Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Creole Shrimp Jambalaya

   Because I grew up as a devout Catholic Cajun country boy, I often wondered about how not eating any meat on Friday was a 'sacrifice'. The reason I felt that way was because down here in South Louisiana we live in a bountiful water-filled area, so we'd have the most wonderful seafood dishes on Fridays. I wondered, "how in the world could that be a penance?" and actually felt kinda guilty looking forward to Friday night fish fries and such. Weren't we supposed to feel deprived? 
  Well, over the years I kinda let the tradition slide and only "sacrificed" by having seafood during Lent on Fridays, and here lately, I haven't even been following that, strictly.  Shame on me, I guess.
   Now, on the Fridays when I do think of it, it's a wonderful excuse to drag out the ol' black iron pot and cook up something delicious. This time it was a shrimp jambalaya like Mama usta make.
She'd start with some rough chopped onions and since it was Friday, she couldn't use bacon drippin's or lard, she'd use veggie oil and Cajun seasoning.  She'd dump that in a pot 
and stir it down 'til the onions softened up nicely.
Then she'd add some diced tomatoes.  Mama would add equal amounts of Rotel's Original diced tomatoes and a can of plain, un-spiced regular diced tomatoes, plua a can of drained
mushrooms.  Peggy and I like our food extra spicy, so we add more Rotel than regular tomatoes. You might want to add less or more; the fun is finding out how ya like it by cooking it yourself a few times.
Once it's all in the pot, you want to 'cook it down' by stirring and watchin' it like a hawk 'til you cook all the moisture out the pot and lightly browning the tomatoes a little.
When it's at that stage, add the seafood.  In this case we used a couple of pounds of Louisiana Gulf shrimp from a local store and some smoked garfish that our friend Sam gave us, for a nice smokey flavor, since no meat sausage was allowed on Friday.  The smoked fish was Mama's favorite trick to get that good smokey flavor in her gravies on Fridays.
Now, once the fish and shrimp were added to my pot,
I added enough water to make the jambalaya, some diced bell pepper and green onions from our garden, and brought that all up to a soft boil.  My 'secret' ingredients are a big squirt of ketchup and a couple spoonfuls of Steen's cane syrup.   The ketchup brings the color back to a flavorful, pretty orange color and the syrup cuts the sharp acid of the tomatoes. 
Once it was boiling good, I added what I thought was the right amount of uncooked rice and continued boiling and stirring it often for five minutes. After five minutes, I covered it tightly and parked it in a 250 degree oven for 45 minutes.  And DON'T ever lift the lid after that to see how it's doin'.
When it comes out of the oven it looks like this:
At that point I took my spoon and, lifting from the bottom, fluffed it up good.
Like when I was a kid, I still don't see how having this Creole Shrimp Jambalaya for a Friday night supper is any kind of penance, but it sure is a wonderful Cajun tradition that I enjoy making.
I really hope you enjoy trying your hand at making this amazing dish and drop us a note letting us know how yours turned out. If you have any questions, let us know, too. If you find yourself enjoying this when it's not during Lent Season or on Fridays, you'll have nothing to be ashamed of. 
Bon Appetit!! 

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

We Kinda/Sorta Forgot About This

We have been busy living our lives, playing, loving and having fun in South Louisiana. We have cooked and blogged a couple of things that we forgot to put here, because this is the place we meant to put ALL of our gluten free, spicy Cajun goodies. Here are a couple links of the things we forgot to share with you. Pull up a chair and enjoy these amazing Cajun dishes.

Just when you think this is good enough, here is something even better: Cajun Smothered Green Beans and Potatoes

Clicking on the Green Bean link, you will find the youtube link with our video on how to cook 'em. You can DO this!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gumbo Verde aka "Green Gumbo"

   Almost every week during winter, Peggy and I make a pot of gumbo.  It usually lasts us two or three days, sometimes having it for lunch and supper. On occasion we can a few quarts of it for later or to give away. In our neighborhood, friends are always bringing samples of their latest prized Cajun specialties, and we do the same. The other day, for example, our neighbor, Monica, brought us a sample of her delicious, creamy shrimp fettuccini, rich with Cajun spices that 'turned it up a notch' from what the "regular" world would expect. In turn, using the same bowl in which her sample arrived, we sent her back a nice portion of our latest gumbo. 
   This week's rendition of gumbo is an old poor folks version of gumbo that's traditionally made this time of year from whatever greens, bolting or otherwise that you may have growing around your garden. We have a winter mix of salad greens growing in one garden box along with some parsley, carrot and beets greens and "such".

