Tag Archives: Cajun

Gastronomic Monstrosity # 8: Cajun Squrrel Potato Chips; er, Crisps

14 Mar

Oh, Lawdy Lawd!!!!

Apparently , someone in merry-olde England got the lovely idea of the following:

Cajun Squirrel-flavored Potato Chips

The Sun reported the crisps are part of a marketing campaign, and that no real squirrels went into making the snack. This is based in part on a southern Acadian delicacy, allegedly. Sheesh, don’t those guys have something else better to do? Why doesn’t someone send me some photo-shopped example of some outrageous take on this idea, and i’ll post them here on the site!

culinarychick@comcast.net

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

10 Feb

I have always loved gumbo. I was in the mood for some the other day, but hadn’t made it quite some time, so I made some. It turned out great, but I forgot how time-consuming it can be. Here is the recipe I served at my last place of employment, The Admiral’s Cup in Fell’ s Point, Baltimore.

Chicken and Sausage gumbo

Roux:

1 stick of unsalted butter

½ cup all-purpose flour

Stew:

¼ cup olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

¼ cup fresh jalapenos, seeded and diced (optional for added heat)

½ cup diced celery

1 tbl. heaping chopped garlic (or to taste)

8 cups homemade chicken stock or broth

1 ea. 14-15 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 ea. 10 oz. package frozen sliced okra

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken (thigh meat or breast) diced

1 lb. sausage sliced (smoked andouille or smoked chorizo, or fresh hot Italian rope)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. kosher or sea salt

½ tsp. black pepper

½ Tbl. dried thyme

½ tsp. dried oregano

½ c. chopped fresh parsley

Optional ingredients:

½ lb. lump crabmeat, picked clean of shells

½ lb. diced peeled and deveined raw shrimp

Garnish:

1 bunch green onions, sliced thin

Hot, cooked long-grained rice

Directions

For Roux: In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt butter and heat until bubbly. Add flour all at once and with a wire whisk, work the flour into the butter until all lumps disappear. Turn heat down slightly, and whisk constantly until roux turns the color of milk chocolate; about 20 or so minutes. Let roux cool, and set aside in glass or ceramic bowl

Note: The roux is the base of the gumbo, and should be cooked carefully. DO NOT BURN! You must pay strict attention when cooking the roux. The roux must be the color of chocolate. If you burn the roux, you must start over. Patience is required in this step. The roux at this stage is also napalm-hot, and will take off several layers of your skin, so be careful in handling the roux.

In a heavy-bottomed pot (2-3 gallon capacity) over medium high heat, heat up olive oil until hot. Add the onion, peppers, celery and cook until unions are clear, stirring often. Add garlic and stock and heat until boiling, then add half of the roux and stir into stock and stir until thickened and no lumps are visible, about 10 minutes ( sauce should evenly coat the back of a wooden spoon). If needed, add ½ of remaining roux and repeat until thickened.

Turn heat to low, and add tomatoes, okra, chicken, sausage, bay leaf, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano and stir until distributed. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes. Check seasonings and adjust. Add optional ingredients and parsley, stir and cover pot. Remove from heat. Let gumbo sit covered for at least 15 minutes ( trust me, the residual heat will cook the shrimp and crab until done; cooking shrimp beforehand will only make the shrimp tough and rubbery). Serve over bowls of hot rice and sprinkle green onions over the top.  For the daring, have some hot sauce available.

Uh Huh!!!

Ideas for throwing a Superbowl Party on a Budget

30 Jan

Well, I’m poor and maybe so are you.

But, you want to watch the game with a few friends, and don’t mind having Cletus and the gang over.  Don’t fret; there are ways you can still entertain and do it on a budget. All it takes is some planning, and a bit of creativity.

Have a Pot-Luck Party

There is nothing wrong about pot-luck. Suggest to the masses if they want to watch the game on your brand, spanking-new plasma tv that you bought, they may wanna bring a dish or two. It just takes some coordination, never leave it up to the masses. You are supplying the venue, so provide the paperware and beverages. Guide your guests to what they should provide. Everybody you invite should be willing to bear some cost. Have the guest that can’t cook bring some chips, a dessert or a dip. Tell them to bring enough for the amount of guests you are having.  Tell them if they are briniging a guest, the guest should bring something as well. Nobody shows up empty handed.

