Saturday, December 31, 2011

Black-eyed peas

Enough of the history on w/the food!

1 pound dried black-eyed peas
(fresh or canned black-eyed peas can be substituted)
6 ounces pork shoulder diced into 1/2-inch cubes
4 strips thick bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 medium onion, small diced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons oil 
2 cups water
3 bay leaves
Hot-pepper vinegar, as desired
If using dried black-eyed peas, put in a large pot and cover with about 4 inches of water. Soak the peas overnight, then drain the water and rinse. You can "quick-soak" the peas by bringing them to a boil. (2 minutes) After this, remove from heat, cover the pot and soak the peas (1 hour) Then, dain and rinse the peas. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (shimmering) add pork. Sear until pork is browned on all sides (4 to 5 minutes) Add the bacon, onion and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion and garlic are lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne and garlic powder; saute until the entire mixture is coated with the spices (about 2 minutes) Pour in the stock and water and drop in the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

When the pork begins to fall apart, add the prepared peas to the pot and simmer until the peas are very soft, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (If you want them creamy as when you cook red beans you can do either of two things. You can take the spoon you're cooking w/mashing them aside the pot. Or you can take out a small portion (about 1 cup or so) & puree them then back to the pot)

New Years meal

Julius Caesar chose the Julian calendar in 46 BC, as a result, January 1 became the day for Western world celebrations of the New Year. Due to our French heritage there’s only one thing to eat black-eyed peas (a gift from a part of Africa ruled by the French for a long time) Black-eyed peas are de rigueur in New Orleans, a place where France left a big shoe print. Whatever the truth of the story, cabbage leaves represent paper greenbacks and black-eyed peas, long considered a lucky legume because of their association with coins, particularly West Africa. Where slavers stole most of the slaves away from that part of the world and shipped them to the Antebellum South.  As far back as the time of the pharaohs of Egypt, people believed that eating black-eyed peas would bring luck on certain auspicious days.

New Year’s Day carries with it a whole truckload of fascinating history. Depending on whom you ask, the foods represent various types of blessings and success. Eating food for strength, health, and wealth an age old phenomenon. For instance, pigs are popular symbols of good luck and progress in some European countries; anything green is considered a sign of prosperity. Some sources say that Thomas Jefferson (the first real American gourmet/foodie) introduced black-eyed peas to the region around his Monticello estate, at least as a serious crop and ground cover. There is speculation that Black-eyed peas came from Africa to Virginia in the 1600s? Apparently didn’t really become a major crop until later. (after the Revolutionary War)

Now supposedly Northern troops thought the beans they saw in the field were field peas, in their minds only good for feeding livestock. The grateful Southerners “found” the beans and saved themselves from starvation. According to folklore throughout the South the first food to be eaten on New Year's Day for luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead is black-eyed peas. One must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year's Day to ensure best chance of luck every day in the year ahead.  Whatever the truth of that story maybe?

As said prior cabbage leaves represent paper greenbacks and black-eyed peas, long considered a lucky legume because of their association with coins particularly West Africa where slavers stole most of the slaves away from that part of the world then shipped them to the Antebellum South. The history of cabbage is so long and varied was an important food, and the French, Germans and English took cabbage seeds to America. Cabbage is supposed to bring financial prosperity in the coming year. A custom of some was to boil a shiny new dime (making certain it is germ free) then putting it a pot of smothered cabbage. The one who finds the dime is supposed to have more luck in that coming year. This was the lore I was told when but a little girl as to why one cooked the cabbage (for money) and the black-eyed peas (for prosperity). It’s the hope that life will change the desire for money and luck that causes a lot of New Year’s Day food preparations.

Roast Fresh Ham

Roast Fresh Ham
8-to 10-pound fresh ham
(1/2 leg of pork)
6 garlic cloves, chopped coarse
2 tbs fresh orange juice
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried orégano, crumbled
1 large onion, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a sharp knife score the skin and fat of the ham deeply in a diamond pattern. In a blender purée the garlic with 2 tbs orange juice, the oil, the vinegar, the salt, the pepper, and the orégano and rub the mixture all over the ham. Put the onion in the middle of a roasting pan, arrange a rack on top of it, and put the ham on the rack. Roast the ham in the oven for 4 hours, or until a meat thermometer registers 170°F., and let it stand in the pan at room temperature for 15 minutes. Transfer the ham to a carving board, pull off the cracklings (crisp pieces of skin), reserving them, and remove and discard the remaining fat. Slice the meat thin across the grain, arrange it on a platter, and keep it warm with the reserved cracklings, covered.

