Showing posts with label Louisiana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Louisiana. Show all posts

Friday, February 19, 2016

Shrimp Creole #FishFridayFoodies

A traditional Cajun recipe, this shrimp Creole is thickened by a roux and flavored with the holy trinity, tomatoes and, of course, a kick of cayenne for spice. 

This month Fish Friday Foodies are sharing international seafood soups and stews at my instigation. I had big plans to make a dish called moqueca, just like my Brazilian friend Betty taught me many, many years ago when we were living in the little oilfield town of Macaé together. But, in the end, my Cajun roots won out, and as you can see, I made shrimp Creole. I’d like to tell you that this is exactly as my grandmothers would have made it, but the honest truth is that I don’t remember ever eating shrimp Creole at either of their houses. I did consult a handful of good Cajun cookbooks though so I’m feeling pretty good about the authenticity. I’ll no doubt hear from my mother if I’ve gone astray and I’ll get back to you with corrections if necessary. But authentic or not, I can promise you it is delicious.

Like all good Cajun recipes, this one starts with a roux and the holy trinity of vegetables, onion, bell pepper and celery. Add in some butter, tomatoes, a little cayenne and a whole mess of shrimp and you’ve got yourself a delicious shrimp stew. Make sure you check out the linky tool (all those photos at the bottom) to see the other great seafood soups and stews my fellow Fish Friday Foodies have made.

1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper or capsicum
1 stalk celery
1/4 cup or 25g flour
1/3 cup or 80ml canola oil
1/4 cup or 63g butter
1 can (14 oz or 400g with juice) whole peeled Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lb 13oz or 825g cleaned shrimp or prawns (Mine weighed 4.4 lbs or 1984g with heads/shells on)
Cayenne pepper

To serve:
Cooked rice
Green onions
Louisiana hot sauce

Discard any stems, peels or seeds, then chop your celery, onion and bell pepper up finely.

In a large heavy gauge pot or pan with a tight fitting lid combine the flour and oil to make a roux. Cook the roux over a low to medium heat, stirring often at the beginning and the constantly as it begins to brown.

Eventually you want to get to the color of old copper but be careful not to let it burn.

When the roux is done, add in the chopped vegetables and cook for several minutes, stirring well.

Add in the butter and cook for another few minutes, until the vegetables have completely softened.

Add in the can of tomatoes, half a can of water and the tomato paste.

Stir well and then turn the fire down to a simmer. Pop your lid on the pan and simmer for about half an hour, checking the liquid level and stirring occasionally. Add just a little water if it looks dry.

The tomatoes should break down as well, but feel free to mash them around with your stirring implement to encourage that.

Season the shrimp with a generous sprinkling of sea salt and add them to the pot, stirring well to coat them with the sauce.

Cook over a medium flame for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the sauce and add more salt if necessary and cayenne pepper to taste.

Serve with cooked rice and a good sprinkling of chopped green onions. Put the hot sauce on the table so everyone can help themselves.


Many thanks to our fearless leader, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, and without further ado, here are the rest of our seafood soups and stews of the world:

Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies? We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of every month. To join our group please email Wendy at

Visit our Facebook page and Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipe ideas.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Party Pecan Pie

A sticky, sweet pecan pie in a flakey crust, sized perfectly for parties. There can never be enough pecan pie when you are feeding a crowd. This guy is perfect for Mardi Gras parties, showers, tailgating and especially Thanksgiving or Christmas buffets.

Today we are celebrating Lauren from Sew You Think You Can Cook who is expecting her second baby very soon by sharing recipes that are great for family occasions. Lauren is a sweetheart so even though it meant double posting today, I had to join the party, ably organized by Tara of Tara’s Multicultural Table.

I’ve made this large pie several times over the last few years, mostly to take to Mardi Gras parties, but it works for any event and recently made the traveling team for my dad’s 80th birthday party as a road trip/hotel snack. Because that’s how we roll in my family.

Make sure you scroll on down to the bottom and see all the other great recipes we are sharing in Lauren's honor today!.

For the crust:
3 1/2 cups or 440g flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup or 300g shortening (I use Crisco.)
Cold water (Added by tablespoons just till the dough just holds together. Maybe 8-10, but use as little as you can get away with. This makes a flakier crust.)

For the filling
1 lb 5 oz or 600g pecan pieces
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups or 250g sugar
2 1/4 cups or 530ml Karo or other light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter in small pats

Cut the shortening into the flour and salt with a pastry blender until you have small crumbles.

Add the cold water a tablespoon or two at a time and mix in lightly with a fork after each addition. Stop when the dough will just hang together.

Flatten the dough ball and wrap tightly in cling film. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 300°F or 149°C and cut a piece of foil that will fit an approximately 12x16 in or 30x41cm pan, including covering up the sides.

Roll your dough out as thinly as possible on the foil, leaving just a little space around the edges. If it's sticky, lay a big piece of cling film on top or dust with some more flour.

Fit the dough-covered foil into the pan.  Roll the tops of the dough down and crimp to create a decorative edge.

