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A Drawn-Out Lunch

We didn't go to the jenny farm today after all, so I set about to use up my farmer's market bounty. On the menu for lunch -- cornbread, shrimp and rice, and sweet tea. I started with the cornbread around two o'clock. I used a mix, just because I hadn't seen one like it before and I was curious. It was Calhoun Bend Mill "Honey and Butter" cornbread, and it was pretty good. Perhaps a little too sweet and insubstantial, but it made a great bottom crust in the cast iron skillet I used. I think using buttermilk instead of milk helps with the crust, but that's entirely a hunch, not culinary science.

So, as I was about to pour the batter into the skillet, the phone rang. Jeff handed it over to me and popped the bread into the oven while I caught up with a friend of mine who has just returned from a longish trip to Boston and Bermuda. By the time that conversation ended, the cornbread was DING! ready. I was hungry, so I had some hot out of the skillet, with butter, all by itself.

Now it was almost three, and I still hadn't started the shrimp. I peeled them, one pound, and deveined them. They had some nasty-ass intestinal tracts, I'll tell you. Some of the weirdest and largest I'd ever seen. As I went, I dropped the prepared shrimp into a bowl of lightly salted ice water with lemon, as the recipe suggested. Although the shrimp were not frozen when I bought them yesterday, ANY shrimp benefits from a little freshening. The recipe I used, incidentally, is online: Breakfast Shrimp for Supper at Epicurious. I've ordered the cookbook it came from. I read an article in the Times about it a few weeks ago and knew I wanted it.

Shrimp were peeled -- time to chop vegetables. But first, a Civ III break.

...

Ok, so the Babylonians are crowding me, and I'm getting pissed. I finish the recipe. I've made rice at some point, a lot, so that we'll have leftovers. I use long-grain popcorn rice from Crowley, LA, so called because the taste is reminiscent of buttered popcorn. Once the veggies are chopped, the recipe throws together very quickly, and in no time at all I have a bowl of steaming rice smothered in hot pink shrimp and buttery, oniony liquid. Wonderful. I don't like to add much salt and pepper, as I like the subtlety of the scallions to show through. It was a bit too bland for Jeff, though.

To drink with, I had sweet tea made by a company in Austin that wisely took advantage of the market gap in this town caused by our inexplicable refusal in Texas to prepare sweet tea as in the South. They're starting to develop a market outside Texas now -- check 'em out.

I'll have leftovers for lunch at work tomorrow.

Later tonight I might make a blackberry clafoutis. Or maybe a peach and blackberry tart, instead.