If you wish to make gravy here's how:
4 cups water
14 cup all-purpose flour
13 cup orange juice (fresh)
2 tbsp wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 leaf flat leaf parsley (fresh, garnish)
1 strip orange zest (garnish)

Transfer 2 tbs of the fat from the roasting pan to a saucepan and pour off the remaining fat from the pan juices. Add the water to the roasting pan and deglaze the pan over high heat, scraping up the brown bits. Add the flour to the fat in the saucepan, cook the roux over low heat, whisking, for 2 minutes, and strain the mixture from the roasting pan through a sieve into the roux, pressing hard on the solids. Whisk in the orange juice, the vinegar, and the sugar, simmer the gravy, whisking, for 5 minutes, and season it with salt and pepper

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turducken - Turkey Duck and Chicken

I missed posting in time for Thanksgiving this year, I still want to share the story when my boss/landlady & I made a Turducken. This can be used for Christmas as well. It was Thanksgiving of 1985 & I was watching WDSU channel 6, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans. The station was per usual profiling something new & different to do for Thanksgiving that year. That was @ the time Chef Paul Prudhomme's star was rising; that was the year Chef Paul first went public w/his recipe. Of course the recipe has evolved over time. This was the simpler way it was given out that Thanksgiving when we tried our hands @ cooking the Turducken.

It called for a boned chicken, duck & turkey w/ three different stuffings between birds. Beginning w/the smallest bird into the larger bird ending w/ the turkey. Of course since we both were foodies we thought we'd give it a try. There were far fewer ingredients then than now. I myself only used one stuffing: cornbread. (My favorite.) What was cool about it @ that time (& not too many people knowing about it) was the carving of the bird. It was rather dramatic when cut from port to starboard revealing the birds & stuffing layers w/no bones! We were very lucky in that we lived around the corner from one of the Whole Food markets that more than happily boned the various birds for us. That would have been a far greater adventure than either one of us would have cared to try!

These are the ingredients that were snail mailed to us that year for just the birds.                  
Inside shot

1 chicken (3 to 4 lbs)
1 duckling (5 to 6 lbs)
1 turkey (15 to 20 lbs)
Duck or Chicken giblets (2 lbs) 

The recipes for the three stuffings were also given; I've included only 2 different dressing/stuffing recipes. If you care to be adventurous & try stuffing between each bird you to can chose your preferred choice for the third.
Baked Oyster Dressing
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 pint shucked oysters and their liquor
Chef Paul Prudomme
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
3 bay leaves
1 tbs minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup water
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 cups 1-inch cubes French bread
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 11-inch baking pan and set aside.
Drain the oysters, reserving the oyster liquor. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, and cayenne and saute for 5 minutes, or until soft.
Add the bay leaves, garlic, and parsley, and saute for 1 minute. Add the water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the green onions, oyster liquor, and the bread cubes. Stir to mix well, and remove from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread and vegetable mixture with the oysters and cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 1 hour, or until bubbly and golden brown.
Remove the bay leaves before serving.
Cornbread Stuffing (Make the corn bread first)
This cornbread is made with cornmeal and flour, along with egg, and bacon drippings. (If your heart kin take it)
Corn Bread1/2 cup cornmeal (sifted before measuring)
1 1/3 cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
Best way to make cornbread cast iron slillet
1 1/2 tsp baking powder                1/2 tsp salt, if desired                    2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tbs butter or (bacon drippings)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl.
Stir beaten eggs into the dry ingredients. Stir in the buttermilk and 1 cup whole milk.
Heat the butter in a 9 X 2-inch iron skillet. When skillet is very hot but butter has not browned, pour in the batter.
Carefully pour the remaining 1 cup whole milk on top of the batter; do not stir.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake 50 minutes, or until cornbread is set and baked through.
Dressing (again make the corn bread first) 1 cup butter or margarine, divided 3 cups white cornmeal 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 tbls sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda7 large eggs, divided
3 cups buttermilk
3 cups soft breadcrumbs
2 medium onions, diced (2 cups)
1 large bunch celery, diced (3 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh sage (1 tbs dried rubbed sage may be substituted for fresh sage)
6 (10 1/2-ounce) cans condensed chicken broth, undiluted
1 tbs pepper
Place 1/2 cup butter in a 13- x 9-inch pan; heat in oven at 425° for 4 minutes.
Combine cornmeal and next 5 ingredients; whisk in 3 eggs and buttermilk.
Pour hot butter into batter, stirring until blended. Pour batter into pan.
Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.
Crumble cornbread into a large bowl; stir in breadcrumbs, and set aside.
Melt remaining 1/2 cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onions and celery, and saute until tender.
Sir in sage, and saute 1 more minute.
Stir vegetables, remaining 4 eggs, chicken broth, and pepper into cornbread mixture
Pour evenly into 1 lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish and 1 lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish.
Cover and chill 8 hours.
Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rice/Hominy/Grits Croquettes

