Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cajun Sausage Cornbread + Jalapeno Hash Brown Casserole













Here are a few of my favorite Easter brunch sides that I will be making for friends and family, this year. These great breakfast/ brunch casseroles are just fabulous and are wonderful for anytime of year. The first one, is a meal in itself and you will not be able to stop eating it! Cest bon, cher! Enjoy!

Cajun Sausage Cornbread

2 links Andouille sausage, diced 

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2 tsp.'s minced garlic
 

2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tbs.'s Cajun seasoning, divided
1 can cream-style corn

Brown sausage, onions, and garlic in heavy skillet, until brown. Drain and sprinkle with half of the Cajun seasoning, mix well and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the buttermilk, eggs, and oil. Stir in the remaining ingredients and stir until blended. Then fold in the sausage/ veggie mixture. Mix well and pour into a buttered, 3 quart baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Oh, the flavors are so sinfully good, cher!
Bon Appetit!


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Jalapeno-Hash Brown Casserole

1 (32 ounce) package of frozen, Southern-style hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 cups shredded, pepper jack or cheddar cheese
1/2 cup green onions and tops, sliced thin
1/2 cup or more pickled jalapeno slices
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 (8 oz.) container light sour cream
1 can cream of cream of mushroom w/ roasted garlic, soup, undiluted
1/4 cup milk
1 tbs. Creole seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. paprika
Few shakes Tabasco
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients, except paprika, in large bowl and mix well. Add milk to desired consistency and pour into a 13x9 baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with paprika and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until bubbly and brown. So rich and delish, cher. Le Bon Manger!


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If anyone tries one of these recipes, please let me know how it turned out. I just love it when someone cooks one of my recipes and lets me know that they enjoyed it. Next, I will be sharing some great Easter appetizers and desserts with ya'll. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spicy Shrimp Creole + A Fun Cajun Lunch!


It was such a beautiful Spring day, yesterday, that I decided to take a ride to Delcambre, Louisiana and buy some fresh shrimp, right off the docks. Delcambre is the "shrimp capital of the world", for real! The shrimp were on sale and I couldn't resist buying 10 lbs. of the beautiful fresh shrimp that are sold there. I figured that I would freeze these beauties in 2 lb. bags and use, as needed. When I arrived home, my dear son requested that I cook a Shrimp Creole, so that settled it for the first 2 lbs., for dinner last night. This spicy dish is bursting with flavor and can be served over rice, or with your favorite pasta. Add a big tossed salad, a good loaf of French bread, and a glass of wine, for a delicious meal that will delight your guests. Cest bon, cher! Bon Appetit!


Marguerite's Shrimp Creole

2 lbs. medium shrimp
2 tbs.'s
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper , chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp.'s garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, chopped, (including tops)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 16 oz. can finely diced canned tomatoes
1 8 0z. can of roasted garlic tomato sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbs.'s lemon juice
2 tbs.'s Creole or Cajun seasoning, divided
2 or 3 bay leaves
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Tabasco to taste

Squeeze lemon juice on shrimp and season with 1 tbs. Creole or Cajun seasoning. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet, over medium heat. Add
onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, and saute for 5 minutes. Add seasoned shrimp and saute for 5 more minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, white wine, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in green onions , parsley and Worcestershire sauce, cover and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cest bon, cher! Enjoy!

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T.G.I.F Fun at Bach Lunch!

Another picture perfect day, in Cajun country, with not a cloud in the sky! We headed down to the weekly Bach Lunch, at Parc Sans Souci, in downtown Lafayette. And yes, we do this every Friday, at noon, and then come back, every Friday night for Downtown Alive!! We found a happy crowd, enjoying the hot Cajun band, "The Saint Street Aces" and three different boxed lunches from several local eateries. There were a lot of children at today's Bach Lunch, and they were cutting the rug, as well. 


Merci beaucoup for stopping by, mon amis! Ya'll are the best!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Easter Brunch Preview + Cajun Seasoning Blend

Spring has definitely sprung in Cajun country and I am enjoying every minute of it! Everywhere you look, there is a magnificent display of colorful blooms. My Feng Shui, tip of the day, said to hang a plant to the left of the front door, (looking in), for good luck and prosperity. I went to my local nursery and bought this beautiful red geranium to comply with this tip. I have also started to plan my Easter brunch, which is suddenly, only 10 days away! So far, this is what I have and I will be sharing some of these fabulous recipes with you, in the week ahead. If you have a favorite Cajun dish that you would like to see on this list, please let me know! Merci beaucoup, cher!

Happy Spring , Ya'll


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This year's Easter Brunch will include:


Cajun Crawfish Dip
Shrimp Remoulade
Nanny's Eggs Benedict
Creole Sausage Cornbread
Spinach & Mushroom Quiche
Jalapeno-Hash Brown Casserole
Cajun Baked Ham w/ Sugarcane Glaze
Croissant Bread Pudding w/ Bourbon Sauce
Lemon-Chocolate Bundt Cake w/ Chocolate Sauce
Cajun Bloody Marys


And who knows what else?!


