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 over 50 years. 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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Origin of Good Luck and Black-eyed Peas

Audio

 
Background Music: "Gone To The Country" by Racines.

When did 'good luck' join forces with 'black- eyed peas' to become an American New Year's tradition?

I did a little searching online and I found out that the custom pretty much began in Georgia around the 1730s by the first Sephardi Jews who arrived there and continue to live in the same region to this day.

The Jewish practice was apparently adopted by non-Jews around the time of the American Civil War. Boy did that tradition spread like wildfire – especially in the Southern United States.

Although the black-eyed peas recipes on our site are non-kosher (we like to add stuff like ham, salt pork, smoked bacon... the list goes on) I am sure if you look around you might be able to find a few of the original ones [recipes] which are kosher and give it try. Let me know if you like it, okay?

The "good luck" traditions of eating black-eyed peas at Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, are recorded in the Babylonian Talmud (compiled ~500 CE) [source: Wikipedia]

As you can see, the lowly little ol' black-eyed pea is not so lowly after all. It has been around for a long long time. Other variations of the bean (and ways of cooking them) have been a large part of many new year celebrations the world over.

I hope this little tidbit of information will make you a little smarter when someone asks you, “I wonder how black-eyed peas became associated with good luck as an American New Year's tradition?" Now you have answer... don't you?

Have a Happy and Blessed New Year! Ahheee!! Signature Icon

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cajun Tradition - Making Boudain ( 3 Part Video )

Boudain is also spelled "boudin". The first part of the video series begins at the bottom of the play list. I hope you learn something. Enjoy!





Note: For a meatier boudain sausage reduce the cooked rice content. Signature Icon

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gaspard's Spicy Homemade Cajun Sausage Recipe

One of the best reasons to make your own specialty sausages at home is because YOU know what is going into the mix. The large name brand sausages you buy at the supermarket are good, but you don't know what has been going into the product (everything from chemical preservatives to insects... and more).

Here is a simple way to make a great home sausage with savory spices which will put some zing into your next meal. This will surely become a favorite of mine to include in gumbos, stews, jambalaya and fricassees. You can stuff this sausage into hog casings or form them into patties.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs. ground pork (with at least 20% fat content)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp. garlic salt with parsley
  • 4 tsp. cracked fennel seeds
  • 4 tsp. paprika
  • 3 tsp. picking salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 6 oz. cold beer
  • 2 Tbsp. Colgin liquid smoke

Mix the dry seasoning together and run through a food processor for about 1 minute, or long enough to crack the fennel seeds. In a bowl mix the dry ingredients, minced onions and liquid smoke with the beer and blend by hand, or in a blender, for a few seconds.

Slowly and evenly pour the liquid spice mixture over the ground pork. Mix by hand for 10 minutes or until all the seasonings are evenly distributed throughout the ground meat. [Video Demonstration] Stuff into hog casings or form into breakfast patties. If you stuff them into the hog casings be certain to punch two or three small holes with a toothpick so they don't explode when cooking them in a microwave oven.

Also, perforating each sausage in a few places allows any fat that may be trapped inside the sausage to escape during cooking. Bon appetite! Ahheee!!

Tip Signature Icon

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Swamp Creatures - (Cajun Humor)

Audio

Background Music: "Boppin' The Rock" by Clifton Chenier on Bayou Blues

This little Cajun yarn should win a contest as one of the most frightening South Louisiana swamp stories of all times. It's called SWAMP CREATURES.

Boudreaux, an 80-year-old South Louisiana Cajun, goes to the doctor for his every year check-up.

The doctor is amazed at what good shape he is in and asks, "How do you stay in such great physical condition, Boudreaux?"

“I stay in the swamp and I hunt and fish every day", said the old Cajun.  "Dat's why I'm in such good shape. I'm up well before daylight and out hunting or fishing all day. I have a beer for breakfast and at lunch and wid my supper. And, I have a shot of hooch before bed time. And, I say my prayers every night. And all is well wid me."

Well", says the doctor, "I'm sure the prayers help, but there's got to be more to it. How old was your father when he died?"

"Who said Pop is dead?"

The doctor is amazed. "You mean you are 80 years old and your father is still alive? How old he is?"

"Pop be 100 next month," replied Boudreaux. "In fact, he hunted with me dis mornin', and den we went to a beer joint for a while and had a few beers and dat's why he's still alive. He is a tough Cajun man and he hunts and fishes everyday, too.”

"Well, the doctor says, that's great! But, I'm sure there's more to it than that. How about your father's father? How old was he when he died?"

"Who said my Paw Paw's dead?"

Stunned, the doctor asks, "You mean you are 80 years old, your father is 100 and your grandfather is still living? Incredible! How old he is?"

"We tink 'bout 118." says the old Cajun. He likes his beer, too, but he won't touch the hard stuff."

