June 18, 2011

Divinely Pensacola..No Shirt! No Shoes! No Problem!

Every other year, The Maine House plans a beach vacation on Santa Rosa Island in Pensacola, Florida. We are already making plans for our family dinner where we will all meet up and make it our "dining Pensacola style" in Estelle's dining room. We dine on the finest Pensacola Chef inspired dishes and lay out all our brochures on places to stay, sights to see and places to visit. The laughter fills the rooms as we reminisce about past vacations and days spent lazing on the beach, simply reading and relaxing. It is our dream vacation we look forward to, even if it is a year away. We gather in the family room to once again view our first trip via DVD created by Greg and me. I selected the music, we both selected the photos and Greg designed the entire movie. It was a Christmas gift lovingly created for each family member. I don't think we ever tire of enjoying these memories. This year, I have chosen two of the best dishes I know of from Pensacola. Warning...they are fattening! But they are simply divine!!

A Maine House Mosaic

This recipe is compliments of The Fish House, Pensacola, Florida

Grits A Ya Ya

The Grits
•1 quart chicken stock
•1 cup heavy cream
•2 cups Dixie Lily grits
•1/4 pound butter
•1/2 pound shredded smoked Gouda cheese

The Ya Ya
•8 strips applewood-smoked bacon, diced
•1 tablespoon minced garlic
•1 tablespoon minced shallots
•3 tablespoons butter
•White wine
•1 pound peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
•1 portobello mushroom cap, sliced
•1/4 cup diced scallions
•2 cups chopped fresh spinach
•2 cups heavy cream
•3 cups smoked Gouda cheese grits
•Salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste

First, make your grits. Run the chicken stock into a thick-bottomed saucepan and turn on high til it boils. Mix in the grits and stir like crazy. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream if you need more liquid. Then tumble in the butter, drizzle in the rest of the cram and stir til it's all in the family. Then shake in the shredded cheese and stir very well til it's all nice and smooth.

While your grits cook, bring a large saucepan to medium heat. Add bacon and cook for about 3 minutes, then add garlic and shallots. Sauté and then add butter and a splash of white wine. When the butter is half melted, add the shrimp. When the downsides of the shrimp become white, flip them and add mushrooms, scallions and spinach. Sauté for 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp. Pour in heavy cream and let simmer while stirring. When reduced by one third, add salt, pepper and hot sauce. Return shrimp to the sauce and combine. Spoon the sauce and shrimp onto heaping mounds of cheese grits.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon-Carmel Peaches

1 large loaf of French bread, cut into large cubes
2 cups milk
4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup white sugar
½ cup Jack Daniel's
1 vanilla beans, split and internally scraped
2 ounces white chocolate baking bar
1 6-ounce pack of white chocolate chips
8 eggs

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 16-ounce packs of frozen peaches, fully thawed
¾ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 orange, cut in half
¾ cup Jack Daniel's
½ cup heavy cream

Bread Pudding Instructions
Fully dry out French bread overnight or roast on a sheet pan at 200 degrees until dry, but not browned. Place in well-greased baking pan or casserole dish and set aside. In a large saucepan, on medium heat, bring milk, heavy cream, sugar, bourbon, and vanilla to a strong simmer, stirring constantly so you won't scorch and burn the mixture. Remove from heat and add chocolates until fully melted. Whisk eggs separately in a large bowl and slowly whisk in ¼ of the heated mixture to the eggs in the bowl. This will temper the eggs and keep them from cooking too fast. Fully incorporate both mixtures and pour on top of bread. Gently push down on the bread mix to make sure the bread absorbs as much liquid as possible. Cover with aluminum foil and cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook uncovered for at least another 10 minutes-until pudding has no more liquid and starts to "fluff up.

In a large saucepan, on medium-high heat, melt butter and add peaches, brown sugar, and white sugar. Stirring constantly, add the bourbon and juice of the orange, being careful not to expose the top or side of the pan to the open flame and causing it to flambé. When mixture starts to thicken and slowly bubble, remove from heat and fold in heavy cream.

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