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RealCajunCooking.com 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 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, videos and humorous anecdotes to entertain. So enjoy! Don't forget to tell all of your family and friends about Real Cajun Cooking.

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How to Cook Garfish

Garfish Recipes - 2  Ways to Cook Gar Fish
  1. Fried Gar Balls
  2. Smoked Alligator Gar Roast
The garfish is a prehistoric fish.

Its natural skills and ability to quickly adapt to harsh environmental conditions; its slender and elongated armor-plated body which gave it agility and speed; and, its two rows of sharp teeth on a long and protruding snout, all came together millions of years ago to make the garfish a formidable candidate for survival without evolving.

They are, in essence, living fossils which come equipped with an inner air bladder. This means the gar fish can stay alive, out of the water, longer than most other types of fish. Even in low-oxygen conditions the garfish will come up out of the water for air much like some aqua-mammalians  (whale, dolphin and sea cow).

I prefer the smaller species of garfish (long-nose gar) for my table because they are easier to handle, clean and cook.

On the smaller fish, after removing the outer armor, I use a large metal spoon to scrape the meat out from between the connective tissue, which is common to all species of garfish, and set it aside in a bowl to mix with my other ingredients.

Warning: Under NO circumstances should you consume the eggs of a garfish (roe) because it is poisonous to humans and other warm-blooded animals.

I like to use the more-tender meat of a smaller fish to prepare fried gar balls. I usually go half 'n half (half fish meat and half crumbled baked potatoes) to prepare mine.

I add a couple eggs, chopped green onions, as well as salt and seasonings.

In a bowl mix everything together well and form the mixture into golf ball size spheres. Finally, coat them well by rolling the balls in Italian bread crumbs and fry at 365 degrees F. until they are golden brown in color.

I have also prepared alligator gar fish (3 - 5 lb. roasts) on the barbecue.

I use enough aluminum foil to completely wrap the fish roast, but only after I have smoked it and seasoned it enough.

By setting the alligator gar fish roast on a couple sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, (open-face),  I  can manipulate the amount of smoke I want my fish roast to absorb. The temperature should be between 120 and 180 degrees F. I always use hickory chips to create the smoke for my roast, but other hardwood chips will do just as well.

I gauge how much smoke I need by observing the naturally white meat of the garfish as I am smoking it.

When it reaches a slightly smoky color (dull-gray), I wrap the roast with the aluminum foil and continue cooking it until it's done, but not before dousing it with gobs of melted lemon butter and DIY Cajun seasoning. The larger roasts should not take more than an hour to cook after smoking.

I've also used lemon and orange peels on occasion to enhance the taste of the gar fish roast.

Garfish is a good-tasting fish and its meat is somewhat sweet. Some folks like to compare it to crab meat.

I like it for what it is. Try it some time. You might like it, too.


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Maque Choux

  • 1 stick butter
  • 15 ears tender fresh corn
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • (or 2 fresh tomatoes diced)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
      1. cut corn off the cob and scrape the cob to remove all the juice
      2. in a Dutch oven combine 1 stick butter, onion, bell pepper, and garlic
      3. sauté until tender
      4. add corn and tomatoes
      5. season to taste
      6. cook over medium heat for 1 hour, stirring constantly
      7. add a little milk from time to time
      8. keep mixture soft to avoid sticking
      9. serves 5 to 6


      Prior to 1755, a time before the Acadian expulsion from their homeland in Nova Scotia by British forces, a peaceful co-existence and assimilation between the two peoples (Mi'Kmaq and Acadians) led to cultural sharing, some of which can be experienced in today's Cajun foods culture.

      I want to further explore the subject, so if anyone has information about this, would you please send it my way?

      Mi'kmaq, also spelled Micmac, was the largest of the North American Indian tribes traditionally occupying what are now Canada's eastern Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) and parts of the present U.S. states of Maine and Massachusetts.

      The Cajuns, prior to settling Nova Scotia hailed from a rural area of the Vendee Region of Western France. They began to settle in North America in 1604.

      The Acadians brought with them excellent farming and fishing skills and literally transformed saltwater marshes into arable lands to grow their food crops.

      The Mi'kmaq lived off the land and occupied a bountiful swath of the Northeastern Woodlands of these Canadian provinces.

      It is a very interesting subject and I'd like to learn more about some of today's traditional Cajun cuisine... and perhaps a historical gem or two about how this unique food culture has evolved.

      Note: To make chicken Maque Choux, cut chicken into bite size pieces and fry until brown and add to the Maque Choux. Cook 10 minutes.