Carolina Indians working rice

In my Gran Mama's cookbook these croquettes are made exactly the same. Remember when I told Acadian settlers when they came well I'm gonna share a little history w/you. Although it began it's journey in Virginia it traveled south from the Carolinas to Louisiana with the slave trade. Louisiana rice was originally grown for home consumption
when farmers tossed rice seed into the wetlands near
bayous or ponds. (areas that couldn't be plowed)
It was called “providence rice” by harvesters that
were thankful from this casual method.Commercial
rice production began in the second half of the
19th century, helped along by the railroad, which
transported the crop to New Orleans.
Rice is the state’s second-largest agricultural export and the
state is the nation’s third-largest rice-producer. As a result Crowley has hosted the International Rice Festival annually since 1936. It draws more than 150,000 visitors from all over the world.
Louisiana’s rice farmers combine the best of rice farming practices along with conservation stewardship. In winter, water held on rice fields, can providing vital resting places plus a food source for migratory birds. Louisiana rice fields also support other of other wetland-dependent wildlife species. Enough history on w/the recipe.

1 cup rice/hominy/grits yolk of 4 eggs 
farina boiler
1 quart milk Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash the the rice.hominy/grits well (starch off) put it onto boil (after pressed through sieve) in milk in what was called a farina boiler (actually a big double boiler) If uncooked boil for about an hour if already cooked twenty minutes will do. When it becomes quite thick remove from heat and beat til very smooth completely mashing all the grains. Add the beaten eggs and cook for 8-10 minutes longer. @ this point one can add either savoy herbs or fruit of choice. Take off the heat when cool enough to handle form into cylinders 3 inches long by 1 & 1/2 inch thick. Roll in the egg whites & bread crumbs then fry in shortening/lard drain then serve w/daube (an inexpensive cut of meat braised) if savory. Or w/sugar & vanilla sauce if fruit added.
 Rice Croquettes with daube

Grillades & grits

Grillades are a favorite cut of meat usually round which is cut into pieces each one roughly 6-8 inches each portion being called grillade. Season w/salt & pepper well maybe a touch of Cayenne, cover thoroughly making certain the seasoning permeates the meat. The way most familiar way is Panéed or breaded and is usually veal. The pieces are 4 inches for this.

get ready for the day!
I round steak or eye of round (tenderloin)
1/4 cup shortening
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt, Pepper , Cayenne

Cut into pieces, season well, beat egg soak each grillade well before rolling in or dusting w/the bread crumbs. (grating if they are fresh) Have the pan ready w/hot shortening deep enough for the grillades to swim in. fry till brown. Serve hot. This often is accompanied w/grits.

Here is a recipe in my Gran Mamas cookbook well before today's more thoroughly processed grits .

