July 17, 2012
My name is Frank, and I'm a staff writer at Gwinnett Daily Post. My wife and I recently bought our first home, a 1,400 square-foot, four-sided brick house with a half-acre backyard. This blog is about our new place.
On occasion, I've been known to make a risky foray into the kitchen to cook something beyond my repertoire of grilled cheese sandwiches and frozen pizza.
It gives the wife a break from her routine and affords me a chance to try my hand at something different—in this case, Frogmore Stew.
After coming across a recipe for the Savannah-based seafood boil in a popular magazine, I became inspired and announced my plans to Joy.
The thing about saying you're going to cook dinner tomorrow night is that on the following evening you have to actually follow through.
So I got up early the next morning and hand-copied the list of ingredients. In essence: corn on the cob, Vidalia onions, red potatoes, shrimp, Kielbasa sausage and a baguette.
Arriving at the store about 8 a.m., I made short work of the task, stopping from aisle to aisle to cross items off the list as I plunked them in the buggy.
A friendly woman in the bakery handed me a baguette fresh from the oven, its crust warm and soft beneath the plastic.
Last item on the list was the crustaceans. The recipe called for 2 pounds of fresh, raw jumbo shrimp. The gentleman behind the counter told me I'd have to de-vein them myself. Fun.
I placed all the groceries in the trunk except for the baguette, because I didn't want it to get crushed. I tossed it in the backseat and headed back home, music blasting, the aroma of fresh bread wafting.
So I walked in the kitchen door and set up my cooking station, piping music through my laptop as I prepped the broth: A concoction of salt, bay leaves, Old Bay seasoning, celery stalks and lemons.
Oh yeah, and beer.
The recipe called for adding a half bottle "of whatever beer you're drinking while you prep." I opted for a large Corona Extra as a frosty cooking companion.
After letting the broth simmer for a few minutes, I removed the celery and lemon rinds with a slotted spoon and tossed in the sausage and some peppers picked fresh from my garden.
I let those simmer for a few minutes, then threw in the corn on the cob. In the meantime, I spread out some newspapers on the kitchen table (it's a messy meal), and set out the condiments.
In this case, butter and cocktail sauce to complement the bread, corn and shrimp.
Up next was de-veining the shrimp, a dangerous task for my digits (not to mention, gross). I worked my way through them though without losing a finger.
When the wife walked in the door after work, I had the table all set up and the food was almost ready to go. So I dropped the jumbo shrimp in the stew for three minutes, poured Joy a glass of wine and laid it all out on the newspaper.
Not bad. Everything seemed to be cooked just right. And the best part was mopping up the rich sauce from the stew with a soft piece of bread. Delicious.
It made me wonder why I didn't cook stuff more often. Then, I noticed my wife eyeing the kitchen with a look of horror: dirty dishes, stew sloshed on the counter and a handful of food particles all over the floor.
Slouching toward the kitchen, I set to work cleaning it all up. Maybe this was why I stuck to grilled cheese sandwiches.
Here's the recipe I used in this week's blog if you want to give it a try: http://www.esquire.com/features/guy-food/frogmore-stew-recipe-0812