Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Orleans New Years

Having spent quite a few New Year's Eves in New Orleans, I can say that there's no other place quite like it, for ringing in the New Year. The French Quarter is in it's element for this occasion and hosts one gigantic party, kinda like a mini Mardi Gras. Here are a few of my favorite New Orleans drink recipes that will surely please your guests. Cheers!

 


French Quarter Champini
 
1 1/2 oz. rasberry liquor
1/2 oz. Grand Mariner
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. cranberry juice
Mix all ingredients in a shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Strain and pour into champagne glasses. Garnish w/ a frozen rasberry.





Cajun Martini

1 1/4 oz. vodka
1 dash of vermouth
Pickled jalepeno pepper
Combine vodka and vermouth in mixing glass w/ cracked ice and stir well. Strain into martini glass. Add jalapeno pepper.


Big Easy Bloody Marys

2 oz.'s vodka
6 oz.'s V-8 juice
Few dashes Tabasco
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 dash white pepper
1 tsp. lime juice
Shake all ingredients and strain into cocktail glass
Garnish w/ jalepeno peppers and cocktail onions


Click on the this link to see more New Orleans drink recipes.

Big Easy Cocktails: Jazzy Drinks And Savory Bites from New Orleans

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Live at Grant Street Dancehall

Medicine Show 12, an annual fundraiser for the Tommy Comeaux Music Endowment Fund, at U.L.L., was held at Grant Street Dancehall, in Lafayette, on Friday night. The house was "packed to the gills" with spirited fans of the talented groups that played for this event. The famed Beausoleil took the stage and the crowd went wild, dancing to the Cajun melodies that have earned this group many Grammy nominations. 


Then, a mystery guest was announced and none other than Joan Baez, the great folk artist of Woodstock, took the crowd by surprise and played a set that will long be remembered , including "The Night They Tore Old Dixie Down"! Then, the crowd screamed for more and she responded with the lovely "Sweet Chariot".
 

Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie followed and the crowd went into Zydeco overdrive and back into "nitty gritty" dance mode.

And finally, the grand finale', when famed slide guitarist, Sonny Landreth, took the stage and brought the house down, with his unique brand of rock, blues, slydeco music. An enjoyable evening was had by all and for such a good cause. Over a million dollars has been raised over the last 12 years, at this event. Let the good times roll ! What a blast!


 




Thursday, December 18, 2008

T.G.I.F. + Shrimp Remoulade

Yes, that's right, Thank goodness it's almost Friday! It's been a whacky week and I am looking forward to the week end. Holiday stress is peaking, but still so much to do. Only 6 shopping days left,for gifts, and only 3 shopping days left,for Christmas dinner, plus two parties, extra guests, and the list goes on and on.

I keep telling myself that in only one week, it'll all be over and worth all the effort, and then it will be party time, for New Year's. Hooray, my favorite holiday is almost here. Meanwhile, here is an appetizer recipe that I plan to serve on my holiday buffet. It's a family favorite and will compliment the Spinach-Crawfish Dip, perfectly. Cest bon, cher!

Shrimp Remoulade

2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup white wine
2 tbs.'s salt

2 tbs.'s. or more Tony's Creole seasoning
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 lemon, quartered
4 bay leaves

In a large pot, place the seasonings, wine, lemons, and bay leaves. Add enough water to cover the shrimp and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and continue to boil, until the shrimp turn pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, covered. Drain and set aside and allow to cool.

Remoulade Sauce
 
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. yellow mustard + 1 tsp. Creole or Dijon mustard
2 tsp.'s  prepared horseradish
1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped fine
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. white wine vinegar

1 tbs. lemon juice
Salt and Tabasco, to taste


Combine all ingredients in large bowl and blend thoroughly. Add shrimp and toss to coat evenly. Chill for 1 to 3 hours, before serving. Serves 8.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Party Time !

Tis the season for holiday parties and what better time of year to host a real memorable get together. Show your appreciation for family and friends by having them over for a festive holiday buffet. This menu is perfect for gift exchanges, office parties,  after caroling,  or just about anything you can think of. Enjoy !