Yellow grits include the whole kernel, while white grits are hulled kernels.
2 cups grits
2 quarts water
2 tsps salt

Wash the grits in fresh cold water throw off the refuse then wash again and drain. Add the grits to the 2quarts add salt and stir frequently while bringing to a boil. Turn down low let cook about an hour or to what ever consistency desired. Today follow the instructions of whatever brand you buy. I loved it when there where left over grits. My momma would pack them into a square "ice box dish" put them in the fridge and we'd slice them the next morning & pan fry 'um. Yum!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Creole Jambalaya

Alright, let's get on w/my version of Creole jambalaya, as there are many recipes & ways it can be made today, I do my own thing. But when it comes to cooking isn't that what we're told, follow the instructions then make it your own? I went with a combination of the various meats/seafood that considered the palates, likes & dislikes of  my fellow parishioners in Connecticut .This time my version of Creole jambalaya was chicken, a bit of pork, sausage & a little crayfish (pronounced crawfish) I was able to get. Since there where about 13 people & I wanted enough for seconds I wasn't exact. It came in handy that I'd inherited a well seasoned cast iron Dutch Oven from my Momma. In my mind it's the best way of cookin' (Creole) jambalaya Unless you have leftovers you'll need these items for your these ingredient list. Serves about 10 so I doubled it.

3-4 tablespoons of butter
1 lb.of sausage (smoked) (andoille if ya kin git it)
1 lb. of chicken
All meats should be cut the same size for cooking, also cut the veggies same size to themselves (not necessarily to the meat)
2 bay leaves
a pinch of any kind of Creole/Cajun seasoning (I like Zatarain's or Tony Chachere's)
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 bell pepper (green) (chopped)
1/2 bell pepper (red) (chopped)
2 stalks of celery (chopped)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (ain't no vampire gonna get me!)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3-31/2 cups of rice
1 cup of tomato sauce (optional if you're wanting to make the red)
couple green onions & a bunch of parsley

Melt the butter over medium high heat, add the sausage cook (4-5 mins.) till it begins to brown, moving constantly so nothing burns. Add chicken pieces doing the same. Add the pinch of seasoning, bay leaves & 1/2 the veggies Cook till tender (6-8 mins.) Remember to keep everything moving. Stir, stir, stir. (here's when you add the tomato sauce cook for 1min. if desired)
Add the remaining veggies, rice & stock Mix well stirring occasionally while it comes to a boil. Reduce heat (simmer), cover & cook for about 45-50 mins. (til rice is to your liking) Serve hot garnish w/ green onions & parsley

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stuffed Mirliton

                            Crabmeat and Shrimp Stuffed Mirlton
Mirliton, the vegetable which originated in Mexico, is known as “chayote squash” or “vegetable pear” and by the French as “christophene.” The vegetable was brought to Bayou Country by the Canary Islanders, who relocated to Louisiana when Spain took ownership of New Orleans from France. This South Louisiana delicacy is wonderful when stuffed with shrimp and crab meat.

6 mirlitons, sliced lengthwise
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
1 pound (70–90 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ pound butter
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery                                            
½ cup diced red bell peppers
¼ cup minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped basil
salt and black pepper to taste
Louisiana hot sauce to taste
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
12 pats butter   
Preheat oven to 375°F. Boil sliced mirlitons in lightly-salted water 30–40 minutes or until meat is tender enough to scoop from shells. Once tender, remove from water and cool. Using a teaspoon, remove seeds and gently scoop all meat out of shell, being careful not to tear shell. Discard excess liquid accumulated while scooping meat. Reserve meat and save shells for stuffing. In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and basil 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Blend in shrimp and cook 2–3 minutes or until pink and curled. Mix in reserved meat from mirlitons and chop large pieces while cooking.

 Cook 15–20 minutes, stirring until flavors develop. After most of liquid has evaporated, remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, hot sauce and parsley. Fold in crab meat, being careful to not break lumps. Sprinkle in approximately 1½ cups of bread crumbs to absorb any excess liquid and to hold stuffing intact. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions and stuff into hollowed-out shells. Place stuffed mirlitons on baking pan and sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs. Top each mirliton with 1 pat of butter. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve 1 mirliton half as a vegetable or 2 halves as an entrée.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

File' Gumbo Recipe

This could be either file' gumbo or okra and seafood gumbo or meat depending on ones personal choice. Also the choice of file' or okra, as I was told and understand it, was not only for flavor but for consistency as well. Okra you may or may not know is a veggie if not cooked properly can be the slimiest .... ever!  File' is ground sassafras leaves.  The Choctaw Indians would lay out the leaves to dry, grind them into a powder then bring the powder to sell the "white settlers" @ the French Market. These industrious settlers added the powder  to their stew pots. Down in time a variation became known as file' gumbo.    In this recipe I used neither; if you use Okra add it w/the rest of the veggies.  I was taught if one used file' as a thickening agent to add it @ the very end when the pot was off the stove.  Cooking it would turn it too thick, stringy & bitter.

