Vacation Vittles – Pizza, Seafood, Sausage

Vacation Vittles – Pizza, Seafood, Sausage

I spent last week on Hilton Head Island. I love that place. So many great spots to eat! In a slight departure from my usual topic of home cooked goodness, I thought I would share some of the yummy dinners I dined on.

If you frequent Hilton Head, some of these places might be familiar. Feel free to let me know what your favorite HH restaurants are so I can try them on a future vacation.

Il Carpaccio

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If like me, you fell in love with pizza in Naples, Italy, then you will understand that even though fresh seafood is the specialty on Hilton Head, I cannot leave the island without at least one pizza from Il Carpaccio. The thin, charred crust and delicate fresh tomato sauce is the closest I’ve found in the U.S. to the real thing. I chose the vegetarian this visit. Artichoke hearts, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini tasted fresh and delicious.

I sometimes go off menu and ask for prosciutto, Gorgonzola, pine nuts, and pear or some other combination I tried in Italy. They are very accommodating!

The Carolina Crab Company

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You absolutely, positively cannot leave Hilton Head without trying a Low Country Boil. If you’ve eaten a LCB in some other state, you will be in for a delightful surprise when you try one from the region where it originated. What you cannot see in this image of yumminess is the loaf of hot bread I used for dunking in the flavorful broth. I’ve never tried to make my own boil, I know the timing is essential for each added element. I have a feeling it takes practice to get it right!

The Skull Creek Boathouse

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Skull Creek Boathouse is a favorite with locals and tourists. It has a huge outdoor dining area that looks over the tidewaters. The view is wonderful. The food is even better. I tried coco scallops with a pineapple salsa. The creamy coconut sauce was delicious when pared with the heat of the jalapeno and sweetness of pineapple atop the perfectly seared scallops. I plan to start experimenting with my own versions of this delectable entree. It was one of those meals that had I been in the privacy of my own home, I would have licked the plate clean!

Street Meet

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I usually get a Hoffman snapper at Street Meet, but I could not resist this Cleveland specialty sandwich. Who could pass up grilled kielbasa on a hoagie bun, then piled high with fries, creamy coleslaw, and barbecue sauce? Certainly not I! Accompanied by their own fresh cut potato chips, this was an explosion of flavor in my mouth! The combination of sweet slaw with salty fries and meat was pure heaven. This great little bar/restaurant doubled in size a few months ago so there is now ample indoor seating.

What food vacations have you enjoyed lately? Fee free to post a few pictures with descriptions and links to the restaurant!

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It Was a Creole Christmas

It Was a Creole Christmas

I select a different theme for my Christmas Eve dinner each year. This year’s pick was “Creole Christmas.” The food of Louisiana has a rich history. The flavors are layered and rich. I have yet to come across a Creole or Cajun dish I didn’t like! The menu included red snapper, shrimp etouffee, corn maque choux, and bread pudding with raisins and bourbon sauce. Yum!

One time-saving method I used this year was to prep all my vegetables in advance. Since most creole dishes include a mirepoix of onion, celery, and bell pepper, I chopped enough of each for all the recipes.

Red Snapper with Creole Sauce

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I used a recipe from the James Beard Foundation to make the fish. I was fortunate to find two lovely pieces of red snapper at a local Harris Teeter. They usually have a decent fish and seafood department. The recipe called for sliced black olives, crumbled bacon, and chopped hard-boiled egg on top for serving. I was skeptical at first, but the overall effect was amazing. Here is the full recipe: http://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/baked-fish-creole

Shrimp Etouffee

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I had never tried shrimp etouffee before making it for this year’s dinner. It was a hit. I think this is one of those dishes that improves with time. Had there been any leftovers, I assume it would have been even more delish. I do think the shrimp, though cooked perfectly, would have tasted better if I had been able to find domestic shrimp. I don’t know whether anyone else agrees, but IMO nothing beats fresh shrimp from the waters near Savannah, Georgia. Unfortunately by the time I made it to the grocery store Christmas Eve day, all that remained was imported shrimp. I used Emeril’s recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/shrimp-etouffee-recipe.html

Maque Choux

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The maque choux was creamy with a slight kick. It is probably one of the best corn dishes I’ve ever eaten. I had to alter the recipe a tad because I was unable to find tasso ham. I substituted andouille sausage instead which was a perfect choice. I rendered the sausage then cooked the corn mixture in the same pan. I think it came out great! This was another Emeril recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/tasso-maque-choux-recipe.html#!

Bread Pudding

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I’ve never met a bread pudding I didn’t like! It’s a traditional Louisiana dessert. I kept it very simple and the bourbon sauce was a complete hit. I did not have whole milk, so instead I mixed half skim milk and half heavy cream. The result was pure heaven in a bowl! It was just as yummy the next morning when I rewarmed a small portion for breakfast! The recipe was from Mr. Food: http://www.mrfood.com/Puddings/New-Orleans-Bread-Pudding-with-Bourbon-Sauce-3289.

Hey baby! If you are in a New Orleans state of mind, give creole cooking a try.