Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cajun Corn and Crab Soup + Bayou Boogie

After a week of temps in the 80's, we woke up to to near freezing temps this morning,  here in Cajun country. Thankfully, it's only going to last a day or two.  So I wanted to make a big pot of soup to warm up. Here's a Cajun favorite that is out of this world and just wonderful on a chilly day. It's rich and creamy flavors combine to make this dish sinfully delicious and will have you going back for more! Cest bon, cher! And so easy, too! Enjoy! Bon appetit!

Cajun Corn and Crab Soup
1 lb. lump crab meat, picked over
1 cup cooked ham, cubed
1 stick butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 or 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can cream style corn
2 cans cream of mushroom, with roasted garlic, soup
1 soup can milk
1 pint half and half
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. Cajun seasoning
Few good shakes of Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
Salt to taste
 
In large pot, saute onion, bell pepper, celery, and ham, in butter for about 10 minutes. Add soups and corn and stir and heat on low, until bubbly. Add the half and half, milk, crab, seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, parsley, and sherry. Stir to mix well.  Cover and simmer for 15 to 20  minutes, stirring occasionally. And don't skimp on the hot sauce! 
Serves 8  Serve with a big tossed salad and hot crusty rolls for a delightful meal!


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Bayou Boogie

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is dancing off all the calories to a little bayou boogie. Here are a few pics that I took at the Blue Moon Saloon and Guest House, one of my favorite haunts. 


The Blue Moon is well known as a live music and dance venue and is where visitors and locals alike, love to go to pass a good time. It is also a guest house and has rooms available to rent.


The dance floor is on the back porch, which they closed in, due to noise complaints from the neighbors. It is a rustic sort of place, (no air conditioning), with many interesting and vintage signs.


The restrooms are small, one person at a time, types, and the sink to wash your hands is unisex and located on the side. But you meet the nicest people in the long line.


Ryan Brunet and Les Malfacteurs were rockin' the crowd and there was a whole lotta dancing going on! I took this little clip and would like to dedicate it to mon cher ami, Mr. Photographer! This one's for you, cher! Let the good times roll! Oh, the life of a Cajun is so much fun!

Ryan Brunet and Les Malfacteurs


Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are having a fun and fabulous weekend!
Merci beaucoup for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Cajun Thanksgiving Delights

Just wanted to share a few last minute, easy and scrumptious Thanksgiving delights with you. These heavenly biscuits and muffins go perfectly with a turkey or ham dinner and are also fabulous, anytime! Cest bon, cher! 

Nanny's Sweet Potato Biscuits

1 cup cooked sweet potatoes
5 tbs.'s butter
4 tbs.'s sugar
2 cups sifted flour
4 tsp.'s baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk, more or less


In large bowl, add butter to hot cooked sweet potatoes and mash. Combine the dry ingredients in medium bowl, and add to the sweet potato mixture, mixing well. Add the milk, a little at a time, until the dough holds together well.  Roll out on a floured surface into 1/2 inch thickness and cut into rounds with a 3 inch biscuit cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Melt in your mouth good! 

 Cranberry-Orange Pecan Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp.'s baking powder
1/4 tsp.salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup orange juice
1 tbs. orange zest
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans


Sift together the flour, salt,and baking powder. In large bowl, beat oil, and sugar together, until light. Add egg and beat until smooth. Stir in orange juice and zest. Add flour mixture and stir until mixed. Fold in cranberries and pecans. Fill paper liners or greased muffins pans, 2/3 full. Bake @ 350 degrees for 20  minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Out of this world!

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! Merci beaucoup for stopping by and for all of your lovely comments!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More Cajun Thanksgiving Sides + A Cajun Waltz

With Thanksgiving only a few days away, it's crunch time, and time to finalize the menu, complete the shopping, polish the silverware, and start cooking the make-ahead dishes! When you're having 23 guests, you really can't start soon enough! Here are a few of my family's favorite side dishes that will please your guests and have them begging for the recipe, cher! Bon Appetit!

Nouveau Cajun String Bean Casserole

2 lbs. fresh green beans, (trimmed and cut in half)
1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 tbs.'s olive oil
4 strips bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup each onions, and red bell peppers, chopped
1 tbs. fresh thyme, chopped
Salt to taste
1 tbs. Cajun seasoning, divided
1 cup milk
3 tbs.'s butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Few shakes Tabasco sauce

Place string beans in boiling water in a large stock pot and boil for about 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a large greased, 3 qt. casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of the Cajun seasoning. In large skillet, saute the mushrooms, onions and bell peppers, in the olive oil, until soft. (about 10 minutes) Add bread crumbs and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add other half of Cajun seasoning, and thyme, mix well and set aside.

