Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Mar 16, 2008 at 11:56am

Hola! Hola! Back from Mexico, in fact since Thursday night, but I’ve been having too much fun hanging with the Bryt family, visiting from New York, to scratch a post together! It’s been a fast blast of weekend, with Bartley arriving Wednesday for work, and Maud and their daughters Catherine and Natalie joining him (us!) Friday night. We just had dinner here at the hacienda, simple pasta and roasted vegetables.

Yesterday Maud and I stole over to Stacey’s to see Cooper Cuteness, Stacey’s amazing Stacified house, as well Stacey’s studio/new work. Thanks Pooh!

Then back here to cook and cook, with Harry Cunliffe and Suz et al coming for dinner to join all of us. For a little appy I made shrimp paste, a recipe from The Gift of Southern Cooking, basically sauteed shrimps pureed with lots of sweet butter, with a hint of cayenne pepper, sherry, and lemon. We spread it on toasts, but I’m dying to try it stirred into some hot grits, oooh… I’m a little obsessed with it in fact. (Recipe posted in comments, below.) For dinner, I grilled an insane amount of beef tenderloin (lots of tasty leftovers, more than enough to put Bartley & Maud on the plane with thick roast beef, tomato, lettuce, and horseradish sandwiches!), whipped up my new favorite saute of okra, onions, and tomatoes withbacon, and made a pile o’ popovers. Ahhh, popovers. Nothing is better alongside beef, especially with pan juices to soak them in. Just kill me. It was a pretty magical evening – literally, since Harry is a sometimes magician and was gracious enough to show off a few of his tricks for the kids. (And adults!) Great, great fun!

And now, the Bryts are gone, sniff. House is very empty feeling, although not for long. Nathan is home from Florida soon (yay!) and then we’re heading out for Cooper’s 2nd Birthday Party! Happy Birthday Cooper Cuteness!

Many, many highlights from Mexico to share, a little later today, so stay tuned…

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  1. By Stephanie on March 24, 2008 at 5:38PM

    Shrimp Paste
    From The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock
    Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups – enough to feed 8-10 if making grits with shrimp paste

    From the book:
    A specialty of Charleston and the Carolina Low Country, this is a rich puree of sautéed shrimp, lots of sweet butter, sherry, and spice. It is ideal spread on beni (sesame) wafers as a cocktail nibble (Stephanie’s note: I served toasted baguette slices) or on white bread for tea sandwiches. Spoon a dollop on grilled or roasted fish as a garnish. A truly Southern way to enjoy shrimp paste is stirred into hot grits, and served with buttered toast, as a breakfast or supper dish.

    1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
    1 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 c. sherry
    2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/4 tsp. cayenne

    Heat 3 Tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet until it is hot and foaming. Add the shrimp, salt, pepper, and cook over high heat, stirring often, for 4-7 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.

    Remove the skillet from the stove, and using a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked shrimp to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Return the skillet to the stove, and add the sherry, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Cook over high heat until the liquid in the skillet is reduced to approximately 3 Tbsp. and is quite syrupy. Immediately add this to the shrimp in the food processor and process until the shrimp are thoroughly pureed. With the motor running, add the remaining butter in pieces and process until thoroughly blended. Turn the food processor off, and carefully taste the shrimp paste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, sherry, lemon juice, or cayenne pepper as needed. Transfer the shrimp paste to a ceramic crock and allow to cool completely.

    If not using right away, cover the shrimp paste and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Refrigerated shrimp paste should be allowed to return to room temperature before serving.