Lent 101 {Shrimp Piccata}

Lent 101 {Shrimp Piccata}

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Happy lent everyone!
I know lent is a few weeks in, but I haven’t had much time to post lately! So, today I have decided to share with you the beginning of my lenten journey, which includes: seafood, prayer, chardonnay, and more seafood. Growing up Catholic, lent has always been such a special time for me. My parents always took the time to cook special seafood dishes for us on Friday nights. Or, if we were really lucky, they’d take us out to eat at City Cafe’ in Plaquemine where we would eat all the fried catfish until we were stuffed. Or, we’d get shrimp poboys from Fat Daddy’s. Then, we’d go to Video Visions, pick up a VHS movie, and go home and relax. Ahh the good ol’ days in Plaquemine.
In all honesty, I appreciate lent for the beautiful sense of self renewal that it brings. Lent is a tradition among Christians of many denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. It is a time of prayer, penance, repentance of sins, and almsgiving. I’m aware that some of my readers may not follow the Christian faith, however I’m still excited to talk about lent because I feel that it can be celebrated by anyone of any spiritual background. I feel that no matter who you are, lent can be a time for all of us to renew ourselves inside and out! I love to spend this time of year working on prayer, being more kind to others, and giving more of myself to those in need. I think the world would be a better place if we all practiced these simple principles.
With all that being said, lent is also my favorite time of year because: SEAFOOD!  Of course, we all know that meat is forbidden on Fridays during lent. So, being the resilient people we are, us Cajuns decided to improvise and prepare seafood in any delicious way possible in order to abide by this rule. What a sacrifice!
Seafood is my favorite thing. in. the world. Boiled crawfish, broiled fish, and especially shrimp cooked ANY WAY POSSIBLE are what make my heart happy. Restaurants in the area are constantly competing against each other to create innovative dishes during lent. For example, I recently went to Walk On’s and they had a shrimp and spinach flatbread on their special lenten menu. Shucks, Dupuy’s, Black’s, The Riverfront, Richard’s and Cajun Claws are all local seafood restaurants in Abbeville, and I love to see the crowds gather there on Friday evenings! Every restaurant is locally owned and they all offer good service, fun atmosphere, and most importantly, raw oysters and perfectly cooked seafood.
While lent is a fun time to go out to eat on Friday nights, it is totally fun to go home after work, get comfortable, crank up some jazz music, pour your own wine, and cook yourself a delicious lenten treat, right in your own kitchen!
I know it’s no surprise that I love pasta. My whole family loves pasta. It’s a Percle pre-requisite. So, naturally, one of my favorite dishes to cook during lent is Shrimp Piccata over linguine.
This dish is so good, y’all. Piccata is a dish that involves all the good things in life, such as, white wine, lemon, garlic, and most importantly, capers. I LOVE capers!! I think you all will love this one because it is light, satisfying, and perfect for a cozy Friday night at home.
So, take off your shoes, put on your stretchy pants, and pour your wine. I’m about to take you with me to carb heaven!!
Here we go!
Wine pairing: La Crema Chardonnay (MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE WINE EVER MADE!!!) (sorry for the excitement there but I really really REALLY love that one)
Music Pairing: Smooth Jazz music
Ingredients:

linguine

1 tablespoon butter

Guidry’s seasoning mix

4 cloves garlic
1 pack sliced mushrooms (I used baby portobella mushrooms)
1/4 dry white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons capers
parmesan cheese
Better than Bouillon, chicken flavor (can be found in a small jar, near chicken stock. If you can’t find, chicken stock will work)
whole milk
linguine
1 lb shrimp marinated in Johnny Jambalaya’s Herb Dressing and Marinade
Instructions:
Cook pasta al dente. Drain pasta, but reserve about 1 cup of the starchy water you cooked the pasta in. set aside. coat pasta in JJ dressing, just enough to prevent from sticking. stir well. set aside
in a sauce pan, heat about 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is warm, add butter. Once butter is melted, sauté your produce (I used Guidry’s. such a quick, easy way to add flavor to every meal!) season with salt, pepper, and dried parsley flakes. sauté until translucent. add mushrooms, stirring to combine, about 4 minutes. add garlic. stir for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup white wine. Take sip of white wine. Stir to combine. add juice of half a lemon.  and 1 teaspoon of better than bouillon (could also use chicken stock. A friend recommended I use better than bouillon and I love it. I used the chicken flavored one) stir to combine. toss in capers. If your sauce looks like it needs more liquid, add some starchy cooking water that you boiled the pasta in, or throw in some more wine. Again, take sip (or gulp) of wine.
Add a splash of cream to the pan. I had whole milk on hand and it worked fine. half and half or heavy cream would also work, just add a little bit at a time and stir, cooking sauce until your desired level of thickness. add a few generous shakes of parmesan cheese. Again, if your sauce looks thicker than you’d like, be creative! Add a splash of wine, lemon juice, or starchy cooking water. Make this pasta your own.
add shrimp and cook until pink and no longer translucent.
Add in cooked linguine, a little at a time, folding your pasta into your sauce with tongs until you’ve reached desired level of sauciness.
top with more parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of dried parsley flakes.
Take bite. Sip chardonnay. Revel at the beautiful matrimony of pasta and chardonnay. Ahhh, it’s a match made in heaven.
Aren’t Fridays during lent such a sacrifice?
By the way, Jesus drank wine!
Happy lent.
xoxo Cajun Queen
The Little Big Cup

