Food + Drink

January is the time for new beginnings, fresh starts, decluttering, the official time of the new year. 

There’s nothing more relaxing on a snowy, cold January day and night than hunkering down, sitting by a cozy roaring fireplace and sipping a rich, steamy hot chocolate….a glass of red wine, hot toddy or a lovely rich ruby port at night is perfect too. You look outside your window and watch the snow coming down, the cold creates an art of frosty patterns on your windows. You bundle up and go outside to go sledding, ice skating, make snow angels, building snow forts and have snowball fights. 

The snow sticks to your eyelashes and you can see your breath in the air. Especially at night, it is so amazingly quite and peaceful when it’s snowing.  It is so quiet, you can actually hear the snow as it softly lands on the ground.  A Winter Wonderland. The nighttime sky is so dark with its bright moon and an abundance of twinkling stars, making the snow glitter and sparkle.

January starts with the celebration of New Years Eve, a festive dinner at home, good luck foods, parties and of course, New Year’s Day football games!  It’s a perfect time to enjoy cold weather comfort food such as chilies, pastas, casseroles, soups and stews.  Who is up for cozy comfort food! I am! 

Creamy Potato and Ham ChowderCreamy Potato and Ham Chowder

Serves 4-6

Comfort food in a bowl, Potato and Ham Chowder warms your soul.  Hey! That rhymes!  This is so good on a cold winter day or for a chilly spring. To me, Its filling enough by itself but you can serve it with a mixed greens /Radicchio/pecans/blue cheese/pears/ apples salad and crusty rolls, Yum!   If you are really hungry or have a small crowd, serve it with ham and cheese Hawaiian bread sliders, ham/ cheddar/cranberry melts or ham/goat cheese/spicy pepper jam/arugula mini French baguettes. 

  • 2 1/2-3 Ibs potatoes.  Diced. Peeled or not peeled
  • 1 large diced sweet onion
  • 3 -4 carrots, diced 
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels 
  • 1 1/2 cups green vegetable **garden peas, coarsely chopped green beans or broccoli
  • 2 cups diced cooked or smoked ham (I used leftover ham that we smoked on the Big Green Egg)
  • 32 ounces Chicken broth
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 Tb butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups half & half or heavy cream
  • Topping optional: 
  • Shredded cheddar cheese to top if desired 
  • 3 -4 strips bacon, diced and cooked
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped

Directions:

  • Boil salted water in a stock pot and cook the potatoes until about done, scoop out the potatoes with a large slotted spoon and set aside.  Reserve the water in the stock pot. 
  • In the same stock pot, add more water if needed and bring to boil. Add the chopped green vegetables (peas, chopped beans or broccoli), corn, carrots and onions, lower heat and simmer until done. Drain, set aside with the cooked potatoes. 
  • Heat the chicken broth in a stockpot to a heavy simmer.  Add the ham, heavy cream/ half & half and the milk. Add the potatoes, corn, carrots and green vegetables and heat slowly. 
  • In a separate small pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in garlic and briefly sauté.  Do not brown the garlic. Add the flour and whisk constantly until slightly thickened to make a light blonde roux. ( about 1-2 minutes) 
  • Add the flour roux mixture to the chowder in the stock pot. Stir carefully until combined and the chowder is thickened. Add more broth, cream or milk if is becomes too thick. 
  • Top with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions and cooked bacon if desired. Enjoy!

One Potato and Ham Chowder.

Comfort food in a bowl, Potato and Ham Chowder warms your soul. Hey! That rhymes! This is so good on a cold winter day or for a chilly spring. To me, Its filling enough by itself but you can serve it with a mixed greens /Radicchio/pecans/blue cheese/pears/ apples salad and crusty rolls, Yum! If you are really hungry or have a small crowd, serve it with ham and cheese Hawaiian bread sliders, ham/ cheddar/cranberry melts or ham/goat cheese/spicy pepper jam/arugula mini French baguettes. 
Author: Barbara Yonkin Bozon

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs potatoes diced (peeled or not)
  • 1 large diced sweet onion
  • 3-4 carrots (diced)
  • 1-1.5 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 1.5 cups green vegetable **garden peas, coarsely chopped green beans or broccoli
  • 2 cups diced cooked or smoked ham (I used leftover ham that we smoked on the Big Green Egg)
  • 32 ounces Chicken broth
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cup half and half

