Feb 282011

Pasta Jambalaya is a dish that was created by Mr. B’s restaurant in New Orleans. They decided that jambalaya did not have to include rice. This dish started popping up on menus all around New Orleans. My recipe is along the lines of the one served at Cannon’s restaurant. This recipe calls for a premade or store bought marinara sauce. At Cannon’s, we made our own marinara sauce using an ingredient that was a recipe itself. To reproduce those recipes would take a lot of time. So the next time you are in the mood for jambalaya, try making it with pasta. You will enjoy the difference.

Pasta Jambalaya
¼ cup Olive Oil
1 ½ teaspoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin
6oz Andouille Sausage, cut into bite sized discs
6oz Chicken Breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 Tablespoon Garlic, chopped
1/8 cup Red Onion, cut into strips
1/8 cup Yellow Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1 ½ cups Marinara sauce, warmed
1 pound tricolor Fusilli(spiral) pasta, cooked
Shredded Provolone Cheese
Shredded Smoked Gouda Cheese
Combine Olive Oil, chili powder and cumin. Saute andouille and chicken in oil mixture until the chicken has lost its raw color.  Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook until garlic is golden. Add marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Place warm pasta into a large bowl and cover with the sauce. Mix well and divide into 4 bowls. Top with cheeses.


Feb 262011

The traditional Monday meal is Red Beans and Rice. Monday was wash day. Wives needed a dish that would cook long and slow. Red Beans is the perfect dish. Women would have use whatever meat was leftover from Sunday’s meal, usually pork. In New Orleans, Red Beans are traditionally served with sausage, either smoked or andouille. But lots of restaurants offer it with other things, like fried pork chops. Try it one Monday or whichever day you do laundry.

Red Beans & Rice
1 pound dried Red Beans, rinsed and sorted over
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
¼ Cup Chopped Tasso or Chopped Ham
1 ½ Cups Chopped Onions
¾ Cup Chopped Celery
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
11/2 Pounds Smoked Sausage, cut into 1” pieces
3 Tablespoons Chopped Garlic
10 cups Chicken Stock or Broth
4 cups Cooked White Rice
Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for at least 8 hours. Drain and set aside. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the tasso and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the onions and celery to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and sausage, and cook, stirring, to brown the sausage, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minutes. Add the beans and stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and start to thicken, about two hour. (Should the beans become too thick and dry, add more stock, about ¼ cup at a time. Remove from heat and with the back of a heavy spoon, mash about ¼ of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 15-20 minutes. Serve over rice, removing the bay leaves.


Feb 222011

As promised, here is a recipe for Honey Mustard Dressing. This is the type of salad dressing that Cannon’s served with their Cajun Popcorn Salad. This dressing also makes a great sauce to dip appetizers in.

Honey Mustard Dressing
½ gal Mayonnaise
1 ¼ cups Vegetable Oil
1 ¼ cups Honey
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
¼ cup + 2 ½ Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
1 ½ Teaspoons Onion Salt
1 1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Mix all ingredients except mayo.  Add mayo and mix until smooth in texture.
Refrigerate for an hour before serving.


Feb 182011

This dish is one that you could always find in a Cajun restaurant, fried crawfish. Chef Paul Prudhomme came up with the name Cajun Popcorn. From there, it gained in popularity. It became so popular that when crawfish are not in season, small shrimp are substituted for the crawfish. You will find this dish on most Cajun restaurant menu’s. Cannon’s restaurant claims to have originated the Cajun Popcorn Salad, which is Cajun Popcorn Shrimp on top of a salad mix served with Honey Mustard dressing. This is another dish that has been copied often. Here is a recipe for this dish. The Honey Mustard Dressing will follow on Tuesday Feb 22.

