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Bayou Recipes - Cajun, Creole and Islano!

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Mardi Gras Recipes Disk 156

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a string of beads for Mardi Gras



1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 (6-1/2-ounce) can flaked crab meat
2 to 3 tablespoons minced onions
1/2 teaspoon creamed horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon picante sauce
Toasted almonds

Mix all ingredients except almonds until well blended. Pour into 1-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve with Melba toast rounds for dippers. 16-20 servings.




1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into thick rounds. Arrange in a 1-1/2 quart casserole and pour over melted butter. Add sugar, lemon juice, orange juice and cinnamon stick. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes or until tender. Uncover and discard cinnamon stick; stir. Sprinkle with lemon peel. Cook, uncovered, 15-30 minutes until top is crisp.




1 cup cornmeal
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup grated onion
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Cayenne, to taste
3/4 cup boiling water
Vegetable oil for frying
Louisiana-style hot sauce, for example Crystal brand

In a bowl combine cornmeal, Cheddar, onion, bell pepper, salt, and cayenne. Stir in boiling water and mix thoroughly. In a deep heavy pan or deep fryer heat 3 inches of vegetable oil to 350 F. Drop 6 spoonfuls of the batter into the oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer fritters to paper towels to drain. Season with additional salt if desired. Serve warm with hot sauce. Yield: about 2 dozen



CRABMEAT DIP   >Back to Top<

1 pound white crab meat
1 cup mayonnaise
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup onions (chopped fine)
1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Pepper

Put all ingredients in a slow cooker on low and cook about two hours. Stir ever 20 minutes. Keep mixture warm. Best served with crackers or in small pastry puffs.



CRAWFISH PUFFS 1   >Back to Top<

1 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each, black pepper and onion powder
2 eggs, separated
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups crawfish tails, coarsely chopped
3 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup minced green pepper
Tabasco sauce
Oil for frying

Procedure: Sift together dry ingredients; beat egg yolks, milk, and vegetable oil until blended; add to the dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Stir in crawfish, rice and green pepper. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. Add Tabasco sauce to taste. Drop batter from table-spoon into deep hot fat (375F). Fry until puffy and golden, 3 to 4 minutes; turn once; drain on paper towels. Serve with cocktail or tartar sauce. Servings: 24



CRAWFISH PUFFS 2   >Back to Top<

1 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
2 eggs separated
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups crawfish, chopped
3 cups cooked rice (cooled)
1 bunch chopped green onion
1 bell pepper

Sift all dry ingredients. Beat egg yolks, milk, and oil until blended. Add to dry ingredients and beat until blended. Stir in crawfish, rice, pepper, and onions. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Fold in batter. Add pepper to taste. Drop batter from tablespoon into Hot Oil.




1/2 pound crab meat
1-1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
1 egg (beaten)
2 Tablespoons cocktail sauce
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons green onion (minced)
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Dash red pepper
Dash black pepper
1 cup potato chips (crushed)

In large bowl, combine all ingredients except potato chips; mix well. Cover; chill for 1 hour. Form mixture into 36 balls, using rounded teaspoon for each. Roll in crushed potato chips; place on baking sheet. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until hot and golden brown. Serve with cocktail sauce.




3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon raisins
3 tablespoons sweet butter
3 eggs
The zest of a lemon
Oil for frying

Bring a half cup of water to boil with the butter and a pinch of salt. Add the flour in one fell swoop and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, for five minutes. Let it cool, then work in the raisins, eggs, and lemon zest. Fry the batter a tablespoon at a time in hot oil. Drain the frittelle on absorbent paper, dust them with sugar, and serve.




1 quart milk
1-3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon semolina
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The grated zest of an orange
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 flavorful apple, peeled, cored and diced
5 yolks
Sugar for dusting
Oil for frying

Bring the milk to a boil with the orange zest and the vanilla. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar and the semolina, and cook for 10 minutes over a moderate flame, stirring constantly. Stir in the raisins, almonds and apple, then remove the mixture from the fire and stir in the yolks. Let the batter cool (it will be fairly stiff), form it into 1 1/2 inch by half-inch sausages, roll them in flour, and fry them. Dust them with granulated sugar when they are cool and serve.




1-3/4 cup rice (cheap rice is best here)
1 quart milk
The zest of one lemon
3 to 4 Tablespoons sugar
A walnut-sized chunk of sweet butter
3 eggs
1 jigger of rum or sweet wine (the recipe calls for rum, but I prefer Vinsanto)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Oil for frying
Powdered sugar

Simmer the rice in the milk until it's quite done, then stir in the sugar, lemon zest, and butter and let the mixture cool.

