Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Catholic Foodie Readers on TV Cooking vs. Real Cooking

Last week I posted this article on The Catholic Foodie page on Facebook: TV Cooking vs. Real Cooking. The article generated some good discussion, so I figured I would share it here.

These are the thoughts of those who commented on the Facebook page:

Christie Martin:
On television, the audience sits politely on chairs, in mine the audience of children, husband, and friends are involved in the act, tasting, kibbutzing, and peeking. I guess the dog might be like the camera: always watching, in the way a little, and hoping for a dramatic spill!

Daniel Burns:
The foodnetwork kitchens always have the most wonderful bowls, plates, glasses, etc. We don't. A foodnetwork kitchen is always clean. Our's isn't. A Foodnetwork kitchen always has all their ingredients pre-prepared. Our's doesn't. And have you noticed that in a foodnetwork "trinity" or mir poi everything is precisely the same size and exactly cubical...heck, you would have thought Picasso did the chopping.

The Catholic Foodie:
Yes, Danny. My kitchen is nothing like FoodNetwork. Definitely not as clean. Not as posh. The chef isn't as good (me), and THERE IS NO SOUS CHEF. The most tedious part of cooking is the prep. Now, thankfully, I love cooking, so it is not much of a burden to me... unless I am in a hurry.

Karin Coll:
Oh, it may not be as fancy or well stocked but I can put out meals that make my family happy....and ironically, not many come from yes, there is a big difference! We have kids that have to like what they are eating...just a little bit! And about the divine in meals... Amen, amen I say. Jesus was always at the table. I find it interesting that families that eat together have better lasting relationships...there was some study years ago about this...we eat dinner together about 5 out of 7 days. I always sit with the kids when dad is not in town! community is in all we do!

Daniel Burns:
The foodnetwork is pretty awesome. It is virtually all we watch. I wonder if some study has been done to see if and how it has revolutionized cooking in the standard American home.

Christi and I are lucky in that we both come from families that are very proud of our culinary tradition (both of us are some mixture of Acadian and Italian), but the Foodnetwork has exposed us to other ethnic cuisines that we may have otherwise been either ignorant of or only tried in a resturant.

Roy Petitfils:
Thanks for sharing that Jeff. I'd never heard of him. I read Andrew Knowlton and Michael Ruhlman's blogs, but I like Bittman and Bittens. As to the point of his blot.

I tend to agree-to an extent. Actually, in the early days of the network they filmed episodes with plenty of imperfections. Bobby Flay messed up as did Mario Batali. That's all gone now, and so seems to be Batali. Emeril was probably one of the worst with the prep stuff on his live show. A team of people making his food come together. I always wonder how good it really tastes.

That being said, most of them have actually spent years in commercial Kitchens slugging it out. Nowadays there's a bunch of pretty newcomers whose ears are still wet from culinary school wanting the celeb status that has found the Flays, Emerils and Batali's.

Have you read any of Michael Ruhlman's books? "The Soul of a Chef", "The Making of a Chef" and "The Reach of a Chef"? The making of a chef was my favorite since I really did want to go to culinary school. One of my life's only regrets. He spends a year at the CIA and chronicles his journey. Great read, by a great writer. "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain is rather profane, but interesting. Again, a good writer.

So, what about you? How does your kitchen measure up to Food Network?

Are You Like Me?

I love to cook. Some people garden to "get away from it all" and relax. For me, it's the kitchen, not the garden. The kitchen is a magical place where my troubles recede and the joy of cooking and living takes center stage. If it was up to me, I would spend the majority of the day in the kitchen. But I know that most people are not like me.

I like to take my time cooking. I tend to take the scenic route. Sometimes that unnerves my family. The kids are impatient and Char would like to eat early. I'm a night owl and I like to eat late. Try as I might, I can't seem to speed things up.

When I bake bread, I knead by hand. When I cook a gumbo, I chop the onions, bell peppers, and celery with care and attention. And, of course, the roux takes a good 35 minutes.

