Friday, June 17, 2016

Ladies Gather On The Porch

It's been so hot and humid lately, one could fry eggs on the sidewalk.  I wouldn't need my stovetop.  I can't believe it's only June.  It feels more like Texas in August, brutal.  But with all this heat, it didn't keep us ladies from using the porch on this warm summer's evening.  With wine in hand thanks to Nancy and the ceiling fans twirling, our evening began.


 Lucy also joined us for the night. Actually she had been on the porch all day wearing her swimsuit working on her tan.  All fun aside, she really does get tan lines, just like we do.  Look at that face, she hates it when I take her picture, always has.


I love shrimp and I love grits, but I had never had shrimp and grits.  I don't know why I never tried it, but I'm glad I did.  This casserole was perfect, I think.  The only thing I would change is I would use the Mild diced tomatoes with green chili's next time.  I used the original and it was little spicy for me.

 Spicy Shrimp And Grits Casserole 
With Gouda Cheese
Yields: 2-3
2 Tablespoons butter plus more for baking dish
1 bunch scallions, white and light-green part only, chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper (seeded if desired, I did), finely chopped
2 cloves, minced
1 can (10 ounce) (Mild) diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup quick-cooking grits (not instant)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 ounces large wild american shrimp (16-20 count), peeled, deveined.
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups shredded Gouda Cheese, divided

1.  Preheat oven to 375'.   Butter an 8X8" baking dish.  Set aside.
2.  Heat butter over medium-high heat.  Add the scallion, red bell pepper and jalapeño pepper.  Reduce heat to medium, cook 4-5 minutes or until beginning to soften.  Stir in garlic, drained diced tomatoes with chiles and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.  Slowly stir in grits.  Stir continuously until mixture returns to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
3.  Stir in shrimp, bacon, egg and 1 cup cheese.  Transfer to prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
4.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and bubbling.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.  Recipe from:

MAKE AHEAD:  Can be assembled 24 hours in advance.  Baking time may be longer if casserole is super cold from the refrigerator.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Cool, wrap securely and freeze.  Thaw at least 24 hours in the refrigerator.  Increase baking rime if casserole is supper cold.

Thanks to Leann for this delicious summer salad, which was a huge hit with the ladies.  The dressing is amazing.

Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 bunch fresh spinach
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese
1/2 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1.  Combine the spinach, strawberries, gorgonzola cheese, and pecans in a large bowl.
2.  Stir the balsamic vinegar and honey together in a bowl, slowly stream the olive oil into the mixture while whisking continuously.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving. Recipe from:

This delectable dessert that Kirstin made was full of fresh blueberries.  When a recipe has berries, cream cheese and graham cracker crumbs, you know its gonna be great.  Stone was a happy man. Kirstin brought two extra. Stone had one as soon as he arrived home and then another one this afternoon, and no he didn't share!

Blueberry Cheesecake In Mason Jars

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 Tablespoons butter melted
3 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 (8 ounce) boxes cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt
1 teaspoon orange extract

1.  In a small bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, 1 Tablespoon sugar and melted butter.
2.  Combine blueberries and 1/2 cup sugar in sa small saucepan.  Cover and place on low hear.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes and remove from heat.  Allow to cool; stirring occasionally.
3.  Using a stand mixer combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until mixed and combined; scraping down the sides.
4.  Divide the grandma cracker mixture between the mason jars, add a thin layer of cream cheese mixture to each mason jar; be careful not to fuss with it too much or you will pull up the graham cracker layer.  Now add a thin layer of blueberry sauce. Now divide the rest of the cream cheese between the mason jars.  Divide the remaining blueberry sauce.  Remember not to fuss with it much or the layer will mix.
5.  Put the lids on jars and refrigerate for 2 hours up to 2 days.
Note:  Uf you have the time you can refrigerate 30 minutes between layers to help secure each layer before adding the next but it is to necessary.  Recipe adapted from:

Limelight and Big Daddy Hydrangea's