Real Cajun Cooking lets you choose from hundreds of authentic Cajun recipes. Learn to easily prepare and cook original Cajun-style family meals with help from south Louisiana's Cajun cook and connoisseur, Jacques Gaspard, who's been preparing great Cajun meals for several decades. Create the best gumbos, seafood, jambalaya, stews,, salads and deserts – the way they were originally prepared. Besides great original recipes, you will discover a hodgepodge of stories, recordings, music, videos and humorous anecdotes to entertain. So enjoy! Don't forget to tell all of your family and friends about Real Cajun Cooking. They will thank you for it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Baked Jalapenos|Bacon-Draped Stuffed Pepper Poppers

Baked Jalapeno Pepper Poppers make a great snack for almost any occasion.

Mammoth jalapeño peppers; ground beef and pork; cream cheese, thinly sliced hickory-smoked bacon and a 350° F oven are what's required to produce these wonderfully tasting cheese-filled hot pepper poppers.

I am always on the look-out for the large jalapeño peppers at my the local market but this year I decided to grow some myself in my herb garden so I can have plenty at hand at a moment's notice.

That is what it takes to make up a batch of these baked peppers. If hot tasting food is part of your dietary indulgences, then you will certainly be pleased when you bite into one of these spicy-hot appetizers--guaranteed to open up the sinuses.

Ingredients

  • 12 large jalapeño peppers, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 lb. breakfast pork sausage
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • hickory-smoked bacon, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. cut the peppers in half and remove seeds and inside ribs
  2. brown the two types of meat together and remove any oil
  3. mix meats and cream cheese together until well blended
  4. stuff each pepper half, slightly bulging
  5. stretch and drape bacon slices over peppers
  6. arrange the pepper halves (face up) in rows on a cookie sheet
  7. bake at 350° F for about 30 minutes (until bacon turns crispy)

Note: In the prep stage, cut the bacon slices into 3 equal lengths. Gently stretch the cut bacon in all directions before draping it over the peppers. This means you should have enough with 8 slices of bacon to cover all of the appetizers.

When the peppers are done you may serve immediately, or you may freeze them to use at a later date.

When you are ready for a few appetizers just pop them in the microwave oven for a minute or two until they become piping hot.

You may want to serve ice cream as a desert. (smiling).

Bon Appetit!
KT




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Sunday, June 04, 2017

Gaspard's Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe (video)

Gaspard's Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe is an easy meal to make and a very tasty side dish which goes well with barbecue, smoked or fried turkey and chicken, and is also a great stand-alone meal.





Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. hot breakfast sausage
  • 1 lb. long grain rice (3 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 can beef stock
  • 1 packet of Lipton's Beefy Onion soup mix
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh chopped parsley (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large cast iron skillet begin by browning both meats over medium heat. About half-way through the browning process add the Lipton's Beefy Onion soup mix, the chopped onions and bell peppers and continue to cook (uncovered) until the vegetables have become translucent.

Next, stir-in the can of beef stock and continue cooking and stirring for about 15 minutes before adding the chopped green onions and parsley.

Finally, stir-in the cooked rice and mix well.

Serve piping hot. Makes 10 -12 servings. Enjoy! Ahheee!!
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Smothered Okra - No Tomatoes

Okra Plant
It may be a tongue twister to quickly repeat the words "southern smothered" five times, but the smothered okra produced from this recipe is very pleasing to the palate--especially when prepared the old-fashioned way--Cajun style, and without tomatoes.

San les tomates is a French expression which means "minus the tomatoes".

Tomatoes and green peppers are acidic and they work to obscure the incredible natural flavors of the okra pods. They also weaken the nutritional benefits that this versatile vegetable provides. The cooking method for smothered okra is uncomplicated and painless, as I shall demonstrate.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups sliced okra (1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • dripping from 2 slices of cooked smoked bacon
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic
  • salt and black or white pepper to taste

Instructions

Using medium heat, add the vegetable oil and bacon drippings into a large skillet (use a stainless or aluminum skillet to maintain the okra's greenish color, a cast-iron skillet will produce a darker meal--still okay, though)

When the oil heats-up and begins to smoke, add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mucilage (slime) disappears (20 - 30 minutes).

Constantly stirring the cut okra is very important if you want to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the skillet. Bon appetite!


Tomatoes and Cajun Cuisine

It was after Spain colonized Louisiana in 1763 when the value of tomatoes in Cajun-prepared foods became fashionable.

The Spanish colonists distributed tomato seeds among the settlements. The humble tomato was easy to grow and began to flourish in the rich soils of the Mississippi Delta. It became popular among the African slaves, Native Americans, Creoles, as well as the Acadian settlers, who began using the vegetable/fruit in a variety of prepared meals.

