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shelby'smom

light starters for a special Louisiana dinner

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Hi,

I need some help please. A friend is turning 50, and for his birthday party the main courses are crawfish, etouffe and jambalaya. There will also be cornbread and salad, plus cheesecake for dessert. I'm in charge of the first course, but it needs to be light. Any suggestions for keeping with the creole/cajun theme? Anything is appreciated, I don't have much experience in this area of specialty.

Thank you! :smile:

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Where are you located? Gulf oysters on the half shell would be a light way to start a meal if you could get them.

What about hogshead cheese?

I know, not much cooking required for either of these.


Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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Actually, we all live in the Seattle area. Our friends just really like Louisiana type foods, and the birthday boy will be cooking the etouffe and jambalaya (sp?) all day. I am only allowed to bring 3 starters (sometimes I go a bit overboard, so they have to rein me in). What is hogshead cheese? They are getting 30lbs of crayfish too. I love oysters, but a decent number of these folks don't, even though we get fantastic ones locally. Thank you again.

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If they are boiling crawfish, this might be too similar, but boiled shrimp (use a good spicy boil mix) would be a light starter and very authentic.

Marinated vegetable salads show up alot around south Louisiana. I once made one with corn, ham, cherry tomatoes, green onions and pickled okra that went over well. I have the recipe in a Cajun cookbook if you need it.

A relish try might also be good. Be sure and include lots of pickled goodies: peppers, okra, asparagus, eggplants, green beans.


Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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Marinated Crab Claws

Boiled Shrimp Cocktail with remoulade

Smoked Fish Dip

Oysters Rockefeller

Chargrilled Oysters

Oyster Shooters

Head Cheese

Fried Chicken Livers

Blackeyed Pea Relish Dip

I can go on, but all of this stuff can be made in a way that is appetizing, from a cocktail service perspective. Oyster shooters are really fun, not to mention tasty. The fish dip can be made with any flaky fish if you can't get gulf fish and marinated crab claws are pretty much never going to last any longer than it takes your otherwise well behaved guests to shovel the little devils into their pie holes. Oysters Rockefeller can be made ahead of time (as can head cheese, the shrimp, and the crab claws).

And remember to have fun. We just generally make the stuff and kind of let everyone fend for themselves. After all, the host is supposed to have just as much fun as the guests-otherwise what would be the point?


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Oyster Shooters

Oyster shooters are really fun, not to mention tasty.

Oyster Shooters sound as if they could make my life whole, make me smarter, make me happier. (The last shooters I had were upside-down Kamikazes administered by the Best Man as I lay on the bar at at my brother's rehearsal party. You really don't want to know.)

So, tell me about Oyster Shooters, svp.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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The Oyster Shooter is basically, for lack of a better description, an oyster cocktail not so different from a bloody mary. They're also pretty skippy.

Simply take one raw oyster and place it into a shot glass or other attractive small vessel. Make a batch (you are making some shooters for your friends, aren't you? Of course you are.) of very spicy bloody mary mix with about double the vodka that you would normally use (it makes sense after you taste one-trust me). Add to each glass until almost full. Grin the grin of someone doing something unusually fun, say "salud" or some other nonsense, and slam it down.

Repeat.

Send thanks in care of:

Me

NOLA, USA


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Ok, native Louisianian here to say that even reading the word crayfish makes my ears ring. "Crawfish" please!

Anyway...

Not sure what you mean by "light"... I make something I call Bourbon St. cheese (you know, for my Yankee friends who think Bourbon St. represents New Orleans, and therefore Louisiana). Mix a block of softened cream cheese with some grated onion and garlic, shape into a disc and chill. In a saucepan, heat some butter, brown sugar, pecans, and mustard until butter melts. Pour over cream cheese disc and chill. Serve with bread, crackers, or crudites.


Bridget Avila

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what about a savory beinet?? Chef Kevin at Steelhead Diner at the Pike Place market makes fried cheese curds using Beechers curds and serves them with a spicy mustard dipping sauce- I love them!! oh the point is he is from NOLA- you could go there and do some "research"!

I also think oysters rockefeller would be fantastic

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shrimp remoulade (sp) easy if you mix the shrimp w/sauce and mound in bowl w/crackers for everyone to help themselves. the cheaper smaller shrimp work great for this. Hot crab dip, so bad for you but the tastiest thing ever.

If you have access to baby eggplant, stuffed veggies w/again the crabmeat...

stuffed artichokes

gumbo

imho...30lbs of crawfish isn't a whole lot...

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30 lbs of crawfish will go far with non-Louisianians, especially if there's lots of other grub, which it sounds like there will be. If that's the only main, you could assume 3 lbs per non-Lousianian and 5 lbs per native. :wink:


Bridget Avila

My Blog

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I've been trying to think of a non-shellfish appetizer in case you were interested in that. (I can never have too much crab, oysters or shrimp though and people have already given some great suggestions in that area.)

This uses New Orleans ingredients but is not a classic dish--

mushrooms stuffed with a tasso filling?

