Cooking Louisiana - Newsletter - Dec. 2010 

Bonjour my fellow home chefs! Yes I'm still around... ha, just been busy. 

I hope you gardeners had a good spring crop. I planted late and it got hot early so I didn't do as well as I had wished. I did make a big batch of figs this year though, the best I've ever done. And the birds and bugs didn't really bother them. The fall Mustard Greens didn't do much either; not enough rain I guess.

I finally broke down and created a Facebook Fan Page.  I'm still learning how all of this Facebook stuff works so if I mess something up don't be surprised. 

Smoked Boudin

Do you like boudin? I do. Have you tried smoked boudin? If not, you're missing out on a special treat. Living in Lafayette, La. I'm lucky enough to drive to The Best Stop in Scott, La. to get some. But you are just as lucky because The Best Stop supermarket will ship smoked boudin to you! And not only do they have smoked boudin they carry a wide variety of products they make and prepare on site.

The is The Best Stop menu page. (Click Here).

Roxie's Bread Pudding

Just in time for the Holidays...This is the best thing since "French" bread... Click Here.

Boiled Seafood Omelets

Hey folks, you ever wonder what to do with that left over boiled shrimp, crabs or crawfish the next morning? Let me expand on this a little. If you boil seafood with a bunch of vegetables like mushrooms, potatoes, sausage, onions, garlic, etc. you've got all the ingredients to make a great breakfast. Now you're going to have to judge the amounts but here's what I did with six eggs. 

Black Iron frying pan required. If you don't have one you can use an oven-proof pan.

Put the oven on 375°F (you're going to bake this) - Put the oven proof pan on the stove-top with a little cooking oil. Turn up the heat until it just starts to smoke. Turn the fire off and let it cool. What this does is makes the pan "non-stick". While that is happening prepare the following.

One cup of seafood (chopped rough)

All below - chopped rough
1/2 onion
1/2 link sausage
1/2 cup of mushrooms
1 med-small potato
2 cloves garlic
Whatever else you have.... (I like fresh green onions in omelets). Cheese is good too.

Okay now all the seafood and veggies are cooked (with the exception of the green onions) so that part of it is taken out of the work. Scramble the eggs then put the chopped stuff in it. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the seasonings from the seafood and veggies migrate (marry) to the eggs. Don't add any seasoning if you boiled your seafood with adequate seasonings as I do in my boiling recipes.

Dump it all in the frying pan and put into the oven. Let it cook for about 10 minutes then lower the oven to 350ºF and cook an additional 8 minutes and check to be sure the eggs are done. Times will vary depending on the number of eggs and size of the pan. Take the pan out and let it cool for a bit then cover just to keep it warm. 

Smoked Ham Hocks

In South Louisiana salt meat (pickled pork) is widely used for bean and greens dishes. It does well and has its' place. Smoked ham hocks have there place too especially if a smoked flavor is what you like. One of my favorite uses is with purple hull peas but you can use it in almost any dish. If you're not quite sure how to cook with ham hocks here is an article I put together to help you out. Click here...

Boiled Shrimp

Here is how we typically boil shrimp in Louisiana. Besides good flavor we want the shrimp to be easy to peel and that's all about the salt. Boiled Shrimp Recipe here...

Talking Tomatoes

Sauce vs. Puree
Tomato sauce is typically tomato puree mixed with water and has seasonings added. If you read the back of your sauce cans you will see that. It's called a "sauce" because it's ready to use just as any sauce would be.  Puree for the most part is just cooked tomatoes with some preservatives and is thicker in consistency (has less water). So logically if you are not going to cook it down the sauce is what you want to use. If you are going to cook it down you're ahead of the game with puree because of the absence of moisture. Lastly it won't matter if the puree has any seasoning in it because you'll typically be adding your own stuff anyway.

Who has the best tomato?
I have not done my own personal testing on this but from what I've read San Marzano tomatoes grown in Italy are supposedly the best; there are those who question this opinion. Here in the U.S. we typically think Italian when it comes to fine tomato sauces. A few brands I've found on the web are Pastene, Cento, Delallo, and Sclafani. I have not found D.O.P. (Designation of Origin Protected ) San Marzano tomatoes in any form but whole peeled. If you go to some of the websites mentioned they explain the D.O.P. certification and how the tomatoes are handled. However, I've also read that The absence of the D.O.P designation does not mean the tomatoes aren't the same variety from the same area, they just don't have to meet the European Union specifications. The non D.O.P. Italian tomato products can be found in other forms such as crushed, sauce, puree and paste. 

One thing I did notice is that the D.O.P. tomatoes are picked ripe, not green as done in most processes. If you've had the pleasure of eating any tomato picked ripe off of the plant you know what I'm talking about; the taste is superior. If you make your own homemade salsa this would be the tomato of choice. I've done it twice and it's great.

A Tomato Processing plant in action...Click here.

Save those bones

Brown chicken stock is made by roasting chicken bones, skin, etc. in the oven first then transferring it to a stock pot. Add water and make your stock as you would a regular chicken stock.

Before you get started you naturally must have chicken bones and the like to make the stock. My point is this; now is the time to start preparing to make your stock by saving bones.

Next time you home bake or buy a rotisserie chicken throw the leftovers in a zipper bag and chunk it in the freezer. Every chicken will give you about two quarts of stock which should be enough for one family size gumbo (and adding more water so it won’t be too rich), and fits nicely into a one gallon zipper bag. In a typical large roasting pan you can fit at least two maybe three chicken bone batches, so, that’s three gumbos (family size). You can reduce it more by simmering which takes more time and time is the big factor in this process. Just so you know this method is an old French stock making method and this very same
method is used to make beef or veal stock.

Here's video to show you how it's done. Click Here... No, that's not me in the video!


That's it for now folks... be well and happy cooking! I'll be back in the near future.
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  Cajun Cooking




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