[Note: my computer was on the fritz and so I did not have that to use. I did buy a notebook and tried to keep some account of what we did and what we ate, but I am lazy, and so the notes are sketchy at best. What I have here is a reconstruction based on the notebook and my ramshackle memory. I tried to make it as honest and complete as I could; now, on to the log.]
Patsy and I planned to go to St, Augustine, Florida for a couple of days. We would meet with our son and daughter-in-law in Jacksonville and drive down to St. Augustine for two days, then head up to Savannah, Georgia. However, family business took us up to South Carolina for our first day, so we had to crowd our visit to St. Augustine into a single day.
By the time Patsy and I flew into Jacksonville, it was late. When we got to the hotel, we decided to order in, rather than go somewhere for dinner. The desk clerk recommended a steakhouse down the road, so we called them… but we soon realized we were in a different part of the country. I asked for Chicken Marsala, which is usually a couple of chicken breasts in a light wine sauce, usually served with pasta. This time however, I got two chicken breasts and mushrooms in thick, brown gravy, with mashed potatoes. Oh well, the gravy went nicely with the potatoes.
Next morning, we headed out to South Carolina. This was a four-hour trip, but it did not rain, which meant I could keep the pedal down. I am pleased to report that drivers in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina drive just like they do in Los Angeles…. fast. I felt right at home going 80 in a 65 zone, and even though there were troopers on the media, cars were still passing me.
The Southern countryside was very green, with thick forest on either side of the freeway, made even thicker by the Kudzu vines. For those of you who don’t know about Kudzu, it’s a vine originally imported from Japan to control erosion. Unfortunately, there are no natural controls for Kudzu here in this country, and the vine has spread everywhere, climbing up trees and choking out undergrowth. I have often wondered if Kudzu could be harvested for ethanol production, but that’s another story.
When we got to South Carolina and met with the friends we needed to see, we had lunch at a fresh seafood place. It was one of those places with varnished knotty pine walls and pictures of fishermen everywhere. The wooden table we sat down at had a hole cut into the top for a tin bucket. This is where you were supposed to throw shells and crab bits – the seafood was that fresh. Our server was a small round woman with her hair pulled back into a bun. She was about as tall standing up as I am sitting down and seemed to have the pep of an Energizer Bunny. She quoted the day’s specials for us and suggested that I try the Shrimp and Grits.
This was my first encounter with Shrimp and Grits, something I understand is a regional staple. In fact, as I also learned, shrimp is a poor person’s food in this part of the country, apparently because they are that easy to harvest.
The dish consisted of two triangles of crunchy deep fried grits and eight large shrimp, all covered with a creamy white sauce… delicious. Later on, as our trip continued, I saw other combinations of grits and shrimp with variations, such as grits with goat cheese, grits timbales with basil sauce, blackened shrimp and Parmesan cheese grits, and so on. (I have a couple of recipes for this dish tacked on at the end of this log)
Shrimp tastes different here than they do back home. This is because we are near the ocean and shrimp are very fresh here, not frozen. Our shrimp we had on this first day were sweet and firm, with nothing processed about them.
We spent time with our friends before heading back down to St. Augustine, where we stayed at an old converted carriage house named The Castle Cottage. This used to be a carriage house for the Ripley mansion, which is across the street (no time for a visit, but maybe next time). Even though the owner of the B & B has been working to improve the property, he still has a way to go. The place was clean and comfortable, but there were minor things like the broken paneling in our bathroom. Still, the price was reasonable, the location is very near to Old Town, and if one is aware that there are some flaws to overlook, it is a nice place to stay.
Since we got to St. Augustine late, we had dinner at Barnacle Bill’s Seafood Restaurant. There we had clam chowder and an apple salad with shrimp because it was too late for anything very heavy. We also drank Mile Marker Zero Blonde Ale (malty taste with a hint of citrus). Satisfied with the good food and the very good beer, we turned in for the night. Tomorrow would be a very full day, indeed.
After breakfast, we headed out to main street St. Augustine to look around. This is a small town, especially Old Town, and it did not take us long to get our bearings. St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in North America, founded in 1565, by Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. However, it was Spanish explorer and governor of Puerto Rico, Juan Ponce de León, who claimed the region for the Spanish crown in 1516. He also claimed the entire North American continent for Spain, including Canada, oh and he named it all Florida.