In large skillet, melt butter, and add green onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add flour and stir and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, and heat just to boiling. Continue stirring for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and add Tabasco.

Pour over string beans and stir gently to coat. Stir Parmesan cheese and bacon into bread crumb mixture and spread evenly over string bean mixture. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cest bon, cher! Serves 8

A fantastic alternative to the canned soup version! Enjoy!

******
Cajun Rice Dressing

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


In heavy skillet, on medium heat, brown the beef, pork, giblets, salt and Tabasco, and cook, stir and chop with large spoon, until browned. Drain excess oil and add the trinity, (onions, bell peppers, and celery), garlic, and remaining seasonings and stir fry for 10 minutes. 

Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth, stir, 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. Divinely delicious! Serves 6


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And here's another favorite dish that I've gotten a lot of requests for and even though it's already on my blog, I'm re-posting it here,  for those who don't have time to search the archives. It is perfect as a side dish or to stuff the bird with. Out of this world!

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
1/2 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. Out of this world!

Note *
Can also be used to stuff the turkey, but remember to immediately remove the stuffing from the turkey, when done,  and transfer to a buttered casserole dish. Keep warm until ready to serve, or cover with foil and refrigerate,  if making ahead, and heat in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, with foil on, when ready to serve.  Can also be made without the oysters. Increase chicken stock by 1 cup.

********
A Cajun Waltz
I've received a special request for a Cajun waltz from one of my dear blog buddies. Here's a little clip that I took of Wayne Toups and the Crowley Backstreet Boys, swaying the crowd at this year's Festival Acadiens, in October. Enjoy and let the good times roll, cher!


Hope that ya'll are all having a fabulous weekend! Merci beaucoup for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cajun Thanksgiving Desserts

I've been adding a few last minute items to my Thanksgiving dessert menu and wanted to share them with you. What would any Thanksgiving dessert table be without a scrumptious,  pumpkin pie? I've tried many versions of this delectable pie through the years and this is beyond the shadow of a doubt, my absolute favorite!  Handed down to me from my dear godmother, it's fabulous flavor is sure to please! Cest bon, cher! Enjoy!

Nanny's Praline-Pumpkin Pie

1 1/2 cups canned or fresh pumpkin 
1/2  cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 unbaked 9 inch, deep dish pie shell

Topping

1/3 cup pecan pieces
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbs.'s butter, softened


Beat eggs in large bowl with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients, and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until well blended. Pour into an unbaked 9 inch pie shell, which has been chilled. Cover edges of pie crust with foil.


Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare topping. After baking for 10 minutes, lower heat to 350 degrees and sprinkle topping over top of filling and continue baking for 50 to 55 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Serves 8 Sinfully delicious! Bon appetit!

(everyone's favorite)
Worth every calorie!
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And here is another family "must have" that is just out of this world! It's my grandmother's chocolate cake recipe, spiked with a little rum. I made this cake for my Dad's 89th birthday, last week, and everyone wants it again, for Thanksgiving. It just doesn't get any better than this, cher! One bite of this heavenly cake and you'll think you're in heaven!

Decadent Chocolate-Rum Cake

2 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp.'s baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup dark rum




Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pans with butter and dust with flour. Mix the 2 cups flour, cocoa, baking soda, powder, and salt until well blended. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, in large bowl with electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with milk, until blended. Stir in the rum. Pour into prepared pans, (I used a bundt pan) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans, and cool completely, before frosting.

Frosting
1 box (16 0z.'s) confectioners sugar
1 stick butter or margarine (softened)

4 heaping teaspoons cocoa
1/3 cup hot coffee
1 tbs. dark rum

Mix sugar, butter, and cocoa in medium bowl. Beat till smooth. Stir the rum into the hot coffee and slowly add coffee, adding a little at a time, until desired consistency. Divine!

(my Dad's favorite)
***************************************************************************
And just in case you missed my Thanksgiving menu post, you can find some of the other decadent desserts that I'll be serving, below. Cest bon, cher!

Click on title for recipe.

(my favorite)






















Chocolate Fudge Pecan Pie 
(my daughter's favorite) 
Can you tell that we love chocolate? What's your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
Stay tuned, I'll be sharing some mouth-watering, Thanksgiving sides, next!
Hope that ya'll are having a wonderful week! Merci beaucoup for coming by!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Slow Cooker Creole Chili + French Rockin' Boogie

We've been having glorious weather here in Cajun country, with warm and sunny days and cool nights. Some might call it Indian Summer, but we're supposed to get some rain, tomorrow, and then a cold front, so I thought that I would prepare a big pot of Slow Cooker Creole Chili to take the chill off. This recipe was given to me by a dear friend, many years ago, and it's spicy, smoky taste is one that you will love and long remember. Cest bon, cher!

