I became inspired to bring about some decorative seasonal elements to my home today. I’ve been wanting to add in the textures and tones of this season, so I lit my gifted Waterford candle and got to work.
If you’re a wine person like me, adding some color and depth may come a little easier than you know. In years past, for home decor, my wedding, and more, I’ve taken wine bottles from my vast collection and have made something special out of them. My personal favorite: spray painting them for an elegant and updated unique or seasonal look.
I guess finally cleaning off my dining room table brought about the “right now” inspiration to move about, but I have been pretty inspired to get the ball rolling here for a few days now. In my quest to clean and decorate, I recalled that I’d had enough spray paint from a few Christmas seasons ago. Just a few moments before sundown, I found myself (and my dog who was rolling around in dirt piles from my garden plants) outside spray painting my old wine bottles from a purple and silver color to a gloriously elegant seasonal gold.
Within minutes, I’d had something special. I grabbed some of my old decorative friends – eucalyptus, chargers, decorative pine cones that I’d picked and decorated myself, and place settings. Tip: if you’ve previously bought eucalyptus for the seasonal scents, save them – don’t throw ’em away! Each year, simply gently wipe them down with a wet cloth and the scent will revive itself (you’re welcome)!
Just In Time for Dinner
My husband had asked for me to make fried shrimp tonight so that he can make a Po’Boy-like sandwich, but I decided to go all-the-way, making seared shrimp, fried Cajun shrimp, French fries, and fried chicken breasts so that we can have ‘spicy’ chicken sandwiches 😊.
Dinner was great! I decided to double batter the chicken to give it that extra crispy texture. Here are my ingredients:
Fried Chicken & Fried Cajun Shrimp
3/4 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Hearty Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Regular Pinch Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Sprinkle of Tony’s Creole Seasoning (for Fried Cajun Shrimp)
Evaporated Milk (or Buttermilk)
Large Bowl Ice Water (Fried Chicken)
4 Large Pieces of Chicken
1 LB Large White Shrimp
3-4 Large Russet Potatoes
Cooling Oil (peanut, canola, or vegetable – I used peanut oil)
How I Did It
I don’t keep Buttermilk on hand in my kitchen because it would just spoil, but I do keep 1% milk frozen and evaporated milk in the can. Since it was kind of on the fly today, I chose to use evaporated milk.
Marinate chicken in evaporated milk for 1 hour (sprinkle with salt and black pepper).
Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl (minus Tony’s Creole Seasoning).
Remove chicken from milk (set aside), add 2 eggs, and whisk. Coat chicken in wet mixture one-by-one, then cover them in the dry mixture and set aside (I used a glass cutting board).
In a large bowl filled with ice water, dip each piece of chicken in briefly and set aside in a smaller bowl (to drain off excess water). Re-coat chicken in wet mixture, then re-cover them in the dry mixture. This will give your finished fry that extra light and crispy crust. Mmmmm!
In your skillet (or Dutch Oven or deep fryer – I used Dutch Oven), heat oil to 325 degrees. Fry each piece of chicken until thoroughly cooked at 165 degrees. Remove from oil and place on baking rack or atop napkins to drain excess oil.
Making homemade French fries is probably much easier than you think. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into about 1/4-inch pieces. Place in mixing bowl and season with simple pinches of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Place in heated oil and fry for about 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt once removed from oil.
The Shrimp – Seared
After rinse and draining, lay shrimp flat to ensure most or all water is removed (I used wooden cutting board). Press dry paper towels atop for additional drying.
In a bowl, season a portion of the shrimp with pinches of salt, black pepper, Old Bay, Onion powder, and garlic powder.
Let seasoning set for a few minutes.
Then, in a lightly oiled skillet, sear shrimp on each side for 1-2 minutes or until bright reddish-pink color. The goal is to make a beautiful sweet and savory crust on the shrimp from the heated sear.
The Shrimp – Fried Cajun
In a bowl, add a very light sprinkle of Tony’s Creole seasoning and toss/mix shrimp.
Coat each piece of shrimp in wet mixture (marinate for a few minutes if you’d like) one-by-one then cover them in the dry mixture.
Place them in your deep fryer for about 1 minute. If in skillet, use a small layer of oil and fry on each side for about 1-2 minutes.
On a Brioche bun, dress your chicken sandwiches with melted sharp cheddar cheese, dill pickles, and your favorite spread. I chose Chick-fil-A’s Polynesian Sauce as my spread. My husband selected mayo.
For your Cajun Po’Boy (or fried shrimp without the bun), dress with melted sharp cheddar and tartar sauce.
After dinner, I was able to place the finishing touches on my dining room table: folded, textured fabric napkins with my handpicked decorative pinecones and special dessert wine glasses. I even did a photo shoot 😎!
Today’s events were truly a blessing and a joy for me to experience, and I am inspired to be filled with so much more.
How do you become inspired?