Friday, December 27, 2013

Cranberry Bread Pudding

I bought what I thought was Mediterranean olive loaf that turned out to be cranberry bread (one of my favs) it being the Christmas season I went looking for a bread pudding recipe. And wouldn't you know it I found one by  Emeril Lagasse I was able to adapt. His called for making a cranberry compote & adding it to a standard pudding where as I had a loaf of cranberry bread; however the volumes are similar since I adore cranberries I did add more Crains.

(Prep Time:45 min -- Cook Time 1 hr -- Serves 10)

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
(I used crystallized sugar cane juice)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted and rough chopped
2 cups half-and-half (I used milk)
8 slices stale bread (I chose not to remove crusts but
cut into 1/2 inch cubes about 4 cups)
Shaker confectioners' sugar
Sprigs fresh mint

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 6-cup (9 1/4 by 5 1/4 by 2 3/4-inch) loaf pan with butter.
Whisk together eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla until very smooth. Stir in half-and-half. bread and pecans. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, mixing occasionally.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the pudding is set in the center, about 55 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Garnish with confectioners' sugar and mint.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Green Bean and Aritchoke Casserole

        2 lbs green beans
        1 9-oz. package frozen artichoke hearts.
        1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
        1 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
        1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
        1 onion, finely diced
        6 - 8 cloves garlic, minced
        Salt and freshly ground black pepper
       (to taste)

    If you're using fresh green beans and you don't mind the extra labor, split them lengthwise Cook/steam  the green beans until just tender. Medium-dice the artichoke hearts.
    Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil. In a large bowl, mix the beans, bread crumbs, cheese, hearts, and the oil with the onions and garlic. Season liberally with black pepper; salt to taste.
    Put the mixture into a 9"x14" baking dish, and sprinkle the top with additional bread crumbs and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 - 30 minutes.

Cornbread, Andouille Dressing

(Yield: 10-12 servings)
    6 cups cubed cornbread
       (one large loaf)
    6 tablespoons butter
    1 pound andouille, diced
    3 red bell peppers, 1/3" dice
    2 bunches green onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
    8 shallots, chopped
    1 small sweet onion, 1/3" dice   
    3 ribs celery, 1/3" dice
    The leaves from the celery stalks, chopped
    2 tablespoons chopped garlic
    2 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
    2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
    1 teaspoon ground allspice
    3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
    1/2 teaspoon minced bay leaves
    4 large eggs, beaten
    1-1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock

Heat oven to 350°F.
  Cube cornbread and spread on a large baking sheet. Bake the cornbread until and slightly toasted, (about 10-20 minutes) Transfer to large mixing bowl and cool.
  Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add andouille, green onions, shallots and sweet onions; sauté until transparent, (about 8 minutes) Add celery, garlic, thyme, sage, allspice, cayenne and bay leaves and sauté until vegetables are just tender and the mixture is moist, about 10 more minutes. Mix the vegetables into the corn bread thoroughly. Moisten with just enough stock to keep it from being too dry, making sure it doesn't get soggy. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then mix in the eggs.
  Butter a 13x9x2" baking dish and add the dressing. Cover tightly with foil, then bake 'til stuffing is firm and heated through, (about 45 minutes) Uncover and bake until the top just begins to brown, about 15 minutes.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Creole Culture Casserole

(Prep Time: 40 Minutes Serves: 10 - 12)

This casserole is an amalgamation of the many foods and spices that make up the Creole culture and can be found in Panderina Soumas' Soumas Heritage Creole Cookbook. As with the culture itself, the ingredients are all mixed together creating a special dish to enjoy!

2 tsps Creole Seasoning                            
1/2 stalk celery, chopped                       
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 (10 ounce) can cream of celery soup
1 (10 ounce) can cream of shrimp soup
1 cup okra, chopped or frozen
1 (10 ounce) can black beans (drained)
1 (10 ounce) can kidney beans (drained)
(or 1 cup left-over red beans)
1 (10 ounce) can whole kernel corn (drained)

1 loaf French bread, cut or broken into pieces
1 pound of your favorite link sausage, sauté-ed (drained)
1 small (5 ounce) package dried shrimp, (soaked, dried and chopped)
3 - 4 fresh tomatoes, or 1 small can of whole stewed tomatoes, chopped
breadcrumbs for topping (optional)

Combine all ingredients except breadcrumbs in a large bowl and mix well. Pour mixture into a large casserole dish sprayed with a non-stick spray and spread evenly. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top and bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until top has formed a nice cultural crust.

