Sunday, December 31, 2017

Black-eyed Peas and Cabbage

Black-eyed Peas


Black-eyed Peas & Cabbage
  • 1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 slices of hickory smoked bacon
  • 2 Tbsp onions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp bell pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Colgin liquid smoke
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

As is the case with thousands of other families across America, I also take part in the annual tradition of cooking-up a mess of black-eyed peas and cabbage in an effort to increase my luck for the coming New Year. Heaven knows we are gonna need all we can muster up. (Okay. Stop ... no politics! Moving on.)

Contrary to popular belief, black-eyed peas don't have to be soaked overnight or for any significant period of time because the peas have a thin skin and are relatively easy to cook.

Over medium (or lower) heat, black-eyed peas can be done in just a few minutes. It's the pot liquor that makes all the difference in how your peas will taste, however.

Think 'minced' and not 'chopped' when it comes to your vegetables. A couple tablespoons of minced onions and bell pepper - and about 1 teaspoon of minced garlic sautéed in the fat from a couple slices of smoked bacon creates a wonderful flavor and delicious taste. And, you can salt and pepper to your own liking.

Using a 2 quart pot begin by adding just enough water to cover the peas and sautéed vegetables by about an inch,  (or by a finger and a half as we say in Cajun speak),  and begin the slow process of cooking them to perfection, while stirring occasionally (around 1 - 1 1/2 hrs.). Keep an eye on the peas because you may have to add a little more water occasionally as they absorb and cook.You will know when they become tender enough by taste-testing.

Set them aside until the boiled cabbage is done.

A pound of dried black-eyed peas, when cooked, should yield between 5 and 6 cups.



  • 1 head of cabbage, leaves separated
  • 3 or 4 pork chops
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp Colgin liquid smoke (hickory)
  • 1 measure DIY Cajun Seasoning
  • Additional salt and pepper (if desired) 

Cooking cabbage (boiled) is also easy to do and the way I prepare my cabbage, by popular demand I might add, is to include 3 or 4 pork chops with it. This is how I prepare my boiled cabbage.

The first thing I do is season the heck out of the pork chops with one measure of DIY Cajun Seasoning (easy to make - check it out), and fry them up in my cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat in a couple tablespoons of oil.

I fry the chops for a couple minutes on both sides until they are well browned, but I don't cook them all the way because they will finish cooking with the slow-boiling cabbage.

The next thing I do is get my kitchen shears and cut-up the chops into bite-size pieces and add this to the boiling cabbage.

If you are using a heavy cast-iron skillet, chances are in your favor that a crust will form at the bottom of the skillet (it usually does when you cook meat fast on high heat).This is a good thing.

We Cajuns call this crusty material the 'gratin' - which is commonly used to complement and enhance the flavor of various meat gravies.

Here's a little secret: keep the skillet hot but add in about 2 or 3 ice cubes and stir them around the skillet and they will magically loosen the crust (or 'gratin') and will produce a savory bouillon that you can add to the cabbage mixture to enhance the overall flavor.

Once you have liquefied the crust and added it to the stock pot along with the cabbage leaves and cut-up pork chops, you just go about your business of boiling cabbage like you always have (low and slow).  Adding a little salt and black pepper always helps.

I like to also include a tablespoon of Colgin liquid smoke (hickory flavor) and not that other brand. Keep mixing and tumbling the cabbage leaves in the pot occasionally so they don't burn. The only difference with cooking cabbage this way instead of the traditional way is that you now have a delicious pot liquor and a few bites of meat to go with your good luck food.

See there! Your luck's already changing.

I hope you like this great recipe for the coming New Year.

Catch ya later.

Bon Appetit! ... and a happy New Year! Ahheee!!
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Wednesday, November 29, 2017



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Friday, November 17, 2017

Smoked Turkey Breast

  • 2 cups non-iodized sea salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground thyme
  • 1 Tbsp rubbed sage
  • 1 Tsp black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh turkey breast, apx 2.5 lbs
  • 2 gallons non-chlorinated water
  • good oak, hickory, or apple-wood charcoal
  • indirect heat outdoor smoker

  1. Add water plus dry ingredients to container and mix well
  2. add turkey breast to liquid and put into fridge
  3. soak in fridge for about 1 1/2 hours (approximately 30 min per pound of turkey)
  4. add charcoal to smoker, and bring up to steady 250 degrees
  5. place turkey breast in center of the smoker, and shut the lid
  6. turkey should cook for apx 45 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature is 170 degrees.
  7. remove turkey breast from smoker, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes
  8. remove the skin, and slice it any way you want

There's nothing like home-smoked turkey breast.  Using this method, it will come out tender, moist and delicious.  Serve it with all the fixins, or just slice it up and have a terrific turkey sandwich.  Enjoy!
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3-Meat Cajun Cornbread Dressing

This 3-Meat Cajun Cornbread Dressing is more than just a dressing. It can become an entire meal in itself.


  • 1 lb. pork steak, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef, lean
  • 1 lb. chicken livers, boiled and pureed
  • 6 - 8 med. onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 pkg Lipton Beefy Onion soup mix
  • 20 oz. chicken broth
  • 3/4 lb. butter
  • 4 boxes Jiffy cornbread (cooked)
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • Tony Chachere's Original Creole seasoning (to taste)

Bake cornbread and set aside. You will need at least 8 cups. The more cornbread you add to this recipe, the less soupy it will become. If the mixture is too soupy, either add more cornbread or increase the oven baking time until you have obtained the desired texture.

Boil the chicken livers using just enough water to cover them. You can add a teaspoon of Tony's seasoning to give it a good taste. Mash the livers, (puree is better), and set aside for later use. Using some of the butter, brown the other two meats. Add the rest of the butter in a stock pot and saute' all of the vegetables except the garlic and green onions. (Garlic and green onions should be added to prepared foods toward the end of the cooking process.)

When the vegetables have cooked down a bit add all the meats, include the water from the boiled livers and the chicken broth; mix well. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add a small amount of water at the time, if needed, to maintain a thick soupy consistency. Thirty minutes before the meat/vegetable mixture is cooked, add the minced garlic, green onions, Lipton Onion Soup mix and Worcestershire sauce.

When that is done, add the cornbread to the meat/vegetables and mix well. Place all the mixed ingredients in a large baking pan (12" x 14"). Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until the desired texture is reached. 16 servings. This can be a stand-alone food or a side-dish which greatly compliments any holiday main entries, i.e., baked or deep fried turkey, as safe turkey stuffing, pork roasts, beef roasts, baked ham, outdoor barbecues, etc.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

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.


Smothered Okra
  • 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


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)
129 kJ (31 kcal)
7.03 g
- Sugars
1.20 g
- Dietary fiber
3.2 g
0.10 g
2.00 g
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 the 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. 
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