Simple Home Crawfish Boil for Supper w/ Purple Potatoes

So backstory. My mom came down to visit for a week from Illinois. It was the perfect week for her to come as the weather was ideal and I was off work ready for us to put some miles on the car and eat our way around the state. We did well. Just shy of 1,000 miles (1,610 km) in seven days plus some time at home. As my mom would say we painted the town in Baton Rouge, New Roads, St. Francisville, St. Martinsville, Lafayette, Breaux Bridge, New Iberville, Metairie, and the French Quarter. It’ll take me a while to mull it all over, but I can easily start with our crawfish.

We crawfish boiled Saturday night. We wanted to eat in, so I picked up some live crawfish to cook a little for my wife, mom, and myself. I also got baby purple potatoes, mushrooms, a lemon and two limes. I made a side salad of diced cucumber, tomatoes, red bell pepper, basil, and ripe mango. Something fresh was nice to offset the potato carbs of the boil.

I boiled the potatoes and mushrooms first because my pot was too small to do everything at once. To do: boil a squeezed lime and two lemons with a bunch of cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. I generally make the seasoning to avoid the salt content of purchased seafood boil seasoning which can be well over 2,000 times your daily limit, not that you end up eating all the seasoning in the water, but anyway. Add your potatoes and mushrooms and boil until soft.

As for the crawfish it gets a little gruesome. Turn away now if you don’t really want to know. You have to purge the crawfish prior to boiling. Take the live crawfish and place them in cool water with a bunch of salt to make them throw up everything they’ve recently eaten. After 15 minutes, rinse them well to wash away the salt. Then throw them into your seasoned pot of boiling water and let them boil awhile.

You have to balance two considerations. Boil too long and the meat falls apart making it difficult to get the tails out of the shell. Boil it too little and the seasoning doesn’t get to the meat. This time I fell far toward the latter but it was nice to get to taste the meat of the crawfish, which doesn’t really happen when they’re really spicy.

Our meal was nice. A little meat with crisp, colorful potatoes and a super fresh little salad. Nice all the way around. Well, except for the crawfish. To eat, I found it nice to cut-flat a couple of brown paper bags for each person and then each pour out a pile of crawfish. We enjoyed.

A Perfect Pizza Made by Me

So I got home had some leftover corned beef and crashed. I woke up around 7:30 to the smell of something cooking and thought I’d either come downstairs and try not to eat everything my roommate was cooking or I’d make something. I got a hankering for Papa Johns but its a forty minute drive and I like to eat at home so I made my own. Employed the lessons learned from the last pizza: corn meal the pan, coat the crust with olive oil, half bake the crust, and add the fresh everything.

DIY Pizza Crust:

Dissolve sugar in some pretty warm/slightly hot water. Add a teaspoon yeast. Let sit a few mins. Add a cup and a half of flour and some olive oil. Mix together and roll out immediately with some flour to keep it from sticking. Lay it over the pizza pan, coat with olive oil. Let it sit to rise for a tossed crust or cook now for thin crust. Bake at 450 for 8 mins.

DIY Awesome Pizza:

Add what’ll do you right. I experimented by coating the crust with some garlic yellow pepper sauce made in Peru with a little tomato sauce over it. Then added string, munster, and some shredded cheddar.  A thinly sliced yellow tomato, red bell pepper microwaved for 2 mins and sliced, sliced mushrooms, and 8 sliced basil leaves.

Cooked for ten minutes and then broiled for two. It hit the spot. I ate three quarters of it at nine and had already eaten at 4:30 when I got home. Not that I recommend it, or would eat that much regularly, but it was good. Feel free to experiment and buen provecho.

When the Perfect Pizza Implodes

So, since we picked up some fresh mozzarella balls on our trip back to Louisiana, I planned on making a homemade veggie pizza with whole wheat dough. Saturday, I gave it the old college try.

I roasted the peppers in the oven before cooking the pizza so they would be well roasted. The pizza won’t finish before the peppers, leaving the pizza wanting. I was paying attention to the little details that make a homemade pizza a work of art. Added the peppers to the pizza with sliced mushrooms and baked.

I tried to cook it on the metal tray so that it wouldn’t be right on our roommate’s pizza stone since she’s allergic to wheat.

Well, the fresh mozzarella and spaghetti sauce I used, because it was all I had, made it too runny. I tried to slide it onto the pizza stone to cook the crust and evaporate the water in a last minute attempt to salvage it.

It stuck to the pan, however, wouldn’t slide and I ended up folding and cajoling it into a swashy, approximation of a pizza. Still edible, a little doughy, but edible. We went back for seconds, appreciating it for what it was and maybe a little for what it almost was.

Reflecting on the pizza, I can now identify a number of lessons to implement for next time. I’ll brush the crust with olive oil and bake it a little before adding the sauce and topping. I’ll use pizza sauce. Finally, I’ll spread some corn meal or olive oil on the pan so it wouldn’t stick. Sometimes landing so far from perfection is fun and exciting in its own right. Looking back it would be a shame for it to have turned out as I’d envisioned. Enjoy the mishaps, or shall we say, enjoy the haps.

Collard Green Fajita Wrap

So my wife an I were at wholefoods Saturday night where there was a little placard listing the 10 healthiest greens and recommended ways to prepare them. For collard greens they suggested using them as instead of tortillas for wraps or burritos. It was on. We got some organic collard greens, a small grass-fed round steak, and an avocado for later in the week.

It turned out fantastic. Revolutionary. The greens made the whole fajita burrito feel light, fresh, healthy, and if I may, even sexy.  Props to this idea.

The way I did it was to cook both sides of the steak in a frying pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. While the center was still medium rare I took it out, sliced it thin, then diced the steak.

I cleaned the pan out and sauteed an onion, bell pepper, and a couple of mushrooms with a little red pepper, cumin, and paprika. I threw the collard greens in a correll serving bowl, covered it with a plate, and steamed them in the microwave for three minutes.

Once done. I laid out a collard green leaf on a plate, added some sauteed vegetables, the nicely diced steak, garnished with avocado and sour cream, looked down, looked up a second later when the burrito was gone, and my world had changed. Enjoy.