Bonjour my fellow home chefs!
Sorry for taking so long with the newsletter... I
just watch too much news on TV I guess. I've tried to make up
for lost time here. Read and enjoy, laugh and learn.
My son-in-law Nick and our daughter came over for New Years' Eve
and he was in the mood to cook a gumbo. Nick's gumbo's are normally
better than mine so naturally I wasn't putting up a fuss over his
gumbo mood. We naturally talk food whenever we're together and gumbo
was naturally the subject mater. I told him that I often put a few
handfuls of cut okra right before the pot is done. He had the idea
to throw some oysters in the chicken/sausage/taso gumbo. 1-1/2 dozen
oysters with oyster liquor and okra went into the pot. Man-o-man,
what a combination! That was fun!!!!
Walkin' in the Woods with my Parin'.
We're probably related but naturally won't claim
each other! Ron "Black" Guidry is an old friend of
mine through music in Houma, La.. Black does the music thing and
also does a swamp tour... you can check that out here http://www.cajunman.com/...
does a song written by Buddy Dennis of Houma and put the Cajun to it in
great fashion. The song is built upon "Walking in a winter
Wonderland", but you have to listen closely. I hope you enjoy
the conversion and the reality of Cajun life not too many years
back. You'll have to purchase it... sorry, I can't give you the song for
Here's the first of the lyrics...remember... Winter
wonderland...use your imagination.
Hey my friend, shut-up and listen
Look in the sky, the sun is missing
The moon is just right, to bull-eye tonight
So let's go walkin' in the woods wit' my parin'
It gets much better!!! For those who don't know, a
"parin" (pah-ran) "n" is usually silent... is a Childs'
Support my friend "Black" by purchasing the CD. Merci!
We're having a "decent" season but prices
are high... super high! Live at this time is around $2.50 a lb.
We've had a lack of rain and of course March is the beginning of the
real crawfish season. I'm hoping it gets better for the farmers and
How can I not address this topic given the current state of our
economic situation. For you newcomers I am all about cooking the
home meal and stretching whatever is possible; it's inherently the
"old Cajun way". There are two fundamentals in the quest
for food especially with kids; filling and nutritious. You have to
"equalize" to get the long term benefit. Here's what I
mean. In easy terms you can eat bad one day and make up for it the
next. You can only do what you can do monetarily... but here it is
in simple terms... Eat hot dogs one night then serve a little
hamburger or chicken with corn or beans the next. Always include the fiber
(simple salad is great). If
you can include some fruit, do it by all means. We've lived through
times of little money... you do what you have to do. Being creative
is tough but it takes thinking....good things spread out.
talk about vitamins... your first thought, I can't afford that.
Let's look at it on a logical and monetary basis. First of all the
vitamin supplement opponents say that there is no proof of an
"advantage" to taking a vitamin; believe what you may. Do
you have to take a vitamin daily? In my opinion that's only an
opinion or option... two or three times a week is good in my opinion
"something is better than nothing". So lets look at the
cost of vitamins on the basis I presented. You'll pay for a bottle
of 100 tablets for Centrum Kids Complete around $10.00 (I'm not
supporting Centrum, but I take the "Silver" 2-3 times a
week). Do the
math... that's 10 cents a piece for the vitamin. Let's say you give
your kids one vitamin three times a week or about one every other day.
That comes out to 30 cents per week or $1.20 a month per child.
Looks cheap now doesn't it?