St. Augustine once was a walled town, but the only part of that remaining now is the gateway into St. George Street, one of the main attraction streets in Old Town St. Augustine. There are historical things along the street, such as the oldest wooden schoolhouse in America and the Government House Museum, with its shaded gallery over the courtyard. [Of course, what would a tourist town be without various souvenir shops, cafes, and other tourist attractions? You can find them all along St. George Street; there was even an old man sitting at a corner, playing a concertina for tips.
The museums along the way include the Government House museum and the Gonzalez-Alvarez House, which once considered the oldest house in North America (That title is now held by the Acoma Pueblo New Mexico, another fascinating place to visit). The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum is also an interesting stop for all who want to get your “Arrr” on. The exhibits there include Blackbeard’s original blunderbuss and pieces of gold retrieved from his warship the Queen Anne’s Revenge.
One of the main draws of the town is the Castillo de San Marcos, a fortress built by the Spanish in the 16th century to protect the town (from pirates, of course). The fortress is in excellent shape and has a great number of cannons and mortars on display. Docents dress like early 18th century Spanish soldiers, and fire one of the cannons several times a day as part of the attraction; the firing commands are in Spanish.
While we were there on the top of the fortress wall, a park ranger reminded us that if a storm hit, we were on a wall with lots of iron and that we were the tallest things there. He told us we might want to go down to the lower levels of the fort when told to do so. As it happened, we did get a storm and we all moved down the stairs smartly.
After visiting the fortress, we had lunch in the Bunnery, a bakery/sandwich shop. I had a Panini Veggie sandwich, and felt so good about choosing a healthy lunch, that I treated myself to a large Pecan Praline cookie.
That afternoon, we took a sail around the bay on the Freedom Schooner. We found the schooner down at the end of the jetty, right next to the Black Raven Pirate Ship, a plywood version of an 18th century carrack (pirate ship to those of you who aren’t familiar with carracks). The pirates were as rowdy as they should have been; we could hear them all the way across the bay, singing songs and making more of those ‘Arrr’ sounds.
Our crew talked to us as they hauled on ropes, and even had some of us to help raise the sails once we were under way. One young lady’s boyfriend had to hold her down as she lowered one of the sails. Captain Jack cut the engines when we were out of the docking area and tacked us up and down the harbor. Of course, we didn’t catch the pirate ship, since they were under power, not sail, but then again, we didn’t have to sing rowdy songs either.
Later on, we had an early dinner at the Columbia Restaurant (reservations are a good idea). This restaurant is in the historic district on St. George Street, and has the feeling of a Spanish Mission style place. The Columbia is part of a family owned chain of restaurants that specialize in Cuban and Spanish influenced recipes. I had chicken breast in a Riojana sauce (recipe to follow), fresh veggies and yellow rice. The food was excellent and at a fair price. If any of my readers go to St. Augustine, I would heartily recommend the Columbia.
With dinner over, it was too early to call it a night, so we walked down St. George Street until we came to the Mi Casa Café, where we drank Dogfish Head 90 minute IPAs (brandied fruitcake, citrusy, and raisin flavors), and listened to a smoky voiced singer named Danny Via for a couple of hours. The man played as though he had three hands or maybe twenty fingers. He did some of his own stuff as well as covering songs we could all sing along with him; he even did a credible Lester Flatt number. Finally, though, it was late and we had to drive to Savannah the next morning.
Since today was a Sunday, and since our main objective was to drive to Savannah, we spent some time at the fabled “Fountain of Youth” site. This is where Pedro Menendez first settled. The Timucuan Indians also lived on the site and there are some Timucuan style huts in the park to look at. These Indians were early converts to Christianity; in fact, there is a reconstruction of the first church, the Mission Church of Nombre de Dios, on the site.
Apparently, Ponce de Leon did not think this was the fountain of youth, but another man, probably Pedro, attributed all this to good old Ponce. There is a fountain where you can take a drink of water before going on the rest of the tour. I don’t know if this was indeed the fabulous fountain, but I felt a little bit younger for a while. Of course, this could have also been because I was thirsty and had some water.
One of the first features that you notice in this lush garden of a place is the peacocks. They are everywhere, both the colorful types and the white ones, and they scream like crazy. I took several photos of the full colored ones sitting on one of the old cannons for a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ approach.
