Mansion at Judges' Hill, a beautiful boutique hotel about 19 blocks up the from Austin's bustling downtown. We were early for our arrival time, yet were greeted with open arms ... open arms that also held warm, freshly-baked cookies.
Blanton Museum of Art on the campus of UT Austin. The museum has a really nice study collection running the gamut from antiquities through contemporary art, with a few very nice installation pieces and a temporary exhibition on paintings of the Southwest.
UA Honors College alumna Kate Payne, author of the book The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking and blog of the same name. We met her and her photographer partner, Jo Ann Santangelo, at the Dog and Duck - a well-known Irish-style pub, for a couple of beers. I am very excited for Kate as she has just signed a contract for her second Hip Girls book, this time on being hip in the kitchen. Also, anyone in Arizona - especially Phoenicians - should keep an eye out for Jo Ann's photo exhibit at ASU this fall.
When, you must be wondering, is this going to get to food? ... Right now! Dinner at Judges' Hill.
Goodbye, dear Susie. John Wayne had nothing on you in the grit(s) department.
Shrimp and Grits for Susie
The grits at Judge's Hill were creamy and cheesy. Unlike most versions of shrimp and grits, the shrimp were not in a gravy, but grilled. They were paired with roasted poblanos then wrapped in what was said to be pancetta but, in reality, was smoked American bacon. Don't get me wrong - that isn't a complaint! The smokiness of the bacon with the spicy poblano, sweet shrimp and cheesy grits was amazing. Today, I have wrapped them in prosciutto to try something different. We also opted for some vermouth-sautéed peas over the wilted spinach in the original dish.
10 extra large shrimp (about 1/2 pound)
1 large poblano chile, roasted, peeled and seeded *
5 slices prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise
2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup stone ground grits
1/2 cup light cream
4 ounces grated Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese
1 teaspoon salt
generous grinding of black pepper
Peel and devein shrimp leaving tails intact. Cut ten 1/4-inch slices from the roasted chile. Put one slice of poblano chile in the cavity of each shrimp (created by deveining). Take one of the half slices of prosciutto and wrap each shrimp. Set on a platter and set aside.
Bring the water to a boil and slowly add the grits, stirring all the while. Reduce heat to lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. When ready, add the cheese, light cream, salt and pepper - mix well. Keep warm.
Preheat broiled to highest setting. Place wrapped shrimp on a greased broiling pan. Broil for 3 minutes per side.
Divide grits among two serving plates and top each plate with five grilled shrimp.Top with additional coarsely ground black pepper.
Serves 2, but can easily be doubled.