I guess I got what I wanted. I said I wanted to move to a place that was warmer. Turns out, we moved to Devil’s Lair, USA. Ok, it is hot out there kids. And guess what? Living in a second floor apartment above a bay of garages where the sun beats through the windows throughout the afternoon and evening doesn’t really do much to ease that heat. If our fans die this fall, I won’t blame them. I’ve worked them to the bone (or blade, as it were). I’m literally counting the days until we move into our new house and abandon this inferno (five days!!). It turns out having a tiny kitchen in the world’s hottest apartment doesn’t really inspire one to do much cooking. I lovingly fold down the pages of my favorite cooking magazines, earmarking the pages for a summer day in the future. But in the interim, there’s no way in Hell I’m turning on that oven.
We’ve also been a bit busy, as you’ve noticed from our lack of updates here and from previous posts’ commentary. Quick meals have become the standard routine around here, mostly so I can hustle my buns back to the spot where both the fan and AC vents blow cool breezes across the room. Either that, or I’ve spent too much time lounging at the pool, desperate for a cool dip while simultaneously ignoring the crazy neighbors’ tales of snapping photos of homeless people in the dark or their next tattoo artwork featuring images of Samuel L. Jackson next to Scripture. I’m really not kidding. Five days…
There are a few tastes of summer I cannot manage to live without, and this one happens to fall into the categories of No Oven, Quick, and One Pot Wonder. It is a combination of seafood, vegetables, meat, spices and deliciousness rolled into one meal. And the best part? It is messy and goes wonderfully with an ice cold beer.
A Lowcountry Boil goes by many names – shrimp boil, Frogmore Stew – but the gist is the same no matter what you call it. A handful of aromatic spices, seasonings and citrus get dumped into a big pot. Fill with water, bring to a rolling boil, and start adding things in. In this instance, the late, great Gourmet magazine forgoes the traditional Old Bay seasoning and jazzes things up with Cajun seasonings and cayenne pepper. A bit of lemon, bay, and garlic later, and even I am tempted to jump in for a zesty little splash.
Add to that mix some fresh new potatoes, delicious sweet corn, smoked sausage, and shrimp, and you’re set. I mentioned easy, right? Wash the potatoes, clean up the corn and halve it, thaw and rinse some shrimp (no peeling!!) and you are done. While all of that yumminess is rolling around in the pot, you can whip up an equally easy Spicy Horseradish sauce. A few squirts from a handful of condiments (or splatters, in the case of my ketchup bottle) and your sauce is complete. Can’t get any easier right?
One of the best parts of this meal to me is that it begs for company and it begs to be eaten outside. Cover a table with a pile of newspapers or a throw-away table cloth and dump the contents of the pot across the table. Roll up your sleeves, grab a cold beer from the cooler, and jump in. Eating with your fingers is highly encouraged, as the intent is for you to grab handfuls of sweet corn, a few bite sized potatoes, and shrimp that you peel before dunking into the sauce and devouring. You can use a fork if you must. But it won’t be nearly as fun.
adapted from: Gourmet magazine
5 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
2 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
8 cloves garlic, smashed and skins peeled away
12-15 small red potatoes
3-4 ears sweet corn, cleaned and halved
1 package smoked sausage
1 lb. shrimp (I prefer 26-30 count)
1/3 c. mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. ketchup
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Find the largest stock pot you have. Place Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper in the pot. Halve the lemon and slice each half into quarters. Squeeze the lemons into the pot and place the remaining lemon pieces into the pot. Add smashed garlic cloves and bay leaves. Fill about 2/3 full of water. Cover and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add potatoes and sweet corn. Boil for about seven minutes. As potatoes and corn are boiling, combine mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard, and horseradish in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. Add smoked sausage to the corn and potatoes. After about five minutes, add shrimp. After two minutes, remove from heat and pour mixture into a waiting colander. Once drained, return to pot, dump across a prepared table, or transfer to a large serving dish. Serve immediately with Spicy Horseradish dipping sauce, plenty of napkins, and ice cold beer.
To the inventor of the Air Conditioner,
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