After over a year of marriage and welcoming a baby boy I have found it important to reflect on this life my husband and I are creating. Where we have been, where we are now and where we are going are all scattered moments unless we live with intention. When I first started this blog my life was in a completely different place. I had two part time jobs, one working as a personal trainer with the most lovely 50+ year olds south Chicagoland has to offer. The other part time job was working as an outside sales rep for a less than desirable company. Basically, I was turning in circles with no direction and it caught up to me. My growth has led me to be more transparent, a little self-deprecating, and truly hopeful for what life has to offer. With that being said, I sit at this computer with a different perspective than when I started Natures Cabinet. Blogging is funny because you don’t know who will end up reading your thoughts, so I will say thank you to whomever you are now. Know that when you spend your time visiting my site that you will be getting authentic content mixed with some fabulous recipes!
I thought it would be fitting to start my reflection in South Carolina. This cold Chicago weather has me dreaming of the salty air, southern heat and fresh sea food. South Carolina was my husband and I’s “mini” honeymoon before the “big” honeymoon. We had already taken a decent amount of time off of work to have our wedding in Michigan. We had to allow for a shorter stay and I was not about to just go back home. We spent about a day and a half in charming Charleston and decided to rent a car and drive to beautiful Hilton Head.
Dave and I’s trip to Hilton Head started off a little rocky, we hit some traffic caused by an accident right after we left the Folly Beach area. Unfortunately, our drive took a little longer than expected and we ended up checking into our resort as most of the restaurants in town were closing. We hurried to our room to wash off the sunscreen and quickly change to try and get into the hotel’s restaurant.
Who wants to be “those people” that show up to a great restaurant later than the chef and staff probably want you to? Not us, but we were starving! And these Midwestern newlyweds really needed (yes needed) some seafood. The staff could have been rude to us for showing up late but they weren’t. Heck, two lovey-dovey newlyweds are annoying enough, right? Well, let me tell you that these lovely people delivered us with great service and fabulous food. What did we get you ask? Shrimp, lots of shrimp Dave ordered the Shrimp boil and I ordered the shrimp and grits. Anyone else playing the scene from Forrest Gump in your head when Bubba tells Forrest about all kinds of shrimpin’ recipes, yet? BBQ shrimp, shrimp creole, coconut shrimp, shrimp scampi, shrimp kabobs…… Just me? Ok, anyway, let me tell you about these beautiful dishes we had the pleasure of having. Dave’s shrimp boil was delicious, all the ingredients were so fresh and just delightful.
Here’s Dave (he’s going to kill me for putting this picture up)
But, let’s focus on the task at hand here, the main event, the shrimp and grits. It takes a heck of a dish to leave an impression on someone years later but this Shrimp and grits did just that. I had never had shrimp and grits before this trip so I had no idea what to expect. I tell ya what, I never want to live a life shrimp and grit-less again.
And, get this, the chef was from The Windy City! This Chicagoan gave us Midwestern charm meats southern hospitality on a plate. He delivered in a big way. Does it get any better than that? I don’t think so, friends. This was one of life’s serendipity moments.
To this day I do not know the chef’s name but he left an impression on us. You see, you never know when your life’s passion will be apart of someones adventure. Food is love. Food is art. This dish brings me back to a night I’ll never forget. My husband and I’s first night in Hilton Head started with an amazing meal that fed our tummies and our souls and I am forever grateful for that.
Needless to say there was one thing I was determined to do when Dave and I returned home from Hilton Head, and that was recreate the shrimp and grits recipe we had while on our honeymoon. I have recreated this dish many times in my kitchen and I think I might have gotten it just right. My hope is that this recipe transports you and yours straight to lowcountry.
Such a beautiful memory should be honored with the correct ingredients. AKA I didn’t skimp on this one, guys. These ingredients pack a huge punch and a lot of flavor! If you are having second thoughts about creating such an indulgent dish my suggestion is to serve this as starter. Simply spoon a small amount of the gouda grits into a mini martini dish, place a shrimp in the middle and garnish with chives. Voila! A great cocktail party appetizer that will glamorize this lowcountry staple.
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups quick- cooking grits
- 2 cups shredded Gouda
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 tsp hot sauce (or more depending on taste)
- Bring the first five ingredients to a boil in a dutch oven over high heat; whisk in grits.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring grits occasionally.
- Grits will take approximately 15 minutes or until thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
- 6 slices nitrate free, uncured gluten free bacon
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- about 2 tsps lemon juice
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse shrimp and pat dry.
- Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well.
- In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink.
- Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.
And that’s it friends! I have yet to master the delicious sauce from the original however I think you will be quite pleased if you try to make this version. May your day today be filled with love, good food and adventure.