Tag Archives: Shrimp

Low Country Boil for a crowd.


I love a good Low Country Boil, and so do a lot of people.  It’s really a very simple dish, but oh, so flavourful, and easy to make.   If you have a large enough pot that is.  I do, mainly cause I got a huge stock pot from my DH for Christmas one year.  I asked for a large stock pot, and when asked how big I wanted it, I said very big.  And I got it.  I didn’t realize pots came in extra-large gigantic size.   OK, so it’s only a 20 quart pot, but still…

I was visiting family a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to make them a typical southern dish.  I knew they didn’t have Collard Greens up there, so couldn’t make them a good greens and cornbread meal.  And I was not about to schlep up some frozen greens with me.
Can you imagine the mess in your suitcase as they melt?  Never mind that they would probably refreeze when the plane gets up to 30,000 feet, but on the ground they’d just melt again.
Sorry, got sidetracked there.

I decided a Low Country Boil would probably be something they would enjoy, and I was pretty certain they’d never had one.    And best of all, I knew I could get all the ingredients there.  Well, with one exception, I wasn’t too sure about getting Old Bay Seasoning, so I brought a tin with me.  Which was a good thing, cause only one store had it, and that was what we call a sample tin down here.
I prepare for my cooking adventures.  In fact I think that was one of my Girl Guide motto’s, Be Prepared.  hmmm, gotta go check that one out.  Later.

My sister also let me take over her kitchen, and gee, she had a lovely large stock pot, which I filled to the brim.

I was feeding 14 people, so I prepared accordingly, and when a couple of people weren’t able to make it, we ended up with some leftovers, but leftovers are always good.  (I had some for breakfast the next day).

I’m going to tell you how much of each item I cooked, but please don’t be put off by the quantity, cause if you make this, you’ll scale it up or down according to how many people you feed.

5 lbs. small new potatoes or red potatoes.  Don’t use Russet or any mealy potato, it will just cook out to moosh or mush.
3 lbs. link smoked sausage, cut into thirds.  Use your favourite brand here.  And if you happen to have some lovely garlic sausage, throw that in.  It really goes well in here.
8 ears fresh corn, cut into thirds, or enough so each person gets at least one.
3 lbs. Shrimp, fresh or frozen, doesn’t matter.  If you prefer it shelled and deveined, go for it, again, does not matter.
1/2-3/4 cups Old Bay Seasoning (you can cut this down, but this is supposed to be a spicy dish.)
1-2 lemons, cut in half.
2-4 garlic cloves, optional
1-2 lbs. Crab (I didn’t have any, but you can add this if you like.

 

 

Fill the pot with enough water to cover the potatoes and sausages, about half way up the pot or a little more,  add the Old Bay Seasoning, the halved lemons and bring to a boil.
Cook until the potatoes are just almost done, and add the corn.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, and then add the uncooked shrimp.   I added the shrimp on top, and then stirred them in a little, just wanted to make sure they cooked.

 

Cook another 2-3 minutes and scoop out the shrimp when they’re cooked, set them aside for just a minute while you scoop out the rest of that luscious boil, and place on either a long flat platter, or dump the drained goodies on some newspaper spread out on a table outside. It’s kinda traditional to do that in the south.

The shrimp were cooked to perfection, the potatoes were done and the corn, well, let me put it like this, you don’t need butter when you cook them in some Old Bay.

We also served some crusty bread alongside, just cause.

Add the cooked shrimp on top and tell everyone to dig in.   You can eat this with your hands, but it gets kinda messy.  Just make sure you’ve got lots of napkins or Southern Style napkins handy.  Southern Style napkins would be that roll of paper towel.
We actually had two big platters and we all had more than enough to eat.

As you can see from this platter.   In retrospect, I guess we could have had less potatoes, but hey, when you’re cooking for a crowd, you want everyone to have enough to eat.

The next day I had some of the potatoes and sausage fried up for breakfast and we also took a good helping over to friends of my parents who also got to try some.

We did have dessert as well.    I made a Banana Pudding which is kind of a southern staple as well.    But I’ll share the how and where and when of that on another post.