Separate the eggs and whip the whites to soft peaks. Stir the yolks and the rum or wine into the rice mixture, then fold in the egg whites, flour and baking powder. Drop the batter a teaspoon at a time into hot oil and fry the frittelle until they are a rich golden brown. Drain them on absorbent paper, and when they have cooled dust them with powdered sugar.




1 (8-ounce) package Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 can crab meat (back fin)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon milk
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons grated onion
2 Tablespoons horseradish (optional)

Mix all together and bake in 375-degree oven for 15 minutes. Nice to use an attractive ovenproof dish in which the dip can be baked and served. Serves 8 - 10.



HOT CRAB MEAT DIP   >Back to Top<

2 cans crab meat
1 large package cream cheese
1 stick oleo
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
Onion tops

Procedure: Melt margarine; add chopped onions, bell pepper, and onion tops; cook until clear. Add cream cheese, stir until melted. Then add crab meat, parsley and dry seasoning. Servings: 4




2 ounces Fruit Cocktail Mix
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
4 ounces dark rum
1 orange slice
1 maraschino cherry

Procedure: Fill a hurricane glass with crushed ice, add cocktail mix, lemon juice, and rum. Decorate with orange slice and cherry. Servings: 1



HURRICANE DRINK 2   >Back to Top<

2 ounces amber rum
1/4 cup passion fruit juice, or 1 tablespoon passion fruit syrup
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon grenadine
Juice of 1/2 lime
Cherries and orange slice to garnish
Ice cubes

In a cocktail shaker mix the rum, passion fruit juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add the grenadine, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Add the ice cubes and shake. Strain Hurricane into a cocktail glass. Garnish with orange and cherries. Yield: 1 serving




2 pounds cooked, flaked catfish filets
8 cups cooked popcorn rice
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion tops
3/4 cup shredded purple cabbage
4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon curry powder
1-1/2 cups mayonnaise

Procedure: Cook and drain peas and corn. Combine all ingredients, adjusting seasoning to taste. Adjust amount of mayonnaise for desired consistency. Servings: 20



MINT JULEP   >Back to Top<

1 cup ice, crushed
12 fresh mint leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
Dash of club soda
4 ounces bourbon
Splash of rum
2 fresh mint sprigs

Pour the crushed ice into a Collins glass. In a cocktail shaker, add the mint leaves, sugar and club soda. Stir to dissolve sugar, pressing on the leaves to release their essential oils. Add the bourbon and rum and stir. Strain the mixture into the Collins glass and stir again, garnishing with the mint sprigs. Yield: 1 serving



MINT TEA   >Back to Top<

4 tea bags
8 sprigs mint
1 quart boiling water
2/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup orange juice
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups hot water

Put tea bags, mint, and boiling water in a covered container. Let set for 15 minutes. Mix all other ingredients in another container. Mix all together, serve over ice. Yields 1/2 gallon.



MOCK OYSTER DIP   >Back to Top<

4 packages chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
1 8-ounce can mushroom pieces
Salt and red pepper
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 roll garlic cheese, sliced
1 bunch green onions
1 stick margarine

Procedure: Sauté green onions in margarine. Add soup; when hot, add cheese and melt. Add broccoli and mushrooms. Salt and red pepper to taste. Best when hot. Servings: 4




1 pound fresh blackberries or raspberries
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
ice water
crushed ice -- or cubes

Place berries in a non-metal bowl; add vinegar. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; set aside to macerate 3 days. Then strain mixture through a fine strainer into a medium saucepan, pressing down on berries to extract all the liquid. discard pulp. Stir in sugar; boil 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat and cool. Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. To prepare each serving, combine 1/4 cup berry concentrate with 1 cup ice water; pour over ice in tall glasses and serve.
Makes about 3 cups of concentrate (enough for 12 servings).




1/2 cup (125 milliliters) Crisco Shortening
1-1/4 cups (300 milliliters) firmly-packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (175 milliliters) creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) milk
1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vanilla
1 egg
1-3/4 cups (425 milliliters) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon (3 milliliters) salt
3/4 teaspoon (3 milliliters) baking soda
3 chocolate kisses or chocolate
candy-coated pieces

2-1/2 cups (625 milliliters) icing sugar
1/3 cup (75 milliliters) Crisco Shortening
2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) milk
2 teaspoon (10 milliliters) corn syrup
Food color

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line three baking sheets with foil. Grease with shortening. For cookies, combine shortening, brown sugar, peanut butter, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add egg. Beat just until blended.

Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Working with 1/3 of dough at a time, break off 8 equal pieces of dough. Roll into balls. "Hide" a chocolate kiss in one of the 8 balls, molding dough with fingers around chocolate kiss. (This is the prize.) Arrange balls on baking sheet almost touching in a 6-inch (15 cm) circle. Flatten balls slightly with fingers. Repeat with remaining balls to make two more "circles."

Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375°F (190°C) for 9 to 11 minutes, or until set. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 5 to 8 minutes on baking sheet before removing cookie on foil to countertop to cool completely.

For icing, combine icing sugar, shortening, milk and corn syrup in bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until smooth. If too thick, add additional milk, a few drops at a time. If too thin, add additional icing sugar.

Divide icing into half. Place 1/2 into a large bowl. Divide other half into three small bowls. Add yellow food color to one small bowl until desired shade is achieved and mix well. Add equal amounts of yellow and blue food color to the second small bowl to make a green icing. Add equal amounts of blue and red food color to the third small bowl to make a purple icing. Place colored icings in small resealable plastic bags. Seal. Cut tiny tip off corner of each bag. Frost each cookie with white icing using spatula or knife. Pipe colored icings decoratively over each "King cake." Makes: 3 "King cake" cookies



PICKLED OKRA   >Back to Top<

3 to 4 pounds small okra pods
1 pint white vinegar
4 cups water
1/2 cup salt
1 small hot pepper for each jar
1 teaspoon dill seed for each jar

Procedure: Place hot pepper in hot sterilized jars. Remove stem from each pod of okra and pack okra into jars. Add dill seeds. Combine vinegar, water, and salt in saucepan; bring to a boil and simmer about 5 minutes. Pour into jars to cover okra. Adjust lids, process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Better after several weeks. Servings: 4




3 quarts raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 medium onions
3 green peppers
1 cup green onion tops
1 cup fresh parsley
1 stalk celery
1 large Irish potato
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
Salt, black and red pepper to taste

Procedure: Grind together the shrimp, onions, peppers, onion tops, parsley, celery, and potato; add bread crumbs, salt, black pepper, and red pep-per to taste. Shape a tablespoon at a time and drop into hot oil; cook, turning until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Servings: 50




1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup skim milk
1 pound shrimp cleaned and boiled
1 cup prepared cocktail sauce
1 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish,
1/3 cup chopped green onion
RITZ Crackers

Procedure: Sprinkle gelatin over skim milk in small saucepan; let stand 1 minute. Stir gelatin over low heat until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Blend shrimp, cocktail sauce, sour cream and horseradish in food processor until smooth. Gradually add gelatin mixture, until well blended. Stir in green onions. Pour mixture into 4-cup mold. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or until firm. Unmold onto serving dish; serve as a spread with crackers. Makes 4 cups of spread. Servings: 4




2 pounds cleaned shrimp
2 cups cooked rice
1 stick butter
1 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 large jar of chopped pimento
1 large can sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Procedure: Sauté all vegetables in butter. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into a 9 x 11-inch Pyrex dish that has been sprayed with a Non Stick Spray. Bake 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with a few extra chopped green onion. Serve with a good salad and garlic bread. Servings: 6




Enough wings to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan
Cooking oil spray
Tabasco sauce to taste
Cajun Spice
1/2 cup margarine

Preheat oven to 250 to 300 degrees. Spray pan well with pan spray. Add wings and spray wings. Sprinkle liberally with Cajun Spice. Melt butter in separate pan. Add Tabasco, then mix well. Drizzle over wings, then put in oven until wings are done crispy. You may add potatoes in small chunks or cubes following same procedure.




1 smoked ham hock, about 1-1/2 pounds 10 cups water 2 bunches spinach, about 20 leaves
3 medium potatoes

Add ham hock to water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Skim top occasionally. Rinse spinach leaves thoroughly to remove grit and dirt. Add spinach to the saucepan. Cover and simmer gently for 1-1/2 hours. Peel and half potatoes; add to pan and cook until tender. Remove spinach from pan with a slotted spoon and place in a serving dish. Remove hock and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, discard skin and cut the meat into cubes. Add to the spinach with the potatoes and pour cooking liquid over. Serve immediately.




