Friday, March 23, 2012


One of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans has long been Mr. B's Bistro. It's owned by one of the famous Brennan family members & is well known for it's wonderful creole creations.
 Mr. B's Bistro, New Orleans, LA

My favorite dish there has always been the BBQ shrimp.    If you're not familiar with BBQ shrimp, the name is misleading.  There is nothing "BBQ" about it.   It's basically jumbo shrimp sauteed in a wonderful, creamy "gravy" type sauce filled with delicious creole seasonings.   The headless shrimp are cooked in their jackets & you eat this dish with your hands.   Not only are the shrimp delish, but the BEST part of the dish is "sopping" the sauce with wonderful, crispy french bread!   As we say down here, C'est si bon!

Mr. B's actually shares some of it's famous recipes on it's website.  I finally got around to cooking it at home.  I was NOT disappointed!


I'd like to share this wonderful, easy to make recipe.   It literally takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish & the BEST part about it is NO FORKS REQUIRED!!  Just make sure to load up on paper towels!  The shrimp are served with the jackets on, sitting in the sauce.

New Orleans Barbequed Shrimp

Don’t break out your grill for this dish. Here in New Orleans, barbecued shrimp means sautéed shrimp in Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce. We serve these shrimp with heads and tails on, so you need to dig in to enjoy. I highly recommend a bib.
We are famous for our barbecued shrimp, and with reason. The biggest trick to making this taste like ours is to not hold back on the butter. The three sticks called for are enough to scare you into cholesterol shock, but are key to the flavor and consistency of the sauce. Another tip to keep in mind: to emulsify the sauce, be sure to add a little butter at a time while stirring rapidly. And don’t overcook the shrimp or they’ll become tough and hard to peel.

  • 16 jumbo shrimp (12 per pound, about 1 1/2 pounds), with heads and unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • French bread as accompaniment
In a large skillet combine shrimp, Worcestershire, lemon juice, black peppers, Creole seasoning, and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute on each side. Reduce heat to moderate and stir in butter, a few cubes at a time, stirring constantly and adding more only when butter is melted. Remove skillet from heat. Place shrimp in a bowl and pour sauce over top. Serve with French bread for dipping.
Yield: 4 appetizers or 2 entrees
First, find some fresh jumbo shrimp.   I'm blessed to live in south Louisiana where fresh, gulf shrimp is easy to find.  One of the places that makes me the happiest, is a Baton Rouge landmark called Tony's Seafood.  Tony's is a one-stop shop for all things seafood.  A family owned business since 1959, it not only carries every type of the freshest, local seafood, but it also has a wonderful deli.  
It sells seafood from "LIVE" to "FRIED"!   It was my first stop.  

I bought 4 lbs of fresh gulf JUMBO shrimp.  Not because I need 4 lbs for this recipe, but because I NEVER leave Tony's without a little extra for later!  (Hint:  Many times the XL shrimp are almost as large as the Jumbo & usually around $2 per pound cheaper.   I usually mix it 1/2 XL & 1/2 Jumbo, unless there is a significant difference in size.)  

Then I gathered the rest of the ingredients together.   

IF you have a black iron skillet, this is a GREAT way to cook this recipe.   I doubled the recipe so I used 2 skillets.  It cooks the shrimp more evenly if they each can sit on the bottom of the skillet.

Let me forewarn you, this is a dish that would make Paula Deen proud!  It's loaded with REAL butter.    Make sure to use unsalted & don't skimp on this part.   The butter is what gives this dish such a rich flavor.   Read the instructions on adding the butter slowly in the recipe. 

Also, be careful NOT to overcook the shrimp.  It only takes about 1 minute to cook.  Flip over as soon as they "pink up".   Here is a picture of what they will look like.  I've flipped 1/2 the pan.  

Left side not flipped yet.  Right side flipped over.

The result is this wonderfully delightful creole dish. 

Last nite, we enjoyed breaking bread with our middle son, Garrett & his friend Ian.   We shared great food, lively conversation & some fresh french bread from Wayne's Bakery, another local treasure.  

Cut each slice of bread at an angle on one end to stand in each bowl!  It stars soaking up the sauce & makes a beautiful presentation.

Enjoy this dish with some great beer.  We paired it with one of our favorite local brews, Abita Amber.    

This is my sweet hubby, Gary, enjoying his dinner!

 C'est si bon!!

Take good care,

Hello Sunshine!

I've decided lately that I must suffer from the syndrome where you get depressed if you don't have enough light.  Guess I could never live in Seattle or any other rainy climate. It's been a gloomy/rainy few weeks down here in South Louisiana but today the SUN IS SHINING!!  Boy, how we appreciate the beautiful weather after not having it for a while. I guess that's a metaphor for life as a whole.  We take so much for granted until we no longer have it.

This is a picture from my front door this morning.  My sweet puppy, Lucy, is enjoying the sunshine too!  She's lying in the grass, sunning herself.    Maybe our four-legged souls suffer from the same maladies as their 2 legged friends.    

I sure am thankful for the sunshine.   Thanks be to GOD for providing such a beautiful place for us to live & WELCOME SPRING!!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Easy Like Sunday Morning.

One of my favorite things to do ALONE, besides going to the movies, is to stay overnight at a nice hotel.  I don't mean when I'm working & crashing at a Holiday Inn Express, but a leisure trip at a beautiful place.  I don't know why, but it just feels like a luxury to me.  Maybe it's because I raised 3 kids and had 20 years of not having one hot minute to myself without some little boy's fingers wiggling under the bathroom door whilst I was trying to get a quick soak in the tub; OR, maybe it's because I can stretch out in a king size bed by myself and keep the television on all night (2 things that my husband has a tiny issue with at home).  

