One of the things I most love about vacationing at the Swamp House with family is the diversity in food. Sure, some nights we go out to our favorite (or hopeful new favorite) restaurants, but most nights the guests cook in, taking turns to come up with and serve meals for the group. It’s a tradition that is both cherished and practical- each guest bears the creative and financial burden of hosting once, which gives the opportunity to show off in the kitchen and then, after your turn is over, play the happy customer. I love being on both sides of the table- as the person cooking and serving, and as the hungry vacationer scooching my chair closer to that long wooden table. Over the years we’ve had some incredible meals at that table, seafood boils and banana pudding and more pickled okra than you can imagine. For some reason food just tastes better sitting there surrounded by the glory of a simple fisherman’s cottage.
photo by dan
This year Dan and I had the pleasure of cooking for the Capt’n, my brother Ryan, and his girlfriend Erin. After a fair amount of stress on my part we decided on an old favorite, grilled grouper and vegetables with creamy grits. There’s something so simple and perfectly delicious about grilled fish, marinated in olive oil and spices, and charred vegetables, especially paired with a smoky, creamy, spicy plate of cheese grits. It was swamp house dining at its best.
Our week at the beach was wonderful, grouper and grits included. We dove, we swam in the creek, we went kayaking in the marsh, we ate, we listened to music, we explored Beaufort, we saw great friends and family. We took a day trip down to Wilmington, a place we could easily see ourselves hanging our hats. We took in the Beaufort Pirate Invasion, drank and read and played guitar on the porch, laid in the hammock for hours. It was everything we needed, and more. That magical place always delivers.
Sitting there on the porch with my dad and brother joking about grandbabies (the Capt’n’s favorite subject), I couldn’t help but imagine all the dinners we’ll cook for our family in that kitchen, all the meals we’ll serve at that table. As siblings get married, families grow, it’s nice knowing that the Swamp House will always be there for us, ready for another round.
photo by dan
2 lbs grouper, cubed
3 bell peppers, red & green
1 red onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp chipotle
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
In one bowl toss the grouper in half of the oil and spices. Set aside. Chop and seed vegetables (split jalapeños in half and seed them) and toss in remaining oil and spices. Arrange on skewers. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side, until grouper is cooked through. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve.