Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cooking Up A Storm

Last November when Brian and the kids and I went to Louisiana for the Thanksgiving holidays, we made a very special trip to Audubon Zoo. I blogged about it here. During that zoo trip I found a cook book that I feel in love with, within seconds of turning the first few pages. It's title was Cooking Up A Storm. I commented on how much I would love to have it.

My son Jakob put that idea in his little rolodex memory, and on Christmas morning he made me a very happy lady. The book started off just a way for residents in Louisiana to get back some of their recipes that they lost in hurricane Katrina. When your told to evacuate your home, bringing your collection of cookbooks doesn't seem as important as photo albums and clothes at the time. In the areas hit by that dreadful storm, those people lost EVERYTHING they owned, including recipes handed down from generation to generation.

The Times Picayune is the newspaper there and they had a section where people would send in recipes they wanted to share. Through the years the collection of recipes got bigger and bigger in their archives.

After the storm people wrote to the newspaper's editors desperately trying to get back to some normalcy and wanting copies of lost recipes. The newspaper was happy to help. After months of this going on, someone decided why not make a cookbook with all these little jewels and tell the stories of the people that inquired about them.

I read this book like it was a novel. Each page had someone else's story, about what that God awful hurricane did to the city and people that they love. The same city and people that I love. Now when I cook from this book, not only am I cooking a great dish but I'm also cooking with someone else's story. It's like a well seasoned cast iron skillet. The more history the better. On some pages I cried, some pages I laughed, but every page made me even prouder to be a South East Louisiana girl!

Lent started for us a few weeks ago and being the good Catholics that we try to be, we do not eat meat on Fridays for the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. I try and keep our Friday menus fun, but sometimes it's hard (when it's not fried) to make fish fun....AGAIN.

I have found a few recipes that have now become staples for us everyday of the week, not just on Friday's.

Here is the first one....

Garlic Shrimp

2 dozen large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (fresh basil is a nice summer substitute)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the shrimp in a shallow baking dish and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients except the butter. Cover the shrimp with the bread crumb mixture, then drizzle with the melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

I serve it with fresh corn on the cob and a loaf or two of french or cuban bread

I used a little more than a cup of bread crumbs and cooked them for about 20 minutes.


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