This is the first shindig I’ve posted on my site! How exciting! I have a couple more in the works so check back because trust me, you aren’t going to want to miss these this year.
So, one side of my family has its roots based in Louisiana, and I grew up on some of the best of my grandmothers recipes – red beans and rice, gumbo and jambalaya. Trust me, those will be in other posts, but for now, I want to introduce you to this amazing get together that has always left its guests asking when the next one is!
The Seafood Boil is a shindig that can be done anytime of the year using whatever seafood is in season. We got lucky this past weekend, our friends Pennie and John brought over many pounds of large, sweet Mexican shrimp! It gave us all the reason to plan a full on seafood boil to use them up!
We did the party at my parents’ house and set up an outdoor rig to boil all the ingredients. We had two huge pots and it still didn’t fit everything. We actually had to remove some finished potatoes at the end to make room for crab legs. But it worked. Don’t you love the red “The BIG Pot”? My mom always complained about not having a big pot to cook in, so one year for Christmas I found one. It’s been used for chicken stock, soup, boiling everything from corn to sausages and now a seafood boil. I love the big pot.
So here’s the deal. You get these giant pots boiling with tons of Cajun seasoning, then add potatoes, onions, lemon and garlic. When the potatoes were almost done, we added the corn and sausage. I have also added artichokes – which are amazing – but they aren’t in season right now.
Anyways, once all that’s just about done we start adding all the seafood in the order of how long it takes to cook. Ultimately everything should come out done at the same time. We got some really interesting additional seafood at our local Asian grocery store – crawfish, prawns, crab legs and even baby octopus.
Once everything is all boiled together in that spicy Cajun seasoning, you scoop it into big colanders to strain then dump it into the middle of the table. Having copious amounts of garlic butter, cocktail sauce, and beer helps for sure! Then just dig in and stuff yourself! How do you go wrong? It’s the perfect family and friend bonding food.
So shifting your attention from the seafood…. I know it’s hard, but I’m going to chat about something important. This past weekend I was in charge of dessert. See, I told you it was important. I wanted something that complimented our Louisiana style but was also traditional. Both Bananas Foster and Bread Pudding are traditional. So why not combine them?
This bread pudding includes caramelized bananas and a dark rum sauce. It’s melt in your mouth amazing. Very Bourbon Street if you ask me. I toasted some French bread, added eggs, milk, vanilla and spices. I caramelized bananas in brown sugar and butter. Um… yum!
The bread pudding was just sweet enough, but not enough to make your teeth fall out and had that creamy rum sauce to pour over the top. I would almost skip the seafood for this bread pudding. Almost. What do you think?
- 1 loaf French bread, cubed into ¾ inch pieces, day old or toasted slightly until dry
- 4 cups (1 quart) milk
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 3 bananas, sliced into ½ inch pieces
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch pan with non-stick spray.
- For the bread pudding, in a large bowl whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla, granulated sugar, and allspice. Add bread cubes and let them soak up the liquid for about 10 minutes.
- In a shallow pan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon, stir until sugar has melted. Lower the heat, then add the bananas sautéing until caramelized, about 5 minutes.
- Add the banana mixture to the bread cube and liquid mixture. Stir gently until the bananas are spread throughout. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until no longer liquid in the center.
- To make the sauce: Melt butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat, add cinnamon and rum, stir.