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, November 19, 2011

Oh Deer! | Adventures of a Big Game Hunter | Texarkana Hunting Club

It was my second year cooking for the Texarkana Hunting Club. The club's deer lease encompasses several hundred acres of wooded ridges and bottom lands and extends partially south of and adjacent to Hwy 287 in Nevada County, Arkansas. (between Hope and Camden)

I looked forward to being the camp cook again that particular hunting season. Maybe it was because I added just enough spice and Cajun seasoning to the foods I prepared the year before that prompted a re-invitation to be their camp cook again.

The challenge I faced that year was to prepare hearty dishes from the game bagged on the hunting lease...which was mainly deer and wild pigs. This challenge was met head-on and no one went hungry on my watch.

I arrived at the deer camp around noon on a Friday. My time that afternoon was spent getting settled-in at the bunk house, taking inventory of the galley provisions, and getting reacquainted with friends I had met at the camp the previous year.

All afternoon the hunters trickled in at the camp to set up for the following opening day. One of the hunter's age was 84, but if I had to guess the average overall age of the members, it would be around fifty.

I had to awaken early enough the next morning to prepare breakfast for everyone; early enough so that the hunters could eat a hearty meal and still have enough time to take positions at their respective blinds or tree stands.

This meant getting up at 4 o'clock every morning. In most cases I could have everything prepared within one to one and one half hours. After all the hunters left, I would clean the galley and go back to the bunk house to get a couple more hours sleep before preparing the afternoon meals.

It was Saturday, November 11, 2006. It was also Veteran's Day.
Everything progressed smoothly that first morning. I had the hunters in and out in less than a couple hours before ambling back to my bunk house to listen to the morning news and eventually get some more shut-eye. I had a special treat in mind to cook-up for the sportsmen for our Veteran's Day supper so I would need lots of rest.
That afternoon, while in the galley peeling potatoes, I heard a small commotion outside the building. I went outside to check it out and I noticed a couple hunters. They had just arrived at the camp. I didn't recognize them from the year before so I naturally assumed they were invited guests.

I took particular notice of the less tall of the two hunters because of the way he interacted with the other hunters, most of whom he had never met before.

He was gregarious to say the least. Although he was of a smaller stature, he strutted around like he was ten feet tall, in full hunting regalia, (just shy of a Gillie suit), and exuded more self-confidence than a rogue porcupine.

He could tell a story and spin a yarn that would make Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn green with envy. His name was Gage Paul Wylie. He liked and wanted to be called Gage Paul by the other hunters in the group. He was proud of his name.

That evening I prepared a hearty meal for the hunters. The main course consisted of chicken fried venison back strap with mash potatoes and gravy. I noticed Gage Paul tearing into his fair share. He acted like he needed to store as much energy as he possibly could in preparation for the following day's hunt.

While the other hunters gathered around to talk about old times and drink beer, I noticed that Gage Paul wasn't particularly interested and made his way back to his travel trailer to get some early rest, I supposed.

It wasn't long after that when I also made my way to the bunk house to get some shut-eye of my own. It was tough enough under normal circumstances for the cook to get some sleep, let alone jaw boning with a group of hunters who had another year's worth of tall tales, light beer and football under their hats.

I awakened at 4 PM the next morning to prepare breakfast. (scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy). Everyone was in and out in about one hour.
"Doing good!" I thought to myself.
I cleaned up the galley and went back to bed and before long I was getting some peaceful rest. There was no one around... just pure silence... the perfect setting for peaceful sleep.

I don't remember what I was dreaming about that particular morning, but it wasn't about tall tales, football or bagging deer.

Suddenly! Out of the peaceful silence and sweet dreams, I heard this voice. It kept repeating itself and getting closer and getting louder.

"I killed two!"

I heard it again. "I killed two!"

I remember jumping up from the lower bunk, where I slept, and nearly knocking myself out when my head hit the top bunk. I couldn't find my glasses. (not good for a near-sighted cook)
I bent over and closely examined the alarm clock on the bed stand and it said 8:30. It was still dark in the bunk house.

