Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

Spicy Seafood Boil with Blue Crabs and Shrimp Nawlins (New Orleans) Style

Spicy Seafood Boil with Blue Crabs and Shrimp Nawlins (New Orleans) Style

Spicy Seafood Boil with Blue Crabs and Shrimp Nawlins (New Orleans) Style

I love, love, love seafood.  Any kind of seafood!  But I especially enjoy boiling seafood on weekends. I will usually make a meal out of it by adding corn on the cob, red new potatoes and when in season, live crawfish.

If you love seafood as much as I do and are intimidated by the idea of boiling seafood yourself, follow my recipe below and you’ll realize how super easy it is.

1. In a large stock pot add the following and bring to a rapid boil.

  • 2 gallons water
  • 2 packs Zatarains crab boil or 1 1/2 cups of Zatarains powder crab boil (sold in gallon containers)
  • 2 tablespoon cayenne pepper or 1 whole pepper
  • 1 bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 cup rough chopped celery

Optional:

  • Handful bay leaves
  • 1-1/2 pounds small red potatoes
  • 4 half-ears of frozen or fresh corn
  • 1 pound sausage, cut into 3-inch pieces

2.  Add 1 dozen blue crabs and cook for 10 mins and reduce heat to low.

3.  Add 2 lbs large shrimp with heads on and simmer for another 5 mins and turn off.

4.  Let soak for 1 hour to absorb all of the wonderful flavors before serving.

Spicy Seafood Boil with Blue Crabs and Shrimp Nawlins (New Orleans) Style

Spicy Seafood Boil with Blue Crabs and Shrimp Nawlins (New Orleans) Style

Now that your boiled seafood is ready for serving, you may wonder how to go about actually eating them easily.  I’ve been ‘picking crabs’, ‘peeling shrimp’ and ‘pinching tails and sucking heads’ (crawfish of course! LOL!) since I was a kid.  Instead of me explaining to you how to pick (peel) crabs with ease, check out this video demonstrated by Chef Justin LeBlanc of Bevi Seafood in New Orleans.  Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments below!!

Herb and Fruit Vinegars

I’m hoping that you enjoyed my previous tips on preparing herb butters and oil.  I love preparing them both. Today’s recipe is on another one of my favorites: preparing flavored vinegars.

Seasoned vinegar is especially useful for making marinades and salad dressing due to its deeply infused flavors.

Herb or fruit flavored vinegar may be made by combining in sterilized jars or bottles:

  • 1 cup fresh herbs or fruit (bruise slightly to release their oils) or 1 to 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped herbs and
  • 2 cups of white or red wine vinegar (It’s important to find a high-quality white or red wine vinegar to start with, one with minimal levels of ethyl acetate, the compound that shows up in lesser-quality vinegars.)

Tightly cap the container and set aside to steep in a warm place for about two weeks checking daily. Strain and discard herbs. Repeat with fresh herbs/fruit for richer flavor. Decant into sterilized jars or bottles with a tight-fitting cap.

You can also add vinegar and herbs or fruit to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and slowly cook two minutes. Strain through a coffee filter inside a strainer and store.

Typical herbs to use singly or in a combination are: basil, dill tarragon, rosemary, celery seed, cranberry, mustard seed.

Add a couple of sprigs of herbs or a few seeds to the final product for a festive-looking bottle.  Remember to keep away from direct sunlight.

Some flavors to try:

  • Apple Spice
  • Tarragon
  • Raspberry, Nectarines, Peaches or Mangoes
  • Lemon
  • Garlic Chive

Have you ever made your own flavored vinegar? What has been your favorite flavor? Any particular tips to impart?

Chef Lynn Ware is a private/personal chef specializing in healthy cooking, culinary educator, and food blogger. Chef Lynn offers: Corporate Cooking Classes, Group Cooking Parties, Private Cooking Lessons and Gourmet Catering. Contact Chef Lynn (ChefLynn@ChefLynn.com) for additional information.

