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October / November 2014


For many years our family’s Thanksgiving dinner was somewhat of a moveable feast. The reason being is that the men in our family were such avid sportsmen that duck-hunting season ruled the day and time at which we sat down to give thanks.

Many times we gathered on the Wednesday night before Turkey Day since Papa and my brothers headed out in the wee hours the next morning to get to the blinds before the sun came up. The feast sometimes was baked turkey with all the trimmings, but it was also at times a simple, but delicious, gumbo of chicken, sausage and oysters followed by pecan pie.

Then there were occasions that, if the ducks were flying, Papa and the boys didn’t return until Friday or Saturday when another feast, if they had a good hunt, was celebrated with another repast, this one of baked duck, preceded by a course of freshly shucked oysters that they picked up in Abbeville on their way home from Pecan Island.

One year when the men were absent from the table on Thanksgiving Day, Mama emptied the freezer and we girls dined on baked redfish stuffed with a goodly amount of crabmeat and shrimp accompanied by one of our favorites, potatoes au gratin and finished off the meal with a rich lemon icebox pie made with condensed milk. Divine!

Not being a great lover of turkey, I was rarely disappointed that the old bird did not grace our holiday table. In fact, as we grew older Mama made it a point not to have Tom Turkey for Turkey Day. For three years running, she baked Cornish hens covered in a citrus glaze. There was also a period that she forsook all choice of birds, which my aunts said was almost blasphemous, and prepared things like grilled steaks, hamburgers, and yes, even shrimp poorboys! It was fun and it was, believe it or not, a welcome change from the ubiquitous rice dressing, baked sweet potatoes swathed in syrup and topped with marshmallows, and pies of pumpkin or mincemeat. There was always the inevitable Christmas feast to look forward to when we would have more than enough to fill our tummies—roast pork, baked ham, a turkey, roasted ducks, oyster patties, several vegetable dishes and of course, desserts of all kinds, pralines and fudge.

The reason for all this narrative is merely to prove my point that Thanksgiving can just as well be celebrated and enjoyed without turkey. But hey, if you like baked turkey, go ahead and have Tom Turkey for dinner. (My sister Edna loves baked turkey so much she cooks one at least once a week. At Thanksgiving, she takes a break and has seafood gumbo!)

Come on, try something different. I promise nothing bad will happen except you won’t have that turkey carcass with which to make a gumbo the following day.

Here are some ideas. Of course, it may not be for everyone. Certainly, I encourage families to gather together for a day of thanks, but if you can’t make it home this year, you might want to invite some friends who are in the same situation to share a meal together. Or, if you’re parents who are experiencing the empty-nest syndrome and the children aren’t coming home for dinner, take the opportunity to enjoy some time with your spouse and a few close friends rather than spending hours, even days, preparing a five-course meal for a cast of thousands.

For starters, why not boil a couple of pounds of shrimp, peel them, then serve them with this curry dip.


  • Makes about 1 cup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon minced onions
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Rather than the same old, same old tossed green salad, I suggest this one of pears (you can substitute apples if you wish), baby greens, blue cheese, and walnuts. The recipe can be easily doubled if you need to serve more.


  • Makes about 6 servings
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups baby salad greens (available in bags at many supermarkets)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • Toss the pears with two teaspoons of the lemon juice and set aside.

In a small clean jar, combine the remaining two tablespoons lemon juice, the oil, the mustard, and the shallots. Fit the jar with a lid and shake to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Shake again and set aside. When ready to serve, put the salad greens in a large bowl, add the pears, the cheese and the walnuts. Pour in the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately.

Instead of fowl, why not opt for a beef tenderloin or a pork loin. Check your specialty kitchen shop for the combination of black and white peppercorns. They are sold separately or sometimes combined in one package.