With a lot of recipes one makes a roux, in fact (it was said so often when giving out recipes) there was a cook book titled or "called" (as said in New Orleans vernacular)  First You Make a Roux. A roux is basically made buy melting a fat (butter) & adding flour to the meted fat (butter) in equal parts for 1 minute for a white sauce. (béchamel) Depending upon the recipe we cook it longer in varying shades from tan to dark chocolate. That could be anywhere from 8-20 minutes or we use less flour for a thinner sauce according to what meat/protein you're cooking. When cooking a roux make certain you have a heavy pan w/even distribution of heat. Make certain you're stirring constantly while your browning the shades. (ain't nothin' worse than a burnt roux!)

Well in this recipe you make a roux. (I like the healthy deep shade of tan for all my gumbos) This particular recipe I made for my fellow parishioners in Connecticut as I said before was considering their palates of likes & dislikes so it was an everything gumbo, seafood & meat.

The ingredients were as follows:

"Holy Trinity"

1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup oil & 6 tbls flour (roux)
2 cups onion (chopped)
1 cup Bell Pepper (green chopped)
3 stalks celery (chopped)
5 large cloves garlic (minced)
7-8 cups chicken broth
1 lb sausage (cut into same size as chicken)
3 large skinless chicken breast halves (cut into small pieces 1")
1 1/2-2 tsps Cajun seasonin to taste (Zatarains or Tony Chacheres)
1/2 lb crayfish (crawfish) already cooked (imported foreign substance above the Mason Dixon line)

Before making the roux brown the meat pieces in the oil in a heavy pot (Dutch Oven) then set aside before adding the flour. Make the roux combining the flour w/the oil over medium heat stirring constantly until roux is a tan shade about 12 minutes or so, add & stir the veggies (not the garlic yet) to the roux for about 3-4 minutes, add garlic cook for 1 minute.
Add the broth, thyme, bay leaves & Cajun seasoning bring to a boil, reduce heat add meats. If you were using file' this is were you'd add it when serving.  Thereby making it file' gumbo

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shrimp Creole Recipe

Now we're going to one of the recipes New Orleans is famous for; Shrimp Creole and was one of the choices of meals for Friday. Since New Orleans was founded by the French its main religion was Roman Catholicism and there was no meat eating on Friday's. That wasn't a problem as there was all kinds of seafood. After you read & familiarize yourself w/the ingredients you will see why there are two styles of jambalaya as I mentioned in the jambalaya recipe. (If there wasn't any Creole sauce left)  Here we go!

2 lbs of shrimp (cleaned)
1 onion (large & chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 tbls chopped Bell pepper (green)
5 tablespoons shortening or butter
1 tbls flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
dash of Tabasco (to me, Louisiana Red Hot has a better taste, a touch of vinegar to it)
1 (8 ounce can) tomato sauce
8 ounces of water
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 tbls parsley (chopped)
1 bay leaf & 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Clean shrimp (if they're not already) Saute the "holy trinity" garlic, bell pepper & onions in the shortening or butter about 8 minutes. Blend in flour for 1 minute (this is called a white roux or béchamel sauce not very thick that's why so little flour)
Add the remaining ingredients slowly Cover & simmer for 30 or so minutes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Red Beans and Rice Recipes

Let's go w/the Monday meal Red Beans with/and Rice; historically Monday was wash day. If one had forgotten to soak the beans over night they took a long time to cook which was perfect as all you had to do was stop by and stir the pot while doing the laundry. Also if by some chance they were fresh it took a bit of time to get them to "cream". These days most people use kidney beans for red beans w/rice but there are actual red beans. They are about two thirds or half the size of kidney beans but if you can't find them kidney beans will do. Red beans w/rice is two incomplete proteins when combined make a full protein so when flavored w/any meat is quite tasty

I prefer Andouille, a spicy, smoked sausage of French origin. I also use a heavy well seasoned cast iron dutch oven to cook my beans. Follow the instructions on whatever type of beans you choose. Also in a separate pot make a "mess o rice" enough to serve the amount of people you're cooking for. If you haven't enough time to let the beans cook until they become creamy there is a short cut. When the beans are cooked somewhat soft, take some out, mash, blend (w/ food processor) that way they can break down completely when added back to the pot of cooked beans making the creamy sauce that is ladled over the rice.


