Sunday, January 27, 2008

recipe for a great evening...

still cold... still no reason to go out...all the "makins" for a perfect night... good friends, good music, good wine, good food...

when i invited karen & brian over, they had no idea they would be part of my little experiment. see, i decided to make an etouffee' for dinner... BUT i had never made an etouffee' before... and i have to admit, i was really nervous to attempt anything remotely cajun, especially for this group! not that they're picky or food critique-y, but because they've tasted my mother-in-law's cooking. let me back up a little... my husband's family hails from lousiana and mimi (my mother-in-law) has officially been declared "the world's greatest chef" by everyone who has so much tasted water that she's boiled. and no. i am not exaggerating... her cooking is THAT good! AND every member of my "audience" loves mimi's etouffee'! "yikes! what was i thinking? maybe i should've just stuck with chili! everyone loves my chili! or italian? i make a mean lasagna." oh well... too late... i was already invested for the price of two pounds of shrimp.

let the cooking begin... whew! the hard part (the roux) went smoothly... onto the sauce... uh-oh! this looks nothing like mimi's... i wouldnt even taste... i made paul do it ...i knew if he said it was good, then i was "safe." (*drumroll*) he loved it and so did our friends... we had four for dinner and leftovers to freeze! you really have to try this one...its so good and its so easy!!! serve over rice with a loaf of warm french bread and a green salad and voila! you have "dinner"! another nice thing about this dish is that you can make it a few hours before your guests arrive and it just gets better as it simmers... that way you arent stuck in the kitchen cooking when you should be spending time with your friends.

Shrimp & Crawfish Etouffee'

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
1/3 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons seafood seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup fish stock
1 pound crawfish tails ***
1 pound medium shrimp - peeled and deveined

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, and stir constantly until the mixture turns 'peanut butter' brown or darker, at least 15 or 20 minutes. I use a large fork with the flat side to the bottom of the pan in a side to side motion. This is your base sauce or 'Roux'. It is very important to stir this constantly. If by chance the roux burns, discard and start over.

Once the roux is browned, add the onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper to the skillet, and saute for about 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and fish stock, and season with the seafood seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper (if using), and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.
*** crawfish aren't in season, so i used 2 lbs of shrimp. it looked like a lot, but it was perfect.

cupcakes are the staple dessert in our home... my favorite right now are white cake with bright white fluffy frosting and sprinkles... so good!

as in life, the same goes with friday nights... all good things must come to an end... friends go home... bellies are full...sleepy hubbies...passed out puppies... ahhh... its time for bed. good night. sleep tight. dont let the bedbugs bite! thank you for a wonderful evening... lets do this again soon!

p.s thank you alicia for the shout out on your wonderful blog!

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I will definitely try your Etouffee recipe. I have never tried it before, but it looked really delish! My mother in law is a great cook too...hard to beat her cooking. She is from NC and I love all of the southern dishes she makes. The cupcakes looked good too....but I think since my husband is on a strict diet...I am too.