Thursday, April 5, 2012

Shrimp Etouffee and French Bread

   I know that it may seem that I use this blog to vent about my husband more often that I should, and you know, that's not completely untrue, but I just want everyone to understand that my venting about him comes from a place of love.  That being said, I almost beat him yesterday!

   In the morning, we have a little routine.  He wakes up and leaves for PT while I'm still sleeping.  His goodbye kiss is my alarm clock.  I toss and turn for about thirty minutes more; then I get up and start getting ready for work.  Meanwhile Monkey begins to stir, and right about then J returns from PT to shower and change into his uniform before heading out again.  I like it, because we still get to have breakfast together without me having to wake up at an ungodly hour to fix it.  Well yesterday, I was in the middle of getting dressed when Monkey strolled into my room, bright-eyed and bushy tailed.  She hugged me good morning, and then went off to potty and get dressed.  It dawned on me then that I had just washed my work clothes the night before, so the shirt I wanted, well, all of my shirts were downstairs hanging up in the laundry room.  I headed down, shirtless, in time to hear the door unlocking.  I quickened my pace so I could greet J at the door with a hug.  Thankfully, he was quicker because as I was midway to the bottom I hear, "Hey baby, we've got company!"  I high-tailed it back upstairs, tripping over a half-naked Monkey on my way.  I scooped her up and we both got dressed before heading back down to meet what I assumed would be one of J's coworkers.  Now, J has pulled this on me once before, so I figured that the person I would be meeting was just some other guy from J's battalion.  I was only partially correct.  The person I found was J's Chief!  I instantly regretted throwing on my old, tatty night shirt, and ran to the laundry room to change into my work shirt.  Not that it mattered, the guy came to work on J's computer, and didn't even deign to look up when I squeaked out an all-too peppy "Good morning!"  I stood around for about five minutes, awkwardly waiting for J's introduction that never came before finally busying myself with Monkey's breakfast.  That was a bad idea, though, because I then brought attention to the mountain of dishes I had been boycotting (Yeah, Mr. Chief looked up to see that!).  Finally giving in, I politely asked J to get Monkey a Pop-tart while I barricaded myself in the bathroom until the Chief left.  (Still without introduction, or so much as a "kiss my foot").

   Needless to say, tonight I went to town scrubbing, vacuuming, and washing those dishes that I had so vehemently boycotted.  Oh well, you win some; you lose some.  I think I'll be counting this one as a loss.  The recipe I'm about to share, however is definitely a win!  I was feelin' some down-home cookin', so I made Shrimp Etouffee and homemade French Bread.

The Shrimp Etouffe recipe was a jumble of Emeril's Crawfish Etouffee with a bit of my own spices thrown in, and then of course, my step-daddy's advice :-)  Here it is:

1 stick butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp (next time I'll use more, so about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 TBS garlic
2 bay leaves
1 cup water
1 TBS flour
Tony's to taste
1 small can tomato paste
1 can stewed tomatoes drained, and pureed
2 TBS finely chopped parsley
3 TBS chopped green onions

In a large pan, melt butter.  Add onion, celery, and bell pepper and saute 10-15 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender, and onions are translucent.  Add the shrimp, garlic, and bay leaves, and cook 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Dissolve the flour fully in the water, and add to the shrimp mixture.  Stir until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Season with Tony's.  Stir in the tomato paste and stewed tomatoes.  Add the parsley and green onions.  Cook 2-5 minutes more.  Serve over cooked rice.

Close up

The French Bread recipe was found on a fellow blogger's page via Pinterest.  The bread was perfect.  It made a bunch though, so I brought one of the loaves to a friend.  Here's what they looked like:

They were really good.  I impressed J, which I'm finding out isn't really hard to do.  Oh well. Here's the recipe:

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 TBS yeast
3 TBS sugar
2 TBS white vinegar
Add the above ingredients together and let sit about 5 minutes, or until bubbly.  (It's really cool to watch when it starts bubbling.)

Next, add:
1 TBS salt
1/3 cup oil (I used Canola)
5 1/2-6 cups flour, one cup at a time

Knead for 2-5 minutes and then put in the oven with a small pot of boiling water underneath it. The water will keep the dough moist. Watch the dough and punch it down when it gets to the top of the mixing bowl. Do this every time it gets to the top of the bowl, preferably 2-5 times.  
Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal on the bottom of the sheet.  Divide the dough into 3 sections.  Roll the dough balls into long French bread shapes. Slash tops of bread diagonally 3-5 times and cover with a beaten egg. Let rise 30 minutes (or until doubled) on the cookie sheet.  Meanwhile, preheat your stove to 375 and bake for 30 minutes.  

  I think next time, I'll try adding some garlic and other seasonings to the top of my loaf.  The leftover bread is good for French Toast too :-)

  Well, it's 11:00 pm, and I still have to pack for our weekend back home.  We're taking both dogs, so this should be interesting.  Goodnight all!

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