2 (22-ounce) Cans Sweet Potatoes, drained
1 Teaspoon Frozen Orange Juice, more to taste
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
I Stick Margarine
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
Cornflake Crumbs
Miniature Marshmallows

Procedure: Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat potatoes with margarine and brown sugar; add vanilla and orange juice. Mix with mixer until well blended. Form balls and roll in cornflake crumbs. Add marshmallows to top of each ball. Bake 12 minutes in 400 F oven. Servings: 30




6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Fresh ground black pepper
1 cup green onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Cajun choice seasoning
3 eggs
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound real or imitation crab meat
2/3 cups flour
1/4 cup water

Sauce for Crab cakes:
1/2 cup seeded, chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock (can)
1 large egg*
1/2 cup olive oil
Black pepper

Heat 1/2 of oil over high heat. Sauté onions, bell peppers, salt, white pepper and about 15 turns of fresh ground black pepper for about a minute. Add green onions, garlic, Cajun choice seasoning and cook for another minute. Remove and put in bowl. Cool mixture for a few minutes. Stir in 2 eggs, Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Then add crab meat depending on size of crabcake. Gently mix the mixture and form into crab cakes. First dip both sides in flour, then in egg/water (egg and 1/4 cup water whisked together). Cover in bread crumbs and fry about 2 minutes on each side over medium heat.

For the Sauce for the Crab Cakes: Combine everything in a pan except egg, oil, and black pepper over high heat bring to a boil for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Put in blender and add egg. While blending add oil and black pepper about 10 turns. Serve immediately.


The American Egg Board states: "There have been warnings against consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs on the grounds that the egg may be contaminated with Salmonella, a bacteria responsible for a type of food poisoning....Healthy people need to remember that there is a very small risk and treat eggs and other raw animal foods accordingly. Use only properly refrigerated, clean, sound-shelled, fresh, grade AA or A eggs. Avoid mixing yolks and whites with the shell."

NOTE: Egg substitutes (Eggbeaters, etc.) are a safer alternative to raw eggs.



TORTELLI   >Back to Top<

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
A pinch of salt
1/3 cup sweet butter
1-1/4 cups four
3 eggs
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in hot water (or rum, if you like it)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Oil for frying
Combine the water and milk and bring them to a boil with the butter and a pinch of salt. Add the flour in one fell swoop, and cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan with a faint ripping sound. Transfer it to a bowl and let it cool, then work in the eggs, one at a time, the raisins, ad the vanilla extract. The batter will be quite sticky; scoop it out of the bowl a spoonful at a time, using a second spoon to scrape the batter off the first and into the oil. Fry to a golden brown, drain, and dust with granulated sugar before serving.

NOTE: Tortelli come in many stripes. According to La Cucina Italiana, this particular variety is a direct descendent of the tortelli the Ancient Romans used to buy from street vendors during the Baccanalia (a precursor to our own Carnivale).



YAM BALLS    >Back to Top<

18 ounces sifted powdered sugar
3 ounces corn starch
1/2 stick margarine
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup baked yams
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 ounce paraffin
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate pieces

Procedure: Combine sugar and cornstarch. Mix margarine, milk, vanilla, and yams. Thoroughly blend in sugar mixture to yam mixture. Then add pecans. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Chill in refrigerator. While it is chilling, melt paraffin over low heat in a double boiler; add chocolate and stir until it melts. Roll yam mixture into balls; dip balls into chocolate mixture by using toothpicks inserted into balls. Chill until firm. Servings: 50



I spent Mardi Gras researching gumbo
Special to the Mercury News

The first year I attended Mardi Gras, some of my behavior was potentially illegal, some of it teetered on the brink of morality and some of it bordered on gluttony. During my second Mardi Gras, having become a bit more mature, I packed my friends off to watch parades while I attended cooking classes.

I learned about the ``holy trinity'' of Cajun and Creole cooking: celery, bell pepper and onions. I learned that in a savory dish, if water is good, stock is better. I learned that almost every dish can benefit from just ``a little mo' pepper.'' And I learned how to make bread pudding that caused an elegant, Southern-born octogenarian to comment, ``Honey, I haven't tasted bread pudding like that since my mama used to make it.''

But most important, I learned how to make gumbo, that elixir of the gods that is essential to any good Mardi Gras party. Even if you're not one of the 5 million revelers planning to be in New Orleans by Feb. 12 for one of the world's biggest annual bacchanals, you can still have great gumbo.