Note: You may wish to add a little water to thin the cream of celery and shrimp soups.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Baked Pumpkin Lafourche - Madewood Plantation

Pumpkin is one of the first vegetables given to the early colonists by the Native American Indians was pumpkin. In those days, the seeds were as important as the entire pumpkin. These seeds were the snack foods for the children. This candied pumpkin recipe could be therefore more American than apple pie. This particular recipe (Baked Pumpkin Lafourche - Madewood Plantation) comes from Chef John Folse  y'all may know him from the Food Network and his time on Iron Chef. Madewood  Plantation, known as Madewood, is a National Historic Landmark in Napoleonville, Louisiana. It was built for the Pugh family in 1845 and designed by architect Henry Howard and was the originally part of a sugar plantation.  It is now a tourist attraction and a bed and breakfast which  I believe Chef John Folse's company runs the B&B.

Prep Time 1 1/2 hours - Serves: 6-8)
    1 large pumpkin or cushaw
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 cup melted butter
    3 large apples, diced (peeled or unpeeled your reference)
    1/2 cup Louisiana cane syrup
    1/2 cup honey
    cinnamon to taste
    nutmeg to taste
    allspice to taste
    1/2 cup raisins
    1/2 cup golden raisins
    1 ounce sherry
    marshmallows (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using a sharp butcher knife or cleaver, cut the pumpkin into three inch cubes, peeling on. Scoop out all of the seeds and stringy pulp from the cubes. In a two gallon stock pot, place pumpkin in enough water to cover by two inches. Add sugar, bring to a rolling boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until pumpkin is tender to the touch. Remove from heat and strain one cup of poaching liquid. Cool pumpkin under cold running water. Using a paring knife or large spoon, scrape the softened pulp into a large mixing bowl. Once all the pulp has been removed, drain off excess water and set aside. In a heavy bottom black iron pot, melt butter over medium high heat. 
  Add apples and sauté two to three minutes. Add pumpkin, cane syrup, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Stir to blend all of the ingredients well. Add raisins and sherry and cook on medium high heat until mixture is heated thoroughly. Ladle a small amount of the poaching liquid as needed to keep the mixture moist. Once well blended, pour the mixture into an oven-proof casserole dish and top with marshmallows. Cover and bake twenty to thirty minutes or until slightly browned around the edges. Serve as a starch accompaniment to any entree or add three whole eggs and use as a pie or turnover filling.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Creole Grilled Mirliton Ratatouille

Another way of  preparing Mirlitons (pronounced MEL-lee-tawns or MER-lee-tawns) the  type of squash I mentioned earlier) I ran across this recipe by Chuck Taggart who says if you don't want to grill the mirlitons and eggplant, you can instead brush them with olive oil and bake them on a sheet pan until half-cooked.

    2 pounds mirlitons (chayote squash)
    1 pound eggplant                                     
    1 pound onions
    4 red bell peppers
    2 pounds tomatoes (peeled, seeded and chopped)
    10 cloves garlic
    6 ounces olive oil
    2/3 cup chopped parsley
    2 bay leaves
    2 tablespoons Creole seasoning, or to taste
    1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cut the mirlitons in half and scoop out the seed, then slice into 1/2" slices. Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/2" slices. Slice the onions crossways 1/4" thick, then cut each slice in half to end up with semicircular pieces of onion. Core and seed the peppers and chop into 1/2" dice. Chop the garlic. Prepare the tomato concassé. ( a cooking term meaning to rough chop)

Brush the mirliton and eggplant slices with olive oil and grill (or bake) until about half-cooked. (Some nice cross-hatch grill marks would be particularly nice.) Sauté the onions and peppers in the remaining olive oil until half-cooked. Add the garlic, and sauté for one additional minute.

Cut the grilled mirliton and eggplant slices into large dice. Combine the veggies with seasonings into a heavy saucepan. Cover and cook in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the flavors are well-blended. If the vegetables are too juicy, cook uncovered on the stove top for a few minutes stirring frequently to avoid scorching. (Serve hot or cold)

YIELD: About 20 four-ounce portions. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Calas is a dish that embodies the frugality of Louisiana residents, a way of turning leftover rice into a tasty breakfast or snack. Calas are made by mixing flour, cooked rice, sugar, yeast and eggs into a batter that is best left to stand overnight to develop complexity. Here's a bit of history according to "The Dictionary of American Food & Drink," the word “Calas” was first printed in 1880, and comes from one or more African languages, such as the Nupe word kárá, or "fried cake. Calas came to New Orleans with the slaves from Ghana, where they grow rice and were one of the many foods that both slaves and free women of color sold in the streets of New Orleans. Prior to being being purchased there was the Code Noir in which there were two important rules. First all slaves had to have Sundays off as a result women would spend the day making and selling calas. Second if slaves approached their owners and demanded to pay for their freedom, the owner had to accept. It was often with calas money that many slaves freed themselves.

