Leftover Crawfish Boil Soup

Leftover Crawfish Boil Soup

Right now, we’re in the middle of crawfish season in Louisiana. Whenever my husband and I are invited to a crawfish boil, we make sure to clear our schedule. The crawfish, corn, potatoes, garlic, sausage, ::insert whatever vegetables are in the fridge::…it’s just all SO good. Some people may say it’s quite a bit of work/peeling for a tiny crawfish tail, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not so bad. It can be a bit messy, which is why most people enjoy the food outside with layers of newspaper and garbage bags lining the table. And usually…there’s always leftovers! I love leftover potatoes and corn…and peeling the rest of the crawfish for dishes the next day isn’t so bad either. The last boil we had with my husband’s family, I made this soup the next day, along with some mini crawfish pies (that recipe is coming later). It was a weekend-long feast!

This soup is perfect for those leftovers from the boil. While I didn’t add any, you could definitely add in some of the leftover boiled sausage as well. This recipe is versatile, and if you can’t eat it all, it freezes well too! You may notice that there’s no extra spices in this recipe, and that’s because the leftover boiled vegetables/meat have plenty of it as it is. It will cook into the broth, and I found it to still be pretty darn spicy. However, if you taste it at the end and feel that it still needs a little something, feel free to add in some cayenne pepper and/or salt.

Leftover Crawfish Boil Soup
Source: adapted from Louisiana Cookin’

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups leftover boil corn, scraped from the cobs
  • 2 cups chopped leftover boil potatoes
  • 1 cup leftover boil crawfish and/or chopped leftover boil smoked sausage (optional)
  • 1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter and oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook them until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add in the corn and potatoes, and cook the vegetables, stirring constantly, until the vegetables start to lightly brown (about 8 minutes).
  2. Add in the sausage/crawfish (if you have any), crushed tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the soup for 30-40 minutes to allow the leftover boil flavors to develop into the soup. Stir in the heavy cream at the end, and enjoy!

 

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

I find myself completely stoked about this year’s Superbowl. While the Saints aren’t in it, it’s going to be held in New Orleans, which is where I’m from (well, a suburb of New Orleans, but close enough). Every time New Orleans is on the nation’s radar (for a good thing, at least), I feel a small sense of pride. New Orleans has been through a lot, and it’s just wonderful to see New Orleans back to being a prime tourist city again. Seven years ago, I remember going home for the Mardi Gras holiday, and going to my first post-Katrina parade. New Orleans (months later, mind you) still had a mildew-y smell. You could still see those “X”s spray painted on searched homes, as well as the water line stains on homes from the flooding.

While it was a sad sight to see, I think Mardi Gras that year allowed everyone to temporarily take their minds off of the damage and just simply enjoy New Orleans the way we all knew how. Stand on the neutral ground (or sidewalk), wave your hands in the air, take in the high school marching band music and catch/wear beads until your neck ached. Mardi Gras (the family version, at least) is the best!

Now, New Orleans is doing a LOT better than it was in February 2006, obviously. It’s mostly back to normal, but if you drive to certain parts of the city, there’s still some rebuilding happening. I’m so happy to see New Orleans hosting it’s first Superbowl since Katrina. With Mardi Gras being the week after, this whole shin-dig is being called Super Gras. :-) I mean, these tourists have it made…they can have a hurricane in one hand and king cake in the other with their jerseys and face paint on, and no one will give them a second glance. New Orleans is really the best. (hint hint: food blog conferences take notes please?)

Since my husband and I have been counting calories, I haven’t been cooking much Louisiana cuisine. I still enjoy gumbo and jambalaya from time to time, but to have a full pot of that in our house? I just can’t do it lol! However, not ALL Louisiana cuisine is heavy in the calories. Let me introduce you to a wonderful dish called shrimp creole. It’s a wonderful tomato-based dish that is commonly served over plain rice. Now, I know…tomatoes can be boring, but there are layers of flavor in this dish. You start with making your own shrimp stock (using the heads and shells),  and I swear, it’s worth it. Just make it. :-) When it comes to cooking the dish, it starts with the “holy trinity” (as every good Louisiana dish should…except for bananas foster…who wants that in their bananas foster? ha!) and then tomatoes/fresh shrimp stock/white wine. Are you hungry yet? I’m tempted to take the leftovers out of the freezer as I’m writing this post!

