Peter and I filled my planters on the front porch with some summer plants. He is making a farmer out of me after all. I have to admit, the colors look really pretty. I usually plant something green that will live until I get of tired of covering it up in the winter. Who knows what we have planned next week.

We did go to the Wayside Pub to have my favorite ruben sandwich before they had to close the dining room. We planted all day then went there to have dinner before he headed back to the big city of Houston … God love him!

We were sitting outside just talking after we ate, and this cute couple parked in front of us with a baby girl in her car seat and her big brother. The family was decked out in green, as it was the St. Patrick’s Day.

Peter is a baby lover like you have never seen before. He asked the dad if we could see the baby. They graciously agreed, and when we looked into the baby seat, we saw the sweetest little baby girl who looked up us just smiling the biggest smile ever. We cooed and offered to baby sit while they ate. (They just laughed, so we took that as a no). But we also told the big brother how cute he looked in his green striped socks and what a cute boy he was.

I hope they didn’t think we were a couple of idiots. I hope they thought of us as a way past middle aged couple that loves babies. Remember, we had been planting all day, so we didn’t look like we were nice and fresh. So whoever you were. Thank you for letting us ooh and aah over your sweet children!

n n n

I got this note from Marlyn Monette, who wrote at least two cookbooks that some of you bought. She lives in Shreveport, Lousiana. Believe me, we would love to live next door to her, too, just like some other readers who send in mouthwatering recipes.

Hi Gin,

Got to tell you my newest discovery! If you want a quick taste treat, buy a can of Campbell’s Tomato Bisque Soup. Heat it and add a small amount of basil (if you like — I did) and about 2 tablespoons cream or dry sherry. Heat it and enjoy with a grilled cheese sandwich (we use thin Pepperidge Farms bread). If doesn’t get any better that the flavors combined.

This is the best tomato soup I have ever tasted. Friday night I was making shrimp creole and realized I had no tomato sauce — a must for this recipe. I added instead one can of the Tomato Basil Soup, plus 1/2 can of water. O.M.G.! IT WAS DIVINE — BEST I EVER MADE.

Love you, precious friend. You need to share this with your readers.

M.

P.S. The shrimp creole is in book one (I think) and is my daughter Debbie’s recipe.

My dearest friend Marlyn Monette, you are so right about your daughter’s shrimp creole being in book one. I am going to give the readers a treat and print it for them.

Deb’s Shrimp Creole

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons flour

5 tablespoons Crisco oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 cup celery, chopp

1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped

6 to 8 green onions, chopped

1 can (8-ounce) tomato sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco

2 pounds raw, medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

DIRECTIONS

Add flour to oil in heavy Dutch oven and cook on medium heat, making a rich, dark roux, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add remaining ingredients except shrimp and season to taste. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer slowly for 30 to 40 minutes. Add shrimp and cook slowly for another 20 minutes. Serve with fluffy, steamed rice. Yield: Six servings.

Thanks to you, Marlyn, for putting it your cookbook, and thanks to your daughter Deb for making it for us. It sounds so easy.

My only comment to the readers who make this recipe is: Be patient when making the roux. If you scorch it, it will certainly give your Creole a flavor you won’t like.

On the opposite page, I saw a recipe that really appeals to me. So maybe someone else will like it to. It is on page 84 of the first cookbook for those of you who bought her cookbooks.

French Shrimp in Shells

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk, pepper and paprika, to taste

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 1/2 pounds boiled shrimp

2/3 cup grated Parmesan

DIRECTIONS

Melt butter and stir in flour. Add milk slowly and stir until thickened. Stir in spices, shrimp, and sherry. Pour into baking shells or ramekins and sprinkle with Parmesan. Broil until cheese turns a golden/brown color. Serve immediately. Yield: Four servings.

Man that sounds good. Let me add this: Do not use cooking sherry! Gut it up and make a trip to the store and buy the drinking sherry. The cheapest you can find will work just fine. That’s my take and not Marlyn’s. But I would bet the farm she would agree with me.

Another good thing about this dish is you don’t have to mess with peeling the shrimp. Your guests get the honors! Love it!

If you have recipes or tips to share, or a request, send to Conversations with Gin, P.O. Box 334, Clute TX. 77531, or ginscolumn@hotmail.com.

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