Some slaves had to share the money they earned with their masters, but there is more than one instance of slaves saving enough money to not only buy their own freedom, but that of their children as well. Free women used the money they earned to support themselves and their families. “The Cala woman was a daily figure on the streets she went her rounds in quaint bandana tignon, guinea blue dress and white apron, and carried on her head a covered bowl, in which were the dainty and hot Calas  The cries of ‘Belle Cala Tout Chaud!’ (Beautiful Cala, All Hot!) in the 1700s, calas vendors would stand outside St. Louis cathedral, waiting for church to let out. Calas referred to as Creole rice fritters or rice doughnuts have been replaced by the modern day Beignets in most areas of New Orleans however calas can still be made to order in some restaurants and are mentioned in in most Creole cuisine cookbooks. They are delicious for either breakfast or teatime if made with salt and pepper instead of sugar they go well with bacon and eggs. Calas are perfect served as a dessert or snack with coffee.

Calas (sweet)
(Serves 4 to 6)
    2 cups cooked rice, cooled
    3 eggs, beaten
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 to 1 cup flour, just to make a good batter
    oil for deep frying
    confectioners' sugar
  In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and baking powder. (for best results, begin prepare the night before if making savory omit sugar & substitute spices preferred) If doing overnight proofing add the eggs, salt, vanilla, nutmeg and flour the next morning Adding just enough flour to hold batter together. (it should drop from a spoon and stay together)
  Heat oil about 365 degrees drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls into the hot oil. Fry in small batches roll over until golden brown and crisp (about 6 - 8 minutes) Drain on paper towels and generously sprinkle with confectioners' sugar while still hot.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Creole Corn Casserole

This was one of my favorites as a child. I thought I was so grown up when I was allowed to fix the first time. Later in life when I came across a cookbook called First You Make a Roux I smiled as those where the exact words she'd said in teaching me.  (Cook Time: 30 minutes)

    3 tablespoons bacon drippings or butter
One of my Favorites.
    1/3 cup flour    1 small onion (chopped)
    1 rib celery (finely chopped)
    1 small green pepper (chopped)
    1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes, drained
    1 can (about 12 ounces) shoe peg corn or
    Niblets (drained)
    4 ounces grated cheese (your flavor choice)
    salt and pepper
Heat drippings. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until light brown. (a roux) Add (the trinity ) celery, onion, pepper, plus tomatoes and corn.   Mix well and remove from heat. Make layers in 2 quart casserole, alternating vegetables and grated cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake 30 minutes (covered) in 350 degrees oven. (Serves 8)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Country Fried Corn

This looks to to be Bread & Butter Corn
Fried corn is a decided favorite of the South! Everyone's ancestor has a recipe. What is considered  creamed corn (elsewhere) is what I call country fried corn with a bit of difference and for me the difference is sugar. I feel that the first corn of any crop there is sweet enough by itself there no need for sugar. (a died in the wool Southerner prefers Silver Queen )

Here we go with the recipe: What you do is cut about 1/2 to 3/4' the kernel off the cob then  milk it. One does this by taking the back of whatever knife you have use to cut the kernels going downward against the cob to milk it.  This is done by placing the the back of the knife at a 45% angle against the cob that way you remove the milk (liquid) & pulp. Then you proceed to cook low and slow. Yum (actually one brings it up to heat fast then low and slow)

Cook Time: 30 min or more (if doubling amount double the time)
Cutting prior to milking the cob

    5-6 ears corn (10-16 ears)
    2 tablespoons fresh bacon drippings
    (fat from 4 slices bacon if doubling)
   1/2 teaspoon salt (optional or to taste)
    2 teaspoons sugar (optional don't double)
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

As I said slice the corn from the cob scraping downward to get any remaining corn left near the cob. Heat a heavy skillet (I use cast iron) and add the bacon fat. After wards bring up the heat slowly and cook stirring often. (to keep from sticking) Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and sugar.
 (serve hot serves 4 to 5)

Good ole cast iron pan.