Crawfish Spinach Bread Bowl w/ Mini Toasts * Cajun Party Meatballs * Mini Mufalettas * Deviled Egg Potato Salad * Creole Pasta Salad * Fruit and Veggie Trays *


 
Crawfish Spinach Bread Bowl

1 lb. peeled, cleaned crawfish tails
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2  soup can water
1/2 cup butter
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
1 small can Rotel tomatoes, undrained
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbs.'s fresh parsley
Salt to taste
1 large, round loaf of bread, (French, Italian, or sourdough)

Saute the onion in the butter until tender. Add the tomatoes w/ liquid and salt and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the crawfish and cook for 10 more minutes. Add the soups and  water, to desired consistency, and cook on low heat for 30 minutes. Add the spinach, sour cream, and parsley and cook for 10 minutes more. Cut top off of bread and scoop out middle. Place mixture into a large bread bowl and serve with mini toasts. Cest bon!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Le Bon Vieux Temps Noel + Pecan Pralines

After a delicious Sunday brunch at home, we decided to take a break from Christmas shopping and headed out to find some fun. Vermilion Ville, a Cajun/Creole Heritage and Folklife Park, was having their annual Le Bon Vieux Temps Noel. The weather was warm and balmy which was perfect for walking around the grounds, along the Vermilion Bayou and attending the various activities planned for the day. 


There was a Praline Cooking demonstration at the Cooking School, L'ecole de Cuisine. Margo Latiolais was making pralines, a delicacy among Cajuns, and gave out samples to the guests. When I tell you that these were the best pralines that I have ever eaten. Ca' Cest Bon'! Old fashioned craft demonstrations were held all day and many children enjoyed learning the art of candle making.


The Jambalaya Cajun Band played in The Performance Center, Le Jour de Fete, from 1-4 pm., where there was a whole lot of dancing going on. Then someone told us that they were serving a delicious Christmas buffet at the restaurant, La Cuisine de Maman. Who could resist an all you can eat Cajun Christmas buffet! (highly recommended) A perfect ending to an enjoyable day.


Margo's Pecan Pralines

2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
2 Tbls. melted butter
2 Tbls vanilla
2 cups pecans, whole or chopped

*Mix brown and white sugar,and evaporated milk
*Continue cooking on medium heat until mixture reaches a softball stage
*Stir constantly and add butter, vanilla, and pecans
*Continue cooking about 1 minute or until mixture is thick again
*Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper

Enjoy!

Tis' the Season

Only 17 shopping days till Christmas ! About this time every year, I start to panic, wondering how on earth that I'm going to pull it all off (the shopping, the baking, the cards, the parties, the church, the school, the decorating, the guests, etc.) and keep up with my two jobs and life, at the same time. Then I think back to the year when I did all of my Christmas shopping ON Christmas Eve. Talk about pushing the envelope. Then, staying up until 4 a.m. wrapping everything.

Well, I learned my lesson on that one and vowed to begin shopping in January, for the following year. I hit all of the after Christmas sales and acquired quite a stash of gifts. I put them in a big bag and stashed them in the attic. The year flew by and when it came to the Christmas season, I started shopping in October, but totally forgot about the bag of gifts, in the attic. Then , in January, when I was storing the Christmas decorations , I saw it. The big bag of gifts that I had so carefully bought last January. I ended up giving those gifts to friends and family, throughout the year, as birthday gifts, so it all worked out well, in the end. Well, needless to say, my New Year's resolution was to buy everything online and save myself from all of the stress, ( the lines, the traffic, the unavailability of size and color, in the stores. etc.) And not to put them in the attic. Happy Shopping !

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Live at the Blue Moon Saloon

After all that cooking, it was time to have some fun and what better place to find it than The Blue Moon Saloon, in Lafayette. The balmy weather was perfect for the double header, featuring Steve Riley and Friends and Cedric Watson and Creole Bijou. The lively crowd was ready to dance, as usual. More than a few pounds gained on Turkey Day were shed on the crowded dance floor 


 The bands were awesome with several of Acadiana's favorite musicians sitting in on the jam. Steve Riley and Kevin Dugas from The Mamou Playboys, Roddie Romero from the Hub City Allstars, and Chris Stafford from Feufollet, just to name a few. For a complete schedule click here.


Steve Riley and Friends



Friday, November 21, 2008

Cajun Cornbread Dressing

Here is an absolute family favorite, at any time of year, but especially at Thanksgiving. The sweetness of the cornbread combines with the spicy meat and is out of this world! This is my mother's recipe and is my Dad's favorite dish. It's easy to make and can be made ahead of time and frozen, until needed. Bon Appetit!

