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A treat for the empty nest

By   /   January 20, 2012  /   Comments Off



Well, My husband Rick and I are suffering from “empty nest” syndrome. We got both our young adult children off to college this week. It sounds like a good thing to be the two of us again, but we really miss them. We are so thankful to have good, smart kids and know it’s the natural progression of life, and it’s all good. One thing I look forward to is to be able to eat what and where we want to – I say this with a smile!  We will look forward to them coming home, and I will prepare all their favorites with gladness. Until then, Rick and I will make us some Shrimp-Corn Chowder and enjoy eating it together or maybe we will invite somebody to share it.

Shrimp – Corn Chowder

5 bacon strips

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup diced or shredded carrots

½ cup chopped onions

3 tablespoons flour

4 cups water

1 bay leaf

2 cups diced potatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large can evaporated milk

1 to 1½ pounds peeled shrimp

1 large can cream style corn


Fry bacon in Dutch oven until crisp. Set aside. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of grease; sauté celery, carrots and onions. Stir in flour. Add water, bay leaf, potatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer about ½ hour. Add evaporated milk, peeled shrimp and corn. Simmer until shrimp are pink. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon before serving.

This is my Aunt Rachel’s recipe. It’s hearty and good. I think of her every time I make it, and it brings a smile to my face. Hope you enjoy.





Are you suffering from the winter blues? Have a beach party!! Invite some friends, have a little fun and lift someone else’s spirits! I think we all get a little cabin fever in the winter. Decorate your table with bright colors, add some raw grits for sand and use some sea shells, add some colorful flowers, and fun china to chase away the blues. Boil some shrimp, make a salad, a light dessert, and crusty bread; or, do a low country boil – everything in one pot – easy and good!!

Low Country Boil

(Serves 4 to 6)

1 lemon, cut in half

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning

1 small onion, cut into four pieces

2 cloves of garlic

1 pound of red potatoes, cut in fourths

1 pound of link sausage (your favorite kind), cut into 2½ to 3 inch pieces

Corn on the cob, halves or cobbettes, fresh or frozen – 2 ears per person

¼ pound per person of raw shrimp (tail on)

Start with a large pot; fill half full with water; add lemon, bay leaves, Old Bay Seasoning, onion and cloves of garlic. Bring all this to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add in layers: red potatoes, link sausage, corn on the cob, raw shrimp. (See below)

Cook potatoes first until not quite done. Add sausage and corn and cook until starts to boil. Put the shrimp in the pot last. Be sure everything else for your dinner is ready before adding shrimp – the salad, bread, cocktail sauce. The shrimp only takes a few minutes to turn pink. Don’t overcook or they will be tough. Don’t forget some good mustard for the sausage.

Drain and pour the low country boil onto a large platter. Have a lot of napkins!! It’s fun and easy!! Add some music and good conversation; you will forget it’s winter!! Hope you enjoy!!

May God Bless You and Lift Your Spirits!!



Elaine Barrett, along with husband, Rick, owns and operates The Flower Gazebo on Washington St., in downtown Albany and is part of a family of excellent southern cooks. She recently she has written and published a cookbook, “In the Kitchen with Elaine”.

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