Last week, I shot a little commercial for SAY Media here in my apartment and the food stylist (who ended up being my friend Brett) came with tons of ingredients and left many behind. Most significantly: a bag of shrimp.
On Saturday morning, I decided I wanted to put that shrimp to work along with a bag of very authentic grits that I picked up in Charleston, South Carolina. At first, I thought I might wing it, doing the fast technique that Chef Peter Dale taught me for my cookbook in Athens, GA (it’s a great combination of chorizo, shrimp, and arugula); but then I thought it might be fun to do a more traditional shrimp and grits, and since I was using Charleston grits I turned to the Lee Bros.
So yes, when you come home from a foreign country, you want to cook all the things you ate there–to see if you can recreate the magic–but then you also want to cook something familiar: the kind of food you missed when you were abroad. The very first thing that I made when I came back from Barcelona was a tomato salad. Sure, there were tomatoes there in BCN, but I wasn’t looking for a tomato rubbed on toasted bread with garlic and oil; I wanted big chunks of tomato with basil, olive oil, All American corn, and (here’s the doozy) big pieces of toasted bread. I bought all my ingredients from the Union Square Farmer’s Market, which I visited bright and early the Friday after we got back, still jet-lagged and able to awake at 6 AM.
[Hey, this is Adam The Amateur Gourmet. I’m on vacation in Barcelona, Spain and while I’m gone I’ve asked some awesome people to fill in for me. The first awesome person on the docket is the co-proprietor of one of the best bakeries in all of New York, Mr. Matt Lewis of Baked. I love Baked (see here) and I love their cookbook and I’m honored that Matt wrote this guest post. So thank you Matt–take it away!]
I have lived in New York for over 14 years now, but I still romanticize my time spent in the South. More specifically: Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Even more specifically, my alma mater The University of Alabama. By and large, I have many positive memories from this time. I specifically remember the inexpensive rent (I had an entire floor of a huge Southern home to myself for 300 bucks a month), the wide-open spaces, the Southern gentility, the sweet tea, and the food. I also remember waking up in a ditch 20 miles from campus after a night of acid (do people still drop acid?), vodka, and a bad Metallica cover band. But I digress.