A New Orleans Feast!

January has a lot of birthday’s…mine, my Aunt Lorrie, my Uncle John, my Uncle Mark, my friend Al, my son River, the best bartender in the world Vinny, my friend and Cheetoh’s vet Andy and I am sure a bunch of other people too!  My friend Andy has a love of New Orleans cuisine.  When I was cooking at his house on New Year’s Eve he shared with me his favorite New Orleans cookbook – which sprouted the idea to have a birthday New Orleans feast to celebrate Andy’s birthday.

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Andy’s cookbook is called The Little New Orleans Cookbook and it’s by Gwen McKee.  He lent it to me so I could use it for a few of the dishes I was going to prepare, so even though this is not my cookbook I decided to create a special addition blog post to talk about the recipes made.

I arrived at a menu consisting of 2 courses.  Course 1 would have crawfish dip, muffaletta, crab cakes and stuffed mushrooms.  Course 2 would have crawfish etouffee, big easy shrimp and gumbo.  The recipes for the crawfish etoufee and the big easy shrimp came from Andy’s cookbook.

I needed crawfish tails for a couple of the recipes.  Since I couldn’t find a local place to get them from I decided to order them for Louisiana, which wasn’t all that ridiculously priced I thought.  I ordered from Louisiana Crawfish Company and they were delivered the next day!  Yay for authentic crawfish!

To make the crawfish etoufee I melted butter in a big skillet.

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Then I added ingredients that pretty much appear in any New Orleans recipe: celery, onions and bell pepper.  I also added garlic.

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That cooked until the veggies began to get soft and flour was stirred in.

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Then crawfish tails, water, tomato paste, lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper, basil, thyme, chili powder and ground cloves were stirred in.  The etoufee cooked for 15 minutes, then was covered, heat was lowered and it cooked for another 15 minutes.

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Parsley and green onions were stirred in and it was served with rice.

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For the Big Easy Shrimp butter, lemon juice, garlic, seasoning (I made a mix similar to the spices added to the etouffee) and Worcestershire sauce were melted together.  Then the melty butter got poured on uncooked shrimp still in shells.  The shrimp was baked for 15 minutes in a 375 degree F oven.

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So easy!  The shrimp was served with French bread to dip in the butter.

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The Verdict:  A pretty successful birthday I’d say!  Lots of food – maybe too much – but lots of good leftovers anyway.  The nice thing about New Orleans food is the flavors develop further so sometimes the leftovers are better than when the dish was first served, in fact as I type this I am eating some of the leftover gumbo!  It was fun try out a new cookbook and I will def. make the big easy shrimp again – that recipe was SO easy!  You can grab it here.  If anyone want the recipe for the etouffee let me know, I didn’t include it because it takes a bit more work tracking down the crawfish!