It’s funny how things sometimes fall into place. Just the other day I was smitten by Katherine’s recipe for Shrimp with Redeye Gravy over Cheesy Grit Cakes. The dish just looked too good to pass by eventhough I’m no big fan of grits (aka polenta).
It also happened that I was asked to review a new recipe app America’s Family Recipes ($0.99 for iPhone and iPad) and for the life of me I could not decide which mouth-watering recipe to try – there are over 120! Yes, there is more to American cuisine than burgers and fries.
Would it be the classic pecan pie, or maybe the corn and clam chowder… or wait, the cobb salad or Boston beans? Browsing through numerous tempting recipes with gorgeous pictures to match, I stumbled upon their version of Prawns with Grits. I was drawn to the this Southern gem of a recipe instantly and may I say I love it! It even makes for a great h’ordeuvre as I found out last night – served in those Chinese spoons, delish!
So that’s the verdict on the dish, now what did I think of the app?
The user friendly interface provides a nice introduction to each dish, a little history and tasting notes. The rest is a breeze too. Clearly laid out ingredient list with an option to add items to a shopping list which then can be printed straight from the app and cooking instructions are well-worded and easy to follow.
For those of you into baking, there is even a timer attached to the instructions but I found it to be a little useless when on mute and annoying when the volume is turned up – you’re either going to hear nothing, or every second tick before the timer’s “ding” goes off. On the upside, though, the option to have the measurements listed in imperial and metric is most helpful for cross-country cooking. And you can share recipes with friends via email or Facebook (perhaps Twitter would be useful too?).
All in all, it really is a nifty little app for anyone wanting to try a few more authentic American dishes. Now if you excuse me, pecan pie beckons…
Wholesome Cook received a copy of the app for free, courtesy of Parragon Books Ltd.
Southern style prawns with grits
Adapted from America’s Family Recipes app by Parragon Books. To lighten up the dish a little, I used smoked cooked pork neck – it’s like bacon only a lot less fatty, and added 1 cup arrabiatta pasta sauce instead of stock (it’s nice and spicy). If you are unable to find fresh jalapenos, use green long chilli instead. To make grits (polenta) I used full cream milk instead of water and butter.
For the prawns:
- 450g large raw prawns, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (choose MSG free)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper
For the sauce:
- 100g cooked pork neck //or rasher bacon, cut into 1cm chunks
- 1 cup arrabiata sauce
- 2 tbsp cream
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno chilli // or green long chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley (+extra)
For the grits (polenta):
- 3/4 cup instant grits (polenta), cooked according to packet instructions
To prepare the prawns: place prawns, Cajun seasoning, salt, black and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
To make the sauce: add pork neck or bacon to a large fry pan and cook on medium heat until most of the fat has melted away and the bits are lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon and add cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and arrabiata sauce.
Return the pork pan back to the heat and when it’s starting to smoke lightly, add the prawns, spreading into a single layer. Cook for about 1 minute on each side, then turn over using tongs. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, spring onions, chilli and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the sauce mixture and allow it to heat through. Remove from heat and stir through the parsley.
To serve: divide cooked grits between 4 serving plates and top with Southern prawn sauce. Sprinkle with extra chopped parsley if you wish.