Now, fair warning…this is a SPICY dish. If you need to tone it down, feel free. You can play around with the spices if you want it a little milder. I swear, it will still taste great!

Shrimp Creole
adapted from NOLA Cuisine

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. peeled and deveined Shrimp (save the shells and heads to make the stock)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp.vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 20 oz. of canned fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups shrimp stock (recipe)
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. tabasco sauce
  • 1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup green onions, green tops thinly sliced
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh leaf parsley

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter, along with the vegetable oil, in a dutch oven over medium high heat. When the butter begins to foam, add 1/2 cup of the onions. Cook the onions, stirring often, until the onions are a golden brown color. Add the remaining onions, as well as the celery, bell pepper, 1 tbsp. of the cajun seasoning and a pinch of salt, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the vegetables until they are soft.
  2. Add the tomato paste to the vegetables, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to brown. Then, add the diced tomatoes and another pinch of salt. Stir everything together, and cook the mixture until the tomatoes are starting to break down a good bit. Add the wine and turn the heat until high, until most of the alcohol burns off (a couple of minutes). Add the shrimp stock, remaining tbsp. of cajun seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, a little bit of cayenne (to taste), as well as the thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering the mixture on low for another 45 minutes.
  3. Add the hot sauce (you may want to add less if you’re sensitive to spice) and worcestershire sauce. Season the sauce to taste with salt. At this time, season the shrimp with 1 tbsp. kosher salt and a pinch of cayenne. Bring the sauce to a boil again, and then reduce the heat to low, adding the shrimp in. Let the shrimp cook in the sauce until cooked through, which will only take a few minutes at the most. Add the green onions and parsley just before serving. Serve over plain rice and enjoy!

 

 

 

Crawfish Fettuccine

Crawfish Fettuccine

My husband is not a big pasta person. He could eat rice for days, but pasta? He has to be in the mood for it. I’m the opposite. If you told me I had to eat pasta every day for the rest of my life, I would think I died and went to heaven. I LOVE pasta. I’m all about it. So, when crawfish went on sale on weekend, instead of making the usual etouffee, I hoped that my husband would be in a pasta-loving mood that day, because crawfish fettuccine was on my mind. :-)

Well, as you can see, we had crawfish fettuccine that evening. :-P And it was every bit as delicious as I had hoped. We ended up halving the recipe, since the original recipe would make way too much food for just my husband and I.

I do want to note that this recipe does contain Velveeta. If you aren’t OK with using processed foods, you may be able to substitute freshly grated cheese, since this recipe’s directions reminded me a lot of making a bechamel sauce. However, I personally didn’t try that to tell you if it works out the same way.

Crawfish Fettuccine
Source: adapted from Holly Clegg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. fettuccine
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 lb. light Velveeta, cut into small cubes
  • 1 lb. crawfish tails (make sure they are cleaned)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • pinch cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the fettuccine in boiling water until al dente. Do not add oil or salt to the pot. Drain the pasta, wash in cool water to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick together as it sits, and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, melt the butter and saute the onions, green bell peppers, and garlic until translucent and tender. Add the flour and stir well until everything is mixed.
  3. Gradually add the milk, stirring at the same time, until the mixture is smooth. Add the cheese cubes, stirring the sauce until all of the cheese has melted.
  4. Add in the crawfish tails, parsley, green onions, worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper and mix everything together gently.
  5. Add in the pasta, and using tongs, toss everything together until well-combined. Heat the fettuccine well and serve.

Favorite Party Recipes

Part of me cannot believe that the Superbowl is Sunday. I mean, that’s the end of football season until next Fall. I have to wait at least six months to watch another game after this. Sad.  (If you know me, you know I’m being dead serious about how sad this is to me. Crazy football fan here!) A perk of Superbowl Sunday? Watching Millie run up to the TV when I randomly switch over to the Puppy Bowl.

To mourn celebrate the end of another football season, here’s some great recipes that will definitely disappear if you serve them at your Superbowl parties.

Queso Blanco
Restaurant Style Queso Blanco

Restaurant Style Salsa
Restaurant Style Salsa


Crawfish Pies


Crawfish Cheesecake

Jambalaya
Pork and Sausage Jambalaya

Berry Mash Bruschetta
Berry Mash Bruschetta

Sugar Cookie Bars
Sugar Cookie Bars

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

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Oreo Cupcakes

Oh, and if you have an occasional puppy bowl break, I’m pretty sure the dogs at your party would love you for these!

