Monday, February 28, 2011

Mardi Gras Jambalaya + Cajun Pooch Parade

Here are a few more Mardi Gras delights that I will be serving at my Mardi Gras party. This mouthwatering  jambalaya is out of this world and when I tell you that it's fabulous, then you know that I mean it, cher! Ca cest bon! Enjoy!

Mardi Gras Jambalaya

2 tbs.'s olive oil
1 lb. large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
2 links Andouille sausage, sliced

1 cup cooked ham, cubed
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup, each, of "the trinity", (onions, celery, and bell peppers), chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 cups seafood or chicken stock
1 can diced Rotel tomatoes w/ green chilies
, drained (mild or hot)
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cups uncooked rice

1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. to 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning (depending on how hot you like it)
Tabasco to taste

In a large heavy pot, saute the sausage and ham,  in the olive oil,  for 1o minutes. Add the seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, and trinity, and cook, while stirring, for 5 more minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the shrimp, tomatoes, parsley, and seafood stock and bring to a boil.  Add the rice and tomato sauce,  lower heat, stir, and simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered. Then cover and simmer on low, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir gently before serving. Serves 6 Bon Appetit!

Confetti Cornbread Muffins

1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all purpose flour
4 tsp.'s baking powder
1/4 tsp.baking soda
1 tsp.salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups "no fat" or regular buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 (7 1/2 oz.) can Green Giant Mexi-Corn

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In separate bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, eggs, and vegetable oil, and beat well. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just blended. Stir in the Mexi-Corn and jalapenos and blend well. Let batter rest for 5 minutes and pour into prepared muffin cups or paper liners. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 2 dozen. Fab!

Pooch Parade

Mardi Gras parades began in Lafayette, on Saturday, with the Krewe de Chiens Parade,
(French for krewe of dogs), better known as the Pooch Parade. It was a glorious afternoon, 80 degrees and mostly sunny, and a record crowd turned out to watch this doggie bonanza. (click to enlarge)

Here were a few of my faves. Here is King Gumbo XIII, aka/Tug. He looks as though he could care less about the thousands of folks who are cheering as he passes by!

And there was an assortment of all different breeds, proudly walked by their owners, as they tossed beads to the crowd.

Next up was Fergus, riding in costume on the back of a vintage convertible on a royal cushion. At least he was smiling and seemed to be enjoying himself.

This next little Beagle seemed to be looking right at me, as I almost knocked two people down, trying to snap his photo. His owner had a bead rig and had a matching costume.

This little pup was loving every second of the applause and seemed to know that it was all for him or her. And a wagon fit for royalty. Only in Lafayette!

Hope that ya'll have a wonderful, happy week! Lots more fun to come, so stay tuned!
Merci beaucoup for coming by! Happy Mardi Gras!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mardi Gras Party Preview + Time for Parades !

It's time for Mardi Gras and time to put the finishing touches on my seafood buffet menu and purchase the wine and spirits. This is my favorite party of the year and it is so much fun! Guests will be coming in costumes and the party food, drinks, decorations, and favors will all have a Mardi Gras theme. This is what my menu looks like, so far, and I'll be sharing more of these Mardi Gras delights with you soon, so stay tuned!
Le bon mange, cher'! Enjoy!

Click on titles in black to view recipes.

Crawfish-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

 2 tbs's. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
8 oz. crawfish tails, chopped
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2  cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup light mayo
1 tbs. Cajun seasoning, (divided)
Few shakes of Tabasco
Salt to taste
8 portobello mushrooms, gills removed

In large, heavy skillet, on medium heat, saute the onion and garlic, for 5 minutes. Add the crawfish, parsley, hot sauce, and half of the Cajun seasoning to the pan, and saute for 10 minutes and set aside.. In large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, mayo, other half of the Cajun seasoning, and add the crawfish mixture. Place mushrooms, top side down, on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Fill the mushrooms with the prepared filling, packing it down. Sprinkle with a little more cheddar cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, in a preheated 350 degree oven. Sinfully good! Serves 8.

Remoulade Potato Salad

 3 lb.'s red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp.salt
2 ribs celery,diced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced thin
3/4 cup light mayo
1/8 cup Creole or Dijon mustard
1/8 cup yellow mustard
3 tbs.'s ketchup
1 tbs. prepared horseradish
1 tbs. sweet pickle relish w /juice
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Spanish olives for garnish

In large pot, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 12 minutes and drain in colander. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and season with salt. Combine the next 10 ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Add to the potatoes and mix well, or until desired consistency is reached. Sprinkle top with Cajun seasoning and garnish with more green onions and Spanish olives. Chill until ready to serve. Serves 6  Divine!

