"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Cajun Fricasse

    fricasse

    It is a funny half hot / half cold day, where in the morning you want a hefty jacket, in the afternoon you want a t-shirt, and by early evening you are back in the bomber jacket…

    My tastes are that way as well, I wanted a heavy breakfast, a light lunch and a meal with staying power for dinner.

    I remember a wonderful dish I had at a local french restaurant, it was a chicken, broken down and browned then simmered in a broth along with Spicy Sausage, “Cajun Trinity”, sinful spices, meaty mushrooms and fresh vegetables to make a really wonder full sauce. Think similar to a beef stew with really big chunks of meat and veggies… The gravy was so thick and wonderful I was soping it up with the french bread on the table. (Yes, I know it sounds soo uncivilized, sooo unsheik, but it seems everyone else at the table was doing the same thing….)

    Do note: Do not try this with boneless chicken breast, it just does not work well…

    Wikipedia says:

    Fricassee or Fricassée is a catch-all term used to describe a stewed dish typically made with poultry, but other types of white meat (like veal, rabbit, or Cornish game hen) can be substituted. It is cut into pieces and then stewed in gravy, which is then thickened with butter and cream or milk). It often includes other ingredients and vegetables.

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  • Cajun Red Beans and Rice

    As the projects roll on, I need a dish that can cook without a lot of care, I also need a dish that will be hearty and tasty.

    Trolling the panty, I have some “Sangre de Toro”, A classic red bean of Mexico. Whether it’s New Orleans red beans and rice, chili or just a bowl of beans, I think Sangre de Toro (or “Bull’s Blood”) is a tremendous bean. Dense and meaty, it has a good pot liquor and can be used whenever red beans are called for.

    Red beans and rice is an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine (not originally of Cajun cuisine) traditionally made on Mondays with red beans,[ vegetables (bell pepper, onion and celery), spices (thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf) and pork bones as left over from Sunday dinner, cooked together slowly in a pot and served over rice. Meats such as ham, sausage (most commonly Andouille), and Tasso ham are also frequently used in the dish. The dish is customary – ham was traditionally a Sunday meal and Monday was washday. A pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer while the women were busy scrubbing clothes. Similar dishes are common in Latin American cuisine, including moros y cristianos and gallo pinto.

    Red beans and rice is one of the few New Orleans style dishes to be commonly served both in people’s homes and in restaurants. Many neighborhood restaurants continue to offer it as a Monday lunch special, usually with a side order of either smoked sausage or a pork chop. While Monday washdays are largely a thing of the past, red beans remain a staple for large gatherings such as Super Bowl and Mardi Gras parties. Indeed, red beans and rice is very much part of the New Orleans identity. Jazz trumpeter and New Orleanian Louis Armstrong’s favorite food was red beans and rice – the musician would famously sign letters “Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Louis Armstrong”.

    I will break with tradition and use brisket rather than tasso (ham), as I have a half cut that should be used.

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  • Asian Beef Noodle Soup

    I am beginning to recover from my dance with the flu. Recovering to the point I want food again, but after the chaos my Liver and Onion lunch caused, perhaps something a bit “less-agressive”, so a soup, but a rich hearty soup I can tuck into, and then stager my way to my bed and sleep off the rest of this vile visitor.

    Looking around I have a small brisket, an assortment of veggies and a nice bottle of Cajun seasoning I was gifted, perhaps a slow cooked beef broth, with noodles, chopped veggies, and assorted sauces to flavor as desired.

    Yaka mein (Ya-Ka-Mein, often pronounced Yakamee) is a type of beef noodle soup (牛肉麵, Cantonese: ngaw4-yuk4 min6) commonly found in many Creole and Chinese restaurants in New Orleans. Yaka mein is sometimes referred to as “Old Sober,” as it is commonly prescribed by locals as a cure for hangovers. The dish is now offered at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Music Festival, along with many other Creole and Cajun specialties. The soup is well loved by locals but not well known outside of the city and its surrounding region.

    The soup consists of stewed beef (such as brisket) in beef-based broth served on top of spaghetti noodles and garnished with half a hard-boiled egg and chopped green onions. Cajun seasoning, chili powder, or Old Bay Seasoning is often added to the broth.

    I’ll use the brisket but dump the spaghetti in favor of udon, and bump up the asian flair with the holy trinity of Asian cooking: garlic, ginger, and chilies.

