brown. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to create a roux. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and continue to stir to avoid lumps. Toss in the bay leaf. When the liquid comes to a simmer, add the shrimp. Poach the shrimp in the stock for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are firm and pink and the gravy is smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper; stir in the parsley and green onion. Spoon the grits into a serving bowl. Add the shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.

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