No one taught me how to cook. I taught myself with practice. When I was in the seminary in Mexico, I was put in charge of a cooking team that rotated weekends with three other teams: the Italians, the French, and the Mexicans. Why? Because I was from Louisiana and, surely, I must have been a culinary sophisticate. True, I excelled in the kitchen, and I often joined in on the other weekends... just because. And I learned.

Everything about the kitchen fascinates me. The tools and gadgets, the pots and pans, the cutting boards and wooden salad bowl, my wooden spoons... and my mortar and pestle. I have a particular love for my mortar and pestle. Wood. Darkened by olive oil and years of beating garlic.

And then there are the smells. The feel of the food in my hands. I become an alchemist in the kitchen, striving to make the magic with simple ingredients. Eating is secondary. Lagniappe. A bonus.

What about eating? The dinner table is another matter for another post. But, after cooking, eating is not that important. Meals with the family and seeing them enjoy my creation... that is the fulfillment, the culmination of the process.

Yes, I love to cook.

How about you?

[This post was inspired by a post on The Copywriters' Kitchen. Check out Lorraine's post - 10 Good Reasons to Start Cooking From Scratch.]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Social Media: Are You Part of the Conversation?

I am a social media evangelist. Yes, I have caught the bug. And I believe that every Catholic should catch it too.


Because it's all about community.

The Church, the Body of Christ, is the community to which we are all called. In Matthew 28, Jesus gave the Great Commission to the apostles: Go, and preach the gospel to all the world....

We do not all have to be theologians to spread the gospel! The Church is calling all Catholics to engage society by means of modern communication. Not necessarily by directly evangelizing or catechizing, but by living their faith and being actively involved in society, which is increasingly being shaped by social media. We are all called to "indirect evangelization."

As followers of Jesus, our very presence can benefit society and spread the gospel. Blessed Mother Teresa called this the "ministry of presence." And St. Francis of Assisi once told his friars, "Preach the gospel everywhere you go. And, when necessary, use words."

Take Fr. Roderick's Daily Breakfast as an example. "It's breakfast with a priest." But Fr. Roderick doesn't limit himself to talking about the Catholic Faith. He also talks about technology, health, movies and TV, and more. His show appeals to a wide audience, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. And many listeners who haven't been to church in a long time are touched by his casual discussion of life... and faith. Some have even returned to the sacraments.

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Plurk, Blogger, WordPress, Seesmic, iTunes/podcasts... What do they have in common?


Social media are revolutionizing our experience of community. Are you part of the conversation?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Love to Cook? Got a Mac? You need SousChef!

More than just a way to organize recipes, SousChef actually helps you cook. This handy Mac app, developed by Acacia Tree Software, can do it all: organize and search, share via email and blog post, import from just about anywhere, and read your recipes to you while you cook. It will even make a grocery list for you!

SousChef is a community app. Unlike other recipe apps that help you organize your own recipes in isolation, SousChef plugs you into a larger community. You can search not only your recipes, but also those of thousands of other SousChef users. How is this possible? SousChef provides access to a database called the "cloud." At the time of this post, there are 55,799 recipes on the cloud, all accessible by you. True, there is always Recipezaar and Foodista (and I love them both!). But, as you will see, SousChef takes using recipes a bit further. SousChef actually helps you cook those recipes.

One of the coolest features of SousChef is what they call the 10-foot mode. With the 10-foot mode, you can actually bring your laptop into the kitchen. Now, I am very cautious with my electronics. Well, okay, I am more than a bit cautious. I don't want my laptop too close to the stove or to the counter where I am mixing ingredients. I think 10 feet is a safe distance.

So how does the 10-foot mode work? In 10-foot mode SousChef goes full-screen with a black background and white text. Large white text, easily visible from 10 feet away. The app will walk you step-by-step through the recipe. It can scroll through automatically, or you can set it to respond to voice commands or use an Apple remote. And if that's not cool enough, you can also have the app read the recipe to you! That's right. SousChef can read. [By the way, you can now use your iPhone or iTouch as an Apple remote!]

