Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chillin' like a Villain

San Francisco and Clearlake are just a week away! I'll be posting every day during my travels, hopefully. For now I've got something else to write about. I finally got my jeep fixed, there was a problem with the engine idle air control motor that was causing the thing to stall out and drive poorly for the last year at least. Other, lesser mechanics were unable to figure it out. Finally I took it to Ashland and Lawrence in Chicago and they sorted it out. They also replaced the ball joints, a tie rod end, did the breaks, replaced rotors in front, an exhaust gasket, an O2 sensor, crank sensor, and some other stuff... well fine... it works now, that's all I care about.


Jeep, originally uploaded by zuctronic.

On Monday night I drove my newly functioning jeep home under cover of ominous clouds and decided to make some shrimp etouffee. Isabelle had thoughtfully (or hungrily?) chopped all the vegetables and peeled the shrimp, setting aside the shells for stock. All I had to do was cook it up. I started with the shrimp stock by putting a dash of olive oil in a pan and heating it up, then adding the shrimp shells and toasting them until they had all turned red. To that, I added the typical stock aromatic veggies and spices (celery, onions, bay leaves, black pepper corns, li'l salt, li'l thyme, oregano, parsley, tarragon) brought it to a boil, took it down to a simmer for 30 minutes and there we go.


While that's going on, I put a stick of butter in another pan and heated it up to just before it starts turning brown. Then I added some flour and stirred for 15 minutes or so until I had a light roux. Then I added celery, onions, and bell peppers to the roux and cooked that a little before adding a ton of garlic and then cooked until everything wilted a little, after that I added some chopped tomatoes.

Etouffee Etouffee

Cook that for a little bit and add some cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, cayenne, and a couple bay leaves before adding in the shrimp stock and then Bring that cauldron to a boil and then down to a simmer for a couple hours and it will turn into etouffee!

Etouffee Etouffee

Serve that over white rice and everyone's happy! While I was cooking in the kitchen with the window open, those ominous clouds exploded into a serious storm. Apparently there were more lightning strikes in that storm than we normally get in 6 months. The city activated its tornado sirens which was amazing and scary... Through it all, I cooked on!

On Tuesday I drove around the park to survey the damage.

Storm Damage Storm Damage Storm Damage

- Andy

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