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, July 19, 2011

St. Florian's Fire--Stewed Pears and Habenero Pepper Preserves

St. Florian is the patron saint of putting out fires. He organized firefighting brigades for that purpose around (250 - 304 C.E.), in Rome, where he was later killed for his Christian beliefs...learn more

Creating this dessert is my way of remembering the good saint.The heavenly taste of the slowly-cooked sweet cinnamony-flavored pears is gently overshadowed by the subtle flavor of the habanero peppers. The after-taste is unique and almost indescribable, but pleasantly memorable. I call it Sweet Fire.

If you like sweet, but not too sweet; and hot -- but not too hot, you may want to try this recipe out for size -- especially if you've got a lot of extra pears on hand, and you want to do something different. It makes a great topping on hot sourdough bread, or over Cajun-fried ice-cream.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 dozen pears, peeled and cut-up
  • 2 mature habanero peppers, seeds removed and cut into tiny pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt

    Instructions 

    1. bake the pears in your oven at 350 degrees F. for about 30 minutes and allow to cool before peeling
    2. once peeled, slice or cut small chunks of the pears to the core, discard core and seeds
    3. remove the seeds and chop the habanero peppers into very small pieces
    4. add everything together in a stew pot and mix well
    5. cook on medium heat for 2 hours or more, stirring occasionally, until pears have softened
    6. store the preserves in a glass vessel and refrigerate

    Note: Wearing gloves when handling habanero peppers to protect your hands is a good idea. Do not rub your eyes and thoroughly wash your hands with soapy water immediately after handling the peppers if gloves or not used.


    The reason for chopping the peppers into very small pieces is to evenly spread the heat throughout the preserves.


    I hope you enjoy this dessert. Spread the word about it and please support your local firefighters in any way that you can. Bon Appetite!

    Announcement: I am under a little 'pear pressure' to come up with a Cajun joke concerning (you named it) -- pears. I don't know any, so I need some help.

    If you have a joke or humorous anecdote that you would like to share, concerning pears, please submit it in the comment section below. Keep it clean, okay? The best one will be published with proper credit given.





       
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    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Vitamins, Minerals and a Healthy Diet

    According to the USDA, a healthy diet includes fruits, whole grains, vegetables, fat-free and low-fat milk, and other dairy products. The healthy diet also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts, with a reduction in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. 

    Minerals and Nutrients Vital to our Health 

    When looking to improve health, know and understand your vitamins and minerals intake?

    Below is a partial list of foods sources with essential vitamins and minerals – enough to give a head-start at recognizing and understanding what the body needs to maintain proper health.

    Vitamin A – for eyesight and the immune system: cod liver oil, dairy, sweet potatoes and dark green leafy vegetables.

    Vitamin B1 – (a/k/a Thiamin) for processing carbohydrates: cereals, whole grain breads, and pastas have high amounts of Thiamin.

    Vitamin B2 – (a/k/a Riboflavin) produces red blood cells and converts food into energy: almonds, asparagus, eggs, meat and fortified cereals.

    Vitamin  B3 – (a/k/a Niacin) aids in digestion and also converts food into energy: lean chicken, salmon, tuna, turkey, peanuts, fortified cereals and enriched flour.
     
    Vitamin B6
    – vital for a healthy nervous system and helps to break down proteins and stored sugars: light-meat chicken and turkey, eggs, baked potatoes with skin, bananas, spinach, fortified cereals and fortified soy-based meat substitutes.

    Vitamin B12 – for creating red blood cells: beef, poultry, salmon, crabs, mussels and soybeans.

    Vitamin C
    – for promoting a healthy immune system: potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, red and green peppers, spinach, citrus fruits and berries.  

    Vitamin D – for processing calcium to maintain healthy teeth and bones: fortified milk, cheese, egg yolks, salmon, cereals and sunlight.

    Vitamin E
    – for promoting healthy skin; antioxidant: almonds, hazelnuts,  leafy green vegetables; Canola, sunflower, soybean and olive oils. Signature Icon

    Spicy Cajun-Broiled Chicken for Diabetics (video text)

    This is  a simple and quick way to cook-up a savory chicken dinner for all members of your family. 

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    Wednesday, July 06, 2011

    Deep Frying Tip -- How to Test if the Oil is Hot Enough

    When frying food the oil should be sufficiently heated before beginning frying. This is to avoid a greasy texture and taste.

    The reasoning behind this is when the hot oil makes contact with whatever is frying, it will quickly seal-in the juices, (on meats, for example), and seal-out the oil in which the food is frying.

    One way to determine if the oil is hot enough to begin frying is to introduce a small sample of the food you are cooking. When the hot oil begins to bubble rapidly around the test sample is how to determine when it is ready.


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