SousChef not only allows you to catalog your own recipes, but it also gives you access to thousands of recipes by other users via the "cloud." You can search the cloud in many different ways: by recipe title or by different ingredients. Let's say you want to cook chicken tonight, but you can't decide how you would like to prepare it. Simply type "chicken" in the ingredient field and the cloud provides a list of all the recipes containing chicken. To narrow down your search, you can list several ingredients, like whatever you happen to have in your fridge today, and the cloud will tell you which recipes you can make. It will even search for common substitutions.

You can "favorite" the recipes you like. Whether you want to track your most recently imported recipes, or the ones you have already cooked, you can create folders to store your recipes. I have a Cajun / Creole folder, and folders for Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean and Thai. I also have a folder for family recipes. But what about those "secret" family recipes? I can tell SousChef not to publish those to the cloud. I've gotta keep my secrets!

Not only can you search the recipes of other SousChef users, but you can import your own too. That notebook you keep in your pantry, the one with all the recipes you have collected over the years... you can put all of those in SousChef. Now, the ones that you don't already have in digital format will have to be entered manually. But, SousChef makes that process rather painless. You can also import recipes you have on your Mac or those you find online. Simply copy the text and SousChef does the rest.

Isn't it nice to be able to share your recipes with others? With SousChef, in addition to the cloud, you can share recipes with friends and family via email. You can also post it to your blog, as I have done with my grape leaves / cabbage rolls recipe.

SousChef is compatible with Macs running Tiger 10.4.9 or higher. It is distributed as a universal binary. An internet connection is necessary to take advantage of all the features. Cost is $30. A license can be purchased within the application once you have downloaded the demo.

From start to finish, SousChef is designed to make you a fabulous cook!

Bon appetit!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Catholic Sushi

My son loves sushi. It really is his favorite food. And yes, this is the son who started eating raw oysters at the age of three. He is something else!

Christopher wanted to write a post for The Catholic Foodie. Of course, sushi was the first topic that popped into his head. He suggested we call it "Catholic Sushi." So, this short post is from Christopher. He wrote it, I typed it. Enjoy!

Hello, my name is Christopher Young. And I will be telling you about my favorite food, sushi! Sushi is very tasty. I made tuna sushi before. My favorite type is salmon. It's just... well, good! For those of you who like sushi, good for you. Those who don't, I feel sorry. I hope you liked what I have said. And until next time, Bone Appitite!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Summer Steaks

Beef Ribeye on Foodista
Do certain smells ever bring you back to your childhood? Sometimes that happens to me.

As a matter of fact, that happened to me Saturday evening. I fired up the grill, and I seasoned four thick steaks with kosher salt, coarse-ground black pepper, a dash of cayenne, oregano, rosemary, basil, and crushed red pepper. Yum.

When steaks hit the grill, I was a kid again, riding my bike all over the neighborhood. I used to love riding my bike. I rode every day after school (and all day in the summer). I knew every crack and crevice in the sidewalks and streets of my neighborhood. As a matter of fact, I owned the roads in my neighborhood, or, at least if felt like I did. But at dusk I would set my sights on home. It wasn't the dark that drove me home, it was hunger.

Friday night was steak night at our house. Before I even hit the driveway, I could smell it: meat on the grill. It wasn't one of those fancy grills you see today... stainless steel with propane. No, this was charcoal. I still remember the charcoal lighter. It was an electric ring shoved down into the coals. When it got hot, it would glow a dangerous bright red.

Sausage went on the grill first. I remember stabbing sausage slices with toothpicks and dipping them in yellow mustard as I watched the steak cook. It was the perfect appetizer.

After the sausage came the rib-eyes. Dad made a marinade/basting sauce out of Lea & Perrins Worchestershire Sauce and butter. It smelled tangy and thick. Dad always cooked the rib-eyes well-done. I wouldn't grow to appreciate steaks medium-rare until I was old enough to buy and grill them myself.

Now, while dad was outside grilling, mom was inside washing iceberg lettuce and cutting and prepping potatoes. Iceberg lettuce salads with Wishbone Italian Dressing always accompanied the steaks, as did Sandy Fries. The fries were named after my mother, Sandy. In my mind those fries were magical. I don't know who started calling them Sandy Fries, but I know that the name stuck and they were a household favorite.

