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, August 29, 2011

Dairy-free Homemade Bread Muffins

Some symptoms of lactose intolerance can include abdominal pain, bloating and other associated discomforts to the digestive system. (I stay away from dairy products for that reason.)

It doesn't mean we must sacrifice all the things we love to eat, however, just because they usually contain dairy products -- like homemade bread, for example.

There is something about the aroma and taste of fresh homemade bread muffins in the morning for breakfast that refreshes the soul. The hot steamy middle just begs to become slathered with our favorite jam or jelly, (or butter for those of us who aren't lactose intolerant).

This recipe was handed down to me several years ago by a dear friend and co-restauranteur, Ms. Marry Richard, who is now retired in blissful peace near the Gulf of Mexico in south Louisiana.

I baked a couple dozen of her bread muffins yesterday for a handful of visiting friends. I started serving around 2 P.M and by four they were all gone. Zilch. zero, nada -- not even one left over. That is inviting news to a cook.

Today, I'm going to share this easy to make bread recipe... and you don't even have to be intolerant to enjoy these delicious muffins.

Ingredients

4 cups self-rising flour
2 cups warm water
1 packet yeast
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 egg, well-beaten
1 Tbsp. sugar

Instructions

  1. lightly coat the inside of your muffin pan with oil (I used bacon drippings which added more flavor to the bread muffins)
  2. in a large mixing bowl add 2 cups of warm water and stir-in 1 packet of yeast
  3. add the oil and beaten eggs and mix well
  4. while stirring, slowly mix in the 4 cups of sifted self-rising flour and blend together thoroughly
  5. place the mixing bowl and prepared dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour
  6. remove from refrigerator and spoon the bread dough into the muffin tins (about 3/4 way up)
  7. cook on high heat (450 degrees F.) for about 12 - 14 minutes or until the tops of the muffins begin to turn slightly brown
  8. allow to cool down for a couple minutes then pop 'em out and serve.
Note: You might want to hide a couple of these muffins for your personal consumption before they disappear.

Enjoy!
KT



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Monday, August 15, 2011

Eating Cheap in Hard Times | 10 Delicious Low-cost Cajun Meals

Listed below are 10 gourmet-style Cajun recipes that can be prepared on the cheap during hard times without sacrificing flavor, taste and the piggy bank.

Long grain rice, dried beans, inexpensive meats, (hamburger, chicken, bacon), potatoes, onions, bell peppers, celery, butter, eggs, and a few basic spices make-up the majority of ingredients in these ten simple recipes.

During hard times, we must often cut back on some of the more expensive foods which we like, and have grown accustomed to, during the good times.

This is especially true if our recipes call for special meats (seafood, prime cuts of pork and beef, etc.), and exotic add-ins. But, it does not mean that we have to sacrifice flavor and taste when cooking gourmet-quality low-cost meals.

Spices are the first things which come to mind. Since I grow most of my own herbs indoors or outside on the patio, I have a constant stock on hand and that saves me money. When I must get spices from the store, I will usually wait until I see them on sale before I buy.

Most of the time, however, spices purchased from the grocer will cost, on average, about $3 to $5 for a small container of the dried stuff (at today's prices). Growing your own herbs makes a lot of sense (and cents). Fresh herbs will intensify the already delicious taste of these meals.

As you consider these KT (kitchen tested) recipes, you will notice that the costs to prepare these foods are relatively low, but the quality is deliciously high. Bon appetite!


10 Low-cost Cajun Meals

Breakfast Fried Rice (video)
Add cooked white rice, stir fry until hot. Stir cooked onion and bacon mixture back into the rice. Push the rice, bacon, and onion to the outside of the pan. Pour beaten eggs into the middle of the pan. ...
Chicken Gumbo (a good winter meal)
Ingredients | 1 cup all-purpose flour; 1 cup cooking oil; 1 (4 to 5) lb. chicken, cut into pieces; 1 cups onion, chopped; 1/2 cup celery, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced; 1/2 cup green onions, chopped; 1/4 cup parsley, chopped; Water ...
 Cajun Rice Dressing (a/k/a Dirty Rice)
Brown ground meat. Add onions, bell pepper and celery. Cook until tender. Add ½ cup water, onion soup mix and seasonings. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add mixture and green onion tops to cooked rice. Stir and mix well. ... 
 Red Beans and Rice 
Ingredients | 1 lb. dry red kidney beans (large or small); 2 medium onions, chopped; 6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped; 3 ribs celery, chopped; 1 cup chopped bell pepper; 2 tsp Colgin liquid smoke ... 
 Hamburger, Cheese and Potato Casserole (video)
This meal is a kid-pleaser without a doubt. Not only very tasty, it is simple to prepare.
 Jambalaya
Ingredients|1 large green bell pepper, chopped, 3 stalks celery, chopped, 2 large onions, chopped, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1/2 cup green onion, chopped, 2 Tbsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp red pepper, 1/2 cup oil, 2 cups long grain white rice...
 Chicken Stew
Ingredients |1 four to five pound hen cut into pieces (never use fryer); 1/2 cup oil; 1/2 cup all-purpose four; 2 cups onions, chopped; 1/2 cup celery, chopped; 1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, chopped; 2 cups water
 Crock Pot Beef Stew
Ingredients 2 lbs. beef stew meat 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 4 Tbs butter 1 can beef broth (10.5 oz.) 1 can cream of mushroom soup (10.5 oz.) 1 cup onions, chopped 1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped 1/2 cup celery, chopped ... 
Cajun Hobo Dinner 
The reason I called this meal a Cajun Hobo Dinner is because I added the vegetable 'trinity' to the meal, i.e., onions, bell pepper and celery, as well as the other vegetables and seasonings outlined in the list below.  
 Combo Salmon-Tuna-Potato Patties
This is a simple combo meal you can whip-up in just a few minutes. I use a combination of two kinds of canned fish and a couple boiled potatoes to make these yummy ...

    Look around our site, you will find several more recipes for low-cost meals which may help to get you through rough times. Bon Appetit! 

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    Wednesday, August 03, 2011

    Smothered Okra - No Tomatoes

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

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

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

    Ingredients

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

    Instructions

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

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

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


    Tomatoes and Cajun Cuisine

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    Raw Okra


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


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

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