Cajun Cornbread Dressing 


1 lb. ground round beef
1/2 pound fresh ground pork
2 cups beef broth or stock
1 cup each (onions, bell peppers, and celery), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic , minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and Tabasco to taste
1 tbs. Cajun seasoning, divided
2 tbs.'s Worcestershire sauce



Brown ground beef and pork with 1 tsp, Cajun seasoning in a large heavy skillet. Drain excess fat and add trinity, garlic, and stir and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in Worcestershire sauce and a few shakes of Tabasco. Add beef broth or stock, parsley, and other tsp. of Cajun seasoning and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.


Crumble "day old" cornbread, (recipe below), in large bowl. Gradually add meat mixture until desired consistency is reached. Transfer to a buttered casserole dish and dot with butter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cest bon, cher!


Mama's Buttermilk Cornbread

1 (1/2) cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tbs.'s sugar
2 (1/2) tsp.'s baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
1 (1/2) cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. And add to the dry ingredients, and stir until just mixed, and pour into a buttered baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is browned and a toothpick comes out clean.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cajun Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving already! It's that time of year, again, to begin planning your Thanksgiving dinner. Time to get out all those treasured family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Time to make the master menu, the shopping list and gather favorite recipes. I normally start these tasks around Halloween and gather what will be needed for the feast, gradually. Then, the weekend before, I wash the table linens, china, and silverware, along with a little Thanksgiving decorating. And then it will be time to actually prepare the feast, starting several days in advance of the big day. Here is a partial list of the feast that I will be preparing for my family and friends.

Deep Fried Cajun Turkey * Mama's Cornbread Dressing * Cajun Oyster Stuffing * String Bean Casserole * Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Sauce * Corn Maque Choux * Candied Cranberries * Butter Garlic Rolls *

Bourbon Bread Pudding * Chocolate Fudge Cake * Grandma's Pumpkin Pie*

Cajun Oyster Stuffing

1 9 inch cornbread, baked
1 pkg./sleeve- saltine crackers
1 /2 loaf of "day old" French bread
1 stick butter
2 cups (16 oz.) chicken broth or stock
1 quart oysters, chopped, with liquid reserved
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 Tbs's Cajun or Creole seasoning
5 large eggs ( lightly beaten)
Salt and Tabasco to taste

In large bowl, crumble the cornbread, French bread, and crackers. Add the seasonings and the parsley and mix well. Saute the onions, bell pepper, celery, and green onions in the stick of butter, until soft and add to the bowl. Stir in the chicken stock, eggs and oysters, adding oyster liquid, to desired consistency. Mixture will be wet. Pour into a buttered baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, for 35 to 40 minutes. Cest' Bon! Enjoy!


Nanny's Praline- Sweet Potato Casserole

8 medium sweet potatoes , peeled, chopped, and boiled until tender
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup cane or maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp.'s cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

Whisk half and half with brown sugar, syrup, cinnamon vanilla, salt, and egg, in large bowl. Add the cooked, drained, sweet potatoes and beat with electric mixer until smooth. Coat a 13" by 9" baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon in sweet potato mixture and set aside. Make topping.

Praline Topping

1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 small can Pet milk
4 tbs.'s butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Melt butter in 2 qt. saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, Pet milk, and pecans. Cook and stir, constantly, on low heat until blended and smooth and thick. (about 5 minutes) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Spread evenly over top of sweet potato mixture. Cover with foil and bake @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes. Serves 8 Cest bon! Bon Appetit!


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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Gumbo, another Cajun favorite, is a delicious way to welcome the cooler temperatures of the season. With hunting season in full swing, many people are cooking their favorite gumbo. Duck or Venison may be substituted for chicken in this classic dish.


 

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

1 cut up chicken or hen
1 pkg. hot, smoked sausage, sliced
3/4 cup each of chopped celery, onions, and bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts warm water
2 tbls's Cajun seasoning
Salt and Tabasco, to taste
1/2 cup green onions
1/4 cup fresh parsley
3 bay leaves
File' powder
2 cups cooked rice


Season chicken with 1 tbls. Cajun seasoning. Brown chicken and sausage in separate pot, adding a small amount of water, to prevent sticking to pot. Set aside.


Next, you make a roux.


3/4 cup oil and 2/3 cup flour

Stir together in a separate large heavy pot, on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, until medium brown in color. Stir constantly, scraping bottom and sides, often. When desired color is reached, cut off the fire and add the celery,onions, bell peppers and garlic, to lower the temperature of the roux, and stir for about 3 minutes, then slowly add the water. Mix well and add remaining seasonings and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Lower heat and add the chicken and sausage and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add the parsley and green onions and simmer for 10 more minutes. Skim off excess oil, sprinkle with file', and serve in gumbo bowls with a scoop of rice and/ or potato salad. Serves 8 Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Whiskey River Now Open !














