Monthly Archives: November 2010

Red-Eye Gravy with Center Cut Ham Slice and Stone Ground Grits

When you cook a center-cut piece of ham, in our family, you always make red-eye gravy to go with it.  Homemade biscuits and grits go well with red-eye gravy too.

After frying your ham slice on both sides, remove it to a warm platter.  To make the gravy:  To your ham drippings, add about 1 cup coffee, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar and let sizzle.  You’ll let the gravy reduce for a couple of minutes.  That’s it!

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Filed under Breakfast, Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Louisiana / Cajun

Corn Fritters – ahhh, the memories…..

What do you do with left over corn on the cob?  You make corn fritters!  Sue’s Aunt Nancy introduced these delicious bites of goodness to me when I was in elementary school.  Sue and I would spend summers at her home in Oil City, Louisiana.  They always had a large vegetable garden and nothing went to waste!

1 and 1/2 cups corn (6 ears of corn or left over corn)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon sugar, only if you didn’t add sugar to your corn before.

1 teaspoon salt – add only 1/2 teaspoon first – your corn may already have salt in it.

2 teaspoons baking powder

pepper to taste

1/2 chopped onion of your choice – I prefer chopped green onions – optional

2 eggs

Remove the corn from the cob (be sure to get all the juicy goodness too).  Use a fork to mash the pulp in the bowl.  Mix the flour, sugar, salt, pepper and baking powder and onion together.  Add the corn and eggs.  You want to add enough flour to make a thick batter.  Drop heaping spoons of mixture into the skillet of hot oil or bacon grease (oh my!), frying for 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned.  These fritters are bites of heavenly goodness.

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Filed under Louisiana / Cajun, Side Dishes / Vegetables

Boo-Boo’s Potato Cakes

My husband’s grandmother was part Choctaw Indian and she was a wonderful cook and teacher.  On the occasion when we had left over mashed potatoes, she would make Potato Cakes the following day.

2 eggs

4 cups cold mashed potatoes

1 finely chopped onion

1/4 cup flour

8 tablespoons butter

Salt and Pepper

Beat the eggs and mix thoroughly into the mashed potatoes; add onion.  Form into patties about 1 inch thick.  Melt butter into pan and fry over medium heat until golden brown.

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Filed under Breads, Side Dishes / Vegetables

A Grandmother’s Cornbread – generations later, still a favorite!

What is your favorite dish that your Grandmother made?  This is a question I ask everyone I meet.  Yesterday, we had the heating repairman checking out our heater (in anticipation of winter weather for the holiday).  So, I asked him the question…..he thought for a minute.  He said he loves his Grandmother’s cornbread.  I was intrigued!  What could be so special about a pan of cornbread?  The recipe is quite unusual, but oh, so DELICIOUS!  There is a secret ingredient…..  This cornbread is so good that I used it for my cornbread dressing this year.

1 cup cornmeal mix

2 eggs

3 heaping spoons of mayonnaise (secret ingredient) – be generous!

Buttermilk – enough to make is soupy

Yep, that’s it.  You heat your iron skillet with a little oil.  Bake at 450 for 18 minutes.  Not one single pan of this cornbread stuck to the pan.  It is moist and perfect every time.  Sometimes you find the best recipes in unexpected places.

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Filed under Louisiana / Cajun

5 Cup Salad

This is the fruit salad our family makes every holiday.  Mark likes the pineapple in smaller tid bit size.  Brandi likes her fruit salad without coconut….there’s someone in every family who is special.  We love you Brandi!  Wonder why we don’t make this fruit salad any other time?  It’s so simple!

1 cup Mandarin Oranges

1 cup Pineapple (small size)

1 cup Coconut

1 cup marshmallows (miniature)

1 cup Sour Cream

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Filed under Louisiana / Cajun

Gumbo is LOVE

There are many different versions of gumbo and each family or chef has their favorite.  For some, it’s not gumbo if it doesn’t have okra. For others, it simply must have file, also a thickener. File can get stringy if you heat it too much.  The roux not only thickens, but it adds a wonderful, nutty flavor and gives the gumbo a gorgeous, deep brown color.

