Cooking for the kids

April 15, 2013

I’m  back in Nashvegas, having responded to an SOS from Child B upon learning that her husband was afflicted with strep. And since I have a couple of appointments up this way next week, and since I have some favorite Civil War sites I haven’t visited in a few years, Lucy and I are hanging here until then.

I’ve been cooking, but — no photos. Because, well, I haven’t taken any. Not sure why. It just hasn’t been on my priority list. But we’ve had some fine meals.

I got here Friday, after a six-hour drive and a stop off in Marion to see Child A. Also had previously made a stop at one of the culinary treasures of Eastern Arkansas, the Big Bayou Market in Bald Knob. (Yes, that’s the name of the town. Shut up.)

Big Bayou Market is owned  by the same folks who own Who Dat’s Cajun eatery in the same town. They hail from Louisiana, and they travel back and forth about three times a week to buy fresh seafood for their two restaurants (they have another one in Searcy, down the road) and the market, where they also do a few quick carryout-style meals. But, oh, the seafood!

The pickings are whatever’s fresh and in season. This trip, they had shrimp, oysters, catfish, live crawfish, cooked crawfish, picked out crawfish tail meat (which I suspect I shall buy on the way back, having crawfish pies and etouffee on my mind). They had crab legs, and all the trimmings for breading or boiling seafood, and seasonings, and boudin and andouille sausage, and spices and….

You get the idea.

I figured I’d pick us up some shrimp and some shrimp boil, stop by the grocery when I got here and get corn and potatoes, and we’d have us a shrimp boil. Which we did. And it was excellent, and I used the leftover shrimp (time was when a pound per person was a generally safe estimate, but seems that Child B and I have both slacked off on how much we’ll pig out on shrimps, and Son-in-Law 1 was sick, after all.

But these shrimps, y’all. Sweet Baby Jesus. These were merely “large” shrimps, 11-20s, which meant they were, cooked, two big bites or three small ones apiece. They were fresh-frozen, on the boat, less than a week earlier. And they were $12.95 a pound. I swear. Twelve dollars and ninety-five cents. The mediums, 21-30s, were $10.95. The jumbos — which were the size of a small lobster tail — were $14.95.

I don’t believe you can go down there yourownself and buy ’em much cheaper, not to mention gas and time and wear and tear on your rear end.

Being that Child B’s kitchen is, ummm, not overly well equipped and stocked, I picked up a jar of Who Dat’s Cajun seasoning mix, which is lots easier then buying a selection of spices.

That stuff? It’s the seasoning equivalent of crack. I used it to sprinkle on the cooked potatos and corn, after I slathered them in butter, and added enough extra I could get a taste on each peeled shrimp before I devoured him. My next trick, with the OTHER jar I bought and stashed in my bag, will be to use it on a Boston butt I have in the freezer. I think if I do that, and then mop it with some Cajun marinade I have in the fridge, it’ll be pretty excellent.

We ate probably a little more than half the shrimp, and the next night, I repurposed for shrimp and grits. Grits were cheese grits, with smoked gouda, which is my cheese-of-choice for cheese grits. I cobbled together the sauce with a roux seasoned handily with the aforementioned Cajun spice, and added chicken broth and cream. Worked. Nicely.

In between, I cooked up a pot of red beans and rice, Child B’s very favorite food in the world, with that marvelous andouille from Big Bayou, along with some ham and some chicken. The Who Dat’s seasoning served as a respectable sub for the usual collection of spices I use.

So to make up for throwing Son-in-law 1 off the mostly-vegan wagon, tonight I made a marvelous salad. Which I will tell you about later this week. Along with whatever else I can come up with to cook and write about.

I could get into this unemployment and cooking/nannying for grandbabies for a while. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em ought to try it some time.



One Response to “Cooking for the kids”

  1. cleavelin Says:

    I could get into this unemployment and cooking/nannying for grandbabies for a while.

    Sadly, early retirement is not an option? 🙂

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