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Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Dinner Pary with a VBP

Okay, this is probably all the evidence you'll ever need to prove that I really am a VBP.

In the midst of all of the week’s activities came the birthday of someone who has become very, very dear to my heart.

It was his 29th birthday. He’s from Louisiana.

We had authentic Louisiana Dirty Rice, made with Chicken Gizzards (Swear to God! I figure anything made with ‘gizzards’ has to be ‘authentic’ to Louisiana) and Chicken encrusted with Fried Onion Rings.

I think, however, that it was the Spicy Louisiana Shrimp with Creamy Grits that was the ‘Really Big Hit’. The combination of the taste and texture of the spicy shrimp together with the creamy grits makes this beyond yummy.

Next dinner party is in two weeks. A friend is ‘going home’ to work in a congregation in Long Island.

So, here’s my question: Is there any food that is emblematic of Long Island? I’ve only ever eaten in Diners on LI – my favorite ones being in Baldwin, Plainview, Long Beach and Hempstead – so I’m thinking Meat Loaf, garlic mashed potatoes and canned creamed corn.

My initial research is yielding lots of recipes for Thai food and you know that ain’t right. I have also learned that Long Island resident Billy Joel’s favorite is Veal Picatta and/ or Chicken Marsala. Anyone got a good recipe? Please send it along.

I guess by now it's hopelessly evident: I really am a VBP: Very Boring Priest. I love my family and my church family and friends. I love to cook for them and make them happy. Just doesn't get much more boring - and wonderful - that that, now does it? Before you know it, MadPriest will be writing me off as a lost cause.

These recipes were sent to me by dear friends in Louisiana. Enjoy!

Spicy Louisiana Shrimp and Creamy Grits

A delicious version of shrimp and grits, this one is made with tomatoes, green onions, and mushrooms. Serve over savory creamy grits or your favorite cheese grits or grits cakes.


• 4 slices bacon, diced
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 6 to 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
• 1 1/2 pounds shrimp (prawns work well), peeled and cleaned
• 1/2 cup sliced green onions
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
• 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
• 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning*
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• salt, to taste
• dash ground cayenne pepper or Tabasco, optional


In a large skillet, cook bacon until cooked but not crisp; add garlic and mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms until just tender, adding a little oil or butter if needed; add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add green onions and parsley; continue cooking for about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, Creole seasoning, and a dash of garlic powder. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through and liquid has reduced and slightly thickened. Taste and pepper, salt, and cayenne, to taste.

*Creole Seasoning:

• 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
• 2 tablespoons salt
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon onion powder
• 1 tablespoon black pepper
• 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
• 1 tablespoon dried leaf thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Creamy Grits

These creamy grits are great with shrimp or seared scallops, tender slices of meat, or lamb chops.


• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 can (1 2/3 cups) chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 cup water
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1 cup quick grits


Bring heavy cream, chicken broth, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add butter, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in grits and reduce heat. Cook 15 to 20 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently.

Cajun Dirty Rice


• 3/4 pound chicken gizzards
• 3 1/2 cups hot chicken, beef or vegetable broth
• 2 tablespoons drippings or oil
• 4 tablespoons butter, divided
• 1/2 pound ground pork
• 1/2 cup each chopped onions, celery, green pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• a dash of Tabasco sauce
• 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
• 1/2 pound chicken livers, minced


Simmer the chicken gizzards in broth for 30 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and grind or chop fine. Heat drippings or oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy casserole. Sauté the pork and chopped gizzards over high heat until browned, stirring frequently.

Lower heat, add vegetables and seasonings, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice and reserved broth, quickly bring to a boil, stir once, cover, and lower heat. Simmer 15 minutes.

Saute minced chicken livers in remaining butter for 3 minutes. Toss with the rice, taste for seasoning, and adjust. Cover and put in a low 225° oven for 10 minutes.
Fluff with a fork and serve.

Serves 6 as a main dish


Jon said...

The deliberations have concluded. "That House" has decided who is represented in this artwork. OBVIOUSLY, The Rev. is depicted as the Lady in red - presiding over the sacramental meal. The other characters required a bit more consideration, however. We have come to recognize that our own resident Deacon is shown as the bird (picky, picky!). Miss Lissa is none other than the polite little mouse at the right hand of our host. I am, without doubt, the odd and unidentifiable character at the end of the table. Our Ms. Conroy is the cat hiding under the table, who claims to be annoyed at all of the ensuing merriment (though we know her taunts are only skin deep...).

Thus it is decreed.

David Austin Allen said...

Lizbeth, please don't open a can of creamed corn. Make it from scratch

Elizabeth Kaeton said...


Actually, you were the Lady in red and I was the cat under the table where I kept the extra food should guests invited for dessert come just a tad early - and hungry.

What a grand party it was.


Not to worry. If creamed corn it is, then made from scratch it will be. I've finally decided to simply ask the guest of honor for some sample menues.

Bill said...

Elizabeth Kaeton said...
Actually, you were the Lady in red"

Ok, that got a laugh. Very Good Indeed, Elizabeth.

Maureen said...

This native NYer can recommend swordfish, halibut, fluke/flounder, potatoes and wine as genuine Long Island products. I leave the recipes up to you!

Unfortunately, development has nearly ruined the fishermen's industry on the island but we can imagine. But you can still meet the boats from time to time.