Laissez les bons temps rouler!


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With Mardi Gras celebrations in full swing and Fat Tuesday tomorrow, I thought that the title of this post should fit the fun atmosphere. The phrase means “Let the good times roll!” and it seemed fitting, since there was a good amount of celebrating going on at DBA HQ last week. The interview in the Gaston Gazette was really nice,  we had a record week of reads on the blog and premiered our the Valentine’s episode  to great reviews.

But just like Mardi Gras, there was some craziness. I mean the craziness just adds to the fun, right? Well, at least it gives you stories to tell…

My run in with the cray-cray last week started out during a normal day at work. I had just parked my Jeep and was making some notes before going in to do a store visit when all of a sudden I heard a “THUD” on the passenger side of my car. I looked to the right and saw that a very large truck had not only parked next to me, but the driver had opened his door and hit the side of the Jeep, hence the “THUD”. I got out, all fired up and ready to kick some ass. I peered at the car, and thankfully, there was no damage. Still, I was pissed off, so I looked at the driver and said, “You know you just hit my car”. The guy in the over-sized truck, a chunky redneck of a fellow in his late 50’s, smiled and said, “Don’t worry, darlin’, nothin’s hurt-the door’s rubberized!” pointing to the black band that edged the outline of his door.

I don’t know which pissed me off more-him hitting my door, his cavalier attitude toward it or him calling me “darlin’ “. Needless to say, the fiery Italian in me came out to play. “Oh yeah?”, I said. “Ok, so how about I take the hockey puck that’s in my car and hurl it at your truck. I mean, it’s rubber, so it won’t hurt.”

Mr. Redneck looked at me, mouth on the floor, in abject shock. Maybe he’d never heard a woman backtalk to him before. Maybe he was trying to figure out what the hell a hockey puck was. Maybe he was afraid that I’d take my mysterious hockey puck and aim for his head. He sat there, in his stupid, giant truck completely speechless as I stared him down and said, “Why don’t you try being a little more careful next time, k?” And I stalked away into the store (which turned out to be a complete waste of my time, but that’s another story for another day).

Suffice to say, I think Mr. Redneck learned an important lesson about respecting other people’s property and will take more care when parking and opening doors from now on. After all, who knows when he’ll meet another fearless Badass that actually has a hockey puck in her car and is not afraid to use it…

Good times I tell ya..

Good food and good times go hand and hand so I figured I’d share a  recipe that brings me back to New Orleans. I love that city!  I think the food there is so flavorful because it needs to be to match the vibe there. Mardi Gras or not, NOLA is a town with a huge personality and the food matches it, bite for bite. One of my very favorite dishes from The Big Easy is Etouffee.  Pronounced “et-too-fay“, the word comes from the French Cajun word “etouffer” which means to smother. And trust me, you’ll want to smother yourself in this stuff, it’s so good. Etouffee is a stew-like concoction with a blonde roux base and is usually made with some sort of shell fish, like shrimp or crawfish and The Holy Trinity of veggies, celery, onion and bell pepper. (You know the folks here are serious about food when they nickname the three veggies used in most of their dishes “The Holy Trinity”)

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Traditionally, it’s served over rice. Now, there are lots of variations on etouffee out there. Mine is a little creamier, thanks to adding some cream in addition to the stock and has no tomatoes. Try it and you’ll be yelling “Throw me something Mister!” before you know it. I’d recommend keeping your shirt on, unless of course, you’re in the privacy of your own home. Then all bets are off.

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Don’t ask how I got so many beads…

Shrimp Etouffee

The Badass says: “One taste of my shrimp etouffee and you’ll feel like you’re in the French Quarter.  I add a touch of cream to make it extra decadent-hey it’s Fat Tuesday, right? What better reason to indulge!”

Here’s what you need:

2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined (hold on to those shells)

2 cups diced bell pepper (about 1 large or 2 medium to small)

1 large stalk of celery, finely diced (this will be about ½ of a cup)

1 small onion, diced (this will be about ½ of a cup)

1 stick of butter

½ cup all purpose flour

salt

1/3 cup white wine

2 TBS Creole Cajun seasoning

dash of cayenne pepper (optional if you want some extra heat)

¾ cup half and half, heated

1 bunch of scallions, chopped

1 batch of shrimp stock (recipe follows)

 

For the shrimp stock you’ll need:

The shells from the two pounds of shrimp needed for this dish

1 ¾ cup chicken stock

2 ¼ cup water

½ inch slice of lemon

1 clove of garlic, crushed

(this recipe will yield about 4 cups of stock)

And here’s what you do:

First, we’ll make the stock.  Place the shrimp shells and tails in a medium pot along with the water, chicken stock, garlic and lemon.  Heat on high until the mixture just starts to boil, then quickly lower the heat to low and let it gently simmer for about 20 minutes.  Strain the liquid and discard the shells, lemon and garlic.

While the stock is simmering, melt the butter on medium high heat in a large pot. Add the pepper, onion, celery and a large pinch of salt and cook on medium until the veggies are soft and the onion is translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add the flour and cook for about 10-15, stirring occasionally, until the flour is a nice golden color and has a toasty, nutty smell. Add the wine and stir to loosen up the flour on the bottom of the pot, then add the stock and continue to stir to loosen up any yummy bits that might still be on the bottom. Add the Creole seasoning and cayenne pepper. Cook for one minute then taste and add salt to taste. Add the heated cream and cook for 5 minutes on medium. Add the shrimp and the chopped scallions and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until shrimp are tender. Serve over white rice.  If you like, you can garnish with additional chopped scallions for added color and crunch.

Enjoy!

DBA Tip Alert!  To make this dish extra fun, use different colors of peppers to make up the 2 cups. You can use smaller peppers or those cute little baby bell peppers.

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Keep the beads Mister, throw me a shrimp!

Well, I hope you all have a fun, fabulous Fat Tuesday, no matter where you are. Try this recipe and indulge a little. Go on. You know you want to…And remember to keep a hockey puck in your car. You never know when you’ll need it…

Till next time…Have Fun…and Be Fearless!xoxo

4 thoughts on “Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  1. Yeah, the flour cooks in the butter to make the roux for thickening. It’s a pretty common technique in Cajun and Creole cooking. For this one, I use a blonde roux. For other dishes, a brown roux is used. Same ingredients (equal parts butter and flour) but its cooked longer, so the flavor is stronger and so is the color. 🙂

    1. I bet I could use a tablespoon or two of arrowroot in place of it to keep gluten/grain-free. Might try this this weekend. Thanks!

  2. Arrowroot would work. Potato flour would do the trick, too. You can also leave out the cream to make it dairy free and use a butter substitute (Smart Balance is a good one to try) If you try it, let me know what you think 🙂

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