Food

Savannah Shrimpin'

Southeast
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April 2010
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By
Victoria
Allman

Whenever we pull into a new port, I always like to learn about the local foods and meet the people at the markets to find out what they're cooking. It's my way of soaking up culture. When we visited Savannah, that meant one main thing: shrimp.Paul, a local fisherman, agreed to take me out on his shrimp boat so that I could see first hand how the shellfish were caught. It was early morning when we boarded Bo-Nita, his 52-foot trawler. Like most shrimp boats she was rugged and well-worked in appearance, her wooden hull battered from hauling equipment. We cruised along the Wilmington River in the tall marsh grass. Sunlight filtered through the leaves of large oaks, which looked as if they would topple from the weight of Spanish moss hanging from their limbs. A cool breeze blew off the water, rustling the palm fronds and causing me to don my sweater."So, you're interested in shrimpin'?" Paul asked as he toured me around. He had the broad physique of a defensive end, and the width of his shoulders showed how physical the work must be."I like to know where my food comes from." I said."Well, this ain't no grocery store shrimp you'll be seeing here today," he replied.Bo-Nita's outriggers held the trawls, large bag-like nets that were dragged through the water and scooped up wild Atlantic white shrimp as the boat moved along. Every hour, the nets were reeled in and dumped onto the boat's aft deck. The catch flopped wildly as the crew sprang to work. One man sorted the shrimp into baskets while another rinsed them with fresh water. The third crewmember transported them to the hold, where ice was added to keep them fresh. They all worked furiously and finished the task by tossing the by-catch (jellyfish, sand dollars, starfish) back into the water. The extruder gear allowed larger creatures such as dolphins and sea turtles to escape without harm.A few blue crabs were in the mix that day. They were stored in a separate red bucket. "Dinner tomorrow," one of the men grumbled as he laid out the nets to be lowered back into the water for the cycle to begin again.Late in the day, the crew took a break. Paul pulled a basket of shrimp from the cold water and waved a rough, thick-fingered hand over the display like Vanna White presenting that day's prizes. "These here shrimp go straight to market," he beamed. He plunged his hand into the pile. Long wisps of their antennas trailed through his fingers. His eyes danced and the sunburnt lines etched in the sides of his face creased deeper. "Today's a good day."Paul returned to the wheelhouse and picked up the radio to tell the other captains on the water about his catch. Come to find out, fishing wasn't the only important information they regularly shared. "Falcons are down by 12," Paul said into the mike, "they can't keep it together. Looks like you owe me a round of beers."After signing off, he set a large pot of water on the stove in the galley and sprinkled in Old Bay seasoning. The smells of peppercorns, allspice, and bay leaves wafted through the air. As the water came to a boil, Paul layered ingredients into the pot: first the onions and potatoes, then kielbasa sausage.He returned the lid to the pot and smiled mischievously at me. "Do you like a little heat?""Of course," I replied.Turning back to the pot, Paul added more seasoning and then corn, still on the cob. It wasn't until the last minute that he poured in the shrimp, so that they wouldn't get overcooked."This is what we eat here in the fall when the shrimp are best," he drawled. "A low-country boil."Paul piled plates high with corn, sausage, and potatoes for everyone. I took my cue from the others and dolloped a generous amount of cocktail sauce on the side. We sat on Bo-Nita's aft deck among the nets and equipment, and as we tucked into our food, nobody spoke-we were all too busy peeling, dipping, and chewing. As a cook, Paul had a heavy hand with the spices, and all the food had a delicious kick to it. Juices from the kielbasa sausage drizzled down my chin, and the plump shrimp burst in my mouth, exploding with sweet flavor. Paul was right, these weren't like the shrimp I bought in the grocery store. These were moist and firm, and not at all rubbery as cooked shrimp so often are.As the last of the day's sunlight fell from the sky, I smiled at this grizzly bear of a man and thanked him. I could get used to being docked here in Savannah. Between the food, the scenery, and the characters, everything was peppered with spice. Just the way I liked it.

