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The Fourth of July, possibly the quintessential American celebration and the only big holiday of the summer season, is a grand excuse for a party with family and friends.

My husband really gets into the spirit. He puts out not one or two, but three American flags on various flagpoles around the yard. Small American flags on sticks are jabbed into flowerpots, window boxes, and in the flower bed that borders the driveway. Red, white and blue bunting adorns our pier and party barge. Mounds of red, white and blue napkins and paper plates are always at the ready. He even found twenty-four matching bright blue glass goblets that he thinks are just the thing to set the mood for the holiday.

He also likes to plan the menu to include lots of red items—strawberries, watermelons and lobsters. Blueberries, and drinks he’s christened with names like Blue Parrots and Blue Lagoons represent blue. And white can be anything from homemade vanilla ice cream to angel food cakes.

Burgers are always fun and welcome for any outdoor occasion. All that is necessary is to prep the meat patties, toss them on the grill, and supply condiments and buns for everyone to dress their own.

Since I’m a great burger fan, I have several of my personal favorites that just might inspire you for the Fourth, or for any summertime occasion.

Spicy burgers
Makes 6 servings
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 6 hamburger buns, lightly toasted
In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, oregano, hot sauce and barbecue sauce. Season with salt and black pepper. Mix well, but do not overwork. Shape into patties. Grill (or broil in the oven) the meat to five to six minutes on each side, or until all pink disappears. Don’t press down on them with a spatula! You’re draining all the taste out!

Place the burgers on the toasted buns and dress.

Blue cheese burgers
Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound lean ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 to 6 toasted buns
Combine the beef, pork, chives, salt, pepper, soy sauce and olive oil in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Shape the mixture into patties. Then, make a pocket in the center of each patty and fill each with a tablespoon of the blue cheese. Close the pocket by pinching the meat together. Grill for five to six minutes on each side, or until all pink disappears. Serve on toasted buns.

This final recipe is one of my favorites. I like dousing the burgers, as I eat, with lots of hot sauce!

California burgers
Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound lean veal
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 medium-size ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 4 to 6 toasted buns
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meats, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well and shape into patties. Grill (or broil) for five to six minutes on each side, or until all pink disappears.

In a small bowl, combine the avocados, lime juice, hot sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Spread the avocado mixture on the buns and place a hamburger patty on top. Dress with grilled onions or tomatoes, or whatever strikes your fancy!
And what could be better than a cool coleslaw to serve with the burgers.

Best coleslaw
Makes 6 to 8 servings
  • 2 cups shredded white cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded spinach
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
Toss the cabbage, spinach, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, and parsley in a large salad bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar and mix well.
Add the mixture to the salad bowl and toss to mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Red, White and Blue Cheesecake
Makes 10 to 12 servings

  • 28 chocolate wafers, ground fine in a blender or food processor (about 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries or strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
To make the crust, stir together the cookie crumbs and the butter until the mixture is well blended. Pat the mixture onto the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Chill for 30 minutes. For the filling, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl with an electric mixture beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture is well blended. Beat in the flour and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream, the zests, the salt and vanilla until all is well blended.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake the cheesecake in a foil-lined shallow baking pan in the middle of the oven for one hour and 10 minutes. The cheesecake will not be completely set, but will set as it cools. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake stand in the oven with the oven door propped open about six inches until it is cooled completely. Cover and chill the cheesecake for at least six hours.

Remove from pan. Arrange the raspberries or strawberries on top of the cheesecake in a star shape. Then arrange the blueberries around the star to cover the top of the cheesecake. To serve, cut into thin slices.
Hope you enjoy your 4th of July!


Vive la France! Don’t put away those red, white and blue decorations from the Fourth of July just yet. Just exchange out the American flags for French flags and you’re set to celebrate Bastille Day (July 14) to commemorate the French Revolution. With so many of us of French descent or with a French connection, it’s yet another reason to have another summer celebration.

Break out the best of your French champagne, or offer aperitifs to stimulate the appetite, and serve a festive hors d’ouevre that can be as simple as rillettes de saumon fume, (a smoked salmon spread) or the best store-bought pate you can find. Follow with a very French (but simple) dinner of Steak au Poivre, Pommes Pailles, and Tomatoes Provencale.

Makes 4 appetizer servings
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon
  • 3 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions, white part only
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill plus dill sprigs for garnish
  • Toast points or croutons
In a food processor puree two thirds of the salmon with the creme fraiche or sour cream, the butter and the zest and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Chop the remaining salmon and stir it into the mixture with the green onions, lemon juice, salt, cayenne and the snipped dill. Using two teaspoons dipped in cold water form spoonfuls of the rillettes into oval mounds, arranging three mounds on each of four small plates. (The rillettes may be made one day in advance and keep covered and chilled in the refrigerator.) Garnish the rillettes with the dill sprigs and serve with toast points or croutons.

Makes 4 servings
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 4 (1/2-pound) beef fillets, each about 3/4 inch thick
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Cayenne
  • Watercress or parsley sprigs for garnish
Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or in a peppermill. Press the pepper into both sides of the steaks. Season the steaks with salt to taste. In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil and the butter over moderately high heat until the foam subsides. Add the steaks and cook for two to two and one half minutes on each side, or until they are just springy to the touch, for medium-rare, or longer if you prefer the steaks to be medium. Transfer the steaks to a platter and keep them warm. Pour off almost all of the oil in the skillet. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until it softened. Add the Cognac and cook until the mixture is reduced to a glaze on the bottom of the pan. Add the broth and boil until the mixture is reduced by half. Add the cream and boil the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is thickened slightly. Season the sauce with salt and cayenne to taste. Pour the sauce into a warmed sauceboat. Garnish the steaks with the watercress or parsley and serve the sauce separately.

Makes 4 servings
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet (baking) potatoes
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Salt, cayenne and fresh ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes and drop them into a large bowl of ice water. With a mandoline or similar slicing device, cut the potatoes lengthwise into very thin sticks, dropping the sticks as they are cut into the bowl of water. Toss the potatoes in the water to wash off excess starch, drain, then pat them dry between several layers of paper towels. Heat the oil to about 360 degrees F. and deep fry the potatoes in small batches for about two minutes, or until they are golden. Remove each batch and drain them on paper towels. Season the potatoes with salt, cayenne and black pepper. (The potatoes can be made several hours in advance. Just before serving spread them in a large roasting pan and heat them in a 325 degrees F. oven for five to 10 minutes, or until they are crisp and hot.)

Makes 4 servings
  • 4 medium, ripe tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for brushing the tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 flat anchovy fillet, rinsed, dried and minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and black pepper
Cut off the top third from each tomato and discard. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Brush the outside of the tomatoes with some of the olive oil. Put the tomatoes, cut sides up, on a lightly oiled shallow baking pan and season the inside of the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Bake the tomatoes in a preheated 325 degrees F. oven for 20 minutes. Remove and invert them over paper towels and let them drain for about 15 minutes. In a small bowl toss together the bread crumbs, the anchovy, garlic, Parmesan, parsley, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture equally among the tomatoes and stuff into the cavities. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the three tablespoons of olive oil. Return the tomatoes to the shallow baking pan and broil about four inches from the heat for about two to three minutes, or until the topping is crisp and golden brown.


Bring on summer! I’m ready for a sno-ball, cold beer (make mine Abita Amber), a dip in the pool, a boat ride on the bayou, and crabs prepared every which way.

About this time of year as soon as school is out, a cousin of mine and I head out to Vermilion Bay to put out the crab traps, baited with chicken necks, on the pier of our camp. In between checking the traps, we sometimes sink a line in the slate-gray salty water in hopes of catching a redfish or speckled trout, or even a stray flounder. Fresh fish and crabmeat make for a great dinner pairing.

Makes 6 servings
  • 6 fillets of trout or redfish, 6 to 8 ounces each
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 pound fresh white button mushrooms, wiped clean, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 pound small shrimp (peeled and deveined) or 1 pound lump crabmeat (picked over for shells and cartilage)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup fine dried bread crumbs (more or less as needed)
  • 1/2 pint half-and-half
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Gently pound the fillets a bit to make them lie flat. Sprinkle with lemon juice and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp or crabmeat and basil, and season with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Add ¾ cup of the chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and stir so that the mixture binds together. Remove from the heat and cool.

Place a tablespoon or so of the mixture on top of the fish fillet and roll up like a jelly roll. (You may have to use a toothpick to hold the roll together.) Place the roulades in a shallow baking pan with the remaining ¼ cup chicken broth and the half-and half. Dot with the remaining butter. Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.

For a quick sauce, combine 1/4 cup Creole mustard and 1/4 cup mayonnaise and mix well. Drizzle the sauce on the roulades as they come out of the oven.

If we’re lucky enough, we will catch enough crabs to enjoy both a crab boil AND a chilled crabmeat salad plopped on thick slices of ripe tomatoes.


Makes 4 servings
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 dashes hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Creole mustard
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. The salad can be served atop a mound of salad greens, on thick slices of tomatoes, or in an avocado half. It can also be served as an hors d’ouevre, with crackers or toast points.

If you’ve never had soft-shell crabs, then please give yourself a real treat. (You can purchase them on this website.)

This recipe does take a little time to pull together, but it’s time well spent.


Makes 6 servings
  • 6 jumbo soft-shell crabs
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 cups stale bread crumbs
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 (3-ounce) jar diced pimientos
  • Flour for dredging
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups cracker meal
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying
Clean the soft-shell crabs by cutting across the face with a pair of kitchen shears. Remove the eye sockets and the lower mouth. Carefully lift up the apron and remove the gills. Gently rinse with cool water and pat dry.

Cook the green onions, garlic, crabmeat, and shrimp in the wine for several minutes over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and the bread crumbs. Stir to mix. Add the mushrooms, egg yolks and pimientos. Mix gently. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Chill the stuffing for at least one hour or until firm.

Carefully lift the shoulders on each crab and gently press about one tablespoon of the stuffing into this area. Press the shoulders down to hold the stuffing. Be careful not to break off any of the legs of the crabs. Lay the crabs on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne.

Combine the flour with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper in a shallow bowl. In a mixing bowl combine the buttermilk and the eggs. Whisk to blend. Put the cracker meal in another shallow bowl.

Heat the oil to 360 degrees in a deep pot.

Dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour, then dip them in the buttermilk mixture. Then dredge them in the cracker meal, making sure that the legs are well breaded.

Hold each crab by the body, allowing the legs to dip into the hot oil for a few seconds before dropping the whole crab into the hot oil. Fry the crabs until they float to the surface of the oil and are golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

For the jambalaya:
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (1-pound) can whole tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 pound medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
Heat the shortening in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir over medium heat to make a golden brown roux. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the whole tomatoes and the tomato sauce and cook until an oil film rises to the surface.

Stir in the rice, salt, cayenne, water and shrimp. Cover and cook over a low heat until the rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add more water if the mixture becomes dry. Serve the crabs, legs up, over a bed of jambalaya. Ladle a tablespoon of CREOLLAISE SAUCE over the crabs. Garnish with a wedge of lemon and fried parsley.

  • 2 cups béarnaise sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
Combine the sauce and mustard and keep warm.

Ahhh yes, bring on summertime!

November/December 2012

Now that Halloween is behind us, we move on to Thanksgiving and Christmas. My family is already planning the menus for the holiday dinners.

This Thanksgiving, the Bienvenu/Landry group (about 40 of us) is heading to the Atchafalaya Basin for a day at “the camp.” Since we have to get to the camp by boat, the teenagers are working out a ferry schedule. Two boats will carry the food. And from what I can understand, downed tree limbs (compliments of Hurricane Isaac) have been chopped up for a huge bonfire.

The menu, well I’m already stuffed just reading what’s going to be cooking on butane burners, grills, barbecue pits and on stove tops.

Here is the menu so far:

First, we have to have appetizers to munch while we sip on a couple of brews or Old Fashions. I’m contributing Natchitoches meat pies as well as several dozen of Cajungrocer’s stuffed breads. Someone is bringing the great Mexican cheesecake and I’m sure there will be lots of assorted chips and dips for the kiddies.

The main meal will consist of three fried turkeys, four turduckens, 4 gallons wild duck and sausage gumbo, a huge stuffed pork roast (Mama’s recipe), rice dressing, candied yams, corn pudding, the ever-present green bean casserole, cornbread and French bread.

Desserts will include too many pies to list here and lots of homemade cookies.


Makes 18 to 20 meat pies

  • 1 teaspoon solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • ½ pound lean ground pork
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • Dough:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk

Heat the shortening in a heavy pot, preferably black iron over medium heat. Add the beef and pork, and cook, stirring, until all pink has disappeared, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the green onions, garlic, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Season with the salt, cayenne and black pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour, mixing well. Remove from the heat and cool. Make the dough by sifting the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening and incorporate into the mixture. In a small bowl, beat the egg and the milk together. Work the egg-milk mixture gradually into the dry ingredients until a thick dough is formed.
Divide the dough into 18 to 20 equal portions. On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough pieces into thin rounds. Using a saucer as a guide, trim the dough to make even rounds. Place a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture slightly off center of the round dough. Fold to make the edges meet and crimp the edges with the tines of a fork.
Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.


Makes 16 servings

  • 1/4 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cottage cheese
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 small can green chilies
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 8 ounces jalapeno cheddar cheese dip
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Sliced black olives
  • Chopped green onions

Combine the chips and butter and press into the bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Process the cottage cheese, cream cheese, eggs (added one at a time), cheddar cheese and green chilies. Pour into the springform pan and bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees. Remove from the oven. Mix together the sour cream and cheese dip, and spread over the cheesecake. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Before serving, sprinkle the top with the tomatoes, black olives and green onions.


*You’ll need a butane burner and a large, deep pot (both available on Cajungrocer’s website)

Each turkey will serve about 10 to 12

  • 2 fresh turkeys, each about 10 to 12 pounds
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup chopped peppers (you choice of green bell peppers, fresh jalapenos or mild bananas, or a combination of all three)
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup cayenne
  • About 10 gallons peanut oil

Clean the turkeys and rinse them with cool water. Leave the skin flap at the neck intact.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the onion, whole garlic, peppers, and half each of the salt and cayenne.
With a sharp boning knife, make slits in the breast and upper thighs of the turkeys and stuff this mixture into the slits with your fingers. (You may want to use plastic gloves for this.) Pack it in well. Season the outside of the turkey with the remaining salt and cayenne, rubbing well. Place the turkeys in large plastic bags and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
Remove the turkeys from the refrigerator and set them aside for about 30 minutes. Pour enough of the oil to fill the pot about three-fourths full. Turn on the heat. The oil should be 350? to 360?F. Grab the turkey by the neck flap and gently and carefully submerge it into the hot oil. Be careful as the hot grease may overflow and splatter. Cover the pot. Turn the turkey every 10 minutes, using the long-handled forks. It will take 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook each turkey. When the legs begin to spread open and the internal temperature reaches 170? to 180?F on an instant-read meat thermometer the turkey is done.
Carefully lift the basket out of the hot oil. You can insert a broomstick through the handles and have two strong people lift the basket out of the pot. Using the long-handled fork, transfer the turkey to a large brown paper bag and let stand for about 15 minutes before removing to carve.
Repeat the process for the second turkey.


Makes 12 to 14 servings

  • One 10 to 12 pound fresh ham shank
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Set the roast on a large cutting board or platter. Combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, cayenne and black pepper in a small bowl and mix well.
With a sharp boning knife, make several deep slits in the roast spaced several inches apart. Using your index finger, stuff the seasoning mixture into the slits, packing it in firmly. Season the outside of the roast generously with more salt and cayenne pepper. Rub the roast lightly with vegetable oil.
Place the roast in a heavy roasting pan and put it in the oven. When the bottom of the pan begins to sizzle, carefully add the water. Bake the roast until it browns evenly, 30 to 45 minutes.
More water can be added if the pan becomes too dry. This will mix with the roast drippings and make a dark gravy that can be used now for basting the roast, then later to pour over steamed rice.
When the roast is well browned, reduce the heat to 350 degrees, cover, and cook until the juices run clear and the roast is tender, 3 to 4 hours.
Remove from oven and cool slightly before carving.


I usually keep the carcasses left from the fried turkeys to make a broth with which to make what we call a turkey bone gumbo. Use the broth in place of water or stock that you normally use.
BUT, last year I saved the leftover bits and pieces of the turduckerns and use them for a fabulously rich gumbo! Also, these bits and pieces make a rocking poorboy!

NO WASTE, right?!!!

May/June 2012

Although summer will not officially arrive until June, the pleasantly warm weather is ideal for outdoor dining. Crawfish, Louisiana’s freshwater crustaceans, are in season and plentiful. The bays along coastal Louisiana, as well as the Gulf of Mexico, are teeming with shrimp, crabs, speckled trout, redfish and flounder.
It’s time for fish-fries, seafood boils and other casual, kick-back, leisurely meals.
Let’s begin with crabs. Lump crabmeat is not always necessary to the dish. The jumbo lump or the regular lump, both the most expensive, is what I want when preparing a luxurious salad or when it’s going to be the focal point of the meal. Flake or special white crabmeat is ideal for making crab cakes or to extend lump crabmeat in a recipe. The claw meat, the least expensive, is stringy and usually darkish, but it’s quite flavorful and is ideal for making casseroles and dressings.
If you’re going to splurge on the white, delicate lump crabmeat, by all means prepare this delectable dish that can be served as an appetizer or a main course.

Serves 6 main courses or 12 appetizer servings
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • Dash of celery salt
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 6 strips bacon, crisply fried

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, chili sauce, dry mustard, lemon juice, paprika, Tabasco, and celery salt. Mix well.
Divide the crabmeat evenly into six large ramekins (or twelve small ones). Spoon the sauce generously over the crabmeat and top with the bacon.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles. If you want to brown the tops, put them under the broiler for one to two minutes.
You can use any type of crabmeat for this dish – mix and match if you like.

Makes 4 servings
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and cayenne to taste
  • 1/2 pound regular lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1/2 pound claw meat
  • 1/4 cup dried fine bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sauté the green onions, celery, and bell peppers in the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Blend in the flour. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Add the lemon juice and season with salt and cayenne. Gently stir in the crabmeat. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Top with the bread crumbs and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and lightly brown on top. If shrimp tickle your taste buds, then by all means boil ‘em up and serve them with tartar sauce, remoulade sauce or whatever sauce makes you happy.

Makes about 4 servings
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 large lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup cayenne
  • 1 cup salt
  • 3 pounds shrimp, heads and shells on

Combine the water, lemon, onion, cayenne and salt in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, bring back to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and serve hot.

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk well. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
You can use just about any kind of fish for fish-fries. Fresh-water catfish or your favorite salt-water fish will do.

Makes about 4 servings
  • 1 pound fish fillets, cut into 1×3-inch strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 large yellow onionS, peeled and thinly sliced

Season the fish with the salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Place the strips in a bowl with the milk, mustard, lemon juice, and Tabasco. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Heat about 3 to 4 inches oil in a large, deep pot or electric fryer to 360 degrees.
Put the corn flour and cornstarch into a brown paper bag. Remove the fish from the marinade, a few pieces at a time, allowing the marinade to drip off. Put the strips in the bag and shake well to coat evenly. Drop the catfish into the hot oil and fry, turning the pieces once or twice, until they pop to the surface and are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Arrange several slices of the onion over the fried fish and cover with a layer of paper towels. Repeat the process until all the fish is cooked.
You simply must have tartar sauce in which to dip the fried fish.

Makes about 2 cups
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 pods garlic, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced onions

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for 2 hours before serving.
For dessert, a tart lemon pie – a perfect ending to any seafood meal.

Makes one pie, to serve 6
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 pre-baked 9-inch pie shell
  • 1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the sugar, cornstarch and a pinch salt in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add the water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for one minute, or until the mixture is clear and thickened. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks, then return this mixture to the hot mixture. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, then add the lemon juice, butter and lemon rind. Pour the mixture into the pie shell.
Beat the egg whites and a pinch salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the marshmallow cream beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over the filling, sealing to the edge of the crust.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned. Watch carefully. Remove and cool before serving.