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


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 !