Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Let the DIY HOLIDAY Season Begin: Especially in Detroit & Chicago!

I have never been one to break into the holiday cheer business until well after Thanksgiving — it usually hits me about a week or so before Christmas and then I scurry around like a madwoman. But this year, being so much more involved with the online world of making stuff and with craft shows and all, I have been fully caught up in the business of holiday cheer since the very beginning of November.

This is where the world of online shopping is blessed: no dang Christmas music even if you do start your shopping early — the best! It's easy to get so caught up in it all that you think you are behind. I have to keep reminding myself, that, no, I'm actually ahead of the curve; it really is still a week before Thanksgiving. AND, I am so pleased to admit that I LOVE it. I love the whole kit and kaboodle of dwelling on gingerbread and candy canes, holly and ornaments way too early. So, as I said in the title of this post, "Let the Holiday Season Begin!!"
Bring on the snow! And better still, bring on the shopping! I have two holiday oriented shows coming up right around the corner — come on out and be merry!

The first is this Saturday, November 21 in Detroit. It is the utterly fantastic Detroit Urban Craft Fair at the Majestic Theater from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. I was new to the area last year and went as a shopper to this fair and it blew me away. An amazing roster of vendors, delicious food — and beer, what more could a giddy holiday shopper want?!?! So come on down this year and see what it's all about! More details and directions here: www.detroiturbancraftfair.com.

The second show is the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale in Chicago, December 5 and 6. It's from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse. To me, this is the mother of all craft fairs. Hundreds of tremendously talented vendors from near and far with such a wide variety of handmade items to share. I'll be sharing a table with the lovely, talented Michelle of Elevated Press who makes beautiful letter-pressed stationary.

Hope you are starting to feel the cheer, too!

Monday, November 16, 2009

From the kitchen: Shrimp and Andouille Pot Pie

Perfect end to a crisp fall day: Shrimp and Andouille Pot Pie with puff pastry crust. I've never cooked with Andouille before and liked the bit of spice it adds. (I suppose I could have added it to my "Now I can Say I've Tried it" series!) The recipe is designed to make four mini pot pies, but I threw it all together in one dish. If you do this, cut the dough larger than the dish — I didn't and it gets quite a bit smaller when cooked, so I had big gaps around the edge of the dish. Delicious nonetheless! I'd estimate about one inch larger all around. I used some homemade shrimp stock I had in the freezer, but I'm sure you could even get away with chicken or vegetable stock instead of the seafood stock or clam juice.

Shrimp and Andouille Pot Pie
Adapted from Bob Appetit, March 2009/epicurious.com
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 1/2 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; from 3 large)
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into scant 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1.5-ounce package concentrated classic seafood stock (such as Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold) mixed with 2 cups water; or 2 cups bottled clam juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 8-ounce red-skinned potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 pounds deveined peeled uncooked jumbo shrimp, cut into 1-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out pastry on floured surface to 12-inch square. Cut out four 5 1/2-inch rounds. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet; bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheet. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk cream and flour in small bowl. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add andouille and garlic and sauté 4 minutes. Add vermouth; simmer until liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add seafood stock mixture and thyme. Bring to simmer. Add potato and cook uncovered until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add cream mixture to skillet; stir. Simmer until sauce thickens and boils, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat. Add shrimp; simmer until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide hot filling among four 1 1/4-cup baking dishes. Top each with pastry round. Bake until filling bubbles, about 5 minutes.

Yum! I'm hoping to try a slow cooker recipe or two this week… stay tuned!!