Y’all Come Back Now

Who says you can’t go home again? And is a picture really worth a thousand words?

Baton Rouge’s 2022 St Patrick’s Day Parade – and we missed it! But we’ll be back in 2023 for this Wearin’ of the Green parade.

Today’s BigLittleMeals blog is all about Louisiana, our home for 26 years. Today’s Andy’s Corner is all about weather – but not really about Louisiana weather (which has been a little scary).

We just returned to Baton Rouge with the entire family to celebrate our upcoming 55th wedding anniversary, and the trip was nostalgia-filled! Where to begin? With partying pictures of the St Patrick’s Day parade we just missed and which everyone was still raving about? With the 50 pounds of crawfish 18 of us devoured? With the restaurants which appear on practically every street corner with names like “Parrains” and “Beausoleil Coastal” and “Cou-yon’s Cajun BBQ” and “Louisiana Lagniappe” and “Roux61” and, of course, “Raising Cane’s?” or with Louisianans, the people?

So warm and so friendly. That’s how the family describes Louisianans. Our 92-year-old Baton Rouge friend, Katie, said it all. “In the midst of the pandemic, I just wanted to stand in the street with a sign around my neck that said ‘I need a hug.'” Katie is still missing the hugs she gets on a daily basis from her mailman (who is out on paternity leave).

And huge hugs were everywhere, Covid be damned.

Warm and friendly aren’t the only adjectives we’d use for Louisianans. How about fun-loving partiers?! “Laissez les bon temps rouler” (pronounced “Lay-say le bon tom roo-lay”) – “let the good times roll” – aptly describes not only New Orleans but the mood of the southern (i.e., Catholic) part of the state.

50 POUNDS of crawfish were totally devoured by the 18 of us…and 2 or 3 guests weren’t even eating them.
Yum. Lunch at Zeeland Street in Baton Rouge
We had to wait for a party of 35 and a party of 40 and a baseball team to be seated at Roux 61
Speaking of roux…here’s Emeril explaining how to make one.
A brown roux can also be described as “dark” or “chocolate.”

If you’re in the mood to P-A-R-T-Y (and who isn’t inclined that way after all this pandemic stuff?), here are some suggestions for a Louisiana-style celebration.

And today’s recipe for Barbecue Shrimp Dip has been a favorite of mine for years. I can’t believe it took me this long to post it. It’s the perfect dish when you’re ready to “let the good times roll.

If you want to party with the best of them, head on down South (unless, of course, you’re already there). We recommend a visit to the Baton Rouge/New Orleans area in the spring, so you can have crawfish at its best. In New Orleans be sure to see the National WWII Museum, enjoy some music at Preservation Hall, tour St Louis Cemetery No.1, shop on Magazine St, and eat at Seafood Sally’s.

The fam relishing the seafood at Seafood Sally’s

Oh – and take a tour at Jean Laffite National Park and Preserve; you’ll love the alligators and snakes!

New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp Dip (thanks to The Food Network for the photo and the recipe)

New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp Dip

adapted from the Food Network
 

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c chili sauce (I use the brand “Homade Chili Sauce”)
  • 1/4 c fresh lemon juice
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Crackers and crunchy rustic bread for serving

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the chili sauce, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire, cayenne, oregano, paprika and hot sauce. Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until they are pink and just cooked through, flipping once, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

When cool, place the shimp mixture in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. (The shrimp mixture can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated.)

Combine the cream cheese and sour cream in a large bowl and stir vigorously with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the shrimp mixture, scallion whites, parsley, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper and stir to combine. Place in a 5-cup broiler-safe casserole dish and spread evenly.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and pour over the top of the shrimp dip, making sure to cover the entire surface with a thin layer of butter. Sprinkle with the scallion greens. Chill for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Just before serving, position an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the broiler. Broil the dip until the butter layer just begins to melt. Serve with the crackers and crunchy bread.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

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