As much as I complain about cold weather and winter, I really do enjoy the snow whenever we visit the farm. Everything at the farm looks pretty at any time of the year and it is the same with snow. I didn't get to milk the goats, since there aren't any babies right now but I might get to again later this spring or summer. Overall, I had a wonderful time, ate a lot and relaxed, it is so nice to get away and just take a breather even if it is for a short moment.
Things that I learned on this trip;
- Sledding down a steep hill is a lot of fun but not walking up.
- Walking in knee high snow might be a new great way for me to burn some calories.
- Snoopy is fascinated with but also intimidated by cats.
- It's always refreshing to be without cell phone signal for a day or two. (We did have limited internet connectivity so it wasn't like we were out of touch with the world but it was still so good).
We were planning on taking our yearly trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras but unfortunately, that won't be happening since we have quite a bit of stuff happening on the home front that it will have to be pushed back to sometime later. NOLA is one of my favorite cities to visit not only because it is a city rich with food and culture but also because it is home to one of my dearest and closest friends from grad school. So since we won't be going any time soon, I decided to whip out one of my favorite cookbooks, Brennan's New Orleans Cookbook which contains some of the most delicious dishes from the famous restaurant. I also love this cookbook because I found it lying in a used bookstore for a dollar and this is their 1964 edition which makes it extra special to me.
Crawfish étouffée is one of my all time favorite dishes from Louisiana. It's hard to find crawfish here in D.C. so I've used shrimp instead and it is equally delicious. I've adapted the original recipe from the Brennan's cookbook and modified it to lighten the dish considerably by removing the need for a roux. A roux is what makes this traditional sauce thick, however it also requires a large amount of butter which I wanted to avoid, so I used cornstarch to achieve the same consistency. A bowl of this steamy saucy dish over fluffy brown rice is comfort food at its best and without the guilt!
yields: 4 servings
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1 cup shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 cups tomatoes, diced
2 cups fish stock, low sodium
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 lb shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon parsley, freshly chopped
1. In a large thick-bottmed saucepan, heat the oil on a medium-high flame. As soon as the oil is hot, add and sauté the onions, celery and shallots. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and translucent.
2. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes until the mixture begins to brown.
3. Add the stock to the saucepan and stir the ingredients together. Add the cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce along with the shrimp. Reduce the flame to a medium-low and cook for 3-4 minutes with occasional stirring until the shrimp are completely cooked.
4. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water to form a slurry. Increase the heat to a medium-high and bring the ingredients in the saucepan to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, quickly stir in the cornstarch slurry. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove the saucepan from the stove, garnish with the parsley and serve with brown rice.
yields: 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup shallots, finely diced
2 cups brown rice, short grain
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups water
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on a medium-high flame. Add the shallots and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until the shallots become tender and translucent. Add the brown rice and cook with constant stirring for 1 minute.
2. Add the salt, pepper and water to the saucepan. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil on a medium-high flame. Boil the mixture for 1 minute and then reduce the flame to a medium-low, cover with a lid and cook the rice for about 40-45 minutes or until all the water has evaporated and the rice is light and fluffy.