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      Cajun Baked Lemon Chicken with Onions and Sweet Peppers

      A fresh chicken fryer or broiler is better when preparing this wonderfully delicious meal. Use your favorite baking pan, and after 1 hour of marinating the bird, it will be ready for the oven. The entire meal can be cooked and served in around an hour. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
      • 1 (3 - 4 lb.) chicken
      • 1 large onion
      • 2 med. green bell peppers
      • 2 med. red bell peppers
      • 2 Tbs. butter
      • 1/2 cup oil
      • 1/3 cup lemon juice
      • 2 Tbs. parsley, chopped
      • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
      • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
      • 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
      • 3/4 tsp. salt
      1. combine all ingredients, (except chicken, vegetables and butter), to create the marinade
      2. marinade the chicken in the refrigerator for 1 hour (turning once)
      3. drain marinade then bake chicken at 400 degrees for 40 - 55 minutes.
      4. cut onions and bell peppers into 1/2-inch thick rings.
      5. on medium-high, sauté the onions and peppers in 2 Tbs. of butter for around 8 - 10 minutes 
      6. spoon the onions and peppers around the chicken when done
      This meal can be served with cooked long-grain white rice.
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      Cheesy Deep-fried Buttermilk Jalapeño Hush Puppies Recipe

      Cheesy you say?

      Cheesy Jalapeno Hush Puppies
      Yes, but not that kind of cheesy. The bites on these puppies are much stronger than their bark. By adding mild shredded cheddar cheese to the mix, however, it promotes a smooth and savory transition for the taste buds as they also take in the robust and spicy flavors of the chili peppers and onions.

      Indescribably delicious! Bon appetite!

      • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
      • 1 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
      • 1 (10 oz.) jar pickled jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
      • 6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
      • 2 eggs
      • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
      • 2 Tbsp. sugar
      • 1 tsp. salt
      • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
      • buttermilk (or half and half)
      • cooking oil
      1. in a small deep-fry pot add about 4" of cooking oil (enough so the puppies can float to the top)
      2. bring the heat up to about 365 degrees (between medium and high)
      3. drain and finely chop the pickled jalapeno peppers and medium onion (I use a food chopper)
      4. add all of the remaining ingredients (except the buttermilk) together and mix well
      5. next, slowly and continuously add a little buttermilk (while stirring) until a smooth and barely liquid consistency is attained
      6. drop 1 Tbsp. at the time, in groups of four, into the boiling oil (a small fry pot will suffice)
      7. when the puppies float to the top, turn them over every few seconds and let them fry evenly on both sides 
      8. when the puppies have reached a golden brown, remove and place onto a paper towel to absorb any excess oil 
      Note: The secret to getting the batter just right is this: when you load a tablespoon full of the thick batter, and turn it upside down, it doesn't fall into the hot oil. However, if you turn the same spoonful of batter sideways, and it slowly pours out into the fry pot, then you have got it at the right consistency.

      If your oil is sufficiently hot, it shouldn't take more than 3 or 4 minutes to fry each batch of 4.

      Another variation of this recipe can be found here: Peño Puppies.

      Bon Appetite!
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      Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe

      I must confess. I have never baked a King Cake, but I do eat them and they are delicious.

      My friend Danno at NolaCuisine.com has graciously allowed me to post his King Cake recipe here for your enjoyment. Thanks for sharing, Dan! BTW, visit his site when you get the chance. There you will find an awesome display of great New Orleans style dishes to soothe the soul.

      King Cake Recipe

      For the Brioche:

      • 1 envelope active dry yeast
      • 2 Tbsp warm water (115 degree F)
      • 1 tsp iodized salt
      • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
      • 1/4 cup milk
      • 2 tsp orange zest, minced
      • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
      • 1 tsp cinnamon
      • 2 eggs, beaten
      • 1 1/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into very small dice
      • 1 egg beaten and 2 Tbsp water, for the egg wash
      • 1 plastic baby trinket

      Dissolve the yeast in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, let stand until frothy. Dissolve the salt, sugar, orange zest and milk in a small bowl. When dissolved combine the milk mixture with the yeast mixture. Mix the cinnamon with the flour.

      With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, then gradually add the flour, until all is incorporated. Knead on low speed for 10 minutes, or until a smooth elastic dough is formed. A little more flour may be necessary. With the motor running, incorporate the butter into the dough, a little at a time but rather quickly so that it doesn’t heat up and melt.

      Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour in a warm spot. When the dough has doubled in bulk punch it down, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

      Roll the dough out to a 6 x 18 inch rectangle. Spread the Pecan filling (recipe below) out in the middle of the rectangle along the whole length, leaving about 1 1/2 inch on each side. Place the baby trinket somewhere with the filling. Fold the length of the dough over the filling and roll up tightly, leaving the seam side down. Turn the roll into a circle, seam side down and put one end inside of the other to hide the seam, and seal the circle. Place the cake on a baking sheet and let rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

      Brush all over with the egg wash, then place the king cake into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

      When the cake cools, brush with some of the glaze (recipe below) thinned out with more cold water. This will help the sugars adhere. Decorate the cake with the colored sugars and drizzle some of the thicker glaze onto the cake.

      Place on a large round serving plate and decorate with Mardi Gras beads, doubloons and whatever else that you like.