Dock the sides and bottom of the crust with a fork.

In a large bowl, whisk your eggs and sugar together well until the sugar is almost all dissolved. Add the Karo and salt and whisk again until completely combined.

Add in the pecans and stir well.

Pour your filling in the pie crust and top with small pieces of butter.

Bake for about 50-60 minutes in your preheated oven, until the pie is just set.

Allow to cool completely before attempting to cut the pie into squares. Store in an airtight container with each layer separated by wax paper or baking parchment.


Here’s wishing much joy to Lauren and her expanding family! We hope you enjoy all of the special recipes we are sharing in your honor today, Lauren!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Gram’s Cajun Rice Dressing

Rice dressing with pork, beef, chicken livers and gizzards, seasoned with onion, bell pepper and garlic, just like my grandmother used to make it, hence the title, Gram's Cajun Rice Dressing! Some Cajun cookbooks call this “dirty rice” but in my family, we just call it dressing.

Many years ago my cousin, Simone, put together a family cookbook of favorites and kindly made copies to share with the rest of us. When the Sunday Supper theme for today was announced – National Grandparents Day – I knew that would be the best place to start looking for one of my grandmother’s recipe that I haven’t already shared. I’ve posted quite a few because those are ones I still cook all the time but I needed fresh inspiration. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t thought about my grandmother’s dressing in quite a while but as soon as I turned to that page, I knew I couldn’t make anything else.

Rice dressing was always a favorite on both of my grandmother’s dinner tables, making an appearance quite regularly not just for Thanksgiving or Christmas but often also on Sundays.

In the old days, they would grind the liver and gizzards at home in a meat grinder or asked the butcher to do it, but nowadays we use a food processor. In fact, to make it even easier, folks living in Louisiana can buy the “dressing mix” pre-made in every grocery store and my mom informs me that it’s even available in Houston.

If you aren’t a liver lover, you can leave it out, but I’d like to reassure you that with only four whole livers in all that rice and ground meat, the flavor is very, very subtle. I think they are essential to get the right flavor.

Gram’s Cajun Rice Dressing

This rice dressing makes me miss my grandmothers but it also brings back wonderful memories of them. This is the taste of home.

For the rice:
2 cups or 400g uncooked long-grained rice
1 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

For the roux:
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon or 42g flour
1/4 cup or 60ml canola or other light oil

For the dressing:
8 chicken gizzards (about 4 oz or 115g)
4 whole chicken livers (about 4 oz or 115g)
3/4 lb or 340g ground pork
1/2 lb or 227g ground beef
1 large onion
1 small green bell pepper (capsicum)
1 small bunch green onions (plus more to garnish, if desired)
2 cloves garlic
Salt, black pepper, cayenne to taste
8 cups cooked rice

Cook your rice with the salt by your favorite method. I’m not giving water amounts or cooking times since rice varies so widely. My grandmothers would have used a local Louisiana rice that was relatively short-grained but since I can’t get that in Dubai, I’ve used long-grained Indian Basmati. Long-grained rice fluffs up more so my two cups raw made eight cups of cooked rice.

While the rice is cooking, you can make the roux. Using the amount of flour and oil in the ingredients list, follow the instructions here: How to Make Roux. Set the roux pot aside to cool in a sink filled with a little cool water. You don't want it to continue to darken once it's done. Don't get any water in the pot though!

Put your gizzards in the food processor and chop them up finely. Add in the liver and give it another few pulses to chop the liver as well.

Add the oil to a large pot or pan and then tip in the ground pork, ground beef and your chopped liver and gizzards.

Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, breaking the meat into small pieces with your spoon as it cooks.

While the meat is cooking, finely chop your onion, bell pepper, green onions and garlic.

Once the meat is well browned and even a little crispy, add in the chopped vegetables. Stir well.

Cook the mixture over a medium heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and just about disappear.

Add in your roux and a cup or two of water and stir well. Season the mixture with salt, fresh ground black pepper and cayenne to taste. We like ours pretty spicy.

Lower the fire and simmer for a couple of hours, adding water occasionally when the mixture gets a little too dry. You want to end up with a thick meat-filled gravy.

Gently fluff your rice with a fork to separate the grains and then mix the rice in with the meat.

Garnish with some chopped green onions or parsley.


What special recipes have your grandparents handed down to you? Here’s a list of favorites from my Sunday Supper family.

Sweets that are the Sweetest
Savory Meals with Special Memories


Monday, June 30, 2014

Figgy Jam Muffins for #MuffinMonday

Fig jam adds a lovely sweetness to these fluffy muffins. Smear on a little more butter and call these breakfast or mid-morning snack. Perfect with a cup of hot coffee or tea.

This summer, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I didn’t go home home, to the little town where I was born. The town of homemade Tabasco sauce and fig preserves, of TG&Y and Easter baskets, of Christmas stockings and eggnog, of grape Crush and Maytag service calls, of vegetable gardens and crawfish, of freedom and backyard bonfires, of first cousins and bubblegum snow cones. Some of my happiest childhood memories hang like Spanish moss from ancient oaks in the New Iberia city park on the Bayou Teche. No matter where I live, I always go home home each summer to visit my grandparents, until finally, last summer, in my 51st year, I didn’t have one anymore.