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats

Pumpkin PB Treats

Spicy BBQ Shrimp Skewers

kabobs

For our party, we knew we wanted to do something summery and fun. Skewers/kabobs were our main meats and ended up a hit! We had shrimp skewers, because we knew that shrimp prices would be shooting up any day now, because of the oil “spill”, and wanted to make sure we enjoyed Gulf shrimp at least one more time. This shrimp skewer was delicious and very easy to put together.

Spicy BBQ Shrimp Skewers
Source: Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, plus more, for garnish
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled

Directions:

If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for about an hour before starting on the recipe.

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the shrimp and the relish mix well to combine. Add the shrimp to the seasoning paste, and toss to thoroughly coat with the seasoning mixture. Let the shrimp sit in the seasoning mixture while you prepare the grill.
  2. Prepare a grill and thread the shrimp onto 4 or 6 skewers, depending on their size. Place shrimp skewers on the grill and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp turn pink and are lightly charred on both sides. Do not overcook!

Foodbuzz 24×24: The Best Things We Ever Ate

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Summer officially started last Monday. However, being in Louisiana, we’ve been feeling summer-like weather since May. With the heat index hitting 110 degrees sometimes, we wanted to throw a summer party that was most definitely indoors!

I watch entirely too much Food Network. If it wasn’t for Food Network and reading food blogs, I’m fairly certain my husband and I would be living off of Hamburger Helper and take-out. One of my favorite shows lately has been The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Every show has a theme, and it features the cooks/hosts on Food Network and their favorite eats in that theme. So, when Foodbuzz emailed about this month’s 24×24 proposals, I figured it would be a fun party to feature the best things our families have eaten! Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this party! :)

To come up with the menu, I sent out an email to our families asking for their favorites in each category.

  • On the Grill (recipes that are done on the BBQ)
  • Dangerously Cheesy (major cheese in a dish)
  • No Utensils (finger foods/apps)
  • Keep it Comfy (comfort food)
  • Frozen Treats (any dessert from the freezer)
  • Mix it Up (a food that requires using a mixer—doesn’t have to be a sweet)
  • Louisiana’s Best (Louisiana food)
  • Cold and Colorful (like a salad or cold app with lots of veggies or fruit)
  • Under the Sea (favorite seafood dish)
  • Classic American (with 4th of July approaching, tell me a dish that screams American)

After getting many responses, here is the menu we came up with:

Drinks:
Strawberry Lemonade
Strawberry Daiquiris

Appetizers:
Cheese Fondue with Vegetables/Bread*
Bruschetta*
Boudin Balls

Entrees:
Steak Skewers with Chimichurri, Onion Cheese Sauce and Compound Butter*
Spicy BBQ Shrimp Skewers*

Sides:
Crawfish Fettuccine
Macaroni and Cheese
Vegetable Skewers*
Grilled Corn
Lettuce Greens with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Desserts:
Strawberry Cake*
Assorted Cupcakes
Cinnamon Crumb Apple Pie
Fresh Berries with Ice Cream

* recipes will be featured in the blog in future posts

I will admit, I’m still getting the hang of entertaining for a large number of people. Despite doing a lot of prep, I felt fairly stressed in the last hour. Since the party was for family, though, I had loads of help at the last minute. :) Whew!

The fondue was an absolute hit. I was nervous to make this myself, but this recipe came together beautifully! I served the fondue with day old po’boy bread, carrots and broccoli.

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We purchased the boudin balls at a local joint, since they are pretty much my husband’s favorite. The bruschetta was a lighter alternative to the other appetizers. I was super excited to use basil from our garden for this dish!

Appetizers

I need to thank the hubs for braving the sweltering disgusting heat to cook up this magic on the grill. The steak, especially was a real winner to family!

kabobs

We made 3 sauces available for people to dip/cover their skewers in: a chimichurri, onion blue cheese (not pictured) and a worchestershire chive butter. The chimichurri ended up being a huge hit (and I used parsley from the garden for it)!

Steak Butter/Chimichurri

Here is some lovely grilled corn that survived a few flare-ups on the grill. :)

Grilled Corn

Here is a semi-decent picture of the crawfish fettuccine before everyone digged in. The hubs’ parents made this dish and it was delicious. Perfect flavor with a little Louisiana kick!