Hominy Salad

Although I placed a picture of Hominy salad I forgot to give the recipe So here it is.
    1 (15 ounce) can white hominy
    1⁄4 cup green pepper, chopped
    2 tablespoons onions, chopped
Hominy Salad
    1 cup sliced celery
    1⁄4 cup sweet pickle relish (or *sliced green olives)
    1⁄2 teaspoon salt
    1⁄4 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
    1 cup grated cheddar cheese *
    1⁄4 cup mayonnaise (Cajun Mayo or not)
    Rinse hominy and drain well.
    Chop green pepper, onion and celery.
    Toss hominy and veggies together.
    Stir in pickle relish, celery seed, salt cheese and mayonnaise.
    Chill and serve cold

* If one cares to go more savory (I myself have added Katmata olives & substituted feta cheese)
Here again make it your own and as you can see there are mini/grape tomatoes

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hominy Recipe

Little pillows I called them as a child
Hominy was called the older sister of grits by the Creoles; grits are ground from hominy as well as regular corn. The use was taught to the settlers by the Indians. (I don't know which tribe.) They used to take the dried Indian corn & thrash it 'til the hardened outer germ or hull came off. They would thrash twice, resulting in large white grains which they would bring into the city to sell. When you see yellow hominy only one layer of the hull has been removed. The hominy was boiled in water 'til the great grains were soft. Hominy became a great industry throughout the South. It was a chief food for the Southern Negros; however it found its way to the elegant Creole tables. When cooking hominy soak it overnight in cold water. (1 pint hominy/2 quarts water) Wash it first (cause you're gonna cook in the soaking water) then put into the 2 quarts of cold water to soak. In the morning bring it all to a boil, then allow it to slowly boil. (about 3-4 hours) @ that time it can be served w/butter, salt & pepper or sugar & cream. Little Creole children were raised on La Saccamite as it was called. As that was a lot of work and my momma had a full job load as a secretary, we bought it already prepared in cans. There were a lot of southern brands in the stores then but all I see these days are Spanish/Latin brands. My Gran Dad used hominy grits w/ his liver & onions rather than mashed potatoes. We replaced the hominy for other starches in similar portions as called for in whatever other recipe. such as the hominy salad pictured here.
Hominy salad

Monday, October 31, 2011

Liver two ways

Speaking of my Gran Dad and liver. He preferred caves liver. (not as strong a flavor) He liked it done two different ways broiled (Brochettes de foie) or Fried à la Lyonaise. (Forte Sauté à la lyonaise) I will give w/the broiled one.

Brochettes de foie
Wash and slice the live into pieces (about 3 inches long by 1/4 inch thick) Thread liver on a skewer so it won't curl.Season w/salt and pepper, brush lightly w/butter place under broiler. String (alternately) bacon atop the liver. Broil about 5 minutes

Fried à la Lyonaise
1lb of liver
1 Tbs butter
2 large onions (sliced)
1 tsp vinegar

Put the butter into the pan (heavy preferably) sauté the onions til golden brown. Take the liver which you have cut into simiar sized pieces. (1/2 inch instead of1/4 inch thick) seasoned w/salt and pepper. Lay over the onions stir well. Let fry about 3 minutes turn over and let fry about 3 more minutes.. Pour vinegar on top season again cover and let fry3-4 minutes. (liver cooks quickly be careful not to over cook; if one wanted shoe leather why cook just take off your shoe and eat!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crayfish boil Recipe

We have boils quite a lot as a result of all the Crustacean family that doesn't swim fast enough to get past our nets. (i.e. shrimp, crabs, etc.) Normally it takes place in someone's back yard; most of us aren't fancy, we cut the top off a drum can & that's our pot over a propane burner. Along w/whichever crustacean & boil seasoning (could be Rex or Zatarains), we toss in small new potatoes w/small pieces of corn on the cob. Some people choose to add other vegetables that can be boiled as well.

