Friday, March 01, 2019

Mardi Gras recipes 2019 Gumbo, Oysters and more by Ric Orlando

Happy Mardi Gras!!!
If you are planning a party, or attending one, here is a batch of recipes to make you a legend!!!!
Cook on, rock on, love on!

Oysters Ric-A-Feller

This is my take on the ubiquitous oysters Rockefeller, so named because of how
RICH the dish is. It’s pretty easy and DELISH!
Serves 4
8-12 large oysters, scrubbed and shucked, leaving the oysters in the shell.
½ stick of unsalted butter
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 cup onions, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (use mine, Prudhomme’s or make you own,
see recipe below
1/4 cup Pernod
2 cups spinach, cooked and drained  or frozen thawed, chopped and drained
3/4 cup heavy cream
¼ cup Parmigiana cheese

Once you learn this trick, eggs Benedict are a breeze!
In the blender:
3 egg yolks
1 tbls red wine vinegar
Dash each of worcestershire and tabasco
In a small pot:
One stick of butter
Pinch of salt
1 small shallot, minced
1 tsp dry tarragon
Put the pot on medium high heat to melt the butter mix. Meanwhile turn on the
blender and let the egg mix get whipped up good.
When the butter is melted and just boiling pour the hot butter into the blender
slowly, making and emulsion. Use right away or store in a double boiler on low
heat until ready to use.

In a large heavy skillet melt the butter.
Saute the scallions, onions, parsley, and cajun seasoning in butter until softned but
not brown. Carefully add the Pernod and flame off (careful now!)
Add the spinach and the cream. Steam gently for a few minutes to reduce the
cream by about ⅓ but don’t kill it. keep it green. Fold in the cheese.
Transfer to a food processor in batches and pulse it a few times to break it down
but try not to puree it. Lay out on a pan to cool.

Preheat oven to 400 (if you have a convection setting turn it on)
To assemble
Top each oyster with the spinach mix, covering the entire thing.
Spoon on some bearnaise and bake for 8 minutes.
The bearnaise will become golden. Serve hot.
Oysters Bienville
Bienville is the name of the Frenchman who conceived of the building of the
French Quarter along the Mississippi river in New Orleans in the early 1700s.
There are as many renditions of this dish as there are chefs in NOLA.
The only connecting ingredients are shrimp and mushrooms. Here is mine.
It is also rich and creamy!
Serves 4
8-12 large oysters, scrubbed and shucked, leaving the oysters in the shell.
For the topping
½ stick butter
1 strip cooked bacon, cut up small
2 tbls minced onion
1 tbks minced celery
1 tbls minced bell pepper
Cajun season to taste
½ cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup small shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup sherry or madiera
2 tbls flour
¼ cup cream
Salt and pepper
Parmigiana cheese

Over medium heat Slowly melt the butter with the minced bacon, onion, celery
and pepper. Season gently with salt and Cajun seasoning. When everything is
soft and getting lightly golden add the mushrooms and saute until soft. Add the
shrimp, stir and add the sherry. Turn up the heat and cook for a minute or two to
concentrate the sherry. Whisk in the flour until it disappears. Whisk in the cream
and cook until it binds.
Taste. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Cool.
To assemble
Top each oyster with the creamy mix, covering the entire thing.
Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for 8 minutes. Serve hot.


Everything This Creole Gumbo is a slowly cooked, dark and earthy, OMG-delish stew.  
The real deal, baby!
You can add mess around with your “Everything”. Got a little Gator, cooked duck or a
leftover lobster? Throw it in.

Makes enough for 4 to eat twice

Vegetable oil
½ pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 pounds natural or local chicken thighs
16-20 small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 6 oz filet of catfish or other mild white fish, sliced into strips
4 oz crawfish tail meat (optional)
4 oz crab meat, backfin is fine

2 cups each: medium dice bell peppers, celery, and onion
1/2 cup scallions
1/2 cup parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning mix (have you tried my CAGE yet?)
1 tablespoon dry thyme
Worcestershire sauce
2 cups okra, sliced
6 cups chicken cooking liquid (see below)
4 cups tomato juice
salt and pepper
2 cups long grain white or brown rice

The braising will take at least 1 hour, so make time!