Peggy picked a big bowl full of these greens.
Which we put soaking in water while thawing out a pound of our good buddy, Sam's homemade smoked sausage; kind of 'foodie' multi-tasking.
We threw a pack of (frozen)bacon in the pot to quickly thaw and cook, then while all that was taking place, we whacked up our usual veggie 'suspects', onion, celery, red and green bell pepper and garlic.

Once the bacon got mostly cooked.
We sliced up the sausage
The sausage and diced veggies got added to the crumbled bacon and set to browning down. (Peg prefers to drain the bacon grease off, first)
We also added some frozen okra from last Summer's crop.
While that all cooked down, Peggy took the drained salad greens for a ride in our food processor.
They got dumped into the gumbo pot.
With some water, Worcestershire sauce and our own special Cajun spices in the pot, we set it to simmer for a of couple hours. 
   The smell was amazing; fresh 'green' aroma filled the house and I finally had to take Beaux out with me to join a kitty on the porch swing and read for awhile while waiting for it to finish cooking.
The green gumbo came out amazing with a wonderful flavor.  Those of you who know us, know it was spicy with a hint of smoke from the sausage and richness from the bacon drippings.
Now for all yall who poked fun at my small gumbo bowl on our last gumbo Blog post where I pictured our chicken oyster gumbo, all's I can say is that, yep, that little bowl  was Peg's.   THIS! is mine.
You really need to try this old-fashioned green gumbo.  Lots of fancy foodie folks use complex recipes for this old favorite, but all's I can tell ya is that my Mama used to use whatever she had "green and growing" to make this wonderful wintertime TREAT.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chicken Oyster gumbo With andouille Sausage

Saturday, we made a big pot of gumbo.  Chicken and oyster is a unique flavor combination that works wonderful together.  We strongly recommend that if you haven't tried it you do so.  Even folks who typically do not eat oysters love this gumbo.  Also Peggy makes the roux gluten free.  Here is a bowl for you.

 and here is a picture filled step by step account of how we made it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cappy's Magic Cookie Bars.

These amazing old Christmas treats are so good I am posting the recipe and pictures on both of our blogs.  Thanks to the gluten free Graham crackers Peggy can enjoy them too.

Try this old recipe or revisit it its a long time family favorite.  Here is the recipe from our other blog. 

Merry Christmas yall!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cappy's Cajun Style Burgers

My family has made these burgers for years.  Many a summer Sunday back yard BBQ or Packed in an ice chest to be grilled on a picnic.  They are simple and spicylicous and I have many a fond memory of them from back yard BBQ's to camp fire picnics.  The recipe is simple and this Sunday We wooped up a batch while waiting on the Boston Butte roast to smoke.
The makings:
1 lb of ground chuck
1 lb of ground pork
1 egg
one medium yellow onion diced
Cajun seasoning to taste
Chrystal hot sauce to taste
Lea and Perrins a little heavy handed

Mix it by hand and divide (I made 8 balls)  flatten them into burgers thinner in the middle than the sides.

These wonderful, smokey lil burgers were so good I had to bite into one hot off the pit.
 Next time you fire up your pit, give these burgers a try and let us know what you think about this long time family favorite.

For the rest of the story look on our other blog here:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We thought that for this post we would depart from our usual "bloggy ways" and try a continuously updated post of me and Peg's Thanksgiving doings.  We decided to spend this holiday season alone and celebrate our life together.  Just the two of us at home.
   Before breakfast I tippy-toed out into our frosty yard and picked the morning's citrus juice on the hoof.
After a wonderful breakfast I took out the hen, I had thawed overnight.
I it out and shined it up with some bacon drippings from breakfast.