  • Makes 10 to 12 servings
  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the tenderloin lengthwise to within 1/2 inch of one long edge, leaving edge intact. Open the tenderloin out flat. Place a large piece of heavy-duty plastic wrap over the tenderloin and pound to flatten slightly. Remove the wrap. Spread the meat evenly with the mustard. Sprinkle evenly with half of the black and white peppercorns. Fold one side of the tenderloin back over and tie securely with kitchen twine at three-inch intervals.

Rub the tenderloin with the oil and the remaining peppercorns. Place the tenderloin on a rack in a roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the tenderloin. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until the thermometer registers 135 to 140 degrees for medium-rare; 45 to 50 minutes or until the thermometer registers 145 to 150 degrees for medium. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Sprinkle with salt to taste.

A pork loin when trimmed of fat is lean and mean. This recipe takes a little time and effort, but you will be justly rewarded.


  • Makes 8 to 10 servings
  • 1 (4 1/2 to 5 pound) pork loin, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 firm apples, cored and quartered
  • 1/2 cup hard cider
  • 1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Tie the pork loin at two-inch intervals with kitchen twine to hold its shape. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cayenne, salt and pepper and the rosemary. Rub this mixture evenly all over the loin. Heat two tablespoons of the butter in a large heavy skillet and sear the meat over high heat, turning often until evenly browned. Transfer the loin, with the pan juices to a large baking pan. Scatter the onions and garlic around the roast. Cut up the remaining butter and distribute evenly over the vegetables. Cover with foil and place in the oven.

Cook for 45 minutes, then add the apples and the cider to the pan. Baste everything with the pan juices. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees and remove the boil. Baste and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the loin to a cutting board. Carefully remove the twine and let stand for ten minute.

Meanwhile, transfer the onions and apples to a platter. On top of the stove, reduce the pan juices by half. Warm the Calvados and CAREFULLY pour into the pan. It should flame, then die down. Keep a pan lid nearby in case the Calvados flares up. Simmer the sauce while you slice the pork loin. Arrange the meat over the apples and onions and serve with the sauce.

These potatoes can accompany either meat dishes.


  • Makes 8 to 10 servings
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 large baking potatoes (about 3 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine 1/2 cup of the cheese, the salt, garlic powder, nutmeg, and the pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Layer one-third of the potatoes in a lightly greased 12x8x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle half of the seasoning mixture over the potatoes. Repeat layers with potatoes and seasoning mix, ending with potatoes. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining two tablespoons cheese. Combine the cream and the water and pour over the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for about one hour, or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.

Remove and cool a few minutes before serving.

Since the potatoes are rich, I suggest something simple for another side dish.


  • Makes about 10 servings
  • 3 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and rinsed in cool water
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add salt. Bring to a boil, add the beans, reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about eight minutes, or just until beans are slightly tender. Drain, then plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Drain again.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and beans and toss to coat. Cook for one to two minute just to heat through. Add the dill and season with salt and pepper. Toss again and serve. Serve French bread, dinner rolls, or biscuits with the meal.

And now for dessert. Holidays, after all, are for splurging!

If you have a favorite dessert recipe, by all means make it, or have your friendly baker do the honors and order something sinfully rich. My choice is a praline parfait, the recipe for which I pinched from Commander’s Palace.


  • Makes about 12 servings
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped roasted pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash of grated nutmeg
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • French vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • Chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)

Mix together the corn syrups, pecans, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Put two tablespoons of the praline sauce in the bottom of 12 parfait (or large wine) glasses. Put two scoops of ice cream on top of the sauce, then top with a generous amount of the sauce. Put a dollop of whipped cream on top and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Have a great Thanksgiving and don’t forget to give thanks!

September/October 2014


When cooler weather arrives in south Louisiana, I can’t think of anything more inviting on a cold winter night than a hearty soup, gumbo or stew. When the wind is blowing out of the north and the dampness creeps into my bones, I instinctively pull out either Papa’s old soup pot or his favorite big black iron pot, and sometimes both.

