Labor Day Food!
Don't you love America - we celebrate working by taking a day off!
And as for those lyrics; get it - it's a spoof on that Alabama song 40 Hour Week; you're supposed to laugh at that! :) Actually 4 hours a week might be a generous estimate of productivity on my part!
I am always fascinated by the fact that poor/working class folk's food has become haute cuisine. Take cajun and creole. You throw leftover sausage, vegetables, and creek bugs (that is basically what crawdads are) into a pot with rice and season with some stock you boiled off some leftover chicken bones along with some garlic, black/red/white pepper and you have a cheap meal. Dessert? How about we carmelize some sugar and pour over some crumbled up 3 day old bread with some raisens and a splash of rum and call it Bread Pudding - YUM! It is what the poor Acadians (Cajuns) could afford. Now add some tomatoes and you get Creole. But again, poor-folk food.
But you get a guy in a tall white hat with a fancy name and screaming BAM! And all of a sudden it's high class.
Now don't get me wrong, in my life I have become a fine connousseur of what I call poor-folk food. These include Cajun, Creole, Carolina Low Country, BBQ, hot dogs, pizza, etc.
So to celebrate the workin' folks out there - here is some cheap food anybody can make.
Carolina She Crab Soup
Frogmore Stew or Horseradish Cheese Grits w/roasted peppers & onions
Baked Apples w/Honey Butter Sauce
She Crab Soup
* In a large soup pot melt 2 sticks of sweet butter over medium heat. Add 2 small carrots, 1 stalk of celery, and one onion (finely chopped). Cook about 5 minutes
* Add half cup of sherry, stir until reduced
* Stir in 1/2 cup of flour slowly to make smooth roux - do not allow roux to color or burn, allow to thicken to loose paste.
* Slowly add 3 quarts of heavy cream to roux whisking gently into roux as poured. Allow this to thicken.
* Add 2 tbs worchester sauce, 2 tbs hot sauce, 3 tbs fresh chopped parsley, 3 tbs fresh chopped thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1/2# crab roe, 1/2# blue crab meat, 1tbs honey, salt and pepper to taste
* Note: The crab roe gives the She Crab soup it's distinct pink color!
* In a large stock pot bring 8 cups of water, 3 tbs Old Bay, dash of hot sauce, 1 stick of unsalted butter to a boil.
* Once water boiling add 1.5#'s of red potatoes (cleaned/not peeled) and allow to boil for 15 minutes.
* Reduce heat to medium and add 2# cubed smoked Kielbasa, 6 ears of corn, 2#'s shell on fresh shrimp (20 count). Bring mixture to boil
* Once shrimp are pink, remove mixture from heat, strain, pour out onto a table and dig in!
Horseradish Cheese Grits
* Bring 3 cups of whole milk, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper to boil in sauce pan.
* Once boiling slowly pour in 3/4 cup stone-ground grits whisking vigorously. Reduce heat and continue stirring (every few minutes) until thickened (about 30 minutes - add water or more grits as needed).
* Heat broiler to high. Place 2 cleaned and halved peppers under broiled and cook until blackened; once cooked set aside to cool.
* Once cool run peppers under hot water and remove blackened skin; cut remaining pepper into julienne strips.
* In skillet heat 1 tbs olive oil and add 1/2 red onion and pinch of salt and pepper (add small amount of bacon or sausage if desired). Stir until onion is soft.
* Stir in 3/4 cups of aged white chedder into grits until melted; next fold in the onion mixture and peppers into grits and add 2 tbs horseradish.
* Serve grilled shrimp over grits if desired.
* Rinse 4 bunches of fresh kale and tear into bite sized pieces, removing tough stems.
* Place kale and 1/2 medium onion (finely chopped) in salad bowl.
* Pour juice from 2 lemons over leaves and toss until coated.
* Add 1/4 tsp of cayenne, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss again and refrigerate overnight.
* The acidity of the dressing will cook the kale.
Baked Apples w/Honey Butter Sauce
* Pre-heat oven to 350; melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter in saute pan.
* Wash, peel, core, and slice (halves) 4 granny smith apples; add apples to saute pan briefly to coat in butter.
* Remove pan from heat and arrange apples in a single layer on pan (rounded side up).
* Sprinkle apples with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and drizzle 1/2 of brandy over apples; cover pan with foil and bake until tender (about 30 minutes).
* In medium sauce pan melt 1/2 cup honey, 3 tbs butter, juice from 1/2 lemon, and 1.2 tsp cinnamon.
* Once honey/butter mixture melted add apple peels and saute until peels are softened. Add a pinch of salt and deglaze from the baked apples.
* Once peels are soft strain mixture into another sauce pan pressing firmly with ladle to extract all juice and leaving solids.
* Bring remaining sauce to simmer; whisk in another 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, 1/2 cup of whipping cream, and a dash of brandy.
* Serve sauce over apples with a side of fresh whipped cream or ice cream
You know in high school I was jealous of all those rock and roll guys that the girls always swooned over. But in my 40's I now realize that a great cook is the new rock star for all those 30/40 something HOTTIES out there! :)