Pete's 80th Brithday - Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo

Shrimp and Crab Gumbo

Since this dish is being served to 50 peope with an average age above 70 years old, it needs to stay on the mild side. Also, for budget reasons, I've replaced my usual crabmeat with savory chicken thighs.

2 lbs shrimp, shells reserved
3 4 C water
10 black peppercorns
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery
1 bay leaf

1 lb Andioulle sausage. sliced into coins
1.2 lb tasso or smoked ham,cut into small cubes
3 lbs chicken thighs
4 large cloves garlic,sliced
1 C onion, chopped
1 C green pepper, chopped
1 C celery, chopped
1 lb okra, trimmed and sliced
1 C crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 T cayenne pepper
Worchestershire sauce
2 T cornstarch
Lemon slices

2 C rice, such as basmati, cooked

1. Shell shrimp, placing shells in a stock pot with water, approx 10 peppercorns, onion, celery and bayleaf. Add salt. Simmer 15-30 minutes. If reduced below 3.5 C, add more water. Reserve.
2. Brown sausage, creating crispy browned edges. If over browned slightly, this is good. Add ham and warm through, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan. Remove and set aside.
3. Brown chicken thighs until almost cooked through. When cool, chop into bit sized pieces or strips and set aside.
4. Saute onion, garlic, peppers and celery in olive oil, scraping bottom of pan, until wilted. Add okra and cook until it turns from pale to darker green, about 4 minutes.
5. Add tomatoses, bayleaf, reserved shrimp borth, cayenne and worchestershire to taste. Return meats to pan and bring to a boil.
6. Mix 2 T cornstarch and 1/4 C water. Add to pot.
7. Add shrimp and lemon slices and simmer until shrimp is cooked through.

Serve over rice with chopped scallions. Crusty, toasted bread is also a good accompaniament.

Another Tuna and Pasta Dinner

Well, Tuna was on sale this week, and Nora likes it alot, so I went back to an old favorite from Cuisine Rapide, and then did a variation also from CR for some vegetable and shrimp pasta.

  • Grilled Tuna with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme, Cuisine Rapide
  • Buccatini with Shrimp and Vegetables
  • Marinated Grilled Vegetables - Mario Batali advertisement in May 2008 Gourmet
The pasta was nearly a one-pot dish, with Green Beans, Broccoli and this shrimp added in at the end. The sauce was derived from the somewhat dated, but awfully delicious, Cuisine Rapide cream sauce. From a base of sauteed garlic in oil, add finely cubed tomatos and cook them down, add herbs and cream. Using 2/3 C of cream in 1 pound of pasta does not make a rich, gooey cream sauce, so a) it's not that unhealthy and b) imagine whats going into the cream sauces in your favorite restaurant.

The Tuna is a solid standby dish. Marinate the tuna in olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and thyme sprigs. Grill with as much thyme and garlic still adhered to the steaks.

More on those marinated vegetables sometime soon. They're to die for, but require a bit of an explanation. The first of which this is the ONLY recipe from an advertisement that I've ever made.

Sweet Shrimp - Endorsed by Kids

OK - this might end on shaky ground for some, but the following recipe is almost surefire for kids. Most of them love shrimp, love a little sweetness, and this immensely simple recipe is sure to please the whole family - and add a littel sophistication to a kid friendly dish.

1 lb peeled shrimp - any size
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 T good quality sherry or amontillado

1. Toss shrimp with salt and pepper.
2. Heat butter and oil over medium high heat and add shrimp.
3. Saute 1-3 minutes per side, depending on size of shrimp.
4. Lower heat slightly and add sherry. Cook just long enough to reduce sherry and allow it to combine with oils, shaking pan.

Server over pasta, rice or plain.

Alright - there's alcohol, and we're serving it to kids. If you were to argue that NO alochol burns off, and NONE remains in the pan, and ALL of it is in the kids serving, then do the math. If a kid eats 1/4 # of shrimp, they'll get one and a half teaspoons of sherry. Let's now consider how much wine the average 12 year old in France drinks per week. I'm not too concerned about this topic anymore.

Just A Menu - with Crab Pasta

Note to self: even if there's not time to write details and recipe critique, at least get the darn menu into a post. After all, the purpose of this blog is first and foremost as a recipe index.

Saturday October 11 - VERY quick dinner

Cukes - OK? Yeah OK. Nothing special. From the Southern cooking issue

Tuna - still a favorite.

Crab pasta - from the cooking school issue, which has some GREAT recipes. This one is not great, just good, but in a white-trash, simplistic kind of way. No depth of flavors, just a squirt of hot sauce so only one type of heat. Crab+Pasta+butter = always enjoyable. Short on herbs and the lemon didn't contribute enough character. Still - simplistic and tasty. But you're better off spending your $24 on crab legs in a better recipe.
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