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Cajun Seasoning Blend #1

Here is a recipe for one of my favorite Cajun seasoning blends. It has just the right combination of flavors, for most Cajun dishes. I use a wide variety of prepared and homemade spices and I love to make my own blends. So, whether you're in Canada, England, or right here in Cajun Country, you can make your own, too. Enjoy!

3 tbs.'s salt
3 tbs.'s garlic powder
3 tbs.'s onion powder
3 tbs.'s paprika
1 tbs. cayenne pepper
1 tbs. black pepper
1 tbs. dried parsley
1 tbs. dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix well. Store in an airtight container and use, as needed. Makes 1/2 cup.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shrimp Poboys + T.G.I.F. w/ The Pineleaf Boys !

Here's a Cajun favorite that is my absolute fave, too! One bite of this sinfully delicious poboy will send you into orbit, cher! When I tell you that these are fabulous, then you know that I mean it! And so easy to make, for those busy days. The delicious blending of flavors of the succulent, crispy shrimp and the poboy spread is so divine! Bon Appetit!

First, make the spread.

Marguerite's Creole Poboy Spread

Combine:
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup creole or Dijon mustard
1 tbs. ketchup
1 tbs. pickle relish
1 tbs.. horseradish
few shakes sea salt
few shakes Tabasco

Stir until well blended and chill for 30 minutes, while frying shrimp.

Fried Shrimp Poboys

1 lb. peeled and diveined shrimp (24 ct.)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, combined with 1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
2 cups fine French bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

1 loaf French bread, 1 tomato, sliced, shredded lettuce, Creole poboy spread

Season shrimp with the pepper, rubbing on all sides. In shallow bowl,whisk the eggs, then add the Pet milk and the salt. Spread the flour on one cookie sheet and the bread crumbs on another. Roll shrimp in the flour, then in the egg mixture. Then roll the shrimp in the breadcrumbs. Arrange on large platter and chill for 15 minutes.

Place vegetable oil about 3 inches deep in a large, heavy skillet. Heat until oil reaches 375 degrees. Deep fry the shrimp, in batches, turning after 3 minutes, on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Brush inside of the loaf with my Creole Spread, and add lettuce and tomato. Arrange shrimp on French bread and cut in half. Serves 2 Enjoy!

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T.G.I.F. and Happy Spring!

We started out at Agave', for happy hour, before crossing over to Parc Sans Souci, where "The Pine Leaf Boys" were playing their spicy style of Cajun music. The crowd was rockin' and ready to dance off some stress, that had been building up all week, at work.

And there was some nitty-gritty dancin' going on, cher! My Dad says, "It should be a law that everyone in the country should go out and have fun on Fridays! And he is 88 years young! There were 3 generations, all dancing next to each other, at this fun weekly event, in downtown Lafayette.



I took a little video clip, and I apologize again, for the poor quality of the audio. I have decided that it must be the camera, so I am shopping for a new camera.
Please TURN YOUR VOLUME TO LOW, before viewing. Let the good times roll!

video

Wishing ya'll a happy first day of Spring and a fun and fabulous weekend!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Signs of Spring ! + Spicy Cajun "Dirty Rice"

Signs of spring are everywhere, in Cajun Country and it is a delight to drive around, especially if you are in a convertible! The better to feast your eyes on the bursting forth of Spring and with a full view of the sky, too. I took this pic while stopped at the red light, where I spend a large amount of time waiting. Fortunately, this house on the corner, has a nice yard and garden, so there is always something beautiful to look at while waiting for the light to turn green. Finally, Spring is here! Hope that ya'll get to get out there and enjoy it!

This tulip tree is almost in full bloom.

And the cherry trees are starting to bloom.

This one is in full bloom!


Here is a wonderful dish that goes well with so many things. This is a special recipe that has been handed down for generations, in my family. It compliments a beef roast, ham, or chicken dish, perfectly and is easy to make. Known as "Dirty Rice", or rice dressing and it is almost always on the Cajun table, and is especially good with Barbeque. Enjoy!



Spicy Cajun "Dirty Rice" Dressing


1 cup onions, chopped fine
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped fine
2 tsp's minced garlic
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound lean ground pork
(or 1 lb. lean ground beef)
1/4 lb. chicken giblets, chopped (optional)
Salt and Tabasco, to taste
1 tbs. or more, Cajun seasoning
2 tbs's Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 bunch green onions, chopped, including tops
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
3 cups cooked rice

First, make a light roux.


2 tbls.'s flour
2 tbls.'s vegetable oil


Brown the flour in the oil in heavy skillet and stir constantly until it is a medium brown. (about 10 minutes) Lower heat and add the vegetables and garlic and stir for 5 minutes, adding a little bit of water, if needed, to prevent sticking.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. remove from heat and set aside.


In separate large, heavy frying pan, cook the beef, pork, and giblets and stir and cook until browned. Drain excess oil and add the Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, and prepared roux,  mix well,  and cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Stir in the green onions and parsley and cook for 10 more minutes. Cut heat off and add the cooked rice and gently stir until well blended. Add a few shakes of Tabasco if you want it spicy. Delicious! Serves 6

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Many thanks to all of you who have commented and emailed me with advice on how to fix a problem that I've been having for about a week, now. Wishing ya'll many lovely Springtime moments! Merci beaucoup for stopping by!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chocolate Fudge Pecan Pie + Bayou Boogie!

