This is another holiday dish that I will definitely be putting into the year-round rotation.
I first had this dip at a Christmas party 8 years ago, and I searched for the recipe for 5 years before someone pointed out to me that it had been right under my nose – namely in Heart & Soul – the whole time.
While this does take a little while to prep and cook, it is totally worth your time. And not just because it is delicious, but also because each step of the cooking process leaves the house smelling better than the last. Butter, creole seasoning, fresh herbs and seafood? I’m on board.
Two words of caution: Make sure to thaw and rinse your seafood well to get rid of any unnecessary fishiness, and make sure you use 2 teaspoons of creole seasoning and not 2 tablespoons at each of the saute steps. Not that anyone has ever ruined 2 pounds of perfectly good seafood by doing that, but I’d like to prevent it if at all possible…
1 lb crawfish tails
1 lb shrimp, raw and roughly chopped
1.5 sticks of butter (.75 cups)
6 tsp creole seasoning
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tbsp fresh basil (3 dried)
3 tbsp fresh thyme (1.5 dried)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
- Melt half a stick of butter in a large skillet. Add 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add crawfish and saute for 5 minutes. Pour crawfish and butter into a bowl and set aside.
- Melt half a stick of butter in a the skillet, add 2 tsp creole seasoning, and saute shrimp in butter for 3 minutes. Add shrimp to bowl with crawfish.
- Melt the rest of the butter in the skillet with 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add onion, green and red peppers, celery, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.
- Add fresh herbs, tomato paste and flour to veggie mixture in the skillet and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
- Process half of crawfish/shrimp mixture in blender (do not puree).
- Add crawfish/shrimp mixture (both processed and not-processed halves) to skillet and mix thoroughly.
- Stir in green onions and add hot sauce to taste.
- Serve with Thin Garlic Crostinis and get out of the way.
You might think I’m titling these cake balls “crazymaker” because you’ll be made “craaaaazy by how good they are!” or something equally infomercially. You would be wrong. I am titling them this because every time I’ve made them, they’ve made me a few shades more insane.
On the face of it, this recipe is simple. And in reality, I think it once was for me because I remember making literally 7 different varieties of these when I worked at the state capitol. For some reason, though, the last time I made these, my kitchen and Ripley were covered in batter and sadness by the time it was all said and done.
Nonetheless, you dessert folk get seriously neglected here at Nummy, so I’m trying to throw you a sugar bone. If you actually make the cake/icing mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it, the step where you dip the balls in melted chocolate might not make you postal.
1 box cake mix + ingredients to make it
1 container icing
1 bag of chocolate (white, dark, whatever)
- Make the cake according to package directions. Cool and crumble.
- Stir in icing until cake and icing mixture is smooth and creamy. CHILL.
- Melt chocolate in the dreaded double-boiler. (Or ANY OTHER WAY to melt chocolate if you know one.)
- Roll into balls and dip into chocolate. Place on parchment paper to dry and lightly dust with sprinkles.
You know, as I wrote this up, I remembered that it was actually enjoyable to see the finished product of these things, especially with fun flavor combinations like carrot cake and cream cheese frosting with orange sprinkles. Cute as sh*t, no?
When I told Dot that The Chef and I would be making Hollandaise for (the third) “Christmas morning” (in a row), she did not look convinced. And I’ll admit, I had some reservations.
Any time a cookbook directs me to a double-boiler, I have flashbacks of making those damn cake balls that everyone loves that are 100% NOT worth it. Trying to squish cake and icing into balls so you can dip them in rapidly hardening “melted” chocolate does not bring holiday joy; it brings profanity.
Anyway, The Chef directed me through the cheater technique for sauces (i.e. the blender), and I have no idea why anyone would go old school ever again. The consistency came out perfect, and the lemon juice provided just the right amount of acidity to cut through all the glorious buttah.
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
Add egg yolks to blender with salt and lemon juice. Blend.
- Blend on low, slowly adding melted butter. Sloooooowly. That’s the key.
- Serve immediately. Or if you have to wait a few minutes, keep in a warm – but not hot – spot in your kitchen until you’re ready.
I’d bet you can put this on top of anything from ham to cardboard, but we used it on the Honeycomb Breakfast Casserole, and I can verify that goodness first-hand.
We’re officially halfway through December, and we’d be remiss not to deliver some Nog directives right about now.
Some people wait until Christmas to serve up the quality stuff, but I say boo to that. On Christmas, you’re already off work, all the presents have been bought, and you’re pretty much required to eat yourself sick. Why do you need another special treat then?
No, I say we start the nogging now. Because now is the time Christmas is most likely making you her whipping boy with the travel planning, present buying and general insanity of the masses. Sidebar: Have you been to the kids’ toy section at Target lately? Yesterday I got simultaneously boxed out by a redneck looking for LEGOs and almost got run over by a lady in a Hoverround. Merry Freaking Christmas, shoppers!
Anywho, this recipe is from Joy of Cooking, the most classic of all classic cookbooks. It’s simple and delicious. And no, it will not give you salmonella so stop being such a pansy and drink up.