The doctor is getting frustrated at this point, "So, I guess your grandfather went hunting and fishing with you and your father this morning, too?"

"No, Paw Paw couldn't go dis time. He's gettin' married today."

At this point the doctor is close to losing it. "Getting married! Why would a 118-year-old man want to get married?"

Boudreaux looked down at the floor and mumbled "Who said he wanted to?"

Now THAT, my friends, I think you will agree … is most frightening! Signature Icon

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Polk Salad Annie (song)

The last time I cooked-up some poke salad was in 1992 in Nash, Texas. Wish I had me a mess of 'em right now. The leaves are poisonous so proper preparation is required. You must boil only the young tender leaves three different times for 5 minutes while discarding the liquid each time. If you do prepare poke salad please take extreme caution.



Poke Weed and Berries







Song by Tony Joe White (1969)

Poke Weed and Berries Photo Source: Wikipedia Signature Icon

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Wal-Mart Shopping List (Cajun Humor)

Audio

Background Music: "Dan La Louisiane" by Al Berard and The Basin Brothers

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

RealCajunCooking.com Gets Top Billing

Best Cajun Southern Food Blogs

Good News! On August 18, 2010 RealCajunCooking.com garnered the top spot of the Best Cajun Southern Food Blogs by the Culinary Arts College.

It feels absolutely great to be recognized by such a prestigious organization. Perhaps all of this hard work is finally paying off after all? And, we owe it all to you. Thanks!... and please visit us often.

Link: Culinary Arts College


Ahheee!! Signature Icon

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Health Benefits of Prunes (dried plum)

More Than a Laxative


Prunes (dried plums)
All my life I looked at prunes as an "old-folk" food.

The thought of prunes conjured-up images of the elderly with problematic digestive systems and consuming  dried plums was a way to help out with these minor problems (like constipation, for example).

Prunes are far from being an old-folk remedy. Prunes are good for everyone.

Prunes are a rich source of dietary fiber and a naturally fat-free source of antioxidants and chocked full of vitamins, including vitamin A and C, potassium, as well as a little iron thrown-in for good measure.

They are great for snacking; for baking cookies, breads and muffins; for cereal toppings; and, prunes are good for making your own trail mixes and salads.

For me, prunes are a handy way of suppressing my appetite. They don't need to be refrigerated as long as they are sealed in an air-tight ziploc bag.

I keep a bag of dried plums on the night stand next to my bed just in case I get a snack attack.

So, the next time you hear someone tell you that prunes are for old folks only ... well, you can tell them they are just plum crazy.

In the Kitchen 

Old-Fashioned Prune Cake with Hot Buttermilk Glaze


Ingredients

  • 1 package (18.25-ounces) yellow cake mix with pudding
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil such as Canola or other vegetable oil
  • 3  large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
Note: (Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan)

Directions

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Set the pan aside.

Place the cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs, cinnamon, and allspice in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look thick and well blended. Fold in the chopped prunes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pan in the oven.

Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 32 to 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the Hot Buttermilk Glaze.

Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a toothpick or wooden skewer and pour the hot glaze over the top, a little at a time, spreading the glaze out with a spoon to reach all edges of the cake. Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes more before cutting it into squares and serving.

Store this cake, covered in aluminum foil, at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze it, wrapped in foil, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cake overnight on the counter before serving.

Bon Appetit! Ahheee!!
(Recipe Source: http://tinyurl.com/25rovlo)
 
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hot Water, Butter and Corn on the Cob


How to Instantly Butter Corn on the Cob

TIP: The next time you prepare corn on the cob try this out for convenience:

In a tall glass of hot water, or a bowl of hot water whose sides are sufficiently deep enough to submerge an entire ear of corn, stir-in and dissolve about 1/2 tsp of salt. Next, add melted butter to the glass or bowl of hot water. Butter will always float on top of water so when you immerse each ear of corn into the glass (or bowl) and remove it, all the kernels will be buttered evenly, salted and ready to eat.

Pretty easy, huh?


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Sunday, August 08, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Oysters Stew

A Hearty and Delicious Stew in 15 Minutes - Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pint Borden's Half 'n Half (milk/cream)
  • 1 (8 oz.) can oysters (save liquid)
  • 1 (14.75 oz.) Campbell's Creamy Chicken Soup - condensed
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 Tbs freshly minced onions
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

In a medium sauce pan begin by sautéing the minced onions and butter on medium high heat for about 3-4 minutes. Add oyster liquid, slowly stir and bring to a low boil. Next, dissolve 1 can of creamy chicken soup into the mixture. Finally, add the canned oysters, chopped green onions and cook on low for another 5 minutes before adding the pint of Borden's Half 'n Half.

Continue cooking on a low heat for another couple minutes. Do not allow the stew to boil at this point and take care not to stir the stew too vigorously lest the cooked oysters fall apart.

