Crawfish Boulettes

At Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant in New Orleans, these are served with the fried seafood platter and the crawfish combination. Deanie’s calls them “crawfish dressing balls.” To say that I crave them all the time is an understatement; it’s more like true lust. On our last trip, we went to Deanie’s twice just so I could get these little treats.

Half seafood platter


Crawfish Boulettes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb crawfish tails, with fat (I used shrimp once and it was just as good)
  • 1 medium bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tbps Creole seasoning, or to taste
  • 4 eggs, beaten separately in two bowls of two eggs apiece
  • 1 tbps Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • corn meal for breading

Directions:

In a food processor, grind the crawfish tails together with bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic, and parsley. In a mixing bowl, incorporate the bread crumbs, Creole seasoning, two of the beaten eggs, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Shape mixture with hands into smallish meatball-sized portions. Dip each boulette into remaining beaten egg, dredge each into breading medium and fry in oil until golden brown. Serves about 8-10.

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Stuffed Artichokes

Another recipe that your grandmaw knew how to make. My mother still waxes poetically about my grandmother’s stuffed artichokes, I remember her raving about them when I was a kid. I was far too young to fully appreciate them then, but now I understand completely. I did however love scraping the individual stuffed leaves across my front teeth. Here in California, we get some great baby artichokes which happen to be the perfect size for this recipe.

Stuffed Artichokes

6 small artichokes
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 cups French bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce

Trim stem of each artichoke, leaving 1/2 inch. Remove any damaged or tough lower leaves and trim off upper edges of remaining leaves. With palm of hand, gently press down on artichoke to open up or separate leaves. Wash artichokes in cold running water. Heat oil over medium heat; add garlic and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Stuff each leaf with crumb-cheese mixture. Place artichokes in large saucepan and steam in 2 inches water over low heat 1 hour or until leaves can be removed easily. During steaming period, occasionally baste artichokes with additional olive oil.

NOTE: If you use seasoned bread crumbs, you will want to omit the parsley and parmesan cheese.

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Cinnamon Pecans

In Urbana, we used to visit the Farmer’s Market fairly regularly and look for a stand of Amish farmers who sold various baked goods and candies. The one treat that they made that was almost always sold out by the time we got there was their candied pecans. It was a great day when we could find them. This is about as close as I can find… the Amish pecans are a little sweeter, but this recipe is very close.

Cinnamon Pecans

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Moderate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes

2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound pecans

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Beat egg whites foamy but not stiff. Stir in sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in 1 pound pecan halves. Spread on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, Stirring 3 or 4 times.

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Tortilla al Horno

In Madrid's tapas bars you could be served this simply in 1-inch squares with toothpicks for picking up, while in other parts of Spain the squares might be presented on bread slices.

Tortilla al Horno

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 12 servings (4 pieces per person)

olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
4 scallions, white and green parts chopped finely
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced finely
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced finely
6 oz. potato, boiled, peeled, and diced
5 large eggs
generous 1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Spanish Roncal cheese, or use Cheddar or Parmesan
3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

Line a 7 x 10-inch shallow ovenproof pan with foil and brush with the oil; set aside.

Put a little oil, the garlic, scallions, and bell peppers in a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft but not brown. Remove from the heat and let cool. Stir in the potato.

Beat the eggs, sour cream, cheese, and chives together in a large bowl. Stir the cooled vegetables into the bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the mixture into the shallow pan and smooth over the top. Bake in an oven preheated to 375ºF for 30-40 minutes until golden brown, puffed, and set in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool and set. Run a spatula around the edge, then invert onto a cutting board, browned side up; peel off the foil. If the surface looks a little runny, put it under a medium broiler to dry out.

Let cool completely. Trim the edges if necessary, then cut into 48 squares. Serve on a platter with wooden toothpicks, or secure each square to a slice of bread.