They say there are blessings from Hurricane Katrina and Mary Foreman found hers standing over a stove. The former lawyer took to penning a blog after losing her career after Katrina slammed the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Her “Deep South Dish” website focused on old-fashioned Southern cooking, based on “memories of the emotional connection with my mother and grandmother,” she writes in the introduction of her latest cookbook, also titled “Deep South Dish” (Quail Ridge Press). “It was as they were in the kitchen with me” Foreman says of her ancestors.
Her website drew readers and later cookbooks, proving that Katrina indeed blow in a blessing.
“It was the winds of a hurricane that literally blew the Deep South Dish blog into existence, and as the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens. Through loss there is often found purpose and redemption. I knew I had found my calling in sharing my memories and my recipes at Deep South Dish.”
The following is a great example of Foreman’s recipes. We pulled the recipe from her blog but in the book it’s titled “Mama’s Shrimp and Fettucine.” On the recipe is Foreman’s mother’s handwriting, which reads, “This dish will make them scream for more.”
Mama’s Shrimp and Fettuccine
From “Deep South Dish”
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 30 min |
Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
1 pound of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound of fettuccine or linguine noodles, prepared al dente, according to package directions
2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
1/2 cup of diced tasso, ham, andouille or other smoked sausage
4 green onions, sliced
1 (14 ounce) can of artichokes, drained and quartered
1 (2 ounce) jar of pimentos, drained
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of big flake Creole seasoning (like Zatarain’s Big & Zesty), or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Directions: Peel and devein the shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Prepare the pasta in well salted water, according to package directions for al dente. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water before draining. Drain pasta and set aside.
Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the smoked sausage or ham until seared; use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside. Add additional oil to the skillet if needed, and sear the shrimp, remove and set aside with the sausage. Add the sliced green onion to the skillet; cook and stir for about a minute. Add the artichokes and pimentos; cook and stir until warmed through.
Return the meat and shrimp to the pan and add the herbs and seasonings, up to and including the salt and pepper. Add the butter and cook and stir until butter has melted and seasonings are well distributed. Stir in the reserved pasta water, about 1/2 cup at a time, until a nice sauce has developed. You may or may not use all of the reserved pasta water. Toss in the drained pasta; taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and serve immediately. A side salad and bread are perfect for this dish.
Cook's Notes: "I like the bigger flake Creole seasoning for this dish because it's a pantry staple for me, however, any good Creole or Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), will also work fine. Substitute chicken for the shrimp. Cook boneless, skinless chicken in the skillet, remove and set aside; cut into bite sized pieces."
Cheré Dastugue Coen is the author of several Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. She is also the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.