Friday, March 27, 2009

Oh Big Fun on the Bayou!

The threat of severe thunderstorms could not stop the crowd that was at the T.G.I.F party in downtown Lafayette today. We started with the Bach Lunch at noon with music by Corey Ledet and His Zydeco band and a delicious seafood lunch catered by Stan's Downtown. After the concert we headed over to Artmosphere for a little R and R and a chocolate martini. They have the most divine chocolate martinis there. It was about 4 pm when we heard that tonight's Downtown Alive had been cancelled due to inclement weather expected. The weather looked fine to me;  80 degrees and sunny. 

So we had to change plans and decided to head over to Randol's Restaurant and Dancehall for some Cajun dancing and boiled crawfish. By this time it was raining lightly but no biggie, as we're accustomed to torrential rain, at times. After dancing a while, our dinner came; seafood gumbo and crab dip for starters. And boiled crawfish and a seafood platter for finishers. Ca cest' bon, cher! 

 And tomorrow, we will be going to a special edition Bach Lunch concert from 4 to 10 pm, in Parc Sans Souci, in downtown Lafayette. In celebration of the 21st anniversary of Bach Lunch, there will be an incredible triple header concert with Les Freres Michot, Cedric Watson and Creole Bijou and Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars, entertaining the crowd at this great show. Don't miss it! Oh, the life of a Cajun! Let the good times roll!

Corey Ledet and His Zydeco Band

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's Festival Time in Cajun Country !

After our morning pot of Community Coffee and crawfish omelette, we decided to head out and find some fun. Finding fun on a beautiful spring day in Louisiana is not hard to do. After a short pleasant drive through the country, we arrived at our destination in nearby St. Martinville. There was a very special festival going on, The Acadian Memorial Festival.

The 5th Annual Acadian Memorial Festival was in full swing and celebrating and honoring our Acadian French ancestors. Their bravery, loyalty, and dedication to perserving the Acadian culture has prevailed and the "joie de vivre'', (joy of living) carries on, evident in the unique food, music, and language of the area. Today, our ancestors were honored with a re-creation of the Acadians in exile, arriving on the Bayou Teche in the 1700's.

Descendants of the original settlers were dressed in period dress, as they paddled down the Bayou Teche and came ashore right behind the famed Evangeline oak tree. After this awesome re-inactment, there was a fais do do (street dance) with lots of dancing to the Cajun sounds of Moi-J'aime-ca-Comme -Ca (I Like-It-Like-That).

Oh and did I mention the wonderful food at this festival? Old time Cajun dishes, such as jambalaya, boudin, and bread pudding were served, along with a crawfish boil. Craft demonstrations and an art and antique car exhibition rounded out this great festival. Just the beginning of the 2009' spring festival season in Cajun Country! And you know what that means. Let the Good Times Roll, cher!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hot and Spicy Crab Stuffed Jalapenos

Spice is what it's all about in Cajun cooking. Peppers of all sorts play a large roll in the Acadian French cuisine. The cayenne pepper is perhaps the favorite, with the Tabasco pepper, sharing in equal popularity, among chefs. The jalapeno pepper is used, just as much, if not more, for those who like it hot. And last but not least, is the bell pepper, which adds a spicy sweetness to just about any Cajun dish. Garlic is also huge and considered an essential ingredient. This spicy Cajun favorite can be served as an appetizer or as an entree with a tossed salad and French bread.

Crab Stuffed Jalapenos

5 ounces cream cheese
3 ounces of grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces lump crab meat
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 green onion, chopped fine
juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt to taste
12 large jalapenos, seeded and cut in half
Blanche the jalapenos in a large pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds
Plunge into ice water and drain.
Combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, crab meat,onions, salt, and lemon juice
in a medium sized bowl. Mix well.
Fill the jalapenos and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Hot, spicy and delicious. Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chocolate Bread Pudding w/ Praline Sauce

With all of the rain we've been having, I've been having an "envie" (Cajun for craving) for a little something sweet. When I woke up this morning, my envie got stronger and I decided to make this decadent dessert for guests that I am having over for dinner, tonight. Of course, I couldn't wait until after dinner to indulge, so I decided to sample it for breakfast with some extra strong Community coffee. Oh, so good, cher!  Community Coffee

Chocolate Bread Pudding

1 stick butter
1 loaf French bread, torn into small pieces
1 large can Pet milk
4 semi-sweet chocolate squares, chopped
4 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. almond extract

Melt butter in large heavy pot on medium heat. Add bread, and stir constantly until golden. Place mixture in a buttered 13x9 inch baking dish and set aside.