Louisiana’s history is colorful, to say the least. During the historical struggles of the New World, in less than 100 years, she succumbed to the empirical powers of France, Spain and the United States of America, which inevitably produced an overlapping of cultures.

It is reasonable to believe that there was a willing exchange of knowledge and skills about cooking and preserving foods among the New World settlers. We see evidence of this between Creole and Cajun styles of cooking. (Courtbouillion is one example)

The first Acadians did not (could not) grow these and other tropical and sub-tropical plants in the Canadian Maritimes. Nova Scotia's climate made it next to impossible to plant and gather many of the plant foods which are now considered part of Cajun cuisine.
Peppers and tomatoes, for example, need a warm climate to become fruitful and therefore could not be grown successfully in that region (Hardiness Zone 6b). It is also safe to assume that there were no seeds available in that region at the time.
It was not until much later, when the Acadians migrated to south Louisiana, when they began using tomatoes and peppers in their prepared foods. These add-in ingredients were never part of the original recipes, however.


Interesting Facts about Okra Plants
  
For thousands of years Africans have used okra as a valued food source and medication to treat a variety of ailments.
The plant may have originated in East Africa where it grew wild in the highlands of Ethiopia and it was cultivated along the Nile River Valley in Egypt. From there it made its way to the four corners of the world via traders.
Queen Cleopatra used the okra seed pods for food, and the mucilage as skin nourishment. Some speculate that was how she attained her radiant beauty.

It is a miracle the beauty and cosmetics industries are not all over this.

It is understandable that with some folks the slime in okra is a turn-off. It may conjure-up visions of gooey monsters in those old flix like The Blob and Ghost Hunters. Nevertheless, according to the USDA, the benefits of okra are worth noting.

Raw Okra


Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy
129 kJ (31 kcal)
Carbohydrates
7.03 g
- Sugars
1.20 g
- Dietary fiber
3.2 g
Fat
0.10 g
Protein
2.00 g
Water
90.17 g
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.Source: USDA Nutrient database


Health Benefits of Okra
  1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
  2. Okra's mucilage (the gooey/slime) binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
  3. Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra's mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic. Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most individuals unlike over-the-counter drugs.
  4. Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
  5. Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
  6. Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
  7. Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.
  8. Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
  9. Okra is good for summer heat treatment.
  10. Okra is good for constipation.
  11. Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
  12. Okra is good for asthma. Okra's vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.
  13. Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
  14. Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
  15. Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
  16. Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.
  17. Okra is good for preventing diabetes.
  18. Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin. We understand the reason why Cleopatra and Yang Guifei loved to eat okra.
There are other medicinal uses of okra, like its protection against trans fats.

Okra is easy to grow anywhere during summer season in cold countries and throughout the year in tropical areas. You can even plant it in a container garden at the terrace in condominium buildings. [Source: http://tinyurl.com/aa3w9z]
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Scary Stories | Loup Garou | Cajun Werewolf



A Haunting We Will Go. Please Don't Forget the Garlic.

The four Cajun fur trappers in this bloodcurdling story eventually found themselves trapped (like rats) in an old hunting and fishing cabin deep in the dark and foreboding swamps of south Louisiana.

The date was October 31, 1969 -- Halloween night.

Place: Indian Bayou, Louisiana.

Follow along as the unsuspecting Cajun quartet leads us on a journey of unimaginable freight as they experience, first hand, the full meaning of what it feels like to be truly terrified. Forget the popcorn, but NOT the garlic.