Mom would peel the potatoes and cut them up just like you would for regular french fries. She would rinse them with water and then let them sit in a colander. When everything else was almost done, she would season the potatoes with salt and pepper, shaking them around and repeating until all were seasoned. Then she would add a scoop of flour and shake, shake, shake until all the potatoes were coated. She would continue to shake until all the loose flour was out of the colander. Then she fried them in hot oil (back then she used Crisco) until they were golden brown. You talk about good, yeah!

And all those thoughts came to me because I put steaks on the grill. The smell and sizzle did it. True, it was a Saturday, not a Friday. But the afternoon was perfect. Not hot like June. Not hot and sticky like July. The sun was bright, but the air was cool. Perfect grilling weather.

The rib-eyes were great, by the way. That's not coming just from me. Char and the kids said so. Best steaks I had ever grilled, they said.

So, when was the last time you grilled steaks? How did you grill them? Medium-rare?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Funny Blog Stats

As a podcaster and blogger, I like to check my stats to see how I am doing. You know, how many people visiting the site, how many podcast downloads, etc. Well, there is one aspect of stat-checking that always makes me laugh: Google's list of the top 20 search queries in which my site comes up.

Here's a baker's dozen of those top search queries for The Catholic Foodie (the list is in no particular order):

1. green onion pancake
2. the listener episode 6
3. marhaba habibi
4. kings episode 6
5. alton brown catholic
6. pleasure p if you were my
7. orthodox easter music
8. lebanese songs 2009
9. maronite liturgy
10. didi habiby
11. make up libanese
12. beautiful sunday line dance
13. arabic girlfriend

If you have been reading / listening for a while, you'll know why I think this list is so funny. So much of this stuff appears nowhere in my show or on the site. Go figure.

I don't know which is the funniest... "alton brown catholic" or "beautiful sunday line dancing"?

The only ones that would pertain to this site are "marhaba habibi," "alton brown," "orthodox easter," "lebanese," and perhaps "arabic." I have no idea where the rest of it came from.

Okay, I think I've decided. "alton brown catholic" is my favorite.

Which one is your favorite?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Oysters in the Raw?

I love oysters. I'm supposed to as a Louisiana Boy! I used to shuck them when I worked as a bartender in a seafood restaurant in Baton Rouge. Monday nights: .25 oysters on the half shell. Those were busy nights down here!

Oysters are considered to be an aphrodisiac. And I believe it! My wife and I spent two weeks on Margarita Island, Venezuela for our honeymoon. Beautiful place. I remember eating a couple dozen oysters with her one afternoon. Nine months later we had our first child!

In addition to raw oysters, we also like them fried. Oyster po-boys are right up there with shrimp po-boys in my book. Love 'em. And, seafood gumbo would not be complete without oysters.

Our first child, our son, was introduced to raw oysters at the age of three. We were at Morton's in Madisonville, LA. We ordered oysters on the half shell. When he saw them, he was adamant... he wanted one! I have pictures. I was very impressed with him.

Do you eat oysters? What is your favorite way to eat them?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter, L'Angelus and Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager

Holy Thursday dinner, Easter vigil, Easter Sunday, stuffed artichokes, Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager, and feedback... all on the menu today at The Catholic Foodie™, where food meets faith!™

We also have a song from an excellent Louisiana Cajun band, L'Angelus. Please check out their link below. If you are looking for a fun, lively, exciting, foot-stompin' band, then L'Angelus is the one for you! And they're Catholic too! Check 'em out!

Ponchatoula, Louisiana is known for its strawberries, and Ponchatoula strawberries are sold in supermarkets and fruit stands across South Louisiana and beyond. They are also found in Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager. A light, crisp lager, it is perfect for the warm summer days here in Louisiana. It is a very drinkable beer. Not heavy. Nice tingle from the carbonation. Best cold. As a matter of fact, when Char first tasted it she said it would be a perfect beer to accompany boiled crawfish. I couldn't argue with that!

When you pop the cap, there is a distinct scent of strawberries. Real strawberries. As a matter of fact, we bought half a flat of strawberries a week ago and, if I were blindfolded, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between those strawberries and the beer. Yes, it smells that good!

