Blackened Broiled Gulf Shrimp

I was flipping through a family recipe book and came across one from my Great Uncle Garrett Griggs. He basically took 2 pounds of shrimp, two sticks of butter and some salt and pepper, tossed it all together and made a dish of delicious broiled shrimp.

I decided to update the family recipe with my version of blackening spice but to leave most of the rest intact because…well, butter and spice make everything nice!


Blackened Broiled Gulf Shrimp

2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons whole thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 sticks butter, melted
2 lbs raw, shrimp in shell

Mix the first nine ingredients together to form the blackening spice. Store in an airtight container.

Thoroughly grease a shallow baking pan with melted butter. Toss shrimp with a generous coating of the blackening spice. Thread onto skewers. Set onto the baking pan and sprinkle with more spice mix and then baste with melted butter.

Cook in a preheated 475 degree F oven until pink, about 3 minutes. Rotate the skewers and baste with more melted butter. Broil for 4-5 minutes until done.

Since this is peeled with fingers at the table, serve with a good supply of paper napkins and the remainder of the melted butter. Depending on how spicy you like it is how many fingers you should lick!

As he wrote at the end of the recipe: Messy but good


Cranberry-Satsuma Sauce

Whether straight from a can or make your own, nothing says Thanksgiving like cranberry sauce. It is amazing how those little ruby pearls have brought us together through the ages. As one of the three native fruits to North America (along with blueberries and Concord grapes), they’ve been consumed for the thousands of years when Native Americans were the only inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere until today.

Here is this year’s homemade cranberry sauce. We used satsumas in place of orange juice.


Cranberry-Satsuma Sauce

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
4 satsumas (or one orange)
1 1/2-2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Zest the satsumas and juice them. Place zest and 1 cup of juice in a medium saucepan. Add the cranberries, 1 cup sugar, lime juice, Grand Marnier and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the cranberries burst (about 10 minutes). Taste for seasoning – we ended up adding an additional cup of sugar (in 1/4 cup increments) to sweeten it up. Consider using agave nectar if you don’t want to add so much sugar. Scrape into a bowl and allow to cool.


Pecan and Cream Cheese Pie

I’m feel like a bad southerner when I confess I don’t really care for pecan pie – you know, the one from the recipe on the back of the Karo Syrup bottle? It is just too darn sweet for my taste.

I’ve added a bittersweet ganache to the bottom of the pie shell in the past but that still isn’t enough to get me to the second piece of pie. This year, I went to Earl Peyroux for his recipe for a pecan and cream cheese pie that he got from Leon and June Soniat, who published La Bouche Creole.

This recipe really does reduce the cloying sweetness and it is one of those magic pies where the two fillings switch places during baking.


Pecan and Cream Cheese Pie

8 ounce cream cheese
4 eggs, divided
6 tablespoon sugar, divided
2 teaspoon vanilla, divided
3/4 cup Karo corn syrup
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 pie crust, 9 inch
extra whole pecans for decoration

In one bowl, blend together the cream cheese, 1 egg, 4 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

In another bowl, blend together the corn syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 eggs, and 2 tablespoons sugar.

Line a nine inch pie pan with the pie shell.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the pie shell. Cover with the chopped pecans. Pour the corn syrup mixture over the pecans. Drop a few of the whole pecans on the top to make it pretty.

Place in a 375 degree F oven for forty-five minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Apple Cider Brined and Slow Roasted Chicken

The temperature dropped down close to freezing overnight and my plan to grill outside went out the drafty window. I decided instead to give my old house’s heater a boost with a long slow cook at 300 degrees F. For this recipe, figure about 30 minutes per pound for the chicken, so three hours or so of oven time.

I brined the chicken overnight in some of the leftover apple cider I mulled to warm up with as I volunteered to Get Out the Vote for Louisiana’s runoff election (Yay – John Bel Edwards won Governor!). The end result is a chicken which tastes a lot like your favorite rotisserie chicken – juicy and falling off the bone tender. The apple cider gives the meat a little color and the herbes de provence add flavor without any additional salt.


Apple Cider Brined and Slow Roasted Chicken

3-5 lb whole chicken
3 cups apple cider (mulled is fine)
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 quart ice cubes
2 tablespoons herbes de provence
1 large onion, quartered
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and quartered

Combine the cider, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Remove from heat; cool completely by adding the ice cubes.

Remove giblets and neck from chicken. Cut out the backbone and trim off excess fat. Discard or save these parts for later stock making. Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. Place chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag, pour over brine and seal. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning the bag occasionally.

Remove chicken from brine, rinse off and put back in the refrigerator, uncovered until ready to cook. Work back from serving time at about 30 minutes per pound to figure when to start cooking. With my 5 pound bird, I’m thinking it will take 3 to 3.5 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Remove chicken from refrigerator and coat lightly with vegetable oil. Sprinkle herbes de provence over the bird. Place onion and apple on the bottom of the roasting pan and balance the chicken on top, breast side up. Use 1 onion and 1 apple for every two people dining.

Roast for approximately 3 hours. If the chicken breasts are roasting too fast, tent with aluminum foil.

Chicken will be done whent the thigh temperature is 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and let rest ten minutes before carving. Mash the apple with a little bit of the pan juices and serve it and the tender onion with the chicken.

Amaretto Chocolate Pots de Creme

I love chocolate. Chocolate pots de creme (Poh-deh-krem) are easy to make and are loaded with decadent chocolate and a heady rush of rich liquor. Use vanilla if you want but when you include your favorite liquor – amaretto, creme de menthe, creme de cacao, Kahlua or Bailey’s Irish Cream – you really kick them up a notch.


Amaretto Pots de Creme

1 cup heavy cream
7 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, best quality
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons liquor—amaretto, Bailey’s, etc
2 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into four pieces

In a small saucepan, heat the cream until near boiling. Break the chocolate into pieces and place into a medium sized bowl. Once the cream has scalded, remove from heat and set aside for 1 minute before pouring over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 1 minute before stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Whisk in egg yolks and liquor. Cool slightly before adding butter, one piece at a time. Stir until smooth and shiny. Pour into individual serving pots (or cups or martini glasses) and refrigerate until fully set, about four hours.

To serve top with whipped cream:

Whip 1/2 cup heavy cream with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until soft peaks form. Dollop on top of chocolate and serve.