It's a fun messy affair that's held outside; one wears clothes that one doesn't mind getting soiled. Here's why, @ the end when whichever crustacean is cooked the entire basket is pulled out of the seasoned water, it's draining while crossing the yard before being dumped on a table covered w/ newspapers. You stake your claim because your entire meal is there @ your finger tips. If you're a native or you wish to act like one you pull off the heads, suck out the juices (seasoned water, fat etc.), then peel & eat the tail meat. Everything is tossed (shells, cobs etc.) back on the newspaper covered table. Why? That's because then clean up is a simple job; one just folds/rolls up the paper w/all the leavings, then into several garbage bags & to the curb it goes .

Friday, October 28, 2011

Crayfish Etouffee

My favorite!

This is one of my personal favorites! (You can now get frozen crayfish tails if you don't have access to real animal) W/me the only way I can get enough while "sucking heads & eating tails " is to go "one for the Etouffee, two for for me". Takes a while to get the 2-3 lbs of Crayfish! M-M-M-good!!! (cook enough rice per person to serve Etouffee over)
6 tbls butter (melted)                                                
Tis a challenge to leave that much crayfish  meat uneaten
4 tbls flour
2 cups chopped onion
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1/2 cup bell pepper (green)
6 cloves garlic (minced)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chopped onion
6 cloves garlic (minced)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1/2 cup bell pepper (green)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp
1 cup diced, seeded tomato (w/juice)
1/2 cups shrimp or fish stock (use chicken if ya don' make yer own)

couple dashes hot sauce (Louisiana Red Hot-my preference)

Louisiana Brand Original Hot Sauce 3 oz

2 lbs Crayfish tails
1/2 lemon (juiced)
1 cup green onions (chopped)
1/4 parsley (chopped)

In a large, heavy sauce pan melt butter add flour stirring constantly until is the color of peanut butter. (about 8-10 mins.) Add onions, celery, bell pepper, bay leaves, thyme; cook until veggies are soft (6-8 mins.) add stock, tomatos, salt, pepper & hot sauce bring to boil. Skim surface if need be reduce to simmer; cook uncovered 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Add crayfish tails, lemon juice, green onions, & parsley for about 15-20 additional mins. stirring occasionally. Ladle over rice.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fried Chicken Recipe

You need an electric skillet, preferably Teflon-coated. An electric skillet because the temperature is consistent throughout the pan and you can control it more easily. Although I was trained on a well seasoned cast iron skillet. You need a bunch of brown paper bags, to put the chicken pieces on after removing them from the skillet. Thick paper bags are ideal because they absorb the grease well.
Soak a whole fryer chicken in salted water overnight in the refrigerator. Don’t go crazy with the salt; a few pinches should do it. (Using buttermilk is better than water in my opinion.) When it comes time to cook, cut the chicken into small pieces and pat them dry. Smaller pieces tend to retain their moisture and don’t get as greasy as bigger pieces. If you’re just cooking breasts, cut the breasts into two or three small pieces. And if you want to be a tad health-conscious, remove the skin from the breasts and thighs. (I promise, you won’t even miss it although I do miss the crunchy skin.)

Coat each piece of chicken in flour and seasoning.Don't use much beyond a little salt, pepper & paprika. I like to add onion power in addition to Cajun spices.When I was a child & cooking w/my momma I loved this part 'cause I'd get me a brown bag w/all the flour, seasoning, etc. & shake that bag to a fare thee well. That way there would be total coverage. Turn the electric skillet to 350 degrees or if you use a heavy evenly heating skillet just add enough Crisco so that there’s about an inch of melted shortening. (A little is all you need.) When the oil is hot but not smoking start adding your pieces to the skillet.

I’ve never really timed the frying, but after, say, 10 minutes, pick up a piece with tongs (to avoid piercing it) and look at the side that’s been face down in the skillet. If the color is a rich golden brown, turn it over. Avoid turning the chicken more than once. If you like more seasoning, gently add a little more during the cooking process, once per side. When both sides are golden brown, remove the piece and place it on a paper bag. Let it cool for a few minutes and move it to another dry spot on the bag.
Should there be leftover chicken, don’t wrap it up and put it in the refrigerator. You’ll only make it greasy and cold. Just store the chicken on a plate overnight, in a cupboard (unless you have a bug problem). This step has often raised eyebrows, but I’ve been doing this for years and never had a problem. Plus, you’d be surprised and delighted by how delicious a piece of room-temperature fried chicken is for breakfast

