Sunday, June 10, 2012

Shrimp for Lunch

I blame lunch on DFW. She gave me a gift of shrimp this past week. It was so good I got to 'thinking' about it this morning. Faced my demons and jumped into the truck and drove through the rain to the seafood market and grabbed a couple of pounds of the largest fresh Mayport shrimp they had on ice.

After a quick rinse I shelled, butterflied and removed the black line and within minutes had them in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil, butter,  garlic, and Cajun spice.

Slap 'ya mama good. Even took a picture for Sixbears, knowing how he misses Florida seafood and is now reduced to potatoes and pancakes.

When Sweet Wife arrived home from a morning of shopping, she smiled and sniffed and asked if I'd saved her a few shrimp. She even gave me a kiss.


Thanks & Welcome

To my new friend and follower, Trucker Mom. Dear lady I promise to always answer your comments. Please, drive in and take a seat and we'll share a cup of coffee and swap tales of days long gone.

Our new friend has a blog, here. Let's all visit and encourage our new friend to write. Tell her Stephen sent you. Please, she needs a few followers.

Again, thank you and welcome. You are now among friends.


Rain & Chili

The rainfall is steady and unrelenting. It has been reported we've received over seventeen (17) inches in the last five days. Yet, I enjoy it. 

Yesterday, after work, I came home with the roar of rain, like a steady drum beat, on the roof of my truck. I parked in the garage, a rare occurrence, and unloaded a few items from the market and my satchel. Afterwards I reparked on the street. Fiddler crabs had made their way from the river into my yard, hundreds of  bright orange and white claws held aloft as if to scold me for my intrusion. I was soaked long before I made my way back to the garage.

Back inside I made chili. I'm not sure what it is about rain, but when gray days of wet weather arrive, for some odd reason, an instinctive need arises within me for chili or soup or stew. The reason why isn't important -  I just follow orders and cook.

After a change of clothes I built a pot of coffee and laid out my preps. Yesterday I used stew meat, beef, floured and browned in a liberals nightmare - bacon grease. I said, browned. Not stewed, brown. Don't crowd the pot with the meat. Be patient.

As I worked the music of the rain played in the background. The wind sweep waves of water along my roof at a steady three part beat and then far in the distance the roar of thunder began not unlike a cymbal struck by a cushioned hammer which increased in volume until it reached me with a hard thud and then the soft steady ting of a wind chime as it danced with the wind.

I pulled a cup of coffee and went and stood at the French doors and watched and listened, and for a few minutes, was at peace. The banana trees swayed. The birdbaths overflowed and I noticed my rain gutters were like overflowed rivers. Moss and leaves clogged their arteries. I just didn't care.

Our cat, I'm sure, held company with a couple of raccoons, and possibly a possum or two, under our deck. I don't begrudge their company with my cat. I'm sure wet fur is as uncomfortable as rain soaked denim and flannel. Cold too.  The cat shares fleas with all of the wild critters and they all get along and I have even seen them share her food bowl.

Back in the kitchen I moved the browned bits of beef back to a paper plate and begin to deglaze the pot with stock. This is important if you want flavor. I then add the onions.

Before, this was the part of the session where Little Bit would tell me to stop and wait while she retrieved her step stool. She liked to help stir the onions. She'd eat raw onion as she helped Papa stir.  Outside, the rain continued to roar, and I listened.

With the flour in the pan and the bits and pieces of browned beef stuck, as if by glue, to the bottom you will find after you add the stock it will begin to make gravy. Don't panic. This is what you want. It will thicken and add richness to your chili. After the pan is deglazed replace the meat, then your tomatoes and beans. (I'm not Texan. Build your chili as you see fit. I don't care.) Stir and add just enough stock and spices to your taste. Hey, it's cooking, not rocket science. Bring to a light boil and simmer for a few hours. I like French bread with my chili.

I moved to the family room with a good book and my coffee and sat back and listened to the storm. I napped with the music of rain and dreamed of her as she ran with outstretched arms.