my little low country boil

A low country boil, to me, is a party thing. Boil up a bunch of stuff, then dump it out onto newspapers on a picnic table and go to town! Everybody drinks beer and gets messy and it's so much fun.

Sometimes, though, I want a the boil but can only dig up one other person. So I make a little low country boil, cover my dining table with Kraft paper, and have a smaller, somewhat tidier party. It's still pretty dang fun, and pretty dang delicious.

I like to serve a beautiful tomato or 2 on the side and a crusty baguette with lots of butter. Also cocktail sauce and hot sauce for the shrimpies! (And don't forget to put an empty bowl out for shells and cobs.)

2 tablespoons shrimp boil seasoning*
1 pound small potatoes, washed
1 kielbasa, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 ears corn, husked and cut in half
1 pound medium shrimp
Bread, for serving

In a large pot, heat 1 gallon of water and the shrimp boil seasoning to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil for 15 minutes. Add the sausage and boil 5 minutes more. Add the corn and boil 10 minutes, then add the shrimp and boil 3 minutes or until they are opaque.

*You can buy shrimp boil, or you can make your own! In a spice grinder (I use a coffee grinder), combine the following and grind until it's a powder.

6 black peppercorns
8 cloves
8 allspice berries
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon cayenne


Tomatillo-Poblano Salsa

When I go to a restaurant, the thing that ultimately makes me decide between one dish or another is the sauce that goes on it. I'm pretty open to eating anything, especially if the sauce sounds awesome. And I don't just love EATING sauces; I think in my past life I was a saucier. I love to MAKE sauces too. From Hollandaise to Hot Fudge, from Sabayon to Salsa Verde... I could make sauces all day.

Hey, did someone say Salsa Verde? Oh, right. I DID.

I served this salsa with carnitas tacos (if you ask nicely I'll give you THAT recipe), and plan to make it again for some green chile chicken enchiladas. I also drizzled it on some leftover homemade mac and cheese.

(Now, you'll notice that I have several "or to taste" notes in here. Salsa is a very personal thing, and what I like may not be exactly what you like. So feel free to play around and make it your own.)

Tomatillo-Poblano Salsa
2 poblano chiles
1 pound tomatillos, all about the same size
3 serrano chiles (or to taste), seeded and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove (or to taste), minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or to taste)
2 tablespoons lime juice (or to taste)
salt to taste

Char the poblanos on the gas burner (or broil them) until the skin is black and bubbly. Put them in a plastic bag and seal the bag to steam for about 10 minutes. Scrape the blackened skin from the poblanos, remove the seeds, and roughly chop them.

Meanwhile, remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them to remove the sticky residue. Place them in a saucepan, then add water to cover. Simmer until they are softened but not falling apart, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving the water.

Combine the tomatillos, serranos, poblanos, garlic, and cilantro in blender. Puree, adding tablespoons of cooking water if necessary, until you've got a semi-smooth (but pretty thick) liquid. Pour into a bowl and season with lime juice and salt. Let cool to room temperature and taste again before serving.