Either way, this weekend I needed to go to New Orleans to watch my son, Garrett, run a 1/2 marathon.  Gary was on call all weekend, so it was all about me (and Garrett of course).  So I'm gonna skip over the part where I got a speeding ticket whilst driving over the Causeway & go straight to the good stuff.   My go-to hotel in the Big Easy is Le Pavillon.  

Le Pavillon on Poydras.  Here's the website:  Le Pavillon

It is a New Orleans landmark.  It was built in 1903 and is chock-full of crystal chandeliers, antiques, and other beautiful treasures that throw you back into the Gilded Age.  

From the moment I first stepped into the beautiful lobby years ago, it's been my favorite place to stay.  It has a quiet elegance & sweet spirit about it.  It just "feels right".   I've stayed at lots of places in New Orleans over the years, from the Ritz to some of the smaller boutique hotels, but the road always leads me back to Le Pavillon.    One of the unique traditions at Le Pavillon is the homemade peanut butter & jelly sandwiches that are served down in the lobby from 10-12 PM every night.  Everyone lines up, sometimes in their pj's, & gets a midnight snack!    The rooftop pool is beautiful too!  

At any rate, I had a wonderful weekend with my son & enjoyed some "me time". 

Garrett & his friend, Maggie, both ran a 1/2 marathon that wound through downtown New Orleans and ended up at City Park.   It was a BEAUTIFUL day, in a beautiful city.     I was so proud of Garrett.  He beat his best time!      There were 32,000 runners in this marathon.  It was a sight to see.     I WISH I would be the type to actually RUN the marathon, but alas, it was all I could do to hustle my sista-bootay over to the 8 mile mark across town & get there in time to cheer Garrett on.    A 13 mile run would LITERALLY be my death.    But I'm grateful that Garrett has incorporated his love for running into his lifestyle.   (Thanks to his high school cross-country coaches, Sharon Kline & John Allen Phares.  You both truly made a difference in his life & instilled great life-long habits!)

Garrett in red bandana at mile 8!  (Maggie in purple shirt)

So, no sooner did I cheer them on at 8 miles, when I had to hustle back across town to catch the shuttle to City Park for the finish (geesh..the things us moms do for our kids--no matter the age)!    I haven't missed any of Garrett's runs since 8th grade & I don't intend to start now!   Plus, just the fact that he runs 13 miles ON PURPOSE is enough motivation for me to do 2 things I HATE:  get up at the butt-crack of dawn & run/walk very fast to get places on time.    I wish I had a runner's body.  I truly do. It's inspiring to see all of these runners; but, like I've told my friends, if you EVER see me running, please CALL 9-1-1!!  SOMEBODY is chasing my a**!!      

That being said, the next best thing is cheering on my son.   After the race, Garrett's friend, Ian, introduced us to a new WONDERFUL place to have brunch.  The Ruby Slipper Cafe' is known for it's delish brunch offerings & yummy mimosas!! (Which I can personally vouch for!)

The Ruby Slipper Cafe

Ian is finishing up his master's degree and hoping to get into med school this fall & lives in NO.     Having a local helps you find those wonderful little hidden treasures tucked all around New Orleans.  On Cortez, near City Park, it's certainly not somewhere you'd just be "passing" by.  It's definitely a destination location.  Apparently there is always a wait.  It's a very small place.   You have to sign yourself in on a clipboard hanging on the front door and approximately an hour later, they'll call your name.   My advice, get yourself a bloody Mary or 1 (or 2) of their famous mimosas & have yourself a seat outside.   Believe me, it's worth the wait!     

My son, Garrett in blue, and Ian in red.. on our 2nd  double mimosa lol. 

Everything I saw looked great & it was a tough decision.  Ultimately, I had the shrimp & grits with a fluffy buttermilk biscuit on the side.   It was TO DIE FOR.   Being a native Louisiana girl, I've had my fair share of both shrimp & grits, and the tasty sauce in this dish had a wonderful, spicy flavor that was a perfect combination.    I can't wait to go back!

Shrimp & Grits from The Ruby Slipper Cafe', Cortez Street, New Orleans, LA
After the brunch, we all decided to grab a nap before meeting again for dinner.   Ian & Garrett dropped me off at my castle (aka: Le Pavillon) and went home to Ian's place in the artsy part of town on Magazine Street.  We would later meet up at The Rum House on Magazine for a great dinner filled with great conversation & lots of laughs.

One other treat I LOVE to give to myself is room service &  breakfast in bed.  I work VERY hard every why not?  Although Le Pavillon serves one of New Orleans' best breakfasts downstairs in The Crystal Room, (if you ever find yourself here, make sure to get the Bananas Foster Waffles at the Crystal Room...they will make you want to "slap yo momma"!) I chose to stay in & order their sure-to-please, authentic french toast breakfast.    It's made with REAL french bread, and is so light, yet crispy.  Strawberries on the side with a diet coke and I was in breakfast heaven.    The fact that I ate in the bed WITH my pj's on didn't hurt either.   lol

Well as all fairy tales inevitably do, this one too had to come to an end.   After all, it's Monday morning again & soon enough an e-mail from a client snaps me back into reality.   Reluctantly, I stuffed my junk back into my suitcase and rolled back into the REAL world.   I managed to cram a good 8 hours of work into today & will be back at it again tomorrow..... until next time I can sneak off into another self-created fairy tale filled with king sized beds, delicious food, great company & hopefully finishing with breakfast in bed.   It may take a while before the opportunity presents itself again, but I trust it will.   Until then, I'll try to confine myself to MY half of the bed tonight & turn off the television at a decent hour so my sweet hubby can get his SNORE on.     Oh well, if EVERY day was a fairy tale, we wouldn't appreciate them when they actually happened.  

Take good care,