Summer Seafood

Summer Seafood By Marcelle Bienvenu   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 […]

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Vermilion Bay Crabs

Vermilion Bay Crabs 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 […]

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Blue Plate Specials

Blue Plate Specials By Marcelle Bienvenu   Diners, corner cafes, and Mom and Pop neighborhood bars and restaurants that serve down-home meals, otherwise known as “blue plate specials” may not be as numerous as they used to be, but they are still around. Thank goodness! These institutions usually go the extra mile for their specials, giving large servings and using local ingredients. When I hear the term “blue plate specials” I conjure up such meals as meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas, or smothered chicken with lots of gravy atop a mound of white rice, or better yet, stewed okra and […]

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Mardi Gras Recipes

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Season By Marcelle Bienvenu   Everyone in south Louisiana is up in arms during this long Mardi Gras season. This winter’s cold weather blasts have sent our little delectable crawfish deep into the mud to keep warm. Plus it’s much too cold for the crawfishermen to get out on the ponds to pick up their traps! What a calamity! But have no fear, the weather in Louisiana changes in the blink of an eye. According to the weathermen, we will have days of balmy 65-degree weather in between the cold weather.   I’m just as anxious as the […]

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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2014

Rolling into Carnival Season By Marcelle Bienvenu Here in Louisiana, we barely have time to take down the red and green Christmas decorations before putting up the purple, green and gold colors of Carnival season. On January 12 (otherwise known as Twelfth Night), just about everyone is lining up to purchase their King Cakes. Rather than queuing up, I find it much easier to order my King Cakes online at cajungrocer.com where they come in a varied assortment of flavors. Not only should you order one or more for your festivities, but you should also order some to send to […]

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New Year’s Feast!

Seafood Gumbo

GUMBO FOR COLD WEATHER By Marcelle Bienvenu   Just about everyone I ran into the past few days is gathering the fixings for gumbo to enjoy on cold wet evenings during the holidays. Some families adhere to a tradition of having gumbo PLUS all the other goodies—like fried turkey, pork roast, rice dressing, sweet potatoes, cakes, pies and fudge. I took a poll as to what kinds of gumbos were simmering on the stove, and in my area chicken/andouille won hands down. I’m waiting for my duck-hunting friends to bring me a few mallards, teals or pintails with which to […]

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Holiday Desserts: Something for Everyone

Sweet Potato Pie

HOLIDAY DESSERTS – SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE By Marcelle Bienvenu Mama loved to end her meal with something sweet, whether it was a simple sugar cookie or a couple of chocolate Kisses. Papa, on the other hand, could gorge himself on an entire box of Heavenly Hash. Sister Edna likes cakes. She will bake one at the drop of a hat and snack on it all day. Brother Henri Clay adores sweets. He never seems to get enough cakes, pies, cookies, candies, ice cream, or whatever sweet concoction anyone comes up with, and for holidays, he relishes in all the desserts. […]

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Summer Seafood Dishes

Softshell Crab

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 […]

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MAY/JUNE 2013

HERBS – A BOUQUET OF IDEAS My first encounter with fresh herbs was years ago when my Tante Belle showed me her crop of peppermint that grew profusely under the faucet that protruded from her screen porch. During the summer months when it was almost too hot too move, she would make a huge pitcher of homemade lemonade. As far as I was concerned it was extra special, made so by the addition of fresh mint sprigs that were stirred in right before serving. I also remember her hacking out a big chunk of ice from the big block that […]

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Crawfish Creations

Crawfish Creations

CRAWFISH SEASON   I’m just back from four days in Santa Clara, California attending an international travel promotion show. It was spectacular—complete with areas devoted to zip lines, mountain climbing, a segway course AND a pool in which to bounce around zipped inside huge clear beach balls!   But the Louisiana entourage was THE hit at the culinary stage. I was part of the group with the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival and we cooked a plethora of what else, but crawfish-based dishes. Every time it was announced that we were cooking crawfish, attendees began lining up to taste our sumptuous […]

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