If you don't have fresh corn I am told one can use corn if ya gotta. I'd go for the frozen niblits over canned and that's when I would definitely add the sugar.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hush Puppies

There are many recipes some call for more/less milk, butter or sweet (milk), sugar, none onions,none.  How did hush puppies get their name? There are many legends that start with different sources telling how  an African  cook, southern hunters, trappers, fishermen or  civil war soldiers all winding up with similar ending. That of frying golden nuggets of scraps to toss to still/quite the barking/begging dogs. This with the command “Hush, puppy.” each for different reasons. Here are three:

 Hush Puppies ( 4 servings)
With green onions
1/2 cup reserved flour from fish fry or
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal      
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt                                         
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cups vegetable oil

Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; make a well in center of mixture.  Stir together egg and buttermilk; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Stir in onion.  Pour oil into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, and heat to 375°. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into oil,     and fry in batches 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels, and serve immediately.

Hush Puppies (4-6 Servings)                       
Would you hush for one of these?

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour                                   
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 small onion (finely chopped)
Oil for deep-fat frying

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk the egg, milk and onion; add to dry ingredients just until combined. In a deep-fat fryer or electric skillet, heat oil to 365°. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls into oil. Fry 2 to 2-1/2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.
 Original recipe (24 Servings)                     
Don't ya want some?
         2 eggs, beaten
         1/2 cup white sugar                        
         1 large onion (diced)
         1 jalapeno (minced)
         1 cup self-rising flour
         1 cup self-rising cornmeal
         1 quart oil for frying

In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, and onion.        Blend in flour and cornmeal.  Heat 2 inches of oil to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls in hot oil, and fry until golden brown. Cook in small batches to maintain oil temperature. Drain briefly on paper towels. Serve hot.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Banana Corn Fritters

Banana Corn Fritters Recipe adapted from Eating Well.  Cornmeal is a whole grain, made primarily from cornmeal are considered grain foods, to reap as many of the benefits from cornmeal cornmeal, make sure the cornmeal you use is whole and not degermed. Degermed cornmeal loses important nutrients once it is milled, because milling takes away nutritious parts of the grain. Cornmeal is a good source of niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamins B-6, E and K. It contains 18 amino acids and valuable minerals. This is also better for you as it is "oven-fried" as opposed to deep fried.

Banana Corn Fritters are savory, smoky and slightly sweet. These are great with roast pork loin, a hearty bowl of black bean soup or barbecued chicken legs and coleslaw; dotted with creme fraiche, they make an exotic appetizer.

Recipe makes: 5 servings, 2 cakes each
Banana Corn Fritters
Prep Time: 10 minutes, Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes    

    1 1/4 cups roughly mashed bananas, (about 3 medium)
    1 large egg
    2 tablespoons milk, or buttermilk
    2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

    3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile, (see Ingredient note) or cayenne pepper

 Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
 Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and chipotle (or cayenne) in a medium bowl. Mix banana, egg and milk (or buttermilk) in another medium bowl. Add the cornmeal mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just incorporated.
 Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; using 2 tablespoons of batter for each, space 5 fritters evenly in the pan. Cook until golden brown, 30 seconds to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Cook a second batch with the remaining oil and batter, adjusting heat to prevent burning.
 Transfer the fritters to the oven and bake until puffed and firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes.

Tips: Make Ahead Tip: Reheat at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Note: Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeno peppers, often used to add heat and a smoky flavor to foods. Ground chipotle can be found in the specialty-spice section of most supermarkets.

regular banana fritter

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blackened Salmon Po' Boy

Get your mouth around this Po'Boy
Here's another lighter side sandwich

Looking good

mash 'em up

So pretty, silky & smooth

Catfish "Amandine"

Since it's now finally spring lets try some of the favs on the lighter side.This recipe I got from Eating Well. A healthier extra-virgin olive oil is added with tad bit of butter for flavor instead of the  usual amount that is normally used in the making the classic almondine sauce. The result is a delicately flavored filet with only a third of the calories, fat, etc of the classic version.of pan-fried catfish fillets.   (makes 4 servings)

    1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    1 tablespoon butter
    1/4 cup sliced almonds 
    3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    1/2 cup low-fat milk
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 pound catfish, cut into 4  
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

    Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add almonds and garlic and cook until both are just beginning to brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
    Combine milk and egg in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, combine flour, salt and cayenne. Dip fish in the milk mixture, then in the flour mixture; shake off any excess flour. (Discard any leftover mixtures.)
    Heat the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add fish and cook until lightly browned and opaque in the center, 4 to 6 minutes per side.
  *  Return the almond-garlic sauce to the stove over medium heat. Add lemon juice and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the fish and sprinkle with parsley.
and along
  * you might choose to add a pinch or more cayenne pepper with the lemon juice in the final step as well also a 1/2 tsp of Thyme that would bump up the flavor.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Risotto

