Friday, August 11, 2017

Crawfish Cornbread

Man, I can't remember the last time I posted! Do you? I'm pretty sure I gave you the recipe for my creamy shrimp and grits that I made a while back for "date night in" with my husband. Well, here's the crawfish cornbread I made with it.

When we were in New Orleans back in January, I picked up a Cajun cookbook for beginners. OK, who am I kidding? I picked up several! But this one had a recipe for Cajun cornbread and it seemed just the thing to go with our shrimp and grits.

I had Gerald stop at the fish market on the way home for shrimp, and I told him to pick up a pound of fresh crawfish. Usually they have them, but this time, he got this. Hummmm. Product of Egypt. Southern, yes, but not our kind of South! Well, I decided to give it a try. Not fresh, but not bad. And I had already prepped my ingredients, so I rolled with it.  

I began by finely dicing half an onion, half a red bell pepper and a stalk of celery. I sauteed this in a tablespoon of EVOO until soft, but no color.

Next I added a half pound of the crawfish meat that I had roughly chopped. Saute until warmed through. Set aside and allow to cool.

I measured out one cup of cornmeal (I use the yellow self rising), one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of baking powder, and placed them in a large bowl. I also threw in a heaping teaspoon of the Magic Shrimp seasoning I used in the main dish.

I mixed in an egg and half a stick of melted butter. Then stir in a cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

Finally, mix in cooled veggies/crawfish mixture and stir well.

Pour into a greased and heated skillet and top with more grated cheddar. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to sit for about 5 minutes before cutting.

This tasty cornbread played nicely with the rich and creamy shrimp and grits!

I'm sure it would have been better with fresh and local crawfish, but this wasn't bad!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Creamy Shrimp and Grits

Gerald and I had a delicious dinner date - at home! - the other night. The kids were gone somewhere, and he asked me out to dinner! Instead, I had him pick up some nice shrimp at the fish market on his way home. I took time to set the table, and in the end, it was way better (and way cheaper!) than going out.

I've been making shrimp and grits a long time, and I have several ways to do it. But I had a couple of new things I wanted to try.

First, this is a smoked gouda cheese that I found at the deli section in Walmart. It is delicious! It's melts like butter and has a subtle smoky flavor that is divine. I use it on grilled cheese sometimes. Yumm. I'll tell you about the other new thing in a minute...

I grated a cup of this cheese on my fine grater. Be sure and grate the rind into it. This isn't like a red waxy cheddar rind, but more of a smoke ring from the curing of the cheese. It adds so much flavor.

I use Jim Dandy quick grits. NOTE - a true Southerner would NEVER use instant grits. And since Mama has always used Jim Dandy, I know I must be right! I cooked them with milk, not water, to add a little more richness. Be sure to add more salt than called for at the beginning. I usually double what the instructions call for. You can't ever add enough salt to cooked grits. Do it right the first time!

I stirred in the cheese until it was melted. I cooked my grits as I prepped my veggies for the shrimp. I covered them, and it was fine. If they thicken a little too much, add a little warm water and whisk over low heat.

This is a new ingredient I got while we were in New Orleans a few months ago. 

We tried all kinds of new places while we were there, but our favorite (we ate there twice) was The Creole House, next to our hotel. The manager was so friendly and actually brought us several things to just try! She and I swapped some recipes, and she's the one who told me about the Magic Shrimp Seasoning. I picked some up at Central Grocery while I was there.

I began by prepping my veggies. I chopped one stalk of celery, cut up a red bell pepper into strips, cut a small onion into strips (cut it pole to pole) and chopped a lot of garlic. Probably about three or four large cloves. All this needs to be done ahead of time.

Next, I peeled my shrimp and patted them dry. Then I liberally seasoned it on both sides with the shrimp seasoning. Set aside.

I chopped two slices of bacon and sauteed it in a large non-stick pan.

Break it up as it cooks.