Time for Parades
It's going to be such a fun weekend in Cajun country! Parades will be rolling in Lafayette, beginning on Saturday, at 2:00 pm, with the Krewe de Cheins parade, and the fabulous Krewe of Rio parade on Saturday night. And don't forget about the pre-parade celebration in Parc Sans Souci! For a complete schedule of Mardi Gras events and parade times, click here. Gonna catch some beads, ya'll!

Let the good times roll, cher!

Wishing all of you a fun weekend! Wish ya'll were here! Merci beaucoup for stopping by!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spicy Beer-Boiled Shrimp + A Cajun Waltz

 When a friend of mine called and asked if I wanted 10 lbs. of large Gulf shrimp, I literally jumped with joy! Since I am a shrimp-o-holic and absolutely love to eat shrimp, I immediately starting planning how I was going to prepare this little gift from heaven. With the beautiful weather we've been having, (sunny and 70's, for a week now), I decided to use one of my favorite shrimp boiling recipes and to invite a few friends over to enjoy a boiled shrimp feast. Oh, cest bon cher! Enjoy! (photo courtesy of Google)

Spicy Beer-Boiled Shrimp
Large, unpeeled, headless shrimp
4 cups water, per pound
1/2  bottle, (6oz.), of good beer, per pound
1 tbs. salt, per pound
1 pkg. Zatarain's Crab and Shrimp Boil (per 5 lbs.)
or 3 tbs.'s  or more, Cajun seasoning per pound
1 onion, per pound, quartered
1 lemon, per pound, quartered
1 bay leaf, per pound
2 ears fresh corn, cut in half, per pound
1 lb. small red potatoes, per pound

In large stockpot, place water, beer, seasonings, salt, bay leaves, onions, potatoes, corn, and lemons, and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Add shrimp and boil for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes and remove from heat. Add a tray of ice cubes to the pot, to cool it down. Let sit for 10 minutes or more. Remove shrimp, corn, and potatoes, and serve with seafood sauce. (recipe below) Out of this world!

Tangy Hot Seafood Sauce #2

 3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup light mayo
2 tbs.'s Creole mustard
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dill pickle relish

Combine all ingredients in bowl,  until well mixed,  and chill until ready to serve.

A Cajun Waltz
I've had a special request for a Cajun waltz, which is my favorite way to Cajun dance, besides a jitterbug, that is. Here's a little clip of Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie, swaying the crowd at Rythyms on the River in River Ranch. This one's for you, cher!

It's almost time for Mardi Gras parades! Woo hoo! Lafayette is ready for some good ole Cajun Mardi Gras fun! For a complete Lafayette parade schedule, click here. See ya'll there!

Wishing you all a fabulous week! Merci beaucoup for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blackened Chicken Salad w/ Creole Vinaigrette

Here 's a great way to enjoy a scrumptious main course salad for lunch or dinner.  It is so easy to prepare and is perfect for those busy days. The spicy chicken compliments the cool salad veggies and the Creole vinaigrette adds an extra burst of flavor. When I tell you that this salad is "out of this world", then you know that I mean it, cher! Bon Appetit!

Blackened Chicken Salad 

1 lb. chicken tenders
Blackening season (recipe below)
2 tbs.'s vegetable oil
1 large head Romaine lettuce
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
Fresh parsley

 Wash and coarsely chop lettuce and place in a large salad bowl. Add veggies, and
 chill until ready to serve. Meanwhile, make blackening seasoning and season chicken, to taste.

Cajun Blackening Seasoning Mix
1 tbs. salt
1 tbs. garlic powder
1tbs. onion powder
1 tbs. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepepr
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbs. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano

Mix all together in food processor and pulse until blended. Store in an air tight container and use as needed.

In large heavy skillet, heat oil on medium heat. When oil is hot,  place seasoned chicken in pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Slice and layer on top of salad. Serve with a nice glass of white wine, crusty french bread and Creole Vinaigrette. (recipe below) Enjoy!

Creole Vinaigrette
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbs. Creole mustard
1 tsp. or more, Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine first six ingredients in bowl and whisk until well blended. Add oil and continue whisking until combined. Divine!

For a complete New Orleans Mardi Gras parade schedule, click here.

Wishing you all a wonderful day, filled with happy moments! Merci beaucoup for stopping by!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spicy Cajun Cornbread Casserole + Mardi Gras Boogie

Here's another Cajun favorite that will melt in your mouth and will surely become one of your faves! The savory, spicy flavors in this fabulous casserole are out of this world and are the perfect comfort food for a chilly day. Serve with a tossed salad for a hearty meal. Bon appetit!

Spicy Cajun Cornbread Casserole

4 tbs.'s butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 (4 1/2 oz.) can green chilies, drained

5 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
Salt to taste
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
Few shakes Tabasco sauce
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. bulk pork sausage or 1 lb. ground beef
1 (14 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained, (optional)
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

In large bowl, add baking soda to buttermilk and set aside for 5 minutes.. Add all of the other crust ingredients and mix well. Pour into a buttered 13x9 inch baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large skillet,  brown sausage or ground beef, with the Cajun seasoning and Worcestshire sauce and drain excess oil. Add onion, peppers, and garlic, and saute with meat for 5 minutes. Add a little more Cajun seasoning, if desired.