TASTE FOR THE BIG RATS
It was a long day and hard work running and setting rat traps for miles along the mosquito infested water's edge of the winding bayou.
It was also a few minutes before nightfall when the four trappers gathered at an old fishing camp where they planned to spend the night.
The cabin was an inheritance and now belonged to Gaspard, one of the members of the trapping party.
His deceased uncle left it to him several years earlier. The small weather-beaten shack had not been used by anyone since the old man's death.
The inside of the old fishing cabin had a tight seal to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
Old army cots,  which were still folded in place against one of the inside walls,  provided the trappers instant access when it came time to get some shut-eye.
Despite the harsh weather conditions it had experienced through the years, the old shack was still in good shape. Good enough to serve as a temporary shelter for the night.
No one wants to be caught outdoors in a south Louisiana swamp after the sun goes down.
A warped overhead sign hanged above the door of the small fishing camp.
The crooked hand-painted letters spelled, "TIDE OVER" and was almost illegible because, like the old cabin, it too had weathered many violent gulf storms over the years.
Like boats, Cajuns traditionally give their fishing camps names.
Most names have a story behind it, but no one knew why Gaspard's dead uncle gave his camp the name "TIDE OVER".
Behind the camp, catercorner to the porch, was a walk-way which jutted several feet out onto the waters of the bayou.
Gaspard's uncle had built a make-shift dock about mid-way and that was the place where the trappers safely secured their boats.
The bounty of nutria was stored in a large metal cooler near the back door.
The quartet had settled in for the night.
They had already bagged a couple dozen large rats so now it was time to pop-a-top on a few cold ones.
After skinning and tanning the animal skins, Cajun trappers would sell their hides to a French consortium who made fashion products with them.
The meat of the large rats was sold to the locals for consumption or for crawfish bait.
Soon the screened windows of the little camp were aglow and casting feeble yellow light into the labyrinthine darkness of the surrounding swamp.
Insects buzzed against the window screen and now and then a big moth would flutter there for a while before the darkness would swallow it up again.
The men made a quick meal of some catfish they had caught earlier in the day and washed it down with ice-cold beer.
Soon the lights were dimmed and the tired trappers contentedly took to their beds.
From outside, amid the comforting chirping of the crickets and katy-dids, the familiar snuffling of the raccoon and the possum could be heard.
Every now and then a little “plunk” from the still bayou water meant a fish was jumping or a frog had caught a meal.
Surrounded by the all encompassing darkness and the hypnotic symphony of sounds from the insects and bull-frogs, the trappers were soon asleep.
Baudier was the name of the first man to wake up, jolted, all of a sudden, but by what he did not know?
Blinking in the darkness, he listened. He sat up. And, he listened some more.
He heard nothing ... absolutely nothing ... not a sound. Not a cricket, not a katy-did, not a snuffle or a plunk, or a croak. He heard nothing.
“Chotin!” he whispered to the man on the cot next to him.
“Chotin! Wake up, man! Dere’s sometin’ wrong out dere!”
Chotin, a large figure of a Cajun man, slept shirtless with his pants and white shrimp boots on. Suddenly he sat up, too, and blindly gazed into the darkness toward Baudier’s voice.
“Maannn! What is wrong wid you?” Chotin droned.
“You waked me up from a good sleep, I tell you. Dis better be good!”
“Shhh!” said Baudier. “Listen!”
 Baudier looked around the small cabin until he focused on Chotin's face.
“Hear dat?”
Chotin listened, but he heard nothing.
“Hear what?” , Chotin asked with a scowl on his face.
As Chotin asked the question he became acutely aware of the dead silence outside.
He whistled in the direction of the front door using a low-pitch so as not to awaken the other men in the cabin. But, there were still no sounds coming from outside.
“Chere! Dere ain’t notin’ out dere!”
But, Tirout and Gaspard did hear Chotin's whistle and sat up too.
“Man, what yous doin’?” asked Gaspard.
“Shhhh!” came a hoarse little whisper from Tirout.
“Listen! What’s dat?”
Together they heard it. It was the sound of a thump, followed by another thump, followed by a couple of splashes ... then two more thumps.
The trappers were terrified by the approach of  the thumping sounds and were wondering where they were coming from?
Then they heard another thump, and then another, coming from the little spit of land where the traps were set. 
The splashes put the sound near the boats which had been tied-up at the dock.
Waiting, sweating, not understanding what had them so frightened, but too scared to ignore their gut, the four trappers sat petrified, in the dark, while they listened to something approach in the absolute stillness of the night.
Thump! Thump!
“Gawd!", said Baudier as he cleared his throat. When the white eyes of the other men turned on him he said, “Dat sounds like feet to me!”
Then all eyes turned toward the screened windows.
Just then came three more thumps in succession followed by the definite sound of something stepping onto the wooden porch alongside the camp.
The men had never before been so frightened in all their lives. The feeling of terror inside the little fishing camp hit a peak as a sniffing, snuffling, snorting kind of sound filled the air around them.
 SOMETHING was out there and it was SMELLING for them!
Beads of sweat broke on Baudier’s forehead and dripped down into his eyes.
He glanced at the windows which were sparsely illuminated by the moonlight as it shown down on the shack between the passing clouds high above the canopy of moss laden cypress trees - like a scene from a horror movie.
He could feel the others looking, too.
There never was any doubt as to what Baudier saw next before he passed out, because the other men saw it too!
A huge animal head slowly went past the windows. It had the head of a dog - blown-up to enormous size. They saw the creature in vivid profile against the shimmer of the full-moon.
Long dog-like ears stood straight up to hear every sound. The glassy-yellow monstrous and watery eyes that, had they turned to look inside the camp, would surely have caused the shaking Cajuns to die of fright on the spot!
Drool hung in long sinuous strings from its grisly teeth, and, perhaps worst of all, was the scraping and screeching of what could only be long nails scratching along the outside wall.
Suddenly, the creature bent down, probably to walk on all fours because the next sound was like a big dog scampering on the wooden porch planks.
The thumping led away to the rear of the camp and suddenly there came a loud metal “CLANG!” The beast had found the old cooler where the nutria were stored.
With growing terror and disgust the Cajun trappers sat in the darkness of the camp and listened while the horrible loup garou devoured every single one of the large nutria rats they had trapped in the swamp that day.
Guttural gulping and horrible cracking of skulls and bones filled the men with dread, but they dared not move so long as the loup garou was feasting.
Long moments passed that seemed like hours, then suddenly, to their horror, Baudier began to awake and he was groaning loud enough for the werewolf to hear!!
All the white eyes in the pitch-black room turned upward and each man began to pray, while Baudier continued to groan. Suddenly, the horrible eating stopped. The loup garou was listening!
They heard a limp and sad little thump. The men knew the beast had dropped a nutria to the wooden floor of the back porch. A rustling and clicking noise meant the beast had surely heard Baudier’s pitiful groaning.
Chotin, Tirout and Gaspard thought about all the things they would miss in life – boudin sausage and Miller Lite beer, bingo and deer hunting and their boats and wives – when suddenly, from out in the swamp, they heard a sound that made the hair on their bodies rise and stand straight on end!
“Aaaarooo!!” came the howl. The noises on the porch outside stopped.
“Aaaaarooooooooooo!”
Another loup garou was out in the swamp calling for its mate!
In a flash of thumps, snorting and splashes, the loup garou bounded away from the little camp, leaving the trappers in a drenched, watchful peace.
They clung together, with the revived Baudier holding on for dear life, until the pale gray light of day could be seen through the windows. Then, all together in a group, they moved toward the back door and opened it.
What greeted them was such a feast of horror that none would soon forget it!
Nothing was left of their trapped nutria except some patches of brown fur ... and some bones ... and a lot of blood.
The men moved around to inspect the area. They found huge prints, like the footprints of a large canine, all around the camp. It was Baudier who pointed out the scratches on the outside walls.
Suddenly Tirout stopped.
“Listen!” he called out in a hoarse whisper.
They listened.
Out of the silence they heard a single cry.
It was the “caw” of a lone black crow from the very top of distant cypress tree.
As they watched, the old crow spread its wings and flew away. As it did it seemed to the men, that life in the swamp might be returning to normal.
“You know what dey say, don’t you?” asked Tirout.
“Dey say that dem old gypsy women ... dey go around like big black crows and dey is the only one dat know how to get rid of the loup garou!”
The men watched the crow grow smaller in the distance - wheeling and fluttering down to be lost among the moss-shrouded trees and vines. This was a sign to them that it was safe to move on.
And this, they say in south Louisiana, is a true story of the loup garou.