Herb or Spice Flavored Oils

One of my favorite gifts I like to make and give is  herbal or spiced infused olive oil.  It can be used for salad dressings, cooking, or as a table condiment.
It is easy to make herb and/or spice infused olive oils at home. You do though have to plan ahead to let the oil steep for 2 weeks before using.
Herbal oils may be made with any oil but lighter oils allow the flavors of the herbs to be enjoyed more fully.
  • Light oils: extra light olive, extra virgin olive, corn, safflower, sunflower, vegetable
  • Heavy oils: peanut, sesame

To make an herb oil, first sterilize any size jar or bottle (I suggest boiling in water for approximately 10 mins.) then half-fill it with whole fresh herbs. Fill jar with oil (must cover all herbs) Tightly cap and sit aside to steep in a warm place out of sunlight for about two weeks shaking daily. Strain through coffee filter and discard herbs.

Taste the product and repeat steps for richer flavor and body. Re-sterilize container.

Decant final product into a sterilized container with tight-fitting cap. Add a couple of fresh sprigs of herbs and/or a few compatible seeds to final product for a festive looking bottle

Typical herbs to use: garlic, tarragon, thyme, various peppers (hot or mild), basil, rosemary, oregano or bay leaf.

I like to use my flavored oils when grilling vegetables or seafood.

What are some of your uses.  Send me your comments.

Chef Lynn Ware is a private/personal chef specializing in healthy cooking, culinary educator, and food blogger. Chef Lynn offers: Corporate Cooking Classes, Group Cooking Parties, Private Cooking Lessons and Gourmet Catering. Contact Chef Lynn (ChefLynn@ChefLynn.com) for additional information.

Savory Herb Butter

      

 

HERB BUTTERS

Herb butter is great way to enhance the flavor of any dish that benefits from the addition of herbs: pasta, steamed vegetables, fish, etc. It is easy to make and keeps well in your freezer. Make some today to keep on hand for jazzing up those last-minute meals.

Here’s how:

Use unsalted butter soften at room temperature

Add two tablespoons finely chopped herbs to ½ cup (1/4 lb/1 stick) butter. Combine with fork or electric beater. Do not whip. Form into log on wax paper, roll up and refrigerate until firm. May be frozen in freezer for up to three months.

Presentation tips:

  • Slice log or butter into rounds
  • Use a melon baller to form balls.
  • Flatten between wax paper and use mini cookie or canapé’ cutters to form decorative pats.

Herbs and seasonings to try:

  • Parsley or cilantro for seafood and breads
  • Basil, oregano, garlic, grated parmesan (½ tsp each per ¼ lb) for Italian garlic bread.
  • Tarragon (1 tsp per ¼ lb) for seafood, mushrooms
  • Lemon or lime juice (few drops per ¼ lb) for seafood (add slowly so mixture will not separate).
  • Honey and mustard (1 tsp each per ¼ lb) for ham or chicken basting or as a sauce
  • Honey butter (3 tbs. per ¼ lb) for bread, toast

 

Savory Basil Butter

Quick and Easy Garlicky Shrimp and Scallops with Artichokes

I purchased some fresh shrimp and scallops earlier during the week and didn’t have an opportunity to prepare them; so last night I had to make sure I cook them before it spoiled. I decided to make a quick and relatively simple meal that I could sit down and enjoy within minutes. After checking my fridge and pantry for ingredients and menu ideas I decided to sauté the shellfish with a little olive oil and garlic.  I didn’t follow any particular recipe but pretty much just combined the ingredients I had on hand by sight and taste.

Try preparing this meal and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me for more details.

I guarantee you will agree that it’s quick and easy to prepare and a relatively inexpensive last minute meal.

