One summer bash I’ll never forget was a coworker’s crawfish boil party. Dennis and his roommates had 100 pounds of crawfish flown into Denver from Louisiana for the party and kept it in the bathroom tub on ice along with a few lobsters a few guests had brought. Each guest was asked to bring beer and $10 to share in costs.
Decorating was simple. On each newspaper draped table, there were large baguettes of French bread, butter, salt and pepper shakers, a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce, and a roll of paper towels. Once a batch was done, they would dump a mess of crawfish and corn on the tables. We’d stand around eating, pushing the used corn husks and crawfish shells to one side. Once everything was consumed, we’d gather up the newspapers, and throw the whole thing in the trash.
They used an outdoor propane burner to cook up the crawfish, and as the day went on the crawfish kept getting hotter and hotter due to the addition of more spices. We drank a lot of beer to cool off and had a great time.
If you’d like to throw a crawfish boil party, check out How to Host a Crawfish Boil Party on ehow.com for a comprehensive guide along with some tips on how to find a live crawfish delivery service online.
A campground seafood boil summer bash
Since we spend much of our summer weekends RV camping, we do a smaller version of the crawfish boil. Instead of crawfish, we buy seafood at the grocery store on the way to the campgrounds and split the purchase with friends.
We usually do this on 4th of July weekend since that’s also when we celebrate my husband’s birthday. However, we did something similar with just lobster and shrimp for my mother-in-law’s birthday. Nothing like fine dining when you’re camping!
Seafood Boil with Corn and Potatoes
Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 45 minutes
- 4 lemons, halved
- 6 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 2 large garlic heads, halved horizontally
- 6 medium onions, peeled and quartered
- 2 dried chilies
- Coarse salt
- 16 springs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
- 1 pound clams
- 1 pound mussels
- 2 pounds of new red potatoes, unpeeled, halved if large
- 8 ears fresh corn, shucked and broken in half
- 2 pounds tail on shrimp, uncooked (frozen is o.k.)
- 6 lobster tails, uncooked (frozen is o.k.)
- Butter, hot sauce and French bread for serving
- Fill a large stockpot with 4 quarts of water. Squeeze lemons into water and add rinds.
- Add bay leaves, seasoning, garlic, onions, chilies, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and thyme.
- Bring to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
- Add potatoes and simmer 12 minutes.
- Add corn and simmer 5 minutes.
- Add shrimp, lobster, clams and mussels to pot. Cover, and simmer until lobster is opaque, about 5 minutes.
- Pour off liquid and serve out of the pot.
- Serve with melted butter and/or hot sauce.
- Squeeze and spread the cooked garlic on French bread.
- Serve the corn and potatoes with butter and salt and pepper.
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With Cinco de Mayo just a few days away , I wanted to feature some healthy Mexican recipes this week. This recipe is courtesy of 901 Silver Tequila, a tequila that is triple distilled using only 100% Blue Weber Agave.
Campechana is a Baja Mexico-style seafood cocktail – like a cross between gazpacho and shrimp cocktail – that’s a favorite of my husband and his buddies when they fish in La Paz each year. You can serve this as an appetizer with tortilla chips.
If you want to have 901 Shrimp Campechana as a healthy lunch dish, serve it on top of brown rice in a bowl.
- 1 cup 901 Silver Tequila, plus 2 tablespoons reserved
- 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 cup tomato paste (for a spicy kick, use 1/2 cup chile sauce instead of tomato paste)
- Juice of two limes plus 1 cup of lime juice (for poaching)
- 1 small sweet onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 small cucumber, seedless or seeded, peeled and roughly diced
- 1 small Serrano chile, seeded and stem removed
- 5 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1/2 cup Spanish olives, pitted
- 1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
- 1 large avocado, diced
- 1 cup fresh grape or cherry tomatoes, diced or quartered
For the shrimp:
- Add 3 tablespoons of salt, 1 cup lime juice, 8 cups water, and 1 cup of 901 Silver Tequila to a large pot and bring to a low boil.
- Toss in shrimp then remove pot from heat.
- Allow to poach gently for 4 minutes or until shrimp is pink and cooked through.