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

La Colle (kind of Molasses Pecan candy )

This is called a cake don't exactly know why (tain't no flour in it?) I think it' good yeah! Here's the recipe you can figure it out for yourself.
La Colle (kind of Molasses Pecan candy )

1 pint molasses
2 cups pecan pieces

Boil until it is almost like a thread when drizzled into water. Pour it onto a surface that can w/stand heat about 4"long & 2 " wide; about 1/4 " thick. Let cool voila some of the best candies!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Molasses Candy (taffy)


Brings back memories of grocery shleves
This one I remember w/ great fondness! It was a wonderful time when made by my mother & myself as a child. (I called it taffy & had more fun pulling my little mother around while pulling!) According to lore it would have been a pleasurable time "passed" by the early Orleanian belles & beaux in their time. Ingredients as follows:
Start like this
1 quart molasses                                           
1 tbl butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tbls vinegar
1/2 tsp soda
juice of 1 lemon
Slowly & carefully bring sugar to a boil w/lemon juice. Boil, stirring frequently, until it becomes quite thick when dropped into water. Add molasses, vinegar, & butter; boil 'til it hardens when dropped into cold water. Stir in the 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda. If you are using a candy thermometer probably around 272%.  Pour into buttered tin; wait 'til cooled enough to roll into a ball then commence pulling until it turns white. Moisten hands w/butter or ice water while pulling. (remember what I said about pulling my 'Lil Momma around)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bread Pudding Recipe (Pain Perdu)

Don't ya wanna bite?
How 'bout something sweet now? This one's Pain Perdu (literal translation lost bread) or old fashion Bread Pudding. This also came out of not wasting; one could and we often did substitute rice for the bread. (remember us and rice) We ate French bread therefore used the left over pieces (in my, not so humble opinion, stale is better. Soaks up more of the good stuff). Rember Pain Perdu. (lost bread)   If one is not prone to like sweets this can be made savory as well.  The ingredient list for traditional sweet bread pudding is as follows:

1 baguette of French bread (tips of fingers to elbow in length)(or equivalent in bread of choice)
2 tbs. vanilla
juice of 2 lemons
7 cups of milk 2 tbs. grated lemon rind
3 eggs 1 1/2 cups raisins
2 cups sugar (the holidays we substituted glazed fruit)
Tear/break bread into small pieces & place in 9x13 baking dish. Pour milk over bread & let soak while preparing remaining ingredients. Break eggs into a medium sized bowl, add sugar and blend together, add lemon juice, vanilla & lemon zest. Stir raisins (glaced fruit @ holidays) into bread & milk mixture 'till evenly distributed. (mix well) Pour mixture into pan making sure that everything is blended thoroughly. Place pan in the center of a pre-heated 350 degree oven & bake for an hour & 15 min. or until browned around the edges. In a bain marie  (which means in french water bath) a method for baking that consists of placing a container (pan, dish etc.) in a larger, shallow pan of warm water during the baking process.    If substituting rice use leftover or if you're making it @ the same time make certain it's slightly under cooked so it will absorb only a slight bit of the custard mix while baking. Either way it is a great way for using "lost" anything the more famous one being Pain Perdu (bread pudding).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Praline Sauce Recipe

Where's my spoon?

2 cups light corn syrup
2 cups dark corn syrup          
2 cups pecan pieces, toasted                                  
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar                         
1/2 cup cane sugar (Sucanat, dried sugar cane juice)
Combine all bring to boil til sugars dissolves about 10 mins.  Toasting the nuts intensifies the flavor .  In a dry pan toast the nuts constantly shaking the the pan a la the very old way of making pop corn.  Take off heat allow to cool; both when you toast the nuts & when you've boiled the sugar. Use @ will it's great on waffles or pancakes!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream

Here's one for ya that you can put the pecan praline sauce on! For this you'll need:
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup of milk                           
1 tbl. fresh lemon juice                                    
3/4 cups of sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Blend all til smooth minus the heavy cream. Use a blender for ease. Transfer into bowl & stir in cream. Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker. (if you use a modern type maker you put in the freezer follow which ever one you have per their instructions) To keep transfer into air tight container. Allow to defrost 5 mins. before serving. (yield 1 Qt)