Big Catch Charity Fish Fry

A few weeks ago, the company where I work agreed to sponsor the Big Catch Charity Fish Fry to help raise money to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend and help grow their mentoring program. As part of our sponsorship, we received several tickets to attend the event. Not being one to turn down fresh Florida seafood, I enthusiastically agreed to use a ticket and go to the fish fry. My coworker’s fiancé, Reggie, also joined me.

The Big Catch Charity Fish Fry was held at Posey’s Dockside Cafe in Panacea, Florida. Although this Posey’s location is fairly new, Posey’s is a long-time Wakulla County institution. Beginning in the 1920’s, Posey’s Oyster Bar in St. Marks attracted people from the Tallahassee area with their “topless oysters” and smoked mullet. The oyster bar gained more recognition when it was mentioned as a destination in the New York Times Travel section. Unfortunately, the same year as the New York Times nod, Posey’s Oyster Bar sustained irreparable damage from Hurricane Dennis. Fortunately, Posey’s opened newer locations in Panacea and continues to serve scrumptious Florida seafood.

Back dock at Posey's
Posey's Dockside Cafe

The dinner plate at the Big Catch Charity Fish Fry included delectable fried shrimp served with cheese grits, coleslaw, hushpuppies, and iced tea. I have a deep love for cheese grits, but Reggie almost committed southern food heresy by passing on the cheese grits, explaining that he prefers his grits with sugar. Luckily for him, one of the servers admitted that she is not originally from North Florida and also prefers her grits with sugar and butter.

Posey's Fried Shrimp
Posey's Fried Shrimp Plate

With a hot, fresh plate of perfectly fried Florida seafood, the Big Catch Fish Fry was a fantastic event that supported a great organization. For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend, check out their website at  http://www.bigbendmentoring.org. Next time you are in the Big Bend area, be sure to stop by Posey’s for some fried shrimp and cheese grits.

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Cheese Grits

While Jill was in the process of digitizing old family home videos the other evening, we came across this little gem. We hope you enjoy watching three year old Jillian making cheese grits.

Years later, she still enjoys delicious cheese grits. When I make cheese grits for us now, I follow the directions on the package of grits with a few modifications. To add to the savory taste of the grits (sorry Yankees, no sugar in these grits), I chop a clove of garlic and add it to the water with salt and pepper before bringing it to a boil and adding the grits. When the grits have finished cooking, I add shredded cheddar cheese.

Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese for the grits

With our grits, we also like to eat turkey sausage. I usually cook frozen turkey sausage patties in a pan with a little water, chop the patties into small pieces, and sauté the sausages pieces in a small amount of oil. Cooking the sausage this way provides for more browning and crispy edges on the sausage.

Turkey Sausage Pieces
Crispy morsels of turkey sausage

After topping the cheese grits with the turkey sausage, I garnish with a little more shredded cheese. With a pot of coffee, this is an excellent Saturday morning brunch.

Cheese grits
Cheese grits

Shrimp and Grits

Since we’ve been traveling, we haven’t posted a recipe in over a week!  The pictures below are from our 2009 Georgia Christmas, but I figured the recipe was appropriate given the delicious shrimp and grits we had last weekend while on vacation.

Start by melting a combination of olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat.

Once the oil and butter are heated, add some chopped vegetables.  Pictured above (clockwise from the top) are halved cherry tomatoes, chopped parsley, diced green peppers, minced garlic, chopped celery, and diced yellow onion.  In order to make sure the vegetables cook evenly, add the garlic and onion first and cook until soft and translucent.  Then add the celery and green pepper and cook until softened but not mushy.  Finally add the tomatoes.  Hold off on adding the parsley until the end.

Stir and smile 🙂

Add about a pound of peeled, deveined shrimp.  Cook for a few minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.  How long you cook the shrimp will depend upon the size of the shrimp you are using.  For medium shrimp, it takes about 4 – 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Cook four servings of grits according to the package directions, adding cheese (we used smoked gouda) and cream to taste.  Adding some cream at the end is the secret to creamy, yummy grits.

Serve the shrimp and veggie mixture on top of hot grits (or on the side, if you are like me) with a green veggie (steamed broccoli, a spinach salad, or whatever you like best).

Enjoy!