What an experience it is being a good ole’ Cajun. Not a day goes by that we can live without our crawfish, boudin, rice, alligators, yams, cotton, andouille, and gumbo. It’s a bayou life and these things are all dire necessities for us here Cajuns. Through our food, music, and fun our "joie de vivre" (joy for living) shines bright.
When the Cajuns arrived in Louisiana around 1768, Louisiana was already occupied with European Slave Owners and African Slaves. The African Slaves that populated the area at time were rice growers, expert farmers, domestic workers and cooks. The Louisiana Cuisine was actually already developed in the homes of the European Slave Owners. Acadian refugees, who were farmers rendered destitute by the British expulsion, had to learn from the African and Native American Slaves to live off the land and adapt to local cuisine and the ingredients such as rice, crawfish, and sugar cane.
Most Cajuns were farmers and many households were large. Feeding a large family required a lot of food and like most farmers these people wasted nothing. Cajun cuisine grew out of supplementing rice with white meat, game, seafood and river creatures such as crawfish. Other than African cuisine, French, Spanish and Indian culinary influences can also be detected in Cajun food.
The aromatic vegetables bell pepper, onion, and celery are called by some cooks the holy trinity of Cajun cuisine. Characteristic seasonings include parsley, bay leaf, "green onions" or scallions, and dried cayenne pepper.
We hope you try some of our delicious recipes and enjoy a little taste of Louisiana.
Barbecue - slow but with Cajun seasoning.
Smoking - indirect dry heat taught to the Cajuns by the Native Americans and African Slaves
Baking - direct and indirect dry heat in a furnace or oven, faster than smoking but slower than grilling
Grilling - direct heat on a shallow surface
Charbroiling - direct dry heat on a ribbed surface: “dee fasses whey cher!”
Griddling - direct dry or moist heat along with the use of oils and butter on a flat surface
Braising - combining a direct dry heat charbroil grill with a pot filled with broth for direct moist heat, faster than smoking but slower than regular grilling and baking; time starts fast, slows down, then speeds up again to finish.
Boiling - as in boiling of crabs, crawfish, or shrimp, in seasoned liquid – (veggies like cauliflower, broccoli with potatoes and corn too)
Deep frying – deep fried turkey “se bon”
Étouffée - cooking a vegetable or meat in its own juices, similar to braising or what in New Orleans is called "smotherin’"
Frying – just plain ole’ pan-frying
Injecting - using a large syringe-type setup to place seasoning deep inside large cuts of meat
Stewing - also known as fricassee
Boudin - is a type of sausage made from pork, pork liver, rice, garlic and green onion, and other spices. It is widely available by the link or pound from butcher shops. Boudin is usually made daily as it does not keep well for very long, even frozen. Boudin is typically stuffed in a natural casing and has a softer consistency than other, better-known sausage varieties. It is usually served with side dishes such as rice dressing, maque choux, or bread.
High on the list of favorites of Cajun cooking are the soups called gumbos. Gumbo exemplifies the influence of African and Native American food cultures on Cajun cuisine. The word originally meant okra, which is a word, brought to the region from western Africa. Okra, which is a principal ingredient of many gumbo recipes, is used as a thickening agent and for its distinct vegetable flavor.
A filé gumbo is thickened with sassafras leaves after the gumbo has finished cooking; a practice borrowed from the Choctaw Indians. The backbone of a gumbo is a dark roux, which is made of flour, toasted until well browned and fat or oil, not butter. The classic gumbo is made with chicken and the Cajun sausage called andouille, but the ingredients all depend on what is available at the moment.
Another classic Cajun dish is jambalaya. The only certain thing that can be said about a jambalaya is that it contains rice and almost anything else. Usually, however, one will find green peppers, onions, celery and peppers. Anything else is optional.
In his song, Jambalaya, the famous singer songwriter Hank Williams, lays praise to three of the primary dishes in Acadiana, "jambalaya, crawfish pie, filé gumbo." One exception today is that crawfish boils are more popular today than crawfish pies.
Judy’s Cajun Christmas Bread
Judy planned on making orange flavored bread; however, just like a great Cajun cook, Judy used the ingredients she had on hand to make this fabulous bread. We all enjoyed it too!
2 cups flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup chopped cranberries
1 fresh pear, chopped
2 whole kumquats, chopped, peels too
¾ cup apple cider
¼ cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl. Add the chopped cranberries, pecans, pear & kumquats to coat with the flour mixture.
3. Mix together apple cider, butter and egg. Add to flour, cranberry, fruit and nut mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until just blended.
4. Pour into a greased 9x5 or 8x4 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 55 to 60 minutes or until done (toothpick inserted into center comes out clean).
5. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Bud’s Cornbread Dressin’
You need just enough of the following stuff:
½ pound Ground beef
½ pound Ground pork
2 Jiffy Cornbread Mix (boxes) (Cook like the instructions tell you to.)
Put enough oil to wet the bottom of the pan.
Sauté onion, peppers and celery in a big, heavy, deep skillet till it is wilted.
Add ground meat to skillet and brown it. (Add some salt and pepper if you want to.)
Every now and then, give it a stir.
Add about a cup of water (or just enough).
In the meantime fix up the 2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix.
When cornbread is done, let it cool till you can crumble it up with your hands. (Make sure you wash them first.)
Crumble up the cornbread and mix it up with the ground meat. Mix it up good but don’t get it too dry.
“Serve out ‘de pot. It’s ‘de bess way, cher’!”
Judy’s Steak for Tom
1 stalk celery
1 bell pepper
1 clove garlic
Basil (pesto if possible)
1 can stewed tomatoes
Pasta of choice—penne, rotinni, shells etc. – whatever you have!
Slice steak into bite-sized pieces. Chop onion, celery & bell pepper. Sauté steak in 1 Tbls. Oil for 2 minutes and then add chopped vegetables. Sauté vegetables partially tender. Add the can of stewed tomatoes plus half a can of water. Add the garlic glove, crushed, and season with Cajun seasoning, pepper and fresh basil (or pesto). Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Serve on a bed of your favorite pasta.
1 box light Brown Sugar
1 carton Whipping Cream (8 oz.)
2 lbs. Pecan halves (3 cups)
2 Tbs. Butter
Combine brown sugar, whipping cream, and butter in microwaveable dish. Heat, high power for 13 minutes. Stir in pecans. Spread onto lightly greased foil or onto waxed paper. Cool. Break apart and enjoy. Store in an airtight container (if there are any left).
SPECIAL SECRET: if you want your friends to think you stood and stirred those things and checked it for “soft ball” or hard ball” temperatures….instead of spreading in one sheet. Drop them by spoonfuls onto the foil or waxed paper. Then you can call them Pralines.
We are looking forward to launching our new and improved website and we need your help. For those of you who visit our website we would like to reward you for your loyalty. We are collecting Cajun recipes to post on our website. We thought it would be more fun if we turned it into a monthly contest.
For every recipe you submit, your name will go onto a rewards card. At the end of the month we will draw a card and one of our fabulous customers will receive a $25 dollar gift card. This gift card can be used for merchandise in our store (excluding machines).
Each month we will be looking for a specific type of recipe (entrée, dessert, etc.) The categories will change each month. Submit recipes that fall into the requested category and you will be eligible to win the $25 gift card.
Do not miss the chance to win! Any questions that you may have, please feel free to call us at (225)756-0542 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
The Quilt Corner Crew
All recipes can be submitted via email to email@example.com as well as a personal visit to the shop.
*Any recipes submitted that do not meet that particular month’s recipe category will be accepted, but will not qualify for the gift certificate.