Cajun Popcorn
2 well beaten eggs
1 ¼ cup Milk
½ cup Corn Flour
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Granulated Onion
½ Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
½ Teaspoon White Pepper
½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
¼ Teaspoon Thyme
1/8 Teaspoon Basil
1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
32 ounces Baby Shrimp or Crawfish
Combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Add eggs and milk. Mix until a wet batter is formed.
Take 8 ounces of shrimp or crawfish and place it in the batter.
Mix until shrimp or crawfish is coated. Shake off excess batter before frying.
In a preheated 350 degrees fryer, drop shrimp or crawfish in oil. Try to drop them one at a time to prevent clumping.
This can be served as an appetizer or on top lettuce as a salad.
Serve with Honey Mustard Dressing for dipping.


Feb 152011

I was thinking of a great but easy dessert to serve my wife for her Valentine’s dinner last night.  Since we both love white chocolate, it was between White Chocolate Mousse and White Chocolate Bread Pudding. Since I was looking for easy, the mousse won. My wife was very happy with my decision. It only takes about 15 minutes to put the mousse together and at least a hour in the refrigerator to set. This can be topped with almost any type of berry. I took the easy way out and put chocolate sprinkles last night. Whip some up. You will be glad you did.

White Chocolate Mousse

8 ounces white chocolate, chopped into very small pieces, or white chocolate chips
2 Egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup heavy cream
Chocolate sprinkles
 In a large glass bowl, place the chopped white chocolate and set aside. Add the egg yolks and sugar to a small bowl and whisk until pale in color. In a saucepan, over low heat, bring 1/4 cup of the cream to a smoker, and slowly add the cream into the yolk and sugar mixture to temper. Pour the creamy mixture back into pan and stir with a wooden spoon until it coats the back of it. Pour hot mix through a strainer over the bowl with the white chocolate. Stir until completely smooth. In another bowl, whip 1 cup of the cream to almost stiff peaks. Fold half the whipped cream into the white chocolate mix to lighten and then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into 4 serving cups and refrigerate until set, approximately 1 hour. Top with chocolate sprinkle
Feb 122011

Last night, I cooked blackened Cod with a chipolte cream sauce. While it was great, I could not help from wondering how much better it would have been topped with a crawfish sauce. This sauce is one of the easiest sauces to make. It is also a very versatile sauce. It goes great with fried catfish, veal, ribeye steak, etc. I can’t wait for crawfish to be available here in Arkansas. I have been told it will be in a few weeks.

Cream of Crawfish Sauce
½ Cup Crawfish Tails, slightly chopped
2 Tablespoons Creole Seasoning
2/3 Cup Minced Onions
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Butter, cut in to pieces
Coat crawfish with creole seasoning. Combine crawfish, onions and Worcestershire sauce in a sauté pan. Saute for 2 minutes. Add heavy cream and reduce for 10 minutes. Add butter and stir until butter is melted and incorporated.


Feb 082011

When most people think about New Orleans Cuisine, Italian is not what comes to mind first. In the last 1800’s, large number of immigrants from Sicily began to settle in South Louisiana. The Sicilians and the Creoles started combining their cuisines. There are many fantastic Italian restaurants in New Orleans. You can find some of the best meals in these restaurants.  Bruccoloni can be made with either beef of veal. Not often will you find it on a restaurant menu. But I guarantee if you do find a restaurant that serves this dish, you will have one of your best Italian meals.

2 Beef top round steaks, ¼ inch thick
1 Cup Italian Flavored Bread Crumbs
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
4 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
½ Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Medium Onion, finely diced
2 Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped
Creole Seasoning
½ Cup Olive Oil
Quick Italian Red Sauce
Cooked Pasta
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Place steaks on a cutting board, trim fat from edges. Pound steaks to 1/8 inch thick, taking care not to tear. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, beaten eggs, garlic and cheese. Spread mixture over steaks, leaving a inch border at long edges. Scatted onions and boiled eggs over breadcrumb mixture. Beginning at long edges, roll tightly, like a jelly roll. Tie securely with butcher’s string. Sprinkle Creole Seasoning over rolls. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet 12” skillet over medium heat. Add steak rolls, one at a time and brown on both sides. Place  browned rolls in a 13×9” baking dish. Pour Quick Italian Red Sauce over top of meat rolls. Bake in preheated oven until the meat is fork tender, about 45 minutes.  To serve, remove string and slice 1/2” thick slices. Serve with pasta topping meat and pasta with sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Quick Italian Red Sauce
1 (29oz.) can Tomato Sauce
1 (6oz.) can Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 ½ Tablespoons Chopped Garlic
¼ Cup Chopped Onions
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Oregano
2 Teaspoons Basil
1 Teaspoon Chopped Parsley
2 Tablespoons Sugar
Melt butter in saucepan. Over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in butter until the onions are soft about 3 minutes. Mix in the tomato sauce and tomato paste, making sure the paste does not remain in lumps. Add the rest of ingredients and mix well.  Taste and adjust the sauce to your taste. Cook until warm.


