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Mardi Gras

February / March 2014

Carnival Season By Marcelle Bienvenu Everyone in south Louisiana is up in arms during this long Carnival 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 nets! 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 next person to have […]

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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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DECEMBER 2013 / JANUARY 2014

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 make […]

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

TURDUCKEN TIME!!! If you haven’t ordered your turducken, then you had better get to it! Your holiday table won’t be complete without one or two! I also highly recommend the qua–duc-ant (quail/duck/pheasant). AND if you have any leftover (which you probably won’t), it can be used to make a gumbo. The combination of the quail, duck and pheasant makes an incredible gumbo – simply use your chicken and sausage gumbo recipe and add chunks of the qua-duc-ant! Better order two or three to stash in your freezer for the upcoming holidays. Also the qua-duc-ant can be sliced to make a […]

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013

By Marcelle Bienvenu THE DUCKS ARE FLYING My duck-hunting friends are getting antsy for the season to arrive. They’ve been busy preparing for what I believe is one of men’s favorite times of the year. Shotguns have been cleaned and oiled, and probably a small fortune has been spent on shells. The duck blinds have been reworked and stand ready for that first cold front to blow in from the west. Decoys have been retrieved from storage to be marked or tagged. Now it’s just a matter of time before they can go forth to their camps, get up before […]

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JULY/AUGUST 2013

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 […]

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JUNE/JULY 2013

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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March/April 2012

The season of Lent has arrived. And I’m betting that there are many who partied much too hard during the Carnival season who welcome the season of repentance, prayer and sacrifice with open arms. Well, maybe not open arms, but at least might relish the thought of six weeks of Lent as a time to have a spiritual renewal of the soul, not to mention some recuperation of the body. In the not too distant past, meals during Lent were not only meatless, they were simple, albeit nourishing, and because there were certain days of fasting, when snacks between meals […]

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