He Makes Stock with Shrimp Shells

Our nephew Christopher, one of Ted’s sister’s sons, is not only a well-known branding guru with international clients, but also an expert chef. So a visit with him and his family in Charlotte, North Carolina, is always a delicious learning experience.

The Friday meal

This past weekend’s visit began with chicken marsala (he kindly grilled the chicken in consideration of Ted’s and my Noom weight loss program).

He served it with roasted potatoes, crisp on the outside, velvet on the inside, and green salad accented with a sliced fresh purple plum or two.

He garnished the chicken with hand-trimmed purple basil leaves.

The next evening’s repast began with a unique appetizer.

“I just made it up,” Christopher said.

He’s all about using local ingredients and what’s on hand, though he’s not averse to driving to several local markets for pine nuts when he needs them.

He blended ricotta cheese with olive oil.

Topped it with the pickled golden beets his daughter made at a recent cooking camp.

Drizzled it with balsamic vinegar.

Sprinkled it with chopped walnuts.

Served it with pesto he made from basil purchased at the farmers market in nearby Davidson that morning.

He adds a little lemon juice to sharpen the flavor of his pesto. Wonderful!

After enjoying the spread on slices of crusty bread from the Davidson market, we moved on to the shrimp and grits pictured at the top of this blog post.

I cleaned the shrimp.

I was ready to throw the shells and tails in the garbage when Christopher said, “Save those. I’ll make stock for the grits.”

Whew! One worries about faux pas when playing sous-chef in Christopher’s kitchen.

Here’s to family.

It was a lovely weekend with Christopher, his wife Laraine, Carrie, one of Christopher’s sisters, and his two teenage daughters, who were involved in a delightful local production of Legally Blonde this particular evening.

I should add that Christopher built my author’s website and, when not in the kitchen, provides me with valuable guidance and handholding in producing this blog a few times each month, and in promoting my forthcoming memoir, THE WAY FROM ME TO US.

Thank you, Chris and Laraine and family. I love you all.


P.S. Christopher’s latest reading recommendation is My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris, a memoir by the James Beard award-winning writer Alexander Lobrano.

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