When the mood strikes and time is on my side, I may well have vegetable soup, some type of bean soup and my personal favorite, chicken and sausage gumbo, simmering for the better part of an afternoon. When it’s a stew I hunger for, my choice is chicken fricassee—thick, brown and full of flavor.

To go along with my soups, gumbos and stews, I usually opt for crusty, hot French bread, but then again, I do love skillet corn bread and saltine crackers, all spread liberally with butter, not margarine, real butter.

To complete my repast, I need nothing more than perhaps a mixed green salad tossed with a tart vinaigrette and a simple dessert like baked apples, poached pears or butter cookies.

Come on, Old Man Winter, I’m ready for you.


  • Makes about 6 quarts
  • 2 pounds brisket, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Salt, cayenne, black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 quarts beef broth
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 to 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 cup cut green beans
  • 1 medium turnip, chopped
  • 3 cups canned whole tomatoes, crushed with their liquid
  • 6 ounces curly vermicelli (optional)

Put the brisket in a large soup pot with salt, cayenne, black pepper, basil, bay leaves and beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about one hour, or until the brisket becomes tender. Add the onions, carrots, celery, cabbage, beans, turnips and tomatoes. Simmer for about one hour. Add the vermicelli and cook for about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings and skim off any fat that has risen to the surface.

Papa liked to eat his bean soup with a couple of spoonfuls of rice, a fistful of finely chopped green onions and a generous dousing of hot sauce.


  • Makes about 8 servings
  • 1 pound Great Northern beans, rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1/2 pound salt pork or ham pieces (or a ham bone)
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed with their liquid
  • 4 quarts chicken broth or water
  • Salt, cayenne and black pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. If you like a creamy soup, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon during the last half hour of cooking time.

I’m going to assume that most of you have your own version for chicken fricassee and here is mine. I’ve always believed that a roasting chicken, not a fryer, is the secret to a rich flavor. And instead of a green salad, I usually opt for a creamy, potato salad to go along with it.


  • Makes about 8 servings
  • 1 roasting chicken, about 4 1/2 pounds, cut into serving pieces
  • Salt and cayenne to taste
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken broth (amount depends on desired thickness)
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley

Season the chicken generously with salt and cayenne. Set aside.

Make a roux by combining the oil and the flour in a large cast-iron pot over medium heat and stirring constantly until the roux is a dark brown. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook for about five to eight minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the chicken pieces. Stir to mix well with the roux mixture. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

Add the broth and stir to blend. Add the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 2 hours. Just before serving, remove the bay leaves and add the parsley. Serve over steamed rice.

Cooler weather also means our local oysters will be in season.


  • Makes 6 servings
  • 1 stick butter
  • ¾ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups warm chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 1 pint shucked Louisiana oysters with their liquor (if possible, you want to have about ½ cup liquor)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and allow to melt while stirring. Add the flour and whisk to blend. Slowly add the warm chicken broth, whisking to blend. The mixture will thicken. Add the Cajun seasoning, hot sauce, thyme and paprika. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the oysters and their liquor, the artichoke hearts, and parsley. Cook until the oysters curl, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

*You can sprinkle a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese when you ladle the soup into bowls if you like.

July/August 2014


Summer is for seafood as far as I’m concerned. And what makes it better is catching it yourself. I’ve made several trips to Marsh Island, where Vermilion Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico, in the past few weeks and they have all been fruitful. My buddy Pat and I always leave just when the sun is peeking out of the eastern sky.

The ritual is always the same—stop to get bait, ice, and a big, warm sausage biscuit at the convenience store before heading out to Cypremort Point to launch his Boston Whaler in which we have stowed our crab traps, cast nets, two ice chests (one to chill our water and soft drinks, and one for our catch) and a small tote bag with our sandwiches and chips. Oh, happy day!

On a good day, we usually have a few dozen crabs and several pounds of shrimp by mid-morning. We eat our lunch in the shade of the scraggly oaks and discuss the possibilities for dinner. By mid-summer, we’ve gone through our seafood repertoire (shrimp stew, boiled crabs, crab cakes and seafood salad) and try to be a little creative. This year, our friend Johnny has been supplying us with sweet corn, which we’ve paired with our shrimp.


  • Makes about 8 servings
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 lemon (squeezed – you should have about 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice)
  • 3 pounds medium-size shrimp (peeled but leave the tail on)
  • 1/2 cup minced red onions
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels (frozen can be substituted)
  • 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise (about
  • Hot sauce
  • Toasted French bread slices

Combine the salt and cayenne in a pot of water (about 1/2 gallon) and bring to a boil. Squeeze one of the lemons over the water, then drop in the rinds. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the shrimp. Simmer until the shrimp are bright pink and the tails have curled, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. Remove the tails. You can leave the tails whole, or cut each in two or three pieces.

*If using frozen corn, put it into a colander and run hot tap water to defrost.

Drain well.

Combine the shrimp, corn, onions, celery and dill in a large salad bowl.

Combine the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice with the mayonnaise and whisk to blend.

Add the mayonnaise to the shrimp mixture and toss gently to coat evenly. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and chill for at least one hour.

When serving, pass the hot sauce at the table with the toasted French bread slices.

This was a favorite of my father’s. He cleaned the crab shells so he could stuff them with the crabmeat mixture. If you don’t want to go to the trouble, you can put the crabmeat mixture in small ramekins or other baking dishes.


Makes 8 to 10 servings
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, melted
  • 5 cups soft breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and cayenne

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the eggs, onions, lemon juice and crabmeat in a bowl. Add 1 cup of the melted butter, about 4 cups of the breadcrumbs and the parsley. Toss gently to mix well. Season with salt and cayenne.

Spoon the mixture into cleaned crab shells or baking dishes. Sprinkle each with equal amounts of breadcrumbs.

Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. To brown the tops, put under the broiler for a minute or two. Serve hot.

If you want something cool, this salad will fit the bill.


Makes about 8 servings


  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Creole mustard
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed


  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 cups fresh yellow corn kernels (about 4 ears)
  • 1 cup lump crabmeat or 1 cup chopped boiled shrimp
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1⁄2 cup sliced red onions
  • 1⁄2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1⁄2 cup hearts of palm, cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Combine the dressing ingredients in jar and shake vigorously to blend. Cook the orzo in large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Add the corn and cook about 2 minutes more or until the pasta is still firm to the bite. Drain and place in large bowl.

Add half the dressing and toss to coat. Cool a bit, then add the remaining ingredients and the rest of the dressing and toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

These are fun to serve at a casual gathering. Pass these around or put them on a buffet table with tartar sauce.


Makes about 3 dozen
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives or green onions (green parts only)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 pounds medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the shrimp, in a shallow dish.

Thread the shrimp on six-inch bamboo skewers and place in the marinade.

Refrigerate for two to three hours, turning the skewers several times to coat the shrimp evenly.

Remove the shrimp from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Put the shrimp on a lightly greased rack of a broiler pan. Broil about six inches from the heat for three to four minutes on each side, basting once or twice. Serve hot or cold.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoon chopped green onions
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine the egg, garlic, lemon juice, parsley and green onions in a food processor and pulse several times to blend.

With the motor running, pour the oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Add the cayenne, mustard and salt and pulse to blend.

Put into an airtight container and chill for at least 1 hour before using.

Best if used within 24 hours due to the raw egg.

May/June 2014


FOR May June 2014

By Marcelle Bienvenu

It’s time to head out to catch some crabs on Marsh Island, an uninhibited low-lying marshy island between Vermilion Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Just in case you aren’t familiar with this beautiful place, it’s bordered on the south by the Gulf and is separated from mainland Louisiana by East Cote Blanche Bay to the east, West Cote Blanche Bay to its north, Vermilion Bay to its northwest, and Southwest Pass to the west.

I’m waiting for a call from my fishing buddy Pat Caffery who gets antsy this time of year to put his Boston Whaler, the Lucky Baby, into the water.  When we meet at the boat landing at Cypremort Point, I can count of Pat to have a couple of crab nets, two cast nets and a bag of chicken necks.  His ice chest is usually filled with tuna fish sandwiches and deviled eggs, cold drinks and lots of ice.

After donning out life jackets, we head out of the canal into the open water of Vermilion Bay. Ah, it’s good to be on the salt! There is usually a good breeze making for a little choppy water, but that doesn’t bother us at all

Once in the marsh, we head to one of the dams on the island and hope are early enough to get a place to put out our baited crab nets while we take turns casting nets for shrimp. I spot an alligator nosing around the edge of a shell beach. Herons and gulls swoop down on the water catching their breakfast.

Oops! I see the line pull tart on one of the nets. Wow! Six large crabs in one trap. Our luck holds, and in a matter of a couple of hours, we have over three dozen crabs and about 2 pounds of still-jumping shrimp. Enough for supper. But what will it be? A crab and shrimp stew. Or should we make shrimp cocktails and follow up with crab patties with tartar sauce?  We discuss the possibilities while we take a break under a shrub oak and eat lunch. If we netted a few more shrimp, we could also make a small batch of shrimp beignets!


  • Makes 6 to 8 servings
  • 1 dozen crabs, scalded
  • 1 ½ pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (heads and shells reserved)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped bell peppers
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and cayenne to taste
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Cooked rice for serving

Pull the back off the crabs, clean out the dead man fingers, lungs and center of the crabs.  If there is any fat in the crabs, scoop it out with your fingers and put in a small bowl.  Crack the claws, but do not remove the shells.  Break the crab bodies in half.  Set aside. 

Peel and devein the shrimp.  Put the heads and shells in a large pot with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour. 

            Meanwhile, c

ombine the oil and flour in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.  Stirring slowly and constantly, make a dark brown roux.  Add the onions, bell peppers and celery, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add the bay leaves. 

Strain the shrimp stock.  You should have 4 to 5 cups of stock.  Add enough water to make 6 cups.  Add to the roux mixture and stir to blend. Season with salt and cayenne.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. 

Add the reserved crab bodies (and any reserved crab fat) and simmer for 20 minutes, then add the lump crabmeat and shrimp.  Cook for 10 minutes longer.  Remove from the heat and add the parsley.  Serve hot with rice in bowls. 


Makes about 2 dozen

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups solid vegetable shortening

Seasoning mix (combination of 1/8 each of salt, cayenne, black pepper and garlic powder)

            Season the eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne.  Heat the two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp turn pink.  Remove and set aside to cool.

            Combine the eggs, milk, baking powder, and the remaining one teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne in a mixing bowl.  Add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, beating until the batter is smooth.  Add the eggplant and shrimp mixture and fold to mix.

            Heat the shortening in a deep pot or deep fryer to 360 degrees.  Drop the batter, a heaping tablespoon at a time, into the hot oil.  When the beignets pop to the surface, roll them around in the oil to brown them evenly.  Drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle with the seasoning mix and serve immediately with tartar sauce.

Here is a quick recipe for boiled shrimp AND homemade tartar sauce.


  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 large lemon, quartered
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup cayenne
  • 3 pounds shrimps (leave peelings and heads on)
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup cool water

Put the water, lemon, onion and cayenne in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil for five minutes.  Add the shrimp and bring the water back to boil.  Boil for three minutes.  Remove from heat and add the salt and the cool water.  Cover and let stand for three to five minutes.  Time will vary according to the size of the shrimp.  Drain.  Cool for a few minutes before serving. 


  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoon chopped green onions
  •  1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  •  1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Put the egg, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and green onions in a food processor. Pulse several times to puree. With the processor running, pour in the oil through the food tube in a steady stream. The mixture will thicken. Add the cayenne, mustard and salt, Pulse to blend. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.

Because this is made with raw eggs, it’s best to use the mixture within 24 hours.