Monday, April 4, 2011

Shrimp and Grits

A few days ago I was at my one of my regular haunts (you know the grocery store) and picked up some dandelion greens.  I am not sure why I got dandelion greens, they were there and looked all green and well... if you have a yard you know what they look like.  I have never eaten them before but am always ready to try something new.  So I tossed them in my cart and went on my way.  As I walked around the store I started to think of my grandmother on my dad's side, Grandma Tip, short for Gwendolyn (don't ask me how Southerners come up with nicknames).  I thought of her because I understand that she made her own dandelion wine and something the family called potato peel whiskey it involved rotting vegetable trimmings, a slow cooker and a hose (sorry to say both of those recipes are lost).

Anyway I started feeling all nostalgic and Southern and at the same time and picked up some grits. I used to hate grits, "Wow Dad, breakfast tastes exactly like wet sand, thanks" It is a wonder I wasn't slapped a little more often.  As an adult now I like them; bacon, eggs, grits with a little cheese can really do it  for a meal... my turn to force them on my kiddos right? I'll tell you all how that worked out.

Anyway, stories about grandma Tip are the things that family legends are made of I thought I would share one of the milder ones.  Most just don't seem appropriate for a family show like this blog but this one passes the PG test...

Grandma Tip was about five feet tall and couldn't have weighed more than 96 pounds she was sitting at the kitchen/dining room table in her trailer home chain smoking unfiltered cigarettes when Grandpa Jesse came home from work (he drove a truck and was gone for a few days at a time).    My Grandpa said something along the lines of, "Tip, I'm leavin' ya' I got another woman and we are moving in together."

Now mind you this would have been the mid 1950s in rural Kentucky, so it is hard to imagine a woman in Grandma Tip's position doing anything else...  She started screaming like a banshee then grabbed the razor strop off the kitchen wall (where else would you keep it?) and took it to Jesse then grabbed her shot gun and ran outside.  There are no actual witnesses to the rest of the story because she set Jesse's car on fire before running down the driveway on her way to the woman's house and sending her out of town...

A few months ago I was going through my picture box, yes I have a Tomato box filled with pictures.  They are in no order at all, pictures of my parents when they were dating are on top of my 12 year old's second birthday party, in the same pile as Mr. Man as a baby and my kindergarten class picture.  I pulled this one out of a stack of hundreds and Kris saw it and said, That's Grandma Tip isn't it?

"How did you know?"
Kris answered that she looks like the person in the stories that I have told.

On to a recipe... of sorts it is more in the honor of  Southern roots than anything the family made, like I said they were in rural Kentucky and didn't have things like shrimp available.

This is enough for two
Start with the grits
Bring two cups of water to a boil then add the grits, I just eyeball it but it is about a quarter of a cup plus two Tablespoons.  Stir it all together and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes.  You can set this aside and keep it warm while you do the rest.

The Shrimp
Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a skillet
Add two of cloves of minced garlic cook until soft but not burned
Take your shrimp (peeled and deveined) enough for two; saute until done
When those guys are done set aside covered with foil

The Dandelion Greens
In the pan that you coked your shrimp add a little more butter (ok a couple of tablespoons) some salt and pepper and saute until done to your liking.  There are really no measurements here either, the rule of thumb with sauteed greens is to use twice as much as you think you need and you will get almost the amount you wanted.

To serve dish up your grits top with dandelion greens and then shrimp, feel free to salt and pepper as needed and, since this is southern cooking add a little butter.


  1. Grandma Tip sounds like quite a lady! I can't say that we eat grits too often around my parts, but they're something I've been kind of curious about for a while. Sandy textured, you say?

  2. Grandma Tip sounds like such a character...what a fun post this was...and now you have me hankering for some grits. Thank you for sharing, my friend, and thank you for all your kind words. They mean more to me than I can express.

  3. Holy shit, Grandma Tip looks fierce! I love the story about her--she wasn't a woman to cross!

    Shrimp and grits...can you get more Southern than that?

  4. I'd say your grandmother knew how to handle "the other woman" just fine! I didn't know you were a southerner. Me too. However, growing up in Virginia we never had grits. It was only after moving to South Carolina that they became a star in my kitchen.


  5. OMG I can't stop looking at your photo of Grandma Tip....I'm a little scared after your story but love her no bullshit response!
    I am also a fan of dandelion so this meal is a total winner in my books