Are you eating out! Stop or limit that
now. You are paying rib eye prices per pound for something you can
fix at home for chicken prices. I know some of you work, you're
tired and it's an
easy filler. Is it easy to sit and pay your bills and you have
to choose not to pay something. Not easy huh? Add up all the
eat-outs for the month; I call it mass math. Take $5.00 every other
day to eat out per person and multiply it by 15 (5 meals X 15
days)...that's $75 a month or $900 a year per person; now take that
and multiply it for a four person family. (That's $300 a month and
$3,600 a year)... is $5.00 per meal per person cheap now...? ---
that's a car note. When it's all done
that day everybody is stuffed and happy, the bags go in the garbage, and
the next day presents the next meal challenge... with less money to
Here's the bottom line... you can plan and cook to stretch
your daily meals. You can blend yesterdays meals using elements of
the previous days' meals to make the next days' meal. Sauces,
gravies, etc with a starch and a veggie.... as Emeril says
"this is not rocket science"! If you have a
freezer you can enhance all of this (read
my freezer article). Cut the "eat out" by
half, or better yet, once every few weeks. You won't die if you don't eat out! And... take your
Mardi Gras Floats
are Mardi Gras floats called "floats"? The initial quest
was that they were designed to appear as though they floated above
the street. Just thought you might want to know that...! With all the technology today I still have yet to see an
automatic bead thrower!
Saving the Oil
No, this is not about
saving the car engine oil, it's about the precious cooking oil that we
use to fry foods with. Peanut oil is outrageous in price...
something like $13.00 a gallon and Canola is around $10.00. A barrel
(42 gallons) of oil is now around $45.00... heck, that's about a dollar a
gallon! Gasoline is even cheaper, but, don't try to fry your chicken
in gasoline... it might not be nice; colorful maybe, but not nice.
let's save a few dollars by reusing the frying oil. First of all
reusing cooking oil is somewhat dangerous in that food particles and
after a period of time could be subject to bacteria growth...oil is not indefinitely good!!! Another fact I read about
is that every time you use the same oil the smoke point decreases.
That means the oil will smoke and taste bad at lower temperatures. Read
Now let's figure you're
going to save some oil to be reused. Let's now look at filtering...
that's a key to the reduction of bacteria growth. How can we filter
it quickly and in a simple manner? Two funnels and coffee filters.
yourself two of the same sized funnels. Now cut one funnel in half
and leave the other just as is is. You can cut the funnel with a
hacksaw. Clean up the cut edge with sandpaper. The first
picture below is the top or "cut" funnel.
take a coffee filter and put it in the bottom of the uncut filter and put the other cut funnel on top of it.
Below is setting the filter in place in the uncut filter, then put
the cut funnel on top of it
is "the rig-up" with everything in place. I put a few clothes pins on
it to hold the funnels together since the top one will want to float a
going to take some time as you progress because the coffee filter will clog
up. Change the coffee filter when you think you should.
people don't filter their oil, I know that. I'm just not a big fan
of taking chances. One other point is flavor of the final product
and here's what I do. Save
seafood frying oil to be reused for seafood frying. The same holds
true for chicken. Oil holds flavor (except in certain cases for
the advertisements for the Debbie Meyer Green Bags. Now I haven't
tested every veggie but I can tell you that I see a difference. One
big difference is preserving parsley. I kept a bunch of parsley for
at least three weeks and the leaves stayed pretty (in a cooking
way). For those of you who have kept parsley in the normal fashion
you know good and well that three weeks with parsley in the fridge
is virtually impossible.
Now I'm going to throw some logic at
you... bear with me. A green bag is made of the same material inside
and out (I assume...there's the kicker). So, If you have a
semi-sealed vegetable drawer in your refrigerator, AND, you have
several green bags in it wouldn't the affect or preservation
properties of the green bag transfer to all vegetables or fruit? I'm
Now if you read the instructions on bag it tells you
that if moisture accumulates you should wipe it out, that's what is
says on the instructions on my "off-brand" box of green
bags. I don't fold or seal the green bags when I put something in
them. I leave it open so it can "breath", therefore I get
no moisture build up, and, they seem to do the same job.
the used bags out, turn them inside out and let them dry. Then they
go back in the box.
another breakfast filler and is not the original Beignet recipe by a
long shot. This is just a quick and easy substitute for the real
thing and the kids just love them... at least my kids did. It's more
taste than anything else.
what you need:
Biscuits (store bought in the can... the cheapest you can get)
Heat your oil up in a frying pan... around 325ºF;
not too hot. Open the can of biscuits and flatten them out twice
their diameter. Punch a hole in the middle (kind of looks like a
donut); this helps them fry throughout a little better. Fry
each one until lightly brown on each side. You can do two or three
at a time depending on the pan size. Flip twice... they're going to
cook fast and watch the oil heat. As soon as they come out of the oil sprinkle a little
C-Sugar on them. Once they've cooled a little sprinkle a little more
Serve with syrup and a breakfast drink.