This will serve 4 people. Enjoy with your favorite crackers or toast.

Bon Appetit! Signature Icon

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Recycling Green Onions (video)

How to Grow a Continuous Supply of Green Onions


Tip: Recycling Green Onions.

Green onions (a/k/a spring onions, salad onions and scallions) are a mild onion with underdeveloped root bulbs used in salads, soups and other dishes. It has become an integral part of Cajun cuisine.

Green onions are used in boudin, gumbos, potato salads, etouffees (A-2-Fays), fricassees, jambalaya, stews, hogs head cheese and many more recipes. In fact, if you plug-in the words "green onions" in our search  bar above you will discover just how extensively green onions are used in preparing many of our favorite Cajun dishes.

But here is the best part: I keep the bottom portion of the plants (the root bulbs) and plant them in either a small flower pot, or outdoor near the kitchen where I can harvest them year round. They are hardy plants that can withstand harsh temperatures.

Green onions are inexpensive and are usually sold in bunches of a half-dozen or more. Wait until just before they expire from the food shelves and ask your grocer for a discount. Often times he or she may let you have as many as you want for cheap or even free before they are tossed out.

Remember, all you need is the bottom part of the plant ('bout 2 inches) ... plus the free ones are usually better tasting, right?

If you use a small pot you can of course bring your green onions indoor until weather conditions become more favorable. I set my plants on the kitchen window sill and harvest a crop or two before planting them permanently in the ground.

Keep in mind that green onions can be chopped and stored in ziploc bags for the freezer. It only takes a few moments to plant them and you can have a continuous supply of fresh scallions that would make any Cajun green with envy. Bon Appetit! Ahheee!! Signature Icon

Monday, August 02, 2010

Beets Around the Bush Salad

Putting Color in Your Salad Theme

Instructions

In a shallow oval or round salad bowl position the pickled beets inside the outer rim while slightly overlapping each slice until you have completed a circle around the bowl. Next, place a couple fresh lettuce leaves in the center to form a cup (the bush) into which you may fill your favorite cut-up vegetables or fruit.

One of my favorite "Beets Around the Bush Salad" includes freshly cubed vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced cucumber, thinly sliced white onion and cubed avocado. I highlight my salad with a pinch of basil, a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar, and of course my favorite salt and spices - sea salt and black pepper.

But, you can let your own imagination kick-in and add the ingredients and spices which you and your guests prefer. Give it a try sometime. It is simple to make and rather delicious - even without salad dressing.

Enjoy! Ahheee!! Signature Icon

Monday, July 26, 2010

Most Viewed Real Cajun Cooking Videos

The following videos were the most viewed on our site over the last 12 months with "Skinning and Filleting a Catfish" weighing in at number one.

1. Easy Microwave Gumbo Roux



2. Easy Stove Top Gumbo Roux



3. Chicken-Shrimp-Okra Gumbo



4. Blackened Catfish Filets



5. Skinning and Filleting a Catfish

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cajun Meatloaf with Mushrooms (video)

A Spicy Cajun Meatloaf for Mushroom Lovers





 Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. ground round
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs  
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce  
  • 1/2 med. white onion, finely chopped   
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped   
  • 1 pk. Lipton ‘s Beefy Onion soup mix   
  • 2 eggs  
  • 6 oz. sliced button mushrooms (fresh)  
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper 
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)
Combine all the above ingredients (except rosemary sprigs) and mix thoroughly. Sculpt the loaf in a 6” x 8” tempered glass baking dish, add 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary on the top and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Serves 6. Signature Icon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alternative Cleaning Methods for the Kitchen: H2O2

Hydrogen Peroxide to the Rescue

After reading the following informative article: Do Household Cleaners Cause Breast Cancer? we may want to learn more about alternative ways to clean our kitchens. One which caught my eye is Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2), which is being used more frequently by industrial and commercial businesses because hydrogen peroxide is seen as an environmentally benign alternative to chlorine-based bleaches.

There are indeed caveats to consider when using higher strength solutions of H2O2, e.g., proper refrigeration, handling and dilution.

Informative links:
I would love to read your comments if you are already using H2O2 to clean your kitchen. By getting away from harmful chemicals perhaps we can make our world a better and safer place to live. Signature Icon

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Dirty Dozen (fruits & vegetables)

Dirty Dozen (fruits and vegetables with pesticides)

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Lettuce
9. Grapes
10. Pears
11. Spinach
12. Potatoes


Frequently Asked Questions

Do all these pesticides mean I should not eat fruits and vegetables?

No, eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.

Why should I be concerned about pesticides? 

As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:

  • Nervous system toxicity
  • Cancer
  • Hormone system effects
  • Skin, eye and lung irritation
Pesticides are unique among the chemicals we release into the environment. They are designed to kill living organisms -- insects, plants, and fungi that are considered "pests." Because they are toxic by design, many pesticides pose health dangers to people, risks that have been established by independent research scientists and physicians across the world.