It's not a strong beer. 4.2% ABV (alcohol by volume). Not too sweet either. Not heady. And the head recedes rather rapidly. Not much lacing around the glass. As I mentioned earlier, it is a very drinkable beer. If you don't like fruit beers, I wouldn't shy away from tasting this one. The scent is there, and you can taste the strawberries, but the taste is not overwhelming. It is understated, which is good.

If you click on the link below and visit Abita's website, you will find a store locator. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a store near you that sells this beer. Try it out and let me know what you think!

If you are interested, you can find another Abita Beer we reviewed in episode 8: Abbey Ale.

Many thanks to Bonita for leaving us this recipe in the SQPN forums: Bobby Flay's recipe for shrimp & grits. Thank you, Bonita!

Here are a couple of links to recipes for shrimp-stuffed artichokes:
Emeril's baby shrimp-stuffed artichokes
What Did You Eat?

Also, be sure to check out The Copywriters' Kitchen!

Leave feedback at or call the listener feedback line at 985-635-4974.

You can download episode 16 here or listen to it below:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Few Quick Foodie Reads

Here are a few foodie blog things I am currently reading...

What are you reading?

10 Food Blogs I Read Daily

There are so many excellent food blogs in the blogosphere. I follow lots of them. Today I want to share 10 Food Blogs that I subscribe to in my Google Reader. They are listed in no particular order. You may want to check them out:

1. Copywriters' Kitchen

2. The Wicked Noodle

3. Greek Food Recipes & Reflections

4. Enjoy the Delicious

5. Foodie in Disguise

6. Meanwhile, Back in the Kitchen

7. Catholic Cuisine

8. My Kitchen Addiction

9. My Life as a Foodie

10. The Amateur Gourmet

These are just a few of the food blogs that I read. I will share more with you in a few days. Until then... What food blogs do you recommend?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Sunday Lamb, Fam and Vino

Greetings, folks! And Happy Easter!

We attended a beautiful and prayerful Easter Vigil Mass at our parish Saturday night. Then, we woke up early Sunday morning to the sound of excited kids filled with anticipation to see what the Easter Bunny had left them. It always makes me happy to see my kids so happy. Once the excitement of the Easter Bunny began to wane (and after a bit of overindulgence in Easter candy), we packed up and headed to Baton Rouge to spend Easter with Char's parents.

The kids hunted Easter eggs (filled with candy... and money!). Afterwards, they swam for a couple of hours, while the parents and grandparents chatted outside on the deck. Though the forecast predicted severe thunderstorms and sustained tornadoes, the afternoon was warm and sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky.

Being Lebanese, our Easter dinner had a Lebanese motif. Not surprising, huh? It was absolutely delicious. Lamb, tabouleh, lamb-stuffed grape leaves, kibbeh nayee, stuffed artichokes (not really Lebanese, but delicious nonetheless), and grilled sausage. All of this was accompanied by wine. Lots of wine. The dinner was followed by a coconut cake baked by my lovely wife, Char. And then there was the houka. And the cigars. And more wine. It was a great day.

I am sure that we will talk more about our Easter dinner on episode 16, which I will record in just a day or two.

What do you eat for Easter? Let me know and I will share it on episode 16! You can email me at Or, if you are feeling creative, you can record an mp3 file, or just call the feedback line at 985-635-4974.

By the way, if you like the show and want to help spread the word, please consider leaving a comment on iTunes. You can also Digg The Catholic Foodie... or simply let your friends and family know about it. You may want to join The Catholic Foodie on Facebook. And if you are on Twitter, you can tweet this site.

Until next time... Bon appetit!

Roast Leg Of Lamb on Foodista

Simple seasoning yields phenomenal lamb!

Tabouli (tabouleh)

Lamb-stuffed grape leaves

Kibbeh Nayee

Mint from my mother-in-law's garden

Me... enjoying the day!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why "The Catholic Foodie?"

Lots of exciting things are happening here at The Catholic Foodie! Most of these things are in the works, so I can't reveal much now. But I can say that the mission of The Catholic Foodie is growing very quickly, and it is becoming much bigger than I initially anticipated.

