Monday, December 31, 2018

Welcome to Creole Cookin' Libby

Hello y'all I'm Libby and I miss my home town New Orleans. I miss it's comfort and its food. Together we're gonna help me return from time to time by sharing the recipes I was brought up on. There is always a good story (that goes w/most situations) in the South. Here is the lore I was told regarding the first recipe I'm sharing. A meal of Jambalaya I made for a supper at my church. Part of what I was told, due to necessities, certain dishes were made on particular days. I only remember Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Monday was Red Beans and Rice, Fridays Shrimp Creole; I'll tell you a bit mo 'bout dat when I cover those recipes. This is what I was told about Jambalaya. Since there wasn't a good way to preserve foods (no refrigeration) and one didn't want their efforts (cookin',gatherin' and such) nor food go to waste; Jambalaya became Saturday's meal.  (the ultimate left over meal)  Maybe a bit of sausage, chicken, pork might be tossed in. There was always rice. (We put rice w/everything!)

There is confusion between Creole and Cajun and subsequently their foods. I'll try to break it down as best as I can. Creole is a full-flavored cuisine of refined European settlers in New Orleans (the best of the French, Spanish and African cuisines) Creole cooking relies on the culinary “trinity" consisting of chopped green bell peppers, onions and celery. Creole dishes typically use more butter, cream and tomatoes than Cajun dishes. A famous dish of Creole origin is Etouffee (a spicy and delicious stew traditionally made with crayfish (crawfish) or shrimp, vegetables and a dark roux; look for further roux description in the gumbo recipe) The French word etouffee means smothered. Cajun is the  country-style cooking of the descendants of the French Acadians (known as Cajuns). Cajun cooking uses a dark roux as the base of many dishes and it relies on the culinary “trinity”as well. Many Cajun dishes are spicier than Creole dishes. One more famous dish of Cajun origin is Jambalaya (a rice dish that contains the trinity, tomatoes and various meats, poultry and/or seafood; as I said, the ultimate left over meal)

Justin Wilson (I knew as a humorous story teller, the rest of the country knew him as a Cajun cook on PBS that told stories) once told a story while demonstrating a recipe said he was asked once "How could you tell a Cajun?" His answer was (after some thought) "If a man can walk up to a field of rice and can tell you with in two tablespoons how much gravy or sauce it'll take to cover it, he's a Cajun!"

Sometimes there may or may not have been Shrimp Creole left over & that's why the difference between the two styles of Jambalaya brown or red. (Shrimp Creole being made w/tomato) Y'all may be confused as to the published date of this intro; I have set this blog up with the intro as a landing page so one can go from recipe to recipe quickly. Otherwise, there would be a long trek to the end of the line as in a comet. (where I don't like to be end of the line that is)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Turkey and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

Recipe based on one by Cooking Light

This gumbo is a great use for leftover roasted turkey, though cooked chicken will also work. We skip the long-stirred roux here in favor of filé powder, a thickener made from the sassafras plant; look for it on the spice aisle. For the best results, stir in the filé powder off the heat.
This gumbo is a great use for leftover roasted turkey, though cooked chicken will also work. We skip the long-stirred roux here in favor of filé powder, a thickener made from the sassafras plant (one can use Okra in place of file' as a thickener but not simultaneously; for the best results when using, the filé powder off the heat; as heat can cause a bitter flavor)
2 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces andouille sausage links, thinly sliced
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (10-ounce) package sliced frozen okra 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
9 ounces cooked skinless, boneless turkey breast, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons filé powder (often used as a thickener for some gumbo &/or stews as stated above)
4 cups hot cooked rice
Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon.
Add onion, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add stock, yellow bell pepper, salt, sausage, tomatoes, and okra to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in parsley, thyme, and turkey; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove pan from heat; stir in filé powder. Divide rice among 8 bowls; top evenly with gumbo, or follow freezing instructions. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Tomatoes with Charred Okra, Vidalias, and Malt Mayo adapted from Cooking Light

 (Malt vinegar has a mid-palate that pairs nicely with the acidic tomatoes, crispy okra, and sweet onion)
1 tablespoon malt or balsamic vinegar
Tomatoes with Charred Okra, Vidalias
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup very thinly sliced Vidalia onion
1/2 cup small basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
10 ounce fresh okra pods, halved lengthwise (remember what I had to say about less "slime" when cut lengthwise in the Creole Shrimp and Okra Recipe)
3 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes,  divided and cut into 1/2-inch slices
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 pasteurized large egg yolk

