Our Colorado weather is back up to its “normal” antics once again, which only means it is anything but normal for anyone who is unfamiliar with our crazy, unpredictable weather. Sunday, the weather was almost perfect shorts weather. We tied the record high from 1934 with 74* F weather. It was warm and sunny with beautiful blue skies. Then … BOOM! Overnight, literally, we had a 50+ temperature drop, and it has been snowing pretty much non-stop ever since. I am looking out my office window at the moment, and we have about 6 inches of snow. Today’s high is only supposed to be in the low 20’s at best, with our low tonight at or around ZERO. BURRRRR!
This cold front that has hit us means that whatever I will be cooking needs to be something warm and comforting, and definitely will need to be cooked inside, preferably from the oven. NO GRILLING TODAY! Even if I wanted to grill something up, I couldn’t since our grill is buried in snow. It doesn’t help that Larry forgot to put the grill cover on either.
The snow started yesterday morning, around 10 ish, and only stopped for a short bit before resuming. It is still coming down a bit right now, but not so much. As long as I am not driving in it, it is beautiful. But I did have to drive in it early this morning. This is what my car looked like when I pulled into the garage.
My assistant, Nicodemus, was telling me how bad the weather was from her point of view. She says this is perfect weather for cuddles, and mommy is to busy right now, not giving her nearly enough cuddles.
Yesterday it was a good soupy kind of day. I had shrimp down, and I was just about to start making something completely different with the shrimp, when Larry said he wanted soup instead. One of the best lessons I ever learned from my many, many years in the restaurant business is flexibility and being able to think on the spot. Anything can AND will change in the blink of an eye. So …. I made a delicious shrimp, corn and tomato bisque instead. That and some leftover stromboli made for a perfect winter meal. A Stromboli Eruption A bisque is something between a brothy soup and a thick, chunky chowder. It just hit the spot.
With the weather being so frightful outside, I had no intentions of going out, for any reason. So I was going to have to make something from what I already had on stock. Fortunately, my kitchen is always well stocked with just about everything, so this is not really a difficult thing to do. I went upstairs to my library, and “checked out” a good Cajun/Creole recipe for a shrimp, tomato and corn bisque. This is how most Cajuns, Creoles and people from the South cook anyway … What do I have? What can I make?
Shrimp, Tomato Corn Bisque
Start with a blonde roux, which is just butter and flour. I used 6 TBSP butter that I melted in a hot skillet, and added 1/2 cup of flour to it. Stir constantly until all the flour is absorbed into the butter, and it forms a paste. To make a darker roux, continue to cook until you get the color and flavor you like. The darker the roux, the more nutty the flavor will be. For this recipe, I wanted a blonde roux.
1 cup onion, diced fine
1 TBSP garlic
1 small bag frozen okra, optional
2 cups of mixed peppers diced – red, yellow, orange or green bell pepper – I used red and yellow
2 cups frozen corn
2 tomatoes, diced
2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
1-1 /2 tsp cayenne pepper or depending on your taste
6 cups chicken broth (3 cans)
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp each dried thyme and marjoram
green onions, sliced for topping
parsley, chopped for topping
Cook the roux in a hot skillet. In a separate soup pot, start cooking the onions, corn, okra and garlic, in either olive oil or butter. When the onions are translucent, add the roux to the vegetables and mix together thoroughly. Then add the chicken broth and seasonings, and mix again. I also added the rest of my salsa rouge to kick up the flavors a bit more. Puerca o Cerda con Salsa Rouge
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shrimp, tomatoes, milk and cream and mix everything together well. Continue to cook at a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes, again, stirring frequently and cook until the shrimp is completely cooked.
It is ready to serve when the shrimp are completely cooked and are pink. Top with green onions and parsley if you desire, and ladle it up. I gar-ron-tee, you are going like it a lot!