Thank you for listening to the show, reading the blog, and spreading the word!

So what is The Catholic Foodie all about?

The Catholic Foodie... "where food meets faith!" produces fun and entertaining media that foster growth in faith and community. The goal? To strengthen families and to encourage a stronger sense of community through social networking.

The mission of The Catholic Foodie is based on the what Fr. Oscar Lukefahr, C.M. calls "the sacramental principle," which in its basic form "states that created things are good and are signs of God's presence and grace." As Fr. Lukefahr mentions, the sacramental principle is distinctly Catholic and is the basis for all we do as Catholics. God became man in Jesus, and the Incarnation changed everything.

Of course, at The Catholic Foodie, the created thing we focus on is food. Yes, food can be a sign of God's presence and grace! And food fosters community because we often eat food with others. Not only do families eat together, but many business deals are made over a shared meal as well.

So, how has the Incarnation changed everything?

In the Incarnation, Jesus:
- did not shun the body but, rather, emptied Himself and "was born in the likeness of men."
- called Himself the Bread of Life and commanded us to eat His Body and drink His Blood.
- tended to our bodies by healing the sick, raising the dead, and multiplying the loaves and fishes to satisfy our bodily hunger.
- instituted the sacraments, which work their spiritual effects by means of the body.
- revealed Himself to the disciples in "the breaking of the bread."
- reassured the apostles that He had indeed risen from the dead by cooking fish on the seashore and sharing a meal with them.
- enjoyed faith and fellowship with Joseph and Mary for years around the family table.

What about the growth of The Catholic Foodie?

All I can say right now is that The Catholic Foodie is becoming much more than a blog and a podcast (but something that incorporates the blog and podcast). As soon as I am able to do so, I will share more details with you. Until then, please consider sending me your answer to the following questions:

What do you see as the mission of The Catholic Foodie? Is it something different than I mentioned above?

What do you enjoy about The Catholic Foodie?

What could we do to make the blog and podcast better?

Please leave your comments here on the blog or email me directly at If you would like to leave voice feedback, please call 985-635-4974.

Until I hear from you... Bon appetit!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mastic Shrimp Saganaki (Γαρίδες Σαγανάκι με Μαστίχα)

Wow! This looks incredible! I don't know how I can come across mastic resin... perhaps I can come up with a creative substitute.

Anything with shrimp is wonderful. Throw Greek into the mix, and it makes me want to shout, "Opa!"

(Posted with permission of Sam Sotiropoulos, the Greek Gourmand)


via Greek Food Recipes and Reflections by Sam Sotiropoulos on 4/7/09

This is one of my Greek food signature dishes. I created this recipe for my wife and it is now her favourite shrimp dish. For those of you who are unfamiliar with mastic resin, have a look at my previous post about this extraordinary spice.

My Mastic Shrimps served over of a bed of rice - Click to Enlarge Image

Here in North America, the term saganaki often refers to a Greek fried cheese that is set alight to resounding shouts of "Opa!" In truth, the word saganaki refers to a single-serving frying pan with two handles. In Greece, a saganaki can be a fried cheese, or it can be a shrimp saganaki and/or a mussels saganaki, both of which are usually tomato sauce based dishes and typically include Feta cheese. If this is confusing, no worries, it's all Greek food to me too!

Shrimps in the pan and ready for turning - Click to Enlarge Image

This particular version of my dish does not include the Feta cheese as it is meant to be a fast-friendly recipe. Easter is just around the corner and many Greeks observe the Lenten fast during this period which means dairy is a no-no. If you are not fasting, feel free to add the Feta cheese as mentioned below. You can also halve the quantities of ingredients as listed for a single serving portion. In addition, if you happen to have some good olive bread on hand, it makes for an excellent complement which allows you to mop up every last bit of this unbelievably tasty sauce.