Crawfish Fettucine

This is some macaroni and cheese that is my mother-in-law’s favorite. It was definitely pretty tasty (not to mention, cheesy). :)

Mac and Cheese

After enjoying some serious eats, we waited a good while before putting out desserts and just chatted, watched TV and played some games.

I will say the desserts were absolutely amazing.

Fresh berries (and ice cream, not pictured)

berries

Strawberry Cake (inspired by a local bakery). I would have just purchased one, but I had no idea an 8″ cake was over $30. What the heck?! I guess I’m just used to baking my own cakes to realize how expensive cakes have gotten!

Strawberry Cake

This was a welcomed surprise. A local cupcake bakery occasionally has giveaways on Twitter, and I won some cupcakes! They were seriously delish! Thank you Sweet Wishes Cafe!

Cupcakes

Here is the cinnamon crumb apple pie. This is one of those frozen pies you can find in the grocery store, but has quickly become a favorite with my hubs’ family.

apple pie

Of course, our puppy was very excited to get all of the attention she got at the party, and thanks to my mom, she tried a piece of steak for the first time. I think she enjoyed it. :)

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And of course, it wouldn’t be a party without family! Here are some pictures of our family.

Mom and Sis

family

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It was a great time to be had by everyone, especially in the milder indoors. Thank you so much to Foodbuzz again for the party! Everyone had a blast! :)

Crawfish Pies

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I absolutely love crawfish pie. Usually for a meal, it’s served as a regular pie in slices, but since the main course for the party was the actual boil, I decided to make mini hand pies. I made the filling the night before, allowing the flavors to meld in the fridge overnight. I definitely recommend doing this because the filling was firm to work with for making these pies, and also, the flavor was definitely awesome!

The only problem I have with this original recipe is that it calls for 1 cup of oil. This was WAY too much oil, in my opinion. I ended up spooning the oil/fat off of it and after measuring it, that was almost 1/2 cup of oil! My husband also pointed out that a roux is usually 1:1, which is essentially what you are making in the end to thicken the filling. So, next time, I’m using 1/2 cup of oil in the recipe!

Crawfish Pies
Adapted from John Folse

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound crawfish tails
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tasso ham, diced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 packs of refrigerated pie dough sheets

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 10-inch saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and tasso ham. Saute 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted.
  3. Add crawfish and saute an additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and using a wire whisk, stir constantly until white roux is achieved. Add tomato sauce and slowly add broth, a little at a time, until sauce consistency is achieved. (NOTE: You may not use all of the broth.)
  4. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes. Season to taste using salt, pepper and Tabasco. Remove from heat and allow to cool, preferably overnight.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine egg, milk and water. Using a wire whisk, stir until all ingredients are well blended.
  6. Using the rim of a cup, cut the pie dough into circles. Place about 1 tsp. of filling center of each circle.
  7. Brush the edges of pastry with eggwash and fold over in a crescent shape. Crimp the edges closed with a fork and pierce the top of the pie to create vents for steam to escape during cooking. Brush eggwash over pies and bake until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.

Crawfish Cheesecake

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I remember when my husband took me out to this fine Italian restaurant, and we sampled some crab cheesecake as an appetizer. We were hesitant at first, but our waiter insisted that we’d love it. And, boy did we! It was so flavorful and delicious. :)

So, when I saw this recipe on Elizabeth’s Edible Experience, I knew I had to try it for myself!

This was a very rich dish. It would be great for an appetizer at a potluck or something similar to that. We spread the cheesecake on crackers and it was very yummy! I loved the flavor, and I hope to have the opportunity to make this again sometime soon!

Crawfish Cheesecake
Source: Chef John Folse (found on Elizabeth’s Edible Experience)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound crawfish tails, chopped
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsps cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Tony Chachere’s seasoning
  • 2 tbsps minced onions
  • 2 tbsps minced celery
  • 2 tbsps minced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced chives
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tbsps melted butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 cups crushed butter crackers (like Ritz)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, egg white and crackers. Press mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes to crisp.
  2. Remove from oven and cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F.
  3. In a mixing bowl, blend cream cheese, sour cream, cornstarch, salt, seasoning, onions, celery, bell pepper and chives. Blend well, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add eggs and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl again. Fold in the chopped crawfish tails. Pour the batter over the cooled crust.
  5. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave the cake in the oven for another hour without opening the door. Cool on a rack for at least 4 hours. Carefully unmold. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Louisiana Saturday Night Celebration

You know the band Alabama? I always found it funny that they sang a song about Louisiana Saturday nights since their name is, well, Alabama. Guess my rivalry between Bama and LSU will never die, eh?

