Po’ Boy Burrito

This whole stay-at-home stuff is really weird.  I’m adjusting to it but I have to admit that it’s really hard to break the habit of trotting down the grocery store every time I want something that I don’t have in the kitchen. 

This time it was fresh baked French bread. 

I wanted a Po’ Boy sandwich and perhaps the single most important ingredient of a Po’ Boy is an excellent loaf of French bread.  I could have jumped in the car and raced down to the store to get a loaf of bread but I decided to resist the urge and improvise.  Thus, the Po’ Boy burrito was born!

What I find interesting is that I had every other ingredient for a Po’ Boy, except the French bread.  Go figure.

This recipe makes 3 Po’ Boy burritos.

Ingredients for the remoulade sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise

2 Tbs dill pickles, chopped

1 Tbs lemon juice (I used lime, since I didn’t have lemon on hand)

1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce

1 tsp capers, mashed and minced

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp Dijon mustard (or creole mustard)

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1 green onion, chopped

Ingredients for the pickled cabbage:

½ cup cabbage, sliced thin

½ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ cup vinegar

2 tsp sugar

Ingredients for the fried shrimp:

15 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterfly cut

1 cup flour

½ cup corn meal

Oil for frying

Additional ingredients:

½ cup lettuce, sliced thin

1 sliced tomato

3 large burrito sized tortillas (9”)

Directions:

Prepare the  remoulade sauce.

In a mixing bowl, add mayonnaise, chopped pickles, lemon or lime juice, hot sauce, capers, paprika, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and green onion.  Set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, add the cabbage, lettuce, cayenne pepper, vinegar and sugar.  Swirl to mix.  Set aside.

Prepare the shrimp.

Mix the flour and corn meal in a bowl and set aside.

Lightly beat two eggs in a bowl and set aside.

Dredge the shrimp in the flour/corn meal mixture and tap off excess flour.  Dip the shrimp in the egg wash and then dredge in the flour/corn meal again. 

In a medium sized sauce pan, fry the shrimp in hot oil.  I fried the shrimp in batches of five.

Remove the fried shrimp to a bowl and keep warm.

Once the shrimp are cooked, assemble the burritos.  Add remoulade sauce, lettuce, tomato, shrimp and pickled cabbage.

Serve with hot, crispy French fries.  See, I found a way to have a little French after all!

Stay healthy and eat well!

Scalloped Potatoes with Cold Cuts

I haven’t been making regular trips to the grocery store lately.  Time constraints mixed with a dash of laziness is a recipe for invention.  Despite the lack of grocery shopping, my pantry and refrigerator are still full of all sorts of odds and ends, which is a good thing. 

This meal came together quickly and it provided a warm, hearty end to a cold and dreary day.  This was made to serve three, but it could stretch to serve four.  The various cold cuts added to this dish turned simple scalloped potatoes into something special.

Ingredients:

3 large russet potatoes

3 cups cooking oil

6 oz cold cuts (capocollo, calabrese, pepper salami and cured ham)

1 tsp coarse salt

½ tsp whole black pepper

½ tsp Cavender’s Greek Seasoning

5 green onions

1 celery stalk

4 Tbs butter

4 Tbs flour

2 cups chicken stock

¼ cup heavy cream

Directions:

Peel the potatoes and slice them into ¼ discs. 

Fry the potatoes in the cooking oil.  Once the potatoes begin to turn golden brown, strain them and set aside.

While the potatoes cook, prepare the other ingredients.

Cut the cold cuts into ½” pieces.  Set aside.

Chop the celery and green onions.  Set aside.

Grind the salt, pepper and Cavender’s Greek seasoning in a mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

Using the same skillet that was used to fry the potatoes, turn the heat to low and add the butter.  When the butter melts, add the flour and whisk to form a roux.

When the roux begins to bubble and becomes frothy, add the seasonings.  Whisk.

Slowly introduce 1 cup of the chicken stock and whisk.  Add the cream and continue whisking.  As the sauce thickens, add the remaining cup of chicken stock.  Whisk until the sauce thickens again. 

Add the celery and green onions and stir to incorporate.

Add the cold cuts and stir.  Simmer for about 3 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

Fold in the potatoes and simmer for a few minutes.

Scoop out portions to serving bowls. 

A Night at the Improv

There comes a time in every cook’s life when they realize that they don’t have an ingredient they need for a recipe.  Sometimes those moments happen in the midst of preparing a meal.  Sometimes cooks just have to improvise.  Sometimes cooks just have to “fake it” and force their way through life’s unexpected problems.

I’ve had some long, long days at work recently, which is why my blog posts have become less frequent.  A few nights ago, I came home from work and I was craving something spicy.  I wanted to make a variation of my Yin and Yang Chicken Wraps because it was quick and easy to prepare.  I prepped the vegetables and chicken and just as I was getting ready to fry the chicken, I realized that I didn’t have any eggs.

Eggs are something that I always keep on hand…except this time. 

I usually fry chicken by dipping the chicken in egg and dredging it in flour.  That’s Chicken 101.  Of course, buttermilk could be used instead of egg… that’s the classic recipe for southern fried chicken.  Buttermilk is not something I usually have on hand.

In a moment of inspiration, or desperation, I decided to use milk and Italian dressing instead of eggs. 

Why Italian dressing?  Why not?  I figured that if I was going to improvise I might as well try something completely new.

The result was some very crispy and very delicious chicken.  The rest of the preparation was smooth sailing and I made some extremely spicy wraps.  So, satisfying!  

Italian dressing contains oil, among other things, and that, combined with the milk, gave the flour something to stick to and it produced great flavor.

I ate two of the large wraps and went to bed an hour later.  Big mistake! The joy I experienced while eating the spicy chicken wraps was perfectly balanced by the upset stomach I experienced 5 hours later as I drove to work the next morning.  Yin and Yang, indeed!

So, don’t panic when you find yourself missing an ingredient.  Trust your instincts and face adversity bravely.  Improvise.  Be daring!

Oh, and don’t go to sleep an hour after you eat…especially if you eat something very spicy!

Do as I say, not as I do.