Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Childress Wines (and Shrimp & Grits)

The year after I graduated from college, I lived in Durham, North Carolina. I was there as an AmeriCorps Member with Habitat for Humanity so I spent most of my time on the construction site (which is why my friends are always coercing me into hanging pictures and shelves fort them!). I’ve always said that of all of the places where I’ve lived—which includes South Jersey, Los Angeles where I went to college, NC and now NYC—I’d move back to NC in a heartbeat if I had reason to. There was just something about the people, the pace of live, the vibe of it all that suited me.

And while my life is pretty far from that at the moment (I have fond memories of taking the long way to the grocery store so that I could drive through winding farmland), I am always interested in hearing about what’s going on down there. Particularly when it comes to crafts and food. And wine.

I met with the lovely folks from the NC tourism board a year or so ago while working at the magazine and they were recently in touch to share some information about an event at Childress Winery in Lexington, NC on April 24. (If you didn’t know, the state has a huge wine industry!) They are having a white wine release party to release the new 2008 vintages and they will be showing off how the wines pair up with various foods.

Richard, a former Nascar driver, started the vineyard and his daughter Tina Dillon came up with the idea of pairing food and with the new wines. Here’s a sneak peak at the menu for the event so we can all imagine the fun they will have. (If anyone is in the area and happens to be going to the event, please send a report!)

-Barrel Select Chardonnay with Cabot Cheddar Cheese Trio and Shrimp and Grits
-Pinot Gris and The Bistro’s Creamy Crab Dip with Roasted Pablano, Silver Queen Corn, Carmelized Onion, Monterey Jack, and Cream Cheese and Toasted Baguettes
-Sauvignon Blanc and The Bistro Spinach Salad Tossed with Fresh Strawberries, Dried Bananas and Pineapple, Goat Cheese Crumbles,Sugared Pecans, Crispy Proscuitto and Served with Balsamic Raspberry Infused Vinaigrette
-Viognier and The Bistro’s Honey Walnut Chicken Salad
-Riesling and Junior Johnson Country Ham Biscuit
-Late Harvest Viognier with Southern Pecan Pie and Strawberry Shortcakes

(Image above from Letie's Culinaria)

And just for fun, I thought I’d share the Shrimp and Grits recipe because I know that it would be my favorite of the offerings.

Chef David Thomas’ Shrimp & Grits
Yields 6 to 8 nice portions

4 cups water
½ cup cream
2 oz butter
Little salt and white pepper
Dash of Cajun spice
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp (41/50 count)
Chopped tomato or tomato salsa
Chives or Scallions for garnish

Bring water to a boil; add cream, butter, and seasoning.
Gradually whisk in corn grits whisking constantly. Simmer until done about 20 minutes until thickened. Add cheese, taste and re-season if needed.
Sautée shrimp 2 pounds in a little bit of ¼ to ½ stick of butter and 2 tsps. olive oil
Season with a little Cajun spice and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until done
Spoon grits into shallow bowl and top with shrimp. Garnish with tomatoes, or tomato salsa, chive or scallion garnishes


  1. all that looks so yummy! And i love NC wines.

  2. I am going Friday and very excited. I know the wine and food will live up to all I have come to expect at Childress Vineyards.

  3. The shrimp amd grits recipe sounds delicious! I never knew NC had a big wine idustry.

  4. It doesn't say how much corn grits to use in the recipe or I may be losing it and it is right in front of my face and I can't see it lol, that happens some times :)

  5. Hi Amy,

    I came across your blog today.

    I have lived in NYC and NJ. I moved to NC about a year ago. I currently work at Childress! I love this recipe.

    I am glad I came across your blog.