Shrimp and Grits
Aunt Mary Ann's Shrimp and Grits appetizer
The holiday season is upon us, and I get excited thinking about the parties that we will both host and attend in the coming weeks. As a lover of food, not only do I amuse myself by creating all sorts of dishes in my kitchen during this time of year, but I also enjoy sampling items that my friends and family have prepared.
Over the years, my aunt Mary Ann, who enjoys cooking as much as I do, has inspired me to be more creative and eclectic with my menu. I recently attended an event at Aunt Mary Ann’s house where she had prepared numerous heavy hors d’oeuvres. I asked her permission to share some of her recipes with my readers in an upcoming article. As you prepare dishes for your parties here at the holidays, Aunt Mary Ann and I both hope that you will have a good time with some of these suggestions.
Happy holidays from our table to yours!
Aunt Mary Ann’s Shrimp and Grits Appetizer
2 cups stone-ground grits
6 ounces Velveeta cheese
1 stick butter, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
28 large shrimp
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped
(or 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes)
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup half and half
Garnishes: fresh chopped parsley, crumbled applewood bacon
Make grits according to package directions. Toward the end of their cooking, add 2/3 stick of butter and the Velveeta cheese and stir until melted in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour grits into a 9x14-inch greased casserole dish. Place in the refrigerator to harden.
Roast chopped tomatoes in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes. Toss the tomatoes with 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. If using can tomatoes, sauté the garlic in oil and add all other roasted tomato ingredients. Cook in a saucepan for 20 minutes on low.
Cool tomatoes and pulse in a food processor or blender (sauce should still have texture). Add the cream and salt and pepper to taste.
In a large skillet, heat up 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1/3 stick of butter. Add the shrimp seasoned with salt an pepper and cook until just pink. Squeeze the juice of one lemon on the shrimp. Add the roasted tomato sauce to the shrimp and heat gently.
To assemble the appetizers, cut grits into approximately 2-inch squares and heat in microwave or the oven until warm. Top grits squares with one large shrimp and roasted tomato sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and crumbled bacon.
Makes 28 squares.
Aunt Mary Ann’s Crab-Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms
20 artichoke bottoms, canned or frozen
1 pound lump crab meat
1 cup Remoulade Sauce (store bought or homemade)
2 cups chicken broth (optional; use for frozen artichokes)
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Olive oil, to taste
Mixed lettuce greens, for serving
Garnishes: chopped boiled eggs, crumbled bacon
Drain artichoke bottoms if using can. To assure that the artichoke bottoms are tender, you can place them in a 9x14-inch casserole dish with chicken broth and bake in the oven for about an hour. This will soften the artichoke bottoms, as well as add favor.
If cooking frozen artichoke bottoms, cook until tender in boiling salted water or broth. Drain well, cool and place bottoms on a platter of mixed lettuce greens. Mix the crab gently with salt, white pepper, olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Stuff crab on top of artichoke bottoms. When ready to serve, drizzle remoulade over the stuffed crab and garnish if desired with chopped boiled eggs and crumbled bacon.
Note: For a warm variation of this recipe, instead of remoulade drizzle-crab stuffed artichoke bottoms with store bought or homemade hollandaise sauce.
Aunt Mary Ann’s Swedish Meatballs
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 1/3 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 thick slices bacon, minced
1 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
3 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sour cream
Mix breadcrumbs and 1/3 cup beef stock together. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet. Add onion and sauté until brown. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add bacon to the skillet and cook until crisp. Add bacon to the bowl reserving 1 tablespoon of the grease.
Add next 8 ingredients to the bowl. Mix with hands to blend. Fold in breadcrumb mixture. Scoop out the meat mixture one tablespoon at a time and roll into balls. Place on a baking pan.
Cook meatballs in a 375 degree oven until brown.
Add 1 tablespoon each of butter and reserved bacon fat together in a pan. Whisk in flour until smooth. Then add beef stock gradually while stirring. Add the meatballs to the pot. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream and stir to coat meatball.
Serve with lingonberry preserves, a classic accompaniment and Scandinavian favorite.