Girls Surprise Ronnie & We Cook Shrimp

Maren called me about 3 weeks ago to arrange a surprise visit on Thursday, February 12th.  Unbeknown to Ronnie,  Kari was flying to Charleston and along with Maren and Thea they were heading to Amelia Island for a girls weekend with old high school pals.  Drive to Fripp Island on Thursday, spend the night here and on south to Amelia Island on Friday morning.  So,  my job was to keep the secret and figure out how to come up with something for dinner after they arrived.  Since Ronnie loves shrimp,  the night before the girls were to arrive I asked her to pick out a shrimp recipe and told her I would pick up the ingredients since I had to go to Beaufort the next day anyway.   Easy,  I would simply get two pounds of fresh shrimp instead of one and an extra box of risotto.

At the other end, Thea and Maren had to pick up Kari at the Charleston airport and drop off dogs but hoped to get here by 6PM. I kept Ronnie busy in the kitchen talking until 6 then 6:30.  It was getting dark so I slipped into the entry hall to turn on an outside light in front. I kept her busy explaining to me how Maren’s upcoming beach wedding was going to work.  The girls pulled into the driveway with lights out very slowly about 7PM then crept around the side and  quietly up onto the back porch.  Ronnie’s back was to the kitchen door and, SURPRISE ! They were in the house before she turned around. She just couldn’t believe her eyes.

They were hungry so a snack before starting to cook was in order. Kari found cream cheese and some spicy stuff to put on it.

It was quickly devoured with some white wine and lots of talk.

Time to start the serious cooking so Thea began the salad while Ronnie started on the entree,   Creamy Shrimp Risotto.

Step one  for the entree is to saute some red onions in olive oil until tender then stir in the risotto.  Next add some white wine, bring to boil and cook the wine down. Add the first cup of chicken broth, bring to a boil stirring vigorously then cover and reduce to simmer for five minutes.  This last step of adding chicken broth, bringing to boil and simmering for five minutes gets repeated 5 or 6 times. Thus the risotto absorbs the broth and softens.  Near the end a box of frozen peas is added and the last step is to put the shrimp in and stir for a few minutes until they all turn pink. Below are a few scenes:

This version of risotto is healthy but the version with lots of parmesan cheese is really sinful. At any rate, the meal was a success. The girls talked and I washed dishes. I went to bed. They stayed up late but next day they all looked good and ready for the 4 hour drive to Amelia Island. It was a lot of fun.next-morning

Fripp Family Vacation

It got very quiet yesterday a little after 8AM when Brad’s and Maz’s cars left . Ronnie was real sad, maybe a little extra so because Maren and Thea had left the day before and poor old Brady was sick. And Kathy and family had left two days before. It was too short. We had the house cleaned up, the car packed and were outa there by 9. This morning there were two fishing boats in the driveway in front and a trailer with ski doos in back. Another week, another group.

The week was a blur but I remember who did the cooking each day and what they cooked because dinner time was always the highlight.

Ronnie did her Mexican Fiesta chicken crock pot dish on Sunday but she did it in the oven in a roasting pan because the crock pot wasn’t big enough. We all loved it and we kept eating it for the next two or three days.

We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs on Monday night. I had cheeseburgers for lunch for two days afterward. The grills were poorly vented and I had to start over with new charcoal partway into it. It took forever but surprisingly they were really good.

The kids went to the beach and or pool every day and Tuesday was no exception.

I think It was Tuesday that Ken and Maz did a chicken wrap dish. They spent all day on it, including a trip to the supermarket in Beaufort, boning the chicken then finally cooking it. These two guys did a great job.

The rest of the gang played Scattergories while the cooking was underway.

Maren, Michael and Thea joined the party on Wednesday and before dinner Hannah, Kayla and Jillie put on a dance review on the screened porch. It was highly rehearsed and a real crowd pleaser. Brad did his Shrimp Creole that night. It was outstanding.

Thursday, the Anderson girls did Mexican night. Yummmm!

Thursday and Friday there was football and hoola hoops on the beach

Friday, we made 8 pizzas including plain cheese, pepperoni, veggie, and tomato, olive oil and feta. After dinner the hoola hoop competition got under way. My personal favorite was Brandon because he could keep it going in the most bizarre positions, although Alex is a natural. He makes it look easy.

Saturday we went back to an old kids favorite, shrimp pie and crab cakes