Then on go the 'usual suspect's.
Our own Cajun seasoning.
Some oh shoot!  Lea and Perrins.
Good ole Crystal hot sauce.
Then set it aside to 'let it get to know itself' till tomorrow.
Then I seasoned 6 redfish fillets with the same usual suspects along with a splash of lemon juice and parked them in the fridge till morning.

A couple days ago Peg made a pan of crusty bread, and as bad as I wanted to dive in with a stick of butter, I refrained myself  knowing it was destined for future stuffing.  It is currently whacked into cubes and being left to get dried out for the stuffing she's planning on making.
In the meantime, the pie process is proceeding.
Later, between pies, I made the creation I've been making on boats for years.  I call it my 'sweet tater pone'.  Call it what ya like, its very tasty and here is how I do it:  We always have some baked sweet potatoes around this time of year; they are wonderful, healthy and very versatile. I like to peel a few and put them in a pan with some soft butter.
I smash them and smooth them into an even layer.
Then put a layer of pecans on top and pour on my pone mix, which is approximately 1/3 cup of Steens cane syrup and 1/3 cup of light brown sugar.  (use more or less 'pending on how big the pan  is; ya want a thin coating on top of the taters).  Add one egg and a pinch of salt and ya done. Pour the glaze on top of the taters and nuts and bake at 350 or so till it's done.

This pan is cooling its heels in the fridge till morning. We know better than to bake it in advance, cause we can't stay out of it when its done.
Remember those beautiful bread crumbs up there?  Peggy took them and simmered down some veggies in chicken stock and giblets. 
She took her seasoned homemade bread chunks
and combined them into a luscious bread stuffing or dressing if ya will, on accounta we aint stuffin'
it in anything but us. It might not look like much, but with a nice 45 minute 'visit' to the oven, the top will be kinda crispy, the inside will be moist and flavorful, and if we were having gravy, (the jury is still out on whether we will or not)...but if we were, a nice gravy over the top of it is just overkiller good!
  When we were in New York State we had bought a bunch of Concord grapes.  We separated the skins from the fruit and froze them for the trip home.  We cooked the flesh then strained it to get the seeds out,  then recombined them.
Then Peggy made her gluten-free crust.
filled the crust with filling.
Then topped it with crust with her family swirl cut on top.
I'd show ya a slice in a saucer but I cant cause we ate it. (Well, not all of it of course, but now it's not pretty.)
Thanksgiving Morning
At 8:30 this morning coffee in hand I opened the pit took the grill off and tore up some used charcoal bags into pieces.
One of my tricks for lighting the charcoal chimney is to use a small piece of coal on bottom with the paper.  It helps lots in keeping the paper lit and burning.  By 8:45 I had the chimney lit.
As the paper burned down I kept adding more pieces till it all got used.  You can't pack it in too tight or it will smother itself.
by 9:00 the chimney was well lit so I put the charcoal in the pit then covered it with more charcoal.
At 9:10 a.m. once it was well lit, I added a handful of water-logged hickory chips straight on the coals.
For 9:30 the grill was on and the hen was in position.
Here's a tip: Take the juice left over in the pan, that the chicken was parked in all night,
rinse it out with a beer into a sauce pot.  Add a stick of butter and some more usual suspects, and when doing chicken and or fish, add a splash of lemon juice.  Put it on a low heat and bring it to a simmer; this kills germs and cooks off alcohol.  Let it reduce a lil and use that for a mop sauce.  That way you don't waste all the great flavor in the pan.
I mopped and flopped the hen for 2 1/2 hours with my bratty buddy Beaux looking on.

When the hen reached 160 degrees F. I put some redfish on to keep it company.
Later when the hen went in the kitchen to rest, I replaced it with a few ears of corn.

While the corn and fish sat on the warm spot, Peggy had been busy in the kitchen getting everything else ready.  She got brussels sprouts ready for a quick stir-fry, and took my potato pone out of the oven.

Who needs desert when your side dishes look like this?
We fixed you a plate.
Oops, forgot the bird.
Now thats a plate to be thankful for.  We sincerely hope that you were blessed, safe and happy this day and remembered to give Thanks for what ya have.