Every Mother's Day myself and my brother usually take my Mom out to brunch or dinner but this year I wanted to make it a special one.
This Mother's Day will be the last one in my childhood home - real tears. My mom, after being in our house for 22 years, decided to downsize and she is moving into this super chic 'Sex & The City' Condo soon. Sooo happy for her but sad to say bye to my childhood home where so many memories were created.
This year my brother had to work so it was just going to be my Momma and me (oh and my niece was over to but she was too busy watching Peppa The Pig to eat) so I decided to cook Mother's Day Brunch...I mean, it is one of my favorite past-times.
Mother's Day Brunch Menu
Smoked Salmon Mini Bagel Crostini with Tomato Caper Relish
Cajun Shrimp & Smoked Gouda Grits
Honorable Mention: Nutella French Toast - Me and my mom decided we don't like sweets for breakfast. In theory it was good but in reality it was way too sweet.
I wanted to make sure she had the best day despite being in the house so I made my best attempt in turning her kitchen into a mini cafe with a white table cloth and flowers with of course a Mother's Day balloon. I made sure to wake up early to prepare the Smoked Salmon Mini Bagel Crostini's and have her favorite coffee mug ready when she got up. My niece woke up shortly after and she was greeted with our sweet Kenni shouting at the top of her lungs, "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!" It was all so adorable.
The Smoked Salmon Mini Bagel Crostini's came out so good. If your a savory morning eater this is the perfect small bite for you. It was tangy but sweet and the jalapeno cream cheese gave it a nice spicy kick. I made six thinking me and my Mom would just eat one each but they were so good that I have to admit we at the entire six! To spare you from reading a long post. I found the recipe here - from one of my foodie favorite blogs, The Kitchenista Diaries. Angela is seriously #foodgoals!!
As we were on our third glass of Mango Mimosas I started to prepare the main brunch dish, which is a super popular dish pretty sure everywhere in the United States, Cajun Shrimp & Gouda Grits.
Here in the Washington, D.C. area there is a ton of spice stores where you can pick up an array of special sizes but I recently found this super cute and Black FEMALE owned (Howard Alum) spice store called The Spice Suite . I don't remember how I found her but I knew I had to support! She travels all around the world to find spices to make her blends and they look SO good. So on Thursday, I made my way up there after work by the skin of my teeth to make it before she closed at 6 to pick up some spices. I wound up picking up two spices, Honey Chipotle Jerk Blend and Cajun Creole Rub. You can always make a Cajun Rub but I wanted to try this one and it was so good!! This dish turned out so good so I HIGHLY suggest you trying this recipe out whether for your boo or you friends for a cute brunch moment! I tried out this recipe from The Kitchenista too and once again she never fails!
Cajun Shrimp & Smoked Gouda Grits
1 lb jumbo shell-on shrimp (21/25 count)
2 tbsp Cajun spice blend
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
4 strips bacon, diced
8 oz. cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced or thinly sliced
1 sweet onion, diced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (optional - for a milder sauce, omit or remove core & seeds)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped chives - for garnish
Smoked Gouda Grits
1 c. stone ground yellow corn grits
1 1/2 c. low sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste
4 tbsp butter
1 c. shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1/2 c. water, if needed
This is definitely a multi-tasking dish which I am not the best at so just make sure you have your eyes on both dishes and make sure you pre-chop everything to avoid any burning situation.
As soon as the diced bacon hits the skillet you want to start on the grits because you can always add more water if the grits get too thick.
In a medium saucepan whisk together the chicken stock, whole milk and kosher salt on medium heat. Once it comes to a little bit of a boil reduce the heat and let it simmer. The grits will thicken up on its own. As the grits thicken add the Gouda cheese & butter to the mixture. I LOVE Gouda so I added more to make it extra cheesy. Once the grits is to you liking add in more salt or pepper to taste. As you are preparing your Shrimp keep the grits on low heat and continue to whisk as they will become thick but remember you can always add a little water to loosen them up.
Back to the shrimp...
Peel and de-vain the shrimp while the bacon is cooking and toss them in the Cajun seasoning (Set aside). Set aside a couple of shells and throw them in a small saucepan along with the chicken stock and bay leave. Bring that to a boil until the shells turn pick and turn it on low heat and let it simmer.
After you let the bacon do it's thing, with a slotted spoon scoop it out and set aside. As you know, bacon has its own grease to it from the fat so if it's too much spoon a little bit of it out but bacon fat is GREAT so don't scoop out too much. Add in the shrimp and let it cook for about one minute tossing it around in the bacon grease. Scoop out the shrimp. Don't let the shrimp cook fully since it will be added back into the tomato gravy.
Once your shrimp is set to the side add in your onions, sliced jalapenos and worchestir sauce let that cook for about two to three minutes. As the onions and jalapeno's are cooking slice your cherry tomatoes in half and toss them in fresh oregano, garlic and a good pinch of salt in small bowl. The salt allows the natural juices to come out of the tomatoes. Add in the tomato mixture and toss all the goodness together and let that cook down for about 3-4 minutes before adding in the chicken stock. Once the chicken stock is in the skillet let it simmer then add in the butter & the half cooked shrimp and let it all simmer together until it's ready to be devoured.
I like to eat my shrimp and grits in a bowl but plate it how you like. Sprinkle sliced green onions on top and boom, you're ready to eat!!
Cheers to eating!