At that point I didn't know if it was in the A.M. or the P.M.-- I was totally confused.

Don't laugh. You should try thinking strait when it's dark and you can't see in the first place... and with a knot on the head that you feel is slowly growing by the minute.

I found my specs and finally figured out that it was still morning. I figured I got almost exactly one and a half hours of sleep. Imagine that!

I slipped on my overalls and made my way to the door to see what all the excitement was about. As soon as I opened the door there he was--Gage Paul Wylie.

"I killed two!", he shouted; "just fifteen minutes apart!", he added.

There he was... Gage Paul Wylie... a bit loquacious, in my opinion, and now a whole lot on the braggart side.

He touted his weapon of choice -- a 243 rifle like a gallant warrior after his first exhausting battle with the enemy.

So, Gage Paul bagged two whitetail deer in fifteen minutes on the first day. Big deal! Right?

For Gage Paul it was a big deal. It was a big deal because the sharp, self-confident, nonchalant, keen eyed whitetail deer hunter was only 9 years old.

As a well known radio commentator loves to conclude: "now you know the rest of the story." But, not quite.

When I was composing this story I couldn't help but think that perhaps there were other nine year old hunters, like Gage Paul, who bagged two deer in just fifteen minutes; that perhaps there were other nine year old hunters who have a good story to tell.

But, the amazing thing about this story is that on that faithful morning in November of 2006, a day which I will always remember, was the day when Gage Paul Wylie participated in his very first deer hunt.

Nine year old Gage Paul Wylie of Cabot, Arkansas stole the show that day as he out shined, probably for several more years to come, all of the other deer hunters in the hunting club.

He had been accompanied by his grandfather, Roy. As Gage Paul repeated his story to the other hunters who trickled in that afternoon, one of the older hunters asked, "Gage Paul, how many times do think you need to tell that story?"

Gage Paul responded by saying, "As many times as it takes. I just wanted you all to know that you may have won the battle, but my papaw and me...we won the war."

Check this out: Deer Hunting Secrets Exposed
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Simple Cajun Bread Pudding | When Grandma Ruled the Kitchen

Thanksgiving dinners with good old-fashion bread pudding was always a favorite of mine.

Homemade bread pudding became a welcomed annual tradition at our home. Besides the roasted turkey, the fabulous Cajun dirty rice, giblet gravy, and other complementary side dishes to die for, when it came time for desert, ma's bread pudding always took center stage at the conclusion of the feast.

Simple to make, this tasty bread pudding can tame the cravings of even the most ardent sweet-tooth monsters at your next dinner party. 


Ingredients

  • 4 cups regular milk
  • 8 slices stale bread
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbs. sugar (to be added later)
      
    Instructions

    1. heat milk, pour over bread and mash. 
    2. add evaporated milk, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, cinamon and mix well. 
    3. bake uncovered in buttered pan at 375°F. for approx. 1 hour.
    4. beat egg whites until very stiff. 
    5. add 4 Tbs. sugar and beat until dissolved. 
    6. pour over pudding. 
    7. return to oven and brown at 350°F.
    Note: If you are looking for a great rum sauce to go along with this delicious bread pudding check out this recipe: Rum Sauce

    You may also be interested in a new way of dieting. Click Here!
      Bon Appetite!
      KT


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      Thursday, November 17, 2011

      How to Brown Meat and Make Dark Gravy | The Maillard Reaction

      310°F (or higher) is the temperature which is required for meats like beef and poultry, among others, to begin browning. It is referred to, in culinary jargon, as the Maillard reaction (pronounced 'my-YARD').

      When this reaction occurs it is advisable to keep a close-eye on the meat you are browning, turning it over occasionally until all sides are done. 

      Often times, after the browning is complete, you will notice what looks like burned residue stuck on the bottom of the pot or skillet. We Cajuns refer to that as "gratin". It is the main ingredient that is used to make a savory dark gravy to serve with rice, mashed potatoes, cornbread, biscuits, so on.

      Tip: The best way to dissolve the crusty gratin at the bottom of a pot or skillet is to keep the heat on and add a few ice cubes and stir them around a bit.

