Learn to cook like a Cajun and develop your own style with help from south Louisiana cook and humorist, Jacques Gaspard, who's been cooking great Cajun foods for nearly 50 years. Learn how to prepare the best gumbos, seafood, jambalaya, stews, salads and deserts – the way they were originally prepared – pure and simple. Besides great original recipes you will discover a hodgepodge of stories, recordings, music, videos and humorous anecdotes to entertain. So enjoy! ... Ahheee!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Garden-fresh Green Tomato Relish Recipe | Spicy Cajun Chow Chow with Onions and Peppers

The warning of an early frost in our area compelled me to pick all of the green and unripened tomatoes from my garden. I harvested about 10 lbs. and used the larger ones to slice, bread and freeze for fried green tomatoes later on. The rest was allocated to making a fresh batch of green tomato relish, or as some Cajuns refer to it, 'chow chow'. The tomatoes, bell peppers and onions were coarsely chopped by hand, while the other vegetables were chopped using a food processor.

This recipe will show you how to make a hotter and spicier than normal relish. If you would like to tone down the heat of this chow chow recipe, remove the seeds from the jalapeno pepper pods before chopping and adding it to the pot.

Ingredients
  • 4 lbs. green tomatoes (about 12 cups), coarsely chopped
  • 4 medium to large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 4 med. bell peppers, (green and red), coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups jalapeno peppers (with seeds), finely chopped
  • 2 cups of celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbs. celery seeds
  • 1 Tbs salt

Instructions

  1. cut-up tomatoes and vegetables according to recipe
  2. add all ingredients into a large (non-reactive) pot and stir well
  3. on medium heat bring mixture to a boil
  4. continue boiling for 2 1/2 hours on med. heat, stirring occasionally
  5. sterilize 8 pint size jars
  6. fill each jar to the top with relish
  7. place the jar lid on top of each jar
  8. clean the area around the lid with a damp sponge
  9. screw lid covers on jar and allow to cool before storing
    Makes 7 - 8 pints.

    This Cajun-style tomato relish goes great with Fried Catfish Nuggets.

    Enjoy!
    KT
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    ISF Sliced Green Tomatoes | How to Have Fried Green Tomatoes Year-Round | Video

    How to Freeze Green Tomatoes?

    ISF is an acronym for "Individually Slow Frozen". It is the opposite of IQF... which means "Individually Quick Frozen". But, before we learn about ISF, you may want to know about IQF first.

    IQF foods have been around for a long time. The industrial process involves very quickly freezing foods individually, like various meats, seafood and vegetables, to name just a few.
    Green Tomatoes

    The individually frozen foods do not touch each other during the freezing process, so they don't clump together during packaging. This allows the end user of the product to remove as much as needed from the container without thawing the entire contents.

    Frozen food processors are equipped with machinery which simulate strong arctic blasts. In a matter of a few short minutes, foods can be preserved at sub-freezing temperatures. IQF shrimp, for example, can be frozen at temperatures approaching -50º F.

    IQF foods are safer and last longer than foods which are preserved at just below 32º F. and it offers several advantages.

    IQF prevents bacterial growth and allows stores, restaurants and consumers to use practical methods of storing foods safely and for longer periods of time.

    Unfortunately, most of us cannot afford the large and expensive industrial blast freezers. We have to improvise by using our home freezers--which is not a problem.

    This is where ISF enters the picture. It merely takes a little more time to achieve similar results, keeping in mind of course, that the foods we preserve in our home freezers will not attain the subfreezing temperatures of the blast freezers

    This short video demonstrates how we can preserve sliced green tomatoes by 'slowly' freezing them on a cookie sheet lined with food grade waxed paper. And, we can do it in our refrigerator freezers.

    Getting it done is a breeze... or, should I say a "freeze'?

    However we describe it, this is a clever way of preserving sliced green tomatoes and it affords us the opportunity to have 'em year-round.

    Hint: If you plan to use your ISF sliced green tomatoes in the not too distant future, then it's okay to save them in your freezer using zipper or resealable bags. If not, then it might be a good idea to vacuum seal them so they can keep for a longer period of time.

    One other thing. It's important to not let the tomato slices touch each other during the freezing process so they may freeze individually. That way, as mentioned before, after packaging you can remove only the amount needed from the bag and save the rest for later.

    I hope this helps.

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    Thursday, May 29, 2014

    World's Smallest Cajun Cabins (For Rent)

    If you ever decide to vacation in North America's own 'land down under' called Acadiana, be sure to check out these quaint little cabins which are located near the center of the Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp.You can't beat the prices. But there's a catch: You must call my cousin, Carlos Daigle, at (337)-228-7801 to find out how much the rentals are. Just tell him that his cousin, Jacques Gaspard, (me) ask you to call.

    PS. You will notice a phone number posted at the bottom of the Cajun Cabins slideshow. Please disregard it and use the one posted above to contact Carlos. Thanks!




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    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

    Cajun Style Ground Beef and Turnip Burgers

    Cajun-style Ground Beef and Turnip Burgers are juicy AND delicious!

    Anyone who knows me well also knows that I'm always experimenting with something new in my kitchen.

    The other day a friend gave me a bag of turnips--each about the size of a baseball.

    Turnip
    What to do with 'em, I wondered?

    Last night I boiled two of them. I ate one while it was still hot and I let the other cool down for the purposes of mashing it later and mixing it with ground beef to make a burger (just to find out how it would taste).

    I used 1/2 of a mashed turnip to about 1/4 lb. of 80/20 mix ground beef (20% fat and 80% lean).  I also added a few of my favorite Cajun spices to the mix for extra flavor.

    The results were great!

    Although I could barely taste the turnip (maybe a little) it had the affect of creating a juicy and delicious burger without a lot of shrinkage. I think I'm on to something here??

    I hope you enjoy this new Cajun-style ground beef and turnip burger recipe as much as I did. It's always good to learn one more way to cook and enjoy turnips.

    One other note. The ingredients listed below is for only one burger. You will have to adjust it to make several burgers at a time.

    Ingredients

    • 1/4 lb. ground beef (80/20)
    • 1 Tbsp. butter
    • 1/2 boiled turnip (mashed)
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper         
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
    • salt to taste

    Instructions

    1. thoroughly mix the ground beef, mashed turnip and dry ingredients together
    2. in a skillet melt the 1 tbsp. of butter
    3. fry on both sides (medium heat) for a few minutes until completely cooked
    4. serve as a sandwich or opened face


    CYL (catch ya later)... back to my lab.

    Bon appetite! Ahheeee!! 
    KT

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    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Fish Courtbillion (fish soup)

    Ingredients

    • 3 lbs. fresh fish
    • 1 cup onions, chopped
    • ½ cup celery, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 large can tomato sauce
    • 1 medium can Rotel tomatoes
    • 2 medium bay leaves
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 cup cooking oil
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    Cut fish into bite size pieces. Season generously with salt, red and black pepper then set aside.

    Using the flour and oil, prepare a roux to medium brown color. Add onions and celery. Cook over medium heat in uncovered pot until onions are barely soft, stirring constantly. Add tomato sauce, Rotel tomatoes, bay leaves, and water. Cook about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Add garlic and fish. Continue cooking over medium heat for about 25 minutes.

    Serve in soup bowls with cooked long grain rice. Use bread or hush puppies. Serves 8 to 10 people.

    (K-T)
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