20 - 24 large raw shrimp, shelled with tails on
2 cups strained tomato puree/sauce
2 medium sized onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, pressed or grated
1 roasted red pepper, diced
2 tablespoons masticha liqueur
½ teaspoon mastic resin crystals
½ cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

  1. Sauté diced onions in olive oil over a medium heat until soft and translucent (3 - 5 minutes).
  2. Add garlic to the pan and stir it in well for about 30 seconds. Then, add the tomato puree/sauce to the pan, along with the diced roasted red pepper and a half cup of water, then the salt and pepper to taste and stir it well to mix. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat only slightly and allow the sauce to simmer well for 8 minutes; do not cover the pan.
  4. Add the masticha liqueur along with the mastic resin crystals to the sauce and stir well to incorporate. Continue to simmer the sauce for another 2 minutes, stirring the sauce a couple more times.
  5. Quickly add the shrimp to the pan and make sure to give the pan a couple shakes to settle the shrimp well into the sauce. Cook for two minutes. Then, using a pair of tongs or a fork, quickly turn all the shrimp over and cook for another minute or so, then remove the pan from the heat for serving.
I often serve this recipe over a bed of rice and garnished with some sesame seeds. as depicted in the photo above. It is equally good with pasta, especially spaghetti or linguini noodles. Or, you can simply eat it on its own with some olive bread as already mentioned. Also, if you are not able to find the mastic liqueur, simply add another teaspoon of the mastic resin to the sauce when cooking. Lastly, a cup of crumbled Feta cheese can optionally be added to the pan just before you remove it from the heat for serving.

If you are interested in obtaining high-quality pure mastic resin or any other mastic products, drop me an email: greekgourmand[at]

Kali Orexi! (Bon Appétit),

Sam Sotiropoulos
Greek Gourmand™
Greek Food Recipes and Reflections
Copyright © 2008, Sam Sotiropoulos. All Rights Reserved.


Things you can do from here:


Holy Thursday & Good Friday - Episode 15

On the menu today... an interview with Dr. Brant Pitre, feedback from Fr. Seraphim Beshoner, TOR and Char & I discuss our Holy Thursday dinner plans.

Dr. Brant Pitre is the Donum Dei Professor of Word and Sacrament at Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans, LA.

Grilled Lamb Chops on Foodista

Join us here on The Catholic Foodie, where food meets faith!

Leave feedback at or call the listener feedback line at 985-635-4974.

You can download episode 15 here or listen to it below:

I confess... I love dem crawfish! - Episode 14

Confession and crawfish? Yes! Both are wonderful, and both are on the menu today at The Catholic Foodie.

Confession is a sacrament. It is an efficacious sign instituted by Jesus to give grace. According to the gospels, the power to forgive sins was the first power given to the apostles by the Risen Lord.

Although confession lines are much, much shorter than communion lines, it is obvious that confession is making a comeback. In this episode, we will see some evidence of that. As a matter of fact, I see a beautiful openness to the sacrament in the teens entrusted to my care and, in this show, I share how I explain the sacrament to teens and their parents.

Crawfish is a South Louisiana delicacy. Experts have told us that this year's crop will not be plentiful. But, our experience this past week tells us something different. We have been to three crawfish boils... and, twice this week, we have come home with ice chests full of crawfish! Wow!

All of this and more is on the menu at The Catholic Foodie, where food meets faith!

Leave feedback at or call the listener feedback line at 985-635-4974.

You can download episode 14 here or listen to it below:

Crawfish Boil Recipe at Nola Cuisine

This is not my (secret) recipe, but the post is good and the photos are... wonderful!


via New Orleans Cuisine by Danno on 4/8/09

From Crawfish Boil

Charlie from Cajun Grocer was kind enough to send me 15 lbs of their wonderful Live Louisiana Crawfish, so I was more than thrilled to have a crawfish boil over the weekend with a few family and friends. I got a ton of great pictures that I am really happy with and which I hope do those large beautiful crawfish justice.

From Crawfish Boil

Here is my Crawfish Boil Recipe that I used to cook those beautiful mudbugs!

From Crawfish Boil

Also be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes!


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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

South Louisiana Crawfish: Scarce this Year or just a bit Delayed?

"Daddy, can we get crawfish for my birthday again this year?" my 7-year-old asked as her birthday neared. She loves our boiled crawfish and believes, as we do, that we boil the best in the world (got the coveted recipe from my mother-in-law).

