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.

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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    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    Real Beef Onion Soup Mix

    Real Beef Onion Soup Mix that you can make at home. So easy!

    Ingredients: 
    • 1 crushed (granulated) beef bouillon cube
    • 2 Tbsp dried minced onions
    • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp corn starch
    • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
    • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
    • 1/8 tsp onion powder
    There are times when I like to use soup mixes to liven-up the tastes of the meals I prepare and I'm particularly fond of a well-known mix with the highlighted words 'Beefy Onion' on the package (Lipton). But the fact is that one cannot find a single hint of beef products in the mix. Hmmm?

    Semantics! I think that's when advertising companies slightly bend the meaning of words to represent something totally different. It sometimes confuses consumers, like me, into thinking they are buying something which they are not. I hate to say it but it happens to me all the time.

    In this example, their use of the descriptive word 'beefy' means something which tastes similar to beef,  (not the real thing), thus allowing the imitation beef flavor to stand out from the rest of the average onion soup mixes on your supermarket shelf. And, they charge a premium price for it.

    While it's true that well-placed words on product packages can increase sales, it's also true when consumers don't take the time to analyze all the ingredients on labels they may not discover the differences between the imitation flavors and the real McCoys.

    If you read the box labels on the most popular brands of onion soup mixes, for example,  you will discover that each packet contains roughly 4 tablespoons of well-mixed ingredients. Much of this is salt which may be gratifying for instant soup lovers and good for quick gravies, but not useful for many types of cooking.

    When salt is added at the beginning of the cooking process it usually toughens that which is being cooked, unless it is done on low heat for longer periods of time. Slow-cooking crock pots make excellent vessels for that particular cooking technique.

    In the old days, meats which were preserved with rock salt in large 20-gallon ceramic containers would retain the salinity. The salty meats, therefore,  had to be soaked in fresh water for dilution prior to cooking. Then the process of cooking for prolonged periods with low heat was utilized to achieve tenderness.

    Moving on.  All you have to do is break down the onion soup mix formulas into their integral parts and play around with different combos until you discover that magic taste and VIOLA! ... you just saved yourself a ton of money over the coming years.

    Creating your own brand of 'beefy' onion soup mix at home will save you about 75% of the cost of buying it in the store. Plus, you come out with the real deal, a better deal and a better blend, too. It feels good to know you can make it fast, at a moment's notice, right from your own pantry and spice rack. You don't have all the preservatives and stuff that are in the packaged brands, either. 'Nuff said.
      Mix together thoroughly and you are ready to go. Use your mix as you would with any store-bought variety.

      Hint: If you want to make your mix "Extra Beefy", you can always add another crushed bouillon cube. You can also add about a half-teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper to 'Cajunize" your mix. This reminds me. Check out my  DIY Cajun Seasoning mix and you will discover yet another pure and simple way to save money and end up with a superior product.

      Save and Enjoy! Ahheee!!


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      Tuesday, March 14, 2017

      Bacon-flavored Ol' Time Homemade Cathead Biscuits

      Cathead Biscuits made with hog lard was a very tasty treat at breakfast time when I was a kid growing up on the farm and had a very distinct taste which separated it from today's traditional methods of making biscuits.

      Hog lard was the most used cooking fat in our home at that time. There were also occasions when we used the rendered fat of other animals (chicken and beef) in which to prepare specific meals which were associated with the cut of meat being cooked.

      If you have never experienced the taste of an omelet or scrambled eggs using a couple teaspoons of chicken oil, then you have missed out on some wonderful taste. To learn how to render oil from chicken skins see an earlier post entitled "Cacklin Cracklins".

      Retail hog lard has begun to slowly disappear from the marketplace (even in the deep south) as it is steadily being replaced with processed industrial oils like soy and Canola--the same stuff used in lubricating machinery, running diesel engines, in the formulation of toxic pesticides, as well as for cooking. You can learn more about the toxic effects of soy and Canola oil as a food substance by visiting here.

      Today we are going to bake-up a batch of Ol' Time Homemade Cat Head Biscuits made with bacon drippings. I suppose the reason they might be called "Cat Head" biscuits might be because someone  fashioned the biscuits by hand a little larger than usual and they wound-up looking similar to, and as big as, a cat's head when they were done baking. That sounds like a plausible story to me, so I'm sticking with it. I do remember when one of 'em could just about fill me up back in the old days when I was a boy.

      I don't fashion the biscuit dough with my hands, however. Instead, I use the opened end of a clean empty food can as my biscuit cutter. It gives me more biscuits of normal size (6 - 8 servings).

      This recipe will add a slight bacon flavor to your batch of cat heads. When using bacon drippings keep in mind that it already contains salt from the curing process. Therefore, in this recipe there is no need to add salt when converting the all-purpose flour into self-rising flour.

      Note: To make 1 cup of self-rising flour add 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder, a small pinch of baking soda and 1/4 tsp. salt to 1 cup of all-purpose flour and mix thoroughly.

      As mentioned previously, there is no need to add salt to make your self-rising flour in this recipe because the bacon drippings already contain enough to create the chemical reaction with the baking powder and baking soda that is needed to make the biscuits rise.

      Tip: Liquified bacon drippings can be put in the freezer for a few minutes and it will solidify enough to be cut-in with your flour mix.

      Ingredients

      • 2 cup self-rising flour
      • 3 Tbs. solid and cold hog lard (bacon drippings)
      • 1 cup milk

      Instructions

      1. preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
      2. add self-rising flour into a food blender
      3. using the "Pulse" feature add 1/3 of the cold hog lard at the time until it mixes-in well with the flour
      4. slowly add and pulse the 1 cup of milk into the blender until a soft dough is made
      5. roll out the biscuit dough on a slightly floured cutting board to about 1/2 inch thick
      6. cut your biscuits into circles (the size of a soup can)
      7. place the biscuits onto a slightly oiled pan (touching)
      8. bake at 450 degrees F. for 10 - 12 minutes

      Serves 6 - 8
      Bon Appetit!
      KT
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      Saturday, March 11, 2017

      Shrimp Etouffee (A-2-Fay)

      Shrimp Etouffee (A-2-Fay) is just a fancy Cajun French expression for 'smothered' shrimp. The gulf shrimp are slow-cooked in a thick and rich garlic butter sauce. We begin by sautéing the Cajun trinity of vegetables--chopped onions, celery and bell pepper--to bring out the traditional and unmistakable flavors of Cajun-style cuisine.

      The meal is simple to prepare and rates highly among the more popular Cajun entrées.

      Ingredients

        Shrimp Etouffee (A-2-Fay)
      • 2 lbs. fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
      • 1/2 cup butter
      • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1 cup onions, chopped
      • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
      • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
      • 3 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1 small can tomato juice
      • 1 1/2 cups water
      • salt and pepper to taste

      Instructions
        1. melt butter and stir-in flour, onions, celery and bell pepper, mixing well
        2. cook on medium heat until the vegetables become translucent
        3. blend-in the tomato juice, water, garlic and seasonings
        4. simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently
        5. add the fresh medium shrimp and cook for an additional 20 minutes
        6. serve over cooked long grain rice
         Yields 4 to 6 servings.

        Question: How do you smother chicken?
        Answer: Use tiny pillows and sneak-up on 'em while they are sleeping.

        Ahheee!! C'est bon!
        KT
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