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add half of okra to pan, cut side down; cook 4 minutes. Turn; cook 1 minute. Remove okra from pan. Repeat procedure with cooking spray and remaining okra. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let stand 5 minutes.Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and yolk in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until pale yellow and creamy. Stir in vinegar and mustard. Slowly add canola oil in a thin, steady stream, stirring constantly

Arrange tomatoes on a platter so they overlap slightly; top with any juices that have accumulated on the pan. Top tomatoes with okra and onion; drizzle vinegar mixture evenly over top. Sprinkle with basil, parsley, and black pepper.                                                         
(Total Time 26 Mins Yield Serves 8 w/serving size: about 1 cup)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Creole Shrimp and Okra Recipe

Creole Shrimp and OkraThink of this mainly as shrimp and grits with a distinctly Cajun attitude. Halved okra not only looks gorgeous, but it'll also give off less "slime" than chopped okra. The halved okra not only looks good, but it'll also give off less "slime" than chopped okra. Let the vegetables caramelize a bit in the pan for a richer base.
3 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson) 
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk 
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
1 bay leaf 1 cup stone-ground polenta or grits 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 cups fresh okra, trimmed and halved lengthwise 
1 cup vertically sliced onion 
3/4 cup diagonally sliced celery 
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined 
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
3 cups fresh marinara sauce 1/2 cup water 
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Bring stock, milk, garlic, and bay leaf to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add polenta and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf. Cover and keep warm.
  • Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add okra, onion, and celery; cook 2 to 4 minutes or until browned (do not stir). Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, shrimp, red pepper, and black pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sauce and 1/2 cup water; bring to a simmer. Cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. Stir in vinegar.
  • Place 1/2 cup polenta in each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 1/2 cups shrimp mixture. Sprinkle evenly with green onions.
As said sbove think of this as as shrimp and grits I have done so and y'all may wish to substitute grits. If you do follow the instructions on whichever grits you choose.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Roasted Whole Okra and Roasted Sliced Okra

30 small fresh okra pods (about 4 cups)
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Place okra in a single layer in a greased foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake, turning once, until lightly browned and fork tender, about 18 – 20 minutes.
Serves 4.
Roasted Sliced Okra basically the same but sliced 1/2 inch or so thick
30 small fresh okra pods (about 4 cups)
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Place okra in a single layer in a greased foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake, stirring once, until lightly browned and fork tender, about 18 – 20 minutes.
Serves 4.

Okra information and history

A bit of history about okra before I start w/the next recipes. Okra may have been introduced to southeastern North America from Africa in the early 18th century. Thomas Jefferson noted it was well established in Virginia by 1781.  The plant often has a red or purple spot at the base of the petals. The fruit (although most of us don't call it that) has a pentagonal cross-section, containing numerous seeds. (see below)

Although it was commonplace throughout the Southern States by 1800, It was being grown as far north as Philadelphia. . It is perennial, often an annual in temperate climates, and quite often grows around 2 metres (6.6 ft). What is ineresting to me, it is related to cotton, cocoa, and hibiscus. Okra has flowers that have white to yelowish petals.

Okra is a heat-loving plant with green pods that play a starring role in most gumbo recipes. Because it’s in season from May to September each year, you might have seen it in the produce section of your grocery. There’s much more to okra than soups and stews, so if you’ve never tried this versatile, nutrient-packed vegetable, check it out give it a try. Some are off put by it's texture but there are ways around that. Especially when one considers what good it packs.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Balsamic Chicken & Veggies

This is not particularly Creole but as I've said can be made so. This is Balsamic Chicken & Veggies Use any Zatarain's o any other Creole seasons & or style of cooking. ((layers of flavors of course me, I love me some garlic; ain't no vampire gonna get me)
2 sweet potatoes
2 bunches of asparagus, ends trimmed
1¼ pounds chicken breast tenders
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper,, to taste
For the balsamic glaze:
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
     1. Preheat oven to 400˚F/200˚C.
     2. Cut sweet potatoes medium julienne and spread      evenly onto parchment lined baking tray. Season        with olive oil, pepper, and salt.
     3. Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.
4. Trim asparagus and cut into pieces diagonally. Season with olive oil, pepper, and salt. Spread evenly on the baking tray next to the sweet potatoes.
5. Season chicken with pepper and salt. Place on top of the veggies.
6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165˚F/75˚C.
7. While chicken is baking, reduce balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and salt in a small saucepan for 5-7 minutes until the sauce slightly thickens.
8. Distribute veggies and chicken into four containers.
9. Pour the sauce reduction onto the chicken.
10. Can be refrigerated up to 4 days.