Really, we’re talking about Coleslaw?

June 8, 2011

Blue Cheese Coleslaw with Red Beans and Shrimp

I’ve eaten a lot of delicious things in New Orleans over the span of my four visits but I never would have guessed coleslaw would have left such an impact.

On Sunday, prior to taking off for home in the afternoon, we had time for one more breakfast. And by breakfast, I mean, going to Mothers and devouring some po’ boys and some red beans and rice. Except….Damn you line wrapped around the corner! And trust me, I know the line tends to move but there was a bigger issue at hand. With the early stages of a hangover begging to be nipped in the bud by some grub, we abandoned ship and meandered further down Tchoupitoulas for the hopes of delicious barbeque.

Luckily the memory of said barbeque joint across from Cochon had not been lost in the madness of the weekend because it absolutely hit the spot. A brisket and pulled pork plate sounded right up my alley and there’s nothing I like more than a bit of cold crispy coleslaw to break up the richness of slow cooked meat. But this was not just any regular old coleslaw. It was packed with flavor. It was creamy without an absurdity of mayo. It was unique in a way that I couldn’t pinpoint initially. But then it hit me. A tangy sweetness coming from their homemade bbq sauce and a real bite and richness coming from some blue cheese! Simple and sorta brilliant! So when I was meandering home from Grand Central yesterday, much like we meandered down Tchoupitoulas, it was the coleslaw that popped into my head. And what better pairing for the coleslaw than some red beans and shrimp to really bring the meal together.

For my slaw, I decided to nix the bbq sauce in favor of some fresh squeezed orange juice. This helped lighten the dressing while maintaining that necessary sweetness. But no matter how you choose to make this blue cheese dressing I promise you, the mayo is best left in the fridge. Danish blue cheese, the orange juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, and paprika were all the food processor needed to produce this unbelievable dressing. And it would be good on anything!

As for my beans, I wanted to impart that smoky bbq flavor that we all love but wasn’t too interested in doctoring up some canned baked beans. Instead I sautéed scallions, garlic, and chopped dried dates as a base for the red beans that absorbed all of the delicious flavor as they simmered in a bit of red wine. With a squeeze of that same orange juice and some dried herbs and spices these beans came out amazing and took 15 minutes.

With some simple sautéed shrimp as the last component of this meal, the only thing that was missing was a place to eat it all outdoors! Okay, maybe two things. I could have used a Pat O’brien’s Hurricane!


Fun With Leftovers

March 2, 2011

Red Beans and Rice Leftover Jambalaya

The mayor of New Orleans is gonna kill me…

Because while traditional jambalaya is not tossed together in a matter of minutes from leftover red beans and rice, my version for last night’s dinner was. With some crunchy sautéed carrots and the lightness from the swiss chard and peas, this “jambalaya” was simply delicious. With sweet shrimp added to the hearty sausage, the dish was in perfect balance!

And isn’t that the beauty of cooking? So next time you get sick of your leftovers, let your creativity kick in; trust me you can find a way to breathe some life into anything. And the best tip of them all: just about everything tastes good in an omelet. Even pasta! Thanks Kelly! So what are your favorite leftover overhauls?

Progressive Dining

August 24, 2010

Lime and Paprika Hake w/ Mexican Corn

A while back I created and served what I called a “progressive dinner“. Each dish contained one ingredient from the previous course. For example, a mushroom and asparagus salad followed a mushroom and pork soup dumpling. Showcasing the versatility of fresh ingredients particularly well, the 6 course meal was a huge hit for the 3 couples I had cooked for.

Well, this Lime and Paprika Hake w/ Mexican Corn would have been the perfect progressive entrée for that roasted corn and tomato soup I posted yesterday.

I’ve mentioned Mexican Corn a number of times previously; mainly because I’m obsessed with it. Typically smothered in mayo, cheese (like cotija), and paprika the combination of flavors is a bit addicting. I decided to roll my corn in a simple lime vinaigrette prior to adding the corn and paprika and while I do love the mayo, the punch of the citrus was a really nice addition.

I’m really loving this Hake that has been on sale at Whole Foods. I normally don’t talk about prices but for $5.99 a pound this week, I can’t get enough of it. It looks and tastes a lot like cod but is a bit meatier. It’s been great pan seared with simple seasonings but I would bet it’s a great fish for tacos as well! This time I served it over a simple red bean and cheese salad rounding out the meal fantastically!

But to be honest, I could have just eaten that Mexican Corn! So good!

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