Just two days into this new world and I have managed to put my thoughts together into an acceptable blog format, but not without some gnashing of teeth, I will admit. I have a lot to learn! For now, though, let's get down to the business of food.
For the past two weekends, we have had company for dinner. The first party was to celebrate my brother-in-law's recent marriage. He and Lisa wanted to have both of their families get acquainted, so we volunteered our house as a fairly central location. All together, we had thirty-two people for brunch, an afternoon of swimming, canoeing, and games, and a dinner outside -- my first 12-hour party! Everything went beautifully and we are thrilled with our new sister-in-law and her lovely -- and fun! -- family.
Last weekend, we decided a repeat of the dinner from the week before would be a perfect Labor Day get-together for our neighbors. So we did it all again, but just for ten of us this time. Kenny, Phyllis, Jim, Becky, Dan, Dianna, and Dan's brother, Dick, and sister-in-law, Twila, all joined us here for a late-summer dinner on the deck.
This recipe is just perfect to make ahead, so you can join your guests and enjoy being outside while the weather is so pleasant. Frogmore Stew is from the little town of Frogmore, near Beaufort, SC, that does not even exist anymore -- at least according to the post office. However, Frogmore Stew lives on, often known now as Low Country Boil. Whatever you call it, and even if you live thousands of miles from the SC beach, like I do, it is some good eating!
I like to chop up all the ingredients the day before and put them in separate containers or zip bags to keep in the fridge until time to cook. The recipe easily accommodates variations, so adapt it to your own tastes, if you like, with more or less of the listed ingredients. Additions like garlic, lemon halves, chicken thighs, firm meaty fish, etc. might work well too. Just make sure you do not skimp on the seasonings and you may even want to crank them up a bit for some tastes.
This particular recipe is adapted from a favorite cookbook of mine, The Coastal Living Cookbook. I recommend it, especially if you love seafood and casual outdoor eating. I found out about the book from my friend, Deb, who fell in love with a particular potato salad on page 132. Check it out, but don't wait for the book to enjoy some Frogmore Stew. And be sure to share!
Note: This is not the best picture, but you get the idea. And BTW, the lobster tails (2) were a last minute add-in, just because we had them available and so, why not!
adapted from The Coastal Living Cookbook
5 qt. water (more or less, depending on your cooking pot)
3 cans of beer (not light!)
1/2 c. Old Bay seasoning
4 lbs. small red potatoes
1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled
4 lbs. kielbasa or other smoked sausage
6 ears fresh corn on the cob
4 lbs. unpeeled, large fresh (or thawed) shrimp
Wash and cut potatoes into bite-size chunks (halves or quarters). Cut the onions into chunks. Cut the smoked sausage into 1 to 2-inch chunks. Shuck the corn and cut into 2-in. pieces.
Bring the water, beer, and Old Bay seasoning to rolling boil in a large covered stockpot. When the water has reached a boil, add the potatoes and onion; return to a boil and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Next, add the sausage and corn, and return to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Add shrimp to stockpot; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Do not over cook the shrimp. Drain the water from the pot. Pour the Frogmore Stew onto the center of tables covered with lots of newspaper and eat with your hands. Serve with cocktail sauce, melted butter, lemon wedges and a few loaves of crusty bread. I like to put the cocktail sauce and melted butter in restaurant-style plastic ketchup and mustard bottles, which make it easy to tell which is which and easy to squirt right where you want it. Serves 10-12.