For the sauce:
- Combine tomatoes, paste, lime juice, onion, garlic, Serrano chile, cucumber, basil and cilantro, olives and 3 tablespoons salt, pepper and horseradish to a food processor and pulse gently until incorporated.
- Once shrimp have cooled, toss them in with the tomato mixture.
- Slowly add in the avocado, fresh chopped tomato and add to a cocktail glass such as a martini or highball glass.
- Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of 901 Silver Tequila and serve.
- Serving size: 1/4 of recipe
Recipe and photo courtesy of 901 Silver Tequila.
Looking for a different but healthy side dish for your Fourth of July party? My friend and cookbook author extraordinaire, Holly Clegg shares her recipe for Seafood Cornbread in today’s guest post. I love cornbread and I adore seafood, so this recipe is bound to be fantastic!
If you love Cajun food, make sure to check out her book trim&TERRIFIC® Gulf Coast Favorites Cookbook [affiliate link]. You can also find Holly at The Healthy Cooking Blog and HollyClegg.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
My favorite healthy cornbread recipe
I recently appeared on a TV show with my Seafood Cornbread recipe. With so many recipe requests, I knew immediately what recipe to feature to round out your Fourth of July Menu!
When it comes to barbecues, everyone seems to have their own style of grilling and classics such as potato salad, baked beans and cole slaw grace the summer menu. So, what about the bread?
This cornbread recipe is scrumptious, outstanding and melts in your mouth. I know since I live in Louisiana where seafood is plentiful. However, this recipe works well with canned or frozen seafood as well. A fun preparation is to make in muffin pans (mini or regular) and serve in a basket. And, yes, cornbread freezes if you have any left.
If you don’t like seafood, just leave it out for a wonderful variation on cornbread. Diabetic friendly as it is low in fat, carbs, and sodium is the best surprise of all!
- 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose regular or gluten free flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cored and chopped
- 1 (15-ounce) can cream-style corn
- 1 cup shredded, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño pepper slices (found in jar)
- 2 cups combination seafood ( small peeled shrimp, cooked; crabmeat, or crawfish)
- Preheat oven 350°F. Coat 13 × 9 × 2-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray
- In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and sugar.
- In another bowl, combine milk, egg, and oil.
- Add remaining ingredients except seafood. Mix well.
- Stir into flour mixture. Gently stir in seafood.
- Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Bake for 55–60 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serving size: 1 square
- Calories: 87
- Calories from Fat: 29 (33%)
- Total Fat: 3g
- Saturated fat: 1g
- Unsaturated fat: 2g
- Sodium: 130 mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 10g
- Sugar: 2g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 5g
- Cholesterol: 27mg
Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 lean meat
Weight Watchers POINTS = 2
Picture and recipe used with permission
Last week I was invited to a special VIP I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter event in NYC to find out who would be their new spokesperson. The night before my fellow food bloggers and I tried to pry the big secret from the PR people. Was it Paula Dean? Rocco DiSpirito? Justin Bieber?
We were kept in suspense until the following day when we were taken to Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s Butter Restaurant. (Or as it was called for the day, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” Restaurant.) She’s the Food Network star of the show Alex’s Day Off.
Chef Alex sat down with us and shared how she felt about cooking with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. She was surprised how well it worked in her recipes with very little fiddling. She said, “It tasted good and worked as advertised. It was an eye opening experience.” Chef Alex told us she used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! in all kinds of cooking including making spreads with herbs, berries or marmalade. (Check out her recipes for Fresh Cranberry Spread and Savory Herb Spread.)
She then explained that since her mom was a cookbook editor (she editing The Cake Bible) she grew up eating the best food available. Even so, her mom always had I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in the refrigerator. “It’s all about the taste,” Chef Alex said.
The main event
After we talked with Alex, we were ushered into the main dining room at Butter to sample some of the spreads at a “toast bar.” (See the picture above.) Not me, unfortunately, since I have to avoid gluten and most grains. Then, along with members of the press, we were welcomed by Christin Cea, Director of Marketing Communications at Unilever and Barry Sands, Senior Brand Manager at I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!