 Slow Cooker Creole Chili

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 pkg. Andouille or other smoked sausage, diced
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup each, green and red bell peppers, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced, (tops included)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 or 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
or 1 15 oz. can diced  Rotel tomatoes w/green chilies, undrained
1  10.75 oz. can tomato puree
2  15 oz. cans tomato sauce
1  15 oz. can Ranch Style Beans w/Jalapenos
2   tbs.'s Worcestershire sauce
1  envelope "hot" chili seasoning mix
1  tbs. or more Creole seasoning (recipe below)
Salt and hot sauce to taste

In large skillet, brown the ground beef and sausage and drain excess oil. In 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 qt. slow cooker, stir together all of the other ingredients and mix well. Add the browned meat mixture and mix well again. Cover and cook on low heat for 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 to 5 hours. Serves 8 Serve with a big tossed salad and cornbread muffins. Cest bon cher! Enjoy!



I am entering this chili in the Texas Star Chili Cook-Off .

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

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For my cornbread muffin recipe, click here.
Although I sometimes use a variety of commercial Cajun and Creole seasonings, I also like to make my own. Here's a recipe for one of my Creole seasoning blends that I used in this recipe. I like to make up batches of my own seasonings and store in airtight containers to use as needed. The heat and salt can be adjusted to your own taste.

Creole Seasoning Blend # 2
2 tbs.'s salt
2 tbs.'s onion powder
2 tbs.'s garlic powder
2 tbs.'s paprika
1 tbs. cayenne pepper
1 tbs. black pepper
1 tbs. chili powder
1 tbs. celery flakes
1 tbs. dried thyme

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until well blended.
Store in air tight container and pour into a shaker, and use as needed.

Note: For a milder version, cayenne pepper may be cut to 1 tsp.
Also, salt may be reduced by half, for those on low salt diets.

****************************************************************************
I've had a a few requests for some Zydeco music and here's a little clip that I took of Cajun country's favorite Zydeco dance band, Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie, rockin' the crowd at the Bayou Vermilion Festival in October. Crank it up for this one, cher and let the good times roll!

 Geno Delafose French Rockin' Boogie

video

Hope ya'll are having a fun and fantastic weekend! Merci beaucoup for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cajun Thanksgiving Faves + More Cajun Fun!

With only a little over two weeks until Thanksgiving, I've been tweaking my menu and have come up with a list of my family's "must have" faves. Of course, the list includes some of the time honored recipes handed down from my dear mother, aunts, and grandmother, and a few newer dishes, just to keep things interesting. I'll be adding more as the big day gets closer and will be posting lots more recipes, so stay tuned! 

Thanksgiving Menu, so far! (click on titles for recipes)


Cajun Smoked Turkey w/ Giblet Gravy *

Jalapeno Cornbread Dressing * Creole Rice Dressing * Cajun Oyster Stuffing 

 Brandied Sweet Potatoes * String Bean Casserole * Cajun Corn Casserole *

  Sweet Potato Biscuits * Buttermilk-Sage Cornbread Muffins

Pumpkin Bread Pudding w/Chocolate-Bourbon Sauce* Grandma's Chocolate Cake *

Marguerite's Pecan Pie

All sinfully delicious, cher, but I wanted to share this fabulous sweet potato recipe that is one of my Dad's favorites. It's simple and easy and goes well with chicken, pork, or ham, too.
Bon appetit!

Brandied Sweet Potatoes

2 - 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cane or maple syrup
1/4 cup water
3 tbs.'s brandy
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Place sweet potatoes in large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender, but firm. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet on low heat. Stir in the brown sugar, brandy, maple syrup, water, and salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the sweet potatoes and stir gently to coat. Place in a buttered casserole dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes, basting with sauce, half way through. ! Out of this world, cher!

********
The Giant Omelette Festival
It was another great weekend in Cajun country, with beautiful Fall weather and loaded with lots of fabulous Cajun food, music, and fun! We headed over to Abbeville, on Sunday, for the 26th annual Giant Omelette Festival. The Confrerie d' Abbeville were cracking the 5,000 eggs for the giant omelette, when we arrived.


And the Tabasco dance troop was entertaining the crowd.


There was a fantastic musical line-up, arts and crafts show , and food booths galore!


This was my favorite booth of all! I couldn't resist a crab and shrimp pie and some crawfish fettuccini.


Then it was finally time to make the giant omelette, in a 12 foot skillet, set up in the middle of town. Fifty pounds of the Cajun trinity, butter and crawfish went into this one-of-a-kind omelette, which was then served to the crowd in bowls, in individual servings! Le bon mange!


