Cooking for Three

Nope, it’s not what you think. (Just had to get that out of the way.)

I love to cook. It is one of the things I love the most that I do the least. In fact, when I first met my husband, there was this ongoing joke because anytime he met someone on ‘my side’ they would ask if I had cooked for him. The sad thing was, I only cooked for him about a half dozen times in the first year that we dated. We ate out. All the time.

And I love to entertain. The two just go together, and I get them both from my mom.

Anyway, last night I had the chance to do both. One of my best friends recently had one of those “zero” birthday’s, and while I was out of town for the actual date, last night I hosted her and another good mutual friend for dinner. It was a blast.

First, this is the friend who introduced me to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market – more for their incredible wine selection than anything. When we visited, I picked up a very intriguing bottle of sparkling red wine, so I took advantage of the occasion & served it. Divine. Seriously.

The main course (by request) was shrimp & grits. I love this recipe. I know there are as many ways to prepare shrimp & grits as there are restaurants in the South, but this one is my favorite. It’s from Magnolia’s in Charleston. But before I get to far in, let’s go back to salad.

A couple of month’s ago, my sister-in-law introduced me to a wonderful blog – The Pioneer Woman. She is the epitome of a Renaissance woman – but I love her for her recipes. Last week she shared what she claimed was THE BEST spinach salad ever, so I was tempted. And, after serving, I think I agree.

It has purple onion & mushrooms (sauteed) as well as bacon, and the warm dressing is made from the bacon drippings with red wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Go here for the recipe.

So now to the shrimp & grits. The recipe calls for tasso, and while I’ve made it with tasso, I really prefer smoked bacon. It is a roux based gravy recipe, and truly is yummy. And it is actually pretty easy. The hardest part is getting over your fear of making a roux. Which isn’t hard at all, it just sounds hard because it is French, and Julia Childs (bless her) has given French food a bad reputation for being terribly difficult.

The secret to the grits is first, you must have stone ground grits. Quick grits will not do. And, stone ground grits are pretty easy to find these days at grocery stores like Whole Foods. And heavy cream. The other secret to the grits is heavy cream. Those of you who believe everything is better with cream are correct.

Finally, I finished the menu with another recipe from The Pioneer Woman – her key lime pie. My husband loves key lime pie, and lately we’ve been spoiled by how good the Publix pies are, but this one looked so easy that I had to try it. It was easy, and it was good. Yum! I topped it with fresh whipped cream which is so easy to do I’m not sure why they sell it in tubs.

(Oh, and behind that piece of pie is an antique silver pastry server made in Norway. I have a new project; I’ll tell you all about it one day soon.)

So that was our dinner. Fun & easy! Thanks for letting me share!

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3 Replies to “Cooking for Three

  1. Hi! Noticed your blog on PBS and had to check it out…I love Pioneer Woman, too. Her photos are incredible.

    Sounds like you had a great time…I'll be back soon!

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