Summer evenings in the Lowcountry are perfect for a cold glass of lemonade and some relaxation on the front porch. While enjoying a few minutes of solitude and browsing through some pictures from this past Spring here in The Land of Palm Trees a couple of images caught my eye: Lowcountry Classics.
Other than maybe palm trees and live oaks, no other tree is reminiscent of the "Old South" as the Magnolia Grandiflora, commonly called the Southern Magnolia. The large white flower was even used as a symbol for the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Alleys canopied by tall evergreen Southern Magnolias are found all over the South, especially in and around the Lowcountry, often serving as driveways to the past on plantations and farmhouses. The landscape designers who planned and planted our neighborhood obviously had reason to incorporate newly planted Southern Magnolias into the design for White Gables as evidenced by the several towering mature Magnolia trees near the entry to the neighborhood. In fact, our entire street is lined on both sides of the street with the trees, that will one day undoubtedly form a canopy to frame the street.
While on the subject of Lowcountry Classics, the conversation would be imperfect without mentioning the Lowcountry Boil. The term, Lowcountry Boil, is actually a bit ambiguous, at least a double entendre since it is not only the name given to the hearty seafood stew being prepared, but it also represents the proper name for the social gathering that features the classic dish. The dish has various names: Frogmore Stew, Beaufort Stew, and Beaufort Boil are just a few but no matter what you call it, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Just as there are many names for the one-pot feast, there are several variations on the recipe. Basically, the concoction is comprised of chunks of sausage, shrimp, corn-on-the-cob, chunks of red potatoes, slices of pepper, onion and lemon-halves boiling over an open flame in a large pot. The dish can be as spicy as you want, but Old Bay Season and Zatarains Creole Seasoning always find their way into my boil. There is a bit of an art to the preparation, and the shrimp always go in last, since you don't want to over cook the prawns.
But, the entree is only half of the Lowcountry Boil, the other half? The social aspect along with the presentation, newspapers spread over the top of a picnic table, set the stage for a great way to spend a Lowcountry evening. Of course there are "condiments" interspersed around the table, i.e. Pabst Blue Ribbon, the cheaper the lager the better. If you are really wanting to "put on the dog" you might follow dinner with a big ol' bowl of banana pudding and a fire in the fire pit is perfect for enjoying a nightcap of fine American Bourbon. I can hear the tree frogs calling my name. Goodnight Y'all.