Along the trail through the park, there is a docent who fires a matchlock gun. He said that he only fires powder and not bullets with his demonstration. He also said the management won’t let him shoot bullets because if they did, there would not be a single peacock left in the park.
For those of you who do not know how a matchlock works, it’s like a muzzle loaded flintlock rifle (think Daniel Boone). However, instead of using sparks from flint hitting against iron to fire the powder, pulling the trigger touches a smoldering piece of twine – the match – down into a tiny bit of powder under the lock. There was one heck of a bang when the gun went off, with a big cloud of smoke following that.
Since I’m talking about a firing demonstrations, let me mention another one that they do at the park: a six pound breech loaded cannon. I found this very interesting, since I did not know they had breech loading (loading from the back rather than the muzzle) guns during that time period. The docent showed us iron canisters filled with gunpowder that fit into the cannon breech. A block sits between the gun carriage and the canister to hold it in place. While breech loading would be faster than muzzle loading, a six-pound ball is the upper limit for this type cannon; muzzle-loaders can fire much larger projectiles. In both firing demonstrations, the commands were in Spanish.
After the Fountain of Youth Park, we continued our drive to Savannah. The day was a bit rainy, but nothing to be concerned about. When we got to the hotel, I realized that I had chosen a location not in Savannah itself, but on the outskirts. This was just as well, because we met some people later on, who told us they were paying almost $200 a night for a downtown location.
We got to our hotel rather late, and just settled in for the night. Dinner was at Hoolihans, where we ordered things like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and other comfort food.
We started the morning by visiting the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum. While I had not thought about visiting a military museum before, this was very interesting. I would recommend a stop at the Might 8th to anyone going to Savannah.
You enter the museum through a large rotunda that is decorated with flags and has busts of five or six generals who commanded the 8th Air Force during WWII. Once inside the exhibits, I was amazed. There are video uploads of films documenting actual bombing runs over Germany. The films included Luftwaffe fighters attacking, of other bombers going down in flames, and of bombers taking off and landing at their English airfields.
Besides the videos, there are artifacts such as uniforms, both allied and German,, the nose of a German jet aircraft, and various other items. Along with the videos of the 8th bombers, there are also propaganda videos from the Third Reich. There is a large section dedicated to the Battle of Britain, including films and mock-ups.
Moving through the exhibits, the visitor enters a Quonset hut for an orientation and mission briefing as part of the Mission Experience. A recorded message gave us a briefing on an actual bombing raid made in WWII. Outside, we saw pictures of the ground crew and the things they did to get the bombers ready to go. After that, there is a film allows visitors to ride along as an observer during a mission over enemy territory. Outside are photographs of the raid aftermath. There is also a large-scale diorama of the raid over the Ploesti oil refinery.
Along with the main body of exhibits, there are sections devoted to the Tuskegee Airmen and for women who served in the Air Corps, even though neither were part of the 8th Air Force. Women could not fly combat missions, but they did ferry aircraft to combat areas.
There is a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber that can be viewed while it is restored;. Also on view are a Bf 109G Messerschmitt fighter and a P-51 Mustang fighter. I especially liked the B-17 exhibit because it showed how the belly gunner pod worked. The gunner was actually lying on his back and looking through his feet at his target.
After our tour, we stopped in to have lunch at the “English” pub on site.. Having been in real pubs before, this one is more “referential” than real. We had pesto mayonnaise BLTs and iced tea. The pesto was not all that strong, which was okay, because who needs to be burping up garlic all afternoon. (Recipe follows)
After visiting the museum, we moved on to Savannah proper. Let me say before going on further that anyone visiting Savannah for the first time should read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a non-fiction work by John Berendt, and published in 1994 I got a copy on our last day there, and after reading it, wished I had done so prior to the trip. The book shows you something of the city you would not know otherwise. By the way, I understand there was a film made from the book, in 1997. We missed it then, but are going to try to find it on Netflix or some other place.
We stopped at the Savannah Visitor Information Center to find some maps and a tour bus. The visitor center is in the old red brick passenger terminal of the Central of Georgia Railroad complex, with its high ceilings and sweeping archways. Outside the center are several choices of tours, each with its own price range and venue. Since I tend to be thrifty (reads cheap), I chose the least expensive tour. Although this tour did not offer the ‘off-and-on option, ‘from what I could see, we didn’t miss much.
Savannah is a port town, and always has been. There is a section called Factors Row and Factors Walk, located on a bluff just above the River Walk. This is where the cotton brokers would look at the cotton offered by the growers. The walk is up over cobblestone streets so that the brokers could walk out of their businesses and look down on the bales. A funny thing about the streets; the cobblestones are old ship ballasts dumped here to make room for the cotton – the thrifty Georgians used the free stone to pave their streets, and some of the buildings down by the river walk seem to be built from these stones.. At some point, the ship captains realized what was happening and started to charge for the stone. Commerce is commerce from age to age and place to place, I suppose.
The visitor center parking lot closed at 6:00, so we had to find another place to park. Savannah has a lot of one way streets; just taking off will not do the trick; you have to have a map that shows the traffic flow. We found a parking garage nearby, navigated the streets to get there, and then started to find a place to have dinner. We wanted to have local food, so we went looking for a Savannah themed restaurant, but finally ended up at Churchill’s Pub. Now as much as this does not sound like a place for local cuisine, I did find Shrimp and Grits with goat cheese on the menu, and ordered that. We asked about any local brews and got Tybee Island Blonde (a Kölsch style ale that features aromas of roasted nuts, chocolate, and citrus) in a can, and brewed in Savannah. I always expect local beers to be on draft, but we ran across this same thing in Charleston as well.
It had rained earlier in the day, but now the weather had cleared and so we ate on the rooftop. There was a nice breeze, the clouds overhead were thin, and there were swallows flying around. I was reminded about a time when we were in Paris, taking a boat ride down the Seine. The sky looked just about like this, the swallows were flying around much like now, and I suddenly hoped that one of the damned birds wouldn’t poop on me like they did in Paris, or my dinner.
Here, the Shrimp and Grits meal was more like a pudding than the first dish I had, with lots of shrimp and slices of Andouille sausage. I thought the cheese would make more of an impact, but it didn’t.
After dinner, we made our way back to the motel for the night.
We decided that today would be a good day to walk around the town and take in the sights. This is a good time to tell you, dear reader, more about the town. Savannah is more or less intact, because during the Civil War, (The Recent Unpleasantness), the mayor of Savannah realized what was happening and negotiated surrender of the town to General Sherman without a fight. Sherman, on his part, did not burn the place down, but offered it as a Christmas present to President Lincoln. Much of the town is so intact, that they covered one of the streets with dirt and filmed parts of “Glory,” the film about the first Black regiment in the Union Army, here.
As I said earlier, Savannah is on a bluff above the Savannah River. General James Oglethorpe and some of his close associates developed an elaborate plan for the town, based on a grid pattern that incorporated squares of open space. Savannah’s historic district has 22 tree filled squares with some sort of monument in in each one. There are also varieties of buskers found in the squares, ranging from talented musicians to one man who was teaching himself to play a flute, but who still had a tip can sitting in front of him. I think the tips were supposed to pay for his music lessons.
Several other districts arose as the town grew, each with its own character. We stayed pretty much in the Downtown (Landmark Historic District and Victorian District), so cannot talk about the other areas except to say they exist. I cannot say whether the other districts continued to incorporate public squares in them or not.
The Historic District owes its existence to seven women who formed the Historic Savannah Foundation in the 1950s. By that time, the squares had cuts through them to improve traffic flow, and many historic buildings were in line to be demolished for structures that were more utilitarian. In other words, bean counters were doing their usual ‘utility over beauty’ thing.
Having said all that, there are the usual tee-shirt shops and tchotsci shops, as well as restaurants and art stores. This is especially true along the River Walk area of town. We bought a nice little etching done on hand made paper at one art store.
We had lunch at the Shrimp Factory, where we ate Fried Green Tomato BLTs. The sandwiches were spicier than a regular BLT, mostly due to the breading on the green tomatoes. There were no local brews offered here, so I settled for an Anchor IPA (another local beer, except on a different coast).
After lunch, we took a ride on the Georgia Queen, a riverboat that would run us up and down the river so we could get a different view of Savannah. By now, if you have followed many of these logs, you will see a pattern of boat cruises. We like them because it gives a different perspective to wherever we are visiting.
The Georgia Queen is ostensibly a stern paddleboat, but I think the wheel is there for looks, rather than propulsion. There really was much of anything to see except the shipping aspect of the port. For most of my readers, you might want to skip this if you go there. Incidentally, there is a free ferry service from different locations along the River Walk to the International Trade and Convention Center, across the river from Savannah. We didn’t try this service, but it might be worth checking out. Hey, if nothing else, the price is right.
Back on the River Walk, we stopped by the “Waving Girl” statue. The statue is in honor of Florence Martus, who for 44 years, girl and woman, greeted ships coming into Savannah by waving a dishcloth in welcome. The statue and memorial plaque are in a little riverside square with a few benches.so that you can sit and watch the river traffic go by.
We needed a break before continuing to walk around, so we went to the Shrimp Factory for refreshments. I had a Jacamo IPA, (sweet fruity and malty, with a citrus over tone).
Our last visit for the day was the Richardson-Owen House, one of the grand mansions in Savannah. Built between 1816 and 1819, the house is in fine condition, with much of the original furnishings in it. This example of English Regency architecture (neoclassical with elements from sources such as the Italian Renaissance) is one of the finest examples of this style in America. Notable in its features are the columned entry, the stairway of mahogany, cast iron and brass, and the elegant furnishings. One original chandelier in the dining room went from candles to whale oil, then to electricity. The Academy is trying to locate other period chandeliers to fit into the other rooms of the house.
The tour starts in the slave quarters with traces of the original ‘haint blue’ paint on the ceiling put there to stop evil spirits. We first ran across this paint in Charleston, where the verandahs have ‘haint blue’ on them. Haints, or spirits, can’t cross water, and the blue color confuses them.
Inside the house is full of paintings and furniture of the period. This especially so with the bedroom that the Marquis de Lafayette used when he stayed there. The furniture in the room is the same as was there during his visit. Lafayette even addressed a crowd of people who came to hear him, from the bedroom window.
There are funny things in the house, such as round rooms, and doors that do not go anywhere. Their sole purpose is to balance off real doors. Of course, the staircase is elegant, as is the whole house, in spite of the extra doors.
It was getting on towards dinnertime when we completed the tour, so we headed over to Paula Deene’s restaurant, Lady and Sons. Yes, I know she dropped the N-word bomb and got into a lot of trouble over it, but I was curious, and besides, she has apologized several times for her slip. It is probably time to let a bye gone be a bye gone.
The restaurant was crowded and we were on the third floor, but the high ceiling and the many windows helped lighten up the atmosphere. There were several exciting choices, including a buffet, but coming from a buffet town, that didn’t interest me. I almost ordered the Shrimp and Grits, but opted instead for a salad. The Southern Spinach Salad featured balsamic dressing, with red peppers, red onion, olives, and feta cheese. (There were cheese biscuits as well, but I didn’t want to mention them because my having a salad sounded like I was paying attention to my diet.) I accompanied the salad with a Scattered Sun Wit beer (again, it had a citrus flavor, this time with coriander, and wheat flavors as well); the combination of beer and salad worked perfectly. Okay, yes I did have the cheese biscuits with gobs of butter, but only because they were there, and it would have been a waste not to eat them.
This would be our last day in the area, so we drove down to Tybee Island to visit the lighthouse, apparently still in use today, despite GPS. Tybee Island is an easily accessible barrier island, just about a half hour drive outside of Savannah. The distance is not that great, but with the narrow roads and all that, it seems like it took us a half hour to get there.
The black and white lighthouse was the object of our visit. Built of wood in 1736, it was the highest structure in America at that time. Some years later, the lighthouse collapsed in a storm, and had to be replaced. Beach erosion forced the construction of yet another lighthouse in 1773, parts of which are the bottom 60 feet of the present lighthouse. The structure was damaged during the Civil War, but again, it collapsed during an earthquake and hurricane. The current lighthouse is built from iron and brick, so hopefully it will not collapse again… at least not any time soon. There are some 178 steps to the top. These are broken up in series of twenty-five steps and a landing with a window you can look out, so it’s not too bad a climb if you take your time, or you are a mountain goat.
All the buildings and houses used by the staff to support the lighthouse are in fine shape, two of them are available for visiting, while another is now the gift shop . The site is in great condition and well worth seeing.
Back in Savannah proper, we thought about lunch at the Café at the City Market pedestrian-only courtyard. However, the weather started to turn warm and we wanted a cool place to sit, so we went inside.