Should I completely avoid eating celery or blueberries or other produce items on your Dirty Dozen™ list?

No, that has never been our message in presenting the Shopper’s Guide. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables—most Americans don’t eat nearly enough. And we would certainly recommend produce from our Dirty Dozen™ list in lieu of other, less-healthy foods or snacks, like fat- or sugar-laden processed products. But with the Shopper’s Guide you can have all the benefits of eating more produce while substantially reducing dietary exposure to pesticides.

What can I do to reduce my exposure to pesticides?

You can reduce your exposure to pesticides by buying organic whenever possible. The Shopper’s Guide will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and so are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide consumption by nearly four-fifths by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and instead eating the least contaminated produce, according to EWG calculations.

Should I try to buy everything organic?

EWG recommends buying organic whenever possible. Not only is it smart to reduce your exposure to pesticides, but buying organic sends a message that you support environmentally-friendly farming practices that minimize soil erosion, safeguard water quality and protect wildlife.

However, we know that organics are not accessible or affordable for everyone, so we created the Shopper’s Guide to help consumers make the healthiest choices given their circumstances.
EWG always recommends eating fruits and vegetables, even conventionally-grown, over processed foods and other less healthy alternatives.

What if I wash and peel my fruits and vegetables?

The data used to create the Guide is from produce tested as it is typically eaten. This means washed and, when applicable, peeled. For example, bananas are peeled before testing, and blueberries and peaches are washed. Because all produce has been thoroughly cleaned before analysis, washing a fruit or vegetable would not change its rank in the EWG's Shopper’s Guide (i.e. washing a conventional apple will not make it is less contaminated).

EWG has not evaluated various “produce washes” for efficacy or potentially toxicity. However, given that many pesticides are taken up by the plant as a whole and so are present not only on the skin, it is unlikely that even these products would be more effective than thorough washing at lowering pesticide levels. The safest choice is to use the Shopper’s Guide to avoid conventional versions those fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues.

Where do you get the data for the Guide?

The Shopper’s Guide is based on laboratory tests done by the US Department of Agriculture Pesticide Testing Program. The program tests several kinds of foods for types and amount of pesticide residue. Signature Icon

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Post BP Fresh Water Shrimp Farms?

I think today when someone says, "Post-BP" (as opposed to "Pre-BP"), everyone knows it is about the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill ... "after" and "before" the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The broken well has been spewing oil 5,000 feet below the surface of the gulf waters for 86 days (which, incidentally, started out at 5,000 barrels per day and is now 60,000 barrels per day, and some are saying as much as 100,000 barrels per day). This is BIG folks! ... more than you can ever imagine!

I also think it is safe to say there will be an increase in inland seafood farming, like the shrimp farms in west Texas, as a result of this disaster.

In a disaster of this magnitude crude oil could hitch a ride with the gulf streams and make its way from the blown-out well, upward along the Eastern seaboard, all the way to the North Atlantic Ocean.

The BP disaster will have a lasting affect on much of the U.S. coastal offshore fishing industry and it could take a century or more to restore the coastlines to Pre-BP conditions.

Some people will turn to inland shrimp farming and other aquacultural operations. After all, if done right, fresh water shrimp farms can become a lucrative enterprise for anyone who is willing to put in some long hours and hard work during the growing seasons.

Shrimpers are already familiar with the food and if the right monetary incentives are forthcoming, I am sure more people would take an interest in aquaculture.

Out of despair others will quit and seek some other type of employment and abandon their crafts. That saddens me.

As with the larger shrimping vessels, aquacultural operations like shrimp farming would employ several people from the community and money would keep circulating around home. And, our government is suppose to be in favor of that idea and help out, too.

If there can be a minuscule silver lining around this cloud of disaster it would be the ability to save an industry from extinction while the coast line and marshes are healing from the onslaught of oil.

By using all the available resources to build industries which create jobs and revenue, we can at least put some people back to work while saving and replenishing the stock of some of our favorite seafoods.

Read the beginning sentence from the Texas Aquaculture Association Report ... by Granville Treece (Texas A&M University):

Seventeen shrimp producers in Texas on 1,906 acres produced 6,831,238 pounds of shrimp worth $13,662,476 in 2005.

Granted, I know this is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the damages which we are witnessing right now along our Southern U.S. Coastal Regions, but there is lots of room for growth. And, there's a possibility to further offset our dependence on gulf water foods.

Let's face it, if fish can retain traces of mercury and other heavy metals, which are not safe for human consumption, just imagine your seafood now with traces of petroleum by-products in their systems.

See now why fresh water farms look so appealing?

While the clean-up is taking place, (which could be a long time process), there is no time to waste with respect to alternative methods of producing seafoods. We must do this to help displace the loss of our natural gulf water seafoods.

