East meets the west….

01 Apr

Having grown up as a “Yankee” New Englander, my culinary world was turned upside down when I moved to the Midwest. I do not like BBQ, and since Oklahoma is full of some of the nations best BBQ and ribs joints, I have received my fair share of raised eyebrows when I decline anything that has come into contact with BBQ sauce. I quickly came to realize that it was going to take awhile for me to become accustomed to Okie customs, if ever. I grew up eating bright crisp green beans that were cooked just long enough to deem them “not raw”, when I ordered green beans at a local restaurant here, I was served beans so over cooked they were almost gray, and if that were not bad enough, they had onions, AND bacon, and while bacon may make almost anything taste better, this girl was not swayed. The bacon was also cooked to a mush like consistency like its green counterpart. I will not even begin to discuss the long list of other veggies and legumes that have met their fate at the hand of a midwest cook. That being said, I have found some very amazing foods here, that I had never tried back east. Okra, catfish, pulled pork (without the sauce of course) are just a few things I have added to my favorites. Oklahoma is very diverse in its culture, and with that comes diversity in food. Authentic Mexican restaurants, Asian markets with bizarre and fantastic finds are on the top of my list.I have found that keeping an open mind, and letting go of how I cook, and what I grew up eating, has allowed me to embrace this new culinary world and to actually enjoy it!

I recently took on the task of making two of my father in law’s favorite dishes for his birthday; Crayfish Etouffee and Salmon Cakes. I took classic recipes and put my eastern spin on them. I had never eaten crayfish, let alone cook with them, so it was a learning experience. My in-law’s frequent Louisiana where crayfish etouffee is very popular, so I was a little nervous, but was thrilled when they both said it was delicious and as good if not better then any they have eaten in Louisiana! I feel very accomplished. 🙂 Maybe next week, I might even try BBQ….(but don’t hold your breath)

The recipes for both dishes, and Lemon Sauce for the patties follow.ENJOY!

Crayfish Etouffee

  • 1 stick butter

  • 2 cups chopped onions

  • 1 cup chopped celery

  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers

  • 1 pound peeled crayfish tails – (I used about 3lbs of whole crayfish to get 1 lb of tails)

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon flour

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Pinch of cayenne

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions


In a large saute pan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and saute until the vegetables are wilted, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the crawfish, garlic, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the crawfish for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dissolve the flour in the water. Add the crawfish mixture. Season with salt and cayenne. Stir until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and green onions and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Serve over steamed rice. (Jasmine rice works really well with this recipe)

Salmon Patties – makes 5


  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can salmon

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2/3 cup cracker crumbs

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 3 tablespoons shortening





  1. Drain the salmon, reserving 3/4 cup of the liquid. Flake the meat. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium- high heat. Add onion, and cook until tender.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the reserved salmon liquid, 1/3 of the cracker crumbs, eggs, parsley, mustard and salmon. Mix until well blended, then shape into six patties. Coat patties in remaining cracker crumbs.

  3. Melt shortening in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook patties until browned, then carefully turn and brown on the other side.Serve with Lemon Sauce.


Lemon Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour to form a smooth paste. Gradually stir in milk; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper.

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Posted by on ampFri, 01 Apr 2011 10:12:52 +000012Friday 4 , 2011 in Recipes


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