When the fat is rendered and it is beginning to get crispy...

add your veggies and shrimp.
Saute for about four minutes or until crisp tender.

Add 1/4 cup of flour...

and stir until coated.

Add two cups of half and half and mix well.

Stir continuously over medium high heat until it thickens.

Plate and serve immediately.

This is a little different from the brown gravy recipe for shrimp and grits. It's very rich and oh, so creamy! It was delicious. Next time, I will add even more of the shrimp seasoning. It's not hot at all. Just flavorful. But the sauce was so rich, it sucked it all up. It can definitely handle more!

Later this week, I'll finish up with the recipe for the crawfish cornbread we had with this meal. You can see it on the side a couple of picture up.

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Seafood Dinner for Two Tablescape

We recently found ourselves alone - without the kids - and decided to take advantage of it! Gerald asked where I wanted to go to dinner, and to be honest, I couldn't think of anything that sounded good...or worth the time and money! So I had him pick up some shrimp at the fish market on the way home, and we just ate in.

The rattan placemats are some of my favorites. I use them all the time. They add texture, plus they can easily be dressed up or down. The white plate on the bottom is "Heritage" by Pfaltzgraff and is one of my latest thrift store finds at .50 cents a plate! 

The bowl on top is "Mosaic Shells" by Oneida. You can see the coffee cup above. It (along with the plates) has a shell pattern. I bought these years ago at the outlet mall near the beach.

My everyday flatware is "Austen" by Yamazaki. I still love it's simplicity after nearly 18 years! 

The blue tea glasses came from Service Merchandise forever ago. I don't remember the name of the pattern.

I made the napkins a couple of years ago for Thanksgiving.

I have had this rope-accented jar forever. I think I bought it to go on my deck. I placed a short pillar candle inside. The net came from Hobby Lobby and cost next to nothing with my coupon. The shells all came from the Alabama Gulf Coast. We have been collecting them ever since we married. Some came from Gerald's collection even prior to that!

I used a lot of the same stuff a couple of years ago for Jewell's birthday dinner (above) when she asked for a shrimp boil (thus the newspaper on the table). You can read more about that night here

It literally took me less than ten minutes to set the table. In fact, I did it while I cooked! It's nothing expensive or extravagant, but it made our dinner a little more special! It worked nicely with our meal - shrimp and grits and crawfish cornbread. Recipes coming soon!

When's the last time you took a few minutes to set a special table for the one you love?

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Bug Juice Punch

You have to have punch at a party. It's a rule. So - I was looking for a fun "boy" punch, and I found the perfect thing...Bug Juice Punch! Here's what we served for Brack's 12th Birthday party.

TIP - I love these labels. As you can see above, they're $3.99, but I got them when all the chalkboard stuff was half off at Hobby Lobby. I figured they'd be a one and done kinda thing, but I have used them three or four times now, and haven't had to throw them out! Gotta love that!

The recipe for the punch is simple. However, let me say that I wanted to buy lime sherbet. BTW - everybody calls it sherBERT, but it's actually sherBET. Who knew? Anyway, green would have made a prettier punch, but they didn't have any at Walmart that day.

I brought home all my juices and put them in the fridge a couple of days before the party. They were ice cold that night!

I used a small scoop to drop the sherbet into the bottom of the container. Next I added half the pineapple juice (be sure to shake it really good before opening it), half the Hawaiian punch and half the ginger ale.

By the way, these "Mason jar" dispensers are the perfect size - one gallon. I have a couple that hold two or three gallons each. They're great at Halloween or Thanksgiving, but since I was serving two beverages, these were just right. And did I mention they were $5 each at Walmart? I got them last summer, but they still have them.

The ice cream melted a little when the juice hit it, so I stirred it and let it sit for about 5 minutes. It was the perfect consistency and came out of the spout with no trouble!

TIP - Mix and match your sherbet flavors and Hawaiian punches for difference colored punches.

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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