If you know anyone who would like to raise awareness about inland aquaculture opportunities for the victims of the BP oil spill disaster ask them to contact their state representatives and express their sentiments.

You can do the same thing. It is only fair that the responsible parties to this disaster rescue the people from their impending hardship and restore the environment, as much as possible,  to Pre-BP status.

People who act together can get things accomplished more quickly than acting alone.

Commentary ... J.R. Gaspard Signature Icon

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oil Spills Then and Now



Here is an idea?

If the responsible parties to this disaster agree and really want to help those affected by the oil spill financially, I am reasonably certain some folks along the coast would be willing to accept money needed to start-up and operate inland shrimp farms like the ones in West Texas. (map)

Here is a report by Granvil Treece of the Texas A&M University on some of their activities: Texas Aquaculture Association

As you will discover, a 20 acre farm is capable of yielding upwards of 20,000 pounds of shrimp annually.

I would like your comments.

Do you think the responsible parties to the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico should offer financial assistance to coastal residents and/or shrimpers who want to start-up inland shrimp farms?

Please respond in the comment section below. Other resources.

Thank you. Signature Icon

Saturday, May 29, 2010

How to Sauté Onions, Bell Peppers and Celery

The Cajun Trinity of Vegetables

Ingredients

* 1 cup onions, chopped
* 1/2 cup bell peppers, chopped
* 1/2 cup celery, chopped
* 4 Tbs. butter


Combine butter and vegetables in skillet and cook on medium heat until the trinity of vegetables become translucent (about 5 minutes).

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Signs of the Times - April 20, 2010

Family Food Store Advertisements 
Food Prices  4-20-2010
Location: Texas

 








(Adverts for illustration only. Foods displayed are NOT for sale.)


Today's Entrée 

Cooked Shrimp and Cajun Trio Sauce ... (it's ALL in the sauce)

When you are in a rush to drum-up some hoer doers for unexpected guests, here is a quick and easy way to do exactly that.

If you are fortunate enough to live near a food store which sells cooked shrimp on a platter, serve them  to your guests with this delicious Cajun-style sauce (WOW!

Don't let the ingredients fool you either,  or get you saying things like, "What? Horseradish! That is only served with beef!"

Not true. Wait until you taste this simple and easy to prepare spicy sauce which, BTW,  is good for beef, pork and seafood. For about a buck you can make enough of this sauce to serve with your cooked shrimp platter. Most folks already have the stuff to prepare it with lying around in the frig.

How's that for frugality? A shrimp platter like the one advertised above contains between 100 - 120 shrimp (yes, I know ... that's kinda small isn't it?).  But, sometimes we can't always get what we want.

There were moments when I had to use these kinds of spur-of-the-moment guerrilla tactics to get the job done. It works well enough when you find yourself in a tight-spot for time and you have to help feed a bunch of hungry folks.

Ingredients for Cajun Trio Sauce

1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. ketchup
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp creamy horseradish sauce
1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce

(multiply ingredients to prepare more)

Instructions

Blend everything together well. Use this spicy sauce as a dressing for cooked food-stuff like fried beef or pork strips, boiled/broiled shrimp or boiled crawfish, and smoked fish. It is EXCELLENT on regular beef burgers, too.

Tip: You can adjust this recipe to your particular taste. For example, I like to add a teaspoon of lemon juice to this sauce when I prepare smoked fish.

.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Nutritious Meat Loaf with Oatmeal

Add Whole Grain Power to Your Meatloaf

Most folks will agree that enough information has surfaced over the last few decades which says that rolled-oats is good for everyone because of its nutritional benefits. Here is a meatloaf which calls for 3/4 cup of 100 % whole grain rolled oats.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of DIY Cajun Seasoning

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan. Combine meat, tomato juice, oats, onions, egg and seasonings. Mix well and form into a loaf and place it in the baking pan. Cook for 1 hour. Let stand  for a few minutes before slicing. Signature Icon

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Soluble and Insoluble Fiber in Oatmeal

What is the difference?

Today I read the label on a 42 ounce box of Quick Oats when I came across the words Soluble Fiber and Insoluble Fiber (2g. ea. per 1/2 cup serving). So, I did a little research on the dietary fibers which I want to share.

First, I want to tell you about rolled-oats. It is just one of the several ingredients which I add to my Top Cats Premium Homemade Dough Bait formula: "Made for Women ... But, Men Can Use It, Too!" (that was gonna be my slogan). But, I never got the business off the ground and into the mainstream (pun intended).

Here is a partial image of a business card I made-up years ago (the address and phone numbers were omitted) when I was thinking about producing the bait in large quantities. But, I am retired! So tell me, why would I want to go back to work? I prefer to make the bait and go fishing myself.


I only make my Magic Bait for friends and acquaintances who don't mind forking over $3 a biscuit. (BTW, it ships well, too.) So, most of my customers take advantage of the 4 for $10 special. And, they pay for the shipping. No complaints, yet.

One biscuit can catch a mess of catfish enough to feed the whole family and still have some fish and bait left over. (I have done it several times.) So, the price is not that much when you consider the benefits.

It takes me time and a certain process to make the bait. I have to work the dough by hand as I would a loaf of bread ... except  more!

One biscuit is about equivalent to 50 night crawler worms (without the slimy and smelly  mess). It is as pliable as Play dough, too. It took me 16 years to perfect this formula and only one other person besides me knows what is in this good-smelling bait which attracts catfish like bees to honey (and he ain't tellin').

That aside,  (I tend to get side-tracked every now and then),  what about soluble fiber and insoluble fiber?

What is the difference?

What I have learned is that the soluble fiber in oatmeal is what makes it turn gelatinous. I think anyone who has eaten oatmeal can attest to its gooey texture. Well, that is the soluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, leaves the body in much the same composition as it was introduced ... as a bulk material which is beneficial in gently scrapping the inside walls of our intestines, thus keeping them squeaky clean and tidy.

So, I will be searching for some really good and unique oatmeal recipes, for that reason, so that I may share them with you in the future. If you have any good ones you would like to share,  you may do so in the comment section below.

As for the catfish, I don't really think it matters to them one way or the other about the solubility of fibers. Do you? Signature Icon

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ancient Seafood Fricasseé

 … (an excerpt from Ancient Greek and Roman Recipes)

Cooks

As far as we know from the relevant inscriptions, during the classical era cooking was the profession for men who were free citizens.

From the Hellenistic period onwards though, cooks were specialized slaves. As Menander writes, "the good slaves-cooks were paid a lot of money and had a prominent position in domestic affairs".

In ancient times
, there were quite a few collections of recipes but only a few extracts have been saved.

Most recipes and other details concerning nutrition can be found in "Deipnosofistis" which was written by Athineos who at the same time with the seven wise men, also accounts seven great cooks.

The greatest were Agis and Rodos who made the best fish, Afthonias who made the best sausages and Nireas from Chios who made a divine fish-soup.

Note: The following recipe is my attempt at an American translation of the copy sited in the above noted reference:

Ancient Seafood Fricasseé  (MINUTAL MARINUM)

Ingredients:
--------------
  • 1 lb fish fillet (e.g. salmon)
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 3 leeks, chopped
  • 1/2  cup oil
  • Salt, coriander, pepper, fennel, oregano to taste
  • a little bit of starch or flour to thicken the sauce


Instructions:
---------------
Chop the fillets into small pieces. Put the fish in a pan, add salt, oil, wine and broth. Chop leek stalks and coriander and add to mix. Cook approximately 30 minutes on low to moderate heat. When well done add the oregano and fennel (to taste) to the fish fricasseé. Boil again shortly. Then thicken sauce with starch, sprinkle pepper on the fricasseé and serve.

Special Note: I guarantee if there were any Cajun cooks back in Ancient times they would have most certainly used catfish or sac-o-lais (crappie) instead of salmon, and they would have added onions, bell peppers and celery to the recipe.

Let me know how it turns out if you decide to prepare it, okay?

Bon Appetit! Ahheee!! Signature Icon

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our address has changed (slightly)

For our friends who link to us or return often, please make note of our new address: http://www.realcajuncooking.com. The old address on blogger will still continue to work, but we really would like to show off our shiny new domain name.

Thanks!

Scott Gaspard
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cajun Food for Diabetics?

On Tuesday, February 23, 2010, I was diagnosed with type II diabetes. What a bummer!

That means having to give-up many of my favorite foods - like white rice, white bread, potatoes ... the list goes on and on.

But, it doesn't mean I have to give-up all of my favorite Cajun dishes. It just means I have to control the high calorie add-ins and side-dishes. Plus, I have to spread my lowered caloric intake over a wider span of time during any given 24 hour period.

In my opinion, it is just another fancy way of telling me to eat less and to eat the right foods. Duh?

"Lose the fat and not the muscle" is the sacrificial cry of the day.

Yea. That might be easy for them to say, but to me it becomes a big sacrifice because I love to eat the rich and tasty stuff. You know what I mean?

I like to eat the kinds of food that already come with a little fat attached to it - like those southern Sunday dinners with buttermilk crusted fried chicken (skin on), the piles of irresistible homemade mashed potatoes and pot gravy made from the fat drippings (along with buttered corn-on-the-cob as a side dish). Those were the good ol' days, ... you betcha!

Or, how 'bout those back yard bar-b-qued finger-licking delicious baby back pork ribs which produces a cloud of hypnotic hickory smoke that can par-fume the area of your outdoor patio and even invite unwanted neighbors over to see what's cooking … (that kind).