      For the Pecan filling:
      • 1 cup pecan halves, broken up slightly and roasted until fragrant
      • 2/3 cup brown sugar
      • 1 tsp vanilla extract
      • 1 tsp cinnamon
      • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
      • 1 pinch of salt
      • 4 Tbsp Steen’s Cane Syrup

      Combine all of the ingredients together.

      For the glaze:
      • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
      • 1 Tbsp bourbon
      • water (enough to make a paste that can be drizzled)

      Combine the sugar and bourbon, whisk in enough water to make a glaze that can be drizzled.

      Happy Mardi Gras ! ... Ahheee!!
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      Gateau de Roi - The King's Cake Story

      This is an excerpt from "Mr. Lake's New Orleans Forum":

      Gateau de Roi

      Twelfth Night or King Cake

      The story of the king cake begins, like the story of Mardi Gras itself, with the pagans. They had a celebration where a young man from the village was chosen to be treated like a king for a whole year. He was not denied during his reign, but after the year was over he became a human sacrifice to the gods. To eliminate this pagan custom, the Christian Church encouraged an observance calling for the preparation of a king cake containing a bean; whoever received the slice with the bean became king for a week and was allowed to choose a queen to reign with him. This took the place of the sacrificial pagan rite.

      The King Cake tradition is believed to have been brought to New Orleans, Louisiana, from France in the 1870's. It evolved from the Twelfth Night or Epiphany pastry made by those early settlers. They added their own touches with the Spanish custom of choosing Twelfth Night royalty.

      In European countries, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. The celebration, called Epiphany, Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night, is a time of exchanging gifts and feasting. All over the world people gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. One of the most popular customs is still the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings..."A King's Cake" or Gateau de Roi.

      A King Cake's ring shape, too, is significant, as some believe it symbolizes the unity of all Christians, and others believe it aptly resembles a king's crown.

      A dried bean was originally hidden inside the cake but was replaced by coins, peas, pecans, rubber dolls, porcelain dolls, and in recent years plastic dolls. Starting around the 1930s, a tiny naked baby (Frozen Charlotte) was used instead of the bean or pea. The baby can be pink, brown, or golden. Some people believe that the baby represents the baby Jesus because Twelfth Night was when the three kings found the baby in Bethlehem.

      Tradition has it that the person who finds the baby in the king cake is the next queen or king, he or she receives a year of good luck, is treated as royalty for that day and must host the next king cake party.

      King Cake season lasts throughout Mardi Gras from the feast of the Epiphany until Mardi Gras Day.

      The royal colors of purple, green and gold on the cake honors the three kings, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, who visited the Christ child on the Epiphany. Purple represents Justice. Green stands for Faith. Gold signifies Power.

      The three colors appeared in 1872 on a Krewe of Rex carnival flag especially designed for the visiting Grand Duke of Russia. He came to New Orleans just for the carnival, and the universal colors remain his legacy.

      You can visit Mr. Lake's New Orlean's Forum for more outstanding King Cake recipes (including a Mexican King Cake). Thanks Frank!

      Special Note: I couldn't help but notice that the first of the Three Kings was named "Gaspar". Seems as though someone may have forgotten to add the letter "d" at the end of his name.

      Ahheee!! Laisser le bon temps rouller!
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      Gaspard's Cajun Potato Salad

      This is a Real Cajun Cooking - Pure and Simple original recipe which makes 12 - 15 servings and takes less than an hour to prepare. Yummy!

      Gaspard's Cajun Potato Salad
      • 5 lbs. Russet potatoes, boiled
      • 5 hard boiled eggs
      • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
      • 1 small bell pepper, finely chopped
      • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
      • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
      • 3 cups mayonnaise
      • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
      • 3 Tbs. dill relish
      • 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
      • salt and black pepper to taste
      • 1 tsp. paprika

      1. peel, dice, boil and drain the potatoes then set aside
      2. boil, peel and finely chop eggs in a food chopper
      3. finely chop 1 medium white onion
      4. slice each stalk of celery in 4s (lengthwise) and finely chop
      5. chop green onions
      6. add chopped eggs, onions, bell pepper, celery, green onions, relish, mayo, mustard, cayenne pepper, salt and ground black pepper in a bowl and mix together thoroughly.
      7. in a larger bowl add everything together (except the paprika) then toss and mix well until all of the bits of potatoes are thoroughly coated. Try not to mash the potatoes in the process.
      8. level-off the salad and sprinkle paprika on top to add color
      9. set the salad in the refrigerator to cool before serving.
      10. makes 12 – 15 servings

      Note: Do not use a blender to chopped your vegetables because it will cause your salad to lose the crunchiness. It is important to take your time to properly chop the onions, bell pepper and celery by hand to produce the perfect potato salad. The chopped pieces should be about the size of a pencil eraser. And, for a bit of extra color and eye-appeal you may want to add a few sprigs of parsley on top for good measure.

      Enjoy! Ahheee!!
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