Avoid some pre-packaged food

Ideally when you buy that bag , box or tray of prepared food,  you should look at the realistic serving size, not the one put on the package. Example: Frozen Buffalo wings from some of the leading companies cost between $8.99 and $9.49 a pound for a 2.5 lb. bag. That’s spending between $3.59 and $3.79  a pound for just over 3-4 servings, especially if you have a bunch of hungry guys over. It’s just cheaper to make your own, especially if chicken wings cost between &1.69 and $2.49 a pound.

But CC, I don’t want to spend time making food; I just want to order it or just pop it into the oven and be done with it.

Only you can be the judge between the cost of convenience versus time. If you want to order wings from your local wing joint, call them NOW and make your reservation. You aren’t the only one wanting wings of fire for the shindig.

Making your own cold cut tray has its advantages. First, you can use sale cold cuts and cheeses and choose the ones you like.  Second, it’s just cost effective.   For $28, you can have 2 meats and 2 cheeses and have enough to feed a hungry crowd. Why pay extra for the kale and the  pile of unidentifiable lunch meat that nobody ever eats?

B.Y.O.B.

Alcohol ain’t cheap, y’all. How many times you’ve had to empty half-full cans of beer? It is a proven fact that people are less wasteful of things if they had to pay for them, and alcohol is no exception.

A note, however: You should be diligent with your guests if you are serving drinks. Cut them off if they appear to be too inebriated, and never serve alcohol after the third quarter ( this always eliminates that guy who won’t leave until all of the alcohol is gone).  You may save yourself a headache later on, especially if your state is one who holds a homeowner responsible for how much his guests drink.

The idea is to have fun. If you need any ideas for something to either serve or bring, try one of the following recipes:

Beer-Battered Chicken Fingers

Warm Crab Dip

Chicken and Brown Rice Meatballs

Dirty Rice

My soon-to-be famous Sangria

Now go and root for your favorite team!!!

Maque Choux

15 Aug

About a week ago, I bought some local corn from the grocery store. I only bought four ears, because I live alone, and Lucky doesn’t like corn. Who is Lucky? Well, she is my 11-year-old Dalmatian mix, and is my sous-chef. Sous-Chef will be her nom-de-plume in this blog henceforth. But I digress.

Well, to celebrate my birthday, I decided to make myself a special dinner. I ended up making Maque Choux, a traditional Creole/Acadian side dish from Louisiana. I poked around the old larder, and came up with the ingredients to make myself a little Maque Choux. This dish contains corn, bacon, tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic and spices. Many recipes call for the addition of cream, milk and/or butter, but I feel that is somehow gilding the lily. I just prefer the freshness of the flavors, and the natural thickness thaty this dish achieves when cooking under its own power. Do yourself a favor and use fresh corn for this dish; it is indeed worth the work.

You will need:

Bowls for storing cut corn

cutting board

chef knife

liquid measuring cup

dry measure

measuring spoons

saute pan

wooden spoon

Ingredients:

4 ears corn, about 4 cups

3 slices thick-sliced bacon, chopped

6 tbl olive oil

1 cup diced tomatoes (canned is ok)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 large green pepper (1/2 to 3/4 cup)

1 tbl (generous) chopped garlic

2 tbl dried parsley

1 tsp coarse-grind black pepper

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 tsp tabasco (optional)

1/2 tsp. sea salt (optional)

Cut raw corn off the cob, reserving 1/2 cup. Place whole kernels in bowl, then chop the reserved 1/2 cup corn kernels and place chopped kernels and any liquid in separate bowl. Set aside.

In saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add bacon. Cook bacon over medium heat, stirring constantly until bacon is browned, lowering heat if necessary to prevent burning. Add peppers, onions and garlic, and sweat for 5 minutes or until aromatic. Add whole corn, tomatoes and saute for another 3 minutes. Add stock, increase heat and heat until almost to a boil. Add chopped corn and reduce heat to simmer, and gently cook uncovered for ten minutes or until liquid has thickened. Add parsley and pepper, and salt if desired.

**NOTE**

This can be made without bacon. If desired, use 1/2 cup smoked turkey meat, or omit meat altogether and add 1/4 tsp smoked paprika to add a smoky flavor.

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