This is my very first time doing a 24, 24, 24 event for Foodbuzz, and I could not be more excited. It was PERFECT timing to throw a party for family! Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this!

There are so many great things going on in Louisiana lately. Between the New Orleans Saints clinching a Superbowl win  and Mardi Gras, I just thought it would be great to celebrate with family the traditional Louisiana way: CRAWFISH!

Oh yes, that silly crustacean that is also referred to as a crayfish or mudbug. We have been anxiously awaiting crawfish season, and we lucked out with a sack (roughly about 40 lbs.) from a local crawfish farmer for some crawfish foodie fun! I say lucked out, because it’s VERY early in the season and well, like the rest of the country, our winter isn’t exactly mild. Since it’s so cold, the crawfish basically go dormant. So, the crawfish are in short supply (and sadly, pricey). However, we just had to have some of this. It’s been far too long for us, and let’s just say we weren’t disappointed.

I’m sure some of you are insanely jealous and then there are some of you who are thinking, why crawfish?

Crawfish are insanely abundant in the swamps/marshes of Louisiana (when they are in season), and have been around since the native Americans and European settlers. Because of their abundance out here, they have remained popular for centuries and have sort of become tradition for family gatherings. In the Spring/early Summer, you can literally smell crawfish boil in the air in most neighborhoods. So many families do boils and LOVE it. It’s crazy that Louisiana supplies 90% of all domestic crawfish in the nation, yielding 75-105 MILLION pounds of crawfish. (fun facts via www.crawfish.org)

So, now that you can understand our state’s small addiction to this little creature, here’s what we enjoyed at the party!

Mini Crawfish Pies*
Crawfish Cheesecake*
Crawfish Boudin
Crawfish Boil (of course)
Decorated Crawfish Sugar Cookies*

* There will be separate blog posts about these items off the menu.

Since the pies and cheesecake had to be assembled the night before and the crawfish for the boil wouldn’t be caught until the next morning , we purchased some Louisiana crawfish conveniently peeled into 1 lb. bags. Let me tell you, if you have to choose between Louisiana crawfish and foreign crawfish, you should strongly consider Louisiana crawfish. It might be a few more bucks than foreign crawfish, but I will say, they are TOTALLY not the same. Louisiana crawfish has so much more flavor and the tails are usually much larger too, so if you are thinking of buying crawfish in stores, seriously consider splurging a few extra bucks and getting domestic crawfish.

These crawfish pies were so yummy! The tray of these were gobbled up, and just came together so easily. I will admit, I used pre-made pie dough, but hey, the filling made up for it BIG time!  I was a little happy to have some leftover filling to freeze and make these again sometime soon!

This savory cheesecake was pretty darn easy to put together too. We ended up using this as a spread for crackers, and it was just so flavorful. We didn’t really eat it as a cheesecake though, since it was a very rich appetizer and we had to save room for the crawfish boil!

This is crawfish boudin. We like to buy this from a local cajun meat shop. I love this shop because they just know how to put a twist on the most basic things to taste perfectly Louisianian. If we had a long day at work and no time to cook (or just feeling lazy), it’s easy to pop something from there in the oven and enjoy it within an hour!

Back to boudin. Boudin is basically a rice dressing stuffed in a casing. The main ingredient is usually pork, but this meat shop makes fun types like red beans and crawfish! While it looks like sausage, most people find the casing to be unappetizing. So you just end up eating it out of the casing, which easily peels away.

We enjoyed our boudin spread on crackers. It was delicious!

We timed it to where we enjoyed appetizers while boiling these little fellas.

They went from this:

To this:

After they were done, we did not hesitate to fork out the newspaper and dig in! Crawfish boils aren’t usually strictly crawfish. Personally, we boil ours with lemons, onions, garlic, corn, potatoes, mushrooms and sausage. It’s fun to have a little variety in there!