Remember back at the beginning I shared with y'all the joke Justin Wilson told about what is a cajun? Well this is an example since rice is used instead of oatmeal. You need to use arborio rice for the proper consistency, of course there should be andouille sausage as aren't many of us vegetarians.                               Prep time 15 min / Cook time 2 hours  (Total time 2 hours 15 min, Serves: 6)
Apple for the teach?
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
    4 medium Granny Smith apples (diced)
    1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ground allspice
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 1/2 cups arborio rice

Dark Brown, Light Brown & Refined Sugar

    1/2 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
    or crystallized sugar cane juice
    4 cups apple juice, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    Sliced Almonds (optional)
    Dried Crasins (optional)
    Milk (optional)
The Finished Product
Star with coating your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat, add apples, cinnamon, allspice, salt and cook (stir 3-5 min) or til apples begin to release their juices  Transfering to slow cooker add in rice stirring to coat. Sprinkle with brown sugar; add apple juice and vanilla.
 Cook on high 1 1/2-2 hours or until all liquid is absorbed. Cook on high 1 1/2-2 hours or until all liquid is absorbed.

Ladle risotto into bowls and serve hot.
Top with almonds and dried Crasins and drizzle with milk (if desired)
•3 Tbsp butter, cold
 •4 medium apples, peeled, cored, diced
 •1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
 •1/4 tsp allspice, ground
 •1/4 tsp salt
 •1 1/2 cups aborio rice
 •1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed 
                                                                    or crystallized cane juice                                                           

 •4 cups apple juice
 •1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional toppings
 •dried cranberries
 •toasted coconut
 •sliced almonds
 1.Spray crock pot with cooking spray.
 2.Melt butter in large skillet over med-high heat. Add apples, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until apples begin to release juices. Transfer to crock-pot.
 3.Add rice and stir to coat. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over top of rice. Add apple juice and vanilla.

Sweet and Savory Breakfast Bread Pudding

This is a yummy treat to have cook overnight for breakfast. The kitchen smells so good in the morning. It is a treat worth waking up to!                                                                                                                            
Prep time: 10 min / Cook time: 6 hours    (Total time:  6 hours 10 min)      Serves: 4-6
 •4½ Cups cubed Bread (stale Brioche or French)
 •3 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
      (I like Grannie Smith's)
 •1 tsp. ground cinnamon
 •½ tsp. ground allspice
 •¼ Cup firmly packed light brown sugar or
      (crystallized cane sugar)
 •¼ tsp. salt
 •2 Cup milk or soy milk                                                                   
 •¼ Cup maple syrup
 •12 oz. cooked Andouile sausage

These next 2 ingredients  that are optional make
 it more like bread pudding or Bananas Foster                                                                           
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional) 
  • One mashed or sliced banana (optional)

1.Lightly grease the inside of a 4-quart slow cooker. Press half of the bread cubes into the bottom of the cooker.
 2.In a large mixing bowl, combine the apples, cinnamon, allspice, brown sugar and salt. Add the milk and maple syrup and mix well.
 3.Pour half of the apple mixture over the bread in the slow cooker. Add in the raisins and banana at this time if using Gently press down on the apples to ensure the liquid is absorbed by the bread.
 4.Spread half of the soy sausage over the apples, followed by the remaining bread.

 5.Top the bread with the remaining sausage, followed by the     remaining apple mixture. Press on the apple to ensure the liquid is absorbed.
6.Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Spicy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Another veggie I like is cabbage. I love that whole cruciferous tribe;  cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, collard greens and the like. Stuffed cabbage rolls are among my favorites. Here we go withe recipe:
Sauce Ingredients:                   

8 large cabbage leaves2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz)            
1/4 brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tb Worechestershire sauce
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tsp chili powder
Steam cabbage leave til workable. Mix the rest of ingredients let stand.