Bring milk to a boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and blend till smooth. Add eggs, brown sugar,and almond extract. Pour mixture over bread mixture, blend gently and let stand for 15 minutes. Cover with vented foil and bake at 325 degrees, for 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Let cool and serve with warm praline sauce. Serves 8

Praline Sauce
1 cup light brown sugar
1 small can Pet milk
2 tbs.'s butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Combine brown sugar, milk, vanilla, and butter in heavy saucepan. Cook and stir on low heat until smooth. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Serve warm over bread pudding.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bach Lunch Returns

Springtime in Acadiana means fun time! With the beautiful weather we've been having, it's a great time to get out and enjoy everything that Acadiana has to offer. The spring concert series for the popular Bach Lunch series has begun. It is held every Friday, through May 1st, at Parc Sans Souci in downtown Lafayette. The music for this week's concert will be provided by Hunter Hayes, and the boxed lunches will be served by Hub City Diner, Poupart's Bakery, and Tsunami Sushi, for $6.00 each. Jump start your weekend and come on down to Bach Lunch for a delightful TGIF lunch and concert, especially all of you who get off work at noon, on Friday. ( a Lafayette tradition) The bands perform from noon to 1 p.m. and the lunches are served from 11:15 am till sold out. In case of rain, Bach Lunch will be held at the Lafayette Natural History Museum and Planetarium. For a complete schedule, click here.

And don't forget to be sure and catch the first Downtown Alive of the spring season, also this Friday, March 13th. T.K. Hulin and Smoke w/ special guest, Charlene Howard will play the best Louisiana swamp pop and rock n' roll music that you've heard in ages. Click here for a complete Downtown Alive schedule. And if you're looking for a fun festival to go to this weekend, The 10th annual Catfish Festival will be going on in Washington, La. With an incredible entertainment line up, this year's festival will include Rockin' Dopsie and The Zydeco Boogie, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, and Keith Frank and the Soileau Family Band and many others. And of course, tons of delicious catfish prepared a mulitude of ways. See ya'll there! Let the Good Times Roll!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fried Oyster Poboys

There's really nothing quite like an oyster poboy from Dupuy's Oyster Shop, in Abbeville, La. Cest bon! Tasty bay oysters, seasoned and fried to perfection on crusty French bread with lettuce tomato, and Creole tartar sauce. Dupuy's has been in the oyster business since 1869, and oysters are it's specialty. One bite of this delicious sandwich and you will understand why. Legend has it that when gentlemen of 19th century New Orleans spent a night carousing in the French Quarter, they would bring an oyster poboy home to their wives as a peace offering. And these are so easy to make at home, too! Le Bon Manger'! Enjoy!

 Fried Oyster Poboys

2 pints shucked oysters
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 eggs
1 cup Pet milk
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
2 cups fine French bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
6 tbs.'s butter, melted

2 loaves French bread
2 tomatoes, sliced
Shredded lettuce

Season oysters 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 oysters in the flour, then in the egg mixture.
Then roll the oysters in the breadcrumbs.
Arrange on large platter and chill for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare French bread with tartar sauce.

Cut each loaf in half, horizontally. Scoop out the doughy part of the center and baste each loaf with butter. Place on a baking sheet and bake @ 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Place vegetable oil about 3 inches deep in a large, heavy skillet. Heat until oil reaches 375 degrees. Deep fry the oysters, in batches, turning after 3 minutes, on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Brush inside of each loaf with Creole tartar sauce and add lettuce and tomato. Arrange oysters, 12 on each loaf and cut in halves. Serves 4 Enjoy! Cest bon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Almost Time for Downtown Alive!

The 25th anniversary series for Downtown Alive continues ,with the first show of the 2009' spring season, on Friday, March 13, in Downtown Lafayette. With great bands like Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Marcia Ball, and The Lil' Buck Sinegal Band, your Friday nights are guaranteed to be a blast. The music starts at 6:00 pm and various vendors will be cooking your favorite Jambalaya and Shrimp Po' Boys, as usual. Cold beverages will also be available for sale. Come on out and get into the festival spirit, because we have another big one coming up in April, (Festival International) and in May, (The Crawfish Festival!) and don't forget Jazz Fest, in New Orleans. Hope that ya'll have recouped from Mardi Gras, by now, because there is so much more to come! Let the good times roll!

Clip from the fall DTA series. (Roddie Romero the Hub City Allstars)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spicy Cajun Chili w/ Cornbread Muffins

Here is a great recipe to make on a cold day. It is absolutely delicious and satisfies the soul. When the latest cold front came in, I decided to make a big pot of chili and a batch of cornbread muffins. Serve with a big salad, a scoop of rice, and maybe a beer or two. Garnish with green onions Cest bon! Enjoy!

Spicy Cajun Chili
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. lean ground pork
1 can chili beans or pintos
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 tsp's minced garlic
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can tomato puree
2 small cans tomato sauce.
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 pkg. chili seasoning mix
2 tbsp.'s Cajun seasoning (divided)
Salt and hot sauce to taste
1 bunch green onions, sliced

In large cast iron skillet, brown the meat and remove excess oil. On medium heat , add the onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic and 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning and chili seasoning. Stir and cook until veggies get soft, then add the Worcestershire sauce, and Rotel tomatoes. Lower heat and cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add tomato puree sauce, beans, and 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning, and bring to a boil. Stir well and simmer on low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally. Serves 6 Bon Appetit!

For my Cornbread Muffin recipe, click here.