Feb 042011

With the weather being so cold, it is snowing here in Arkansas as I write this, Gumbo is a perfect cold weather dish. There is no one way to make Gumbo. Just like Jambalaya, Gumbo can be made up of almost any ingredients. There are two different ways to thicken Gumbo, Okra or File. So keeping with my Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie, File Gumbo theme, this gumbo is thickened with File. File is ground Sassafras leaves. File is best added at the end of cooking or as I have in this recipe, passed aroung the table so everyone can add as much as they want.

Seafood Gumbo
¾ Cup Vegetable Oil
¾ Cup Flour
2 Cups Chopped Onions
1 Cup Chopped Green Bell Peppers
1 Cup Chopped Celery
2 Tablespoons Chopped Garlic
1 Tablespoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
5 Bay Leaves
8 Cups Shrimp Stock or Water, cool
6 Gumbo Crabs, broken in half
1 Pound Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Pound  Crabmeat (Lump or Claw)
2 Dozen Shucked Oysters
¼ Cup Chopped Green Onions
¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
Cooked Rice
File Powder
Combine the oil and flour in a large cast-iron pot over medium heat. Stirring slowly and consistently for 20 to 25 minutes, making a dark roux, the color of chocolate. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.  Lower heat to low. Add shrimp stock or water and stir to blend. Add the crabs and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 1 ½ hours.  Add the shrimp and crabmeat and cook for 15 minutes. Add the oysters, green onions and parsley and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the edges of the oysters curl. Remove from heat. Remove the bay leaves. Serve over rice and pass the File powder at the table.
Feb 012011

I had a few people suggest recipes that they would like to see posted. I wanted to do them in the order they were suggested. However, I guess it would be logical to followup my Jambalaya recipe with a recipe for Crawfish Pie. Any guesses on what the next one will be. Larry, Edna and Genie, I will get to your’s next week. Crawfish season is just starting to begin. Although they have not made it up to Arkansas yet, I have seen posts and pictures on Facebook of Boiled Crawfish.  Crawfish Pie is one of the more well known dishes to used cooked crawfish.  Mentioned in the song Jambalaya(on the Bayou) by Hank Williams, it is a very easy dish to make.  The hardest part is not eating all of the boiled crawfish and saving some for the pie.

Crawfish Pie
1 9” Prepared Deep-dish Pie Crust
¼ Cup Butter
1 Cup Chopped Onion
½ Cup Chopped Green Bell Pepper
½ Cup Chopped Celery
1 Teaspoon Creole Seasoning
¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/8 Teaspoon White Pepper
1 Cup Diced Tomatoes
1 Pound Peeled Crawfish Tails
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Cup Seafood or Chicken Stock or Broth
Place the pie crust into a deep-dish pie plate. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the onions, bell pepper, celery, and dry seasonings, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and crawfish tails, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 3 minutes to marry the flavors, stirring occasionally. Whisk flour and stock together in a bowl until the mixture is smooth, and pour the mixture into the crawfish mixture. Bring the filling to a simmer, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 20 to 30 minutes to finish thickening. While filling is cooling, preheat oven t0 400 degrees. Pour the filling into the pie crust, and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is hot, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.