                                                                               Stuffing ingredients:                                                                                       4 slices bacon
                                                                                   4 Tb onion (chopped) 
   4 Tb celery (chopped)
   4 Tb parsley (chopped)
   1 clove garlic (minced)
   1 lb ground meat of choice
   1 1/2  cup cooked rice
   1/3 cup evaporated milk
   a pinch of thyme
   2 tsp Worechestershire sauce
  1 tsp salt (or to taste)
                                                                                  1 egg beaten
                                                                                  1/4 cup parmessan cheese
                                                                                   (I prefer pecorino romano)

Fry bacon til crisp drain, crumble, set aside. (you want/need  2-3 Tb drippings to saute veggies) saute til wilted (garlic last in) put in ground meat cook til begins looses red color. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well if too much liquid in mixture allow to simmer til it evaporates. (few min) Divide stuffing between leaves fold leaf bottom up, sides/ends over roll to complete the package. Secure with toothpicks if need be, pour sauce (1 cup) into greased shallow baking dish (if you had excess drippings this is where you could use that) place rolls in sauce cover with  remaining sauce.  Bake in center of 350 degree oven (50 min) If rolls begin to brown too soon cover with foil. Spoon a little sauce over while baking. Sprinkle cheese twice using whichever fraction of the 1/4 cup of cheese you wish.Once before baking and a bit before presentation.

before sauce/ before baking

Cauliflower Supreme (Broccoli)

I'm a self-proclaimed Veggie freak so this recipe I came across I modified to fit my utmost favorite vegetable Cauliflower!  One of the first things I was taught to make was cauliflower with sharp cheddar cheese sauce.  This original recipe called for broccoli, however my thinking is that most any fresh/frozen non high water content veggie can be substituted.  I took the recipe that must have been complied for a quick side dish and made it my own as we are told to do with cooking most recipes.  I will give both the original then how I modified it.
Broccoli Supreme
Original ingredients and directions:
2 packages frozen chopped broccoli (10oz)
1 can cream of Mushroom soup                         
1 small can chopped chili peppers (drained)
1 envelope cheese sauce mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Cook broccoli til tender, drain thoroughly. Combine with al but the shredded cheese. Top w/cheese with held. Bake  til bubbly (30 min)

  My variation ingredients and directions:
Cauliflower Supreme

Cauliflower (medium head)
 2 Tb butter
 2 Tb flour
 1 cup of milk
 1 medium Poblano (minced)       
1 bag shredded Sharp cheddar 
     (2 cups)                      

1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack (with jalepeno)

Take head and  break into florets, steam set aside in casserole dish. Begin Bechemel sauce by melting butter in pan when melted add flour bit by bit til incorporated. (cook for 1 min to cook out flour taste) Then add milk slowly stirring constantly. Sauce will appear to seize when first milk is put in but will loosen up as more milk is added. (continue slowly) I preheat my milk in the microwave for more fluidity in combining  the three ingredients.   Once combined, I add all the cheeses (reserving some to top), when smooth in corporate the peppers.  Turn in casserole dish, again, bake til bubbly (30 min)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Natchitoches Meat Pie

Natchitoches (Central Louisiana) is the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase and these pies predate the Civil War. The traditional recipe is filled with ground beef, ground pork, onion, and special seasonings sealed in a crescent shaped crust, it is either baked or deep fried. When fried it's fried in peanut oil because of it's high smoking point. The pie has been handed down and has been evolving for over 300 years. The pie originally had a savory meat filling (normally ground pork or pork sausage) in a crust (crescent-shaped) flaky wheat pastry turnover. Wheat was difficult to grow in the wet warm climate; corn was what was grown locally making it the staple for the Spanish and Native Americans. Wheat would have been imported by yearly supply-convoys through Texas or from the French port (Natchitoches) on the Red River. That made wheat flour so expensive it was reserved for only people in high in status or for what is known as High Holidays with in the Roman Catholic Church. These festivals gave the opportunity for older women to pass on the meat pie legacy.                                                
Speaking of evolving, the pies now, at times, have ground beef blended for additional flavor. The pies sometimes are made with Crayfish as well. ( Ya know like the song ...crayfish pies and filé gumbo)  A roux (equal parts flour and fat) is made to bind the browned meat and vegetable mixture together making the filling. (comprising of onions, bell pepper and garlic, the filing should be made the day before to allow the flavors of the ingredients to marry) Everything filling, dough, tools should be chilled before assembly. (otherwise the dough may fall apart) As  per usual Louisiana, throws festivals for everything! Party hearty! The annual Natchitoches  Meat Pie Festival (held in September) celebrates the meat pie with live music, pie making demonstrations, a pie cook-off and more. In the first part of the 20th century, meat pies were sold from home kitchens or from carts by street vendors but by 1967, Natchitoches meat pies were produced in commercial kitchens.

