Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Cajun Dinner

Knowing my fellow librarian Hope B. is a delight. A Louisiana Cajun, she brings the fun loving enthusiasm and spirit of adventure to all that she does.

One of her most interesting adventures was meeting and marrying an Irish guy.
As in Northern Ireland.
Don't ask...it's complicated.
Some day I'm going to write a novel based on the romantic events that lead to their marriage.

I've even come up with a raft of possible titles for this story.

(A Clauddagh for Mardi Gras or A Cajun in Clover are two of my favorite titles right now...)

Anyway, Hope's husband Dominic is quite a guy. That's Dominic as in Doctor Dominic.
He has a Phd in Political Science and in addition to being a college prof, he also seems to manage to be invited on road trips around the globe where he is asked to contribute his brain power to studying some of the world's more ticklish peace problem.

His last trip was to the Middle East. Yeah, they have a bit of a political issue or two going on over in that neck of the woods from what I hear.

Hope and Dominic invited us over a farewell meal last Saturday. She told me that they agonized over the menu for days before realizing that what we would really enjoy most would be what we would no longer be able to get once we left Houston:

Authentic Cajun Cuisine.

Oh yeah baby! Let the good times roll!

Dominic greeted us with flutes of champagne spiked with a kiss of Grand Marnier. Just perfect to sip while Hope gave me a tour of her newly framed art collection. She and Dom travel extensively, and purchase original art or prints during each of their trips.

I loved her taste in art, especially her sentimental collection of Irish art work, and thought that Dom's taste in Egyptian art was fabulous. They also enjoy wine tasting, and have recently framed prints of a California's winery's labels that they got on their last trip to the California wine country.

The bold modern colors of the labels felt like jazz for the eyes, and were in perfect auditory harmony with the soft jazz/blues that Hope had playing in the background.

While Hope and I chatted about the art, Dominic plated our first course: Shrimp Etouffee.
Good heavens.
Why have I never had this classic recipe served on puff pastry before?
It is a fabulous appetizer concept: Skip the bed of rice and use puff pastry instead.

If all political issues are ever resolved and peace breaks out everywhere, I am comforted to know that with this single dish, Dominic could easily start a new career as a chef.

You know what they say: You should always have something to fall back on...

The meal actually had several courses that I missed photographing: Gumbo, Corn bread stuffed chicken, another shrimp dish, the salad above. I should have had either Hope or Dominic write down everything they served. I was so busy enjoying every bite and sipping my favorite wine and listening to the conversation that I forgot to do that.

It is an important detail: When they come visit us some day I will want them to create the meal again and teach me all their culinary secrets.

Salt Lake City needs this.
I need this.
How ever am I going to survive in Utah without Cajun food????

Everyone please bow their head right now!!! and pray with me:

Dear God;

Please let all political matters be permanently resolved and all world conflict end so Dominic can quit being a Phd of Political Science and become an Irish Cajun chef in Salt Lake City Utah instead.


Did you notice the way cool square dishes that Dom served his entries on?
And that he gave me the one with Art Library written in French on it?
Seriously...is this guy a catch or what?
No Cajun/Creole meal should ever end without the flaming dessert known as Bananas Foster being served over vanilla ice cream.
Dom is a pro with a kitchen torch. While Hope had a fit because the recipe called for brown sugar and at the last moment it was discovered that the pantry was bereft of that ingredient, Dom just stirred up a new version of the classic treat.
Tasted good to me...heck, EVERYTHING that was served tasted good to me.
Great food, great wines, and great conversation followed the meal.
I never did hear the end of Dominic's story of how an Irish lad came to be married to a Louisiana girl, but I do mean find out one day.
Hope plans to celebrate her 40th birthday in Ireland in two years.
I plan to be there.
If only to hear the rest of the story.
Thanks for the wonderful evening you two!
(And don't forget you promised to take the rest of our opened and therefore unshippable liquor bottles. We'll call and bring them over just before we leave. I know you'll be glad to help us out. After all, what else are friends for, right?)


Anonymous said...

OMG, Jill!!! I loved the post. Thank you so much. I just read it out loud to Dom. We had so much fun that night.

Dominic says the full menu is as follows:
1. Shrimp etoufee on puff pastry
2. Red beans, sausage, and rice
3. Chicken and sausage gumbo
4. Salad
5. Corn bread dressing stuffed in boneless baked chicken
6. Vegetables and baked cornbread on the side
7. Bananas Foster, well sort of...LOL

All washed down with a French champagne, a California Chardonnay, and a Alexander Valley Cabernet which Dom says was excellent.

By the way, we are having a celebratory drink tonight. I am having Prosecco, and Dom is having red wine. He finished his semester, and I am moving to a new job tomorrow.

We shall miss you greatly. We plan to be in Salt Lake soon to visit you. I cannot wait to tube on the snow!

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Love you.

Anonymous said...

What a cool post and tribute to good friends...and to good Cajun food! My mouth is watering...

Anonymous said...

Hi there! You don't know me but I found your blog after a Google Alert directed me here ("food AND utah" if you wondered). Anyway, I thought I'd give you a bit of encouragement. I moved to SLC one year ago and have since quite enjoyed The Bayou (http://www.bayou4bigfun.com/). Yummy food from my mid-western perspective -- of course it's won a number of awards too. Happy dining!!

Lovella ♥ said...

. . .being invited for dinner is such a treat. We enjoyed Ray's cedar planked sockeye salmon last night. . .
I'm glad you had such a good evening and send off from good friends.

Anonymous said...

Um, how about "Marti go Braugh" for a title...just a thought!