Here is one of my all time, decadent, faves! This wonderful recipe has been adapted from the "Talk About Good II" cookbook, compiled by the Junior League of Lafayette. My lovely daughter made this one, as a surprise for me. This heavenly Cajun treat is served on many occasions, but I call this my "company pie". Guaranteed to have your guests coming back for more and begging for the recipe! Just fabulous, cher! And it is one of the easiest to make.
C'est bon! Enjoy!

Chocolate Fudge Pecan Pie


4 whole eggs
2 cups sugar
3 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/4 lb. butter
1 tsp. almond extract
pinch of salt
1 cup pecans
1 unbaked pie shell

Break eggs into a large bowl and stir in sugar. Melt chocolate and butter, in small bowl, and add to the egg and sugar mixture. Add almond extract, salt, and pecans. Mix well, and pour into pie shell and bake 55 to 60 minutes @ 350 degrees. Serves 6-8 Top with whipped cream! Yum! Bon Appetit!


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It was a beautiful Spring evening at the kick-off to the Downtown Alive Spring concert series,on Friday night! G.G. Shin, Steve Adams and their smoking hot band, Smoke, with special guest, Charlene Howard were reving it up! "Swamp Pop" kings, and in their own right, this fabulous band was getting down, cher and rockin the crowd! Swamp Pop is a Cajun style of music that was very popular in the 60's and is still very popular, today.

Swamp Pop music takes you back in time to a much simpler time. Especially the slow songs!

I took this video clip, but the audio turned out horrible, (not sure why)! So please
TURN YOUR VOLUME DOWN or OFF, if you want to watch it! The crowd was jammin', and doing a fast jitterbug! Let the good times roll, cher!

video


Wishing all of you a beautiful Spring week! Have a bon ton, cher!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Time for Spring , Downtown Alive, & Bach Lunch !


Spring is finally here and it feels fabulous! And it's time, once again, for Downtown Alive! The 26th annual Downtown Alive Spring concert series will kick off on Friday, March 12, from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, at Parc International, in downtown Lafayette. It will run, on Fridays, through June 4th. This is the best T.G.I.F. block party that you will ever attend, with lots of great Cajun music, food, and fun! After the coldest and longest winter on record, this year's, Spring DTA will be especially sweet. Come on out and enjoy the beautiful weather and fantastic sounds of G.G. Shinn, Steve Adams and Smoke, w/ special guest Charlene Howard, playing their special, spicy brand of Swamp Pop and rock n' roll music. Let the good times roll, cher

Les Freres Michot
Also on tap for Friday is the second Bach Lunch of the Spring season. Get out of the office and start your weekend off right and make it down to Parc Sans Souci, for a delicious boxed lunch from three of our wonderful local restaurants, and the traditional Cajun sounds of Les Freres Michot. Lunches will be served from 11:30 am till sold out. Bach Lunch will run on Fridays, from 11:30 am till 1:00pm. through May .

And if you would rather dance now and eat later, you could always dine at one of our great downtown restaurants. My favorite Friday lunch spots are The Filling Station and Agave'. May I suggest the shrimp or crawfish stuffed avocado at The Filling Station or the Fiesta Salad at Agave' Mexican Grill and Cantina. And while you're there, be sure and sample one of their divine frozen Margaritas! Cest bon, cher! Cheers!



Wishing you all a fab weekend, filled with good times and fun! Merci beaucoup for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cajun Grilled Catfish - Topped w/ Crabmeat & Portobello Mushrooms

We are headed toward Spring in Cajun Country and there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel of this very unusual winter. Forecasters are saying that we are going into the upper 60's to mid 70's, by the weekend! And that means grilling up some fabulous catfish, topped w/ crabmeat! Woo-hoo! This is one of my favorite Lenten suppers, especially when I'm in a low-cal mood! The subtle blending of flavors in this scrumptious dish, will have you going back for more. And so easy, for those busy days. Serve with steamed veggies, and French bread. Cest bon, cher!

Grilled Catfish Topped w/Crabmeat
and Portobello Mushrooms


1 lb. catfish fillets, cleaned
1/2 lb. fresh lump crab meat
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup each minced onion and bell pepper
1 tsp.minced garlic
1/2 cup baby portabello mushrooms, sliced
2 tbs.'s Cajun seasoning
1 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
Juice of 1 lemon

 


Season catfish, with 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning
Baste with 1/2 of the lemon juice. Melt butter in skillet, and add garlic, onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes. Add breadcrumbs, parsley, crab meat and other tbs. Cajun seasoning. Stir and saute for about 1o minutes. Place portabello mushrooms and then crabmeat mixture on catfish fillets
and place on a grill pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Top with more crabmeat, and dot with butter and add remaining remaining lemon juice. Grill on medium heat, for 15 to 20 minutes or until firm. Out of this world! Bon Appetit!
Too cold to grill? No worries, just place prepared catfish in a baking pan, sprayed with cooking spray and bake @350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Enjoy!