I recently chatted with Robert Medina, a retired New Orleans Firefighter and author of “If You Can’t Stand the Heat…A New Orleans Firefighters Cookbook” on twitter.
You guessed it, we were talking about food. His Bloody Mary recipe to be more precise!
I soon found out that Robert had developed Firehouse Flashover Creole Seasoning over 30 years ago. Robert thoughtfully sent me a sample and let me tell you that this seasoning it exactly what I think of when I remember the depth of flavor and spice of New Orleans food.
Even better than the seasoning is his story.
Robert came from a family of Firefighters and was known to use his seasoning and test recipes on fellow firefighters during his 24 years on the NOFD. Let me tell you that his passion for damn good food is on every page of the cookbook he sent me.
The Sauces, Stocks, and Seasonings section alone makes this book worth its weight in crawfish and corn. To say I had a hard time deciding what to make first is an understatement. There are so many amazing recipes that you just don’t find easily (at least I don’t!)
Being the HUGE okra fan that I am, I decided to go with Bob’s Smothered Okra and Tomato with Shrimp recipe (Page 142) and my house had never smelled SO good! Not only did I enjoy the finished dish, but I enjoyed the reminder of how to slow down and savor the process of making a meal memorable.
I cooked Shrimp/Seafood stock (page 57) for the first time, and instead of being intimidated, Bob’s friendly walk through made the process fun. The stock was a vital ingredient to the Smothered Okra and Tomato with Shrimp recipe but a word to the wise, beware of the white onions, they will set you back a good 15 minutes in serious eye pain. This video should help you avoid the hurt: How To Cut An Onion Without Crying – Huffington Post.
Another crucial ingredient to this recipe is applewood smoked bacon. I’m not kidding when I say that we cooked the whole package of bacon even though we only needed four strips. What can I say? I’m bacon’s bitch.
As I flip through the recipes to pick my next culinary adventure, I understand the little touches that give these dishes the complexity that is usually only found in NOLA dishes. One of those touches is Bob’s Firehouse Flashover Creole Seasoning.
Be prepared for a few fun cocktail recipes from me. I can’t wait to host a martini mixer and rely on my favorite brave taste testers to help perfect them!
The one thing I love about discovering a new product, like Bob’s seasoning, are the recipes of my own that are inspired. (I can’t wait to experiment this weekend!)
If you are on Twitter, give @MedinaLite a follow, like him on Facebook and for heaven’s sake buy a copy of ‘If You Can’t Stand the Heat’ a New Orleans Firefighter’s Cookbook*. Oh, and don’t forget to ask your local grocer to carry Firehouse Flashover Creole Seasoning, a Certified Product of Louisiana.
*Part of the proceeds from each copy of this book sold will benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.