Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cajun Food - MmmmmMMMMM!

So . . . brace yourself. You may not want to read this blog if you are hungry -- unless you can afford to buy a full-fare airline ticket to Louisiana and leave immediately!

Shrimp Creole served over white rice with garlic bread, sweet corn, and a scoop of potato salad, as served at B&C Seafood in Vachere, LA. Contrary to popular opinion most Cajun food is NOT spicy. Flavorful & rich, yes, but not spicy!

Sausage and Seafood Gumbo. Gumbo is always served over rice and with a side-car of potato salad. Cajuns feel it's important that this dish is eaten correctly so my friends and I got a lesson: With a spoon scoop up some potato salad, then drag the spoon through the rice and gumbo until you have a bit of everything on it. Heaven!

Seafood Gumbo with crab legs, shrimp, oysters, and shrimp. Again, note the sidecar of potato salad. Yum! This gumbo was made by Louisianans Brent & Tookie who invited us over to their home which sits on the route of one of the many parades we saw (more about those in a later blog). The crab legs made for an extra exciting gumbo!

At another parade we had a tailgate lunch. Ruth's sister Carolyn prepared awesome pork strips which we then put inside huge Po'Boy rolls with condiments. They called these grillades. Wish I had one right now!
Speaking of Po'Boys! At Larry and Mary's house one evening we had 'em. This one is stuffed with fried shrimp, and oysters. The plate on the left has fried fish (speckled sea bass) and the famous Cajun red beans and rice.
Here's something you probably have never had. Shrimp Spiders. These are the shells of the shrimp after the meat and heads have been removed. The empty body and legs are battered and deep-fried. You can eat these like popcorn they are so good!

Mary made fried dough for breakfast at least twice and is it GOOD! We ate it with fig jam and other preserves. Breakfast was always delicious with eggs, turkey bacon, fruit, coffee, juice, and that old southern specialty - grits.

Ok, so now we need to talk CRAB BOIL. This photo shows Larry out in the back yard with his huge boiling pot.

Inside are six dozen blue crabs and "crab boil" seasoning.

After the crabs are cooked they are dumped into an insulated chest to keep them hot. We each got a plastic tray (not a plate - a tray!) and grabbed several crabs. Ruth taught us the proper way to crack the crabs. It wasn't easy at first! We had to separate the top of the body from the underside, then break the underside in half to get at the good meat. The legs we cracked open by hammering on them with the heavy end of a table knife. Juices, meat, and shells were spread from one end of the table to the other. It's hard to explain how much fun this was and how good these crabs tasted. Maybe this next photo will help!

Notice the big red tray full of shells...and I was just getting started! (Please note: this is NOT the correct way to eat a crab!)

King Cakes were on the menu for any special occasion. Not so much a cake, they are more of a bread shaped in an oval, frosted, and then covered with sugar in the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. They have an endless variety of fillings; bavarian cream was my favorite, but there was also strawberry cream cheese, chocolate, raspberry, vanilla pudding, and one even had chocolate-covered strawberries on top.

Somewhere inside a King Cake is a tiny plastic baby. The rule is that whoever finds the baby in their slice of cake gets the priveledge of buying (or making) the next one!

Another dessert: bread pudding. Yummy yummy yummy. To the left you can see a small package of "tea cookies." The bread pudding was awesome; unfortunately, I forgot to try the cookies!

Just writing about all this delicious food makes me long to be back in Cut Off, Louisiana, at the very welcoming and comfortable home of Larry & Mary St. Germaine. I have never had such a good time trying new foods.


Alycia Sanders said...

oh my gosh!! that all looks so good, especially the gumbo. I've never had it but boy I think I'm going to have to find a recipe and make some. Any suggestions?

Deborah W said...

Hy Alycia, thx for stopping by! Can you believe I came home from Louisiana without a Cajun cookbook? I meant to buy one! However, I googled Cajun food recipes and there's tons of websites out there that might help you. Here's just one - I plan to also try my local library. Have fun! Deborah

Kristen said...

Yummm, yummmm, yummmmmmmm.....