Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Special Request

My dear friend Stephen asked me to write about my party days and wanted to see something about N'Awlins. The crazy parties were always college, immediate post college days, and celebrations at a watering hole. The parties I've hosted are primarily family occasions or a food themed event. We have fun, we laugh, we play games and it is all about good food and good times with people you really care about. I have never been an "invite the masses" person.

My family vacation has it all down for parties. We have a team of confirmed fun addicts that so enjoy each other's company, being a part of each other's lives and celebrating milestones. My sister Sue will confer with me and Rebecca (Aunt Buck) to determine the celebration. Sue will create a host of games based on the theme or honoree. She starts in April and is ready to send out teasers about the games starting weeks before vacation. I do the food and menu. I'll ponder and strategize and research and come up with a menu for the family. It is all about the taste to the max. It is incredible fun. Everyone pitches in to help which makes it even more fun. All four generations participate in some way though the youngest generation just throws themselves into the participation and the fun with looks of a little bit of shock and awe until they decide we're safe to be with and it's all good. My niece Cammy who is now 17 is the youngest of generation three. As a toddler she saw all of this craziness and merriment with a little bit of concern. Her Mom, Aunt Buck was tucking her in bed one night after a particularly vibrant evening. Cam asked Buck, "Who are those crazy people?". Buck laughed and said "Cammy, they are your family.". I hope she didn't have nightmares.

To get back to the N'Awlins theme I'll tell you about a family event that was so fun. It was Christmas time and Mimi and Bobo were staying with Sue and Tom. I invited them all up for dinner. We would be serving 14 people plus some hangers on. I decided to make a New Orleans shrimp recipe that was over the top. It was a very spicy shrimp cooked in butter and I do mean butter! We had very healthy eaters so I purchased close to 14 pounds of large shrimp. I served it with wine, salad, very crusty bread and a great dessert.

My wonderful brother-in-law Tom has always been one of my devoted fans. He is awesome in so many ways and he came into our family as an only child of a more reserved family than ours. He's been through thick and thin and he is still standing. He has a dry sense of humor and I think it's been a help through the years. Tom came to dinner and he was under the weather. Despite that he ate a little shrimp and I sent him home with shrimp to enjoy when he felt better. He loved that shrimp and I think he ate more that night. The next day everyone returned for brunch. One of the dishes was piles of hash browns - totally homemade. As people started to leave we looked for Tom and found him at the kitchen table eating ends and pieces of hash browns out of the pan. His appetite was resurrected!

Acadian Peppered Shrimp adapted from Mary Ann Firth

this recipe serves 8

3 C. butter
1/2 C. freshly ground pepper
1/2 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 bay leaves, crumbled
4 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 T. Hungarian sweet paprika
1 T. minced fresh basil
1 T. minced fresh oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground red pepper cayenne
6 lbs medium to large shrimp with shell on and head removed

Melt butter in a large heavy skillet. Add everything except the shrimp. Cook, stirring for about 20 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until just pink. Do not over cook!

I've been making this for over 20 years and it's a keeper. Okay Stephen, are you ready to cook?

1 comment:

  1. you are a dear. let the party begin! i assume crusty bread is a perfect 'side'. nothing like slurping up the juices.