Paul's Low-Country Boil

This is the easiest recipe for a crowd. Everything is boiled in one pot and ready to eat. There are many brands of spice mix to use: Old Savannah Crab and Shrimp Boil, McCormick's, Old Bay, and Zatarain's Crab and Shrimp Boil. Don't be afraid to leave the shells on the shrimp. Peeling them is half the fun. Make sure to put dishes out to collect the shells or place extra newspaper on the table to wrap up the remains afterwards. The condiment to serve this with is cocktail sauce for dipping.

  • 2 lemons
  • 3 liters water
  • ½ cup spice mix (see above)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 white onions, chopped in 1-inch dice
  • 2 pounds baby potatoes
  • 4 ears of corn, cut in thirds
  • 2 pounds kielbasa sausage, cut in 2-inch lengths
  • 3 pounds medium-sized shrimp, head off, shell on

Cocktail Sauce:

  • ¼ cup horseradish
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauceIn a large pot bring water, lemons, onions, potatoes, sea salt, and spice mix to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add sausage and corn and simmer another 7 minutes. Add the shrimp and bring back to a boil. Strain. Mix ingredients for cocktail sauce and serve on the side for dipping. Serve with lots of bread and cold beer. Serves 6

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From the clipper ships that brought beer from Germany during the Revolutionary War to the birthplace of the beloved Natty Boh, Baltimore is not only rich in maritime and war traditions — it’s also known as a beer city. 

Baltimore boasts a nice selection of well-known bars and swanky restaurants, but you may not realize how many experimental breweries and eclectic taprooms are located just down the street. 

From serving ice-cold pints on a hot summer day to offering taproom tastings and outdoor events, these local breweries present unique, homemade craft beers in an entertaining atmosphere. The following locations explore antique structures, historic warehouses and a barn-turned-brewhouse in Baltimore City and County.

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Diamondback Brewing Company

1215 E. Fort Avenue

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A garage-style window opens above high-top seating in this south Baltimore brewery — a perfect summertime hangout.  The experimental production brewery serves unfiltered lagers, hop forward ales and pizza in a lively urban atmosphere. Try the Maple Thief oatmeal stout, the Green Machine IPA or the American Locust Point Lager alongside a signature seasonal scratch-made house pizza such as the Howard, made with pulled duck confit, smoked provolone, onion, parsley and “Pee-Paw’s Secret BBQ Sauce.”

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1900 E. Lombard Street

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The stunning structure of the former St. Michaels Church in East Baltimore has high ceilings lined by archways with golden trim, colorful murals and a gorgeous organ on the second floor balcony overlooking an open space where pews used to sit. Originally opened in 1857, this church that once provided refuge to German Catholics was abandoned in 2011 and is now one of the city’s hottest brewery hangouts. Long beer hall-style tables and high-tops now fill the spacious renovated church. Biblical scriptures are written above where the taproom’s bar serves a selection of rotating beers such as the Old Maude brown ale, The Point pilsner and 9.9 Problems imperial stout.

The Brewer’s Art

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This hip and artsy brewery matches the vibe of the quirky neighborhood and local community. Built as a private residence in the early 1900s, the vintage townhouse remains in the same classical style as it looked centuries ago with a slight transformation into a cozy taproom. Each room provides a different feel from the upscale dining room to the gritty Downbar and the cozy upstairs lounge. While most breweries only offer beer, this location pours everything from house brews to red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, and craft cocktails.

Full Tilt Brewing

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This neighborhood brewery is all about live music, tasty drinks and providing a fun social atmosphere. Hosting everything from yoga classes to live acts and comedy shows, the brewery offers a full event calendar throughout the year. They often cater parties and sponsor fundraisers such as partnerships with Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS) and Art with a Heart. The taproom is known for two famous brews: Hops the Cat American IPA and Dan’s Jams, a Swedish Fish sour ale. Complement your brew with spicy wings, honey sriracha-glazed Brussels sprouts or a juicy Full Tilt burger.

