Archive for August, 2016

Low Country Boil

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

A “seafood boil” is the generic term for a wide range of social events centered around cooking and consuming shellfish.  Shrimp, crab and crawfish boils are Louisiana Cajun traditions and today are popular not only in Louisiana but all along the Southern USA Coasts. The “crawfish boil” is most closely associated with Louisiana.

Low Country Boil

 

Frogmore Stew and its History

Frogmore Stew is considered a classic South Carolina Low Country dish. This dish is now more popularly known as Low-Country Boil or Beaufort Stew. The dish gets its original name from a place (town?) that had only a post office on one side of the road and a two-story white country store on the other.

Frogmore Stew is a one-pot wonder created about 1965 by a National Guardsman, Richard Gay, when he needed to cook a meal for about 100 soldiers in Beaufort, SC.  Richard Gay had learned the recipe from his family.  The dish was first called Frogmore Stew by the guardsmen who teased Richard about the town where he was from. The postal service eliminated the postal address, Frogmore, and this popular dish then became Low Country Boil.

This dish is a combination of shellfish, sausage, vegetables, and potatoes.  It’s easy to fix for a crowd.  Having a removable drain basket makes cooking easier and serving on newspaper makes for easy clean up. The rule of thumb is the bigger the crowd, the bigger the pot.  The ingredients below are sized for a turkey fryer and serves 10-12 people.

Low Country Boil 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 12oz Cans of beer
  • 2 Heads of garlic, chopped
  • 3 Lemons, quartered
  • 1 Large bag, to taste, of shrimp and crab boil
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz) Hot pepper sauce or to taste
  • 4 Fresh bay leaves
  • 2 Tbs Sea salt
  • 2 Large Vidalia onions, quartered
  • 2 lbs Spicy smoked link sausage cut in 2” lengths
  • 3 lbs Small new potatoes, halved if large
  • 6 Ears of corn, husked and cut into 3” lengths
  • 2 ½ lbs Littleneck clams
  • 4 lbs Large white shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails intact
  • 2 lbs Crawfish, cleaned, purged in salt and rinsed
  • ¼ cup Old Bay Seasoning or to taste
  • Corn bread or crusty bread
  • ½ lb Melted butter for corn/bread
  • Cocktail sauce

Low Country Boil 3

Fill a large pot (turkey fryer) half full with water and bring to a boil.  Stir in the beer, garlic, lemons, crab boil, hot pepper sauce, bay leaves, salt, and onions.

Add the sausage and potatoes, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender, takes about 10-15 minutes.

Return to a boil and add the corn, cover and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the clams, discarding any that are not closed and cook 5-7 minutes until the clams have opened.

Add the shrimp and crawfish and cook 3-4 minutes until the shrimp have turned light pink.

Total cooking time is less than 30 minutes. Using the sieve drain off the liquid and spill the boil on a table covered with newspaper or restaurant paper. Discard any clams that have not opened.  Sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning and serve with bread, cornbread and cocktail sauce.

 

RO 8/22/16

Mount Massive Climb Nov 3, 1988

Monday, August 1st, 2016

MtMassiveClimb_1

The headline in the November 4, 1988 edition of the Rocky Mountain News read “Was it big medicine or just another snow job?” That year it was the beginning of November and there hadn’t been any significant snow fall yet. So understandably the ski resorts were getting concerned. One resort, Copper Mountain, had employed a medicine man to pray for good (concert) weather in the past so they called on him this time for snow. Marcellus Bear Heart Williams, a Muskogee Indian medicine man from Rio Rancho NM, arrived at the ski resort on the morning of November 3. He chanted, drummed, prayed and smoked his pipe and lo and behold within minutes the snow started falling!!!!! He commented “Perhaps the spirit of an Ute hunter did come by and hit the width of my mouth with a feather.”

 

Now you might ask:  Why did this matter to me?  Well that morning two of my friends, Richard and Pete (first names only to protect the innocent) and I started hiking Mount Massive (Sawatch Range) which at 14,429 feet is the second highest summit of the Rocky Mountains.  We decided to go because there was no snow and started off with a beautiful blue sky morning.  But when we were well above the tree line the snow started and it just got heavier and heavier until we had to stay within 2-3 feet of each other just to maintain visual contact.

 

MtMassiveClimb_2

Finally, within 500-1000 feet of the summit (according to Pete’s altimeter) I made an executive decision “Let’s get the $%*! off this mountain!” to turn back.  Thank goodness.  At that point there was no chance of seeing the trail, all we could do was just head downhill and then parallel the tree line until we found a trail.  I remember trudging along for the last stretch, by then at dusk, for over an hour.  None of us said a word and all you could hear were the crunching of our steps in the snow.  It was tense and scary.  But fortunately we did find the right trail head and our car just as it was getting too dark to see anything.  We could have easily gotten lost and been found in the Spring.  Back then there were no GPS devices or cell phones of course.  It was perhaps the closest I’ve ever come to dying and is a reminder to me just how quickly one can go from really good to really bad.