After a few months of renovations, after taking a heavy hit from Hurricane Gustav, Whiskey River Landing is back in business. Better than ever, with it's great bands and dancers. Tonight's band, Horace Trahan and The Huval- Doucet Band , rocked the crowd with it's traditional and sometimes not so traditional,Cajun music. A perfect blend of Cajun and Zydeco tunes, with an occasional waltz ,thrown in for good measure. The crowd was lively and spanned multiple generations, everyone being between 18 and 80 years young. It was so good to see old friends and of course, to dance with them. The only thing missing were the barbequed hamburgers, so treasured by the end of the night, by the patrons.

So, we headed up the Levee Road and decided to stop at Pat's Fisherman Wharf Restaurant for a little seafood, where the seafood is "to die for". Delectable Crawfish Etoufee and Fried Oysters with Grilled Shrimp Salad topped off a great evening. There was a band playing in Pat's nightclub,The Atchafalaya Club, adjacent to the dining room. When I realized that it was one of my favorites, Kevin Naqain and The Ossun Playboys, that meant another hour of dancing. Just a typical fun Sunday on the Basin. Check it out, you'll be so glad you did.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crab and Shrimp Sauce Picante'

Of all the wonderful meals that my mother prepared for our family, this one is my favorite. One bite of this rich delicious dish and you know that you're in heaven. Ca cest' bon, cher !

 Mama's Crab and Shrimp Sauce Picante'

2 lbs. medium shrimp (peeled and deveined) 
10 gumbo crabs (cleaned)
 or 1 lb. crab meat
5 tbsp.'s butter and 5 tbsp.'s flour
1 onion and 1 bell pepper (chopped fine)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. or more Tony's Creole seasoning
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
Salt and Tabasco to taste
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 bunch green onions (chopped)
3 bay leaves
1 cup warm water

Season the shrimp with 1 tbsp. of the Creole seasoning. In large Dutch oven, melt the butter on med. low heat and add the flour, stirring constantly, until light brown in color. Add the onions,bell pepper, and garlic and lower heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 more minutes. Slowly add water, the Tabasco, the remaining Tony's, and the bay leaves. Stir well and add the shrimp and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the green onions, and parsley and crabs and simmer for about 20 more minutes. Discard bay leaves and serve over cooked rice, with a fresh garden salad. Serves 6

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Great Weekend

Well, hopefully ya'll have recouped from the Festival Acadiens and are ready to go again. There is a great festival, this coming weekend in Lafayette, at Acadian Village, on Friday, October 24 and Saturday, October 25. Louisiana's hottest folk roots bands, along with a variety of groups from all over the country will entertain the crowds. Cajun music legend, D.L. Menard and The Terry Huval Band will kick things off on Friday, at 6:30 p.m. With Fall temperatures predicted and sunny skies, it will be a pure pleasure to be outdoors and take in all of what the area has to offer. Get out and enjoy the wonderful festival atmosphere at the 3rd Annual Blackpot Festival and Cookoff, in Lafayette, at Acadian Village

 A few of the 19 regional bands slated to perform at the Blackpot Festival are The Racines, Feufollet, Balfa Toujours, and The Pine Leaf Boys, with the Red Stick Ramblers closing out the festival on Saturday night. And don't forget about the food. The Blackpot Festival celebrates the old fashioned Cajun way of cooking with black cast ironed pots, without electricity. This cook-off challenges chefs to make their best recipe and then share it with the lucky crowd. Tent camping will be offered, again this year, for those who enjoy camping. For a complete schedule and more details, check out: www.blackpotfestival.com


Monday, October 13, 2008

An Absolute Blast !


If you were one of the thousands of people who attended Festival Acadiens et Creoles, then you know that the popular festival turned out to be even more fun than you could have imagined. A record crowd, included visitors from California, New York, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, France, and many other places. They flocked in groves to hear the highly seasoned Cajun and Creole music. Those who had never danced a two step or a waltz , caught on fast, as they danced with the locals. So much fun!!!

