TUPELO • Troy Neuhaus said when he was growing up, his parents’ home was always the gathering place for dinner parties, and he has followed suit.

“We’re always entertaining friends,” Neuhaus said. “We have friends over at least once a week, and the kids come to eat two to three times a week.”

Neuhaus, 57, was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and moved to Tupelo when he was 6. He and his wife, Robin, started dating in the ninth grade at Carver School, then went on to Ole Miss together. They’ve been married 33 years and have two children, Zeke and Allye.

“After high school, I contemplated going to culinary school, but Robin and I were dating and I didn’t want to be that far away,” said Neuhaus, who works for BHT ReSources, which recycles cooking oil.

In a way, culinary school came to Neuhaus. In 1999, he bought Sir Antony’s Bakery in the old Gloster Creek Village (now Midtown Pointe), from restaurateur Antony Jacobs.

“When I bought it, our contract said he’d stay with me for a month,” Neuhaus said. “He ended up working for me for six and a half years. I learned so much from him – knife skills, tastes, plating designs, some sauces.”

Jacobs also introduced him to two cookbooks that he still has in his kitchen today: “The Saucier’s Apprentice” by Raymond Sokolov and “Le Repertoire de la Cuisine” by Louis Saulnier.

“It’s funny, I rarely bake bread anymore and that was Sir Antony’s specialty,” Neuhaus said. “I don’t do cookies anymore either. I just don’t enjoy doing it with home equipment.”

He does, however, cook supper just about every night. That might look like burgers and fries, or shrimp fettuccine and a salad or boneless pork chops and grilled vegetables.

“If we’re having couples over, I might make lasagna,” he said. “If I’m grilling, it could be chicken thighs or steaks – it just depends on my mood. It could be sausage and chicken wings or chargrilled oysters.”

Neuhaus said he often tries new recipes, but you won’t find him poring over a cookbook.

“If I want to try something new, I go online and look at six or seven varieties of that recipe,” he said. “Then I shut the computer and make my own version. I typically don’t measure anything.”

Neuhaus and his wife like to get out of town when they can, and are looking forward to a trip to the beach.

“When we go to Destin, Orange Beach, Perdido, we have certain restaurants we go to,” he said. “We’re going in September and we already have reservations at several places.”

SHRIMP AND GRITS

1 cup quick grits

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Salt and pepper

1 pound bacon, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds raw (26- to 30-count) shrimp, peeled

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 cups sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons white wine

2 cups sliced green onions

Cook grits according to package directions. Whisk in butter, Cheddar, Parmesan, cayenne, paprika and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon. Remove from heat and reserve bacon and drippings. Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add olive oil and 2 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings. Add shrimp and saute until the shrimp are pink; remove shrimp from pan. Let pan return to original hot temperature. Stir in garlic, bacon bits and mushrooms, stirring often so garlic doesn’t burn. Add lemon juice and wine. Cook for 2 minutes, then add shrimp and onions. Stir until everything is well coated, about 30 seconds.

To serve, make a ring around each plate with grits and fill the middle with the shrimp mixture.

HOT CRAB SANDWICH

1 1/4 pounds king crabmeat, cut into pieces

1 1/4 cups mayonnaise

2 to 3 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

12 tomato slices

6 English muffins, sliced in half

12 slices Mozzarella cheese

Chopped lettuce (optional)

In a bowl, combine crabmeat, mayonnaise, onions, seasoned salt and lemon juice. Place a tomato slice on each muffin half. Arrange crab salad on top of tomato slices. Top each with a slice of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until brown. Serves 6.

MILLION-DOLLAR DIP

2 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise

1/2 cup horseradish (1 jar)

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound cooked, peeled shrimp

1 (6-ounce) can whole water chestnuts

1 (8-ounce) can pitted black olives, drained (optional)

1 (8-ounce) jar whole mushrooms, drained

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until reach to serve. Serve with toothpicks – no crackers or chips necessary.

PIMIENTO CHEESE

1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon chopped sage

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

8 ounces grated Colby cheese

8 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained

Salt and pepper

Dash of hot pepper sauce

With a rubber spatula, combine mayonnaise, sage, lemon juice, dry mustard, cayenne and Worcestershire. Add two cheeses and pimientos and blend. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Makes 2 cups.

MARYLAND CRAB CAKES

1/4 cup cracker meal or finely ground saltines

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon minced onion

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Dash of Old Bay seasoning

1 pound lump crab meat

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 stick butter

Combine cracker meal, mayonnaise, egg, onion, Worcestershire, dry mustard and Old Bay. Pour over crab meat and toss gently. Form mixture into 4 to 6 crab cakes, then roll in bread crumbs. Heat butter in a skillet and fry crab cakes until golden brown.

BEEF BRISKET

1 (5- to 7-pound) beef brisket

Liquid Smoke

Garlic salt

Onion salt

Celery salt

Paprika

Salt and pepper

Ground nutmeg

Brown sugar

Worcestershire sauce

Place brisket on a large piece of foil. Lightly pour Liquid Smoke over the top of the brisket and rub it all over the top. Sprinkle garlic salt, onion salt, celery salt, paprika and salt and pepper over the top of brisket. Wrap the brisket in foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove brisket from the refrigerator and sprinkle ground nutmeg over the top, then cover with brown sugar. Sprinkle with Worcestershire and refrigerate overnight again.

The next day, bake the foil-wrapped brisket at 275 degrees for 4 to 5 hours. This is good served on rolls with a horseradish/mayonnaise sauce.

FAVORITE SLAW

4 1/2 cups shredded cabbage

2 carrots, chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper

2 1/4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup black pepper (this is correct)

2 tablespoons garlic salt

2 tablespoons seasoned salt

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 cup mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

DO YOU KNOW A GOOD COOK? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can call Ginna at (662) 678-1581 or email them to ginna.parsons@journalinc.com.

ginna.parsons@journalinc.com

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