Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"You are a goddess in the kitchen."

So sayeth the boyfriend. I can only assume he's referring to last night's dinner, and I'm hopeful that the IM I just received stating that I've attained deity status means that he's eating the leftovers. So what'd I make? And why does D. want to learn how to make it?

I love when D. pays me ridiculously overstated compliments. His hyperbole is meant to balance out the fact that I'm incredibly self-critical in the kitchen, and don't think I'm that great of a cook. I love to cook, and find it wonderfully cathartic when I'm stressed out, but I have miles and miles to go before I'll ever consider myself a good cook.

Right now, I'm just capable. I can make a lot of things, and they don't suck, and I'm comfortable enough in the kitchen to allow myself to be creative. I think this astonishes D., because apart from Chef Boyardee and grilled cheese, the one recipe he has mastered is cheesy chicken enchilada casserole.

Don't knock it - it's awesome. Dude can seriously make an awesome enchilada casserole, and I thank his mother for that. I'm pretty sure we could eat it every week, and I wouldn't grow tired of it. D. seems to take careful notes when I cook, though. I think he's memorized how I make chicken marsala. So anytime I cook something new, my incredibly supportive and amazing-in-all-ways taller half seems to enjoy it, and goes out of his way to compliment the point of making me laugh and blush when he deliberately goes overboard in an attempt to convince me that I don't suck in the kitchen.

Last night, though, we had some completely random leftovers in the fridge, so I was trying to figure out a way to combine the half-and-half I dump in my coffee, leftover crawfish tails, and veggies left from last week's Taco Night at Michelle's (I made salsa and guacamole for the occasion). And living in New Orleans tends to inspire creativity and use of local ingredients.

I improvised a spicy crawfish alfredo, and I'm going to do my best to recreate the recipe here - I hope you like it! (If you do try the recipe, will you let me know how it turned out?)

Jacked-up Crawfish Alfredo

1 roma tomato, chopped
2 green onion stalks, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. crawfish tails, either fresh or thawed
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup shredded parmesan (NOT grated!)
2 good glugs of Crystal hot sauce
2 tsp. cajun seasoning (like Tony Chachere's or Emeril's Original Essence)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Whole-wheat spaghetti
1 stick butter

Boil the pasta in water seasoned with a pinch of kosher salt. While the water is still simmering, before you cook the actual pasta, melt the butter in a large skillet on medium-low. Lower the heat slightly and add the hot sauce and garlic. Once the garlic cooks, add the crawfish tails, green onion and tomato. The crawfish tails will curl up - just like shrimp - that's how you'll know they've cooked through.

Pour in the half-and-half and let the mixture slowly simmer - turn the burner back up to medium-low to medium. Once the sauce begins to bubble, add the parmesan and cajun seasoning, salt and pepper - and maybe a dash of cayenne and a little more hot sauce. Make the sauce to your taste - some people like a little more kick, and others prefer to tame the heat. Stir the sauce continuously to keep it from scalding or sticking.

Lower the heat again, and drain the pasta from the saucepan - once drained, add the pasta to the sauce, and stir until the cheese is fully melted and the pasta is dredged in the spicy cream sauce.

Have I mentioned how much I love D., and how red in the face I still am after his IM to me?

Yeah, he totally rocks. I'm a lucky gal.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

In general, it's really hard to go wrong with crawfish. Sounds good! I may see how it works with shrimp (seeing as it's hard to get crawfish in Jacksonville). :-)