Bam! Cajun Dinner with Friends

As has become our custom, every few weeks we have an amazing dinner with our friends Alex and Sonja (their blog) at which one of us makes a delicious meal. We've done fish with mango salsa, sushi galore, crab cakes and italian, and, last night, cajun. The meal started with fried popcorn shrimp with basil mayonnaise (fresh basil from our garden!), but unfortunately, it was supposed to be crawfish, but not a single grocery in our area sells crawfish (Kroger, Marsh, Fresh Market, Kincaid's Meats), but the shrimp were a yummy replacement. For the entree we had blackened chicken breasts with tons of spices, maque choux (an amazing corn dish over rice, see below), green breans with bacon and almonds, and, for dessert, bananas foster. Almost all of these dishes were ones we had never before prepared, and they turned out great. Coupled with some good white wine and wonderful conversation (and crazy fun in a smokin' kitchen), the night was a blast. Below are the recipes we used. Hopefully we will have pics soon courtesy of Alex (who took like 100 pics of the prep and meal :). Oh, and just to show off, since Lynne had to work today, I took care of all the clean up after church. It only took me about 2.5 hours :), we used a lot of dishes!

Popcorn shrimp with basil mayonnaise:
1. Whisk together 2 eggs, 1 cup dry white wine, and set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup fine cornmeal (we ended up using about 1 cup since the batter is way too thin without upping it), 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives (from our garden!), 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (from our garden), 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (but you can add more if you like them hot). Gradually wisk in the egg/wine mixture from step #1, blanding well. Let stand at room temperature.
3. To make the mayonnaise, combine 1 egg yolk, 2 tsp dijon mustard, and 1 tblspoon white wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 cup vegetable oil, beating vigorously with a whisk. When it's thick and smooth, stir in 1/2 cup of fresh chopped basic (from our garden).
4. Coat the shrimp in the abatter and fry in small batches at 375 deg.F. We used our awesome deep fryer. The should turn golden brown and then remove and let them drain.

Blackened Chicken Breasts:
1. Take three large chicken breasts, and slice them in half horizontally to make thin cutlets (feel free to make them pretty thin, possibly three slices per breast, and while trimming the chicken use the little nuggets, too).
2. Melt 5 tablespoons of butter, but don't let it burn.
3. Combine the following in a bowl: 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 2 tsp. onion powder, 2 tsp. paprika, 1.5 tsp salt, 1.5 tsp black pepper, .25 tsp cumin, 1 tsp thyme.
4. Brush the chicken with the melted butter then sprinkle on the spice mixture. Do this to both sides of each piece.
5. Heat a large frying pan on high heat so that a drop of water sprinkled on the surface sizzles. Do not put any oil or fat in the frying pan!
6. Unplug your smoke detectors, because your kitchen is going to get smokey!! (and you may caugh some as these herbs and spices cook up).
7. Cook the chicken, about 2.5 minutes per side until they blacken. Serve them hot!

Maque Choux:
1. Cook up 6 ears of corn. Cut of all the corn from the cobs, and make sure to get as much as possible as it will make the dish more creamy.
2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat.
3. Add the corn, 1 cup chopped yellow onion, 1 chopped green bell pepper, 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno (no seeds), 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp oregano, and 1 tsp thyme. Cookd and stir until soft (12 minutes?).
4. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and cooke for 2 more minutes.
5. At this point, we went off recipe to make it thicker and Lynne added milk and flour bit by bit to make the choux thicker while keeping it creamy. We prefer it to be more solid over rice, while the original recipe would have yielded more of a soup consistency.
6. Serve over long-grain white rice.

Bananas Foster:
1. Mix 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg in a bowl.
2. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and a frying pan and add the sugar/spice mixture.
3. Add 5 tblspoons of dark rum and 4 tablespoons of banana liqueur to the grying pan and stir over heat until the sauce is syrupy.
4. Add the 4 firm bananas, sliced lengthwise, and heat through, turning the suace over the bananas with a spoon to coat them.
5. Light the pan on fire! When the flames die down, put banana on each plate with french vanilla ice cream. Pour extra sauce over them, and serve IMMEDIATELY!



Alex said...

Thanks for posting this! I can't wait to make the maque choux - it's all I can think about eating lately :) Your food was AMAZING -- really the perfect meal! Alex and I keep re-living it through his pictures...he took more like 300 than 100! We'll get them to you as soon as we can :)
Thanks again for the recipes and the great night!

Alex said...

Oops, that comment was from me (Sonja)!