Don't you know I'm sure gonna miss that.

Alright, ... let's see? I now realize that by adjusting the quantity and quality of the foods I eat, the way that I cook it, and the times I eat will make all the difference in the world, the experts say, in the way my body will use-up its energy.

It is suppose to take some of the load off my pancreas and liver. (But doc, I love my beer! Please don't make me give that up, too.)

OK. ... I could learn to get comfortable with maybe a 2,000 calorie per day diet, but my doctor wants me on a 1,600 calorie per day regiment.

Easy for him to say. He hails from India and is barely 5 feet tall and weights about 100 lbs. … and he is in his mid-seventies.

That's not fair because I am over 6 feet tall and I weight 218 lbs. and I sincerely doubt that I will ever reach his distinguished ripe old age.

So, in the grand scheme of things, I have decided to eat more fruit and vegetables, for a change, especially when I get those occasional munchies; the severity has spiked since I quit smoking cigarettes two years ago.

One fruit I enjoy a lot is the tomato. Tomatoes are good sources of Vitamin A and other beneficial vitamins and minerals - particularly for folks with diabetes.

Tomatoes contain no fat to speak of and it is a versatile fruit for the dinner table because it can be included in so many different recipes. Tomatoes are very filling, as well.

They are good when vine ripened and eaten on the spot; they are good and better for you when cooked, and they are especially good and tasty in Creole gumbos, or fish courtbouillion, or in Cajun stews.

So, in the next few weeks, (especially during this Holy Season of Lent), I will be exploring, researching and studying a list of beneficial foods which are friendly to the body, starting with the tomato, and I will subsequently pass-on that information to you - so stay tuned.

This means I have to find, or at least create, some good Cajun-style dishes for diabetics and add them to our existing repertoire of tasty Cajun-style foods. I think it CAN be done.

So, wish me luck as I embark on this exciting new adventure and I add yet another category to our blog of Cajun recipes.

Hopefully I can uncover some enjoyable foods which are exciting to the taste-buds and friendly to everyone – including diabetics.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mardi Gras Surf and Turf Platter

Ingredients

Surf

  • button mushrooms (stems and gills removed)
  • large wild Gulf of Mexico shrimp, (cooked and ground)
  • cooked lump crab meat (6 oz.)
  • 4 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs chopped green onions
  • parsley
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Italian style cheese (finely shredded)
  • ground red pepper

Instructions

Mix well the cooked ground shrimp, lump crab meat, mayonnaise, green onions, parsley and lemon juice. Stuff the button mushrooms and top with Italian style cheese. Lightly sprinkle a small amount of red ground pepper. Broil the stuffed mushrooms for approximately 4 to 5 minutes until the cheeses melt (keep a close eye on the broiling process so not to burn the cheeses). Form a circle around the outer rim of the platter with the stuffed mushrooms.

Turf

  • 3 - 4 lb. beef roast
  • 1 packet of Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
  • 2 tsp fresh cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked coriander seeds
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 cup peanut or vegetable oil

Instructions

Pour the can of beef broth into the slow cooker. Heat oil in a heavy skillet and brown the beef roast on all sides for a couple minutes. Mix the black peppercorns, coriander seeds and beefy onion soup mix together to create a rub. Coat all sides of the roast (except the bottom), put the roast in a slow cooker and cook for 2 to 3 hours on low heat (depending how you like the beef roast - medium rare, medium well or well done). Cool and relax the roast for a few minutes before slicing.

Trimmings

  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • baby cut carrots
  • chilled asparagus spears
  • liquid from beef roast
  • mushroom stems, chopped
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
Instructions

Insert the cut baby carrots (steamed or raw) in between each stuffed mushroom along the radius of the platter. Next, form a bed of cooked rice in the center of the platter and spoon on a generous amount of mushroom gravy. Neatly layer the sliced beef on top of the bed of rice. Return the entire platter to a low heat oven for about 15 minutes at 150 degrees F. until ready to serve. Before serving arrange the asparagus spears on either side of the sliced beef.

Note: To make the mushroom gravy add the beef liquid and chopped mushrooms stems in a sauce pan along with 2 Tbs all-purpose flour (dissolved in a half-cup of cold water) and bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally.

Did you know that different variations of Mardi Gras are celebrated the world over - including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean nations ( Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominica,Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts , Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent, the Grenadines, St. Martin, Suriname, Trinidad, Tobago and the United States Virgin Islands), Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Italy, Netherlands, Panama, Spain, Sweden as well as several states in the United States?




Bon Appetit!

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Hamburger, Cheese and Mashed Potato Casserole (video)

This meal is a kid pleaser without a doubt. Not only very tasty, it is simple to prepare.




