I’ve been spending a lot of time with the Deen family these days (and believe me when I tell you, they’re the loveliest people). Between working on Bobby’s hit show Not My Mama’s Meals, helping the brothers out with an awesome Thanksgiving special, and now just getting back home from taping the newest season of Paula’s Best Dishes, Savannah is starting to feel like a second home.
Obviously the South is known for its hospitality, scenery and delicious “low country” cookin’. That’s why, without fail, I seek out a plate of shrimp & grits every time I head down there. It’s such a comforting, delicious reminder of the fact that I’m in a place completely different from my home in New York’s Hudson Valley.
As Bobby, Jamie, and Paula have all been working to better their diets these days, I’ve picked up a few of their pointers about how to enjoy Southern food while not letting it feel like I’ve got a brick in my stomach after eating. Keep these “Savannah Shrimp & Grits” light and satisfying by adding in lots of herbs — here I’m using tarragon — and some acid, like lemon juice. That’ll bolster flavor, keep down fat and make you feel like you’re sitting under the mossy trees of one of Savannah’s bucolic town squares.
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Savannah Shrimp & Grits
“Every recipe has a story to tell,” explains Chef Darin Sehnert of Savannah, Georgia. I have found that this statement couldn’t be truer for Southern recipes, which embody American culinary heritage rooted in technique and tradition. Though I didn’t grow up in the South, and I essentially have no ties to Southern cuisine, I am currently in the throes of a love affair with all things Southern, from biscuits and gravy to barbecue-slathered pork ribs. This all started the summer I worked at a barbecue restaurant in Vermont, where I instantly developed an appreciation for pulled pork, collard greens and pecan pie. With folk recipes dating back to the birth of our nation, it’s no wonder that Chef Darin says recipes contain stories.
Consider Shrimp and Grits. This elegant, yet simple, Southern staple started out with humble roots as just a fisherman’s breakfast. Chef Darin shared his recipe for Rich and Creamy Grits with Shrimp in Red Eye Gravy with us.
Continue Reading Southern Staples: Rich and Creamy Grits with Shrimp in Red Eye Gravy
As a nerdy, husky jeans-clad teenager growing up in Northern New York, I always had a soft spot for Chinese takeout night. Like clockwork each week, origami cardboard containers of exotic concoctions like moo goo gai pan, boneless beef spare ribs, lo mein, and chicken with cashews would arrive in a sawed-off cardboard box and be subsequently devoured, funny-shaped flavorless cookies and all. It wasn’t until many years later — when I actually began to study the flavors and cooking methods of East Asia — that I realized how truly awful most of it was. I was just a hungry, hungry little hippo. What was I supposed to know? Knowledge can be a funny thing that way.
Which is why Chinese takeout night still rocks the party in my house. My husband and I crave the Iron Chef-esque challenge of taking the greasy, over-sauced memories of yesteryear and re-creating them over a couple of Tsingtaos or sake margaritas.
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Miso-Honey Shrimp Stir-Fry