BALTIMORE COUNTY 

RavenBeer

8901 Yellow Brick Road, Suite B

Rosedale

As Baltimore icon Edgar Allan Poe was known for frequenting local city bars, this brewery pays homage to the writer with its own spin on classic American and German-style beer. Founder Stephen Demczuk began brewing when he was in Europe. Inspired by Poe’s writings, Demczuk named his concoctions after the famous literature. Variations include Annabel Lee White, a Belgian-style white beer with citrus, The Raven Special Lager, The Tell Tale Heart IPA and The Cask, a Bavarian double style IPA.

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Farmacy Brewing

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Blue Crab | Courtesy of Pakhnyushchy

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Lobster Dish | Courtesy of BDMcIntosh

Lobster

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Crab

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nyc skyline - food - marinalife
Kate and her husband Tim

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One quirk of our galley is we can only run the oven or the stove, as our propane system can't support running both at the same time. As a result, it requires knowing the recipe and its steps in advance to ensure we have the right equipment and ability to cook the meal. If the meal is good enough to be part of the rotation, the steps become easier to remember the next time we cook it.

Learn What Meals We Can Make Quickly

Just like land life, there are days when we may feel excited about prepping and cooking a more time-intensive meal, and others when we're hungry, it's 7:00 p.m. and we just need to get something in our stomach. In New York, that meant heading downstairs for a slice of pizza.

lunch aboard - food - marinalife
Courtesy of Kate Raulin Carney

That doesn't work while cruising. Learning what meals take time (especially in Sweet Day's kitchen) and what meals can be thrown together quickly (hello mac and cheese and tuna fish) is extremely helpful. When we're stocking up on food, we make sure we have enough of those go-to meal items for those inevitable times when we just need something fast.To help you stock your galley, here are some of our favorite items:

  • High-quality all-purpose knife: Our Zwilling Santoku knife cuts pretty much everything we've cooked in the last year.
  • Dutch oven: This is perfect for baking fresh bread, making soups, rice and other meals. We store it in the oven while not in use.
  • Stainless steel French press: We didn't want to have to rely on electricity to make coffee, so our go-to is a sturdy French press. Plus, it's fun to get beans from local coffee shops.
  • New York Times cooking subscription: This app allows us to easily search tons of recipes and discover new dishes with ingredients we have on board.
  • Pre-cut parchment paper: I learned this from my dad. It keeps food from sticking to the pan and makes cleaning easy a big plus on a tiny boat, where you may need to clean the pan quickly to put another item in the oven.

SIMPLE FLOUR TORTILLAS

Here's our go-to recipe for an easy batch of tortillas. Some of our favorite ingredients for stuffing inside are pantry staples black beans and rice or roasted sweet potatoes with a charred scallion crema (Greek yogurt, mayo and scallions charred on a hot skillet).

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup room temperature butter (Can also replace with shortening, lard or vegetable oil)
  • 7/8 to 1 cup of hot water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add the butter (if you're using vegetable oil, add it in step 3). Use your fingers to work the fat into the flour until it disappears.
  3. Pour in the lesser amount of hot water (plus the oil, if you're using it), and stir briskly with a fork or whisk to bring the dough together into a shaggy mass. Stir in additional water as needed to bring the dough together.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead briefly, just until the dough forms a ball. If the dough is very sticky, gradually add abit more flour.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Round the pieces into balls, flatten slightly and allow them to rest, covered, for about 30 minutes.If you wish, coat each ball lightly in oil before covering to ensure the dough doesn't dry out.
  6. While the dough rests, preheat an ungreased cast iron griddle or skillet over medium high heat, about 400°F.
  7. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a round about 8 inches in diameter. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Fry the tortilla in the ungreased pan for about 30 seconds on each side. Wrap the tortilla in a clean cloth when it comes off the griddle to keep it pliable. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  8. If you have leftovers, allow them to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic and store in the refrigerator. Reheat in an ungreased skillet or for a few seconds in the microwave.

Recipe is from King Arthur Baking Company, kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/simple-tortillas-recipe. To follow Kate and Tim Carney's cruising adventures aboard Sweet Day, go to lifeonsweetday.com or @lifeonsweetday on Instagram.

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