I like to mix things up to keep weekday meals interesting. Taking one culture’s ingredients and combining it with cooking techniques and presentation of another culture’s dishes. This time, I am combining Cajun ingredients with a Mexican taco.
Tag Archives: Cajun cuisine
Miriam was working in Rome this week and she was coming back through Chicago. Needless to say, it took her two days to get back and she is exhausted. As a result, the kids are not coming over this Sunday for dinner. Instead of my usual feast, I will be making a gumbo, a Louisiana signature dish.
I lived on the West Bank of New Orleans (Gretna) for a couple of years in the 70’s. I have eaten my fair share of real Cajun food, and I have a good idea what it should taste like. If I am just cooking a dish for a weekday meal I will usually just use a Paul Prudhomme’s “Magic” blend. One thing I will not be doing is using the Prudhomme recipe I saw him make on TV one time. While I am sure it was delicious, I am too much of a Californian to follow a recipe that starts, “when the two pounds of butter has stopped frothing, add the three cups of onions.”
Adapted from Jolinda Hackett, About.com Guide
For this Sunday’s feast I am making Jambalaya. Jambalaya is really a one pot meal, but it is heavy on the meats and starch. I wanted a green vegetable side dish to balance out my meal. Jan and I are in complete agreement about okra. It may be one of the classic Cajun/Southern vegetables, but despite our Southern roots (Virginia and Mississippi) we both dislike it. Many of the things calling themselves “Cajun vegetables” on the internet were just regular veggies with some Cajun spice thrown on top. I finally decided on collard greens, another classic Southern vegetable. I would not, however be cooking it in the Southern fashion, the way our mothers did, boiling it down to a sludge. California-Style, braising until just tender, is my plan, with a little red pepper for color.
In the 1970’s I was working for a diving company based in Belle Chasse, LA. I have been thinking about that time lately (it probably has something to do with Lent and Mardi Gras). I can’t think about N’Orl’ns (one word) without thinking about the food. For two years I lived off of Muffulettas, Shrimp Etouffee, boiled crawfish, and Jambalaya. I have had a sudden desire for the flavor. Louisiana food generally falls into two main cuisines Creole and Cajun, which roughly corresponds to city and country.