Category Archives: Seafood

Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo – Mardi Gras Feasting


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Remember the king cake from last Mardi Gras? Due to a bit of laziness and a lack of cream cheese, I decided to go a different way with Mardi Gras this year. I decided to try my hand at a traditional gumbo recipe and impose a significant amount of frostbite on my hands trying to peel 2 pounds of semi-frozen shrimp. Note to self: thaw for a few HOURS, not a few MINUTES!

I LOVE having people over for dinner. This is so early-20s of me, but I was getting really excited the other day for beginning to form a collection of my own go-to entertaining recipes that I can trust on for each season. I’ve starting writing down my versions of recipes on notepads that I’ve stored on a cloud of dreams for my future cookbook. Here’s a GREAT one if you’ve got some time.

There’s a lot of talk about the essential roux for gumbo on the internet. If you’re like me, and you’re absolutely not going to buy another one-time-use spice for one darn recipe, you’re not going to make a gumbo requiring file powder. Although now that I’m reading its description, I’m sad I didn’t get to use the word “sassafras” in a sentence :(.  After throwing out the recipes with file powder. I used one from America’s Test Kitchen The New Best Recipe book.  And I paid a LOT of attention to roux-making.

You cook the flour and oil until you absolutely can’t stand to think anyone would want to eat something so brown that isn’t chocolate. Some people suggest baking the flour and oil for 2 hours to let it form a roux on its own. I followed the Cook’s Illustrated example and heated the oil first so the flour doesn’t burn as if you were to start heating them at the same time. I gently stirred them together for about 20 minutes and really had no smoking, burned bits, or clumps. As long as you are conscious of this fragile mixture, I honestly believe you can do it too. Stir constantly, heat gently, and watch carefully.

And then, you cook a whole bunch of yummy veggies, stock, shrimp, and sausage and everything comes together QUITE smoothly.

Make your seafood stock in advance, please. It’s a mess. I was going to show you a picture, but I’m positive you’re not interested in my picture of shrimp shells.

Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo, adapted from The New Best Recipe ( I doubled it for a dinner party)

1 1/2 lbs frozen shrimp with shell on

4 1/2 cups water

1 cup bottled clam juice

3 1/2 cups ice water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 medium onions, chopped fine

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped fine with all the seeds and ribs removed

1 medium celery rib, chopped fine

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 large bay leaves

1/2 lb andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds on a bias

1/2 lb turkey kielbasa, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds on a bias

1 big ole handful of fresh parsley leaves chopped fine

4 scallions, both white and green parts, sliced thin

8 oz. frozen okra

White rice to serve

1. Thaw your shrimp in a large colander. You can speed up this process by rinsing the shrimp with colder water. I say colder because if its too cold it might just make more ice on the shrimp but if it’s too warm it will cook them. Peel the shrimp over a large pot with a top with the 4 1/2 cups water in it and drop the shells into the pot. Boil the water and watch for the bubbles that will run up over the top! Once boiling, reduce heat so that only little bubbles are forming (a simmer) and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve/colander into a bowl with the ice water and claim juice and stir mixture (throw the shells away). If you’re making this in advance, let cool and store in the refrigerator in a tupperware. Then store the raw shrimp in a plastic gallon bag in the refrigerator as well until the next day.

2. In a cast iron skillet, Dutch oven or wide pan with a thick bottom, heat your oil for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the flour at a medium heat with a wooden spoon. Like I said, watch carefully and continue to stir until the roux turns a deep coffee ish color but redder (see picture). This takes about 20 minutes.

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getting darker

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3. In a stockpot or large pot, transfer the roux and add in the onion, okra, bell pepper, celery, garlic, thyme salt and cayenne. Saute until fragrant and all the veggies are soft, about 10 minutes.

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4. If you made the stock the day before, warm it up to room temperature before you add to the mixture. Once at room temp, slowly add in about half the stock, stirring the mixture constantly. Then add in the rest of the stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and skim foam from the surface (a lot of this is fat). Add in the bay leaves and simmer for about 30 minutes.

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5. In the meantime, make your rice to have ready when the gumbo is done.

6. After the 30 minutes, add in your sausage (I used two kinds just bc I couldn’t decide at the store). Cook for another 30 minutes at a simmer. After that, place the top on top of your pot, turn off the heat and wait for guests to arrive. Take out your raw shrimp from the refrigerator if you made the stock yesterday.

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7. Once you’re almost ready to serve, have a friend slice up the scallions and parsley, and heat back up the soup. Once hot, drop in your thawed shrimp and cook for just a few minutes until just pink. Drop in the scallions and parsley and serve over rice!