Ingredients:

  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Lots of minced garlic or add enough for your taste
  • Shallots
  • Lemon Pepper Olive Oil (my absolute favorite flavored olive oil is made by  Boyajian (http://boyajianinc.com/)
  • Canned artichokes ( I had some leftover in the refrigerator)
  • About one tablespoon of butter for extra flavor
  • Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Mushrooms

Directions

  1. Sauté shrimp, scallops, shallots, garlic and artichokes in olive oil and butter
  2. Add mushrooms, and Mrs. Dash (or if you prefer salt/pepper) to taste
  3. Sauté for approximately 8-10 until done but not over cooked. You can always tell when shellfish is done by the way it looks. It usually looks opaque throughout.
  4. As an option you can add some fresh grated parmesan cheese for added flavor
  5. Add your favorite green vegetable for a well-balanced meal (I sautéed some fresh Broccolini)

New Orleans Style Seafood Boil

Anyone who intimately knows me can tell you that I absolutely love, love, love seafood. It does not matter if it’s boiled, broiled, fried, baked, grilled, or sautéed I will eat it up and ask for more.

Now is the season when blue crabs and crayfish are plentiful. I usually prepare some type of seafood boil on the weekends to eat with family and friends while hanging in or around my hot tub. Last evening was the start of this ritual for me when my hunny and I, who is also from ‘Nawlins, prepared a large ‘gumbo pot’ of boiled seafood.

It’s really simple to prepare if you have all of the ingredients on hand. The main goal for starters is make sure you flavor the water with spices and herbs before adding the seafood.  I usually use whatever I have left over in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

 

  • One bell pepper (any color will do)
  • One garlic
  • One medium onion and/or several shallots and/or green onions
  • Several baking potatoes cut into ¼ pieces
  • Several corn on the cobs
  • ½ cup Zatarians Crab Boil (taste water to determine if more is needed)
  • 150 ozs of water (I usually fill up my blender jar two and one half times as a measurement)
  • 2-3 lbs of shrimp
  • One dozen of crabs
  • 1-2 lobsters are optional

Directions

  1. Gently boil all of the seasonings together for approximately 20 minutes.  
  2. Add corn and potatoes and boil for another 10 minutes
  3. Add blue crabs and/or lobsters, return to boil and cook for 10-15 minutes
  4. Add shrimp and turn off heat. The hot water will cook the shrimp
  5. Let stand for one hour so that the seafood will absorb the flavors of the water
  6. Eat and enjoy with your favorite cold beverage.

Yummy Seafood Gumbo During National Seafood Month

Seafood Gumbo by Chef Lynn

 
This is my favorite time of year when fall begins and the weather starts to change. I absolutely love to prepare comfort foods, which includes for me:  gumbos, soups, and stews during the fall and winter months. I want to share with you one of my favorite winter recipes: Seafood Gumbo. I get so many requests to make a pot of gumbo that I often prepare a very, very large pot so that I will have plenty to share with family and friends.
 
Gumbo is a wonderful means of using leftovers, but historically the two main varieties include Creole or Cajun Gumbo. Creole gumbo most often consists of seafood, tomatoes, and filé, used as a thickener; whereas Cajun gumbo is usually identified by its dark roux, cooked until it is a color of peanut butter. The roux is used with okra as a thickener. Seafood is also popular in Cajun gumbo, but chicken or duck, and sausage are sometimes used too.

 

Don’t be afraid to try this recipe. It is fairly simple to prepare and to quote one of my favorite Cajun chefs, Justin Wilson…I Guar-Ron-Tee you would love, love, love it!

 Seafood and Andouille Gumbo Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of large deveined shrimp
  • 3-4 blue crabs (shells removed, cleaned and split in half)
Cleaned/Shelled Crabs and Shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning* (such as Tony Chachere’s® Creole Seasoning).
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 3 cups chopped okra, fresh or thawed frozen
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, (stem, ribs and seeds removed), finely diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves (preferably Turkish)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pound andouille (or other smoked sausage), sliced crosswise into ¼-inch thick rounds
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste
  • 2 quarts chicken broth or seafood stock (boil shrimp and/or crab shells and strain)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ -2 tablespoons Filé (optional)

Zatarains' GumboFile'

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot and add the flour
  2. Cook, stirring constantly to make a medium brown roux (the color of peanut putter) being careful not to burn. If there is the slightest indication of over-browning, dispose of the roux and start over. Even a slightly burned roux will ruin the dish.
  3. Add the okra, onions, garlic, bell pepper, and celery and cook until softened.
  4. Add tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves, Creole seasoning, pepper, hot sauce, and broth or stock.
  5. Bring to boil and then reduce heat.
  6. Add crabs and sausage and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add shrimp (and other optional seafood like oysters, mussels, crayfish tails, etc) and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in enough file power to thicken. Do not boil the gumbo after adding the file power. 
  9. Serve the gumbo in warmed soup bowls over a spoonful of hot cooked rice.  