12 eggs (separated)
1 lb confectioner’s sugar
4-8 cups dark rum, brandy, bourbon or rye*
2 quarts whipping cream
- Separate eggs and beat yolks until light in color.
- Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar.
- Add very slowly 2 cups rum (or other liquor).
- Let stand one hour to dispel the “eggy” taste and destroy possibility of salmonella.
- Add, beating constantly, 2-4 cups more of liquor and 2 qts whipping cream.
- Refrigerate 3 hours.
- Beat 8-12 egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into mixture.
- Serve sprinkled with freshly grated nutmeg.
*The Chef suggests half rum/half brandy. 2 boozes=twice the fun!
**12/20/2011 Update: I actually went to the trouble to make this last week, and it got rave – I mean RAVE – reviews. I used all three liquors, and I think that was well worth its minimal trouble. Make twice as much as you think you need.
I love this stuff. It is so easy to make, and wrapped up all pretty it makes a great gift. It is much easier and cheaper to make then buy from Harry and David, Williams-Sonoma, etc. I prefer dark chocolate but feel free to use any kind you like; some people use only white chocolate. Also adding a drop of peppermint extract or oil gives it a nice kick. – ts
chocolate- any kind you like; can be a bar or chips
white chocolate- any kind you like; can be a bar or chips
24 mini candy canes, crushed by hand
- Line the bottom of a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
- Add chocolate to microwave safe bowl and microwave in increments of 30 seconds stirring the chips each time until chocolate has completed melted and mixture is smooth or melt chocolate using double bowl method.
- Spread melted chocolate as evenly as possibly into lined pan, make sure that it is not too thick.
- Place pan into freezer for 20 minutes. Repeat the same melting process with the white chips. While chocolate is still smooth, stir in half of the crushed candy cane mixture. Allow the white chocolate to slightly cool for a minute.
- Remove pan from freezer and spread white chocolate/crushed candy canes mixture on top of the chocolate layer. Spread white chocolate as quickly as possible. Top off with remaining crushed candy cane and gently pat down with the back of a spatula. Return pan to freezer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from freezer and gently lift the whole mixture from the pan with a butter knife. Remove parchment paper and break into pieces. Stores nicely in freezer or up to one week in refrigerator.
So I probably should have posted these recipes last week before Thanksgiving, but I forgot and I wanted to test them out twice to get all kinks out of the way. I was lucky to have two Thanksgivings this year, a “friendsgiving” down in NOLA (which was way better then my family Thanksgiving) and family Thanksgiving. I still never want to eat again. Below is an amazing crawfish stuffing that Chef John’s family has requested a double batch of for next year. Perhaps you can save in your Thanksgiving recipe file for next year or break it out for the December holidays! Chef’s note: make sure to use dry corn bread so it soaks up all the sauce. – ts
Chef John Says: Everyone knows that the best part of Thanksgiving is the stuffing. I usually dedicate about 3/4 of my plate to it. My family always has a traditional stuffing/dressing but this past Sunday we had a pre-Thanksgiving feast at our friend’s house in New Orleans and it was decided that we should make a more NOLA-style dressing. Tanya came across this beauty: Besh’s Crawfish Corn Bread Dressing. Like ALL of Besh’s recipes, this is very easy and delicious.
You can make the corn bread ahead or use leftover corn bread. In fact, the dressing may be prepared a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator until an hour before serving. I used more andouille, hot sausage, and garlic than it calls for… obviously. This recipe makes 8–10 cups, more than enough to stuff a turkey, but at our Thanksgiving we stuff our bird separately and serve dressings like this alongside. Serves 10
4 tablespoons rendered bacon fat (I used a couple tablespoons of butter instead)
¼ pound andouille sausage, diced
¼ pound hot pork sausage meat, removed from casing
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups peeled crawfish tails, chopped (you can usually find a package of frozen tails)
2 green onions, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tablespoons Basic Creole Spices
6 cups crumbled Basic Corn Bread
2 cups Basic Chicken Stock
½ cup heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
- Put the bacon fat, andouille, and pork sausage into a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the pork with the back of a wooden spoon.
- When the pork sausage meat has browned, add the onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the crawfish and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the sausage and crawfish and stir together until well combined. Spoon the dressing into a large heatproof dish.
- At this point, the dressing may be covered and refrigerated (for up to 1 day) until you are ready to bake it. Bake the dressing in a preheated 350° oven until it is piping hot and golden brown, 15–30 minutes.
I thought bacon birthday cake would be appropriate for RipleyPickles’ day of birth. You may want to consider drizzling one of the Chef’s sauces over it as well for extra nummy-ness….
Here is a recipe for Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting, feel free to use your own chocolate cake or cupcake recipe with it. Happy Birthday!! -ts
2 strips bacon, cooked crispy
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
about 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon honey
- Beat the butter and cream cheese for the frosting
- Add the honey, and gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Crumble one of the bacon strips and beat it into the frosting
- Spread frosting on cake or cupcakes. Crumble the remaining bacon strip, and sprinkle on top