Let’s Cook Something New: Stuffed Hatch Chili Peppers

My husband recently brought a new type of chili pepper home from the grocery store. I love to cook with new foods and so this gave me a chance to learn about Hatch chili peppers. I learned that these medium-size peppers are grown exclusively in New Mexico. They ripen in August and September and thus are available for only a few months in the fall. The peppers have a “bite” but they are not as hot as a jalapeno pepper. They have thick flesh and can be broiled to remove the skin. These chili peppers are large enough to easily be stuffed for an entrée dish and have a pleasing, chili pepper flavor. So, let’s make “Stuffed Hatch Chili Peppers” with these delightful peppers. I made two “fillings”: ground beef and also shrimp with corn and cheese. Recipes are included for both.

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Cajun Deviled Eggplant with Shrimp

“Deviled Eggplant with Shrimp” is one of those classic Louisiana entrees which I just love. It is full of the flavor of fresh vegetables and eggplant and the dish is just a little spicy. Add in shrimp and now we’re cooking. The casserole has been around for years with many variations and goes by several other names such as “Eggplant Supreme” and “Eggplant Seafood Casserole.” I liked the title, “Deviled Eggplant with Shrimp,” because, in my onion, it characterizes the cuisine of Louisiana — well-seasoned, just a little on the edge with “hot” and memorable. Has anyone else noticed that their grocery bill receipts have skyrocketed? With eggplant is season, now is the time to save money and cook with these seasonable vegetables.

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Baked Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese & a Shrimp Variation

Here is my second crawfish recipe for this spring during the peak of the Louisiana crawfish harvest. I don’t think that I would have considered making macaroni and cheese with crawfish but a local magazine featured this dish. Wow, this baked version is pretty good. Although I was skeptical at first about adding seafood to macaroni and cheese, the flavors blend nicely. The recipe uses penne pasta baked in a creamy cheese sauce and topped with Italian bread crumbs. Yum. Since crawfish tails are so, so expensive, I made several “trial runs” of the recipe using peeled shrimp. These turned out great, too. Here is a shrimp variation.

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New Orleans Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole is a venerable and classic New Orleans entrée. It combines the “Holy Trinity” of fresh vegetable seasonings with tomatoes, spices and shrimp to make a flavorful and satisfying dish. Although not seen as frequently on restaurant menus as perhaps in past years, the entrée is certainly served in New Orleans’ homes during Lent on Fridays. And most Louisiana chefs have a rendition of this dish somewhere in their files. With Lent here, I am making my Shrimp Creole recipe again. There are two approaches to making this dish — since I couldn’t decide which I like better; I made both variations. And I love tomatoes. This is my type of dish. Serve Shrimp Creole with rice. (And I have included several Mardi Gras 2021 photos at the end of the post.)

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Crispy Salted Shrimp

After eating a delicious preparation of “Salt and Pepper Prawns” at a P.F. Chang’s restaurant, I decided to see if I could re-create a similar entrée at home without resorting to unusual or special ingredients. And, I was surprised at how easy it was to make a recipe adaptation. P.F. Chang’s continues to be one of our favorite restaurants with an Asian-inspired theme. The creative flavors — hot, spicy, sweet and sour — and attractive presentation of the food always make a pleasing and memorable meal. We like to visit the restaurant at some time during the holiday season; however, this year we ordered a take-out meal due to the Covid-19 pandemic. My entrée, “Salt and Pepper Prawns with Lime and Chili Dipping Sauce” was just right. I tried adapting their recipe, and mine is pretty good, too!

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Shrimp Etouffee with Fried Green Tomatoes

You can’t get more southern than “Shrimp Etouffee with Fried Green Tomatoes.” I’m making this very traditional Creole/Cajun dish — “Shrimp Etouffee” — this week and I am serving it with “Fried Green Tomatoes” using the last of the tomatoes that I picked from my summer garden. Usually etouffee is made with crawfish when served in restaurants and found in cookbooks. However, peeled crawfish tails are priced out of my food budget this spring and summer. Shrimp makes a mighty tasty etouffee, too. And for a variation, I am making a “low-fat roux” or a “dry roux” to cut down on the butter/oil in this rich Louisiana dish.

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Easy Cook: Shrimp Quesadillas

“Shrimp Quesadillas” is quickly becoming one of our favorite supper dishes. They also make a great appetizer for a party such as an upcoming Superbowl football game gathering.  If you haven’t tried to prepare these at home, then you are missing out on an easy-to-prepare Mexican entree. The recipe for shrimp quesadillas takes only a few ingredients. After they are made, pile on the toppings and serve!  Here’s what we did.

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Bayou Boiled Shrimp Salad

“Bayou Boiled Shrimp Salad” is a flavorful way to serve Gulf Coast shrimp. It is a pleasant alternative to fried seafood found in many restaurants. For a unique twist, I boiled the shrimp in my own “seafood boil” blend of spices. The shrimp absorb the seasonings resulting in a flavorful and tender dish. Toss the chilled, boiled shrimp with few other ingredients and salad dressing. This is one of my favorite Louisiana recipes.

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Cajun-Style Shrimp Stuffed Jalapenos & Variations

I grew a bumper crop of jalapeno peppers in my garden this summer; these hot peppers are extremely easy to grow. One of my favorite appetizers at a local restaurant uses these peppers in a dish called “Crab Stuffed Jalapenos.” All summer I’ve attempted to duplicate and copy their recipe using my large crop of jalapeno peppers. Here are several of my variations and results. The stuffed jalapenos are delicious; I do recommend having a large glass of water nearby. Continue reading

Traditional New Orleans Shrimp and Grits

I’m starting out the New Year with a very traditional New Orleans’ recipe for “Shrimp and Grits.” We ate this dish several years ago on Christmas morning at a little cafe in the business district of New Orleans. The grits were creamy and smooth; the shrimp seasoned just right; about the best I’ve eaten.  I’ll begin the New Year with one of my favorite recipes that I’ve learned to like since moving to Louisiana. Continue reading