New this year, was a third stage, La Salle de Danse, which had an actual dance floor and a tent. When I tried to get into the tent, to take a picture for this post, it was so crowded with dancers, that I couldn't get closer than ten feet from it. The energy was electric with the spicy sounds of Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Ramblers rockin the crowd. And once everyone discovered the Bayou Food Festival, it soon became clear why the Cajun Cuisine is world famous. Oh, cest bon, sha ! I could not pass up the Crawfish Poboys from the Bon Creole booth, nor the Seafood Jambalaya from Lagneaux's.




A lady in the line, behind me, asked me "What's a Poboy?" I immediately responded with, where are you from and have you ever had crawfish? So, I explained that a poboy is a Cajun Sub usually filled with shrimp, crawfish, oysters, or maybe sausage. I let her try a few of the succulent fried crawfish, from mine, and the Quebec native quickly ordered one. I'm sure that she really enjoyed it.
Great weather+ great music+ great food+ great people = an absolute blast. This year's Festivals Acadiens et Creoles was dedicated to Zachary Richard, a champion advocate of the Cajun people and culture.

Zachary Richard and Friends

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lassiez Les Bon Temps Rouler'

A day of great music and dancing was enjoyed by all, at Day 1 of Festival Acadiens et Creoles. Thousands enjoyed the beautiful weather , delectable cuisine, and of course, the nitty-gritty dancing and awesome music . Some of the best bands that Acadiana has to offer, thrilled the crowds with their foot stomping accordion and fiddle music. Strangers and friends, alike, shared a dance on the huge dance floor, which wasn't quite as dusty, this year. 


The Bayou Food Festival served up such delicacies as Crawfish Fettucini, Seafood Jambalaya, Alligator Bites, Crab Cakes, and Catfish Courtbouillion. And the Louisiana Crafts Fair presented over fifty fine artists and artisans. The best part is that we get to do it all again tomorrow. Come on down to Girard Park, in Lafayette, for a great time that will be long remembered. Sunday's festival kicks off at 10:30 a.m. with the unique sounds of the Magnolia Sisters. The Bluerunners take the stage at 1:30 p.m. and Wayne Toups and ZydeCajun will rock the crowd at 5:30 p.m. See ya'll there!

Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Time to Tailgate!


With Fall in the air and college football in full swing, it's time to plan your tailgating parties. It's all about family, friends, food, and football and having fun while making sure that everyone enjoys a feast before the big game. It's pre-game, halftime, post-game and just as popular, in homes, in front of the tube, as it is on college stadium parking lots. It's a great big celebration and tailgating has become a national obsession and it seems that there is no end to it's popularity. It has really turned into a whole industry with it's own cookbooks and catering and supply services. If you've ever been to a tailgating party in South Louisiana, you know that it's a party like no other. The top five tailgating recipes in Cajun country, for The Ragin' Cajuns and L.S.U., for the 2008 season are:

1. Hot and Spicy Barbeque Wings and Ribs
2. Cajun Jambalaya
3. Ragin' Cajun Burgers
4. South of the Border Chili
5. L.S.U. Gumbo

The secret that gives these wonderfully delicious burgers their zip is the Tabasco, horseradish, garlic blend. This combo really makes you want to drink an iced cold beer or two. Cheers, cher!

Ragin' Cajun Burgers


3 lbs. lean ground beef or turkey
2 tbs.'s Tabasco sauce
2 tbs.'s horseradish
2 tbs.'s minced garlic
2 tbs.'s Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp.'s salt
2 tsp.'s freshly ground black pepper
6 good burger buns

3 tbs.'s butter, melted

Place meat and all other ingredients in large bowl and mix gently, but thoroughly. Shape meat mixture into 6 patties and cover with foil and chill for one or more hours. (of course you can make smaller burgers if your appetite is not voracious or you do not have several young men over 6 ft. tall in your house) Preheat gas grill on medium- high heat or charcoal grill on medium- high and cook for 7 to 10 minutes on each side, for medium. Baste buns with melted butter and grill to the side for 5 minutes to toast. Garnish with lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles and enjoy, cher! Ca cest bon!!!


Click here for more tailgating delights

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Best of the Rest !

"The Best of the Rest" is a perfect descripition for the upcoming " Festivals Acadiens et Creoles", in Girard Park. Mark your calendars, Acadiana , for the ultimate Cajun Woodstock. This year's festival will be held on October 10-12, in Lafayette, Louisiana. The kick off to the popular festival will be held at Parc International, in downtown Lafayette, on Friday, October 10, 2008 and will begin at 5:30 p.m.

