I have a new video! This is a short and sweet slice of life following a day in the life of two cats, Poco and Yum Yum. Poco is the quiet one, Yum Yum is the camera hog. Shot and edited in New Orleans by Jon Hébert. From the album “Bayou Wild.” Listen to the entire album for free in the “Listen” section!
I made this recipe a few weeks ago and it was a hit with my dairy-free friends. You can make this recipe vegan by substituting a flavorful vegetable stock instead of shrimp stock, sautéing up some tempeh or tofu in place of the shrimp, and using a vegan Worcestershire sauce. Annie’s make a great one.
Serving size: 2-3
- Olive oil
- 1/4 c. chopped onion
- 1 stalk celery
- Chopped garlic (to taste)
- 1 c. shrimp stock (see my recipe)
- 3/4 c. almond milk (or other thick non-dairy milk, rice milk not recommended)
- 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- ½ lemon, juice and zest
- 1 thin lemon slice, cut in half
- 2 tbsp. vegan butter
- 1 tsp. ground thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- Cajun seasoning to taste (Tony Chachere’s or similar)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Yellow grits
- Liquid Smoke
- 1 tbsp. vegan butter
- Cajun seasoning
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and de-veined (remove the tails)
- Cajun seasoning
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Chopped green onions
- French bread
Sauté the onions and celery in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients (except lemon zest and vegan butter) and simmer for :30-45 minutes.
When the sauce reaches a gravy-like consistency, add in the lemon zest and two tbsp. of vegan butter. Mix in the melted butter and turn off the heat.
When the sauce is ready, cook the grits to your liking. I like to add shrimp stock to the grits instead of water, and I add in some Cajun seasoning, vegan butter and a few drops of Liquid Smoke.
Sprinkle the shrimp with Cajun seasoning, then cook on medium-high heat, searing both sides. Cook the shrimp for about two minutes on each side. Make sure you take off the tails when you peel them—one of my pet peeves is having to eat around or remove shrimp tails from my plate, it’s just way to messy.
When everything is ready, plate it up. First the grits, then the sauce, then the shrimp. Be sure each person gets a piece of the thin lemon slice, it is tasty! Top with a handful of green onions and serve with French bread.
*I wasn’t able to get a picture of the dish when I made it, so the picture you see is the closest I could find to how it will look. Remember to take the tails off of your shrimp!
Ooh, ca c’est bon!
While I am slowly finishing up the next album, I thought I’d share some of my Cajun recipes. First let’s get down to the basics: Shrimp stock.
Shrimp stock is one of the easiest Cajun foods you can possibly make. There is no set recipe, every one comes out different, and you can freeze it forever.
Here’s how I make mine.
I buy fresh shrimp regularly from the Crescent City Farmer’s Market. After peeling the shrimp, I rinse the heads and tails under cold water then put them in a large plastic bag in the freezer. I save the shells from every batch in this bag until I have shells from about 3 lbs. of shrimp.
In another bag I freeze scraps from onions, green onions, celery, bell peppers and mushrooms (save the stems).
When it’s stock time, put the scraps and shells into a big pot, fill it to the top with water, bring to a boil then simmer for an hour. Add a few crushed garlic cloves and half-a squeezed lemon with rind. Make sure you can see the stock boiling a little, and add a more water if it goes down too much.
My typical pot has shells from 3lbs. of shrimp and scraps from two or three of each veggie, plus a handful of mushroom stems. Try adding in an orange, more lemon, some lemongrass or bay leaves.
After an hour, turn off the heat and let cool. (**It is important to let the stock cool almost completely, or else the steam will pop open the freezer bags in the next step.) Strain well into another big pot or bowl with a fine mesh strainer, discarding the used shells and veggies.
Next measure the stock into freezer bags. I use bags in a few sizes. I put three cups into a quart size. Then I put one cup into a smaller snack size. This size is really easy to use and makes a great gift for neighbors.
Fill the bags in the sink in case of any spills. Push as much air out of the bags as you can, then double check for leaks. Layer the bags in a large tray, in case of leaks, then put the tray in the freezer.
I use shrimp stock anywhere a Cajun recipe calls for water or other types of stock—ratatouille, courtboullion, gumbo, rice, shrimp and corn soup—and I also used it in black beans, grits, seafood tom ka gai, and anywhere else I can imagine.
A note on shrimp stock and seafood gumbo
If I am making a seafood gumbo, I make 3/4 of a pot of stock, and instead of freezing it I use it immediately in the gumbo. It gives the gumbo that rich flavor everyone loves.
Ooh, ca c’est bon!
A big thanks to Offbeat Magazine for their great review of Bayou Wild in their January 2018 issue:
“Bayou Wild moves effortlessly through a plethora of genres. No matter if it’s the Americana sounds of “Windy River” (which features Hebert on mandolin), the horn laden “Landmark Hotel,” or the Louisiana roots-rock of “Henriette Delille,” Hebert is clearly comfortable working in different musical landscapes.” OFFBEAT MAGAZINE, 2018
I am proud to announce the official release of “Bayou Wild” wherever fine music is sold (iTunes, Amazon, Google, CD Baby, etc.).
This project was two years in the making and features some of my favorite musicians from New Orleans. I produced the album, and recorded it at Word of Mouth Studios in Algiers, the Music Shed uptown, and I did some of the tracks in my home studio. Making this album was a learning process, as I bounced from studio to studio, hired musicians, set up photo shoots and packaged the CD. I couldn’t have done this without a great team of studio engineers and musicians lending their talent, and friends and family supporting me through the whole process.
I will be playing around town at songwriter nights, and I am now working on the next album, tentatively titled “Livin’ It Right.” It will be heavily influenced by New Orleans, with a few songs influenced by recent trips to Nicaragua and Mexico.
I hope you enjoy listening to Bayou Wild as much as I enjoyed making it.