The origin of the name ``gumbo'' is much-debated. Two traditional ingredients, okra and filé powder, both used as thickening agents, are the most likely namesakes. The African word for okra is ``gombo,'' and the Choctaw Indian word for filé powder, made from dried sassafras leaves, is ``kombo.'' Pick one.

By my third Mardi Gras, just a few years ago, my goal was clear: Search every restaurant, cafe, bodega and house party for the best gumbo. Analyze and replicate. We hobnobbed and lowbrowed, from antebellum mansions in the Garden District to cafes straight out of an Anne Rice novel to celebrated restaurants such as Antoine's and Commander's Palace. We found the elements we liked and noted ingredients to mix and match back home.

While there are more recipes for gumbo than there are cooks that make them, truly glorious gumbos share elemental ingredients and a unique cooking process that set them apart.

Gumbo starts with a roux, a combination of hot fat and flour that is cooked while being stirred constantly. I am not talking about a polite little blond roux with a Parisian accent. I am talking a serious, odoriferous, red-brown to almost black roux that would make a French chef blush with shame.

Cajun roux is a culinary high-wire act with flaming batons. The trick is to come perilously close to burning the roux without having to reach for a fire extinguisher. With proper preparation and timing, it's easy.

Preparation is key. First, chop all the vegetables, thereby avoiding a dangerous flurry of activity when you get to the part that says, ``Immediately add chopped vegetables to stop the cooking process.'' I learned that the hard way.

Next, make sure to use a tall, heavy stockpot. A roux is not polite. It pops and spits. Stir with a long-handled spoon. I prefer wood. In New Orleans, long wooden paddles are traditionally used. A long oven mitt on your stirring arm is a good idea, as is an apron.

Over medium-high heat, a roux will change from pale to golden, to caramel-colored, on through red, and into reddish-brown in about 10 minutes. Some cooks stop there. But the smoky, sultry allure of the gumbos I love best requires a leap of faith. Keep stirring and cooking until the roux achieves a deep chocolate brown color and begins to smell nutty. Then add your chopped vegetables and turn down the heat.

At this point, most gumbo recipes now have you add the roux to hot stock or broth, but I reverse the process and add my stock to the hot roux. This allows me to control the thickness of the gumbo. I prefer my gumbo a tad thinner than stew and a touch thicker than soup. Add stock or broth according to your tastes.

Cook your rice while the gumbo simmers. Put a zydeco CD on and dance the Mardi Gras Mambo around the kitchen. (Go ahead and make up the steps. Everyone else does.) I dare say this is really one of those things that tastes better the next day, so plan accordingly. Make gumbo on Sunday or Monday, refrigerate and savor it on Fat Tuesday! 

Contact Betsy Jones at


SHRIMP CREOLE    >Back to Top<
Serves 6

12 medium-firm ripe tomatoes OR 4 cups canned chopped tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
2 medium bay leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
3 pounds uncooked, medium-size shrimp, shelled and deveined (about 20-24 to the pound)
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water
6 to 8 cups cooked long-grain rice, hot

If using fresh tomatoes, drop three to four at a time into a pan of boiling water; remove after 15 seconds. Run cold water over them and peel with a small, sharp knife. Cut out stems, slice tomatoes in half crosswise, then squeeze halves gently to remove seeds and juice. Chop tomatoes coarsely.

In a heavy 4- to 5-quart heat-proof casserole, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper and celery; cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Do not let them brown. Add garlic; cook 2 more minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, water, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and, stirring occasionally, simmer 20 minutes, or until very thick. Add shrimp and continue to simmer, partially covered, until they are pink, about 5 minutes.

Stir cornstarch mixture once or twice to recombine and pour into casserole. Stir over low heat 2 or 3 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Remove and discard bay leaves.

Serve at once, directly from casserole, accompanied by rice.

Serves 10
This cake is moist, with a lovely, light texture.

1 cup sifted cake flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons light, fruity white wine (see Note)
1/2 cup egg whites (from 3 or 4 extra-large eggs)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and have all ingredients at room temperature.

Sift flour with sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl. Make a well in center. Add, in order, oil, egg yolks, lemon zest and wine. Beat with metal mixing spoon until smooth.

In large bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar at high speed until stiff peaks form. With rubber scraper or wire whisk, using an under-and-over motion, gently fold egg-yolk mixture into whites just until blended.

