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Monthly Archives: October 2019

Strawberries can be sweet and savory

Local strawberries are starting to make their rounds. Strawberries are so popular that there are numerous cities that claim to be the Strawberry capital of the world. In Louisiana, Pontchatoula claims that title. This year, they are having their annual festival April 13-15.

Locally, there are two cities that celebrate the strawberry. Cabot will celebrate their Strawberry Festival on April 25th. The city of Bald Knob celebrates the Strawberry Homefest May 10-12. If you love strawberries, make plans now to attend these celebrations of the sweet red fruit.

Today, I am sharing two strawberry recipes, one a non-traditional preparation, Strawberry-Glazed Pork Loin and one traditional recipe, Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream.

Most often, strawberries are used in desserts. Here is a great recipe with the strawberries used in a savory dish. This dish is a take on a recipe from chef John Folse, one of the leading authorities on Cajun and Creole cooking and culture.

Strawberry-Glazed Pork Loin

1 (3-5 pound) Pork Loin
2 tablespoons Onions, minced
1 tablespoon Celery, minced
2 tablespoons Strawberries, finely diced
2 tablespoons Green Onions, finely sliced
Creole Seasoning to taste
1/2 cup Strawberry Syrup
1/4 cup Melted Butter
24 large fresh Strawberries
1 cup Onions, diced
1/2 cup Celery, diced
1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
2 cups Yams, diced
2 cups Beef Stock
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
Dash of Hot Sauce

Preheat oven to 375℉.

In a large mixing bowl, combine two tablespoons minced onion, 1 tablespoon minced celery, two tablespoons diced strawberries, two tablespoons sliced green onions and Creole seasoning. Cut one-inch long slits in the pork loin and stuff with seasoning mixture. Drizzle strawberry syrup and melted butter over top of pork loin. Season to taste with Creole seasoning. Place loin in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan and surround with strawberries, remaining onions, celery, bell pepper, yams and beef stock. Season with rosemary and hot sauce. Cover roasting pan and bake one and a half hours. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice roast and surround with strawberry sauce and vegetables.

Everyone loves ice cream and nothing taste better that homemade strawberry ice cream. This recipe is from the magazine Louisiana Kitchen and Culture. Its founder, Susan Ford, is a friend of mine who has published a few of my recipes in her magazine and on her website. This is a great magazine for all of your Louisiana cooking needs. Pick up a copy. You will be glad you did.

Strawberry Ice Cream

2 cups Heavy Cream
1 cup Whole Milk
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6 Egg Yolks
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 pint Strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
Red Food Coloring, optional

Combine cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract in a heavy saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until milk steams and bubbles begin to appear around the edges; do not simmer. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks until they start to lighten in color, 2 to 3 minutes. While whisking, very slowly drizzle about 1 1/2 cups of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to temper them; add tempered egg mixture to remaining cream. Cook, stirring gently, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon; the custard should be about 170℉. Add salt to taste; a few grains blooms the flavor. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to two days. ( If desired, strain the mixture.)

About 2 hours before you’re ready to freeze the ice cream, combine strawberries, sugar and lemon juice and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. If you want a smooth texture, place the strawberry mixture into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. For a chunkier ice cream, just pulse a few times in a blender.

Stir berry mixture into chilled custard, adding red food coloring if desired. Transfer to the bowl of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to directions. Once finished, serve at once for soft serve or transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

Enjoy all the local strawberries while you can. They are far superior that the ones you find in the grocery stores the rest of the year.

Try Alligator in Kitchen

Many people say that alligator, like frog legs, taste like chicken. It does have a mild flavor, firm texture and picks up the flavors of the ingredients it is prepared with. It resembles chicken and the two proteins can be used interchangeably.

Alligator is a very healthy protein. It contains very little fat, making it a great addition to a healthy diet. By law, all alligator meat that you find in stores are farm raised. It is also often tail meat that you will find. I know that many colleges like to grill whole alligator at tailgates on the day their team plays the University of Florida. Today, I am sharing two more traditional recipes using the monster of the swamps.

The idea for this dish was a menu item on a Carnival Cruise. Every night, they put an item on their menu for more adventurous diners to sample. People at our table tried the Alligator Fritters and thought it was a good dish. My issue was that it had very little flavor. When I came home, I decided to make this a Creole dish. Here is my interpretation of that cruise ship dish.

Alligator Beignets

1 pound Alligator tail meat, finely ground
1 Onion, chopped fine
1 Bell Pepper, chopped fine
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Mace
1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Sat
2 large Eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons Butter, melted
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Canola or Peanut Oil

Grind the alligator in a food processor. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic and pulverize with the alligator in the processor. Sift the flour with the baking powder, mace, dry mustard and salt. Combine the beaten eggs and the flour mixture. Add the melted butter and Worcestershire sauce and combine. Add to the alligator mixture and combine. Pour 1-inch of oil into a skillet and heat to 380℉. Drop the batter one tablespoon at a time into the hot oil, turning the fritters over with a slotted spoon as they brown. Remove when browned on all sides and drain on paper towels. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, mine would be a Remoulade sauce.

Sauce Piquant(pee-kahnt) is a Cajun dish that is often used with game meats. Game meats usually require longer cooking time to tenderize the meat. Sauce Piquant also tends to be a spicy dish. You can adjust the seasonings to your own heat level, adding or subtracting the cayenne pepper to your taste. Feel free to substitute chicken, venison, seafood or any protein you want if alligator is not to your taste.

Alligator Sauce Piquant

2 pounds Alligator Tail meat, cubed
1 cup Vegetable Oil
2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning
1 cup Flour
2 cups Onions, chopped
2 cups Celery, chopped
2 cups Bell Pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons Garlic, chopped
1 29-ounce can Tomato Sauce
1 28 ounce can Rotel Tomatoes
3 teaspoons Dark Brown Sugar
2 cups Seafood or Chicken Stock
3 Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon fish Basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh Thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh Oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
Cooked Rice

Season the meat well with Creole seasoning. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Brown meat in oil. Remove the meat and make a medium dark roux with the oil and flour. Add onions, celery and bell pepper. When the pot has somewhat cooled, add the garlic and sauté the vegetables over medium heat until tender. Add tomato sauce, rotel, stock and brown sugar and cook for 3 minutes. Add the seasoning and the meat and simmer until thickened and meat is tender. Serve over hot rice.

Don’t be afraid to eat alligator. It is a great protein for any diet. Remember, it’s better to take a bite on a alligator than to have one take a bite out of you. See you later!