Instructions

  • Boil salted water in a stock pot and cook the potatoes until about done, scoop out the potatoes with a large slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve the water in the stock pot.
    In the same stock pot, add more water if needed and bring to boil. Add the chopped green vegetables (peas, chopped beans or broccoli), corn, carrots and onions, lower heat and simmer until done. Drain, set aside with the cooked potatoes.
    Heat the chicken broth in a stockpot to a heavy simmer. Add the ham, heavy cream/ half & half and the milk. Add the potatoes, corn, carrots and green vegetables and heat slowly.
    In a separate small pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in garlic and briefly sauté. Do not brown the garlic. Add the flour and whisk constantly until slightly thicked to make a light blonde roux. ( about 1-2 minutes)
    Add the flour roux mixture to the chowder in the stock pot. Stir carefully until combined and the chowder is thickened. Add more broth, cream or milk if is becomes too thick.
    Top with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions and cooked bacon if desired. Enjoy!
  • Topping optional: Shredded cheddar cheese to top if desired 3 -4 strips bacon, diced and cooked 2 scallions, roughly chopped

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits

Serves 4-6

I just love Shrimp and Grits! Many eat it for breakfast, I love to have it for dinner. It is pure comfort food and very simple to make. There are many ways to make Shrimp and Grits. You can make it more Creole style by adding ham or andouille sausage, mushrooms, onions, red and green bell peppers.  I like it less spicy by using bacon, butter and zesty lemon. For the cheese grits, many cheeses works well.  Mix cheeses if you want, I do.  By the way, goat cheese is AMAZING in grits. It’s all up to you on what you want to add or not add. There are no “Shrimp and Grit rules”.  So, go for it and make it yours.  

Grits Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup white or yellow stone-ground grits (I love Charleston Favorites mixed yellow-white or yellow grits.  ** see below for instant or quick grits
  • 2 C water
  • 2 1/2 C heavy cream or Half & Half (or combine. Heavy cream is off the charts!)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • **If you use instant or quick grits, follow their recipe 

Cook grits as directed on bag or box.  Bring to ingredients to boil, lower heat and  simmer uncovered, keep warm until ready for serving.  Stir often. Add more cream, milk, chicken broth or water if it becomes too thick.  

Right before serving add cheeses and butter to the grits as directed below:

  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup grated parmesan or Asiago 
  • 2 -3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Add more or less cheese if you would like. It’s all up to you. 

Shrimp mixture:

  • 5 slices bacon, chopped (keep bacon drippings in pan after cooking)
  • 1 – 1 1/4 lb medium size shrimp devein and peel shell  (I prefer to remove the tails )
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (more if needed later)
  • Pepper
  • Pinch of Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper optional 
  • 2 lemons…one for the Juice, one for wedges for serving
  • Lemon zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1/2-1T  hot sauce
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:

  • Cook the chopped bacon in a skillet over medium heat until done. Remove the bacon and keep the drippings in skillet.  Add 1/2 stick butter to the skillet and melt.
  • Add the shrimp, garlic, salt, pepper and Cajun/cayenne to the bacon skillet and sauté over med-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp just turns pink. Remove from the heat. Add the hot sauce, lemon juice and zest. Add additional butter if needed to make more of a sauce.  (I do.)
  • Divide the cheese grits in bowls.  Top with shrimp and sauce, chopped bacon and chopped scallions.  Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits

I just love Shrimp and Grits! Many eat it for breakfast, I love to have it for dinner. It is pure comfort food and very simple to make. There are many ways to make Shrimp and Grits. You can make it more Creole style by adding ham or andouille sausage, mushrooms, onions, red and green bell peppers. I like it less spicy by using bacon, butter and zesty lemon. For the cheese grits, many cheeses works well. Mix cheeses if you want, I do. By the way, goat cheese is AMAZING in grits. It’s all up to you on what you want to add or not add. There are no “Shrimp and Grit rules”. So, go for it and make it yours.  
Author: Barbara Yonkin Bozon

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup white or yellow stone-ground grits I love Charleston Favorites mixed yellow-white or yellow grits
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • salt, pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Right before serving add cheeses and butter to the grits as directed below:
    3/4 cup shredded cheddar
    1/2- 3/4 cup grated parmesan or Asiago
    2 -3 tbsp. unsalted butter
    Add more or less cheese if you would like. It’s all up to you. 
  • Shrimp mixture:
    5 slices bacon, chopped (keep bacon drippings in pan after cooking)
    1 - 1 1/4lb medium size shrimp devein and peel shell (I prefer to remove the tails )
    2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
    1/2 stick unsalted butter (more if needed later)
    Pepper
    Pinch of Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper optional
    2 lemons...one for the Juice, one for wedges for serving
    Lemon zest of 1 lemon
    Salt, pepper
    1/2-1T hot sauce
    4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Cook the chopped bacon in a skillet over medium heat until done. Remove the bacon and keep the drippings in skillet. Add 1/2 stick butter to the skillet and melt.
    Add the shrimp, garlic, salt, pepper and Cajun/cayenne to the bacon skillet and sauté over med-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp just turns pink. Remove from the heat. Add the hot sauce, lemon juice and zest. Add additional butter if needed to make more of a sauce. (I do.)
    Divide the cheese grits in bowls. Top with shrimp and sauce, chopped bacon and chopped scallions. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.