    2 Tb vegetable oil
    1/2 lb ground beef (not lean)
     1 1/2 lb ground pork   
    1 Tb kosher salt
    1 tsp paprika                     
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
    4 plum tomatoes (diced)
    1 sm. yellow onion (finely chopped)
    1 green bell pepper (finely chopped)
    1 medium jalapeño pepper (finely chopped-remove seeds - less heat )
    4 bay leaves
    1 tsp dried thyme
    1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
meat pie
    2 Tb all-purpose flour
    2 Tb water
    1 bunch scallions (green and white parts thinly
        sliced about  1/2 cup)
    5 dashes Louisiana hot sauce
    Vegetable oil, for frying(if needed)
4 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted shortening
2 tsp baking powder
   Sift flour, baking powder add in eggs and milk (enough to form stiff dough)

Reminder chill all individual before putting together and frying! 

 Instructions for Filling:
    Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat, salt, paprika, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and black and white peppers cook 5 to 8 min  until the meat is lightly browned.
    Add the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, bay leaves, dried thyme, and Worcestershire sauce cook (stirring additional 5-10 min til most of the juices have evaporated and the vegetables are soft.
    Dust the flour over the meat and add the water, stirring to combine (this is the roux that helps in binding the mixture when it’s in the dough, the fat comes from the non-lean beef). Remove the bay leaves, stir in the scallions and hot sauce and transfer the mixture to a baking pan to cool for 20 minutes then place in the refrigerator until completely cooled (15 minutes)
    Heat the oven to 200°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and a dusting of flour. Divide the dough into four even sections to make it easier to work with. Pace the sections not working with back in the refrigerator. (to stay cool) Prepare counter with a bit of flour and roll out the first section until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch biscuit cutter (or a similar-size bowl/jar lid), cut the dough into rounds. (saving the scraps; they can be re-rolled if needed)
    Lightly brush the outer edges of each circle with beaten egg. Place 2 1/2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each round. Fold the circle over the filling to make a half circle. Using the back of a fork, press around the round side of the circle to seal the pie. Transfer the pies to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining dough sections. When you fill a baking sheet, place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so the dough stays firm. (You can also freeze the uncooked pies on the baking sheet first. When they are fully frozen, transfer them to a plastic freezer bag.
Very similar to empanadas
     To fry the pies, heat 2 1/2 inches of oil in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven until the oil reaches 350°F (on a deep-frying/candy thermometer) Fry the chilled pies in batches of four or five at a time, (about 8 minutes, until golden frozen pies will need about 12-14 minutes.) Transfer the cooked pies to a baking sheet lined with paper towels or newspaper, and keep warm in the oven while you fry the remaining pies.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Brioche (very new school)

Ingredients: Yield: 3 loaves
The Sponge:
1/3 cup warm whole milk                                      
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 large egg                                             
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
The Dough:
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temp
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (approx)
6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

Put the milk, yeast, egg and 1 cup of the flour in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Mix the ingredients together with a rubber spatula, mixing just until everything is blended. Sprinkle over the remaining cup of flour to cover the sponge. Set the sponge aside to rest uncovered for 30-40 minutes. After this resting time, the flour coating will crack, your indication that everything is moving along properly. Add the sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of the flour to the sponge. Set in the mixer, attach the dough hook, and mix on low speed for a minute or two, just until the ingredients look as if they are about to come together. Still mixing, sprinkle in 1/2 cup more flour. When the flour is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 15 minutes, stopping to scrape down the hook and bowl as needed. During this mixing period, the dough should come together, crawling up the hook and start slapping the sides of the bowl. In order to incorporate the butter into the dough, it must be softened it should be the same consistency as the dough. Softening by either bashing it into submission with a rolling pin or a kinder and gentler handling by using a dough scraper to smear it bit at a time across a smooth work surface. (when ready, the butter will be smooth, soft, and still cool not warm, oily or greasy) With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time. (at this point may think you've made a huge mistake, because the dough you've worked so hard to make smooth may fall apart - don't worry or panic - keep on keeping on) When all of the butter has been added, raise the mixer speed to medium-high for a minute, then reduce the speed to medium and beat the dough for about 5 minutes, or until you once again hear the dough slapping against the sides of the bowl. Clean the sides of the bowl frequently while you work (if it looks as though the dough is not coming together after 2-3 minutes, add a bit more flour, no more than 1 tablespoon) When you're through, the dough should feel somewhat cool. (It will be soft and sill sticky and may cling slightly to the sides and bottom of the bowl)
First Rise: Transfer the dough to a very large buttered bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk (2- 2 1/2 hours)
Second Rise and Chill: Deflate the dough by placing your fingers under it, lifting a section of dough, and then letting it fall back into the bowl.
Work your way around the  dough, lifting and releasing.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight, during which time it will continue to rise and may double in size.
After chilling, the dough is ready to use in any Brioche recipe
Storing: If you are not going to use or bake the dough after it's second rise, deflate it, wrap it airtight, and store it in the freezer.
The dough can remain frozen for up to a month. Thaw the dough, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight and use it directly from the refrigerator.
To bake in loaves: Divide the dough into thirds.
Divide each section into 6 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball on a lightly floured work-surface. Place the balls side-by-side in a greased loaf pan so that you have 3 short rows, each with two balls of dough. Do the same with the other two pieces of brioche dough. Cover the pans with plastic and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly brush each loaf with egg wash, taking care not to let the glaze dribble into the pan (it will impair the dough's rise in the oven). Use the ends of a pair of very sharp scissors to snip a cross in each ball of dough.
Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 200°F. Cool to room temperature on a rack.
Note: You could also use this dough to make the very finest sticky-buns you've ever eaten in your entire life, or you can press it out in a deep dish pizza pan, cover it with cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar, the put fruit slices or berries over it for a very upscale"fruit pizza".