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Smörgåstårta (Swedish Sandwich Cake)


It was our monthly Tapas night on Saturday and we did a fun Grinch Christmas, also known as Dirty Santa gift exchange.   I just love seeing what people come up with for these, and to see what the most popular gifts are.    For some reason, wine is very popular here.

I wanted to do something simple, fun and different for Tapas night and I think I succeeded.   And I want to say bookmarks are the bomb, or does that date me.  Hmmmm…  At any rate, a long time ago I bookmarked a site and was scrolling through my bookmarks the other day trying to get inspired, when I ran across this site, Smörgåstårta and I had it, something fun, different and I had most of the ingredients in my cupboard/pantry and freezer.    So, I put it together.   In one sense it was very easy to make, but in another sense, it was kinda hard.  But then again, I have trouble cutting layers, just kidding.   But WOW, what fun to unveil it.

To start with I used two frozen bread loaves and put them into a bundt pan.   I let them rise and then baked it for about 40 minutes.   Now, it did do a muffin top a little (kinda like my Boston Cream Pie), but you cut the crust off anyway so, it wasn’t a catastrophe.

I let the bread cool, and while it was cooling made up an egg salad spread as well as the Smoked Salmon spread I make.  I just doubled the amount of salmon for this recipe.   I thought it would lend itself to this and it did.   For the egg salad, I hard-cooked 9 eggs, mashed them with a fork, then added some mayonnaise, yellow mustard, sour cream and about 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.   (and you do need to peel the eggs too).   Just make up your favorite egg salad if you have one.

As soon as the bread was cool, I started slicing layers in it.   Actually I sliced off about 1/2 inch off of the bottom, then spread about a third of the egg salad on it.

Went back and sliced another layer, and spread that with the Smoked Salmon Spread.  Repeated the process with another layer of egg salad, then another layer of Smoked Salmon, and finished it off with the rest of the egg salad.

 

 

I then wrapped it up in a piece of plastic wrap and set it in the fridge for a couple of hours, to let the flavours mingle.

While it was in the fridge, I dived into the freezer and pulled out some frozen shrimp, poached it in my special poaching liquid, (yeah right, it’s whatever I think to put into the water, some rosemary this time, cayenne, black pepper, lemon juice, salt and some parsley) let the shrimp cook, til they were done, pulled them out of the water and since I was limited on ice, spread them out on a cookie sheet to cool down.  Peeled the shrimp and put them in the fridge for later on.

I had fun decorating this ‘cake’.   Basically, you spread it with a mixture of sour cream and mayonnaise.  Yup, sour cream and mayonnaise.   I used half of a pint of sour cream and a cup of mayonnaise.   I think you could probably also amp up the flavour here, but I choose to go with the simple approach.

And just slather the ‘frosting on there.   You don’t really have to be especially neat, or fancy, cause you’ll be decorating it with the shrimp and some hard-cooked eggs and cucumber later on.      Use your imagination,  and HAVE FUN!!!  I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who are more talented at decorating than me, but I don’t really care, I had fun.

I sliced up a cucumber, then cut some of the slices in half.

Then I went to town…

 

As you can see from the pictures…

And finished it off with some fresh parsley from my almost (semi-recovered) plant.

And if I was a really good food blogger, I would have grabbed the camera to show you pictures of it as it was cut, but hey, I was at a party and having fun, so you’ll just have to make your own and take pictures.   You could send them to me, if you like.   Seriously, I live in the real world, I like to share my adventures (and misadventures) in the kitchen, and I don’t always think about how something is going to ‘look’ or to take the ‘right kind of pictures’, I have fun with food.  So there…

Oh, and this was not only fun to make, show off, it also tasted totally awesome.    If you want to google Smorgastarta, (Smörgåstårta) you’ll find all kinds of ideas.

Shrimp Piccata and Tapa’s night for August.


We had our monthly Tapa’s Night this past Saturday, and as usual had fun as well as enjoyed some great food.
I made a Shrimp Piccata as my contribution this month, as well as putting out a couple other items.