Real Beignets have
more yeast in them hence are more "fluffy"...
This is one more quick and easy food, and, if you can
picture Melba toast in a "big form" this is what it is.
the oven on 325ºF. Take however many pieces of white bread that you
want and place them directly on the oven rack... no pan. Get some
tongs and flip them every five minutes or so... I can't give you a
time. Watch them and continue baking them until they are evenly
brown, dry and crunchy "sorta like Melba toast". This
shouldn't take more than about 15-20 minutes (I'm guessing; I didn't
time it). Kids love the crunch and you don't have to butter them but
you can. It's all about the "crunch".
I was wondering the other day (too much time to
think I guess). Why is aluminum foil shiny on one side and dull on
the other? I emailed The Reynolds Company and received the
following. Second paragraph was interesting... they make a foil that
has a non-stick coating! Maybe you knew that... but I didn't.
you for your inquiry regarding Reynolds Wrap® Aluminum Foil.
response to your question regarding the correct usage of aluminum
foil, it makes little difference which side of the foil you use --
both sides do the same fine job of cooking, freezing and storing
food. There is a slight difference in the reflectivity of the
two sides but it is so slight that laboratory instruments are
required to measure it.
When using Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Aluminum Foil, you should
place the food on the side with the matte or dull finish because
that is the side that has the non-stick coating.
You may be interested to know that the foil manufacturing process
creates the matte and shiny sides. In the final rolling step, two
layers of aluminum foil are passed through the rolling mill at the
same time. The side coming in contact with the mill's highly
polished steel rolls becomes shiny. The other side, not coming in
contact with the heavy rolls, comes out with a matte finish.
Please let us know if we can be of future assistance.
Reynolds - Consumer Response
You'll have to took up "reflectivity".
It's actually how much heat or light a material will reflect. Think
of a mirror and then downgrade from that.
The Gumbo's End
How many times we cook gumbo and there's a lot of
liquid and not much meat? Hey, freeze the liquid. When you want to
eat gumbo cook a little meat on the side, heat the liquid, throw it
together and it's a done deal. A perfect example of this is
chicken/sausage gumbo. Running home from work... need a meal, buy a
rotisserie chicken (already cooked), de-bone it and chunk it in the
liquid. Cook some rice and you're there. Now, in lieu of a potato
salad boil some eggs while the rice is cooking and throw them in the
gumbo (peeled of course). My eldest daughter Missy came up with the
above, so, I can't take credit for it.
That's it for now folks... be well and happy
cooking! I'll be back in the near future.
Click on the ads on the right of each page... you'll help finance
the newsletter and website... merci' beaucoup (lots of thanks).
Louisiana Cookin’ magazine
is available on newsstands
and by subscription.
Cooking Louisiana wishes the best to the men and women of the
military and to their families. We thank you for your service to the
people of the United States.
You can contribute
If you've go a subject you'd like me to research, or, you've done
a little fact finding yourself, don't hesitate to contact me... this
is about us, not me! Cooking is
fun, and, that's what we do here... have fun cooking!
Till next time... eat well...be well.
Be sure to visit the "What's New" page
to see all of the site's new recipes and additions.
As usual your privacy remains
secure and your identity will not be sold or distributed to anyone.
Please forward this newsletter to your cooking friends.
Signing up for the Cooking Louisiana
newsletter will keep you up to date on site changes, new recipes,
and cooking info in general. Click
Cooking Louisiana Newsletter is freely published every so often.
When you get one, you get one!