Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bending the Rules, Loving the Results (and Crawfish Po' Boys)

It's so easy to assume that a food lover should follow all the rules: wielding a knife like a Culinary Institute graduate, perfecting sublime desserts, using the fanciest gear and gadgets and the freshest local ingredients.  Rather, I would argue, we all aspire to that, but everyday cooking is an adventure best tackled with zest and a willingness to fail miserably (and pick up takeout or make a PB&J when the situation demands it).

One of tonight's dinner guests prior to walking the plank

To wit, I submit tonight's dinner: crawfish po'boys in January.  Crawfish are neither in season nor easy to find, but one's cravings do not always align with practicality.  So, tonight we picked up three pounds of whole, seasoned, frozen (gasp!) crawfish from a local gourmet outpost along with crusty, cheesy (also a broken rule) La Brea bread and a remoulade sauce.  We bent other rules with abandon: the market didn't happen to have shredded lettuce or an appetizing-looking head of iceberg, so we subbed in some lovely spinach leaves already at the house.  Tomatoes aren't at their best right now, so we skipped them.  Home fries would have been delightful on the side, but we were starving, so a bag of sea salted, lower salt Ruffles accompanied us home.

We thawed and steamed (about 5 minutes) the crawfish and peeled them with visions of mid-April crawfish boils dancing in our heads, split and toasted the bread lightly, slathered it with remoulade and arranged the crawfish and greens.  The chips finished out the plate along with a frosty Negra Modelo apiece.  Hey - Abita Purple Haze and all the right touches would have been brilliant, but guess what?  The meal was absolutely fantastic because it satisfied a craving, scratched an itch, came together speedily and met all our (fairly low) expectations.  Isn't that what time in the kitchen is all about?

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