Pour batter into ungreased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and bake about 50 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Invert cake, suspending pan between two other pans. Let cool completely, about 1 hour. With a sharp knife, cut cake edges from sides of pan, then hit pan sharply on table to turn cake out. Cake can be made up to three days in advance. Store at room temperature in a zip-lock bag or wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Flavor and texture improve over time. Note: Gewürztraminer is a common choice. White zin is good, also.


BOUDIN BLANC    >Back to Top<
(Creole pork sausage)
Serves 12

3 (3-foot lengths) pork sausage casings, optional (see Note)
3 pounds boneless, lean pork, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks
4 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 medium bay leaf, crumbled
6 whole black peppercorns
5 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped mild green chili pepper, such as Anaheim
1/2 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped scallions
1-1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2-1/2 cups freshly cooked white, long-grain rice
1 tablespoon dried sage leaves
2-1/2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

If using, place sausage casings in a large bowl, cover with warm water and soak 2-3 hours until pliable.

Put pork in a heavy 4- to 5-quart pot and add enough water to cover by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over high heat and skim foam that rises to surface. Add 2 cups onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and 1 teaspoon salt; reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, 1 1/2 hours.

With a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a plate to cool, discarding cooking liquid and seasonings. Put pork, remaining 2 cups onion, green chili, bell pepper, parsley, scallions and garlic through medium blade of a food grinder, or put a few cups at a time in a food processor, being careful not to over-process. Place mixture in a large, deep bowl. Add rice, sage, cayenne pepper, black pepper and remaining salt. Knead vigorously, then beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth and fluffy. Correct seasoning.

Boudin mixture can now be formed into hamburger-sized patties 1/2-inch thick and fried in a heavy skillet over medium heat in a thin layer of 2 parts butter melted with 1 part vegetable oil. Fry until heated through and brown on both sides.

If stuffing into casing, wash casings in cold water. Hold one end securely around faucet and let water run through to clean inside. Tie a knot 3 inches from one end. Fit open end over funnel or horn on sausage-making attachment of a food grinder. Ease rest of casing onto funnel, squeezing it up like accordion folds.

Spoon boudin mixture into mouth of grinder and, with pestle, push through into casing. As casing fills, it will inflate and ease away from funnel. Fill casing to within 2 inches of funnel end. Don't stuff too tightly or sausage will burst. Slip casing off funnel; knot open end. Sausages may be cooked immediately or wrapped well and refrigerated 3 to 4 days.

Before frying, prick casing in a few places with a small, sharp knife. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. When foam subsides, place sausage in skillet. Cook sausage until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes.

Note: Sausage casings can be ordered from a butcher.

Serves 10

1 (4-pound) frying chicken, cut into pieces
Garlic powder
Cayenne pepper
Peanut oil
1-1/2 cup flour, divided use
1 pound andouille sausage or other spicy smoked sausage, sliced
2 cups onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
8 cups chicken stock, or canned broth
1 tablespoon filé powder (optional)
Cooked white rice

Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper, to taste. Set chicken aside to allow flavors to develop.

Add peanut oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in large, heavy stockpot and heat over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken pieces in 1 cup of flour. Fry chicken in oil until thoroughly cooked, about 8 minutes per side. Drain chicken on paper towels and set aside to cool.

In a large frying pan, brown sliced sausage, cooking about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Carefully pour hot oil from stockpot into a glass measuring cup, leaving as much of the browned bits on bottom of pot as possible. Pour 1/2 cup of this oil back into stockpot. Bring oil back to temperature over medium-high heat, scraping browned bits from bottom of pot. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until roux turns dark, red-brown color.

Immediately add chopped vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add stock or broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer. When chicken has cooled, remove meat from bones and chop. Add chopped chicken and browned sausage to gumbo. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. During last 5 minutes, add filé powder to thicken, if desired.

Serve over hot rice.

Note: File (FEE-lay) is powdered sassafras. It's okay to leave it out if it is difficult to obtain. [] Spike's comment []

SEAFOOD GUMBO    >Back to Top<
Serves 12

1/2 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup flour
2 pounds okra, sliced
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 quarts fish, vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper
2 pounds shrimp, cleaned
1 to 1-1/2 pounds crab, cracked and cleaned

Heat peanut oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until roux is dark red-brown. Immediately add okra and cook, stirring, for 5-8 minutes.

Add onions, green onions, celery and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, bay leaves, thyme and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add shrimp and crab and simmer 30 minutes more. Remove from heat. Serve over hot cooked rice.


