Cooking Louisiana - Newsletter - Sept. 2009

Bonjour my fellow home chefs! 

What ch'all up too? 

Home Cooking

There is a point that I didn't discuss in earlier newsletters about home cooking, and that's taking a dish already cooked and transforming it into another. Well, I sort of touched on it with the Killer Omelet deal but we need to expand on that don't you think? 

Let's look at some options using simple leftover cooked dishes. Freeze your leftovers but don't let what you have in the freezer just sit there... use it!

Meatloaf - chop it up and add cooked carrots or whatever...
Baked Ham - Chop the rest and use it in fresh salads. You can freeze ham for a while so save it.
Baked Turkey - oh cher' - turkey gumbo mai cher'. 

I'm going to interrupt myself, which I know is very rude but I can handle it, don't worry. My eldest daughter had a smoked turkey in her freezer she got from robbing a bank or something. Anyway, we planned a gumbo for a family gathering. We normally do the chicken and sausage thing (ho-hum). I plucked the meat off of the bird, roasted the bones, added some sausage and it was a "done deal"... For you Cahjas, I scooped a pot of gumbo on the side when it was done and added a quart of oysters and let that cook for another 10 minutes. Ah'm not gonna tell you how "bad" dat was! All I ate was two bowls... I was polite; you know....share wit you friends. Problem was, I watched that pot more than I watched the big one! 

BTW... the misspellings of words above are meant to phoneticize (phonetically manipulate)... the Cajun slang. If you don't understand, I understand. 

Baked chicken...(I'm thinking gumbo at first naturally), but, de-bone, add some onions, garlic, veggies, a little pasta, or, throw it in a fresh salad. 

Beef or Pork roast - Beef  or pork stew...po-boys

Boiled Seafood...I could go on for days about that one...

My point.. take a simple dish to create a more complex one; it stretches the food which directly equates to money honey! Cook more than you normally do and you've got a backup ingredient.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

At the same Turkey Gumbo gathering I used a recipe from my sis-in-law's mother for "from scratch" homemade ice cream. No current fancy machines, no box ingredients... the real deal! Old time honey... you got it? Rich as it could be and you can't eat too much it is so rich. 

Many of us folks remember the hand crank ice cream machines... It was fun because all the kids took a turn for a few minutes and the next one would come along to grab the crank. Remember the "real wood" ice cream buckets with the metal strapping? Today they're plastic for the most part but the the result is all pretty much the same. Here's the recipe... Click Here


Zatarain's' Jambalaya Throwdown

I emailed everyone about the Jambalaya contest that Zatarain's was putting on. I did a similar contest for you subscribers to receive a Jambalaya kit and all I got was one recipe. So now I have three kits and nowhere to ship them; ain't that a shame? You get a Chef's hat, an apron, a wooden spoon and two boxes of jambalaya mix. And they all have Zatarain's written on them. 

Here's the deal... I'll take the first 10 recipes sent by you (one per person), and, I'll draw names and the three names drawn will get the kits... all free, no shipping, no nothing. I don't get squat out of this. It's bad when you have to beg people to take something for free!

Bay Leaf Trees

Watch the local Feed & Seed stores that carry garden plants. I bought some bay leaf trees in September last year. You can get the small ones for like $6.00 around here. They're only six inches tall so what I do is re-pot them and take care of them. They just need water and can handle a freeze so it's no big deal. In about two years you have a tree big enough to pick leaves off of. A four foot tree will cost you around $40. Makes a good (and cheap) Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

Slicing Tomatoes

I know most of you slice tomatoes. My knives are pretty sharp but they're not at "chef's standards" for the most part. Anyway, to slice a tomato with ease use a serrated knife. I use a bread knife; works perfectly!

Purple Hull Pea update

I've gotten several emails from folks looking for those precious Purple Hull Peas. You can find them at some vegetable stands fresh frozen. They can sometimes be found at your grocer in the frozen food section. You can also get them in the can. I just cooked some Bush's the other day and they were great!

Bush's Best:  Purple Hull Peas, 15.8 ozYou can actually find the Bush's brand at Wal-Mart. If they don't have them look in other stores or find the Wal-Mart grocery manager and tell him/her to get them.   

Allen's also carries Purple hulls but it's a little difficult to find on their site. Here's a link where you can order them online. Click Here...

Purple Hull Peas and Ham Hocks recipe. Click here...



Cooking Knowledge?

Some of you would like to not only have some older recipes but read about the unique stories of food in South Louisiana. We'll I've got an old book for you. It's a Time-Life series book first published in 1971. The name of the book is American Cooking: Creole and Acadian and can be found on Amazon. Click here... 208 pages, packed full of beautiful photos, great recipes along with South Louisiana stories and facts to blend it all together. 

Now you may think "What could Time-Life get right about a book on South Louisiana food?". Well, I'll say this. Marcelle Bienvenu was the local consultant on the book. That fact alone lends credibility extraordinaire to the writing.

There is a Recipe Book that accompanies this fine book. I don't have that book and am looking for it.

Oyster Season Cometh

If you pass through Houma, La. you need to go by Wilson's Oysters, Inc...1981 S Van Ave. (985) 857-8855 Look it up on Google maps and call them to get your "better oysters". 

Here's why I'm writing about this. When I was a few days younger in Houma (12 to 15years old) than today my daddy and I would fish oysters. The fishing (picking) process involved getting into the "big" 16' hull with a 10' pirogue in it (not towing it) at 6:00 in the morning. More empty sacks than we needed and a few hammers and oyster knives came along not to mention the crackers and Vienna sausage. He knew where the good oyster beds were (mostly from our neighbor Mr. Price... they were his beds and gave us permission to pick (I assume). Fishing good oysters is best done at low tide... you see where the most population is; that is... they show themselves. I'm in the pirogue picking clusters and he's in the "big boat "culling" (knocking the trash shells and small oysters off)... we're getting the big stuff.

So, we would come back home (barely... because of the weight) and start shucking. It was nothing for us to shuck 8 to 10 sacks in a few hours. In the freezer they go...

Now that you know that story let's get back to Wilson's. You normally get Wilson's oysters here in Lafayette and they're small. Small oysters are good for eating raw and for jambalaya's (if that's what you like). If you go to Wilson's personally you can get "Select" which are a larger oyster. I like big oysters because I like the oyster flavor.

Recipes on your PDA

The recipes page on this site is formatted such that you just scroll down to see all the recipes without moving all around a screen. So, you have all the recipes at your fingertips, and in a simple form...

Fall Gardens

Look for the greens, watch for the root crops... fresh carrots, fresh beets, etc. There's nothing better than fresh.


That's it for now folks... be well and happy cooking! I'll be back in the near future.
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You can contribute

If you've got 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.

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