Favorite Louisiana Foods – Part 1

We are now in Sulphur, Louisiana, a suburb of Lake Charles and one of the nicest RV parks we’ve so far stopped in. A + RV Park.  A lot of drama going on right now – I guess our dish is kaput; have to replace the system or go in another direction. Have to watch all of our taped shows before everything gets shut down… I keep telling myself – it’s only television shows, but darn it, that’s our evening entertainment!! (and we are hooked on some) Also, our anniversary is Saturday and I have planned a big blow-out for Saturday………….. Time to back off and remember we are supposed to be having fun, so life will be what it is and I’ll just pour another glass of wine and go with it.

Friday, Nov 21st
I had to shop Friday for our anniversary (46 years!) dinner on Saturday, so lots of running around and I knew we wouldn’t get home in time to eat. So, what I came up with was something I just NEVER do!!! I think buffets are the work of the devil, un-sanitary, mediocre food, yaddda yaddda!!BUT, guess I’ll have to negate that ‘never’!!

We  passed The Grill Pit and didn’t realize until we got inside it was a buffet. For some reason we decided to stay and we just ate our fool heads off. I took one or a spoonful of everything to taste and my plate was really full. Every bit of it was just delicious and good temperatures. My favorites were the crawfish casserole (kind of a corn pudding) and the  shrimp beignets!!! Even the greens were good! I was so full, could hardly look over the dessert table, but there sure were some good lookin’ goodies there. Just couldn’t eat another bite!!

I went on and on so much about how good the beignets were, our server, Mona Jane, offered to sell us some. I ordered 3 and she told us to wait a few minutes and the kitchen would make up some fresh for us. She came back with a box of SEVEN! For $.99. Still warm. And, their method for making them. If mine turn out half as good I’ll be happy – but I’m not making them for a while!! The last of them were my dinner later

Shrimp Beignets – how to make per Mona Jane, waitress at Grill Pit, Sulphur, LA – I’ll make these when my pants fit me again…………………
Pancake mix – sweetened with a little sugar – prepare
Grind small raw shrimp and add  along with gr. onion
Add flour until the correct consistency.
Dip spoon or scoop in hot water; spoon batter into hot oil and fry.

On to Saturday, Nov. 22nd and our anniversary dinner!!
Oh my, what a wonderful champagne dinner we enjoyed today!! I’ve been researching jambalayas and gumbos and have found some very interesting customs in this area. Decided to go with a gumbo dinner after learning a most fascinating tidbit – in Louisiana gumbos are traditionally served with potato salad!!  And, oh my, are they correct. The spicy heat of the gumbo with the spicy coolness of the potato salad was outright wonderful!

Louisiana Potato Salad – adapted from a Simply Recipes newsletter site.
1 pound Yukon gold or new potatoes, scrubbed clean (peel on or off, your choice), cut in 1 to 2-inch chunks
3 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
1/2  small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup Creole mustard
1/3 cup mayonnaise (less or more to taste)
Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

Cook the potatoes until just tender. Hard-cook the eggs. While the eggs and potatoes are cooking, chop the onion, celery, and green pepper. Also, combine the dressing ingredients: the vinegar, sugar, mustard and mayonnaise.
Drain the potatoes and while still warm toss with the dressing; when cool enough, peel the eggs, chop and add to the potatoes. Add the remaining ingredients along with salt and Creole seasoning to taste.  Makes 6 servings

Gumbo with Sausage and Chicken

1/3 cup Crisco or lard
1 lb fresh sausage links, cut into ½-inch pieces (preferable Andouille)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 extra large onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large green bell pepper, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
32 oz chicken broth
1  T.  Gumbo file
1 T. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
8 oz. or 1/2 of a 16-oz. pkg. frozen Gumbo vegetables
2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken

Heat 2 tablespoons Crisco in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the sausage from the saucepan and drain on paper towels. Do not pour off the drippings from the saucepan.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir the remaining oil and the flour in the saucepan and cook for 30 minutes or until the flour mixture is dark brown, stirring occasionally.

Stir the onion, celery and pepper in the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the broth, seasonings, okra, chicken and sausage and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Served 8
Serve with the potato salad added to bowl of gumbo or as a side dish.
Nov 22 Sausage Gumbo Plated
I was so proud of my roux – dark mahogany brown and just so delicious!!

Now, I have to cook healthy for a few days or run a marathon!!! We’re staying her for 2 months, so I ought t be able to share some fun dishes over the next few weeks. Happy cooking to us all!!