Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Have I mentioned that we have the coolest neighbors ever? The K and T Victory garden is still bearing fruit, although the K's garden is doing much better than ours. We have a pesky crabgrass infestation while the K's are cranking out beautiful things like this.
Luckily, they're happy to share. We particularly enjoy the K family in the summer; our girls flit from yard to yard, house to house almost seamlessly on long afternoons. Many weekends, my phone will ring in the early afternoon and my neighbor Jen will say something like: "I've got a ton of jalapenos, three ears of corn and a loaf of amazing bread...what have you got?"
And I'll laugh and look in my refrigerator and we know that Dinner by Committee is on.
Dinner by Committee basically means that Jen and I don't want to go to the grocery store, don't want to cook something elaborate, but still gotta get grub on the table. Thus, we need each other. In short: we gotta make somethin' outta nothin'.
It's a fun challenge to pool your resources, gather together at the end of a long summer day and eat something delicious. It's sort of like Iron Chef meets Stone Soup.
This weekend, Jen did, indeed, have a buttload of jalapenos that needed eating, so she made bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers on the grill. Did I mention how lucky we are?
I had potatoes, corn, a package of andouille sausage and some shrimp in the freezer, so I made Frogmore Stew. Frogmore Stew, or Low-Country Boil, is a dish I'd never heard of until I met my wonderful friend Tink. Tink is Georgia born and bred, which means several things: she's got a tart little twang on her tongue, she's always perfectly groomed, and she can throw a party like nobody's business.
A few years ago she called and said that her husband was fixin' to cook up a Low-Country Boil, and did we want to stop by? I said, "Ummm, whaaa??"
Low-Country Boil is to folks in Georgia/South Carolina what a Lobster Boil or Clambake is to New Englanders. And, like those East coast seafood feasts, Frogmore Stew is lots of fun to make and eat.
Frogmore Stew (aka: Low-Country Boil)
serves 6 (can easily be doubled)
a good fistful of Old Bay seasoning (about 3 tablespoons to a 1/4 cup)
4-5 ears fresh corn, shucked, wrenched in half
2 pounds small red new potatoes, scrubbed
1 pound cooked smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, chunked
3 pounds shrimp, deveined, shell on
cocktail sauce, remoulade sauce, and/or lemon butter (we did 'em all)
Bring a humongous stew pot of water on the stove to boil. Throw in the Old Bay seasoning and the potatoes. Cover and cook 10 minutes.
Add the corn and sausage; cover and cook 10 minutes more, or until potatoes are tender.
Add the shrimp and cook just until pink. Drain the entire thing, and roll the whole shebang onto a giant platter set on top of newspaper.
Guests eat with their hands, discard the cobs and shells onto the newspaper, and dunk the feast into one or all of the following: cocktail sauce, remoulade sauce or lemon butter.
Great served with ice cold beer and people who tell good jokes.
***We couldn't have Tink in our backyard this time around, but as the girls were licking buttery corn off of their fingers, forearms and elbows, I knew she was with us in spirit. I almost could hear that minxy little laugh of hers, saying: "Y'all, this is what summer's about."