On Saturday night my whole family was gearing up for a food adventure. We had been invited to our friends house for dinner and not just any dinner. Aaron, our host has a passion and talent for New Orleans food. His dad is from there and has passed down the love of fantastic seafood and the great New Orleans flare in the kitchen. I had heard about Aaron's chicken and dumplings and wanted to get in on the deal. I promised to watch, chop and help in any way. The fact they have a divine kitchen also makes cooking and hanging out a pure delight (a long way from my slap dash apartment kitchen- this is one I one day dream of owning).
I left my family a few hours before we were asked to dinner so I could help out in anyway. When I arrive Aaron had stocks boiling, black beans simmering and a list of recipes to choose from. I couldn't help myself and recommended we cook the lot! ( I also thought I'd be able to have a bit of a play if we did a few extra) Aaron was up for the challenge.
Our chosen menu consisted of a 'Summer crab salad with basil and lime'- a great zesty punch to the meal. Aaron has all the seafood flowing in from New Orleans, the crab was a delectable sweet meat, drenched in a lime vinaigrette and finished with the smoothness of avocado- a fantastic way to begin the meal.
After the salad we had 'Grilled shrimp with black bean cakes and coriander butter sauce' This was a wonderful play with flavor and texture. The bean cakes were soft with a little kick from a jalapeno then tempered with the coriander butter sauce and grilled shrimp, you just can't go wrong!
After licking our lips Aaron then placed a divine, creamy 'Creole corn and Crab bisque' in front of us which was pure heaven. So creamy with a hint of cayenne for an added punch -that was Aaron going out on a limb and very well done I might add.
Just when we thought it was all over we were tantalized with 'Pre cooked shrimp, boiled in New Orleans which are just a luxury on their own and served with mini risotto cakes- I think I sucked on the shell for a good 15 minutes!
Now it wouldn't be complete without a bisque of the tomato variety and that is exactly what Aaron finished with "Herbsaint Shrimp and tomato bisque'- I just loved this, the full body flavor of the shrimp stock coming through. The tomato rounding it off and finished with freshly poached shrimp just before served. I have to say I was in heaven. Aaron and I had high hopes for dessert but I am sad to say we didn't quite make it- however- Aaron didn't disappoint and whipped up 'Bananas Foster' but that needs it's own page.
In case you are wondering if we shared this with all the kids.......I have to tell you they were to busy getting down with Aaron's chicken dumplings (flavored with a ham hock) and marinated drumettes to notice the seafood and I can tell you none of us were giving up our serves!
Thanks for a fantastic evening Aaron and Susan- next time I'll cook for you on your trip to Sydney, and of course Roisin and Phil will be there...right guys?