Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Po Boy"? Oh No Boy!

McAlister's Deli on Urbanspoon One of the things I enjoy about McAlister's Deli, and many other places, is their frequent buyers program. Each time your purchase a tea or a meal they punch a card. Once you have 9 punches per card you get a free tea or free meal depending in card. Today I redeemed a fully punched card for each a tea and a meal and enjoyed a totally free lunch!!

McAlister's is currently highlighting shrimp specials which are headlined by a new shrimp Po Boy style sandwich.  Using my free lunch cards, I decided to try a Cajun Shrimp Po Boy and a side of pasta salad.  This sandwich features a bunch of buttered & peppered shrimp coated with a chipotle mayonnaise and paired with tomato slices, lettuce, and coleslaw on top of crispy French bread.  I'll preface my next comments by saying I enjoyed the flavors of both the sandwich and the pasta salad.

The Cajun Shrimp Po Boy I was served today

Now, part of my ethnic ancestry includes strong Cajun connections with southern Louisiana.  While I'm definitely NOT a Po Boy expert, I've had a fair number of them over the years.  The protein on a traditional Cajun Po Boy is almost always fried: fried shrimp, fried claims, fried oysters, fried chicken, and even fried alligator.  This was my first shrimp Po Boy that was not fried.  Additionally, I've never had a Po Boy with coleslaw.  While it added a different, and somewhat positive, texture it is just not part of what I consider Po Boy.  Finally, the Cajun spice or heat has always been part of the spices incorporated into the batter for frying the protein.  Although a good Po Boy will need mayonnaise or mustard for moisture purposes, the use of the chipotle mayonnaise as the source of the spice/heat was just not what I was anticipating.

As noted in the preface above, the sandwich was a good sandwich and I'm sure I'll have another one at some point.  However, this sandwich is NOT anything that I can in good conscience call a Po Boy.  I'd encourage you to try one and let me know your thoughts!

And remember, happy eating is only a journey away!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl of Chili

Tonight's the annual Super Bowl football championship game between the Ravens and the 49ers.  Regardless of who wins, one thing is certain: LOTS of people will be gathering together tonight for parties to "watch the game" and will be feasting on LOTS of wonderful foods.  One of the foods that is often prepared for a night like this is chili.

Chili comes in lots of different forms.  Many will argue whether or not it should have beans (or any kind) or even tomatoes.  Chili can also come in a variety of "color"s based upon the stock of the liquid: red (most common), green, or white.  Many Americans from various regions will argue to their death that something is NOT chili unless it is prepared THEIR way.  Regardless of how you like it, it will be served and eaten in large quantities tonight.  In fact, as I type this posting I've got a crock pot simmering with my version (another debate crock pot vs. stove top pan).  To explore more on the history and variations of chili visit the Wikipedia page for chili con carne (with meat).

Here's my recipe for tonight.  If you have a variation or a completely different recipe feel free to share in the comments section.
  1. In a large crock pot combine:
    1. 15 oz can of red kidney beans (drained)
    2. 15 oz can of pinto beans (drained)
    3. 15 oz can of black beans (drained)
    4. two 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
    5. two 12 oz cans of Rotel tomatoes & chilies mix
    6. mix and set on low heat
  2. In a skillet brown 2 lbs of lean ground turkey (or beef if you prefer) and add:
    1. 2 packets of favorite chili seasoning mix (I'm using French's brand today)
    2. chili powder (to your taste)
    3. black pepper (to your taste)
    4. and, in honor of my Louisiana family/blood-line, Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning (to your taste)
    5. strain grease (if desired)
  3. Add browned turkey (or beef) into crock pot and stir together
  4. If being served "soon" leave on low heat or if being served "later" reduce to warm and allow time to simmer.
  5. Additional options (which I most often use):
    1. one bottle of Shiner Boch beer (typically added a while after the meet)
    2. half of a standard size Hershey's Chocolate bar broken into pieces (just adds another dimension of flavor)
  6. Serve (I like it over Frito's corn chips with a handful of shredded cheddar cheese and a dollap of sour cream)

Remember, post your favorite recipe or suggested variations in the comments section.

Until next time, remember happy eating is only an adventure away.