Crawfish Etouffee

If there is one thing my oldest loves, it has got to be crawfish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but he’s my pickiest of eaters, 16 now, and when he tore into eating crawfish years ago I was flabbergasted. So on his most recent birthday I decided we would do a crawfish boil. I ordered 10 pounds of live crawfish from the Louisiana Crawfish Company figuring the ‘party’ would devour the boil. As much as my kids and I ate, the others simply ate a small handful, meaning I would plenty leftover. My kids and I probably spent a good 45 minutes, post party, peeling (and sucking the head juices) the tails to be used for a later dish. That dish being crawfish etouffe.

Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

If you have never heard, nor tried crawfish etoufee, it is a standard dish found in the creole or cajun area of our nation. It’s almost a staple. Etouffee is translated to ‘smother’ in French terms, and I make mine with a darker roux only to deepen the flavor and making this a super comforting recipe.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing

Sounds like a bunch of stuff, but it’s really pretty basic, and trust me it’s full of comfort.

Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.

Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.

Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.

Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.

Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.

Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.

So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

As much as my kids loved tearing through boiled crawfish, I cannot say they were much fans of this particular dish. Most likely due to the stew like texture. My wife and I on the other hand? Well, we imagined ourselves being back in New Orleans, walking the streets all day, and ending up in a great restaurant eating one of their famous dishes; crawfish etouffee.  I hope you enjoy!

Crawfish Etouffee
Author: 
Cuisine: Cajun or Creole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1½ cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.
  2. Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.
  3. Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.
  4. Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.
  5. Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.
  6. Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.
  7. So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

 

Lasagna with Quark Cheese

This quark cheese could not have come at a better time. My colleague had sent me a text stating he was bringing in 12 ounces of quark cheese and it was all mine. He had recently worked at a farm to table dinner and a lot of food was leftover for the taking, and one of them being quark cheese. It was awesome quark cheese at that and from Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They make awesome cheese curds, so I was excited to try their quark cheese.

When I took the cheese home, I gave it a taste, and it was confirmed how awesome it was. The quark cheese was soft, a bit tangy, and reminded me a bit of ricotta cheese in texture. That’s when I knew what I was going to do with it, and what a better way to use up a lot of my tomato sauce that I have been freezing from an abundance of tomatoes from my garden. What’s better is my kids did not know I was putting in this cheese, so it was a new experience to a meal they already love, lasagna.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 lb ground chuck, cooked, and fat drained
  • 5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (I made my own)
  • 12 pasta sheets, I tried the ‘Oven Ready’ type
  • 1/3 cup shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 12 oz Quark cheese
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • aluminum foil

Start by cooking your ground chuck. Once cooked and drained, return back to the stove on medium-low heat, and add in your tomato sauce, garlic, shallots, and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetable soften, and the sauce is cooked through. Once cooked through, set aside.

To a mixing bowl, add the quark cheese, eggs, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix until everything is blended through.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

To a baking dish, lightly spray with cooking spray.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Ingredients
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Ingredients

Now time for assembly. Ladle about a cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and evenly spread out.

Top with 3 sheets of the lasagna shells. Add dollops of the quark cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Ladle a bit more sauce, top with pasta, cheese mixture, pasta, cheese mixture, meat sauce, pasta, and finish with covering entirely with the meat sauce. Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the meat sauce, then cover with aluminum foil, and place into the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, remove, take off the foil, and return back to the oven to get the cheese nice and bubbly. Remove, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes (I know that is the hardest part).

Now you are ready to serve. Slice into squares, shower with more parmesan cheese if desired, or shower with some chili flakes.

Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe
Lasagna with Quark Cheese Recipe

The end result, and I don’t say this because I made this recipe with quark cheese, was spectacular. It had everything you love about a great lasagna, but there was something about the quark that really made it special.  So if you have never tried quark cheese, do so, and if you have plenty to spare give this recipe a shot. I hope you enjoy!

Lasagna with Quark Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Lasagna
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ lb ground chuck, cooked, and fat drained
  • 5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (I made my own)
  • 12 pasta sheets, I tried the ‘Oven Ready’ type
  • ⅓ cup shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup bell pepper, diced
  • 12 oz Quark cheese
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ½ tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • aluminum foil
Instructions
  1. Start by cooking your ground chuck. Once cooked and drained, return back to the stove on medium-low heat, and add in your tomato sauce, garlic, shallots, and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetable soften, and the sauce is cooked through. Once cooked through, set aside.
  2. To a mixing bowl, add the quark cheese, eggs, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix until everything is blended through.
  3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  4. To a baking dish, lightly spray with cooking spray.
  5. Now time for assembly. Ladle about a cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and evenly spread out.
  6. Top with 3 sheets of the lasagna shells. Add dollops of the quark cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Ladle a bit more sauce, top with pasta, cheese mixture, pasta, cheese mixture, meat sauce, pasta, and finish with covering entirely with the meat sauce. Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the meat sauce, then cover with aluminum foil, and place into the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
  7. After 35 minutes, remove, take off the foil, and return back to the oven to get the cheese nice and bubbly. Remove, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes (I know that is the hardest part).
  8. Now you are ready to serve. Slice into squares, shower with more parmesan cheese if desired, or shower with some chili flakes.

