Tag Archives: seafood

Shrimp Etouffee

Happy Mardi Gras!  We celebrated with a spicy bowl of Shrimp Etouffee and a glass of our favorite rosé.  Inspired by the etouffee we had at our friends Gil and Cookie’s house a week or so ago, I sought out a recipe.  I decided on one from Emeril and altered it a bit.  Next time, I’d alter it a bit more–it turned out nose-runnin’-hot for Mr16 and I!  Of course, DH added even more hot sauce!

Most ingredients are fairly common:

  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chopped onion  (2 medium or 3 small onions)
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper  (1 large pepper)
  • 1 cup chopped celery  (8 ribs from a celery heart)
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic  (2 cloves)
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 TBSP creole seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/8 cup chopped parsley
  • cooked white rice for serving
  • thinly sliced green onion to garnish

Chop onion, green pepper, and celery.  Mince garlic.  Set aside.

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter, add flour and cook (creating a roux) until light caramel colored, 5-7 minutes.

Add onions, pepper, celery and garlic to the roux.  Cook until soft, 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes and spices: bay leaf, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and 1 TBSP creole seasoning.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add stock, stir to blend.  Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes.

While etouffee simmers, chop parsley and slice green onions.  Set aside.

Cook rice according to package instructions.  Keep warm.

Peel and devein shrimp.  (I use “easy peel”–already deveined!)  Place shrimp in a bag, add the other TBSP creole seasoning, shake to distribute evenly. (I’d leave this TBSP out next time, but if you love spicy, leave it in!)

Add shrimp to the pot and cook until transluscent and pink, 5-7 minutes. 

Add parsley and stir to combine.

Place a mound of rice in a bowl.  Ladle Etouffee around it, garnish with green onions and enjoy!  The spicy yumminess of the etouffee is complimented perfectly by the bright strawberry and grapefruit notes in Reeder Mesa’s Land’s End Wild Rosé.  A nice off-dry reisling would be yummy too!

Now doesn’t that look like a great way to celebrate Mardi Gras!  We had enough for 1 serving each for Mr16 and 1 and seconds for DH, along with leftovers for lunch tomorrow!  I can hardly wait!  Yummy!

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Carol’s Capellini with Smoked Salmon and Caviar

How nice is it when someone else cooks for you?  I think it’s the ultimate gift–your host spends time planning, shopping and cooking a meal, all with you in mind.  Then sets a lovely table, serves a tasty meal and does the dishes!  Last night, dear husband and I were invited over to Carol and her dear husband’s house for dinner.  Such a treat!  Carol had texted me earlier in the week to see about getting together, AND (this is so cool and thoughtful) asked if either of us had any special dietary needs.  It really struck me, because I’ve never thought about asking that. 

Carol knew I was writing this blog and allowed me to photograph her meal.  We started with shrimp cocktail:

(She prepared the dessert ahead of time, a spectacular molded ice cream “mosaic.”  Be watching Sweet-tooth Saturday for that recipe and photos of how to unmold and serve it.)

The main course, served with a salad of lettuce, orange slices and avocado (yum!), was adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe (you would never know!) called Capellini with Smoked Salmon and Caviar.

Carol  measured out and prepared her ingredients before we arrived.

2 tsp olive oil

2 scallions, sliced

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 TBSP heavy cream

2 TBSP vodka

6 ounces capellini (angel hair pasta)

1/2 pound smoked salmon, cut into thin strips

1 ounce caviar

1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped mushrooms

Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package.

While pasta cooks, heat the oil in a non-stick skillet and add the scallions and mushrooms.  Saute until they just begin to soften and reduce heat.

Stir in broth, cream and vodka.  Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is just heated through.  Do not allow sauce to come to a boil.

When pasta is done, drain and put in a serving bowl, pour sauce over the pasta and add the salmon.


Garnish with caviar and serve.  (Note: we had a red wine, because the 4 of us like reds, but this would be delicious with a nice, dry white as well!)

Something to consider:  When you make a recipe, make notes in the margin to remind you of whether or not you liked it, what you served with it, and any changes you’d make.  Here are Carol’s notes for this recipe:

They give the date she first prepared it, and say, “Simple, elegant, tasty.  Don’t stir in caviar–makes noodles black.  Mushrooms would be good addition.”

I can report that this WAS simple, elegant and tasty.  It came together very quickly–in the time it took to cook the pasta!  We had a lovely evening–good food, good friends, great conversation.  It’s our turn to host next…I don’t know what I’ll cook yet, but I’ll be sure to make somethin’ yummy!