This special edition of Downtown Alive starts with the rockin sounds of Roddy Romero and the Hub City Allstars, at 5:30 p.m., followed by the infamous Zachary Richard, slated to take the stage at 7:30 p.m. This fabulous party is being presented by Quebec Delegation-Atlanta. Come on out and get in the festival spirit and get psyched up for the festival that celebrates everything Cajun and Creole.

The music, the food, the art, the culture, the people. This year's "Festival Acadiens et Creoles" will be held on Sat., October 11th and Sunday, October 12th, in Girard Park. It will host three different stages, providing a virtually non- stop music and dancing atmosphere. Many families set up gazebos where they barbeque and take the opportunity to visit and catch up with with old friends.

A few of the bands expected to perform at this year's festival are, Wayne Toups and ZydeCajun, The Bluerunners, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Balfa Toujours, Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band, Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha-Chas, Walter Mouton and the Scott Playboys, and the list goes on and on. In all, there will be 36 bands playing over the 2 day period.

And you won't want to miss the wonderful variety of food, that will be for sale by many of Acadiana's award winning Cajun and Creole restaurants. For the ultimate celebration of the Cajun and Creole cultures, this is it ! Be there or be square. See ya'll there!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cajun Fried Catfish

 Another spicy Cajun favorite, Fried Catfish is a popular dish in Southwest Louisiana. I have many fond memories of weekends spent along the Vermilion Bayou, out on the boat, first catching, then cooking the catfish. If it was a big catch, we'd invite the whole family for a fish fry. Along with the fish, hush puppies and potato salad were served and maybe a cold beer or two.


2 pounds catfish fillets,
1 /8 cup each, yellow mustard and creole mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Tabasco to taste
1 tbsp. Tony's Creole seasoning
1/2 cup each of cornmeal and flour
2 cups vegetable oil

Wash fish and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
Combine mustard, egg and milk, Tony's seasoning, few drops of Tabasco, and garlic powder. Toss fish in mustard mixture. Combine cornmeal and flour. Dredge coated fillets in cornmeal and flour mixture.
Heat vegetable oil until very hot. Fry catfish fillets, a few at a time, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serves 6. Cest bon, cher!

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Here We Go Again !

We never thought that it would happen again, much less only 3 years later. Most people who lost everything, to the flood ravaged area during Hurricane Rita, had really just started to get back to normal. It seems that with most of Louisiana's marsh land gone, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in 2005', that there is nothing to stop the destructive storm surge from inundating the coastal areas of Louisiana.

Anyone who has seen the pictures of the devastation in Galveston, Texas can see the power of a direct hit with the latest breed of storms that the Gulf Coast has endured, in recent years. We too, must build a seawall, new levees, and replenish our wetlands or face the possibility of flooding again, with each big storm that comes our way. To see photos of storm damage and information on the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, click here

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fun on Saturday Mornings

If you're looking for a place where you can eat a good breakfast and get a little dancing in, too, Cafe' des Amis,' in Breaux Bridge, La., is perfect. Every Saturday morning, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the popular restaurant hosts a Zydeco breakfast, featuring a Zydeco band and breakfast entrees such as Eggs Begnaud with eggs, your way, and your choice of crawfish etouffee or crawfish au gratin, and homemade biscuits. Other favorites include grilled boudin patties, beignets, and couche couche. And, of course, lots of strong Louisiana coffee, or even a little champagne or beer.

 After a good breakfast, you are asked to kindly give up your table to make room for the dancers that didn't quite get enough dancing in, on Friday night. A great way to burn off any extra calories from the rich, decadent breakfast. True to Cajun tradition, the cafe' caters to locals and visitors alike. Conveniently located right off 1-10 East, at 140 E. Bridge Street, in Breaux Bridge. For a complete schedule and menu, click here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hurricane News

"Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best," was the mantra in Louisiana prior to Hurricane Gustav making landfall in Houma, La. The Category 2 storm made it's presence known in the entire state of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and now Arkansas. Thank God the hurricane lost some of it's strength, along the way and was a fast mover. Until today, that is. Gustav stalled out and continues to pound several states with torrential rain and occasional tornadoes.

We were so blessed, here in Lafayette. Many homes here, did not lose power, and the hub city only had sprinkles, today. But, many of our neighbors were not so lucky and and will take a long while to repair and rebuild. But surely with neighbor helping neighbor and families helping families, they will rebuild and take the lessons learned from Hurricane Gustav and apply them.

