Saturday, August 4, 2012

I Love Inspiration

Shrimp with Remoulade Blanc
In the spring of this year, The Horn Player and I went to a concert that turned out to be more than we actually hoped for.  I posted a little photo journal of the weekend on my other blog, I Sing Joyfullyentitled Mozart, Oak Trees & Dinner.  The whole affair was elegant and yet, in true Louisiana fashion, warm and hospitable. To begin the evening, a cocktail hour abounding with nibbles and nosh's, lots of Champagne and liveried waiters offering more and more and more.  I just love the buzz surrounding a warm-up such as this; a pre-feast, if you will.  It was held under a dining canopy beside a parterre garden with old brick walkways. We strolled around ooohing and aaahing over ideas we could use at home for our own garden. The tables under the canopy were draped in white cloth with little burlap wrapped jars of fresh spring flowers as the centerpiece. I love al fresco dining and this lovely setting beside a grande Louisiana plantation made everything better. The cocktail hour was full of faintly restrained excitement, loud conversation, new friends, old friends, Southern hugs (includes a pat on the back) and cheek kisses.

Indeed, a large part of the action was around the food.  Everything was insanely delicious; a huge fresh salmon filet sliced ever so thinly with grated boiled egg and dill creme, roasted pork tenderloin on bruschetta with a sweet salsa, veggie platters and fruit platters. But the one I loved so much was the spicy boiled shrimp served in endive cups with white remoulade. So good.

I recreated my own version of it recently as a little appetizer for The Horn Player and myself; just to reminisce on the enchanted weekend getaway back in the spring. I used lettuce cups out of necessity. There was no endive in my little town when the urge hit me to make this, plus I added a tiny sliver of yellow bell pepper under the spicy shrimp for added sweetness. 

Two happy bites ~ My-oh-my scrumptious
Remoulade Blanc

1-1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Splash of Worcestershire Sauce
Dribble of Louisiana Gold Hot Sauce
1 stalk of very finely diced celery
2 or 3 thinly sliced green onions
1/2 tablespoon minced capers
1 large or 2 small finely minced garlic cloves
Fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley (to taste)
Ground cayenne pepper (to taste)
Salt to taste (may not require ~ taste first)

Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir to mix well.  Adjust any of these ingredients as you wish. Place in the chill chest for a time, to marry the flavors until time for service. In a pot, suitable for boiling, add water and liquid crab boil (as little or as much as you dare) and bring to a slow boil. Cut a lemon in wedges, squeeze the juice into the pot and drop carefully in. Add de-veined shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes or so. Just until they curl-up and turn pink. Pour off most of the boiling liquid and add lots of ice. Stir and allow the shrimp to cool and soak up a bit more flavor from the crab boil. After 5 minutes or so drain and retrieve the shrimp for the main event. Serve, ideally, in endive cups, but if you don't have that option use the method I employed; lettuce and a bit of yellow bell pepper.

Entrance to our stellar evening ~ White Oak Plantation
An evening with the Baton Rouge Symphony and John Folse cuisine
After the 'pre-feast' we gathered quietly for the concert. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart out on the lawn of a grande old plantation home, performed by the marvelous Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. We sat in neat rows on white chairs under ancient Oaks.  A Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra performance is an opportunity to seize, if you possibly can. We were charmed by the music and the passion of the conductor. He wore his joy for music as if it were a cloak, bright and beautiful. We were also delighted to be introduced to a rising star who was given the dubious honor of standing in for the conductor.  He was simply, awesome.  Such a delightful thing to see. I want to go back next spring for the whole experience. 

Oh, after the concert we drifted across the lawn to the dining hall for a most spectacular dinner, while meeting very interesting new friends. We loved every second, of every minute, that was over in a blink.

Our menu
~ The dessert was beyond awesome ~

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