June 21, 2009

Seafood Etouffee

Yum. I love crawfish etouffee. When I saw my folks a few weekends ago, they wanted pan cook some fish. They just add salt and cook. Bleh - just wasn't feeling it.

While driving to the grocery store with Ross, I thought of etouffee and it wasn't hard to toss the folk's fish dish out the for evening. We saw some squid at the store and thought it wouldn't hurt to add that as well. I've only made etouffee once before. It was good but not stellar - meaning, I wasn't itching to eat it again for dinner the next night.
So in my search for a new recipe, I remembered that Ross' mom gave me a wonderful christmas present - a Brennan's cook book signed by three chefs from the New Orleans restaurant! So this was my first time to cook something from this cookbook and wow, was it no disappointment. I used a majority of the ingredients (omitted the Worchestershire sauce which I don't like very much), omitted thyme leaves, added some additional seasoning and more seafood (shrimp and squid).
Seafood Etoufee (6 servings)
from Brennan's cookbook (with omitted/added ingredients mentioned above)

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
2 celery stalks chopped
1 canned tomatoes
1 lb crawfish tails (I used the entire bag I bought)
1 lb shrimp (peeled, deveined and cut down if they are large shrimp)
1 lb squid (I just used the entire bag I bought)
1 tbspn paprika
2 bay leaves
3 tbspn flour (I actually used a lot more than this to thicken my sauce - you can used and add more as you cook)
2 cups chicken stock
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of cajun seasoning
Dash of hot sauce
chopped parsley for garnish
white rice
Squeeze of lemon

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan and cook the onions and celery until glassy. Add garlic and cook for a little bit more.
2. Add tomatoes (including the juice), S&P, seafood, paprika and bay leaves (you can add in thyme leaves here if you want). Cook for a few minutes. Add flour and quickly stir, making sure not to burn.
3. Slowly add in chicken stock and whisk. Add cayenne. (If you want to add in scallions and Worcestershire sauce, you can do it here). I also added in a little hot sauce and cajun seasoning here.
4. Cover and cook over medium for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. I added in a few more spoonfuls of flour here to thicken the sauce.
5. Add a 2 tablespoon of butter to finish off if you'd like. Add parsley and squeeze an entire lemon. Serve over rice. 6. Eat and then go for another small serving because with this, you can't just eat one bowl!

June 01, 2009

Watermelon, Tomato & Basil Skewers

This will be a short post since this receipe was almost too easy. Driving home on Friday and was so thirsty that the thought of eating cold, juicy fruit made me take a side trip to the grocery store. Lots of great fruit in season including lychees at my local HEB...and they are surprisingly so very fresh and delicious. I couldn't resist getting a watermelon as well. Grocery stores are sneaky - they load boxes of great looking watermelon right when you walk into the door so it's impossible to miss and then to make it more appetizing, they 'display' the red-ish, juiciest watermelon halves so that you always believe whichever melon you pick, it's going to be just as good. So back to the appetizer. While cutting the watermelon into cubes, noticed I had some tomatos as well. Hrm...they look pretty together so they must taste yummy together! I lucked out, I was right. Well, I couldn't do just that.....why not grill! I also couldn't resist pairing them with basil and with my new basil plant that has been growing like crazy, seemed like a perfect combination. These made a great complement to a bbq dinner or could just be a fun appetizer to enjoy while your entree is still cooking.

Watermelon, Tomato & Basil Skewers
16 cubes of watermelon (roughly 1.5 inch)
1 - 2 tomato cut into big chunks (or you can use cherry tomatoes)
12 fresh leaves of basil
2 tablespoon Basalmic vinegar
2 tablespoon good olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1. Make sure to soak your wood skewers in water for a few minutes so they don't burn on the grill (like mine did...I didn't follow directions.) Alternate a watermelon, basil, tomato on a skewer. I put two of each on one skewer and made roughly 8 skewers.

2. Sprinkle two sides with salt.
3. Grill! Should take about 4 minutes for each side. I grilled only two sides.

4. For the dressing, pour basalmic vinegar into a bowl. Whisk and slowly pour in olive oil until dressing gets a little thicker. Add salt and sugar. Taste and add more as you need. I also chopped up basil.
5. Drizzle the dressing over the skewers. Eat as soon as they come off the grill so they are still warm!