 Tips and Techniques

  • Gumbo is even better made one day in advance, as the flavor intensifies. Cool completely, then refrigerate overnight. Remove the congealed fat before reheating. If you would like to freeze the gumbo, cool completely then store, tightly covered, in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Other seafood, such as peeled crawfish tails, lobsters and clams may be added to the gumbo.
  • Cooked seafood may be used too but the finished gumbo will not have the richness of flavor given by the crab cooked in it but will still be delicious. Just heat cooked seafood through in the finished gumbo.

October is a true month of celebration – it’s National Seafood Month!…YEAH!!!!!

For all you seafood lovers and those of you who would like to start to incorporate seafood into your diet…This is your month to ‘Just do It’

There is no better time than now to enjoy delicious, fresh seafood like oysters, shrimp, salmon and crab cakes. Eating seafood two or more times a week benefits your body in many ways. The omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood products can protect against heart disease, relieve inflammatory diseases, and keep the immune system healthy.

 I have to admit, I can eat seafood seven days a week.  I absolutely love all kinds of seafood..except squid and octopus…I think..since I really never tasted them before.  I may even like it if I dare to try them.

 To celebrate National Seafood Month, for the rest of October, I will be sharing some of my favorite tips on purchasing, and preparing seafood along with some yummy recipes.

 So…..today’s topic will be on oysters…one of my favorite types of seafood.

 Some may say that oysters are an acquired taste.  They are traditionally eaten raw on the half shell, however they are also a popular ingredient in many Cajun/Creole dishes, such as Oysters Rockefeller, Seafood Gumbo, and Oysters Bienville. Even though you can purchase oysters year round; they are at their best September thru April.  Some of you  may have heard of the ‘R month rule’. This rule states that the best time to eat oysters is during a month that contains the letter ‘R’. I have discovered that there may be some truth to this rule.  During the summer months fresh oysters tend to be very soft and milky and not as tasty; unlike the fall/winter months when they are much more plump and pleasant to eat.

 Oysters are usually sold three ways; in the shell, shucked and stored in their liquor, or frozen.  I normally purchase them shucked so that I can use them in various different recipes.  During early Spring when grilling season begins, I love to prepare Chargrilled Oysters. And those who know me know that it’s a ritual of mine to have fried oysters on most weekends.  It’s a Naw’lins tradition from way back when.  Try one of my favorite oyster recipe and let me know your thoughts. As we say in NOLA…Bon Appétit, Y’all!!!!!

 Chargrilled Oysters

I first experienced this dish while I was living in New Orleans years ago and would frequently practice preparing this dish until I perfected it.  It’s really easy, fast to prepare, and absolutely deelish!

 Ingredients

  • 24 fresh shucked oysters, on the half shell
  • 1 lb unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bunches green onions, finely chopped
  • 20 garlic cloves, pureed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme  and oregano
  • 2 tablespoons creole seasoning
  • 2 ounces white wine
  • 1 cup grated romano cheese
  • 1 loaf French bread

 Directions

  1. Melt half the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add your lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, green onions and all herbs and seasonings.
  3. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in wine. Keep stirring and remove from heat as soon as the green onions wilt. Let cool for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the butter and stir until completely incorporated.
  5. Heat grill to 350°F
  6. Place oysters on grill. When the oyster liquor starts to bubble, spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce on top of each, then top with 1 tablespoon of Romano cheese.
  7. Let the cheese melt. When oysters begin to slightly brown at the edges, remove from grill and place on a heat proof plate or tray.
  8. Top each oyster with an additional tablespoon of the butter sauce and serve immediately with slices of french bread for dipping.

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