Archive for January, 2010

Catfish Pontchartrain

Saturday was a sad day. We journeyed down to Geaux Burger only to discover a sign on the door saying that they were closed for business. I liked the place because they had an amazing veggie burger and you could choose from a variety of free toppings for your burger. I was partial to a combo of swiss cheese, mushrooms, and grilled onions. Mason liked it because their burgers were great and, on top of that, it was run by some Louisianans who were big Saints and LSU fans.

Anyway, we ended up at Phil’s Ice House instead, and afterwards headed to Quality Seafood. Mason was still in a Cajun state of mind and wanted to buy some fish. He got some catfish fillets and shrimp, and asked that I concoct a sauce for the fish that was creamy and used the shrimp. I immediately thought of Pontchartrain (PON-choo-train) sauce, which  usually involves white wine, cream, butter, and crab or shrimp.

While delicious, I knew I didn’t want to make something that fattening. Because I like how my jeans fit just fine, thank you. I came up with this variation that’s still rich and tasty, but a bit lighter. I served with dirty rice.

Catfish Pontchartrain
2 8oz catfish fillets (or 1 pound of another firm, white fish)
1-2 tbsp of seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay or Adam’s Reserve
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp canola oil
1.5 cups dry white wine (I used Fall Creek Chenin Blanc)
1 cup water or seafood stock
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and roughly chopped into about 1/4 in. pieces
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. water
Juice from 1 lemon (about 3 tbsp.)

To prepare sauce, combine wine, 1 c. water or stock, salt, pepper, and thyme in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium high and add shrimp. Cook 10 minutes, until sauce has reduced some.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet. Season fish with salt, pepper, and seafood seasoning. Add to skillet and cook about 6-7 minutes on each side, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm.

Combine flour and 1/4 c. water, mixing well with a fork until the mixture is thick and smooth. It should be as close to lump-free as possible. Add to shrimp mixture and cook about 5 minutes more, until mixture has thickened and drips off of a spoon with the consistency of maple syrup.  Turn off heat and add butter and lemon juice, stirring until butter melts. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary, and serve sauce over fish.

I served with a 2008 Martin Codax albarino, a bright Spanish white wine.

ETA: Yes, I call myself a vegetarian and yes, I ate this meal. I spent the day making dal, fajita fillings, and cracked wheat bread from my favorite bread cookbook, The Bread Bible. By the end of the day my feet hurt and I was hungry. So I ate. 🙂

Read Full Post »

I look away for one minute

And this happens:

Read Full Post »

Ok, I don’t really have time right now to tell you all the reasons I love Conan. But I wanted to post this video of his Monday show only for the monologue, which you will probably find hilarious even if you haven’t been following the Tonight Show/Conan/Leno drama. Please watch it. I’m going to refrain from saying exactly how I feel about Jay Leno and the NBC execs because, well, the words I’m thinking aren’t fit for public consumption and people I work with read this blog.

My favorite line: “I could quit television altogether, and work in a classier business with better people, like hardcore porn.”

Zing! Tell ’em, Conan.

Read Full Post »

So, God bless Greenling, but I was tired of eating butter lettuce and turnips so I stopped getting their local box. I still get local produce and meat from them every week, but it’s all stuff I select, and we are definitely wasting less. I’ll probably stop listing the veggies I get until I go back to the local box, but I want to highlight the meat. Now that I’ve stopped eating it, I can afford to get meat from local farms for Mason and Ryan. It’s definitely more expensive, but, I think, worth it. This week I got a whole cut-up chicken from Dewberry Hills and hamburger patties from Betsy Ross.

This week’s menu includes:

For Mason and Ryan:

Coq au vin on egg noodles: This is so incredibly delicious. I know because I’m the chef and the chef has to taste what he/she cooks. I’ve made Tyler Florence’s recipe before, and while I do love me some Tyler, Alton’s was better. I skipped the marinate overnight part and it was still rich and delicious. Definitely a weekend recipe, because it takes a while to make, but absolutely worth it. You could probably do a good version of this in the crock pot, adding everything to the crock after you’ve browned the chicken. You’d still need to reduce the sauce, but it doesn’t take that long.

Cheeseburgers with cheddar on onion buns with baked chips

Sweet and sour shrimp w/brown rice — the chicken version is great, but I’m using shrimp this time.

For me:

Pizza di spaghetti (with leftover red wine spaghetti) and spinach salad — If you do this, don’t skimp on the olive oil. It won’t come out of the pan if you try to use less. Trust me.

“B”LT (with Smart Bacon) and baked chips

The best lentil soup ever

Chipotle bean burritos

Read Full Post »