 

Homemade Biscuits

I recently told my wife “This is the year of the biscuit”. I don’t know what got over me when I said that, but I meant what I said. I’ve been thinking of biscuits for some time now that I had to make some more attempts at trying to get the biscuit down. There are so many things you can do with a biscuit, and hence why I probably said that to my wife, everything from sweet and savory. What is not to love about that? Ever since I lived in Dallas, there was one thing that has never left my mind (besides the friendships I made) and that is the love of biscuits and gravy. That is probably another reason why I am making an attempt at creating some really good biscuits.

Homemade Biscuits Recipe
Homemade Biscuits Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled but not frozen, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • Ring cutter, cut to about 3/4 inch thick

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Start by mixing the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Once mixed gently add in the butter, and slowly begin pouring in the milk. You want to form a somewhat firm dough, but not too firm.

Gently roll the dough onto a lightly flour surface, about 3/4 of an inch thick. Use a glass, or if you have a kitchen ring mold, and press down into the dough to shape your biscuit. Continue with however many biscuits you can get away with. Mine yielded 5 biscuits.

Homemade Biscuits
Homemade Biscuits

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 12 minutes. Remove onto a wired rack, or onto a serving plate, and dig in.

These were a perfect side dish to some homemade barbecue ribs, and with a bit of butter they were even better. Now I have to teach my kids how to make these as they would be great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade French Onion Dip

As I have noted in the past, my daughter loves, just loves Grandma’s dip. I think she actually gets excited when we go to Grandma’s house because she knows that the majority of the time Grandma is going to the ‘the dip’ and chips out for snacking. The dip is the French onion dip you buy at the store, and one, for whatever reason, that I never buy. Most likely because no one else would eat it. So not too long ago I decided it was time for me to make a batch of my take on a French onion dip, and one that steers away from the classic minced onion recipe. I don’t even recall when I last used minced onion anyway.

This French onion dip uses my onion jam recipe which elevates it to a whole other level.

French Onion Dip Recipe
French Onion Dip Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 very large onion, thinly sliced
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated on a rasp or microplane
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 8 oz container of sour cream
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Potato Chips

Start as you normally would when caramelizing onions. Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat, add the butter, and add in your onions. Shower the onions with a generous pinch of salt, then let the games begin.  The goal is to cook these nice and slow, until they are a nice golden color.

This process can take about 40 minutes, or longer, but be patient and stir throughout the process.

Once you achieve a golden color, then it is time to add in your garlic and allowing that to cook a minute or two, stirring the garlic into the onions.

After a minute or two, add in the cracked black pepper, fish sauce, lime zest, and lime juice. Give the mixture a good stir, raise the heat just a bit, and cook another minute or two.

Remove the onions from the heat, place them in a bowl, and let them come to room temperature.

French Onion Dip Recipe
French Onion Dip Recipe

Once your onions have cooled, take about a cup of them and add them to a small mixing bowl. Add in the garlic powder, salt, and sour cream. Give this a good mix, and get ready to serve them up.

Place the dip into a serving bowl, alongside your favorite potato chips and dig in.

Not I’m not sure if my daughter will start calling this ‘Dad’s Dip’, but what I do know is that she spooned out two small bowls of it and went to town. I think I won on that front.

If you are looking not only for a great onion jam recipe, but one that can be folded into some basic ingredients and made into a great dip, then give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade French Onion Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 very large onion, thinly sliced
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated on a rasp or microplane
  • 1 lime, zested
  • ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 8 oz container of sour cream
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Potato Chips
Instructions
  1. Start as you normally would when caramelizing onions. Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat, add the butter, and add in your onions. Shower the onions with a generous pinch of salt, then let the games begin. The goal is to cook these nice and slow, until they are a nice golden color.
  2. This process can take about 40 minutes, or longer, but be patient and stir throughout the process.
  3. Once you achieve a golden color, then it is time to add in your garlic and allowing that to cook a minute or two, stirring the garlic into the onions.
  4. After a minute or two, add in the cracked black pepper, fish sauce, lime zest, and lime juice. Give the mixture a good stir, raise the heat just a bit, and cook another minute or two.
  5. Remove the onions from the heat, place them in a bowl, and let them come to room temperature.
  6. Once your onions have cooled, take about a cup of them and add them to a small mixing bowl. Add in the garlic powder, salt, and sour cream. Give this a good mix, and get ready to serve them up.
  7. Place the dip into a serving bowl, alongside your favorite potato chips and dig in.