Holiday Leftovers Recipes

Holiday Leftovers Recipes By Marcelle Bienvenu Now that the hectic Christmas/New Year holidays are behind us, we move into the Carnival season. Like we need to eat and drink more! I stashed in the freezer a couple of ham bones and turkey carcasses left over from the Christmas and New Year’s feasts and I’m putting aside an entire day to preparing red beans and rice, and turkey bone gumbo for parade-watching parties. It’s also time to put in my order for several King Cakes. Let the parties begin! Depending on my mood and time restrictions, I have two red bean […]

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Cold Weather, Good Food

Cold Weather, Good Food By Marcelle Bienvenu It took a while for cold weather to move through south Louisiana, but it Fall has arrived. When the first cold front blew through from the West, I headed to the nearest supermarket for a fresh, plump chicken and a pound of smoked sausage for my first gumbo of the season. It was simmering when my husband Rock arrived after work. He went straight to the stove, lifted the lid on the pot, and mumbled something about there’s probably not a chicken to be had south of Interstate-10. He turned to me and said […]

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Thanksgiving Turkey Alternatives

Thanksgiving Turkey Alternatives By Marcelle Bienvenu For many years our family’s Thanksgiving dinner was somewhat of a movable 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 […]

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Hearty Soups

Hearty Soups By Marcelle Bienvenu 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 […]

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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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