And I will share the recipe a little later.   I’m kicking myself I didn’t get pictures of the awesome Pineapple Surprise cake or the Carrot cake that was brought, but hey, it’s my party and I can have fun if I want to, and forget to take pictures sometimes.

So here goes:

Zucchini Bake

This dish was so light and flavourful, so good.

The Spanish Omelette was really good as well, and I didn’t get a picture of the Sofrito sauce that was to be served with it.      I thought the omelette was pretty just on its own.

Spanish Omelette
And doesn’t this Charcuterie platter look pretty.   It also had some awesome smoked salmon in the center, you can sort of see them in between the crackers.
Charcuterie platter
Smoked Grouper Cheeks, Smoked Amberjack and Quail Eggs. It has been years since I’ve had quail eggs so seeing them and eating them well, I was a very happy person.    Danes also love smoked fish, well, many of us do, so to have some smoked fish, well, I was in heaven.  I kept heading over to the platter and snatching a bite or two.
I could just envision them with a nice slice of fresh french bread and a glass or two of Akvavit, with a beer chaser. sigh.   Sorry, got side tracked there.
Sliced lunch meats
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

There were some stuffed Cherry tomatoes, and they were so tasty as well.   I was in awe that someone sat and did this, but don’t they look pretty?

Smoked Fish, Ciabatta Rolls and dipping oil
Kugel

I love Kugel, and helped myself to a generous spoonful, I tend to eat this whenever I see it.
Another friend brought these large beans and told me this is common dish served in Greek taverns, and it was delicious as well.

Greek Taverna Beans

We also had some great dark fudge, which made some of us very happy.

Filled crescent rolls

And these little rolls, with a filling.  I’m such a sucker for, and really enjoyed the one I had.

So now for my contribution.
I had a heck of a time trying to figure out what I wanted to make this month.   I knew it should be something with shrimp, I’ve been craving shrimp lately, but what to do with it?    It wasn’t until I was driving into town to get the shrimp that I finally decided.   What a relief.   I had thought of making Shrimp Scampi, but dismissed that idea.   Then it dawned on me, Shrimp Picatta!  I love Chicken Picatta and make it on a regular basis, and the combination of lemon, butter, capers and shrimp just seemed like it would work.    So I bought three pounds of fresh shrimp, some lemons and went home.

I prepared the shrimp by shelling and de-heading them, and went to make up a nice boil to poach them in.  Realized that I didn’t have any Old Bay seasoning, but I didn’t let that stop me.  Not much stops me anyways, when it comes to cooking something.    While I was preparing the boil, I dumped some ice on top of the shrimp to keep them cold.   (I use a fair amount of disposable aluminum baking pans, you can buy them at Sam’s Club for about $7 for 30 of them.  I use them to cook my dog’s food and to serve them their food, less clean up for me.   And if I use a pan for shrimp, like I did here, I just wash it and use it for the dogs,   I do wash and re-use the pans as much as possible as well, until they break down)

I got out a pot and put some plain water in it, then added some cayenne pepper, a couple of cloves of crushed and roughly chopped garlic, a bottle of beer, a bay leaf and some lemon juice.  Brought it to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes so that the flavours would infuse together.   Tasted it and it was bland, so I added a small handful of lightly crushed peppercorns and a little salt, maybe a half teaspoonful, and some more lemon.   Let that come to a boil and tasted it again.  This time it had flavour.
While it was boiling I got a bowl out and put some ice into it, because after poaching the shrimp for a couple of minutes, I wanted to dump the shrimp into some ice water to stop the cooking process.   Nothing worse than a chewy over cooked shrimp.

You can see the bowl behind the pot of water.

I them dumped the shrimp into the boiling liquid, turned down the heat a little, let the shrimp turn pink and removed them with a slotted spoon and placed them on ice.   Very important to not over cook shrimp, they turn tough and rubbery.   You want them to ‘pop’ a little when you bite into them.   Only cook them for a minute or two.

Since my guests weren’t expected for another hour or so, I just quick cooled the shrimp, by tossing them with the ice,  then placed them into the fridge so I could finish them off later.   Oh and by the way, I did devein them as well after they cooled down.  (Note to self, next time, you need a lot more shrimp than you realize when you have to prepare them this way,   I may just buy them already deviened and shelled the next time.)

