• Tommy Centola

Celebrating milestone

Today’s article is a special one. This is my 100th column that I have had the pleasure of sharing with the readers of the Daily Citizen. It has been two years of joy for me. I have had conservations around town with readers who have offered encouragement and thanks for sharing my love of cooking.

So how do I celebrate this milestone with my readers. Today, I will be sharing with you a couple of recipes from my upcoming second cookbook, Creole Shrimp and Grits and Mom’s Pineapple Dessert. These recipes are taken directly from the manuscript. You will be the first to see these recipes in print. I hope you enjoy them.

Creole Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits originated as a breakfast dish in the low country of coastal South & North Carolina and Georgia. It has become ever present on menus around the country. Of course in Louisiana, we put a local twist on it. Here is a Creole version.

2 pounds Medium-Sized Shrimp (26/30 count), peeled and deveined

3 cups Seafood Stock

4 tablespoons Butter

1/3 cup All-purpose Flour

1 medium Onion, finely chopped

2 Celery Ribs, finely chopped

1 Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

6 ounce Tomato Paste

1 Bay Leaf

Heat butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is caramel colored ( about 8 to 10 minutes). Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in Creole seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Add the tomato paste and stir until it evenly coats all of the vegetables. Slowly add the seafood stock, stirring constantly, to create a thick sauce. Add the bay leaf, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, from 45 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook 10 minutes, stirring in more stock to reach desired consistency. Serve over Cheese Grits.

Cheese Grits


3/4 cup Quick Grits

3 cups Water

1/4 teaspoon Salt

2 tablespoons Butter

2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the grits and salt. Stir well with a whisk, Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and cheese. Keep covered until ready to serve.

Mom’s Pineapple Dessert

Here is a recipe that my mom would make for a covered dish, or pot luck dinners. This is a perfect dessert when the weather is warm. The pineapple leaves you feeling refreshed. Most comfort foods, I find, leave you feeling full. This is the perfect way to finish off your comfort food dinner.

1 cup Butter, melted

1 1/4 cup Flour

1 1/2 cups and 2 tablespoons Sugar, divided

20 ounce can Crushed Pineapple

4 Egg Yolks

1 tablespoon Corn Starch

4 Egg Whites

Preheat oven to 325℉.

Mix butter with flour and 2 tablespoons sugar. Pat into a 9x12-inch pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Put the pineapple in a saucepan and thicken with egg yolks, cornstarch and 1/2 cup sugar. Over medium heat, bring to a boil and spread over the flour mixture. Cover this with meringue made by beating the egg whites with 1 cup of sugar until they form very stiff peaks. Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and cool in oven for 1 hour.

I am currently looking for a new publisher for my book, since my previous one has closed shop. I hope to have it available next year. I can’t wait for it to be released.

It has been a wonderful journey these past two years. I can’t wait to see what the next 100 columns bring. I hope you are excited as I am.

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