The Little Big Cup

Hi friends!! I hope everyone is doing well. I have been doing great. I must say, things have been crazy around my house. My family has faced some challenges, and combined with work, kids, Mardi Gras celebration and family, I have been super busy. However, things have been exciting as I have purchased a MacBook for myself to blog, AND my sweet, talented husband has built me a BEAUTIFUL desk to work on! We are waiting to have it distressed by a local artist, and after that I will post pictures. If you ever need a custom piece of furniture built, please contact me! My husband can make pretty much anything. He built the desk after I showed him a picture of a desk I wanted at Pottery Barn. Let’s just say, his version is much more budget friendly and looks even better (in my opinion).

Anyway…I am so excited about today’s post. In addition to sharing recipes with all of you, I want to share places I visit throughout our beautiful state! One of my Dad’s favorite things to do was travel throughout Louisiana, searching for “local treasures”. Any person, business, or place that offers an authentic Louisiana feel-good atmosphere can qualify as a local treasure! As a hospice marketer, I spend a lot of time on the road, and I have the privilege of encountering these places often. Our state is so full of hidden gems.
One spot I have been dying to try is the Little Big Cup in Arnaudville, LA. About 30 minutes from Lafayette, The Little Big Cup is a fairly new restaurant in Acadiana that has recently gotten nothing but rave reviews. My brother Jonathan, his wife Blair, and their sweet baby Olivia came to meet us. It was the perfect spot, as it was about half way for us coming from Abbeville, as well as halfway for them coming from Baton Rouge. And let me tell you, the drive was BEAUTIFUL! We passed through the charming town of Grand Coteau, and we were able to see the Academy of the Sacred Heart. What a beautiful school! So rich with tradition, this school is truly special. I really enjoyed riding by and was astonished to find they offer an equestrian program there! Education is, by far, what I value most in life. So, seeing the Academy was a treat.
The drive from Sacred Heart to the restaurant was scenic. Wide open spaces, blue skies, green fields, and beautiful weather made for a beautiful drive. On the way to the restaurant, we stopped at an incredible art gallery full of local art. Oyster shell paintings, rain sticks made of cypress, as well as books and other gorgeous tributes to our culture made for a truly special experience.
Once we arrived at the Little Big Cup, we instantly felt at home. The restaurant is beautiful, and the smiles that greeted us were warm. We sat at the bar and waited on our family to arrive. We were soon welcomed by our server, known as “Cricket”, who was so sweet! We ordered some mimosas and chatted with her. She was so sweet and she was all about serving us. Spacious and kid friendly, this was a great place for us to enjoy some adult beverages with 1 year old daughter, Shelby.
Once our family arrived, we were presented with menus. We were also given the option to help ourselves to the Boucherie Brunch Buffet. Naturally, all of us eagerly made our way to the buffet!
Y’all. OMG. This buffet. I LITERALLY CAN’T EVEN!! There were cracklins, pork and sausage jambalaya, boudin, pork stew, stuffed pork roast, pork and beans, and bacon, to name a few. Basically, if there is a part of the pig, it was on the buffet, in addition to some lagniappe like corn maque choux, bread pudding, and all the other brunch essentials like biscuits, scrambled eggs, grits, biscuits with white gravy, and hash browns. Oh, and the kicker: the buffet was only $14.99! So reasonable and delicious.
All four of us fixed big, heaping plates of boucherie goodness. We enjoyed bites of jambalaya, biscuits, gravy, cracklins, boudin, and washed it down with mimosas. Lawd Jesus it was brunch heaven! Everything was cooked and seasoned perfectly.
When we were done eating, we went outside and relaxed on the deck, which overlooked the water, and made for a beautiful afternoon. We had more drinks, talked, and hung out for hours. Our sweet server, Cricket, checked on us all day and told us we were welcome to stay there as long as we liked. We sipped on cocktails, watched the girls play, felt the breeze, and listened to New Orleans jazz for hours. It felt like we were sitting on our own back porch, watching the day go by.
 It was so nice to find a place where we could meet halfway, eat a delicious meal, and enjoy each others’ company for as long as we wanted. We ended up staying there until about 5:00, and they were setting up for dinner which consisted of surf and turf as well as boiled crawfish! If we weren’t dealing with a tired, cranky 1 year old, I promise you we would have stayed for supper!
Having followed The Little Big Cup on Facebook for the last year or so, I had been dying to go there, and I must say it surpassed all my expectations! This local treasure really offered great food, great people, and great music. Mix that with the people you love most, and you are sure to find some soul in yo bowl!