A few years ago, I happened to be there over the Fourth of July holiday and it occurred to me that it had probably been years since my grandparents had seen fireworks. So we loaded up the car and found ourselves a spot on the bayou that would give us a good view of the city show. We took the seats out of the back of the minivan and set them up like comfy chairs for the old folks to sit on. And together, four generations ooohed and aaahed in the rockets’ red glare, some of us still children, all of us like kids again.

Part of the joy of writing this blog is the satisfaction that comes from searching my own memory and making connections with my heritage and those old folks I miss, even while adapting to what I have available. Figs weren’t wonderful this summer and the sad few I did buy and eat seemed weirdly dry and flavorless, so there was no point in making preserves. But I couldn’t let the season pass without something figgy to enjoy, even if it meant using store-bought jam. As the saying goes, needs must.


2 cups or 250g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup or 50g sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup or 75g butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup or 160g fig jam
1/2 cup or 120ml milk

To garnish: Several dried Black Mission figs, optional

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Butter your muffin pan or line it with paper liners.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, fig jam and milk

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just mixed through.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cups.

Top with a slice of soft dried Mission fig, if desired.

Bake in your preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until golden.

Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy! If you celebrate Fourth of July, who are you watching the fireworks with this year?

They smell soooo good! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Louisiana Roasted Barbecue Shrimp

In New Orleans, this dish is simply known as barbecued shrimp despite its method of cooking, which doesn’t get anywhere near hot coals or even an electric grill. I’ve added “Roasted” so you know that the oven is where the action takes place. 

I came to barbecued shrimp late in life. It wasn’t something either of my Cajun grandmothers made, at least, I don’t recall ever eating it at their houses. Fresh gulf shrimp in their hands became an étouffée or were boiled whole in spicy seasoned water along with baby new potatoes and corn on the cob. Even my mother, born and raised in New Iberia, Louisiana, is more likely to bread and deep-fry shrimp or, if company is coming, cook them in a cheesy rich Newburg sauce. Now we are going back a few years but it was my cousin, Misty, who first introduced us, me and the barbecued shrimp. It was love at first bite.

We were visiting Misty one summer at her lovely home in New Orleans and she baked the shrimp with a full cup of butter and a package of wonderful seasonings from the folks at Bolner’s Spices. You know I had to go buy a packet or two right after that. But, living as we do overseas, remembering to buy enough spice packets to keep us going from year to year often just didn't happen. It was time to figure out how to do it on my own, from ingredients I could get. This week’s Sunday Supper theme of Fat Sunday - sharing decadent or Mardi Gras inspired recipes – was just the motivation I needed. I am calling this homemade version of roasted barbecue shrimp a great success based on my husband’s comment after the meal, “We could have this again, and often.” Why, yes. Yes, we could!

Ingredients (to feed two greedy people on shrimp and bread or four normal people, if you include side dishes like potatoes and salad)
1 lb 10 oz or 750g fresh shrimp or prawns (without heads, shells still on)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1 lemon
1 small purple onion
1/2 cup or 115g unsalted butter
1/4 cup or 60ml Worcestershire sauce
To serve: Chopped green onions for garnish and French bread for sopping up the sauce. Sides of boiled baby new potatoes and salad – optional

Use a mortar and pestle to grind together into a thick paste the paprika, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, the leaves off of your sprigs of rosemary and thyme and the cloves of garlic.

Add in a couple of glugs (perhaps two tablespoons) of olive oil and stir until loosened.

Spoon the spice paste into a medium-sized bowl with your shrimp. Using a microplane or a fine grater, zest the yellow peel off of your lemon.

Give everything a thorough stir to make sure that the spices and zest are well mixed with the shrimp. Set aside.

Finely mince your purple onion. Put the minced onion and the butter into a large ovenproof pan on the stovetop. Gently melt the butter and sauté the onions over a medium heat.

When the onions are translucent, turn the fire off and remove the pan from the stove. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and allow the mixture to cool.

When the pan is cool enough not to cook your seasoned shrimp on contact, pour them in and mix thoroughly. Set aside to marinate further.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  When the oven is hot, give the shrimp another good stir and pop them into the oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until they have turned pink and are cooked through. Squeeze on some of the lemon juice from your zested lemon.

Sprinkle with a little chopped green onion, if desired. Serve barbecued shrimp with sliced French bread to dip in the pan juices because, honestly, that’s the best part! This is a meal you will eat with your hands. It's gonna get messy but it's gonna be good!


Whether you celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, the final day of indulgence before the start of Lent, or just love decadent dishes, desserts and cocktails, you are going to love our round up today, hosted by the talented Leslie of La Cocina de Leslie. I know I want to try everything on the list!

Cocktails & Other Beverages:
Main Dishes:
Side Dishes: