Cooler Days and Tailgating

If we’re lucky, there might be some cooler days on the way here in south Louisiana. Football season is off to a grand start despite the 90-degree weather. Here and elsewhere all over these great United States, fans are preparing for tailgating parties before kick-off. The parking lots near the stadiums in Louisiana become a small city of bubbling gumbo pots, cauldrons of simmering chili and smoky barbecue pits. Colorful tents under which are tables laden with food, butane burners, and an untold number of ice chests chock-full of cold beverages. Impromptu pep rallies and live music work the fans […]

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Life is good! It may be hot as Hades in the Deep South this time of year, but hey, it doesn’t stop us from enjoying seafood from our bountiful waterways. From the Gulf of Mexico and the adjoining bays, there are crabs (both hard-shell and soft-shell), shrimp, and a multitude of fish—speckled trout, redfish, red snapper and other deep-sea delights. Let’s begin with shrimp (available here on this website). You can make a glorious shrimp cocktail, an old south Louisiana classic. All you have to do is boil the shrimp, peel the shrimp, plop them in a cup of iceberg […]

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Warmer weather means picnic time. You can picnic on the beach, on your patio, in your backyard or at your favorite park. The meal can be as simple as wine, cheese and bread. Or you can carry along chilled, marinated vegetables stored in a wide-mouth jar, cold meats, assorted rolls, cold soup, wine, mint tea, cold shrimp or even fried chicken, coleslaw and other side dishes. Homemade cookies, chilled watermelon and seasonal fruits are ideal for summer picnics. Better yet, let us supply you with all sorts of picnic items. For instance, there are Creole Stuffed Breads, all kinds of […]

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Summer has unofficially arrived and I am so ready for it.  After teaching fulltime since January at Nicholls State University in the John Folse Culinary Institute, I (like the students) am looking forward to a few weeks of rest and relaxation.  And that to me is chilling out—taking a cruise on Bayou Teche in my party barge in the early evening, grilling something on the patio or enjoying fresh seafood, cooking with local ingredients found at our farmers’ markets, and lounging around the pool with a cold, refreshing beverage in hand. To take along on the boat, I opt for […]

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Boudin or any of the sausages available here make for great appetizers. For a change, you might want to squeeze the boudin mixture out of the casings, form the mixture into balls or patties, dredge them in seasoned bread crumbs, then deep-fry or pan-fry to give them a bit of a crunch, then dab them with a bit of Creole mustard and serve on toasted French bread slices. Cut smoked sausage into bite-size pieces and offer a dipping sauce for an easy pre-meal offering. Try using mayhaw jelly with pork sausage—I love the sweet and salty combination.

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Although turduckens are popular around the winter holidays, you won’t go wrong having them any time of year since they are ideal for casual suppers. They can be served right from the oven or allow them to come to room temperature, slice and make sandwiches with your favorite breads like French, Italian or sourdough. Dress the sandwich with a dressing made with equal parts of mayonnaise and Creole mustard. Hey, season it a bit with hot sauce and your taste buds will be tickled.

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On just about any given weekend in Louisiana, there is a festival of some kind. During the spring it’s difficult to choose which one to attend. There’s the Jazz Fest in New Orleans, the Festivale Internationale in Lafayette, the French Quarter Festival (in New Orleans), the Strawberry Festival, the Crawfish Festival—-it goes on and on. Those festivals can zap your energy so you can always count of lots of good eating at these events. If you can’t make it down to south Louisiana, have your own festival! Call up your friends, invite the neighbors and get a group together to […]

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Carnival Season

The Christmas holidays are behind us and we in Louisiana are heading right into the Carnival season which begins January 6 or Twelfth Night when the King’s Cake or Gateau du Roi is customarily served.  It was first served to celebrate the visit of the Christ child by the three Magi but now it officially opens the Carnival season—a fest of drinking, eating and merrymaking. The word Carnival is from the Latin carne (meat) and vale (farewell).  Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday.  Knowing that the next day after Shrove Tuesday is Ash Wednesday, which opens the Lenten season, […]

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Cajun Desserts From the Oven

CAJUN DESSERTS, WARM FROM THE OVEN The people of south Louisiana are very frugal. They waste nothing. Day-old bread is used to make bread pudding. Leftover rice is the basis for rice pudding or calas (rice cakes). And the ingredients for most of local desserts are simple—milk, eggs, butter and pecans, and sometimes pure cane syrup. Whenever my mother put up fig preserves, she always made sure she set aside a couple of jars with which to make fig cake during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Just about everyone had a stash of pecans with which to make pecan pie, […]

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During the holidays when family are friends are likely to be visiting, I suggest treating them to a hearty south Louisiana breakfast like beignets and café au lait! The beignet mix from Café de Monde is the best around and their coffee with chicory makes perfect café au lait, which is simply equal parts of hot, strong coffee and hot milk or cream.  Don’t forget to generously sprinkle with beignets with powdered sugar. If you have the time and want to really impress your guests, I suggest making one of my favorite brunch dishes—grillades (pronounced gree-yahds) and cheesy baked grits.  […]

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