Me so pale and you so brown, our real colors – our hearts – match completely.s
I read this blog post tonight, and knew it was about me ‘n you.
Here’s the post, written by another wonderful lady, who obviously has had a relationship like ours, with some brown or fair sister of her own.
You wanted me to write you something and I couldn’t think of what what don’t you know about the way you’re a part of me of my every breathing moment you’re never far from thought and I’m always thinking of your smile and how we laugh when we’re together and you get my sense of […]
The eighth post in a series about the New Orleans Jazz Festival covering food (restaurants and recipes), fun, music and travel tips.
In the run-up to our Jazz Fest trip in early May, we are building anticipation by looking back at past good times in New Orleans and sharing our travel tips. And also cooking some of our favorite Louisiana recipes at home to get in the right mood – yum! Last night, it was Paul Prudhomme’s blackened fish. Actually, his recipe was for blackened redfish, but we use tilapia instead.
I usually tinker with recipes to make them my own, which you will know if you’ve ever taken a gander at my About page. But some recipes cannot be perfected, because they are already there. Chef Paul’s blackened fish is one of those. His blackened redfish was so popular in the 80’s that some called it the dish of the decade. In a retrospective about Chef Paul, the New Orleans Times-Picayune says it almost wiped out Gulf Coast redfish population.
I can understand why! We’ve created magic with the Chef Paul blackened fish recipe twice now, and it is downright spectacular. Moist on the inside, crusty and just-right spicy on the inside…heavenly.
The recipe in the cookbook has a marvelous spice mix that is juuuust right. Beware: there’s a recipe online on the official Paul Prudhomme web site, but it is different than the cookbook version and uses a pre-made commercial spice mix from the Chef Paul brand. Don’t use that one – use the one from the cookbook. I wouldn’t normally publish the recipe from the cookbook because it is copyright protected, but the New Orleans Times-Picayune published it in their online article in NOLA.com, so I’ve included it below. My advice: do not stray from these instructions. The result is a perfectly cooked blackened fish that is fine enough to serve to Sunday company.
From The Times-Picayune, April 5, 1984
“Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen” includes this note: Redfish and pompano are ideal for this method of cooking. If tilefish is used, you may have to split the fillets in half horizontally to have the proper thickness. If you can’t get any of these fish, salmon steaks or red snapper fillets can be substituted. In any case, the fillets or steaks must not be more than 3/4 inch thick.
Makes 6 servings
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted in a skillet
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
6 (8- to 10-ounce) fish fillets, preferably redfish, pompano or tilefish, cut about 1/2 inch thick (note: at Glover Gardens, we use tilapia)
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over very high heat until it is beyond the smoking stage and you see white ash in the skillet bottom (the skillet cannot be too hot for this dish), at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour 2 tablespoons melted butter in each of 6 small ramekins; set aside and keep warm. Reserve* the remaining butter in its skillet. Heat the serving plates in a 250-degree oven.
Thoroughly combine seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowL Dip each fillet in the reserved melted butter so that both sides are well coated; then sprinkle seasoning mix
generously and evenly on both sides of the fillets, patting it in by hand. Place fish in the hot skillet and pour 1 teaspoon melted butter on top of each fillet (be careful, as the butter may flame up).
Cook, uncovered, over the same high heat until the underside looks charred, about 2 minutes (the time will vary according to the fillet’s thickness and the heat of the skillet). Turn the fish over and again pour 1 teaspoon butter on top. Cook until fish is done, about 2 minutes more. Repeat with remaining fillets. Serve each fillet while piping hot.
To serve, place one fillet and a ramekin of butter on each heated serving plate.
I don’t know if we’ll have time to get to K-Paul’s while we’re in New Orleans for the Jazz Fest (in less than 2 weeks!!!!), but with this recipe, we can have a little bit of Chef Paul’s kitchen magic right here at home.
One last tip: if you have any blackened fish left, it is marvelous the next day in a fish taco. Just add a bit of pico de gallo or slaw and serve it up on a corn or flour tortilla.
I am very sad about yesterday’s shootings in Paris. It is such a beautiful, magic place, populated with wonderful, friendly people who enjoy life and rich with history, architecture, art, cuisine and culture. My heart is heavy for the victims of the shootings and their families, and for all Parisians as they struggle to recover from the shock and horror of the violence.
My tiny contribution to the healing process and return to normalcy is to reinforce the positives. Today’s post is just a quick couple of photos I snapped on my iPhone as part of a texting dialogue with my son while I was walking along the Seine. He traveled with me to Paris 5 years ago and we had an amazing experience, but that is literally another story (click here for “The Thankful Foreigner”). He has great memories of Paris, and longs to return.
