Last night's Ladies Who Dine hosted by moi was lots o fun, if I say so myself. I had been hoping that by mid-September we'd be having cooler weather so I could do some serious cooking. It was a warmer day, but I persevered.
The menu :
Sliced Beefsteak and Pineapple tomatoes from the greenmarket
Steamed shrimp with remoulade
Mustard greens, black eyed peas, and cornbread
vanilla ice cream with drunken apricots, shortbreads and pecan cookies (thanks Kate!)
The tomatoes were spectacular, especially the pineapple variety which was a lovely yellow with swirls of orange and green in the flesh. For the shrimp, I followed the classic recipe on the Old Bay tin: 2T Old bay, 1/2 C water, 1/2 vinegar steam until done. The remoulade was my quick and dirty version: mayonnaise mixed with harissa paste to taste.
Here's a picture of the main. I finally remembered that I have a camera!
The blackeyed peas and cornbread were a big hit, and even the greens made a convert. The secret is BACON! Bacon makes everything better. Other than that, there is no trick. I split a pound of bacon between two pots and started to render the fat over a low heat. Into one pot went 3 cans of black eyed peas (can-juice rinsed off) and about a cup of water, into the other went the washed, stemmed, and torn mustard greens (2 bunches) with only the water clinging to the leaves. Cover both, cook for at least an hour over low heat. Stir occasionally, add water as needed.
The cornbread is a family recipe, which I'm not sure I'm allowed to divulge, but here are the important parts. There is no sugar in my family's version. The egg and milk should be room temperature. Cook it in an iron skillet that's been in the oven while it preheats with 1T of vegetable oil in it, the batter should sizzle a bit when you pour it into the pan. Do not overcook, you want the outside crispy and the inside very moist, about 15 minutes should do it.
The drunken apricots are the delightful byproduct of an apricot liqueur that I make following this recipe:
This year's version used raw sugar, which I think improved the flavor greatly.
Thanks y'all! I'm looking forward to next month! :-)