Before the guests arrived I made the sauce I wanted to reheat the shrimp in.    I melted one stick of butter in the pan, added a couple of cloves of minced garlic, a half cup of white wine, juice of one lemon and about 2 tablespoons of capers.  Also added a half a lemon in slices.   Let that simmer for a couple of minutes, tasted it and added another half cup of wine and more butter.   And it was good.

I then placed the shrimp in the butter sauce and let it warm over low heat until the shrimp were warmed through before I served it.   And it was popular.   I even caught a person dipping some of the slice Ciabatta rolls in the sauce and eating that.  OK, so it was me dipping the bread, but hey, the sauce was that good.  And there weren’t any shrimp left anyway.

Here’s the recipe for the boil and the Picatta Sauce

Boil
1 quart water
1 bottle beer
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
Juice from one lemon
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired.

Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes so that the spices can infuse into the water, taste and adjust the seasonings.   This will taste spicy, but it really doesn’t make the shrimp all that spicy, just adds a nice kick.    You can also use this spice mixture for a peel and eat shrimp boil.   Add the shrimp and let it come to a boil, but only cook the shrimp for a minute or two,  they just need to turn pink.

Piccata Sauce *

12 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine plus 1/2 cup white wine **
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons capers
2 minced garlic cloves
6 lemon slices

Simmer all of this together until the wine reduces by half, then add another half cup white wine, let that reduce a little, add the shrimp and stir it together until the shrimp warms through.   You don’t need to cook the shrimp, just warm it up in the sauce.   Serve immediately.

*I would serve this with a nice basmati rice or short grain rice or some bow tie pasta for a meal.  And you can use the sauce for chicken as well.  Nothing like a multi purpose sauce. giggle.
** You can substitute chicken stock here as well, the wine adds a nice note of flavour however.   And if you use chicken stock, use the low sodium.

Judging by how quickly the shrimp disappeared, I would say people liked this.

And I also served some sliced Ciabatta Rolls with some dipping oil and some sliced lunch meat, for those who wanted something more.

As usual, we had a great time, and got to try some good food as well.

Shrimp Salad


I had fun playing around with some ideas for Tapa’s night this month, and I finally narrowed it down, and made a final decision, but it wasn’t easy.

I had thought about making some Sausage Rolls, I have some HP sauce in the cupboard and Sausage Rolls and HP sauce are ‘da bomb’ together.  Whoops, did that date me?  Too bad.   Then I had the idea to make some Pizza bites, but…  that really didn’t excite me.    Then I thought, hmmm, Mini Quiché bites.    I have mini tart pans, and can make a bunch up at a time, I can make one batch vegetarian and the other with some lovely ham and bacon pieces in it them.  But it didn’t get me that fired up.  I mean I have to be excited or at the very least somewhat enthusiastic about what I’m making.    Then I had that “AHA, I GOT IT” moment, whew, that one almost hurt.  IGA had some jalapeno’s on sale this week, and they were a decent price and looked good.   And I needed to replenish my stock of Jalapeno’s in my freezer anyways, so Stuffed Jalapeno’s it was.   And I like to make have a choice for my friends who don’t care for meat, so I decided to cook the shrimp I bought the other day, since I didn’t get them cooked and had to freeze them,

Frozen Shrimp,defrosting

 

 

 

Cooled and ready to peel

and make a Shrimp Salad.    And while I didn’t have any crackers for the Shrimp Salad I did have some Fillo dough in the freezer so I made some Fillo cups.

I found out Fillo dough is rather picky.   It likes to be kept moist, dries out faster than I’ve ever seen anything dry out, but once you’ve got some butter brushed across it, it molds like a dream.  Melt some butter, I think I used a quarter of a stick, just make sure you have a pastry brush handy.    Unroll your sheet of Fillo dough, about three inches wide or so and cut into one long length.    Keep the rest rolled up in the plastic wrapper, it does stay together better that way.  (and make sure you take it out of the freezer about an hour before you want to use it.   It  does not unroll easily when frozen.   Please learn from my mistakes.)  Brush butter across one or two sheets of dough at a time, and stack to the side.   I found it was easy to do that.  Then take a sharp knife and cut that length into thirds.   At this point pick up about 4 sheets or so of the dough and place into your mini muffin or tart pan.  Pressing the dough down into the cup, repeat until all cups are done.   Bake in a 350 deg. preheated oven for about 10 minutes or so until the cups are a lovely light brown.

