April 2015: Shrimp Creole a la Liz with help from NOLA Cuisine
2 lbs. Peeled and Deveined Shrimp, save shells to make Shrimp Stock**** (I didn’t make this, cheated and bought seafood stock and cooked the shrimp in it and then added to the sauce right before serving)
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
2 Ribs Celery, finely chopped
1 small Green Pepper, finely Chopped
2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2-1/2 Cups Very Ripe Fresh Tomatoes, Diced
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Cups Shrimp Stock (recipe here)
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
2 Bay leaves
Cayenne to taste
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt to taste
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp White Pepper
1 bunch Fresh Thyme
2 Tbsp Tabasco
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup Green Onions, green tops thinly sliced, white part sliced into 1/4″ thickness
1/8 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, minced
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan with the vegetable oil over medium high heat. When the butter begins to froth add 1/2 cup of the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown. Add the remaining onions, celery, and bell pepper, reduce the heat to medium and season with 1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning and a healthy pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetables until soft.
Add the tomato paste mixing well, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to brown, then add the fresh tomatoes and another healthy pinch of Kosher salt, this will help the tomatoes break down. Stir well.
When the tomatoes start to break down into liquid add the white wine, and turn the heat to high until most of the alcohol burns off. Add the Shrimp Stock, remaining Creole seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne (to taste), and Thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.
(If necessary at this point thicken the sauce with 1 Tbsp Cornstarch/ 2Tbsp water. Bring to a boil to maximize the thickening power of the cornstarch.)
Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, and season to taste with Kosher salt. Last chance to re-season your sauce, remember that good cooking is all about proper seasoning. Make your Boiled Rice, and season your shrimp with 1 Tbsp Kosher salt and a pinch of Cayenne.
Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and add the shrimp. The key is to not overcook your shrimp. Let them slowly simmer in the sauce until just cooked through.
erve with boiled rice and garnish with the remaining green onions and parsley.
June 2014: The best salmon salad ever served by Karen C. No direct connection to the month’s book, American Gods, except the salmon was epic. Oh, and there was the ‘storm’ over the new vs. old gods of salmon fishing (farmed vs. wild caught) – see here for the debate.
Epic Salmon: Costco farmed Atlantic, frozen in 4 percent salt solution, from Norway; $6 per pound. Follow directions on (flash frozen) package. Option: marinate in lemon juice, salt, olive oil, dill all afternoon. Grill for ~3 minutes on each side. Allow to sit. Serve with salad of small potatoes, crisp green beans, beets, hard-boiled eggs, dark greens, & vinaigrette dressing.
The Traditional Bootleg Meal
Recipes, Instructions & Tips
Green Salad by Karen Schuler 2013
– Look for interesting greens (sometimes adding fresh herbs as greens in the summer is great.|
– Add other stuff (what’s left in the fridge, what’s on sale at the store, something that adds texture/crunch, etc.)
– 1/3 vinegar (rice wine, balsamic, champagne, whatever — can also use other acids like lemon juice/orange juice)
– 1/2-2/3 oil (usually olive oil)
– dollop of Dijon mustard
– sometimes pressed garlic (1 clove)
– sometimes tsp sugar
– salt to taste
– I always use my leftover Dijon mustard jar — Hint from Heloise Alert: I always make dressing in a jar that has bits of mustard left on the walls/around the bottom so I can use every last ounce of mustard
Fruit Salad a la Mary Sing 2013
For best results channel Carmen Miranda at prep time.
I select for variety in color/shape/texture for fruits. When picking for salad, I like to have at least three colors and two shapes for the pieces (ie: not all red fruits, and not all cut up rectangle pieces. Nice variations are roundish grapes, whole or halved strawberries, one melon in cubes, whole blueberries. You get the ideas.
It’s easy to tell the overall quality of grapes/strawberries/raspberries/ blueberries/blackberries by appearance (looking fresh, not squishy, no moldy parts or weird spots).
When selecting melons: I sort of do that “smell the melon” thing…where it was attached to the vine. If it smells really strongly of that melon: i usually think that’s too ripe. With cantalopes: not too soft or green. With honeydews: not too soft or green. With watermelon: good color of rind (not lots of whitish less ripe areas). Pineapples: same smell thing and ripe look, but not too ripe.
Prepare salad as close to book club time as you can. I avoid bananas as they get squishy. Oranges add a nice different flavor, and they keep apples from getting brown.
And a beautiful bowl for it all.
Marie’s Truly Easy Pineapple Souffle 2013
Goes great with ham as a side dish. Tastes great as a microwaved leftover. Serves 6-8.
½ to ¾ cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple (not drained)
¾ load King Hawaiian Sweetbread (or 1 package King original sweetbread rolls) torn into small chunks
– Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Cream well. Fold in pineapple. Add bread. Pour into a 1-2 quart casserole.
– Bake 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees, until lightly browned on top.