This could perhaps be served on some mixed greens dressed with a vinaigrette as a first course salad. Stuffed vegetables are very popular in New Orleans (mirlitons (or chayote) stuffed with shrimp, for example and tasso is smoked pork/ham from LA.) You should be able to mail order tasso or may be able to find a suitable substitute in Seattle.

New Orleans has many famous egg dishes as well. They are typically served at brunch but you may be able to get some ideas for a first course variant by looking at famous New Orleans egg dishes.

Another great New Orlean's 'foodstuff" is the olive salad served on muffuletta sandwiches. Maybe you could make a deconstructed muffuletta first course. Bruschetta with white bean puree and topped with a mufuletta topping; heavier on the ratio of olive salad to that of meats and cheese to make it a bit lighter. Deconstructed further you could make a muffuletta antipasta platter--olive salad, mortadella, ham, salami, provolone and mozzarella cheese. These could be self serve from a large platter or plated up individually with some dressed greens and some crostini.

The crispy fried chicken livers that Mayhaw Man suggested would be great over a green salad or blackeyed-pea salad dressed with vinagrette. Deglaze the pan used to cook the livers and add that to the vinaigrette as well. Adding some spice to the flour used to dredge the livers would add a kick.

edited to add: Another ingredient to think about for using in a first course is catfish-grilled, broiled or fried. Serve on garlicky white beans with a topping of remoulade sauce or olive salad? Or a small, crispy serving of catfish on top of a non-mayo vinegar type slaw. Serve with a dollap of spicy remoulade sauce. There are lots of directions one could pursue.

All this discussion of remoulade makes me think of a simple fisrt course of steamed asparagus or artichokes with a remoulade-inspired sauce.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Wow, what great ideas, thank you. A few questions...

bravila, what are the ratios of cream cheese to onions, etc?, then are you pouring the pecan, sugar sauce over while hot?, in a dish so it can pool? are you using yellow mustard or Coleman's with added h2o (which my husband likes bec it is rather hot) or dijon style? help.....

shellfishfiend, could you send me the recipe for the marinated vegetable salad? I have one from a Baton Rouge Jr League book, but am always interested in different takes. That one doesn't include blanching the veggies before putting them in the marinade, but I think I should don't you?

the oyster variations would go over very well in our house, and will probably be used this summer for a big family do-wah, but, try as I might, and as incredible as our oysters are here in the NW, these are a bunch of wennies, although the crawfish will go fast and furious, go figure.

Thank you so much for all your suggestions, please send more if something (other than lightning) strikes you. I knew I could count on you. :wub:


Edited by shelby'smom (log)

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Shelby'smom,

This recipe is not what some people would consider a marinated salad, but it is very good and very pretty in the bowl.

Recipe from "Cajun-Creole Cooking" by Terry Thompson

Cajun Corn Salad

2 cans whole kernel corn, well drained

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

pickled okra, sliced into rings to equal one cup

6 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup minced parsley

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Dressing:

1 tsp. sugar

1/4 cup herb falvored vinegar

1 tsp. creole mustard

1 Tblsp. dried basil or 3 tblsp. fresh

2 Tblsp. mayo

1/2 tsp. ground balck pepper

1/2 tsp. Tabasco

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup olive oil

After you combine all the salad ingred., you make the dressing (whisking in the oil last) and add it. I had ham left over the last time I made this and added about 1 cups worth. it was a nice addition. This is better if it is refrigerated for awhile for the flavors to blend.


Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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This was good incentive for me to add my first recipe to RecipeGullet. Click here. Let us know how it goes.


Bridget Avila

My Blog

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Sauteed crab claws go over great....buy already prepped clawfingers. Melt 1 stick of butter per pound of claws in a wok or big saucepan, throw in small whole mushrooms or sliced larger ones. Add four or five minced cloves of garlic, two bunches of chopped green onions (tops & bottoms), plenty of black pepper, juice of half a lemon, three or four healthy shakes of worcestershire, and the crab claws. Toss around until the claws are heated through. Serve with lots of bread for sopping up all those onions & mushrooms.

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I'm not sure those cocktail crab claws are available throughout the country. I've sure looked for them, but only seem to be able to find them on the Gulf coast.

Are they available in Seattle?


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Thank you everyone for helping me with my starters for a great birthday dinner. I ended up doing a fresh/raw marinated vegetable salad (recipe from Baton Rouge Jr League cookbook), shrimp in remoulade sauce, and the Bourbon St cream cheese recipe from bavila. All items were well received and determined to be 'keepers', but the Bourbon St. cheese dish got rave reviews and all requested the recipe. I did add about 2 T of butter to the pecan/brown sugar mixture, and a touch more than 1/4 c of the brown sugar. It carmelized well, but it took a little work to get through the coating once it cooled. I forgot to take pictures, but everything went very well, and the few single fellas that were there were excited to take home the few leftovers at the end of the evening. I also found a recipe for a shot called Sex with an Alligator with Midori, Chambourd and Jagermeister that was popular with the menfolk, the ladies were sticking with their hurricanes. I just wanted to say thank you for all of your collective assistance, well done! :biggrin:

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