We did not let her indulge in her favorite food on her birthday because, at the time, crawfish were selling for $3.79 a pound. That is an outrageous price to pay for crawfish in South Louisiana. That's what happens when the crop is not plentiful. Crawfish season begins in January and peaks in April or May. It doesn't really end until late June. Usually you can hear the propane tanks heating up the crawfish pots on sunny afternoons in January and you can smell the seasoning all the way down the block.

The prices do tend to be high in January, but nowhere near $3.79 a pound. By March, prices are usually down to around $1.79. At peak season you can find them for $1.19. The crawfish themselves are not the only expense. There's also the seasoning and all the extras that go into the boil: lemons, lemon juice, garlic (lots of garlic!), corn, potatoes, asparagus, onions, mushrooms, and some people even throw in smoked or andouille sausage. Oh, and don't forget the beer! Boiling crawfish is not cheap, but it is worth it.

The prices are so high this season because of Gustav and company. The major storms that hit and affected the Louisiana coastline in the fall pushed salt water into the ponds and rivers and left debris that impacted the crawfish food source. This stunted the crops. For the last couple of months we have heard experts forecast a terrible season, saying there simply won't be much crawfish this year. However, all hope is not lost. Many believe the crops are just delayed and that we will see an increased yield as we move into the peak season.

Spring is here, and as far as I can tell, the crawfish season is in full swing. True, my daughter did not get crawfish for her birthday, but she has had her fill of it this week. Just in the last five days we have been to four crawfish boils, and one night we came home with an ice chest full of crawfish from a boil we didn't even attend!

A bad season or were the crops just delayed a bit? If you ask my family, we'd say, "The pots a-boilin' and bugs are clean. It's time for a party y'all!"

Bon appetit!

For more information on Louisiana crawfish, please visit Louisiana Crawfish Company and the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Know Thyself this Lent with an Examination of Conscience

"Know thyself," said Socrates. "The unexamined life is not worth living." This has always been an important maxim, but for us it should take on a certain urgency during Lent. One of the best ways to know thyself is to take up an ancient spiritual practice: the examination of conscience.

"Examination of Conscience" sounds peculiar to modern ears. I teach high school. A typical teen reaction to "Examination of Conscience?"

"Eeeewwww. What is that?"

Well, believe it or not, it's not as scary as it sounds. At least, it usually isn't.

So, what is an examination of conscience? It is simply an opportunity to stop and honestly reflect, in God's presence, on the condition of one's soul and on the way in which one is living the Christian life. This reflection takes only a few moments.

We look at our day to see if we are living up to our baptismal promises. We look at our actions to see if they befit a child of God. If not, then we simply ask God to forgive us and give us the strength to do better. The whole point of the examination of conscience is to make progress in the Christian life.

There are three basic examinations we can make: preventive, particular, and general.

The preventive examination usually takes place in the morning. We look at our usual faults and make a simple plan for the day on how to improve in those areas.

The particular examination focuses on what is called our predominant fault. Everyone has a predominant fault. It is the one area in which we fall most often. It is usually bound up with our personalities. Pride, selfishness, envy, greed, anger - these are some examples of predominant faults.

These are ingrained sins that influence our daily actions and relationships. It is helpful to make the particular examination around midday. It is like a check-up: "How am I doing so far with this fault? What can I do better?"

The general examination takes place at night, usually just before bed. It is a time to review the day and to mark one's progress. Once again, we look at the areas in which we failed and ask forgiveness.

We also look at the times when we succeeded: that moment when I almost lost my temper, but by God's grace it was held in check; the gossip at the water cooler that I was able to avoid, by God's grace.

By looking at our little successes we can see how God is really working in our daily lives. The general examination helps us to take our spiritual temperature. It also helps us prepare for the day ahead.

An examination of conscience is really a simply matter. It takes only a few minutes and, according to many saints, is very effective in nurturing our growth in Christ. It is an excellent tool to help us enter more deeply into the season of Lent, especially as Holy Week approaches. So, know thyself, and experience the mercy of Christ!

This article was also published at