And of course, for spice wimps like me, since these bad boys are boiled in a LOT of cayenne pepper and spices, there was plenty of french bread to calm down the burning taste buds! We purchased this bread at a produce stand that is known for selling great local foods. I love supporting local businesses, especially when it’s dealing with food, because it’s much fresher, flavorful and sometimes, even CHEAPER than buying at just your typical supermarket.

This boil was definitely enjoyed by all. We had a little bit leftover, which we’ll be peeling and freezing to use in another cajun dish sometime soon, but out of the sack of about 40 lbs., it was mostly gone! I guess we were hungry!

After the clean-up outside, we all went inside to hang out, let our tummies digest and enjoy a platter full of decorated crawfish cookies! Or, at least offer it out to those who saved some room for some! Stay tuned for how I made these. I am pretty happy with how these turned out, since I didn’t have a crawfish cookie cutter!

Thanks again to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this party. My family had a wonderful time catching up and enjoying this fabulous Louisiana staple! I hope this boil is first of many for this crawfish season! YUM! :)

Gumbeaux

Now, if you are from New Orleans, you probably get the gist of what I’m saying…we like to end our words normally ending with an “o” with an “eaux” instead. Why? Because we are special…

Other weird things (at least that I know of) that we like to say….

Neutral ground = street median

If I’m going to a Mardi Gras parade, trying to find someone, you either stand on the neutral ground side or the shoulder side of the street.

Brake tag = inspection sticker
Every year, you get a sticker to check your brake lights, blinkers, etc. This, to people from the NOLA area, is a brake tag folks.

Sha = term for friend/child/whatever…people can call you sha (a pronounced like a in apple)
You’ll sometimes hear someone greet another person…whatcha doin’ der sha? Seriously..don’t judge us.

Geaux = Go
If you ever find yourself in the lucky 92,000 people who are able to squeeze into Tiger Stadium (LSU) on a Saturday night, we don’t scream “GO TIGERS!”, rather it’s “GEAUX TIGERS!” Pronounced just the same, but it feels special. :)

Now, don’t let our vocabulary deter you from trying a bowl of this amazingness. Gumbo (yes, I’ll be normal for the rest of this blog entry) isn’t too crazy. It’s basically a smokey stew of chicken/sausage or seafood on rice. If you want to be adventurous, you can add frog legs or alligator, but folks, I’ll keep this simple.

The base of most cajun dishes is a good, dark roux. I will admit, this being my first time, I was very intimidated of burning the roux. Burnt roux isn’t good in gumbo. So, after watching my favorite Food Network chef, Alton Brown, try to master gumbo, I decided to use some parts of his recipe to help me out.

His method? Oven baked roux….perfection, right? It worked out really really well for us. Oh yeah and my hubs gave a HUGE helping hand during this. There is a lot going on at once, and since I’m new to cooking, I don’t think I could have done it alone.

However, in the recipe, it only makes 5 qts. of gumbo.

I would like to say that in Louisiana, just making a 5 qt. pot of gumbo is not only shameful, it’s downright rude…hehe. :) When making gumbo, you invite people over and 5 qts. just won’t make the cajun appetite very happy at all. So, we doubled the recipe and made HEAVY changes to it.

I present to you – chicken, andouille, sausage and crab gumbo.

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Chicken, Andouille, Sausage and Crab Gumbo
Inspired by: Alton Brown

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 lbs. of pre-boiled crabs, cleaned but meat still in shell (we split up the body and claws and just threw them in the pot)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 6 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1  diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced green peppers
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound andouille sausage
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 2 lbs. chicken boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon file powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the vegetable oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven and whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 1/2 hours (or until dark brown/brick colored), whisking 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.
  3. After the roux bakes for 30 minutes, cut up the chicken breasts into small chunks. Place the chicken in a pot (at least 12 qts.) with a gallon of water and the bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat a little to simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Once the roux is done, carefully remove it from the oven and set over medium-high heat. Gently add the onions, celery, green peppers and garlic and cook, moving constantly for 7 to 8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the salt, black pepper, thyme, basil, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves and stir to combine.  Place the mixture in the 12 qt. pot with the chicken, stirring to avoid clumps of roux in the gumbo. Add sausage and andouille. Decrease the heat to low, cover and cook for 25-35 minutes, until the sausage looks done and the chicken shreds easily. Turn off the heat, add the crabs to combine. Add the file powder while stirring constantly. Cover and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes prior to serving. Serve over rice.