Category Archives: Food

Backyard, Food

Crawfish boils – more than just the crawdads

The joy of a crawfish boil is┬ánot just in the cooking & eating of crawfish. It’s the entirety of the affair: Friends, family & neighbors coming together to socialize around food. It’s an event, not just a meal.

And what an event. Prep time starts days ahead of the first batch of crawfish being ready. Boudin’s been made ahead of time. Regular visits to my favorite seafood counter have been happening for a few weeks, made to learn how the season is shaping up, what have the bugs looked like, is the supply good, how are the prices?┬áCustom crawfish tables have been made; the final step in their construction being the 36-hour curing of the clear epoxy surface under which are photos of boils past.

Now it’s the final turn and the focus turns to the food. The crawfish are already ordered, but like a boil is more than just the meal, what sits in that boiling water is more than just crawfish. There are so many other pieces of food in there, all of which work a wondrous, spicy magic to create that amazing flavor. I’m cooking three sacks ( approximately 100 pounds ) of crawfish in three boils. The list below gets divided into three equal parts of deliciousness:

Dry Spices

2 sacks swamp fire spice mix
2 jars paprika
2 8oz jars cayenne
9 bags coriander / peppercorn sacks
1 jar of curry
24 bay leaves

Liquid spice

1 flagon liquid boil
1 gallon white vinegar

Veggies & Extras

27 lemons
12 yellow onions
9 bell peppers
3 bunches of celery
3 bags new potatoes ( 2 to 2.5lbs each )
36 chopped ears fozen corn
30 heads of garlic
3 trays of mushrooms
3 packages little smokies
1 pineapple, cored, sliced thick & each slice quartered, leave the skin on

You drooling yet? I know I am. How does that list look to you? Anything you would add or change?


Tortilla soup tacos

It started with this tweet:

Yumm, right? Alrighty, I have an idea for dinner. My thinking is this: You’re pretty much making the soup, minus the wet parts. Chicken, vegetables, spices, just no broth. I used Ree Drummond’s recipe as a guideline, because it’s just damn tasty.

I used a pack of thin-sliced chicken breasts from HEB ( HEB rules! ), 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, 1 red onion.

Mix chili powder and cumin in equal parts, add half a part of garlic powder. Use half to two-thirds of this on the chicken. Cook in a hot skillet with olive oil just till the chicken’s done. Shred or chop the chicken once it’s almost done.

Chop the bell peppers and onion. Mix in a pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Add a couple of spoonfuls of crushed garlic and the remaining spice mix. Stir over medium heat, cooking till the onions are translucent.

Pour the vegetables into the chicken. Mix together, adding 1 drained can of Ro-tel ( or your favorite HEB / generic variety ). Add half a can of drained black beans. Salt & Pepper to taste.

Cook another 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat. Turn off the heat while you prepare your tortillas.

Scoop into tortillas.

Add chopped cilantro, avocado and a little lime juice.


Drink, Food

Laid in the Shade

Blue Bell Ice Cream’s Homemade in the Shade is a treat, for those who’ve never had it. It’s simply homemade vanilla ice cream and a fudge swirl. It also makes a great frozen drink with a little bit of effort.

  • Place 4, 5, oh hell, make it 6 scoops of the ice cream into a blender.
  • Add a cup, at the most, of milk and a handful of ice.
  • Blend till it’s a pretty even mix of yumminess.
  • Now add a couple of shots (each) of whisky, rum, and cognac.
  • Blend, adding extra ice cream or ice as needed.

That’s it! Enjoy.


Crawfish recipe

With my crawfish boil coming up, I thought I would share the recipe I use. Try not to drool too much.

This list is per sack (Each sack of live crawfish is 30-36 pounds in size.)

  • 1 sack of swamp fire mix
  • 1 jar of paprika (5-10 oz is good)
  • 8 oz cannister of cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz. chinese red pepper or other “heat”
  • 3 bags of zatarains corriander and peppercorn sacks
  • 1/4 o 1/3 flaggon of liquid boil (preferably cajun land brand)
  • 3-4 heaping tablespoons of good curry powder
  • 6-8 bay leaves
  • 8-10 lemons cut in halves
  • 4 yellow onions halved or whole if small
  • 3 bell pepper cut in quarters (put these in last of the veggies as they will impart flavor no matter what, but they’ll disintegrate if you put them in with the garlic and potatoes)
  • 1 bag of new potatoes (approx. 2 lbs.)
  • 1 package frozen corn (cut half-cobs)
  • 10 heads of garlic
  • 1 plastic tray of mushrooms
  • 1 package little smokies
  • 5 stalks of celery cut into 3-inch chunks

Fill pot half-full with water.
Bring to boil.

Add potatoes and garlic to basket.
Lower basket into boiling water.

Boil for 6-7 minutes.
Remove from basket, set aside.
Add purged & rinsed crawfish to basket.
Lower into hot water and return to a low boil. Don’t over-boil your crawfish.
Christen with a beer. (*failure to do this will create havoc the likes of which even God hasn’t seen)

Two or three minutes following the dousing of the crawfish, add the celery, onions, bell pepper in and return the potatoes and garlic to the basket.

Bring back to a boil and cook for five minutes.
At the five minute mark, add your dry and liquid spices (I find hitting it with the liquid stuff brings the rolling boil down a bit, you can turn the fire lower)

Turn off the fire.
Stir well.
Add the lemons, squeezing a bit of juice as you go. (note: sometimes we add an orange or two, its nice and gives another level of flavor)
Add the corn, sausages, mushrooms, a few good scoops of ice (to bring down the temp).

Stir, let sit 15 minutes, taste, repeat 15 minutes.

If not ready, let it sit another 5 minutes.

Clear the table, dump, enjoy.

Crawfish, ready to eat