Dr. Douglas Balentine, Director of Nutrition Sciences at Unilever, spoke to the importance of lowering saturated fats. One of the things I like about I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light (the kind I usually buy) is that it only has 1.5 grams of unsaturated fat per serving. Other buttery spreads and even the “natural” ones like Good Earth, are much higher in saturated fats per serving.
Food sensitivity wise, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter has a teeny bit of milk solids. However, other spreads like Good Earth (original) have corn oils in them, so not a good fit for me. Whatever your food sensitivity is, make sure to read the label - even the various types within one brand will have very different ingredients, so check closely.
Kim Cattrall, star of the new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter campaign
Then Kim Cattrall was introduced. She looked fantastic – slim, beautiful, glamorous. Kim’s funny and plays the “sexy cougar mama” persona to the hilt.
As she’s quoted in the official campaign announcement, “Enjoying I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! is kind of like finding a deliciously gorgeous man, and then discovering he's single.That's the spirit that we're playing with in this campaign – we're showing women they can have it all – delicious taste, with fewer calories and less fat than butter.”
She just came back from Argentina filming four commercials - “Naughty & Nice,” “Dish,” “French Toast,” and “Muscle.” We were shown a teaser reel with outtakes from the commercials. As usual, Kim looked gorgeous and was playfully flirtatious with several very handsome younger and older men. The commercials will come out in March, I believe, and will be entertaining and a lot of fun.
Dining at (I Can't Believe It's Not) Butter
We were then treated to a brunch cooked up by Chef Alex and her staff – Unbelievable Biscuits, Crustless Quiche with Goat Cheese and Scallions, Buttery Grilled Shrimp with Tomatoes, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Cookies.
Most of the food bloggers I talked to loved the biscuits and cookies. However, not everyone was crazy about the quiche since they didn’t care for goat cheese. (Are they crazy? I love goat cheese.) Still several thought having crustless quiche in a ramekin was a cool idea.
I only had the shrimp, since I couldn’t eat anything else. (I only found out about the cumin and lemon later, but didn’t have any ill effects from those ingredients.) It was tasty and wished I had more of it. Why no one doubled up the serving after learning I couldn’t eat the rest of the dishes was beyond me.
Here’s the recipe for you to try.
Buttery Grilled Shrimp With Tomatoes
Preparation Time: 10 Minute(s)
Cook Time: 10 Minute(s)
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 3 Tbsp. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® Spread
- 30 colossal or jumbo shrimp (about 3-1/2 lbs.)
- 1-1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, divided
- 1 tsp. freshly ground white pepper, divided
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 6 medium tomatoes, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 2 tsp. honey or agave syrup
- Heat cumin in 8-inch skillet over low heat until warm and slightly toasted, about 1 minute.
- Remove from heat, then stir in I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® Spread until melted; set aside.
- Brush shrimp on both sides with Spread mixture, then season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Grill, turning once, until shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes.
- Toss shrimp with lemon juice and 1/2 of the basil; set aside.
- Arrange tomatoes on serving platter, then sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper, honey and remaining basil leaves. Top with shrimp and their juices.
- Calories 320
- Calories From Fat 80
- Saturated Fat 2g
- Trans Fat 0g
- Total Fat 8g
- Cholesterol 10mg
- Sodium 870mg
- Total Carbohydrates 10g
- Sugars 5g
- Dietary Fiber 2g
- Protein 47g
- Vitamin A 40%
- Vitamin C 40%
- Calcium 15%
- Iron 35%
Weight Watchers POINTS = 7
This Mama’s food sensitivities substitutions
- Use something spicy and smoky instead of the cumin like smoked paprika, chili powder or even coriander. Or you could go Italian and use basil, oregano and parsley.
- Eliminate the pepper and add a bit more of the spicy or smoky ingredients or a bit more basil.
- Use lime instead of lemon. Or if you’re using Italian seasonings, maybe a some dry white wine or even grapefruit juice would work.
- For honey or agave, use stevia instead.
Disclosure: I received an all-expense paid trip to NYC from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!