The kids are back to school (whatever that looks like this year for your nearest and dearest), but on the calendar, summer isn’t quite over – yet. The Autumn Equinox – the first day of Fall – arrives this year on Tuesday September 22, so we still have a couple more weekends of ‘summer’.
You may not have done all the traveling you wanted this summer, but you can catch up now in spirit. Serve up an celebration of summer travel with a party in your backyard full of summer flavors from beloved American hot weather destinations.
1. Pensacola, Florida: Grits à Ya Ya
Along Florida’s Northwest Coast, Pensacola is home to The Fish House, the restaurant behind the unique and delicious Grits à Ya Ya, created by Chef Jim Shirley. A combination of grits, a southern staple, heavy cream and lots of smoked gouda cheese, this is comfort food like no other. This delicious dish is sure to be a hit with your guests!
“In 1998 I developed this Fish House favorite during the Mardi Gras season. Mardi Gras, properly celebrated, can sometimes last for days. Recognizing the toll this marathon celebration had on my friends, I created this fare that not only provided sustenance but tasted great, too. Since then we've whomped up hundreds of thousands of dishes of my favorite child. Enjoy it at home with this recipe.”
The smoked Gouda Grits
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb Dixie Lily grits
1/4 pound butter
1 lb shredded smoked Gouda cheese
The Ya Ya
8 strips applewood-smoked bacon, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallots
3 tablespoons butter
1 lb peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
1 portobello mushroom cap, sliced
1/4 cup diced scallions
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 cups heavy cream
3 cups smoked Gouda cheese grits
*For dietary restrictions or preferences, you can make this recipe shellfish-free if you replace the shrimp with 1½ lbs of an assortment of your favorite mushrooms, chopped.
First, make your grits. Run the chicken stock into a thick-bottomed saucepan and turn on high till it boils. Mix in the grits and stir like crazy. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream if you need more liquid. Then tumble in the butter, add creamed corn, drizzle in the rest of the cream and stir till it’s all in the family. Then shake in the shredded cheese and stir very well till it’s all nice and smooth.
While your grits cook, bring a large saucepan to medium heat. Add bacon and cook for about 3 minutes, then add garlic and shallots. Saute and then add butter and a splash of white wine. When butter is half melted, add the shrimp. When the downsides of the shrimp become white, flip them and add mushrooms, scallions and spinach. Saute for 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp. Pour in heavy cream and let simmer while stirring. When reduced by 1/3, add salt, pepper and hot sauce. Return shrimp to sauce and combine. Spoon the sauce and shrimp onto heaping mounds of cheese grits.
2. San Antonio, Texas: Seafood and Quail Paella
This 300-year old city that originated as a Spanish mission and colonial outpost is now the second-largest city in Texas and the Southern US.
It’s one of only two American cities designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy and it’s easy to see why. If you're in the mood for some ‘Tex-Next’ dining, this seafood and quail paella - a twist on the traditional Spanish dish in an ode to the city’s heritage - created by Chef Steve McHugh of Cured should hit the spot.
“Experience the taste of Spain, with a San Antonio flavor in your own kitchen. This paella is meant to be enjoyed with family, friends and good wine.”
1 ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
Healthy pinch of saffron
Healthy pinch of red pepper flakes
Healthy pinch of paprika
2 lbs quail legs
2 lbs smoked Spanish chorizo
4 tablespoons shaved garlic
1 diced & roasted red pepper
1 sliced jalapeño
2 cups Sofrito
3 cups escargot
4 cups mussels
3 cups large shrimp
8 cups Bomba rice
4 quarts chicken stock
Large cooked white beans
Pickled serrano peppers
½ cup preserved lemon rind, sliced thin
½ cup peas
*Although paella traditionally includes and is most delicious with seafood, for dietary restrictions or preferences, you may wish to switch out the shellfish with cubed chicken and chunks of your favorite barbecuing sausage.
Heat your oil in the Paella pan. Sauté the chorizo and the quail. Turn the heat down to medium, add the saffron, red pepper flakes, garlic, red pepper, Sofrito and jalapeño. Sweat the vegetables until they are translucent in color. Add in Bomba rice, mix well. Add mussels, and shrimp. Arrange the ingredients in a nice pattern across your entire paella. Add in chicken stock, and allow to simmer until the rice is cooked, and most liquid is gone. Continue cooking until the bottom of the paella forms a Socarrat, or crust (this is the key to a delicious paella!).
FINISH & SERVE
Garnish the top with preserved lemon, pickled serrano peppers, white beans, peas and pea shoots. Serve hot to your loved ones.
Share your finished product using #TexNext and tag @visitsanantonio!
3. Hawaii: The Mai Tai
Often mistaken as Hawaiian, tiki is actually imaginary, made of a collection of romanticized concepts of Polynesian and South Seas culture, including humanoid teak carvings, coconut shell bikini tops, grass skirts, pineapples… and powerful cocktails featuring pineapple, coconut, rum, and other tropical flavors. Tiki and tiki bars have become shorthand for ‘Pacific Island getaway’ and they abound in Hawaii.
A staple in any tiki bar, the Mai Tai is the perfect Summer drink - or your drink of choice during a visit to America’s Pacific island state. You’ll be carried to Hawaii’s clear blue waters after your first sip of this fruity concoction.
1 oz spiced rum
1 oz coconut rum
1 tsp grenadine syrup
2 oz pineapple juice
2 oz orange juice
Combine the rums, grenadine, and juices in a cocktail mixer with ice. Shake and strain into a glass of ice. *Party Tip: make these up a pitcher at a time with a bucket of ice and garnish handy.
Garnish with wedges of fresh pineapple on a skewer topped with a cherry.
With these 3 recipes delivering up the taste of travel for a late-summer get together, dress in your most festive summer wear, soak up the last of the season’s sun, and enjoy, dreaming of your next summer weather vacation.
Recipes and images courtesy of
· And the respective restaurants/chefs referenced.
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