Sunday, September 21, 2008

Winging It - Hurricane Style

On Monday there was still no power and the major search was for a cup of hot coffee. I could heat hot water on the grill, but I always grind the beans just before making the coffee and I didn't feel like taking a hammer and beating the heck out of a plastic bag full of coffee beans.

We finally located a Starbucks about ten miles from home that was serving free coffee. Yes, they get some grief for over saturating the market, but I still like their coffee and the free price was just what I was looking for.

The refrigerator rescue began by throwing things into the freezer compartment in an attempt to save them. Some things were best cooked that day so the grill got a tremendous amount of use over the afternoon.

One of the other things I threw in the freezer was a bottle of E. Barnaut Grand Cru Champagne. If mother nature was going to throw obstacles in my path there was no sense not to thumb one's nose and actually enjoy the day.

One thing that needed to be cooked that day was some fresh shrimp that had been purchased early Sunday morning before the storm hit. When dinner time neared I decided I wanted a soupy shrimp and not just grilled ones.

I tossed the little guys with lemon juice, garlic, chopped shallots, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and olive oil and let the mixture sit while the grill heated. I threw the cast iron skillet on the grate over the hot coals, added a wee bit more oil and tossed in the shrimp mixture. Several slices of crusty bread were toasting on the other side of the grill. I stirred the shrimp a time or two then added a tablespoon of butter, a small bit of chopped, fresh oregano, and a good splash of the just opened champagne. When the entire thing bubbled it was dumped onto a large plate and then ladled into bowls.

By this time the neighbor was peering over the fence inquiring about using the grill so we invited him to join us. He claimed to not be a champagne fan but one sip of the Barnaut convinced him that what he really didn't care for was cheap sparkling wine. This "champagne" was a new and wonderful experience for him.

The champagne was bright and open with hints of green apples and citrus peel. There was a good dose of yeasty aromas to go with it. Nice tight bubbles stayed from the first glass all the way through the end of the bottle. At $40 this was a very good wine.

The neighbor's final comment on the evening was, "You know how to enjoy a disaster."
Scott and Ellie were having a grand time of it. They got grilled chicken pieces and a small pork steak chopped up in their dog food. Ellie, who cut her foot on a broken bottle on Saturday, was wearing a hood so she was doubly spoiled by getting her food hand fed to her. She had the contented look that said, "Peel me another grape."

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