If you have more dough, cover with a damp towel to prevent the dough from drying out.   I think you could also flavor the butter with some garlic or …  just to add a little pizzaz.
Set out with the Shrimp Salad and let your guests spoon the salad into the fillo cups.

As you can see I got to the dish a little late in the day, and most of it was eaten already.

Shrimp Salad

1 lb. Shrimp, peeled, cut into thirds, poached in some seasoned water  (I boiled some water with a bay leaf, some peppercorns, cayenne pepper, Natures Seasons and dill)
4 stalks celery, cut into a fine dice
1 tablespoon onion, minced  (could use red onion here for prettiness sake)
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix together and taste for seasoning, then refrigerate.

Shrimp Etouffee and Beignets


I attended the monthly cooking demo at the Crooked River Grill this past Wednesday, it’s held every month and every month we get to see and taste new foods, well the Shrimp Etouffee was new to me.   I’d always wanted to try it, and finally got a chance to.   The guest chef was Ivanhoe and her husband Cliff and in the spirit of Mardi Gras they made some New Orleans style food.    Ivanhoe stressed the fact that making the Roux was the hardest part of putting together the Etouffee.   You need to stir and stir and stir and stir the roux mixture in the pan until it turns a lovely chocolate color.   If you don’t keep stirring, you can burn it very easily.   I know, the last time I made GumboI had to start the Roux over again.  I just didn’t admit it that day.We had some lovely Potato Corn Chowder and Salad to start with,

Potato Corn Chowder with crab

then we were served with the Shrimp Etouffee,

Shrimp Etouffee

and for afters, Beignets.  Click on the link, this is the recipe that Ivanhoe used.   And they were tasty.

Frying the Beignets
Ivanhoe busy with the Beignets

Did you know you can powder a bunch of Beignets by dumping some powdered sugar in brown paper sack, then placing the Beignets in there and shaking the whole thing up?

After the Powdered Sugar dunking
Throw the Beignets in,
And shake them up.

I’ve breaded fish and chicken doing this but have to admit to never doing some thing like Beignets.

Here’s Ivanhoe’s recipe for the Shrimp Etouffee, and pardon me Ivanhoe, but I added a few details to clarify the recipe instructions.

Shrimp Etouffee recipe

2 lbs. Crawfish tails or Shrimp
1/2- 1 stick butter (1/4 lb.)
1/4 cup Olive Oil (she uses light)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
Tony’s Chachere Famous Creole Seasoning
Paprika
1/2 cup flour
4-5 cans Chicken Broth
Kitchen Bouquet (vegetable seasoning and coloring)

Make a roux with 1/4 cup oil and 1/2 cup flour and stir, stir, stir over medium low heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan until it is a nice deep brown and gives off a nutty aroma.   To the roux add the chopped onions, garlic, celery and green pepper.   Cook an additional 5 minutes or so and then add the chicken broth, whisking well to incorporate the liquid.   This will thicken quite nicely.   Add liquid until it gets to the consistency you prefer.   Meanwhile, take the crawfish or shrimp and put in a microwave safe bowl, sprinkled liberally with the Tony’s seasoning and then put 2 tablespoons of butter on top and microwave on high 3-5 minutes.   Take out of microwave and add to the pot.  Stir well, let it simmer 10 minutes, then sprinkle a couple dustings of paprika on top.   Mix well and simmer 10 more minutes.   Taste and add Tony’s seasoning and salt to taste.  (I might add here, if you use salted chicken broth, you might not need additional salt).  If it’s too thick, add a little more liquid, if too thin, whisk in some flour and water.
Serve over rice with some Fresh French Bread.
Serves 8-10 people.
All in all, a good time was had by most.