New Orleans was spared and the levees held thanks to many brave souls who through teamwork and determination, piled on the sandbags! But, more rain is expected in the cresent city. New Iberia has many flooded areas and St. Mary parish, home to many of my ancestors, bore the brunt of the damage. As anyone living along the gulf coast knows, hurricanes are a part of life, here. But, the strong , courageous people, who call Louisiana their home wouldn't want to live anywhere else.



For a complete review of Hurricane Gustav, Fema phone lines and for the latest news on the storm, Click Here

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's Festival Time!

It's festival time, again, in Acadiana, and this weekend is no exception. With fall right around the corner, the harvest celebrations have begun. Here are my festival picks for Labor Day weekend. Allons, cher'

If you're looking for a good festival, and you love Zydeco Music, then you need to check out the The 2008 Southwest Zydeco Festival. This year's festival will be held on Sat., August 30, from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m., (that's right, 14 straight hours of Zydeco music! on Hwy. 167 North) , in Plaisance, La.

New to this year's line up will be The Lost Bayou Rambler's with their bayou sounds and traditional Cajun music. The festival will be held at the Southern Development Foundation farm, eight miles north of exit 23 off of I-49. Don't miss the kick off dance on Fri. night, at 9:00 p.m. at Slim's Y-Ki-Ki Club, in Opelousas. For a complete schedule of performances and activities go to www.zydeco.org


Another great festival, this weekend , is the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. Morgan City plays host to the oldest harvest festival with Cajun, zydeco, swamp pop, rhythm and blues, and country music. Lots of delicious gulf shrimp for the shrimp-a-holics among us, including a shrimp cook off and the traditional blessing of the fleet. Fireworks, an arts and crafts display, and a children's village round out the festival.

For more information
, visit www.shrimp-pertrofest.org

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Downtown Alive Turns 25!


The 2008' schedule for the, 25th Anniversary, fall concert series for Downtown Alive has been announced. Every Spring and Fall, for the past 25 years, people have been flocking to downtown Lafayette, every Friday evening, to enjoy the best in Cajun, Zydeco, Rock and Roll, and Swamp Pop music.

Delicious food and cold beverages are sold for those opting to go straight from work. And especially for those who work up an appetite, while dancing at the fais do do, (street dance) This year's line up features Rockin' Dopsie, Jr., who will play the season opener on September 5th, just as his father, Rockin' Dopsie, Sr. did , for the fall 1983 series. Other picks are also a throwback to the early years of DTA, including Zachary Richard on October 10th and BeauSoleil on November 21st. New, this year will be a Boudin Cookoff, on October 25.


For more information, go to, www.boudincookoff.com As a seasoned DTA goer, I highly recommend that you to come on down to DTA, for great music, great food, and a great time. You never know who you'll run into! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

20th Annual LeCajun Music Awards and Festival

Scattered thunderstorms did not dampen the spirit of those who attended the 20th Annual LeCajun Music Awards and Festival at Blackham Coliseium, in Lafayette. The two day event drew a record crowd with the awards ceremony on Friday evening and twelve straight hours of the best Cajun music and dancing on Saturday.

The highlight of the festival was when world renowned accordionist, Wayne Toups, and Jackie Callier, winner of countless Cajun music awards, and accordion master, Walter Mouton ALL took the stage, at the same time! Incredible, awesome, unbelievable, are just a few words to describe this show. To see photos of this event, go to www.theadvertiser.com

And the Winners Are:
Accordionist of the Year-- Kira Viator
Fiddler of the Year--Joel Savoy
Female Vocalist of the Year--Kira Viator
Make Vocalist of the Year--Ivy Dugas
Best First CD--Don Montoucet
Best Album/CD of the Year--Stickin' to My Roots, Kira Viator
Song of the Year--Jolie Cadienne, Ivy Dugas
Band of the Year--Jackie Callier and Cajun Cousins
People's Choice Award--Jackie Callier and Cajun Cousins

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mama's Seafood Gumbo


Mama's Seafood Gumbo
(Cest bon, cher!)

Ingredients:
2/3 cup flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup each, of "the trinity"
2 tsp.'s Tabasco sauce
2 Tbls.'s Tony's Creole Seasoning
3 bay leaves
3 qt's warm water
Salt to taste
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 1/2 lbs. peeled shrimp
1 lb. lump crab meat
1 pint oysters
Gumbo file' powder

First, you make a roux. In a large heavy pot, on med.-low heat, mix the flour and oil, and stir constantly, scraping bottom often. Will get frothy, then thicker. Continue stirring until roux is med. brown in color. (about 10 minutes) Add 1/2 cup each of " the trinity" (chopped onions, celery, and bell peppers ) Stir for 1 minute and add 1 1/2 quarts of warm water.

