Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cajun Red Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs horseradish
  • 1 tsp Tabasco

All of the ingredients are 'to-taste', but this is a good starting point. Mix all the ingredients in a glass bowl. Adjust the horseradish to suit your taste. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours. This recipe can be used immediately, but is best if kept refrigerated overnight.

Red sauce and tartar sauce are common accouterments to many Cajun seafood dishes. Both of these sauces are great with shrimp, oysters, and fish - however they are prepared. Mastering the preparation of these two sauces will help you put the finishing touch on your favorite Cajun meal. The best part is they can be made in advance.

My wife likes to clean out a couple of used plastic 'half-n-half' bottles from the grocery store. They fit nicely in the refrigerator door, and they have a handy pour-spout thats good for chunky or thick sauces. Plus they have a sealable lid that keeps your sauce tasting fresh for a while. Whenever you need red sauce and tartar sauce (and we tend to need them a lot around here), just shake it up, pour it out, and enjoy.

Bon Appetit!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Flounder Po-Boy

  • 1 eggflounder po-boy
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 4 small flounder fillets
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4-6 Tbs olive oil
  • French bread
  • tomato sliced thin
  • shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • tartar sauce or red sauce
  • Tabasco

Rinse flounder fillets in cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel. In a small mixing bowl gently beat the egg, cornstarch, lemon juice and lemon zest together with a dinner fork. Set aside. Combine bread crumbs with parsley flakes, kosher salt and ground black pepper in a wide, shallow glass dish. Dip the flounder fillets in the egg mixture and place them in the bread crumbs to coat. Sauté fillets in a large non-stick skillet with olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat until golden brown.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the tomato slices, add some kosher salt and pepper. Lightly toast sandwich size French bread cut in half long-wise, add shredded lettuce or cabbage tossed with the sauce of your choice, tomato, the flounder fillets, squeeze of lemon with a few dashes of Tabasco. Works perfect with shrimp or oysters, too. Its one of my favorite ways to make flounder.

Flounder season is my favorite time of year for fishing. You never really know when its going to start -- the flounder keep to their own schedules, and don't bother too much with the Gregorian Calendar. We only know to start looking for them in late summer and early fall.

The first time someone catches a flounder, everyone knows the season is on! And it only lasts for a few weeks. Over the years I have learned to switch gears during flounder season. Its time to fish hard, but slow down. When the season is over, we won't see them again for another nine months or so. If I manage to keep a dozen nice fillets in the freezer after we've had our fill, its been a really good year.

They are not very fun to catch, nor are they very aggressive, and they don't put up much of a fight. If you try to horse them in, they are likely to come off the hook. A good net and strong composure are definitely must-have accessories.

The appeal of flounder is not on the line, but it is in the kitchen. The delicate white meat is easy to bruise, but if cooked right its sweet flavor make it some of the best table fare that comes out of the sea.

Learning to fillet a flounder takes good practice and a sharp knife. And, its important to know that a flounder produces four fillets! Two on the top, and two on the bottom. Don't overlook that belly meat, its the best part!

Once I pulled up to the dock in my boat, and noticed a fisherman cleaning his catch. I walked up to see that he had a nice limit of flounder in the cooler. He would clean two fillets off the top, then throw the carcass in the water. I was shocked! I asked the man, "Hey - do you mind if I take those flounder carcasses to bait my crab traps?" He said, "Sure, go right ahead!". I went home with four carcasses, promptly cleaned them and had eight flounder fillets! We ate well that night, I tell you what!

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Cajun-French Toast (Pain Perdu)

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • dash of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • powdered sugar (optional)
  • fresh or prepared blueberries (or your favorite syrup)

Mix first five ingredients together, beat thoroughly. Pour mixture in an open container (such as a casserole dish) large enough to dip the slices of bread. Fry the soaked bread slices in hot butter until browned on both sides. Dust with powdered sugar, top with blueberries or syrup and VOILA!...Cajun-style French toast!

Note: kids like it better when you remove the bread crust. Not a problem! You can use the crust for banana puddings, bread puddings, or slow-dry them and make your own bread crumbs...or, you can break 'em up and feed the birds outside.

When my niece, who lives in Austin, called me and said she and her two preteen boys would be arriving here in Hooks for a visit, I knew that a fancy breakfast had to be in order. Something I know they were not familiar with. So I decided on Pain Perdu, a Cajun-French expression for “lost bread”, and appropriately named because one made this dish out of day-old (or older) sliced bread—just prior to becoming stale and unfit for human other words, bread which would be "lost" if you didn't use it straight away. The French word pain means bread--and not an agonizing physical human condition.

There are many variations to French toast. The basics are milk, eggs, sugar, dash of salt, and butter. Whatever spices the kids like you can add to the mixture. It could be nutmeg, cinnamon, berries and toppings of various sorts.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cajun life according to Grandpa (audio)


Background Music: "Party Girl's Blues" by Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band on Sam's Big Rooster

In this podcast, Jacques describes Grandpa's take on Cajun Life and Justin Wilson. Signature Icon

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