      The crusty residue will begin to dissolve quite easily. Keep adding 1 ice cube at the time until all of it is dissolved. Turn off the heat and pour the savory broth in a sauce pan, add a couple teaspoons of all-purpose flour or cornstarch, some DIY Cajun seasoning, cook on medium heat until it thickens ( a minute or so) and voila! You just made yourself a dark gravy -- Cajun style. Some of us may like to add a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet to make the gravy appear even darker.

      I hope this helps.

      Bon Appetit!
      KT

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      Monday, November 07, 2011

      Letters to the Editor | Canola Oil Versus Animal Fats (Lard)

      My paternal grandparents raised me on a small farm down in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. They were born in the late 1800s, and they all lived to ripe old ages. I am talking about into their 80s, 90s, and their parents lived to grand old ages, too. My great great grandmother was a centenarian who lived 104 years. They ALL cooked with animal fats.

      Modern day cooking oils had not yet hit the grocery stores and supermarkets when I was a kid growing up. We got our oils from hogs (lard), chickens, and other animals on our farm. It is what we used to cook with in our home. Foods cooked with animal fats created better tasting meals than today's Canola or soy oil.

      There are occasions when I get in the mood to cook-up a batch of some good ol' homemade cat-head biscuits using fresh bacon grease that's been cooled down in the freezer a few minutes and used as shortening. I would then cut-in the cooled solid fat (not yet frozen) along with a couple cups of self-rising flour and a cup of fresh milk and bake it on high for just a few minutes and look out!

      Seems like everyone wants seconds when I serve them piping hot. That's how good they tasted. Those were indeed the good ol' days--the days when you might could live to be a hundred and four.

      I prefer using animal fats over processed cooking oils to cook with whenever the occasion presents itself. Making Cajun sausages, pork and chicken boudin, cracklings, frying turkeys, baking biscuits are but a few examples of the occasions when I like to use animal fats and oils.

      In my opinion, animals are much better at producing safer fats (assuming they have not been genetically modified), than today's mechanized processes and so-called modern technological advances.

      The giant corporations spend lots of advertising dollars to paint pretty pictures and feed us piles of BS on how "safe" it is to use their products just to get us to try it. Once the products become branded and established in the market-place, they then continue to profit by slowly poisoning our bodies every time we purchase another bottle of good ol' supermarket vegetable oil.

      While the mega-producers of the one-size-fits-all products, like Canola, which can be used as industrial lubricants, bio-diesel fuels, insecticides and cooking oils (to name just a few) are busy paying-off the right agencies to get approval to sell us their unsafe products, we continue to fork over money to purchase their poisons anyway. It's absurd!

      This is one reason, like my ancestors, that I lean toward the side of nature as often as possible. Mother Nature is a special blessing to all of us and we can freely use Her anytime.

      There is a lot to be said, and the debate has just begun, about oils like Canola which can be used as an industrial lubricant, a bio-diesel fuel, cooking oil, or the main ingredients in insecticides (same oil, different applications).

      Consuming food products with GMO is NOT the way to go. Why do you think the EU, and other importing countries, have stopped buying genetically modified foods from the U.S.?

      I'll tell you why. Because they know the products are unsafe, unholy and are slowly killing consumers in the name of profit--just like tobacco companies. 'Nuff said.

      Canola Oil in pesticides.  The Health Ranger reveals how the No. 1 ingredient in a pesticide product is actually canola oil, and describes the warnings on the product which include that you should never get the oil on your skin or clothing. Soybean oil is also discussed as a key ingredient in another pesticide product.

      Below is an interesting article that I would like to share with you... just to give you a little something to think about?

      From “Off The Grid News” – Better Ideas For Off The Grid Living

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      Wednesday, November 02, 2011

      Selective Bargaining | Work For Food Plan | Humor

      If you cook Cajun food, don't laugh at this picture. It is an example of what could happen around your home when you are the only Cajun cook in town.





















      He does look a little familiar. Lol! Ahheee!!
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