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  • Cajun Chicken Cacciatore

    So Stormagedden is coming, and all the mouth breathers are running around like mad people…

    Idiots!, a properly stocked pantry would see you thought just about any storm…

    But it will be cold, windy and rainy, time for some really hearty food. Perhaps poultry, but done in something more that the usual baking or frying…

    Not frying, not baking, but browning then simmering in a rich stock with mushrooms, garlic, onions, bell pepper and my own version of Cajun Essence, called spike, all bound together with a very rich roux gravy. The method is similar to the Italian “Hunter Style” or Cacciatore, with a gumbo twist, and will lean more on the Cajun trinity with bell and hot peppers than on tomatoes.

    Coming from the Bayou region, which is located in the southern part of Louisiana, this is a simple and rustic recipe, that yields a dish that is truly greater than the sum of it’s parts. The cooking style is part French, part Spanish, part Caribbean, a unique style unto it’s self, New Orleans Cajun.

    The region includes the Mississippi Delta, which looks out on to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a coastal region, and has its own distinctive history and cooking traditions that are somewhat different from the rest of Louisiana, which features lots of seafood, garlic, and olive oil and tends to be a bit spicier than most. As with all good foods, the emphasis is always on quality, fresh ingredients.

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  • Gumbo

    Mardi Gras, one final fling of hedonism before the religious based sacrifices of Lent. The carnival atmosphere of parties, drinks and most of all rich fatty foods to see the revelers though the time from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday … A time of reflection, humility and rather dreary foods.

    Mardi Gras is most fervently celebrated in New Orleans, where gumbo is often served as a tonic for the evening’s exuberances.. With no really set recipe, and a goal of nothing but rich taste, how can I pass up an opportunity to add my version

    Gumbo is a stew or soup which originated in south Louisiana. It consists primarily of a strong stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and the vegetable “holy trinity” of celery, bell peppers, and onion. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used: the African vegetable okra, the Choctaw spice filé powder, or the French base made of flour and fat, roux. The dish likely derived its name from the either the African word for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw word for filé (kombo).

    Two main varieties of gumbo exist. Creole gumbo generally contains shellfish, tomatoes, and a thickener. Cajun gumbo is generally based on a dark roux and is spicier, with either shellfish or fowl. Sausage or ham can be added to a gumbo made with either fowl or shellfish. After the base is prepared, vegetables are cooked down, and then meat is added. The dish boils for a minimum of three hours, with shellfish and some spices added near the end. After the pot is removed from heat, filé powder can be added. Gumbo is traditionally served over rice. A third variety, the meatless gumbo z’herbes is essentially a gumbo of slow-cooked greens sometimes thickened with roux.

    Gumbo originated in Louisiana in the 18th century and combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including French, Spanish, German, West African, and Choctaw. The dish may have been based on traditional West African or native dishes, or may be a derivation of the French dish bouillabaisse. It was first described in 1802 and was listed in various cookbooks in the latter half of the 19th century. The dish gained more widespread popularity in the 1970s, after the United States Senate cafeteria added it to the menu in honor of Senator Allen Ellender. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s popularity in the 1980s spurred further interest in gumbo.

    Gumbo has three basic parts: the stock, the roux, the seasonings.

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  • Potato Soup

    potsoup

    I am soo sick.. Achy, bakey, sore in the joints, tired.

    This calls for some serious comfort food. Hearty, tasty, and just plain good. Rich hearty soup, and maybe my ultimate grilled cheese

    Now I have some fresh bread, andouille sausage, a number of potatoes, onions and celery that need to be cooked as they are ready to sprout. Maybe add a bit good chicken stock, some dairy and we can make a potato soup. But to add that rogue chef flair, I’ll use andouille sausage for flavor and texture.

    Background
    The recipe was brought to Louisiana by French colonists, and Cajun andouille is the best-known variety in the United States. The spiciest of all the variants, Cajun andouille is made of butt or shank meat and fat, seasoned with salt, cracked black pepper, and garlic, and smoked / cooked over pecan wood and sugar cane fires for up to seven or eight hours. The resulting sausage is used in a wide range of Louisiana dishes, such as gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and étouffée.

    This style of sausage is now widespread, and so it is unclear whether it originated in France, whence the name comes, or in Germany, where similar recipes also have a long history. A similar sausage, Nduja, is produced in the region of Calabria in southern Italy; the name is clearly derived from the French, and it is thought that the recipe may have spread there from France during periods of French dominance in 900-1000 AD.

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