Sweet {Home} Asheville

I had a recipe to share with y’all today. I promise, I did.

But today is a really big day for us, and I just don’t think that a recipe for a perfect party appetizer, as delicious as it may be, really documents the importance of the day. I’ll share the recipe tomorrow.

Today, we have some big news.

Real big. Huge.

Kiwi and Peach: Sweet {HOME} Asheville

The Kiwi and I are moving to Asheville, North Carolina!

Today, the Kiwi had his interview at the consulate, and his work visa has been approved. It’s official–we’re coming America!

I am feeling all the feelings. As Oktoberfest wound down, I found myself a bit weepy that this was the last time we would experience it as locals. On that trip to the Alps that I so cryptically wrote about a couple weeks ago, my heart actually hurt that it would be my last time there for a long while. As we’re going through the insurance inventory for our moving company and putting a value on all of the things we’ve picked up from our travels, I find that priceless isn’t an option but that is what this stuff is. {Reality check: they are things, I know this, but they are also memories, very precious memories.}

But enough about my being an emotional mess. That is to be expected. Germany has been our home for the past two years. This is where we met, where we grew, where we fell in love, where we dealt with challenges neither of us thought we’d ever have to face. It’s where we became a team, a family. Munich has been the backdrop for all of this and will always have an incredibly special place in our hearts. But we always knew that Munich was not going to be forever.

For one, I cannot work in my field in Germany. I’ve spent the last two years gaining hands-on experience that, without a doubt, make me a better Family and Consumer Science teacher, but I can’t actually teach Family and Consumer Science here and I want to teach FACS again. I can’t wait to get back in the classroom, teaching those little whipper-snappers all there is to know about food, nutrition, and how to be productive, independent individuals who can think and analyze and in turn, impact their world. That is what makes me feel fulfilled, and that, my friends, is something I can’t do in Germany.

Why Asheville?

On the night we met, the Kiwi, who had also recently moved to Germany from the south, and I talked extensively about our favorite Southern towns. Conveniently, they happened to be the exact same ones–Charleston, Savannah, and, yes, Asheville. When we started the conversation about going back to the States, we knew it was going to be one of those towns.

I truly believe that where you choose to live has a huge impact on your happiness. Short story is we are moving to Asheville because it’s  a town with great things going on: food-wise, art-wise, music-wise. It doesn’t hurt that it’s in the middle of the mountains {you know, my place} so hiking is just minutes away. Food, art, music, the outdoors–those are the things that make us happy, so we are choosing to be intentional and surround ourselves with that environment. Most importantly though, it’s a town we both feel completely at home in, settled. We are pretty sure these are our folks. We’ll fit right in.

Advertisements

Creole Shrimp and Basil Goat Cheese Grits from Tupelo Honey Café

Thank y’all so, so much for your overwhelming support and kind words yesterday about our kitchen! Obviously a lot of cooking gets done in that kitchen, but like I said on the write up, my absolute favorite thing to cook is shrimp and grits.

On our last trip back to the States, I actually bought two 5 pound bags of grits. The Kiwi thought I was being absurd {which I kind of was}, but I was bound and determined to get back to Germany with enough grits to get me through. Unfortunately, we were over the weight limit on the bag so one of my bags of grits had to go. {It went back home with my mom. Don’t worry, no grits were harmed in the making of this error in judgement.} We have made do with just the one bag, but we do have to ration them. Its always a treat when we break out the grits.

Grits are inherently southern. Go north of the Mason-Dixon or west of the Mississippi and chances are most folks haven’t heard of them. It’s always hilarious to watch non-southerners in the breakfast line at southern hotels. They always scoop them up and let them drop with the most bewildered expression on their faces. Grits, much like polenta, is a ground corn product. It cooks up into a thick porridge-like consistency and {when paired with enough butter, cream, and cheese} are incredibly tasty. To learn more than you ever wanted to know about grits, check out the wiki.