Brioche (old school)

This is from mi Grand Mere's cook book. (remember older than I)
mini fluted
8 cups sifted flour       
1/2 oz. yeast
1/3 cup milk (or water)
1 cup sugar
1/2 Tb salt
1 lb best butter
6-8 eggs
To  make "Brioches" take 4 cups of flour and put in a wooden bread trough. Make a hole in center put in 1/4 oz. (half) yeast (dissolved in warm milk/water, milk makes a richer and more delicate dough). If using milk it should be scalded. (heated to boiling point then allowed to cool to room temp.) Knead/mix the flour with one hand while adding the milk/water with the other. (consistency should be neither too stiff nor soft) When smooth place in owl and set aside in a warm place to rise covered with a cloth. Let the dough rise 5-6 hours (roughly double in size) add reserved flour in which the salt has been sifted. Add the 6 eggs (beaten lightly) with sugar and soften butter. Softening by either bashing the butter into submission with a rolling pin or be kinder and gentler by using a dough scraper to smear it bit at a time across a smooth work surface. (when ready, the butter will be smooth, soft, and still cool not warm) kneading with your hands (adding more eggs if needed for the right consistency) Knead the dough by turning it over onto itself three times. Set aside again, about an hour (covered with cloth) at this time begin to work it lightly and gently with your hands breaking off bits of dough and forming them into egg sized pieces. Pat gently, flatten slightly, take 1/2 the size do the same pace it atop. These can be done individually in prepared pans (cupcake or fluted mini) or together in a larger pan (buttered parchment paper on bottom) Cover and let rise at least another hour or longer. When risen bake at 350-375degrees (depending upon size) If you want the glossy look traditionally seen brush with beaten egg.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Haitian Sweet potato Bread

Sweet potato
This is a more current recipe from the mélange of folk that brought their flavors with them from the Caribbean and elsewhere.  In Louisiana we refer to them as Yams many people use these terms interchangeably both in conversation and in cooking, but they are really two different vegetables.
Sweet Potatoes are popular in the American South, these yellow or orange tubers are elongated with ends that taper to a point and are of two dominant types and are part of the Morning Glory family .  The Yam is the common name a plant species that are edible starchy tubers that came to the Americas from Africa.  It is the tuber of a tropical vine and is not even distantly related to the sweet potato.  Generally sweeter than than the sweet potato, this tuber can grow over seven feet in length. The true yam is a versatile vegetable. It can be barbecued; roasted; fried; grilled; boiled; baked; smoked and when grated it is processed into a dessert recipe.  In this recipe the potatoes are boiled.  Here we go.

5 Tb butter (softened)
2 lbs sweet potatoes (boiled) or  2 cans (16 oz) drained
1 large ripe banana
1 cup sugar3 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup milk1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup dark corn syrup

Peel potatoes while still warm, mash with banana, add 4 tsp butter, eggs and mix well.Add the remaining ingredients mix til thoroughly blended.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees pour batter into 9x5x3 pans that have been prepared with the remaining butter. Bake for an hour and a half allow to cool 5 min. before turning onto wire rack.  Bread has the texture similar to pudding and is normally served with whipped cream for dessert.