Shrimp Creole

I served this tasty dish for our Mardi Gras dinner followed by our essential celebratory King Cake for dessert. It was festive and delicious.

I admittedly used Cajun seasoning instead of Creole Seasoning- gasp! After making the dish, I read about the similarities and differences between the Cajun and Creole cuisines. Both cuisines use a roux, the “holy trinity” composed of onions, bell peppers, and celery sautéed in oil, and both are from Southern Louisiana. Cajun food incorporates more smoked meats and rice, such as jambalaya, and is from more rural parts of the region whereas Creole cuisine, such as étouffée, is from New Orleans. I included the recipe for the homemade Creole seasoning below. (for next time!)

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Vallery Lomas. I modified the cooking times and doubled the garlic. I also used store-bought seasoning and omitted the dried basil. The shrimp was cooked perfectly.

Yield: Serves 4

For the Creole Seasoning: (Optional)

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Shrimp:

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used large tail-on shrimp)
  • 2 teaspoons homemade or store-bought Creole seasoning, divided (I used Slap ya Mama)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick / 4 T)
  • 1/3 cup (5 T) all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium or large yellow onion, finely chopped (I used a food processor)
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 to 8 garlic cloves, minced (I used a food processor)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce (no salt added)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce, to taste (optional) (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 T fresh thyme)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1/2 T fresh oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 1/2 T fresh basil)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems
  • steamed rice, for serving (I used white Basmati rice)
  1. Make the optional Creole seasoning: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. The seasoning makes about 1/4 cup; store it in a closed container in a cool, dry place. (Only 2 teaspoons are used in this dish.)
  2. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Then toss the raw shrimp with 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning and set aside.
  3. In a Dutch oven or large, heavy skillet with a lid, melt the butter over medium-low heat. (I used a low and wide enameled cast iron pot.)
  4. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until a roux the color of peanut butter forms, about 5 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully- if the roux burns it cannot be saved.
  5. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper, increase the heat to medium and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  6. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
  7. Stir in 1/3 cup water, then the tomato sauce, hot sauce (if using), sugar, thyme, oregano, basil (if using), bay leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
  8. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally to make sure that the bottom doesn’t burn. (If needed, add more water.)
  9. Once the stew has thickened, add the seasoned shrimp and simmer until opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes, turning each piece halfway through the cooking time. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  10. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, uncovered.
  11. Serve over steamed rice sprinkled with sliced scallions and chopped parsley.

Roast Chicken with Roasted-Garlic Pan Sauce

This dinner was like a mini-Thanksgiving feast. 🙂 I served the chicken with roasted gold and sweet potatoes, broccoli, and acorn squash. The incredibly flavorful, rich sauce made the meal complete.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by José Andrés. It was inspired by the rotisserie chicken and sauce made by the Morales family at El Asador de Nati in Córdoba, Spain. The sauce incorporates the pan drippings with an entire head of roasted garlic. Wonderful.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and place in a large ovenproof skillet (I used a 12″ sauté pan) along with the head of garlic, cut sides down. Roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until 
an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part 
of the chicken breast registers 160°. (I used the oven probe.)
  3. Transfer the chicken 
and garlic to a cutting board; let rest for 15 minutes. Pour the pan drippings into a heatproof bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, in the skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, minced garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the wine, bay leaf, thyme and the reserved pan drippings.
  6. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the sauce and bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer over moderately low heat until slightly reduced, 5 minutes.
  7. Discard the bay leaf. Transfer to a blender, add 2 tablespoons of water and puree until very smooth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. (I used a Vitamix.)
  8. Carve the chicken and transfer to a platter. Drizzle with sauce and serve additional roasted-garlic pan sauce on the side.

Thai Green Curry with Chicken

IMG_0162

I love Thai curries. My go-to Thai takeout dish is ALWAYS red curry- so this was a nice change of pace. 🙂 This dish is a super-quick cook made with store-bought curry paste.

I adapted this Everyday Food recipe by using a combination of chicken meat, adding shallots, green peppers, and coconut oil, and by serving it over brown rice. It was a wonderful end-of-summer dish as it made use of my grill, garden basil, and CSA green beans and bell pepper, while also being the warm and filling meal perfect for a cool evening. Healthy, flavorful, and delicious!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 cup brown Basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 12 ounces (about 3 1/2 cups) green beans, stem ends removed, halved crosswise
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced large
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 medium to large shallot, halved and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast and 5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Season the chicken meat with salt and pepper. Grill or broil the meat to cook. Cut into 1-inch pieces, set aside.
  2. Cook rice according to package instructions. (I cook 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of chicken stock for 30-40 minutes.)
  3. Meanwhile, place cornstarch in a small bowl; whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons chicken stock until smooth (reserve remaining stock). Set aside.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion and shallot; cook, tossing frequently, until they begin to soften, then add the green beans and bell pepper. Continue to cook until vegetables begin to soften as well, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Add curry paste to green beans and onion in skillet. Cook, stirring and scraping bottom of skillet, until paste is slightly darkened, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add chicken, coconut milk, cornstarch mixture, and reserved chicken broth. Simmer until vegetables are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
  7. Add basil and lime juice. Season with salt, and stir to combine; serve over rice.

One Year Ago:

Minestrone

moosewood minestrone

I adapted this recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen to make a Minestrone that was more like a stew. It was really thick! I added Parmesan rind to the stew as it simmered, and finished it with freshly squeezed lemon juice to brighten the flavors. I also added baby spinach (instead of diced fresh tomatoes) just before serving to add color and texture. The parsley and freshly grated Parmesan garnishes also added a lot to the finished dish. Healthy and good. We ate it with warm flatbread.

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced and/or 1 cup diced eggplant
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • fresh black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 3-4 cups (or more) water (I used stock)
  • 1 14 1/2-oz can tomato puree (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pea beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans (if canned: well-rinsed and well-drained)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup dry pasta (any shape) (I used Ditalini)
  • 1 or 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, diced (optional)
  • baby spinach (or other greens, optional)
  • fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly minced parsley
  • Parmesan cheese (and rind – optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add onion, garlic, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add celery, carrot, eggplant (if using zucchini, add it later, with the bell pepper), oregano, black pepper, and basil. Add Parmesan rind (if using), cover, and cook over very low heat about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add bell pepper, zucchini, water, and tomato puree. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer another 5 minutes.
  3. Bring the soup to a gentle boil. Add pasta, stir and cook until the pasta is tender. Add lemon juice. Stir in the diced fresh tomatoes or baby spinach, and serve right away topped with parsley and Parmesan.

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