(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 3/4/14)
I am a walking Hallmark card. It’s true. I totally embrace their slogan “Life is a Special Occasion”. I’m all for busting out the good china on a Tuesday, or burning those dreamy-smelling candles bought in Paris. Tonight it was all about celebrating a holiday to which I really have no attachment. Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about the holiday in general. It’s so much about total debauchery. While I like debauchery in general, TOTAL debauchery is really another story. I did spend a few days in New Orleans right after Mardi Gras in 2004. I was on a children’s theatre tour, and myself, two others also named Amy, and the sole guy Greg toured the French Quarter one fine Friday night, flashing our boobs, collecting beads, crashing a bachelor party, getting lap dances, and…. oh, hell, well just use your imagination. The following couple of years I worked as a bartender in a Cajun restaurant, and Fat Tuesday was our biggest day of the year. All hands were on deck, many drinks were consumed (staff included), and I didn’t finally get home until daylight. Sounds fun in theory, but in practice…I’ve always been just slightly put off by what is revealed in the harsh light of morning. Enough to keep me from participating in total debauchery more times than not.
Well, anyway, fast forward to 2014 and I felt the itch to have a taste of the Big Easy tonight. My form of debauchery these days is having a few hurricanes on a weeknight and eating a meal that contains an entire stick of butter. I prefer to take all that debauchery and spread it out on a daily basis. Indulge in some fun a little bit every day, instead of all at once a couple of times a month. So, tonight seemed like the perfect night to tap into my inner bartender, craft a few cocktails for me and the hubs, don masks bought across the street at the dollar store, eat some shrimp, and then, well…go to bed. Ha! Yeah, staying up on Tuesday until dawn is not really appealing in any way anymore. And the hurricanes we made at the bar were just rum and fruit punch. Tonight I stepped it up a little:
- 2 oz light rum
- 2 oz dark rum
- 2 oz passion fruit juice
- 1 oz orange juice
- ½ oz fresh lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon simple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon grenadine
- Garnish: orange slice and cherry
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a Hurricane glass filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.
Martha Stewart is my adult muse, so I used one of her recipes to make what was my favorite meal at Oddfellows Rest, the bar where I used to work in Jersey City. BBQ shrimp. I can’t tell you how many times I ate BBQ shrimp over the course of the years I worked there, but I’m sure it added to that chubby chin you see above. Here is her Mr. Jim’s Louisiana Barbecue Shrimp.
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), rinds reserved and sliced
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 11/2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1 pound (about 30) medium to large shrimp, peeled, heads (optional) and tails on
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Baguette, for serving
Heat a 12-inch skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Add butter, and cook until melted and foamy. Add garlic, rosemary, and lemon juice and rinds. Stir in Worcestershire and hot sauces, and bring to a simmer.
Season shrimp with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Cook until pink and firm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with pepper. Serve with baguette.