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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Palacios Crab Stew

Ingredients:

  • 12 medium crabs with claws, cleaned
  • 2  lbs. shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 2 qts shrimp stock, (from shells and heads)
  • 2 qts crab stock
  • 8 Tbs powdered gumbo roux
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • season to taste


My son Scott and I, over the years, worked on and perfected this mid-south Texas coast seafood specialty which is absolutely and unequivocally (without a doubt) one of the best meals we have ever conjured-up together.

For the past several years Palacios Crab Stew has become the centerpiece and main entrée during our annual Thanksgiving celebrations. We would like to share it with you.

We use what Cajuns refer to as "Gumbo" crabs (medium-size). After cleaning the crabs ('cept this year we purchased them already cleaned) we boiled them in an 8 - 10 quart stockpot for about 20 minutes (adding  just enough water to cover them).

The crabs were then removed from the hot liquid and set aside to cool. We kept the liquid to use as stock which we later mixed with the shrimp shells stock (in a word, this is the secret to making a great tasting crab stew - the crab and shrimp stocks).

At this juncture we already had our shrimp cleaned and deveined. This year for T-Day we decided to use 2 lbs. of  (9 - 12 ct.) wild Gulf of Mexico white heads-on shrimp (whew! ... that was more than a mouth full). In a separate pot, with a dash of salt, we boiled the shells and shrimp heads for about 20 minutes also, using just enough water to cover.

Next, using a colander, we separated and discarded the shrimp shells from the stock and retained the liquid to mix-in with the crab stock.

We ended up with about a gallon of combined stock (4 quarts), so I added-in 8 heaping tablespoons of dark powdered gumbo roux. You can find out how easy it is to make your own powdered gumbo roux in your microwave oven (without any oil) in about half the time it takes to do it the old fashioned way by following this link: Easy Microwave Gumbo Roux.

In another pot I sautéed all the vegetables in the 4 Tbsp of butter until they were translucent.

After mixing together the stocks and powdered gumbo roux, we added the sautéed vegetables, the salt and seasonings, then we let that simmer for 30 more minutes.

Next, we broke-up the crabs into smaller parts and added them to the pot to boil with the vegetables for another 20 minutes.

Finally, we added the fresh shrimp to the pot and cooked the stew for another 10 minutes until the shrimp were cooked but still tender.

Served over a bed of white rice this south Texas mid-coastal dish is truly fit for royalty and should win some kind of grand prize or award for its heavenly taste - even if it did take awhile to prepare. Serves 8 - 12.

Ahheee!!  C'est bonne!

Bon Appetit!

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Petit Pois (Baby Garden Peas)

Ingredients

  • 1 can baby green peas (15 oz)
  • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a small pot bring the peas to a medium boil (just a couple minutes).  Drain then empty the peas in a bowl. Mix-in the chopped hard-boiled eggs and the half-cups of mayonnaise and chopped onions. Using a fork or spoon blend all of the ingredients together thoroughly without bruising the peas. Set in the refrigerator until cooled. Can be served with a variety of dishes. Put a scoop of the salad on a piece of green lettuce leaf for eye appeal. Serves 4.

Marc East, a dear friend of mine who lived in Atlanta, GA. and who has recently passed, shared this recipe with me many years ago when we both lived in the area of the Atchafalaya Swamp,  near Butte LaRose, Louisiana. With this recipe he showed me a way to put new life into an otherwise drab vegetable, sweet peas, and it turned out quite tasty. Try it! It is quick and easy to make.


Ahheee!!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Amy Smith on Fire

Amy Smith is on fire! Find out 'how in the world' she and others like her are burning a place in history. [école de charbon]



Footnote: How many people of my generation, from the area where I grew-up (in the heart of rice country), would have imagined that simple rice straw could be used, in one way, as feed for live stock and other animals, and in another way, compressed into safe briquettes to become an ecologically practical way to cook food - especially for the poverty-stricken people living in distressed areas of the world where the infant mortality rates are high and attributable to toxic fuel materials?

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Potatoes and Onions with Cheese Casserole

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 Russet potatoes, sliced
  • 3 - 4 medium onions, sliced
  • 4 oz. Colby and Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
In keeping with our theme of preparing simple and delicious foods, this dish has got to be one of the easiest and tastiest we have published thus far.

Slice the potatoes and onions about 1/8th inches thick. In a skillet melt the butter and add the sliced onions. Cook the onions on medium heat for about 10 - 12 minutes until they are lucid and start to caramelize.

In an 8" x 11" casserole dish add a layer of sliced potatoes (enough to cover the bottom of the casserole dish) then sprinkle generously with your favorite Cajun seasoning.

Add the shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses over the seasoned potatoes then pour the skillet-cooked onions on top of the bottom layer of sliced potatoes.

Add another layer of sliced potatoes and evenly sprinkle another round of seasoning. Top it off with a generous amount of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Bake in the oven at 300 degrees F. for about an hour or until the potatoes are done.


Bon Appetit!

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