In large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and Tabasco. Layer meat and veggie mixture over crust . Top with cheese. Pour egg mixture over the top and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until set. Garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro or parsley. Cest bon,cher!

Mardi Gras Boogie

I've had several requests for some Mardi Gras Boogie. Here's a little clip of some Mardi Gras-ing going on at Fred's Lounge in Mamou, La. Fred's is a local landmark and is famous for it's Saturday morning dances, beginning at 8:30 a.m.! Let the good times roll, cher!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

More Decadent Cajun Desserts

In addition to the menu on my two previous posts, I will be serving the following desserts, for Super Bowl Sunday. They are all very easy to make,  divinely delicious, and will have your guests begging for more!  They would also be perfect for Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras parties, or just anytime you're in the mood for something totally decadent. And all worth the calories, cher! Enjoy!

Bourbon Brownies w/ Praline Icing

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs.'s water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1 tsp.vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 to 3  tbs.'s bourbon

In large saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and water. Cook, over medium heat, until just boiling. Add chocolate chips, and stir until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in the eggs, bourbon, and vanilla, and beat lightly. Stir in the flour, baking soda, salt and pecans and mix well. Spread the batter into prepared 8x8 baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes and cool in the pan. Top with Praline Icing, (recipe below), if desired. Sinfully delicious!

Praline Icing
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring the first 3 ingredients to a boil. Boil for one minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar and almond extract until smooth. Add pecans and continue to stir for about 3 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken. Pour onto cooled brownies. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Luscious Lemon Margarita Bars

2 cups plus 4 tbs.'s flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 sticks butter, softened, and cut into chunks

4 large eggs
1 (10 oz.) can frozen margarita mix, thawed
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of one small lemon
2 tsp.'s tequilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan with butter or Baker's Joy.

In  large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour and confectioner's sugar. Add the butter, and stir until mixture is crumbly. Press the mixture into bottom of prepared  9x13 pan. Bake 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool completely.

In large bowl, combine remaining 4 tbs.'s flour, eggs, margarita mix, water, sugar, and lemon juice. Whisk together and mix well. Pour over the cooled crust. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until top is set. Cool on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 stick butter
2  cups, (more if needed) powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. lemon zest, minced
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter and the cream cheese together for about 3 minutes . Stir in vanilla,  lemon juice, and zest. Add the powdered sugar, gradually until desired consistency is reached. Spread evenly on cooled bars and chill until ready to serve. Out of this world!

And here are a few more delights on my dessert table. Click on recipe title to view recipe.

All are a delightful finish to any buffet! Bon appetit! Wishing you all a Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Merci beaucoup for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mini Muffalettas + More Super Bowl Delights

With Super Bowl Sunday only a few days away,  I have finalized my buffet menu and wanted to share a few more of these delicious, Cajun delights with ya'll. In addition to the appetizers on my previous post, I will also be serving the following items, and I'm sure that I'll be adding a few more items, before it's all over. I tend to get carried away and am always afraid that I won't have enough food for a party. What do you think? Cest bon,cher! Enjoy!

Mini Muffalettas

24 count,  potato or other dinner rolls
1 jar Italian olive salad
1 lb. smoked ham, sliced thin
1/2 lb. provolone cheese slices, sliced thin
1/2 lb. hard salami, sliced thin
Creole or Dijon mustard
1 small onion, sliced thin

Slice rolls in half and place, inside up, on large cookie sheet. Spread the top half of rolls with Creole mustard and bottom half with olive salad. Layer salami, cheese, double layer of ham,  and onion, on top of olive salad. Top with roll. Cover with a tent of foil and place in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. So easy!  Enjoy!

 Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tbs. butter, softened
1 pkg. (10oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) Colby/Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
Few shakes Tabasco
Tortilla chips or crackers

 In medium skillet, saute onion and artichokes in butter, for 5  minutes. Stir in spinach and Parmesan cheese and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add cheese, milk, and Cajun seasoning and heat on low until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Add Tabasco and salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.
And a few more!
Click on Titles to View Recipes

It's almost time for Mardi Gras parades and you can feel the excitement in the air. Here's a little preview clip of the Krewe of Pas Bon float, in last year's Independent Parade. Woo hoo! They were really throwing down some beads, cher! Let the good times roll!

Hope that ya'll are staying warm in the latest blast of Arctic air and blizzard! It was 70 degrees in Cajun country, yesterday, and is only 30 degrees today!  I'd like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers! Bienvenue Acadiens! Merci beaucoup for stopping by!