I hesitate to say this because it may come across as bragging, but I’m something of a shrimp and grits connoisseur. By that I mean, if shrimp and grits are on the menu that’s what I’m ordering. As you can imagine, I’ve tried a lot of shrimp and grits. Every restaurant has their own take on the southern staple. Most are good, a few disgusting, but the following are truly, truly outstanding.

Grits A YaYa from Great Southern Café in Seaside, FL

Shellfish {shrimp, scallops, and lobster} over Grits from Magnolias in Charleston, SC

Shrimp {with andouille sausage} and {Vidalia onion} Grits from NONA {originally Harry Bissett’s} in Athens, GA

Shrimp and Grits from Alligator Soul in Savannah, Georgia

and my all time favorite…

Brian’s Shrimp Grits from Tupelo Honey Café in Asheville, North Carolina

Kiwi+Peach: Creole Shrimp and Basil Goat Cheese Grits from Tupelo Honey Café

Creole Shrimp and Basil Goat Cheese Grits

{adapted for two from the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook}

The Spice
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

The Shrimp
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small clove of garlic
150 grams of shrimp, shelled
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, sliced
2 Tbsp of a dry white wine
1 1/2 Tbsp butter

The Grits
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup quick cooking grits {If they’re good enough for Tupelo Honey, they’re good enough for me.}
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp soy cream
3 ounces of goat cheese
about 15 fresh basil leaves

Number one key to success in making this is preparation. The actual cooking time is so fast that you really won’t have time to prep ingredients while the others are cooking {my usual m/o}. That said…

Boil your jug and start heating up a medium pot and a large pan on medium high heat.

While they are getting hot, mix up the spice and set it to the side. Shell the shrimp, peel the garlic, thinly slice the roasted red pepper, and measure your butter. Most importantly, open your bottle of wine. You do not have time for wrestling with a cork once the shrimp is on. {Ain’t nobody got time for that!} As far as wine goes, I use a Gewürztraminer because that’s what the cookbook recommends you pair the dish with, and I’m not going to buy two different bottles of wine for one dish. It works well.

To prep for the grits, cut the rind off the goat cheese and crumble it; pick your basil leaves, wash them, and slice them; and measure your pat of butter.

Kiwi+Peach: Creole Shrimp and Basil Goat Cheese Grits from Tupelo Honey Café

The next few steps are an exercise in orchestration. Ready to multi-task?

By now the pot and pan should be nice and hot. Go ahead and add the olive oil to the pan to get it hot too.

Measure your {boiled} water from the jug and add it to the pot along with the salt.

Back at the pan, add your minced garlic and shrimp and give it a stir. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Over in the pot, the water should be boiling now, so add your grits and butter. Stir constantly to avoid clumps as the grits absorb the water and the butter melts. Add the cream and reduce the heat to low.

Back at the pan, add the spice and stir well. Then add the red peppers and give it another stir. Let this cook for a couple minutes so the peppers can heat up and then add the wine.

Over in the pot, turn the heat off. Add your crumbled cheese and basil and stir until all the cheese is melted.

Back at the pan, remove the pan from the heat and add the butter. Stir until the butter melts completely.

Plate it up and enjoy!

Linking with Belinda and Bonnie for Travel Tuesday.

{This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. That means that if you head over to Amazon from the link and choose to buy the book, a tiny bit of the money you spent on the book will come back to me for the referral.} 


 •• Update ••

Apparently I should have consulted the Kiwi before I hit publish yesterday because he had a lot to add! Before he moved to Germany, he was living in North Carolina, and he has tried his fair share of shrimp and grits as well. Here are his recommendations.

Shrimp {with bacon and mushrooms} and {smoked cheddar} Grits from NOLA in New Orleans, LA

Carolina’s Shrimp and Grits from Carolina’s in Charleston, SC

He would also like to add that Gewürztraminer is a great wine to pair with spicy dishes in general {in fact, Gewürz means ‘spice’ in German}, which is what makes it the ideal choice for the Creole Shrimp and Grits.


Don’t forget to vote for us in The Kitchn’s Small Cool Kitchens 2013!

TheKitchn Small Cool Kitchen 2013: Lauren's Tiny Yet Airy Kitchen