Serves 10
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup raisins
3 medium eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
Whiskey sauce:
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup bourbon

To prepare pudding: Heat bourbon in small saucepan over medium heat. Add raisins and simmer 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; mix well. Add cream and vanilla, then bread cubes and mix thoroughly. Allow bread to soak up custard for about 30 minutes. Scatter raisins in greased pan, top with egg-bread mixture, which will prevent raisins from burning. Bake about 20-30 minutes or until pudding is golden and firm to the touch. Pudding should be moist, not runny or dry.

To prepare sauce: Bring cream to a boil. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water and add to boiling cream, stirring constantly. Return to a boil; reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Stir in sugar and bourbon. Remove from heat. Pour over individual servings of bread pudding.

Adapted from a recipe by the Cookin' Cajun Cooking School, Riverwalk

January 30, 2002 Posted: 04:50:05 AM PST

What a marvelous harmonic convergence: the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras -- America's two favorite midwinter festivals -- happening at the same time in America's favorite party city, New Orleans.

As if we needed it, Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect excuse to try some easy -- really! -- Cajun or creole cuisine.

Actually, Mardi Gras isn't until Feb. 12, but the fortnight of parades leading up to it has already begun.

And if you want to be further confused, Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year occur on the same day -- so, let's see how the politically correct sort that one out.

For a Mardi Gras party, don't forget to deck your home in the traditional Carnival colors: gold, green and purple -- symbolizing power, faith and justice.

(And forget the guilt: Without the 49ers or Raiders in the game, you are free to abandon their cardinal-and-gold and silver-and-black color schemes.)

To set the mood, have plenty of traditional Louisiana music -- jazz, Cajun, zydeco ... Clifton Chenier, the Balfa Brothers, Beausoliel and Professor Longhair.

And, of course, serve up Creole and Cajun fare such as gumbo, jambalaya, etouffee and red beans and rice.

All of these dishes need nothing more for accompaniment than a salad and a loaf of French bread.

My Super Bowl Jambalaya may not be authentic -- I added rice to stretch the shrimp -- but it delivers a medley of New Orleans flavors in a one-dish meal.

If your budget is generous, consider smoked oysters, spiced shrimp cocktail, crab and artichoke dip -- or, if you're feeling frisky, peel and eat a crawfish.



2 dozen beignets (say, "ben-YAH" - they are square doughnuts with no holes)
4 cups cooking oil
3 cups flour
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 pound crawfish tails, coarsely chopped (can substitute shrimp)
1 (16-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup minced parsley cup
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Heat oil until it reaches 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, blend the flour, milk, baking powder, Creole seasoning, garlic, thyme and hot sauce. Stir until batter is formed.

Stir in remaining ingredients until all are incorporated.

Drop batter by the spoonful into hot grease, being careful not to splash.

Cook beignets for 5 minutes after they float to the top of pot, flipping occasionally.

Serve with a spicy salad dressing.

4 servings

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup beef broth
1 (10-ounce) can diced Rotel tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup minced parsley

4 cups cooked rice

In a saucepot, brown the sausage. Add onions, bell pepper and celery and cook for 5 minutes.

Add garlic and cook additional 2 minutes.

Stir in beef broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Creole seasoning, black pepper, thyme and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes, until sauce thickens slightly.

Stir in green onions and parsley. Ladle each serving over 1 cup cooked rice.


JAMBALAYA    >Back to Top<
4 servings

1/2 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces chicken, diced
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, working in seasoning well.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper, and celery; cook for 3 minutes.

Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth.

Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

When rice is just tender, add shrimp, chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and Cajun Seasoning.


8 servings

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup green bell peppers, diced
1 pound andouille sausage, diced
Cajun seasoning, to taste
1 can tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 bay leaves
1/4 pound catfish or grouper
2 quarts fish stock (or chicken broth)
1/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound peeled crawfish tails (double the shrimp if you can find crawfish)
1 container shucked oysters
1 box frozen okra, cut
File powder, to taste
1/2 cup chopped green onions, green part only
Dash of hot sauce

4 cups cooked long-grain rice

To prepare the roux, in a heavy saucepan, heat 1 cup vegetable oil on medium heat and carefully whisk in the flour. Constantly and slowly whisking, cook the roux until it is a dark rusty brown. Remove from heat and continue to whisk until there is no chance of it burning. Set aside.

In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add cup oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, celery, peppers and sausage. Season with Cajun seasoning. Continue cooking, stirring often for 18-20 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.

Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves.

