Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012 Blogger Get Together III

Larry not only wants us to leave Almost Heaven South with a full belly, new friendships forged but also with more knowledge than we had when we arrived.

Now I have to tell you this and this is the honest truth.  Larry makes THE BEST MARGARITA I HAVE EVER TASTED! 

It didn't take much arm twisting to talk Larry into teaching us his secret.  Now I'm going to share his special recipe with you.  

This is Larry's Margarita Mix of choice.  You can't find it at your local grocers but you can buy it at Mayson's website in a liter bottle. 

He showed us his little drink mix helper.

This is Larry's tequila of choice.  He explained that finding a tequila that had 100% agave was the key.

To get that just "right" blend he added two cans of Sprite.  He doesn't like diet Sprite, seriously if you're going to have a few, do you really believe the word "diet" is applicable?  Just sayin'...

Another important key is using just a dash or two of powdered egg white.  Not real egg white, "powdered" because it gives the Margarita a little frothiness and the powdered egg white has a little, tiny bit of sweetness.   Pour the liquid in the blender, add the powdered egg white, give the blender a quick pulse, salt and  ice those glasses kids and you're ready to rock-n-roll!

After we wrapped our fingers around another Margarita our heads around all of that knowledge, our kind instructor took us on a boat ride at dusk.

Even his vicious attack friendly pooch, Sweetie, joined us.

Bev and Coco.


Time to head in, we were out of Margaritas.

So another East Tennessee Blogger Get Together for the books boys and girls.  This leaves the really big question, what do we cook next year?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Boiled Crawfish and Shrimp - 2012 Blogger Get Together Part 2 of 3

The crawfish have been dropped in their Jacuzzi, you can't even believe how good it smells!

With the flame going and the water boiling, it almost sounds like a jet taking off.

The turquoise color the of fire is so pretty.

These two are helping A.J.load the vegetables in the basket so he can drop them in the water.  After this, they will be on the jet ski the remainder of the day.

Okay, this is a secret...Chris brought a truckload of props and is setting up to take some really gorgeous pictures.  I'm sure you've seen them by now on his blog.

This is how men cook, just sayin'.

The smell of crawfish boiling always draws them in!

Dave, Alexis and Chris

Our host, Larry, welcoming everyone and then we remembered the many brave souls who have given their life for our country.

Looks like everyone is ready!

You definitely need to fill up your glass before sitting down to a bountiful helping of boiled Cajun seafood!

Kaitlin gets credit for this food porn shot.  I was so busy showing everyone how to suck heads and pinch tails, I didn't get a chance to take a picture.

Stayed tuned because tomorrow I'll show you that we did have class...Mixology class!


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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Real Cajun Boiled Crawfish & Shrimp - 2012 Blogger Get Togerther Part 1 of 3

Sunday was our 3rd annual Blogger Get Together on beautiful Lake Tellico.  Larry and Bev from Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings were gracious enough to host this event again.  They always have a beautiful set up for all of us.  This event was the perfect way to kick-off summer!

My husband, A.J. was the chef this year and he completely "Wow-ed" us all with his boiled crawfish and shrimp.  So c'mon I'll take you around so you can see what was happening Sunday on the Lake.

These are the live mud bugs getting all clean and spiffed up so we can pinch their little tails off and eat 'em.

Only real rednecks Cajuns need a paddle to keep their vittles from trying to get away.

Our youngest homegirl, Kaitlin, was in charge of not letting them get away.

Looks like she caught another escapee!

A.J. has the water just about ready, so the live crawfish are moved to the basket.  After we squeezed about a dozen lemons into the seasoned water.  We put the lemons in with the live crawfish.  You can never have too much flavor.

He used one jar of crab boil to season the water, plus the lemons.

Chris from Nibble Me This and Dave from My Year on the Grill, cut up all the veggies.  The onions celery and garlic, add flavor to the water and they also soak up some of the seasoning and are delicious to eat.  We always keep these events balanced and healthy with fresh veggies!

We also included #1 red creamer potatoes, put everything in the basket.  We are just about ready to drop these in the boil.

There's chef A.J. now.  Looks like he's doing a quality check.

Here's Dave from My Year on the Grill.  Is he telling us about the big crawfish that almost got him?

On the left is Dave from Big Daddy Dave, in the middle is Penny from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen and on the right is Laurie, Big Daddy Dave's wife.

Dave from My Year on the Grill, Sam from My Carolina Kitchen and Sam's BIL, Stuart...everyone is keeping an eye on that crazy Cajun!

Chris from Nibble Me This, he's happy because the prep work is done!

Larry from Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings, he needs to cheer up!

Stay tuned for the final product, our educational program and a boat ride at dusk!

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Lobster Pasta with Bacon and Shrimp

So Saturday morning, I'm cleaning house, minding my own business and I see Giada DiLaurantis' show and her theme is "Surf-n-Turf".  No biggie, as I Windex my end tables as she prepares this amazing pasta dish.  As she's cooking, I'm thinking, "WOW, I can do this SOOOOOOOOOO much better."  Because I am not a cocky person, really, I'm not but I do have an imagination. 

So what are you waiting for?  Let's rattle those pots and pans; because yes, darlin', you work very hard and are so worthy to spend a couple of extra bucks on yourself and your special someone and make this pasta dish right now!
Lines up these special helpers:
3 tablespoons Zatarain's Pro Boil or Old Bay Crab Boil or Emeril's Essence
Two 4-ounce lobster tails
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (about 2 1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup Lobster stock from your boil
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper and Kosher salt
1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Add crab boil to a large pot of water and bring a boil.

Add the lobster tails and cook until they turn pink and to curl, about 7 minutes.

 Using tongs, remove the lobster tails and set aside until cool enough to handle, VERY IMPORTANT - reserve water.

Remove 3/4 cup stock and set aside.


In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until brown and crispy, about 10 minutes.

Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.  While bacon is cooking, bring the reserved pot of water used for the lobster tails to a boil and a d the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, 10 minutes. Drain and reserve.

In the same skillet, add the garlic and saute for  about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes (and juices), reserved seafood stock and simmer for about 3 minutes.

Add cream, basil, 2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Using kitchen or poultry scissors or a heavy knife, cut along the underside of the lobster tails and remove the meat.

Chop the meat into 3/4-inch chunks. Set aside.

Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through and pink, about 3 minutes.

Add the lobster, fresh basil and bacon. Simmer until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add cooked pasta and toss to thoroughly coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper

Ok, tell me you love me.

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