Outside the Café is a spooky (at least to me) life-sized statue of Marilyn Monroe with her dress flying up, from the movie The Seven-Year Itch. The statue is all white except for red shoes, yellow hair, and lipstick. Savannah has an attachment to Marilyn, because she liked to come here often. We would see more of this attachment later on at the Jepson Museum.
Inside the café, the walls were decorated with pictures of fifties stars, and other kitschy things. One item that bothered my son was a floor lamp built to look like a mannequin wearing a floor length dress with long sleeves, but with no head or hands… again, spooky. The sound track was also out of the fifties and sixties, and the music was a tad too loud. The chicken salad with sesame noodles was okay, but probably not worth sitting through a half -hour of Dean Martin.
That afternoon, we visited the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, housed in a neoclassical mansion designed by English architect William Jay, who also designed the Richardson-Owens house, mentioned earlier. The Telfair Academy contains two nineteenth-century period rooms with nineteenth and twentieth-century American and European art on display. A lower section of the Academy holds full sized plaster casts of famous sculptures for student artists to use as models, while learning to draw.
A funny story about the place, the last owner of the house, Mary Telfair, bequeathed the mansion to the Academy with the stipulation that no food or drink be consumed inside. Sometime later, a dinner was held in the house, but the festivities were interrupted by a fierce storm. The directors interpreted that as Mary’s ghost being angry, and they added a banquet room at the back of the mansion.
There were exhibits that introduced visitors to Mary Telfair and the Telfair family, giving the background to why this was a museum rather than a private mansion.
There were some great paintings in the gallery, in the middle of which there was a plush, round sitting bench. Maybe settee is the proper term, or whatever, anyway one of those circular sitting areas I normally associate with 19th century hotel lobbies. Other exhibits highlighted the founding museum director Carl Brandt, and the enslaved family who worked at the house (quite a jump in subjects).
Next, we visited the Jepson Center, part of the Telfair Museums group. There are several exhibits going on at the museum, one of them dedicated to Marilyn Monroe (who else?).
Another exhibit included works by Helen Levitt and her recording of New York street life in the early 20th century. In a similar vein, there was what is billed “a mesmerizing 61-minute high-definition video Street” by James Nares. I was mesmerized because this is a film made with a high-speed camera usually used for photographing things like bullets exploding light bulbs and such. Nares drove through New York, photographing people on the street. So what you have is 61 minutes of people moving so slowly that they appear to almost not be moving at all.
I did enjoy the Kirk Varnedoe Collection of modern artists, such as paintings by Willem de Kooning and Roy Lichtenstein, but was slightly baffled at an exhibit by Karrie Hovey: an odd assortment of things made with recycled stuff, and shaped into flowers, birds, etc. But on the other hand, Hovey is exhibited in the Jepson Center Museum and I’m not, so where does that leave things?
After going through the two museums, we were ready for dinner. Museums crawls always leave me drained because of overload. I usually see far too many pieces that need hours to look at, in too short a time. I almost get brain dead.
We went to Vic’s on the River for dinner. We sat in the upper level of the restaurant, where the gleaming white napkins and plates set off the black tablecloths. I had… wait for it… Shrimp and Grits! Yes, I had to try them again. This time, the dish used smoked cheddar for the cheese, bacon crumbled over the top, and fresh shrimp cooked in a light brown sauce. Some great buttermilk biscuits with the honey butter just added to my enjoyment. Oh, and so did a Southbound IPA (citrus hops, slight floral with just a hint of yeast). What a great way to end our trip.
The next morning, we flew back to Las Vegas, pleased and well rested, even though we were averaging five to six miles of walking every day.
Well, this wraps up another journey. Thanks for coming along, and I hope you enjoyed my stories. I could probably ramble on for another half dozen pages, considering how much I forgot or left out. However, I will finish it at this point. I have attached some recipes that I think people would enjoy trying. None of these are my own recipes, and I have credited the source for each one.
Shrimp and Grits Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay
4 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 cup stone-ground grits
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large clove garlic, minced
Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.
Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well. In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.
Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/shrimp-and-grits-recipe.html?oc=linkback
Shrimp and Grits Cakes by Robin Schempp
• 2 cups regular grits
• 6 cups plus 2/3 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock (amount may vary, depending on grits package directions), divided
• Parchment paper
• Vegetable oil cooking spray
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
• 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 pound large local shrimp, shelled and deveined
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
• 3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut in 1/2-inch dice
• 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
• 3/4 cup chopped scallions
• 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup dry white wine or additional stock
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
Cook grits as directed on package, using about 6 cups stock instead of water. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray. Stir Parmesan and butter into grits; season with salt and black pepper. Pour grits onto sheet; smooth into an even layer. Cover and refrigerate until very firm, at least 2 1/2 hours or overnight. Use a 2-inch biscuit or round cookie cutter to cut out 16 cakes; cover cakes and refrigerate. A half hour before serving, heat oven to 300°. In a bowl, toss shrimp with juice and a few shakes of hot pepper sauce. In a large skillet, sauté bacon and bell pepper over medium heat until bacon is light brown but not crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove all but 2 teaspoons bacon fat from pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; add scallions and toss to coat. Sprinkle in flour; sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spatula, until light brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Add remaining 2/3 cup stock and wine; cook, stirring, until sauce thickens. Season with salt, black pepper and more hot pepper sauce. Add shrimp and any liquid; sauté until just opaque, 2 to 5 minutes, being careful not to overcook. Just prior to serving, transfer grits cakes to a baking sheet; bake until warm through, about 6 minutes. Spoon a bit of sauce and 1 shrimp over each cake; garnish with parsley. Do AHEAD: The grits-cake base of these nibbles needs to firm up in the fridge for at least 2 1/2 hours—and more time is fine. Prep it the night before your party.
Read more at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Shrimp-and-Grits-Cakes-368307
Fried Green Tomatoes BLTs by seriouseats.com
• 3 green tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 3 cups canola oil
• 1/2 cup flour
• 3 tablespoons cornmeal
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
• 4 slices bread
• 4 slices bacon, cooked
• salt and pepper
1. Pour the oil into a small pot. Heat it to 365 degrees. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Place a wire rack on a sheet pan in the oven.
2. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Pour in the milk and whisk together. In another small bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper.
3. Dredge the pieces of slices of green tomatoes one at a time in the flour mixture, shake off any excess, and then toss in the egg wash to coat, and then transfer back to the flour mixture.
4. Toss the pieces in the hot oil, and cook for 2 minutes on each side. When done place the fried tomatoes in the oven on the wire rack.
5. Construct the sandwiches. Slather the pieces of breads with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper. Top with bacon, lettuce, and the fried green tomatoes. Top with the other slice of bread.
Rioja-Style Chicken Recipe – Pollo a la Riojana by Lisa & Tony Sierra
• 1 chicken, cut in 8 pieces, OR 8 pieces of legs and breasts
• 1 yellow onion, peeled
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 red peppers
• 1 spanish chorizo sausage
• 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
• 2-3 sprigs parsley
• 1 cup white wine
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 1-15 oz can peas, drained (or 8 oz frozen peas)
• salt and pepper to taste
Important Note: If you are unable to find Spanish chorizo sausage, you may substitute Portuguese Linguica sausage, which is very similar. Mexican or Caribbean varieties cannot be used as substitutes for Spanish chorizo in Spanish recipes, due to the difference in consistency and flavor.
Peel and chop the onion. Peel the garlic and cut into thin slices. Remove the stems and seeds and cut the red peppers into strips. Slice the chorizo into rounds. Chop the parsley.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the chicken in the pot on both sides. Remove pot from heat and set aside.
While the chicken is browning in the pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent. Add parsley, peppers, and chorizo. Cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes.
Add vegetables to the large pot of chicken and mix. Add white wine and chicken broth. Stir. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. About 5 minutes before removing chicken from stove, add peas.
Read more at: http://spanishfood.about.com/od/maincourses/r/polloalariojana.htm
Pesto Mayonnaise by Aaron McCargo, Jr.
Servings: 1 1/2 cups
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
1/4 cup basil, fresh, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and lemon juice. Stir in the basil, garlic, and Worcestershire. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days
Lady and Sons Cheese Biscuit Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar
4 cups biscuit mix
2 cups milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garlic Butter, recipe follows, optional
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
To a large bowl, add the cheese. Add the biscuit mix and gradually add the milk. Stir together until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Scoop the batter with an ice cream scoop and drop onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush the biscuits with garlic butter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Brush the biscuits with more garlic butter when they come out of the oven.
In a bowl mix together the butter and garlic.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/the-lady-and-sons-cheese-biscuits-recipe.html?oc=linkback