Season the chunks of catfish with Cajun seasoning. Add the fish to the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fish stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Season the shrimp and crawfish with Cajun seasoning, and add them to the pot with the oysters and okra. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes.

With the gumbo at a simmer, begin to slowly and carefully blend in the roux until the gumbo is as thick as you prefer.

Stir in the file powder, green onions and hot sauce. Remove the bay leaves and serve over the rice.


DIRTY RICE    >Back to Top<
6 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1/2 pound chicken giblets, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 cup chicken broth or water
3 cups hot cooked rice
1 cup sliced green onion tops

Heat oil in Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat. Blend in flour with whisk or fork, and stir until roux is dark brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Add onion, celery, green pepper and garlic to roux; cook 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in beef, pork, giblets, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Continue cooking until meat loses its color. Stir in broth; cover and simmer 25 minutes.

Stir in hot rice and onions; cook 5 minutes longer. Mixture should be slightly moist.


20 pralines

3 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup pecan pieces
2 cups pecan halves

Combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Bring to a boil; lower heat to a simmer. Add chocolate and stir constantly until temperature reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Stir in vanilla, pecan pieces and pecan halves. Simmer an additional minute and remove from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drop pralines by heaping tablespoons onto parchment or wax paper and allow to sit at room temperature until pralines are set up. Store in an airtight container.



CREOLE AND CAJUN COOKING -- Many confuse Cajun cooking with Creole cooking; there are also distinct differences. Cajun cooking, a combination of French and Southern cuisines, is robust, country-style cookery that uses a dark roux and plenty of animal (usually pork) fat. Creole cookery reflects the combination of French, Spanish and African cuisines. Its style, with an emphasis on butter and cream, is more sophisticated than Cajun cooking. Both cuisines rely on the culinary "holy trinity" of chopped green peppers, onions and celery and make generous use of file powder.

CRAWFISH -- Any of various freshwater crustaceans that resemble tiny lobsters. Crawfish range from 3 to 6 inches long.

FILE POWDER (FEE-lay) -- Choctaw Indians from the Louisiana bayou country are said to have been the first users of this seasoning made from the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. It's used to thicken and flavor gumbos and other Creole dishes. File has a woodsy flavor reminiscent of root beer.

GUMBO -- This Creole specialty is a thick, stewlike dish that can have any of many ingredients, including vegetables such as okra, tomatoes and onions, and one or several meats or shellfish such as chicken, sausage, ham, shrimp, crab or oysters. The one thing all good gumbos begin with is a dark roux, which adds an unmistakable, incomparably rich flavor. Okra serves to thicken the mixture, as does file powder, which must be stirred in just before serving after the pot's off the fire.

JAMBALAYA -- One of Creole cookery's hallmarks, jambalaya is a versatile dish that combines cooked rice with a variety of ingredients, including tomatoes, onion, green peppers and almost any kind of meat, poultry or shellfish. The dish varies widely from cook to cook.

KING CAKE -- A coffeecake-type treat baked to honor the three kings who arrived in Bethlehem on the 12th night bearing gifts for the Christ child. Traditionally, a ban, a coin or a golden bejeweled ring was placed in each cake. The lucky guests who chose the pieces with the surprises in them would be the king and queen for the evening. Today, commercial bakers place a plastic doll, symbolic of baby Jesus, in the cake. Whoever gets the piece with the baby is supposed to bake the next cake.

MUFFULETTA -- _ A specialty of New Orleans, this hero-style sandwich originated in 1906 at the Central Grocery, which many think still makes the best muffuletta in Louisiana. The sandwich consists of a round loaf of crusty Italian bread, split and filled with layers of sliced provolone, Genoa salami and ham topped with olive salad, a chopped mixture of green, unstuffed olives, pimentos, celery, garlic, cocktail onions, capers, oregano, parsley, olive oil, red-wine vinegar, salt and pepper. The olive salad is what sets the muffuletta apart from any other sandwich of its ilk.

ROUX (ROO) -- A mixture of flour and fat that, after being slowly cooked over low heat, is used to thicken mixtures such as soups and sauces. There are three classic roux -- white, blond and brown. The color and flavor is determined by the length of time the mixture is cooked. Both white roux and blond roux are made with butter. The former is cooked just until it begins to turn beige and the latter until pale golden. Both are used to thicken cream and white sauces and light soups. The fuller-flavored brown roux can be made with butter, drippings or pork or beef fat. It's cooked to a deep golden brown and used for rich, dark soups and sauces.









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