I hope you enjoyed this anonymous short story entitled "A Taste for Nutria".

And, I hope he or she [the unknown author] does not mind the few embellishments I made.

I don't know if even a boat-load of garlic would have done the trappers any good, do you?

Garlic offers a variety of benefits besides culinary uses and scaring hairy monsters away.

It is a natural insect repellent which can be used on the body and garlic helps us ward off other insidious creatures which lurk inside our bodies, like parasites and harmful bacteria.

It is also claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer.

So, it might be a good idea to keep garlic around the house for other reasons besides warding off evil spirits and werewolves.

Ahheee!!
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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Braised Beef Short Ribs and Mushrooms

Braised Beef Short Ribs and MushroomsYouTube Video
Background music entitled "Jole Blon" by Harry Choates 1946 -- Rayne, Louisiana.

When it came to cooking (during my growing-up years on the farm) my grandma kept everything fairly simple. Since we raised all of our own foods, including beef, mutton, pork, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and loads of fresh vegetables from the garden, everything she needed to prepare some mighty fine meals was at hand.

She knew exactly what to do to get the tougher cuts of meat tender. I especially enjoyed the taste of the braised beef short ribs which she cooked to perfection -- without all the exotic add-ins which you might find in today's recipes.

After browning the ribs on all sides she would then slow cook them in a cast iron Dutch oven pot on medium heat for a couple hours or so. The dark gravy it produced was great over long grain white rice. This recipe makes 6 - 8 servings. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. beef short ribs, boneless
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • 1 packet Lipton's Beefy Onion soup mix
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. generously salt and pepper the beef short ribs
  2. add the oil in a skillet
  3. brown the ribs on medium-high heat on all sides then remove from skillet and set aside
  4. next, add 2 cups of broth, vegetables, Worcestershire sauce and boil until reduced to half
  5. strain the liquid through a colander, discard the vegetables then return the liquid to the skillet
  6. add one packet of Lipton's Beefy Onion soup mix and stir in well
  7. reintroduce the ribs to the skillet
  8. cover and slow cook on medium heat until the ribs become tender
  9. add the sliced mushrooms and continue cooking for about 10 - 15 minutes
  10. serve over cooked long grain white rice
Note: Add the remaining third cup of beef broth 1/4 cup at the time as needed to replace the liquid which will evaporate during the cooking process. Enjoy!
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