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Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Sister favorites: Shrimp Broccoli Pasta with Lemon and Garlic


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This is a dish that has a long-standing history with my family. It’s kind of funny because we don’t really have a recipe, and everyone thinks of it as a different dish based on their preferences. My sister loves asparagus and lemon, my Mom loves broccoli and garlic so she thought that was supposed to be in it, and my Dad loves spicy red pepper flakes in his. Me? I want everything cooked perfectly and for the flavor to be RICCHHH 🙂

I have adapted a few different ways we cook it to basically my base for all olive oil sauces. For one thing, I really like my broccoli not too crunchy but not too soft either. I want the sauce to not have cream, but I want it to still be a sauce and not a broth. I want there to be that delicious white wine flavor and lemon acidity, but I don’t want to make a sour face while I’m eating this. No one said you can have the best of both worlds (ok maybe Miley did) but in this case, I think you can!

By the way, here’s a snapshot of what happens when two people who love each other hug and get their earrings caught, lol. The kitchen is a dangerous place.

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Here’s my ingredient list:

1 bag of broccoli florets, about 1 head, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for taste

1 lb deveined raw shrimp (I used frozen, fresh obviously works

5 big cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 small pinches red pepper flakes

1-2 lemons

kosher salt

fresh black pepper

cooking water (see instructions)

1 lb long pasta (linguini is our favorite, I had spaghetti on hand here)

fresh Italian or curly parsley

1. Boil water for your pasta in a large dutch oven/pasta pot.

2. Place a steamer basket in water simmering in a small pot. In two batches, or one if your steamer basket fits all the broccoli, steam your broccoli for 2-4 minutes, until the florets are turning bright green but not quite soft! This is just the way I like it to get a little crunch off it

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3. Once the water is boiling, add pasta and season with salt. Set a cup next to your pot to save some cooking liquid after the pasta is almost done.

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4. Meanwhile, thaw your shrimp if frozen in a colander by rinsing with very cold water. I like to leave the tails on, but take them off if you prefer.

5. Heat a wide saucepan/skillet and add your 1/4 cup oil. Once warm, add your garlic. This can burn so watch carefully! I’d only cook it for 1-2 minutes just until it becomes fragrant. Then, add your half cup of wine, and turn up the heat just for a minute to cook off the alcohol.

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6. Continuing with the sauce: Zest half of a lemon into the sauce, sprinkle about 2 big pinches of kosher salt, some cracked pepper, and the juice of 1-2 lemons. Add in the partially cooked broccoli, and add enough red pepper flakes to your liking.

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7. Save some cooking liquid from the pasta pot, about 1/2 cup. This will help thicken up the sauce. Then, drain the pasta in a colander.

8. After the broccoli softens more and the sauce thickens, add in your shrimp and some of the pasta cooking liquid. Make sure everyone is touching the pan. Sprinkle again lightly with salt and pepper and more olive oil if you need it. Flip after the shrimp are starting to turn pink and cook for another 2 minutes until the other side turns pink. Watch these carefully they have the tendency to cook fast!!

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9.  Add pasta in small batches to the pan so that you can monitor the sauce:pasta ratio. Squeeze some lemon to finish and garnish with fresh chopped parsley!

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Chimichurri Shrimp



This is my sister’s debut as the official sous chef, FINALLY. She’s a tried and true shrimp lover, so we convinced her sewing shrimp onto skewers was calling her name. I really like that this sauce is both a marinade and leaves a bit of leftover sauce for topping on some grilled veggies or meat a few days later. It’s from the Party Like a Culinista cookbook and is also really pretty.

I’d also like to nix my comment on using the pizza stone on the grill after we sadly lost our pizza stone to the overly hot heat of the grill yesterday. Um, guess there’s a reason it’s only supposed to go in the oven…All the more reason for me to frequent Cook’s Warehouse soon! Since this chimichurri sauce is comprised of cilantro, parsley, lime, and cumin (along with a slew of other ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, garlic, EVOO, sugar), we went with the Mexican theme and paired it with some Spanish rice and delicious veggie mix. Easy peasy: Marinate shrimp for a few hours and throw on the grill on skewers for like 5-6 minutes until JUST pink!


My dad makes a really good Spanish rice with those canned diced tomatoes with jalapenos or chiles, tomato paste, onions, garlic, and chicken broth I think. Then for a quick improvised veggie dish, I sauteed some cauliflower, kale, red beans, and corn with a spice mixture of paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, S&P. To thicken it up, I also added some tomato paste and chicken broth. Make this marinade this summer for any grilled food or as a pretty topping 🙂

DSCN1351Use your leftover ginger to make a stir-fry later on or some of that peanut sauce from my post a few months ago. It’s also great for making apple-ginger muffins that have a real kick




DSCN1358She’s a skewer pro