In an effort to beat the sweltering, oppressive Texas heat, I served my family Grilled Shrimp Po’Boys this weekend. I did have to brave the soaring temps to grill the shrimp, but it was well worth the sweat. LuLu and her guy Mr. T, came for a visit this weekend and I needed a dish I could make ahead and serve upon their rather late arrival.
I haven’t had a shrimp or oyster po’ boy all summer and I thought this would be a good time to serve something cool and light. My man Dan and I made a trip to Central Market to buy “hatch chiles” and while there I was able to get gulf shrimp. My favorite, which you know if you’ve followed my blog. (More on how I’ve used the hatch later in the week.) Having my daughter and her guy for a visit was the perfect excuse to do a little special cooking. I know for a fact they enjoy “moms” home-cooking. It is one of the little pleasures of having your kids move on and come for visits, they seem to appreciate what once was taken for granted, a delicious, lovingly prepared, home-cooked meal served with a smile.
The po’ boys were perfect for a late night summer meal. I wanted light and refreshing, not too heavy on the mayo. I came up with a combo using fresh tarragon, garlic and lemon, with just a bit of mayo to bind it all together. I marinated the shrimp in lemon, white wine and garlic for a couple of hours earlier in the day, then grilled them, allowing them to cool before chopping and adding to the dressing ingredients. This mixture kept perfectly in the refrigerator until ready to be made into our dinner. Easy, easy and so tasty. The combo of sweet yet spicy tarragon, with garlic and lemon is a delightful mixture that also goes well with chicken. This will be a meal I’ll make a few more times before summer slips away. I hope you’ll try it too.
It is now Sunday afternoon, a lazy Sunday for my man and me. Kids gone, heat blazing outdoors, and no pressing matters which to attend. Rather nice! Oh and football on TV, somehow it seems too soon for this great game to already be broadcast for our viewing pleasure, the best thing about it is, it reminds me that cool, crisp fall days are around the corner. Fall is my favorite season, chilled, fresh air, beautiful colors of red, orange, and gold decorate the landscape, deeper blue skies and vibrant sunsets dominate my little corner of Texas and my soul feels refreshed after the long hot summer.
Speaking of long hot summer, below you’ll see a photo of how the ‘bee yard’ currently looks. In an attempt to help my bees survive the 60 some odd days of temps over 100* we rigged up these tarps to give some much-needed shade for the hives. Every hive has a shim to give extra ventilation too. While the house slept, early this morning, I ventured out to feed Queen Anne and Queen Elena and their colonies. I shot these photos in the early morning light with hundreds of busy bees already out for their daily runs. I was thrilled to see many bees returning to the hives carrying pollen. Very creamy, light-colored pollen. I am not sure the source but it’s been a while since I’ve observed them carrying pollen and they need pollen stores for the winter. Pollen is a source of protein for bees. This was a good morning!
Queen Elena’s colony grew by about 500 bees earlier this week with the rescue of a cluster of bees, left behind when their hive was removed. My man, Dan and I had removed a hive of bees in the floor of a storage shed, a bee call from a guy named Scott. It was dangerously hot on the day we removed the hive, but it was a successful removal. I found the queen after we brought them home and set them up in the apiary. 2 days later Scott called to say there were still a few bees hanging around the old hive site. I decided to go and get them and reunite them with their colony in my bee yard. Capturing the cluster was simple and we headed home ready to pour them into their new hive.
Now, it gets interesting! When I went out to the bee yard to add them into Mary, Queen of Scotts hive I removed the cover and didn’t see many bees milling around. Hmmmm…removing a few frames revealed that Mary was no longer in residence nor were her girls. Only a few remained, meaning they had swarmed. This was my first experience with a hive of bees leaving my apiary. If I speculate correctly, they didn’t find a good food source in their new surroundings and decided to take off. Maybe I should have put a queen excluder on the hive to prevent this action. Decided to chalk that up as a learning experience and move on to the more pressing matter of what to do with the 500 bees I’d just brought home from Scotts!
Knowing that they were now without a queen and probably hungry I drew on some past experiences and decided to go with the newspaper trick of combining bees. I knew hives Anne and Elena could both be larger, I chose to put them in Elena’s hive as it is the smallest in number of bees. My next obstacle was how to feed both Elena and her girls and feed the new ones until they all decided to live in harmony in one hive with one jar of syrup. It was so hot outside that I covered everyone up and came back up to the house to problem solve. Remember -“bee keeping is nothin’ but problem solving!” After giving it some thought and cooling off I came up with a scheme.
Here it is; I placed an inner cover with a hole larger than a jar lid as the top to Elena’s hive. I placed the sugar syrup jar over the hole and covered the rest of the hole with newspaper. Next I added a super on top of that, placed 4 frames of comb from the hive I’d removed at Scotts and poured in the 500 bees. This left room for the feeder jar and gave the bees a place to hang out, (on the frames). They also would hopefully smell Queen Elena and eat through the newspaper to meet her – peacefully! Then I put another cover with a hole for a feeder jar as the top and added a jar of sugar syrup for the new girls to drink from. On top of this I put a deep hive body and a lid, to protect the syrup from direct sunlight and heat. I was pretty proud of myself and crossed my fingers that my solution to unite the bees would be effective.
Queen Elena – is the larger bee in the center of the photo.
I waited 2 days and went out to see if the bees had eaten through the newspaper and were co-mingling. To my delight they had eaten through the paper and were all going and coming as a happy family. I removed the paper and kept the top super, filling in the empty spaces with new frames and foundation, replaced the top with a jar of syrup and put on the roof! Upon inspection today everyone seems happy and busy. I am sorry that Mary Queen of Scotts left but happy for the opportunity to enlarge a small colony and do some problem solving. Each problem solved is written in a journal and will be used for reference in the future. Welcome to bee keeping!
Now for the recipe. Enjoy!
Grilled Shrimp Po’Boys
1# fresh shrimp, peeled
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced – divided
1 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
1/8 cup light mayo
juice of two lemons – divided
fresh ground pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
Fresh hoagie or sub rolls
Place shrimp in a large baggie and add olive oil, juice of one lemon, 1/2 clove of chopped garlic, white wine, and a few turns of fresh ground pepper. Allow shrimp to marinate 1-2 hours. Meantime, prepare dressing with remaining ingredients (celery-pepper). Mix well.
Grill shrimp over medium hot grill until pink. After shrimp have cooled, chop and add to remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. I split fresh hoagie rolls, toasted slightly and filled with the shrimp mixture. We enjoyed this light meal with fresh slices of watermelon and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc!