Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dog Club Annual Mother's Day Crawfish Boil

L to R:  Allison, Nathan, Me, John, the Boiling Pot
It's that time of year again, and for a 4th consecutive year I landed up being in charge of coordinating my dog club's annual picnic.  Despite the work, I love the picnic because it gives dog trainers a chance to include their spouses and kids in a club event, and I especially love to eat crawfish. For the 3rd year Nedra offered her lovely home and back yard with huge covered patio and shaded yard. I did the shopping and food prep, and John took a day of vacation and was in charge of boiling up the crawfish per my recipe (below).  Clubmate Ken smoked 2 pork butt roasts for the meat eaters, and everyone brought a side dish, so there was heaps of food and scrumptuous desserts. 38 people showed up, and the party lasted 4 hours.

This took place last Saturday, Mother's Day weekend, so it was also perfect for me to combine a club event with visiting my son and his wife, and my sister-in-law, leaving them free on Sunday to party with the other halves of their families. We almost aborted the party due to 2 days of torrential rain on Thursday and Friday and a forecast for Saturday of 40% rain which made a few people cancel, but we took a chance and the weather turned out beautiful. We had no choice, really, as every other weekend is scheduled with trials our members are attending.  There is no perfect weekend, really, to accomodate everyone in our club.  Someone is always trialing in agility, obedience, tracking, or some such.

For anyone interested in putting together a cajun (highly seasoned) crawfish boil, here's my recipe (which some say is "the best crawfish they ever had"):

I figure 3 lbs of crawfish per person (some won't eat them, others will eat 6 lbs, so it works out so there are no leftovers and everyone gets their fill.)
So for every 10 people, a 30 lb sack of live crawfish.
Cut up all the ingredients in advance and portion them in zip lock bags to add to each sack you boil.
1st batch:
3/4 of a 73 oz jar of Zatarans Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil
4 yellow onions, cut in half
1 bunch garlic, cut off root end and separate into toes
4 lemons, cut in half and tossed into the water, squeezed.

6 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked and cut into thirds.
1.5 lbs of fresh mushrooms
1 lb. link sausage (any kind), cut into bite sizes
2 lbs. small red potatoes, skin on, cut larger potatoes into chunks the size of the small potatoes so they cook through.

Purging: Fill a large cooler with water and mix in a box of plain salt.  When dissolved, dump a sack of live crawfish in to purge them of their mud, for about 20 minutes.  Drain the muddy water, fill cooler again to rinse, shake to agitate, then drain again.

Meanwhile, fill an 80 quart crawfish pot 2/3 with water, add the Crab Boil, onions, garlic, and lemons, and heat to a rolling boil.

Add the purged crawfish and return to a rolling boil.  The water should just cover the ingredients.

Add the corn, mushrooms, sausage and potatoes.
Boil for 2 minutes, then cut off the flame.
Soak for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally with a big wooden paddle.
Drain and serve.

Nathan and John bring batch 2 to the table.
2nd batch:
Same as above, but add only 2/3rds Crab Boil, as the first batch leaves plenty of seasoning in the water.

3rd batch:
Same as above, but add only 1/2 jar of Crab Boil or it could be too spicy.

Try it!  It's great! But you will need at least 2 strong men to lift the straining basket and drain the crawfish.  I'm mighty glad to have my two fellas.

When I got home exhausted, to my great surprise, Nathan had sneaked in and left me a beautiful Mothers Day card, a gorgeous vase and 10 gladiola stems which opened in the next few days to look like this.   On Sunday I slept in til noon while poor John had to work, then we called my Mom when John got home and found out she had a nice day too, well remembered by all her grandkids.  John presented me with 2 lovely cards on Sunday, also displayed here. It was thus a most satisfying weekend.

Next week is my wedding anniversary, so there's going to be another party and more flowers right around the corner.  Pant!  Pant! Time is flying by and I still haven't signed up for my next agility trial.  I feel the need to practice and I have to get a better handle on training Pepper!   Yikes, he's 18 months old already and while he is lots of fun, behaves at home, and does all the full height equipment at speed, he still can't weave, is easily distracted, and is lousy at sequencing. I have a lot of work to do to get him in the game.

Upwards and onward!

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