Put the chicken in a pot. Cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil.
Skim any skim that may accumulate. Once it boils, reduce heat to a simmer.
Simmer for 30 minutes or until cooked. Remove chicken from broth and let cool.
Reserve the broth and the thighs.
Once cooked, pull all the meat from the chicken and roughly chop.  Set aside.

In a heavy casserole pan, add the sausage and lightly brown.
Add the veggies and wilt until soft but not brown.
And the thyme and Cajun seasoning and stir to coat.
Cook a few minutes and then add okra, tomato juice and reserved chicken broth.
After 20 minutes of cooking at a moderate boil, add the chicken meat and
all seafood and cook another 20 minutes.
Pick up the palate by adding dashes of Worcestershire and Tabasco to taste.
Now stir in 1 cup of roux. Cook gently another 15-20 minutes to thicken.

Simple Rice
Rinse the rice well until the water runs clear. In a rice cooker or heavy pot with a lid  
add a drizzle of vegetable oil. Add the 2 cups of rice and 2 teaspoons salt.
Heat until you begin to hear a sizzle. Stir once. Add 3 ½  cups of water.
Stir once more. Bring to a boil. Cover snugly. No more stirring.
Reduce heat to very low and allow to steam for 15-20 minutes.
Turn off heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.  Done!

Making Cajun Roux, my way.
There are plenty of ways to make dark, chocolaty roux.
Most are a pain but this is a pretty simple technique.

1 ½ cups flour
2 cups pork lard, duck fat, clarified butter or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 475 F.

*Remember that dark roux is as hot as caramel, reaching 400-500 degrees. Don't touch it!*

In a heavy, oven-safe skillet melt the fat. Add the flour and whisk in until smooth.
Cook for a few minutes to make sure all of the flour is amalgamated with the fat.

Now put the entire pan in the hot oven and set a timer for 20 minutes. When the
timer goes off, carefully whisk the mix. It should be getting golden. Repeat this
procedure, cutting back the time each time until your roux resembles mild chocolate.

Once you've made the roux, you should carefully add some of it to the warm stew.
Bring the stew back to a boil. Add a little more of the roux until you have reached
the desired thickness. The stew will thicken as it boils. Be patient.

You can and should reserve any leftover roux, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.

Mardi gras Recipes
Cajun Peppered Shrimp is one the great messy dishes of New Orleans.
I still eat these shrimp a couple of times a week and I've been making them
for many years. Yes, they are hot and sloppy, but what's wrong with that?

The sexiest way to eat peppered shrimp is with your significant other.  
Lift the shrimp by the tail with your fingers and suck off all of the sauce.  
Get the good stuff that clings to the shrimp's legs, too.
Now peel the shrimp and swish the meat around in the sauce again.
Suck it clean one more time before you bite!
Dunk slices of baguette or other crusty bread into the sauce, too, or spoon it over rice.
Get ready for a wonderful evening!

Head-on shrimp are traditional for this dish, but medium-large (16-20 or 21-25 per pound),
unpeeled, headless shrimp work well too.
I prefer the briny flavor and reliable quality of Gulf shrimp;
ask your fishmonger for his best. Avoid tiger shrimp; not only are they bland,
but often they are cultivated in water you wouldn't wash your car with.    

Try the sauce, too, with cooked crabs, crawfish and lobster tails.
Serve with PLENTY of bread for sopping up the sauce!
Ric-ter Scale:  8
Serves 4

1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup black peppercorns
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried savory
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 tablespoon salt
8 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine (or a bit more, as needed)
1-1/2 pounds unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups shrimp stock, clam juice or chicken stock (canned broth is okay,
but find one without MSG or preservatives)
1-2 pounds medium-large (21-25-count per pound) Gulf shrimp, unpeeled

Heat the lemon juice in a small pot until just hot. Add the peppercorns.
Cover, remove from the heat, and let the peppercorns soak for one hour or overnight.

In a blender, puree the peppercorn mix with the herbs, spices, salt, garlic and wine.
This should make a ruddy, muddy-looking paste. If it is too dry to puree smoothly,
add a bit more wine.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter in the stock.
When it begins to simmer, stir in the spice paste.
Use a wooden spoon and stir gently for about 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes golden.

Add all the shrimp and stir gently. Let the shrimp cook in the sauce for 3 - 5 minutes or until just pink.