Filed under dinner, lunch, recipe

Zero-Calorie Yumminess

Most foodies I know are also readers, myself included.  Sometimes, I like to combine my reader-self with my foodie-self.  In doing so, I’ve come across a series of books too delicious to keep secret. 

Diane Mott Davidson is a Colorado author who has written a series of 14 mystery novels based on the life of fictional caterer/crime solver Goldie Shulz.  Goldie is a highly like-able self-employed caterer just getting over a messy divorce and living with her teenage son in a fictional town based on Evergreen, Colorado.  In the first book, Catering to Nobody, you find out that Goldie seems to have a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; catering where dead bodies turn up.  Goldie is a problem-solver and decides to solve the crime, all the while keeping up with the catering she was hired for.  Mott Davidson includes the recipes Goldie prepares–within the text of the earlier books and in an addendum in later volumes, always indexed for easy reference!  I’ve prepared some of the recipes–they are YUMMY! 

I’ve read the first 11 of the Goldie books–each is as entertaining as the last.  I find I enjoy lurking in Goldie’s life, and want to see what happens next in the next book and the next book, as well as find new recipes.  I especially liked the recipe for “Doll Show Shrimp and Eggs” in The Grilling Season. Bottom line?  Reading about food is fat-free, calorie-free and YUMMY!  (The Doll Show Shrimp and Eggs?  Not so calorie/fat free….but oh so yummy!)

Doll Show Shrimp and Eggs

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

8 large frozen easy-peel shrimp

3 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup chopped leek, white part only

1/3 cup chopped fresh tomato, seeds and pulp removed

6 eggs, slightly beaten

salt and pepper

3 oz cream cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

Bring a pint of water to boil and add the Old Bay Seasoning and the shrimp.  Cook the shrimp until they are just pink.  Do not overcook!  Drain and peel the shrimp and cut each one in half.  Melt the butter in a skillet, then add the leek and tomato.  Saute gently for about 5 minutes, until the leek is softened.  Pour the eggs into the leek-tomato mixture, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent browning, until eggs have almost congealed, but still have some liquid left.  Stir in the shrimp and cream cheese and continue cooking just until eggs are set but not overly firm.  (You want the shrimp to remain tender, the cheese to be melty, but not completely blended in.)

(adapted from The Grilling Season by Diane Mott Davidson)

(Note, my BFF and I made these for a holiday brunch for a group of our friends–perfect!)


Filed under Books, breakfast, recipe

Celebrating California’s Crab Season

We’re just back from Dillon Beach, California.  Friends with a beach house there invited us out for crab season.  ( Lucky us!) They took us to Paisano Bros.in Bodega Bay for fresh dungeoness crabs; one for each of us for dinner that night and an extra for crab cakes the next.  We’re talking super yummy, super do-able by any cook, crab cakes.  If you live in a land-locked place like I do, use canned lump crab or shrimp.  Might be just the thing to make for your sweetie for Valentine’s….these crab cakes taste fresh and citrus-y, with a bit of heat on the finish.  Mmmmmmm!  You’ve got to give ’em a try!

The recipe comes from the Mediterranean Kitchen by Joyce Goldstein and is called:  Portuguese Crab Cakes with Mint and Cilantro.

First of all, assemble your ingredients.  Use fresh herbs for the freshest taste in your cakes: 

     1/4 cup unsalted butter

     2 onions, finely minced   (approx 1 1/4 cups)

     4 ribs of celery, finely chopped

     1 TBSP dry mustard

     1 tsp cayenne

2 pounds crabmeat, picked over to check for cartilege

1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise

2 large eggs

3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 TBSP fresh grated lemon zest

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup dry bread crumbs, such as panko

1 cup olive oil, or as needed for frying

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan, over medium heat.  Add the onions and celery and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the dry mustard and cayenne, stir well and cook an additional 3 minutes.  Let cool completely.

   Add the remaining ingredients except the dry bread crumbs and oil to the onions and celery and combine well, taking care to leave lumps of crab whole.  


Shape into 16 patties, approximately 1/2 inch thick.  Coat each cake in dry bread crumbs.  ( At this point, cakes can be refrigerated on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper for up to 24 hours.)


Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add as many crab cakes as will fit without crowding, working in batches if necessary, and saute until golden-brown, about 3 minutes on each side.  (Use a spatula in each hand to assist in flipping the cakes)  Drain on paper towels.

Our friends served them over a lightly-dressed baby arugula salad.

We had a pound of crab to work with, so we cut the recipe in half.  2 crab cakes for each of us, served as an appetizer.  I could have eaten them all!  They were THAT yummy!

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