National Shrimp Day!

“Shellfish? No, she’s actually a very giving person.”

eat at Toe's

An old fave; Garlic Shrimp

Not to be confused with National Shrimp Scampi Day which was April 29th, today is National Shrimp Day!! Shriiiiimmmmppp!!! Tiny prawns of joy! The best prelude in a steakhouse experience. We love us some shrimp, in a big way. Every Christmas Aunty Lucy (aka Zia Lucia, Aunty Goosey, Aunty Alibi) would have a bowl of perfect shrimp cocktail out that my sister Carole and I would destroy. Shrimp tails would be in our hair (my mullet was good for something) cocktail napkins and in the sofa cushions. Cocktail sauce on the ceiling, it was a frenzy for two or more. As we got older, and our own jobs, we used to pad the amount of shrimp cocktail to a sickening degree. We would consume so many crustaceans that eating the actual dinner became challenging. This would be bad as Aunty Goosey would think we didn’t like something if we didn’t consume copious amounts. You don’t make an Italian aunt think you don’t like her food, it’s wrong. I am fairly confident that it’s in the Bible.

Karma Lounge LA's Popcorn Shrimp (click thru to site)

Karma Lounge LA’s Popcorn Shrimp (click thru to site)

Americans consume shrimp more than any other seafood, including salmon. Shrimp makes a salad a meal, a bloody mary a party and an allergist a practice. Shellfish is in the top eight food allergans. Shrimp can start a holiday meal and be equally dazzling as a romantic entree over pasta. In most guises shrimp is frequently found in the company of our very good friend, garlic. Shrimp grills, sautes, poaches, roasts and blackens. Shrimp is spicy, shrimp is sweet shrimp is versatile. Shrimp is a fantastic comedic device.

DIO! Producer Michael Vinton’s favorite buzz word is Shrimp. He’ll freely use it as an exclamation, declaration, nickname or adjective. “Shrimmmmp!!” “That’s shrimptastic…” “Hey Shrimp (anyone) I’ll need you on set by 9 am.” He freely poaches any kind of shrimp derivative to make conversation catchy (of the day).

Shriiimmmp

Producer producing hysteria

Some would say crazy, others might say genius. He will say, “Shrimp”. The source of his addiction has been traced to a classic “Golden Girls” episode. As with all masterpieces, “Golden Girls” needs to be studied to enjoy the layers and layers of comedic brilliance. This particular episode involves a dwarf, the Girls and a dinner party. Comedy ensues here.

Happy National Shrimp Day!! Go get a pound or two of some nice size nibblet, toss with our DCS! (Dish! Creole Seasoning) and sautee up in some butter/oil. Remember that shrimp don’t take long to prepare, or devour. Shrrriiiiimmmmmmmppppp!!!

DCS

(Dish It Out! Creole Seasoning)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teasoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

3/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

 

Aye, That’s The Rub…….

Season One will draw to a close featuring a dish very close to my heart; Jambalaya! All that know me know that I spent some quality time working with a

Sunie

His wife let’s him rule the roost, the rest’s hers

Master Chef, Sunil Malhotra of Creative Cooking in Westbrook CT aka Yankee Key West. I was his man servant. Actually I was his barman. The food was Cajun and Creole. It made the people’s heads turn and their feet too. Great food. We shared a slew of laughs, beers and GREAT FOOD. There was some debate that people came more to see me than eat his cooking.

Spats: Sunie, you know that the people only come here to see me. 

Sunil: Spats, people don’t come here to laugh with you. They come here for a plate of bad food in saucy-sauce!!

Granted this debate was mostly in my head. “Bad” as in “you just might lick your plate”. And “saucy” doesn’t begin to time with Sunil. People flocked to eat Sunil’s delicious cooking. This all went down at The Temple Of The Unusual. Sunil strung out the CT Shoreline 25 years ago with an intoxicating little spice rub on his cajun chicken grinder. My repartee told new diners that heroin was a key ingredient in the cajun season ing that made people come back again and again. I used it until some freak in New Jersey started doing that for real. I was learning to edit myself at the time, good times. Creative Cooking’s cajun chicken grinder is one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever have in your life time. I dare you.

The Creative Cooking Cajun Seasoning is one of the most closely guarded recipe known to man. It’s a safe assumption that the only one knowing it besides Chef is his amazing wife, MB, but that’s not for certain. Sunil flat out won’t share the recipe.  Flat out. It’s cool because getting recipes from people that leave out one or two key ingredients from prized dishes fries my bacon. This secret may go down in ‘Grassy knoll’ genre of mystery. Sunil’s  balance of flavors is beyond me. He also has the right idea, “If they want it they can come down to the restaurant and buy it here.” Saucy sauce or what?

In 25 years of  having my first cajun chicken grinder I’ve dabbled in duplicating the spice rub. Not an easy processes, or inexpensive. I’ve burnt my mouth, nostrils and the kitchen wall. I’ve had red fingers for days. Patience in Process has brought Result. I’ve come to a great seasoning that stands on it’s own. The DIO Creole Seasoning (herein to be known as DCS) made Episode 8’s Jambalaya a Rockstar Dish. It was a key flavor component. We focused on layering flavors in this dish. It starts in our Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, where Guest Sous (identity to be learned on Episode 8) browned some boneless chicken thighs. The chicken was coated in DCS. On to this tasty base went the andouille sausage. Then went in The Holy Trinity. On another burner we had our chicken stock working some magic (watch episode and learn the magic). As more veggies were plied and saucy sauces slathered the layering made sweet music to the nose. Music that moved Guest Sous to………….again, tune in and turn On.

Came hungry did you? Better Life wanted? Look no further, DIO has you covered, with our DCS!!!!! This is a rub to make you go “a dub a dub dub”. It will rub you the right way. Add more jokes here. Go mix some up and make your Pantry ‘pplaude! You’ll be awfully glad you did.

DCS

(Dish It Out! Creole Seasoning)

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teasoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

3/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Dish some out for yourselves! Soooooo goood.

And for those interested in differences between Creole and Cajun cooking, there are many.