Mix thoroughly, add seasonings and turn heat down to low and simmer (covered) for 15 minutes. Add 1 1/2 quarts of warm water, bay leaf ,and 1 1/2 lb.'s peeled shrimp, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add 1 lb. lump crab meat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 pint of oysters and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped green onions and file' powder.
Serve in gumbo bowls with hot rice and potato salad. Serves 6 Bon Appetite'!

Cajun Supermarket :: Your One Stop Cajun Shop!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cajun Summer Fun

After we had our pot of coffee and crawfish omlette, we set out to find some fun this afternoon. We headed over to Whiskey River Landing, on Levee Rd., in the town of Henderson, La. Whiskey River is a boat landing on the beautiful Atchafalaya Basin, as well as a popular dancehall and bar. There is a beautiful view of the basin from the dance floor.

 
Their Sunday afternoon dances host some of the best bands and dancers, anywhere. Today's band was Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie who entertained the packed crowd with highly seasoned Cajun and Zydeco music. By the end of the 4 hour dance, the dance floor was so crowded that the patrons took to dancing on the bar and anywhere else they could find to dance!


And all that dancing worked up an appetite, so we drove back down the Levee Rd. and stopped in to eat at Pat's Fisherman's Wharf and Restaurant. Fresh seafood entrees including , a fried seafood platter and seafood gumbo were delectable and highly recommended. No room for dessert, this time.
Besides, there was a band starting to play in Pat's nightclub which has the biggest dancefloor in Louisiana. Who could resist the sounds of The Foret Tradition, a traditional Cajun band with a following of their own. So, more dancing to work off that big dinner and more fun. Cest toi !

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cajun Hangover Cure

Yes, it's the weekend, and if you're lucky enough to have partied until the wee hours, you'll probably need a little something besides your pot of coffee to get going the next morning. This spiced up Bloody Mary is guaranteed to do the trick . Cheers!

Substitute Absolut Peppar for your usual stuff
64 oz. tomato juice
1 Tbsp. horseradish
1 tsp. steak sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbls. Tabasco
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Mix all ingredients and shake well in a clean gallon jug or pitcher. Garnish with celery tops and small onions.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Let the Good Times Roll!

Festivals in Southwest Louisiana, also known as Acadiana, are just as much a part of daily life, as good music and good food. They are held year round, each with it's own theme. Mardi Gras in Lafayette, in February, is a huge, one- of- a- kind party, lasting several weeks. With it's many parades and lavish Mardi Gras balls, it is one of the best parties anywhere.

Festival International de Louisiane, held in downtown Lafayette, each April , celebrates music, art, and food and plays host to performing, visual, and culinary artists from all over the world. The five day festival attracts thousands upon thousands of visitors, all looking to take part in the 6 music stages and the delectable cuisine, and many other multi-cultural activities.

Festival le Acadiens', also held in Lafayette, is a grand celebration of the Acadian French culture. Mark your calendar for October for this three day festival which features the best in Cajun cuisine and has been dubbed "A Cajun Woodstock". They are all an absolute blast! Hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One of Those Days

Have you ever had "one of those days"? Sure, everyone has them. I was out doing a little shopping this afternoon and when I got back in my car, it wouldn't start. I made several calls, for help, but no one was available. Fortunately, I was right in front of two restaurants, so while I was waiting for the tow truck, which was 1 1/2 hours, I had a nice little lunch and called everyone I could think of.

By this time, I was wishing that I had bought that Blackberry. I kept hoping that a man with a big truck who knew how to fix cars would pop up. No such luck. When the tow truck guy finally arrived, I had to ride with him to the mechanic's shop. There I left a note for the mechanic and hid the key under the mat, in the back seat. This way, I wouldn't have to get up at 7:00 am to bring him the key.

By this time, I was hot, tired and thristy and had to ask the tow truck guy for a ride home, too. Since I didn't want him to know exactly where I lived, I asked him to drop me off a few blocks away. Well, as soon as I walked about a half block down, it started to rain hard, then very hard.

And, of course, my umbrella was in my car. So when I arrived home, soaking wet, what else was there to do except take a nice hot shower and have a glass of wine or two and be thankful that I was alive. Cie la vie!