Socializing Over Special Recipes
Shrimp & Falls Mill Grits with Andouille Sausage & Peppers Ragout
Eggs Benedict with Country Ham
Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri Sauce
Selection of Sausages
Bacon Three Ways: Candied, Spiced, & Hickory Smoked
Feta & Spinach Quiche
Roasted Asparagus Spears
Chocolate Cherry Almond Scones
Bloody Mary Bar
Each month for the past couple of years, one of the five couples in the club hosts the rest for an impressive evening of eats and entertainment. Jason and Mary opted to put a special twist on one of their more elaborate gatherings. Instead of hosting a dinner, they put on a fabulously fanciful Southern-style brunch.
“These meals are a great way to fellowship with friends that we don’t get to see on a regular basis. We also share recipes with each other. The hosts will make the main dish or dishes, and everyone else usually brings something, whether salad, side dish, or dessert,” Jason explains.
Mary adds playfully, “Jason shares his mother’s love of cooking, so when we host, he handles most of the cooking, and I serve as sous chef.” While Jason puts some finishing touches on his individual cast iron skillet-fuls of shrimp and grits, Mary meticulously sets the table with a mixture of their wedding china and Jason’s grandmother’s wedding china. She says, “We love to bring out our fine china whenever we get the chance. We have heirloom fine china, Italian china, and our Spode woodland china.” Bone-handled cutlery, woodland scenery, and stems of white blossoms with magnolia greenery all contribute to the Gadd’s elegant Southern styling.
Just as each serving piece and plate was thoughtfully selected for the Gadds’ love of hosting, other parts of the home were hand-crafted for the same reason. Their dining room table was built by Jason’s father, Rick, specifically for their dining room and their style. Jason, who shares his father’s passion for woodworking, created several of the custom wood serving boards to present his grilled entrées. Meanwhile, many of the dishes they cook together come from recipes saved in a family cookbook that his mother, Sharon, made as a wedding gift.
As guests enter the craftsman-style home nestled in a mountain setting, they are greeted with the smells of elevated Southern cuisine. Mouthwatering aromas of eggs, bacon, and beef tenderloin call out with cheesy local grits and baked goods. The beverage bar is prepped to whet any whistle. Beer and champagne mimosas, as well as bloody Marys with all the fixin’s, are available.
Circling around the Gadd’s spacious kitchen island, plates are piled high with eggs benedict, roasted asparagus, quiche, and chocolate cherry almond scones (made from a family recipe). As guests settle into seats around the dining room table and fill their silver goblets and crystal glasses, conversation takes over. In Mary and Jason’s words, “The art of conversation can sometimes be lost today, with technology and busy lives, but the act of coming together over a meal, face-to-face, and engaging in quality conversation is good for the soul.”
Follow instructions on stone-ground grits for preparation. Stir in half & half and simmer until grits are thickened and tender (about 15-20 minutes). Set aside and keep warm.
Sprinkle shrimp with salt, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika; drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside.
Fry andouille sausage until browned (about 5-8 minutes). Remove skillet from heat.
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned (about 10 minutes). Retain bacon drippings in skillet. Transfer bacon slices to paper towels. Crumble when cool.
Cook green, red, and yellow bell peppers, Fresno chili, red onion, and garlic in the bacon drippings until the onion is translucent (about 8 minutes).
Stir shrimp and cooked vegetables into the andouille sausage and mix
Melt butter in a separate saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour to make a smooth paste. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is medium brown in color (about 8-10 minutes). Watch carefully, as the mixture burns easily.
Pour the butter and flour mixture into the skillet with andouille sausage, shrimp, and vegetables. Place the skillet over medium heat and pour in chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and add bacon. Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens and the shrimp become opaque and bright pink (about 8 minutes).
Just before serving, mix sharp cheddar cheese into grits until melted and grits are creamy and light yellow. Serve shrimp mixture over cheese grits.