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Finger Food Friday: Popcorn Crawfish

Popcorn Crawfish, also known as Cajun Popcorn, is simply precooked crawfish tails that have been battered and deep-fried. At one point in time, Popcorn Crawfish dominated the appetizer section of local menus. These days, not so much. But I still enjoy them and the kids really love them. They’re the perfect fried seafood snack. Each morsel is small—like a popped kernel of corn—which makes them super fun and easy to eat. They’re also very addictive, again like popcorn. I usually serve them straight up. But they also take kindly to any number [ ... ]

Baked Rigatoni

This is the time of year when my household shifts into high gear and my calendar overflows with sports and related activities and end-of-the-year school commitments. And with the majority of those obligations taking place between five and eight, getting a proper meal on the table can be a challenge. So what I typically do during these hectic months is make one or two “Big Easy” meals early in the week and serve the leftovers again later in the week. Red Beans and Rice certainly fits within my Big Easy plan. So too does this Baked Rigatoni. I know many [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Ponchatoula Strawberry Salsa

I introduced you all to this salsa last May when I was celebrating Cinco de Mayo South Louisiana-style. Remember my Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Tostadas? This salsa was one of the garnishments. But since it’s finally spring and one of the sweetest signs of spring in the GNO (Greater New Orleans Area) is the appearance of fresh, Louisiana strawberries at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores, I thought it was only right to give this salsa its own time in the spotlight. Because besides being the perfect sidekick to shrimp tostadas, Ponchatoula Strawberry Salsa is also [ ... ]

Crawfish Bisque

Throughout South Louisiana, many families hold large crawfish boils on Good Friday then spend the better part of Holy Saturday working elbow-to-elbow preparing what is known around the region as the most time-consuming and labor-intensive dish that’s ever come out of a Cajun or Creole kitchen—Crawfish Bisque. This impressive meal is an Easter Sunday tradition for many. And there’s no better time than Holy Week to bring grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins together to share in its preparation. If you are like me, however, and don’t have an army of relatives nearby, you start [ ... ]

Crabmeat on Toast

Preserving family recipes goes beyond collecting and deciphering faded handwritten notes or stained and splattered index cards and patching together these bits and pieces of the past into legible lists of ingredients and sensible instructions. The process also includes the more meaningful task of tracing the recipe’s origin back to a special person or place in time then tying all the elements together with a string of well-told stories punctuated with lots of passion and pride (as well as the occasional reference to a crazy relative or catastrophic kitchen mishap). It’s these associations that remind us of experiences [ ... ]

Shrimp Etouffée

When most people hear the word etouffée, their minds immediately jump to crawfish. That’s fair, considering this method of cooking is made most frequently with crawfish. But other shellfish, poultry and wild game can also be cooked successfully in this fashion. After all, etouffée is nothing more than a fancy word for smothered. Well, smothered South Louisiana-style. And by now you all know what that means–cooked in a deeply flavored sauce that’s made with a roux, the Holy Trinity, a small amount of homemade stock and a delectable combination of spices. When broken down this [ ... ]

Creole Collard Greens

So we’re back on “the road to routine” following an incredibly fun and fast-paced week in New Orleans. Fortunately this year, the kids’ winter break coincided with Mardi Gras. So we spent last week back home frolicking about. It was awesome! But, as expected, we all ate too much and spent way too many days going to bed late and waking up early. Such is the life of a bunch of New Orleans Carnival revelers. Now that we’re settled back in Atlanta, we’re all craving normalcy and lots of veggies (after eight days, “dressed” poor boys are simply not enough). But [ ... ]

Fat Tuesday Fried Chicken

We’re in the final and most exciting stretch of the 2015 Carnival Season. Mardi Gras is a week from today. That means everyone’s busy making plans for the extended final weekend that begins this Friday and lasts through Tuesday. Between now and then, folks will be closely monitoring the weather to determine what to wear when, mapping out various neutral ground or sidewalk side parade-watching locations, plotting courses to the nearest public bathrooms, dusting off family parade ladders, packing vehicles with parade route necessities (like folding chairs, throw bags, rolling ice chests, go-cups, koozies and extra toilet [ ... ]

Duck, Andouille and Tasso Jambalaya

Louisiana has long been known as Sportsman’s Paradise because of the state’s outstanding hunting and fishing resources. And on the hunting front, duck is probably the biggest draw for wild game enthusiasts. Louisiana’s popularity as a prime duck hunting destination is due to the large population of local species that take up residence in the area’s abundant wetlands and agricultural fields coupled with the region’s prime location along the famed Mississippi Flyway—that popular migratory route many game birds take each year in search of warmer weather. So based on that intriguing information, it should come as no [ ... ]

Chicken and Andouille Pot Pies

Two of my favorite ingredients are back together again. You guessed it. Chicken and andouille. And this time, I’ve turned to them (along with okra) to put a distinctive South Louisiana spin on a classic American comfort food–the Chicken Pot Pie. This version–with it’s peanut butter roux, rich chicken stock, sassy splash of cream, roasted-to-perfection chicken and andouille sausage and big bursts of okra pods–is like no other. It’s comforting and indulgent and unique. I also tweaked my traditional trinity by using a red bell pepper instead of green (a trick I learned from [ ... ]
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