Remove the shrimp from the sauce with a slotted spoon and pile them into a big,
rustic-looking bowl. Ladle about 1/3 to 1/2 of the sauce over them and garnish with
lemon wedges. Put the bowl in the center of the table and dig in.
(You can also serve in individual bowls with sauce ladled on and garnished with lemon.)
Be sure to supply bowls for the discarded shrimp shells.

The remaining sauce should be refrigerated in a reheatable container (not plastic).
The butter will form a hard cap when it cools. As long as the cap is intact,
the sauce will keep up to one month.  Just reheat and use again.

Drink a bright and fruity white with these shrimp. A Riesling or Pinot Gris will do the trick.
Here in the Hudson Valley, Millbrook makes a great Tocai Friulano.
Also, you can't lose with a cold, crisp, simple beer like Dixie, Lagunitas Pils or even
Rolling Rock ponies served on ice.

With Mardi Gras right around the corner, her is a simple family sized jambalaya
recipe to keep them all fortified while partying!

Creole Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
This is a slowly cooked, dark and earthy, OMG delish stew, the real deal, baby!
It uses chicken as a base, but you can also add other stuff like duck, ham, shrimp, name it.

Makes enough for 4 to eat twice at least

3 lbs natural or local chicken or chicken thighs
2 bayleaves
2 springs thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
Vegetable oil, or bacon fat, pork fat, duck need for olive oil here
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
6 cups of the  TRINITY (That’s two cups each of medium dice bell peppers, celery and onion)
1/2 cups scallions. chopped
1/2 cups parsley, chopped
2 tbls Cajun seasoning mix
1 tbls dry thyme
6 cups chicken cooking liquid (see below)
4 cups tomato juice

6 cups long grain white
more parsley and scallions for garnish

The chicken braising will take at least 45 minutes, so make time!
Put the chicken thighs, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns in a pot.
Cover with lightly salted water. Taste the water first. It should not be as salty as the sea,
but mildly salty like a very light broth. Bring to a boil . Skim any scum that may accumulate.
Once it boils, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is
fully cooked. Let the chicken cool in the broth for a few minutes. Strain.
Reserve the broth and the bird separately.  
Once cooled, pull all of the meat from the chicken and roughly chop.  Set aside.

In a heavy casserole pan, add the sausage and lightly brown in a little bit of veg oil.
Add the trinity and wilt until soft but not brown.
Add the Cajun seasoning and cook in for a minute.
Add the scallions, herbs, rice and stir well to coat with the juices in the pot.
And the chicken meat, dry thyme and Cajun seasoning and stir to coat.
Cook a few minutes and then add tomato juice and reserved chicken broth.
Bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover tightly.
Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, then turn off the heat but leave it
covered for a few more minutes to “simmer down”.  
Pick up the palate by adding dashes of Worcestershire and Tabasco to taste.
Serve garnished with chopped scallions and with hot sauce on the side


Mardi Gras Mussels are an easy celebration dish, with classic flavors.
These take no longer than 20 minutes to make! Nice, right?
This makes a tasty little pasta dish as well, if you are thinking linguine!

Serves 4

2-3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 each orange, green, purple and yellow peppers, neatly diced
(or whatever color bell pepper turns you on.
1 bunch scallions, chopped end to end
2 large fresh tomatoes, cored and diced
Cajun seasoning to taste
½ cup Pernod or Herbsaint liqueur
12 oz clam juice
1 tablespoon (more or less) of butter

Do a nice job dicing the peppers. (A great opportunity to learn the world brunoise.)
Use a heavy pan or Dutch oven with a tight filling lid...
This is quick restaurant style sauté stuff here!

Put pan on high heat. In quick sequence, add the mussels, toss,
add the peppers, toss, add the tomatoes, toss, add half of the scallions, toss.
Shake the pan well to mix. Now sprinkle with some Cajun seasoning and toss some more.
Pour the Pernod into the pan until it flares up and cook that alcohol down.
When the flame subsides add the clam juice and butter.
Cover the pan and let cook 3 minutes or until the mussels are all open.

Serve right away, in bowls with plenty of the cooking liquid.
Garnish with the remaining scallions and a little sprinkling of Cajun seasoning!

Hudson Valley Garlic Festival Recipes for 2019

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