Hi friends! Another author who is going to AAD visiting with us today! Lucky girl. She’s also so adorable. See?
First, I’d like to thank Limecello for having me on her blog and to thank the readers stopping in to say Hi by offering the chance to win a free ecopy of Red’s Wolf. Just leave a comment at the end of this guest post!
I’ve never been to New Orleans so when I heard Authors After Dark 2012 would be there, I did a little happy dance and made sure to register as soon as possible. I already wanted to attend Authors After Dark because I made such a connection with readers, existing and new, at last year’s convention.
But, when the convention activities are at a lull and people are out on author field trips or exploring the city, they might spot me sampling the city’s cuisine. Because if there’s one thing I love to explore about any place, it’s the food!
Beignets, gumbo and etouffee are on my list to try in New Orleans. I’ve given it my best go at the recipes I’ve found and been fairly happy with them, but there’s nothing like tasting them the way they’re supposed to be made.
Readers of the Terra’s Guardians series might be familiar with my love for food. Mackenzie of Heart’s Sentinel makes real hot chocolate from scratch and tends to cook when she’s nervous. Carri of Red’s Wolf truly enjoys a properly cooked steak, but her real favorite is chocolate cake.
Here’s a snippet from Red’s Wolf in case you’d like to see what I mean:
“Thank you.” She accepted the slice, partly wrapped in a napkin, and immediately took a bite of the moist, chocolaty heaven. Sweet perfection exploded across her palette. Carri half-closed her eyes in bliss, enjoying the velvety richness of the cake and smooth, intense icing. “Oh, whoever baked this should win an award.” Jason shook his head, catching her attention. Blushing, she mumbled around a mouthful of cake. “What?”
“It amazes me how much you can enjoy a bite of food.” His voice had its usual gruff tone, but his eyes warmed with a twinkle she hadn’t noticed before.
“Good food deserves to be appreciated properly.” She stood straighter. “This is a work of art. Chocolate is a wonderful thing.”
He frowned, his expression doubtful. “It’s a slice of cake.”
“It’s chocolate cake, very moist, and with really good icing.” She corrected him, holding out the slice.
“Here, try some.”
“Maybe a taste.” He gave in, but he didn’t take a bite from the slice she held. Instead, he separated the space between them, taking his taste from her lips.
Obviously, my slipping out to taste the wonders of New Orleans will be important research. After all, there will be more books to come in both my Terra’s Guardians and Triton Experiment series. Gotta have some wonderful things for my characters to enjoy.
To tide us all over until we can get to AAD New Orleans, I figured I’d share my recipe for crab and shrimp etouffee.
Shrimp and Crab Étouffée , adapted from THE PÊCHE
1.5 pounds raw shrimp, peeled
approx 1 cup crab meat
2 tsp & 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or a little more)
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/4 c. finely chopped celery
1/4 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
3 c. chicken broth (low sodium)
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
1 c. finely chopped scallions
Cooked white rice, for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add two teaspons of salt (Kosher? Yes, it’s different from table salt or sea salt) to the water and then add in the shrimp. Boil for approximately 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Rinse with cool water, drain and set aside along with drained crab meat.
Make the Étouffée:
Combine the remaining two teaspoons of salt, cayenne, black pepper, basil, and thyme in a little bowl. Set aside.
Put a large, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat.
Add the oil. Just as it starts smoking, add in the flour evenly across the oil and whisk vigorously for a minute or so.
Turn heat down to medium low and brown the roux for approximately 30 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until it’s looking like dark chocolate.
Add the onion and cook until soft, approx 5 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat and add in the bell pepper and celery along with one tablespoon of the spice mixture. Stir until combined.
In a different saucepan, heat chicken broth to boiling. Once it’s boiling, get the roux mixture back on medium heat and slowly whisk in the broth until combined, about two minutes. Move the pan off the heat.
In another saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 5 Tbs butter. Add in the shrimp, crab meat and scallions. Stir. Cook for a minute and then add in the remaining spice mixture. Stir and then add it all into the roux, stirring until mostly combined. Add in the remaining Tbsp butter and stir until shiny and glossy.
Serve the étouffée in a shallow bowl and top with rice. Maybe garnish with more chopped scallions. Enjoy.
Oh my gosh – after all that I’m so hungry! What about you! Like mentions of food in books? Have a favorite example? What’s a “signature” food you’ve never had but want to try, and where? (E.g. gelato in Italy, a Philly cheesesteak in Philly, deep dish pizza from Chicago.) Or do you have a recipe to share? You know I love recipes! One lucky commenter is going to win a copy of Red’s Wolf from Ms. Schnyder! (Contest rules here.)