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Saturday around noon B and I decided to go to a higher end grocery store.  Truth be told, I had been waiting for this day.  Last year, I frequented a particular high end grocery store many Thursdays to buy B and myself the pre-made “dinner for two” meals.  We loved them.  So, I was anxious to see B happily shopping through isles of cheese and bread unavailable at other grocery stores where we usually shopped.  I thought this impressive place would lure B right in, the way it had me.  Alas, B has never been as enamored with the sparkly and shiny as me.

At first, it was good.  B roamed the produce and I tackled the difficult chore of trying all the sample items.  We picked up some cheese wrapped in pepperoni that I ohhed and ahhed over until B raised his eyebrows and looked at me with a mix of bemusement and genuine concern that I might be under the impression that these were some delicacy flown in from overseas. “They are just cheese wrapped in pepperoni.  You know that, right?”

Cheese wrapped pepperoni by candlelight

It was a bit after I had picked up about a half-dozen more things to show B that the tone of our shopping trip began to change.  It was also that time of day: more people were showing up and standing in the middle of isles that we needed to walk down or lingering in front of food items we needed.  At that point, it had become all about what we needed.

“We must go to [insert non-fancy grocery store here],” B said to me as I approached him and waved a box of chocolate truffles in his face while a woman tried to squeeze between the strawberries, us, and the freezer B stood before.  He had the look, and by that, I mean his eyebrows were narrowed and his arms were crossed and he was staring into depths beyond the frozen food before him.

“What? Why?” I whined.  Frequenting two grocery stores on a Saturday afternoon is too much for me.

“They don’t have the sausage I need, and the shrimp is too expensive,” he whisper yelled.  “I will gladly pay more for some things but eight dollars for a few pieces of deli-sliced black forest ham, really?” he asked pointing to the display in the fluorescent fridge beside us that we had migrated toward trying to move out of people’s way.  He was having none of it.

Shrimp

“I knew you should have eaten before we left,” I whisper yelled back.  I still hold to this: B should not be allowed in public when hungry.  Well, we whisper yelled a bit longer before agreeing we both needed to eat lunch.  Finally, grabbing some reasonably priced lavender soap as we queued up in line, we paid and walked out the store with not quite everything we had intended to buy.

As it turns out, all is well.  The cheese wrapped with pepperoni was quite good, as was the Mediterranean meal we split at home.  Full and happy, we decided next week, we’d eat before we left for the grocery store.  But, we did get two great meals out of it.  B made the hatch green chili mini-burgers, which my Weight Watchers magazine said I should eat, and they were lovely, also, only $5.99 for eight.  And Saturday, B made a meal of shrimp and grits with sausage that was delicious.  I did not include any recipe for the mini-burgers, just photos for those interested, but there is a recipe for the shrimp and grits.

Hatch Green Chili Mini-Burger topped with Cheese

Gulf Shrimp and Stone-Ground Grits with Andouille Sausage Red-Eye Gravy

Recipe found in New Orleans Kitchens: Recipes from the Big Easy’s Best Restaurants (pg. 61). According to New Orleans Kitchens, original recipe is “Courtesy of Emanuelle Loubier from Dante’s Kitchen” (pg. 61)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 2 cups stone-ground grits
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 links fresh andouille sausage
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large shot espresso
  • Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces to taste
  • 1 pound large shrimp, tails and head left intact for presentation
  • Creole seafood seasoning to coat
  • Parsley, chopped

Preparation

In a large saucepan, heat milk and butter together until butter is melted.  Add grits, reduce heat, and cook for 1 hour over very low heat, stirring often.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate pan, cook the sausage in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil until brown: add onion and cook until translucent.  Add chicken stock, espresso, Worcestershire, and Tabasco and then simmer for 45 minutes.

Toss the shrimp in remaining vegetable oil or just throw them on the grill.  Serve the shrimp and gravy over the grits.  Garnish with chopped parsley.

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