You can use any seafood you like or chicken, but the trinity (the onions, celery and peppers) and the roux are essential. How much cayenne you use will likely depend on how spicy your Andouille sausage  is.  The amount of pepper in this recipe is considered perfect for ALL – adjust the heat to your liking in your own bowl.   My dad always said, if  your brow doesn’t sweat, it’s not hot enough – I tend to agree!

2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery

Seasoning Mix:
2 whole bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

3/4 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon minced garlic
5 1/2 cups Basic Seafood or Chicken Stock (can substitute oyster liquor)
1 pound Andouille smoked sausage (preferred) or any other good pure smoked pork sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound peeled medium shrimp
1 dozen medium oysters in their liquor, about 9 ounces
3/4 pound crabmeat (picked over) or crawfish – I also like a few crab claws in my seafood gumbo.

Optional:  You can, instead of seafood, use chicken. Chicken and Sausage gumbo is very savory and just as delicious.

Hot cooked rice

Frozen chopped Okra

Tabasco, File, Cayenne Pepper – have these on the table for personal use

Chop the onions, bell peppers and celery and set aside. In a small bowl combine the seasoning mix ingredients; mix well and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy iron skillet over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the flour, whisking constantly with a long-handled metal whisk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until roux is dark red-brown to black, being careful not to let it scorch or splash on your skin. Making the roux is where you want to be super patient.  DO NOT WALK AWAY.

While the roux is cooking or the day before; cook your chicken and stock. First, season your chicken parts generously with salt, black pepper and Cayenne. Place the chicken parts in a large pot with quartered onions, 2 carrots, quartered celery, 2 bay leaves and 8 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour, skimming any foam that rises to the surface.

Take the chicken out of the pot and when it’s cool, remove the fat and pick the meat off the bones and cut into pieces. When the broth is cool, strain and throw out the vegetables. You should have about 8 quarts stock.

This is where my gumbo technique differs from others:  I like to sauté my sausage in a separate iron skillet (not the same one I cooked the roux in) and stir in the seasoning mix and continue cooking about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. I believe this process brings out the flavors of the seasonings better.  Add the garlic; stir well, then cook and stir about 1 minute more.  Remove the sausage and ‘goodness’ from the skillet – add to the stock pot.  Add the vegetables to the same skillet you cooked the roux in.  The vegetables will cool it down quickly, but also help make your roux dark.  Stir well (switch to a spoon if necessary). Continue stirring and cooking until vegetables are just right. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, place the stock in a 5 1/2-quart saucepan or large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Add roux and vegetables by spoonfuls to the boiling stock, stirring until dissolved between each addition. Bring mixture to a boil. Add the andouille; return to a boil; continue boiling 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes more. Add the shrimp, undrained oysters and crabmeat – or chicken. Return to a boil over high heat, for 2 minutes ONLY – stirring occasionally. Immediately remove from heat and add 2-4 cups frozen cut okra.  Skim any oil from the surface.

To serve as a main course, mound 1/2 cup rice in the middle of each serving bowl. Spoon 1 cup gumbo over the top, making sure each person gets an assortment of the seafood and Andouille. Serve half this amount in a cup as an appetizer.

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Filed under Autumn, Celebration, Chicken, Entree, Fish / Seafood, Holiday, Louisiana / Cajun, rice, shrimp, Side Dishes / Vegetables, Soup, Winter

Cranberry Orange Relish

My book club friend, Kyra Barger, brought this delicious and tangy cranberry relish for our Thanksgiving on the Bayou dinner.  Great alternative to the traditional cranberry relish.

1 medium orange

1 package fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

Cut the orange into wedges, remove seeds.  Pour 1/2 of the cranberries and orange wedges into the food processor – blend until chopped.  Repeat with second half of cranberries and orange wedges.

Cook cranberry and orange mixture with sugar and cinnamon stick over medium heat in a large sauce pan for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool completely.

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Filed under Autumn, Celebration, Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Pork, Side Dishes / Vegetables, Winter