I’m not from Texas and I never had much experience with Cajun food until I was introduced via my inauthentic but delicious Fluffy Gumbo. Then I moved to Houston and ended up with family who live on the border of Louisiana. My image of Texas was very much cacti and cowboy hats before I moved here, but really that’s more West Texas (well, ok, the cowboy hats are everywhere). I haven’t spent much time there, having had much more experience thus far in the odd world of East Texas/Louisiana.
If you’ve never had one before, a King Cake is a bread-like cake, sometimes with filling and sometimes without, that’s iced with white icing and sugar in purple, green, and gold for Mardi Gras.They aren’t my favorite of desserts, but they’re a lot of fun around Mardi Gras.There’s usually a “baby” hidden inside and whoever finds it provides the cake the next year.
Normally you buy King Cake and you can even have them mailed right from New Orleans.But I’ve been enjoying making foods that match the seasons and so I thought it would be a shame to miss the chance to try making my own King Cake! Continue reading King Cake→
Today’s cooking experiment is Dirty Rice, the naughty equivalent to…wait no!Rather, the delicious Cajun rice dish.This recipe was interesting to me because it uses meats that I don’t normally cook with (chicken gizzards and livers) and it highlighted to me the power of food taboos.These are parts of an animal I usually consider waste material and I don’t use.I actually had to go to a specialty butcher shop to get them, since my regular grocery store didn’t carry them.But, really, it’s just meat.Why are they “gross” to me? Continue reading Dirty Rice→
One of my regular recipes is a gumbo recipe written by a friend of a friend. The only name I knew him by was Fluffy. I never met him and he lived in Seattle and wrote a gumbo recipe. I had never had gumbo before, so making it at home from this recipe was my first experience with it. I’ve since lived in the South and visited New Orleans and had Really Good Authentic gumbo and it isn’t really like what I make. But this recipe remains on rotation in my house.
The first iteration of this recipe was made with actual peas instead of black-eyed peas because I didn’t know what black-eyed peas were, my grocery store in Hawaii didn’t have any, and I basically had no idea what I was doing. And I have made it with green peas for years. But making it with black-eyed peas is a lot more authentic and is also more delicious.
The spiciness of this recipe can be adjusted by adjusting the cayenne pepper. I also often leave out the onions (or substitute onion powder) because my dedicated food audience (a.k.a. my husband) doesn’t eat most onions. Alas, for onions! It can be made with less chicken. Or more. Or more celery or less, etc. The recipe is quite flexible.
This is a get-all-your-pots-and-pans dirty kind of recipe and it takes a little while to make because of all the things going on at once. I can make it in about half an hour now, but starting out it was a “this takes a long time” recipe for me. And really it’s most delicious if you can let it stew for a while.
I’ve changed the recipe slightly from the original, but with credit to Fluffy, the mysterious friend of a friend I never knew, here it is. Continue reading Fluffy Gumbo→