Sunday, March 28, 2010

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Crawfish Boil in NYC

I'd seen 24, 24, 24 proposal requests from Foodbuzz many times, but was always busy the day it was to happen. This month was different; I checked my schedule to find I was free, and I really wanted to participate.

What's 24, 24, 24? Foodbuzz, a food blogger community I belong to, showcases posts from 24 bloggers around the world, highlighting 24 unique meals happening around the world, all within 24 hours. When I got the email asking for proposals this month, I had only one thing on my mind. Crawfish.

Much like a beloved food blogger in New York City, I am a fellow Homesick Texan. I miss the variety of foods from around the Gulf Coast. Among the many foods I miss, crawfish is at the top. I remember St. Patrick's Day marking the start of crawfish season in the area, and there were many times my family bonded over buckets of the well-seasoned crustacean among a bed of spiced corn on the cob and potatoes.

For this month's 24, 24, 24, I wanted to share that favorite pastime with extended family members in New York by flying in live crawfish from Louisiana and having a crawfish boil in my own apartment in Long Island City. I invited my sister-in-law Jenn, her sister-in-law Nina, and all the husbands to join the fun. Nina brought her Flip to document the process, and I even had my friend Irene help photograph the event.

If you're interested in having your own crawfish boil in an apartment, follow the steps below. You won't regret it one bit.

Update: Nina just sent me her video, and it rocks! Thanks a bunch, Nina!

Crawfish Boil With Talida from Christina Jeng on Vimeo.

Crawfish Boil

Live crawfish (3-5 pounds per person)
Large steamer pot with basket
Seafood boil
Red potatoes (at least 2 per person)
Corn on the cob (at least 2 per person)
Newspaper, bibs, paper towels


1. Order live crawfish from the Louisiana Crawfish Co. Get the party pack if you won't be able to make the spices on your own; I did and it tasted pretty good. Upon arrival of crawfish, immediately open and inspect for movement to make sure the crawfish are mostly alive.

2. Fill steamer pot with water and bring to boil. Once boiling, dump in seafood boil according to package directions. Add potatoes and corn and boil for 15 minutes.

3. While water is boiling, purge the crawfish. This cleans the bayou goo from the critters. Dump crawfish into a sink or big bin, fill with water and drain. Add salt liberally to the soak, and rinse a couple more times as wanted.

4. Boil the crawfish for 5-10 minutes in the steamer basket. Potatoes and corn should be ready along with the first batch of crawfish.

5. Put on some Zydeco music. You can't eat crawfish without it. I used Pandora to create a Zydeco playlist, and it really set the mood. Serve a lot of beer (we had a great assortment of hefeweizen) and continue to boil crawfish in batches.

6. Instruct friends and family how to eat crawfish, complete with sucking all the good stuff from the crawfish heads.

7. Eat, drink, and enjoy. Here are the newlyweds enjoying their first crawfish boil!

The seasoned married couple and crawfish eaters going at it.

The women were still eating so the husbands graciously shelled the rest of the crawfish for later use.

Oh, the aftermath of the crawfish boil. Lining all eating surfaces with newspaper makes for a really easy cleanup.

I was very pleased with the quality of service from Louisiana Crawfish Co. They were fresh, they were huge, and the spices were spot on. From now on, when I start to complain about not being able to get crawfish in the Big Apple, I'll look back on this post and remember that a good ol' fashioned crawfish boil is not impossible, even in a tiny apartment in LIC.


irene said...

it was yummy. thanks for my first crawfish experience!

Tiny Urban Kitchen said...

Congrats on 24, 24, 24! That looks fantastic - sorry I couldn't make it!

lisa said...

oh I've been craving one of these for the past 4 years!! looks delicious :)

talida said...

@irene - Glad you liked it, and thanks for helping photograph!

@Tiny Urban Kitchen - No worries! Participating in 24, 24, 24 was lots of fun :)

@lisa - Now you know you can have one anywhere! I definitely want to do this again.

andrew said...

Amazing... loved the video too.

Cheryl said...

that looks soo delicious! I miss the ones i tried while visiting houston for your wedding too.

Natty said...

There must be something in the water-- my 24,24,24 was on a similar theme! Your mudbugs look delicious!

talida said...

@andrew - Video adds so much, doesn't it?

@Cheryl - I'm glad our friends have gotten to experience crawfish between Houston 2 years ago and now!

@Natty - I know! We're totally on the same wavelength.

sophia said...

AWESOME! My bro will flip out. We were just talking abt how we want to go to Maine for the crustacean feast!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This looks like so much fun! I've never had crawfish like this, and would love to try this someday.

talida said...

@sophia - I'm thinking of a Maine trip myself this summer!

@Fresh Local and Best - I hope you someday will! As you can see, I highly recommend it. :)

andrew said...

Tim needs to get a flip video camera so that he can film more segments for you. It really brings the cooking experience to life.

PS: It's "peel" - spelling nazi strikes again.

melissa said...

was in NOLA this last weekend and watched a crawfish eating contest... we thought of you.

Suzee said...

Love the video! The editing was perfect!

Of course the food looked amazing too - I'm a big seafood lover, and although I'm not a big head sucker, I do love those tails!

So - you don't have to make sure *all* the crawfish are alive?? I'm from the northeast originally, and have always been taught that shell fish must be alive prior to cooking. I guess those mudbugs are a little more flexible :) Good to know!

Thanks for the great post!!

talida said...

@andrew - Thank you.
@melissa - We got your gifts in the mail! Thank you!!
@Suzee - Oh, you're absolutely right about the shellfish being alive prior to cooking. Since it can be hard to tell whether or not it's alive, we have a way to tell after they're cooked: throw out any crawfish with a straight tail, which signifies it was already dead prior to cooking. That was an important piece of information I left out, so thank you for asking!

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I love crawfish boils! My friend Tammy, who is from Louisiana, brought back 25lbs of crawfish boil last May and it totally wowed me.