Monday, February 23, 2009

A Cajun Boucherie (audio)

Listen to Jacques as he describes a Cajun boy's rite of passage into manhood.


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Slow-cooked Red Beans Over Rice

  • 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
  • choice of meats (sausages, smoked ham hocks, bacon, or salt pork)
  • water (enough to fill your crock-pot to about 1/2" from the rim after first adding all the other ingredients).
  • salt and season to taste (cayenne pepper, black pepper, basil, thyme, etc.)

Try to acquire dried red beans which are less than 6 months old. You can either soak the red kidney beans over night for absorption, or you can bring them to a quick boil on the stove for a few short minutes, remove them from the heat source, cover and wait 1 hour, and get basically the same results. Drain and rinse under warm water.

Add all the above ingredients in a 5 quart crock-pot (except for the salt) and slow-cook for several hours--until the meat and beans are tender enough to eat. Stir occasionally without bruising the beans. This is a simple recipe, yet one which is delicious over cooked long-grain white rice.

If you are going to use meats which are cured with salt (such as salt pork), you can expect a little longer cooking time and less tender beans. For absolutely great taste use andouille sausage if you can find it at your local grocer. If not, you may be able to find it online, or substitute a good smoked sausage made of beef and pork. Yum! (C'est Bon)... Enjoy! Signature Icon

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lafayette Oysters Po-Boy

    shrimp po-boy
  • 2 dozen large oysters, fried
  • 1 fresh loaf French bread, large
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • tartar sauce
  • red sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Begin by frying a couple dozens large oysters using the Gaspard's Spicy Catfish Nuggets recipe (just substitute oysters). Deep fry until they float to the top. Continue to fry on both side until done.

Prepare a half-dozen at the time but don't over-cook. When a light golden-brown color is reached (about 3 minutes at 375 degrees F.) remove the oysters from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and place them onto some paper towels to cool and to absorb any excess oil. Repeat the process until all the oysters are cooked.

You will make two main cuts on the French bread. One at the beginning, which will dissect the loaf in half lengthwise, and a cross-cut to the middle, when you are finished, which will separate the sandwich to form two equally-proportioned po-boys. (I always cut mine on a 45 degree angle for appearance.)

On the bottom-half of the loaf, evenly distribute the shredded cabbage then apply red-sauce along the entire length.

On the top-half of the loaf do the same by spreading a generous amount of tartar sauce. Complete your sandwich by arranging the fried oysters on the bottom-half of the loaf, season to taste, put the bread-cap back on, perform your final cut ... and voilà!--two Oyster Po-Boys...Cajun style!

If you end-up with a few left-over oysters just eat them as a snack and enjoy).

Ahheee! ... C'est Bon!
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to Fillet a Flounder

Filleting a flounder is simple in concept, but tricky in execution. Its good to be prepared with a very sharp boning knife about 8" long, a honing tool, a large cutting board, and cool running water to keep things clean.

Its important to mention that there are several acceptable methods to fillet a flounder. I'll describe the method I use, which I find to be efficient and does not waste any precious meat. With practice, you might alter this method to suit your preferences.

With the freshly rinsed flounder laying flat on a cutting board with the head facing to your left, make your first cut diagonally from the top of the flounder starting just behind the head, behind the pectoral fin, and all the way to the vent. This should be a relatively straight cut, all the way through the fish.

Discard the head, gills, and viscera, then rinse the fish clean. Cutting through bone will dull your knife quickly, so rinse your knife and give it a couple of passes with a honing tool.

Now, make a clean cut along the lateral line all the way to the tail. Do not cut all the way through the fish, but allow your knife to glide just above or below the backbone ridge, and cut all the way down to the rib cage.

With the blade angled toward you, and using the tip of your knife, make long cuts that run parallel to the lateral line, and remove the meat from the rib cage as you gently pull it back with your free hand. Flounder meat is very delicate and easy to bruise, so be careful not to damage the meat. Also, be very careful making this cut because your free hand is exposed to the sharp edge of your knife. Allow the tip of your knife to pierce through the skin just inside of the skirt at the bottom of the fish. Cut the flesh away from the bone along the top of the lower skirt line all the way toward the tail, but do not cut all the way through at the tail. If you do this properly, there should be little or no meat left above the exposed lower rib cage, and the fillet should still be attached at the tail.

Flip the meat over at the tail so that the skin side is down, and the fillet is positioned from left to right. Rinse your knife and give it a couple of strokes of the honing tool.

Carefully cut through the meat at the tail, but not all the way through the skin. Use your left hand to keep the fish from sliding. With a moderate downward angle of the knife blade make a single clean decisive cut from left to right to remove the fillet from the skin. This can be tricky because the skin is very thin and easy to cut through.

Repeat this process to on the top and back of the flounder to complete the job. When you are finished, you will have four fillets. Rinse them in cool water, then pat them dry with a paper towel. You can place them in a plastic zip lock bag and keep them in the refrigerator if they will be consumed within a day or two. Otherwise, use a Seal-O-Matic and put them in the freezer where they will keep for a couple of months.

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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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