Me: “I’m at the Pont Neuf!”
My son: “Photos, please!”
Me: (photos below)
My son: “Wow! you went on the right day!”
It was after work on a Friday, a glorious afternoon, and I was due to fly out the next morning. After depositing my computer in my hotel, I walked around for hours, along the Seine, through parks (including the Tuileries Garden), past the Louvre, and down the Champs-Elyseés, absorbing the sights and culture. Paris is a beloved city of the world, and cannot ever be ruined by individuals or groups doing evil deeds.
More raving over Paris can be found in these posts:
i’ll never forget my days by the water
a childhood so perfect
it almost hurts to remember
seashells and crab boils, best friends and cousins
a brother so close
he was almost my double
sunburns and skinned knees and sand in our eyes
fishing and sandcastles
huge wide-open skies
potluck parties where parents talked politics
where active listening happened
and no one left mad
“beach bum” friends of my parents, ex-soldiers
recovering from war
found peace in the waves
bonfires, fireworks, beach birthdays and family
acceptance and love as
abundant as sunshine
i’ll always remember
those days by the water
I stumbled on the concept of “100 Word Wednesday” in a blog called Bikurgurl and decided to participate this week, Week 15 of the challenge. The prompt was this beautiful lighthouse, and the rules are simple: write something 100 words long, use this image or another of your choosing, and link back to the original blog. The lighthouse made me think of my childhood living by the water on a very different kind of shore on the Bolivar Peninsula in Southeast Texas.
This rough little poem came spilling out of me as I thought of those halcyon sand-ridden childhood days and so many memories flooded in. Everything seemed so safe, so permanent, so lively-lovely in our tiny town of 600, Gilchrist, Texas. My brother and I went to the beach almost every day, even in the winter. My aunt and uncle moved just down the street from us, and our cousins became more like brothers. Beach birthday parties and fireworks spawned grass-fires and the scruffy men of the volunteer fire seemed delighted to be called out. My mother made mirrors rimmed with sea shells and sold them at a local art gallery.
My parents, while definitely not hippies, had escaped the mind-numbing sameness and materialism they found in suburban life for the quirky, slower and sometimes downright backward way of life on the Bolivar Peninsula. I didn’t realize at the time that the larger world was present, even there. Mom and Dad hosted election parties and invited all kinds of folks from both sides of the political aisle, and taped the lively but respectful conversations to send to my uncle, who worked for Hamilton Beach in Africa and was on a plane that was hijacked on his way home (he survived). A young man who was AWOL from the Army climbed up our stairs turned himself in to my Dad on our deck one Saturday morning while we were watching cartoons. “Beach bums” staying in a cabin a few doors down from us turned out to be Vietnam vets, confused and weary guys trying to patch up their lives and come to terms with their experiences. They were kind to an awkward tween-age girl; they paid me a few dollars to embroider peaceful sayings and seagulls on their frayed bellbottoms. They remained friends with my parents long after they all left the beach for more stability inland. Hurricane Ike took away the entire town in 2008.
So many more memories and stories, but this was supposed to be a post for 100 Word Wednesday. So I’ll leave you with some links with related stories and a few pictures.
So over the last three weeks I had a long trip for work to Paris and then right away, a shorter trip for relaxation to Colorado (I know, I know, you’re not crying for me). After arriving home in Southeast Texas in the wee hours last night and working all day today, I found myself home alone for dinner tonight with no “on purpose” food in the refrigerator. That is, no food that was purchased with a menu or recipe in mind; all the Grill-Meister and I have in the icebox is a plethora of condiments and some too-old leftovers, and he’s not here tonight to justify my ordering Chinese.
What to do? What to do?
Comfort food to the rescue: a Scrambled Egg Sandwich.
I give thanks to my Dad for teaching me the joys of this humble little culinary bundle of joy. I made it a little differently than he did when I was growing up: his version with “Sandwich Spread” and cheddar on white bread evolved into mine with jalapeño jack and fresh baby spinach on wheat, but it’s still a wonderful go-to comfort food item.
There’s really no recipe for this: simply scramble a couple of eggs the way you like them (don’t forget the salt and pepper), toast a couple of pieces of bread, and assemble by resting the eggs atop a bed of baby spinach or perhaps some thinly sliced tomatoes on the bottom piece of toast, adding a slice of your favorite cheese and topping with the second piece of toast. Voila, a lovely dinner for one, reminiscent of your childhood. Or mine, at least.
I’m curious – what is YOUR easy comfort food when you’re home alone?