Here's a little clip I took of the giant omelette being cooked with the Fa Tras Band, playing in the background. What a blast! Only in Louisiana, cher!

video

Hoping ya'll are having a wonderful week! Merci for stopping by!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jalapeno Cornbread Dressing + Weekend Fun

It's that time of year again, to begin planning my Thanksgiving menu. Here is one of my favorite sides that is requested again and again, by my family, year after year. This recipe is my mother's basic recipe for cornbread dressing, but with a few tweaks, making a fabulous recipe even better. It's a scrumptious side dish that goes well with a ham, as well. When I tell you that it is "to die for", cher, then you know that I mean it! 

Jalapeno Cornbread Dressing

Dressing Mix
1lb. 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 or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
Salt and Tabasco to taste

1tbs. Cajun seasoning, divided
2 tbs.'s Worcestershire sauce

In a large Dutch oven, brown beef and pork with 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning. When meat is browned, skim excess oil and return to heat and add Worcestershire sauce. Add the Cajun trinity, jalapenos, and garlic, and stir over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add beef broth or stock, and other tsp. Cajun seasoning, and cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add salt and Tabasco to taste. Meanwhile, make the cornbread, which can also be made a day ahead.


Jalapeno Cornbread


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
1 tsp. salt

1 tbs. sugar
1 can cream style corn

1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped


In a large bowl, beat the buttermilk, eggs and oil until well blended. In separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together and add to the wet mixture. Mix well and stir in the corn and jalapenos. Pour into a greased cast iron skillet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into 8 pieces.

Crumble cornbread pieces into dressing mix and blend gently until desired consistency is reached. Transfer to a baking pan, top with pats of butter and heat through, before serving. Out of this world, with turkey gravy, too ! Serves 8. Bon appetit!

**********
Weekend Fun!


We had a total blast at this week's T.G.I.F. block party, last night, in downtown Lafayette. There was a nip in the air, and it was a bit chillier than it has been, but still a very nice evening for the continuing Downtown Alive, Fall concert series. The series will continue through Nov. 26th.


One of my favorite bands, Lil' Band of Gold, was entertaining the crowd with their special brand of rock n' roll and swamp pop music.This band is comprised of some of the best musicians that Acadiana has to offer, and were really rockin' the crowd. And there was a whole lotta jitter-bugging going on!


A few jitterbugs on the dance floor and off came the jackets. I was able to get this little clip, before my camera batteries died! Tomorrow, I'll be going to the Giant Omelette Festival, in my hometown of Abbeville, where chefs from all over the world will unite to make a 5,000 egg and crawfish omelette! Guaranteed to be a blast! Oh the life of a Cajun is so much fun! Lassiez les bon ton rouler, cher!

Lil' Band of Gold


Hope you all have a fun and fabulous weekend! Merci beaucoup for coming by!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Baked Chicken w/ Beer Rice + Bayou Boogie

Here's a family favorite that's sure to please and so easy for those busy days. It's sweet and spicy flavors will delight your taste buds and have you going back for more!  My son loves this dish and had two big plates! Serve with Beer Rice, (recipe below), a big tossed salad, and hot, crusty French rolls to mop up the sweet and spicy sauce. Out of this world! Le bon manger', cher!



Sweet and Spicy Baked Chicken
2 lbs. chicken pieces, (thighs, breasts, legs)
1 tbs. or more Cajun seasoning
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Tabasco to taste

Season chicken pieces, with salt and Cajun seasoning in large baking pan. Shake on Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, on each piece,
cover with foil,  and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

 Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup 
1/2 cup salsa,  jarred or homemade
1/4 cup water
1 cup orange marmalade
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp.. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. paprika

1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce

Combine all of the above ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 2o minutes, stirring often. If sauce is too thick, add a little water.

Meanwhile, bake the chicken in a 350 degree oven, for 10 minutes on each side, to brown. Then, pour sauce over chicken and bake for 15 more minutes. Turn and baste other side with some of the sauce and bake for 15 more minutes. Cest bon, cher! Enjoy!

 *******
 Beer Rice

1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups boiling water
2 chicken bouillion cubes
1 bottle (12 0z.) beer,  (I used Corona)
1 1/2 cups raw rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning



Dissolve bouillion cubes in boiling water in large saucepan. Stir in everything else and bring to a second boil.  Lower heat, cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed.

*******
Here' a little clip that I took at Festival Acadiens,  in October. Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys were rockin' the crowd at the La Salle de Danse tent. Several  friends of mine were really cutting the rug. This one's for you, Nancy! Let the good times roll, cher!

Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys


Hope ya'll are having a wonderful week! Merci for stopping by!