New Year Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas for the New Year is a tradition I inherited upon marriage, along with all the Cajun cuisine.  It is a Southern tradition to bring good luck and prosperity to the New Year. It is meant to be eaten on Jan 1.

The all-knowing Google tells me that Black Eyed Peas being “lucky” dates back to the Civil War.  Black Eyed Peas were originally grown in the South to be fed to slaves and livestock; as such, during Sherman’s famous scorched-earth  march to the sea, the fields of Black Eyed Peas were ignored.


I am trying a slightly altered version of Black Eyed Peas this year.  I am making the beans img_20170101_093602.jpgin a crockpot with a bit of roux to give it some extra colour and add to the earthy tones of the dish.  The roux gets diluted with vegetable stock and water.  Add the bag of cleaned Black Eyed Peas.  Add Pepper, cayenne pepper, and  chopped spicy pepper (I am using jalapeno).

Like with all Cajun cooking, you add the trinity (bell pepper, celery, onion). Sautee in skillet first with garlic.  Add chopped ham, rasher bacon, or thick-cut bacon (if using bacon, throw it in skillet long enough to be cooked/firm to make it easier to chop up).

Throw it all in the crockpot for the day. =)

Våffeldagen (Waffle Day – Sweden)

I found out today was Waffle Day in Sweden, naturally that means breakfast for dinner!  I used a Swedish waffle recipe – meant to be thin waffles – if you use them in a Belgian waffle maker they will be heavy and cake-like (but still good).  They are locally eaten as a dessert. Swedish Waffle Recipe.

We topped the waffles with a simple fruit cocktail of apples, bananas, and grapes.  Finished off with a dollop of Cool Whip.

Våfflor

Våfflor

 

I couldn’t resist using my freshly Smoked and Home Cured Bacon as part of the dish.

Sliced Bacon

Sliced Bacon

Home Cured, Smoked Bacon xD

Home Cured (Maple Glaze wet cure), and grill smoked with Pecan wood.

Essentially its just a cheap piece of pork belly.  I paid less than $2 for this 1 pound piece of pork.  I marinade/Cured it with a mixture of vinegar/salt/pepper/maple syrup/dark brown sugar and water.  Place in a ziplock (this size fits nicely into a quart size) with the marinade.  Make sure to work the marinade into the meat everyday (give it a nice massage – no need to remove from bag) and turn the package over everyday.

After 9 days, I removed the meat and rinsed well (too much salt is bad).  Then I set up my little Weber Grill with coals to one side only (choice of smoke wood goes on top of coals – I use pecan because I have pecan trees), a foil plate of water directly above that, placing the meat on the other side (indirect heat).  Let it mellowly heat and absorb yummy smoke flavours for about 1.5hrs.  Keep an eye on it to make sure its not too close to the flame and burns. Let it cool in the fridge then you can easily slice for your bacon needs xD

*note that this is not entirely cooked, you must still cook the bacon to desired wellness*

Grill Smoked

Grill Smoked

Here is a great resource site that I got some ideas from: http://amazingribs.com/recipes/porknography/making_bacon_from_scratch.html

 

Shrimp, Clam and Oyster Jambalaya [Cajun Monday]

This week I am making a jambalaya based off of one of my Cajun recipe playing cards (yes, there are Cajun recipe playing cards).

Jambalaya

Seafood Jambalaya

The List:

  • 16oz shrimp
  • 2 cans oysters (drained)
  • 1 large can of whole clams (drained – reserve half)
  • 1 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tspn Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tspn Tony Cashere’s More Spice Seasoning
  • 3-4 cups of cooked rice

The Way:

In heavy lidded pot or Dutch oven, melt butter.  Add garlic, onion, peppers. Sautee for a few minutes.  Add tomato paste, the reserved clam juice.  Stir and simmer on lowest setting for 1 hr (with lid).  Add seafood and spices, simmer for 20min (with lid).  Add rice, stir together.

The recipe seems more Creole than Cajun to me. Its a bit different than what I am used to  =o

Spicy Seafood Gumbo [Hunger Games]

Another recipe from the Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook. This is part of my Summer Cajun Cooking event.  I did a fair bit of adjusting to this recipe, so I will list my version, based off of this recipe.

HG Gumbo

Hunger Games Gumbo

The Ingredients:

  1. 1 stick butter
  2. 1/4 cup flour
  3. 1/2 chopped onion
  4. 2 cloves minced garlic
  5. 1 small bell pepper, diced
  6. 1 small tomato (or 3 campari or roma)
  7. 1 cup sliced okra (or 1 can, NOT pickled)
  8. 2 can chopped or whole clams with juice
  9. 1 cup  fish stock ( you can use bouillon)
  10. 2 tbsp seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
  11. 1-2 tbsp Cajun Hot sauce (Tobasco or similar)
  12. 1/2 tspn cayenne pepper
  13. 2 pounds large shrimp (peeled, deveined, no tail)
  14. 1 pound spicy sausage (precooked)
  15. 1/2-1 tbsp File powder as needed to thicken

The Method:

  1. Make Roux. Melt butter in large heavy pot/dutch oven on med-high heat. Add flour and continuously stir for ~15 minutes. Mixture will begin to darken to a reddish brown colour. That is the gumbo starter. It must be mixed continuously like pudding, do not burn.
  2. Mix in ingredients 3-14. Cover and Reduce to Low. Simmer 20min.
  3. Uncover, continue to cook for at least 15 min. Add File powder as needed to help thicken it a bit. (add 1/2 tbsp anyway, it does add a bit of flavour.
  4. Serve in a bowl over rice =)

Clare’s Cappuccino Muffins [Coffehouse Mysteries]

One of the book series we read is the Coffehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle.  The main character runs a fashionable NY coffeehouse, and the author knows her stuff.  If there is anything you ever wanted to know about coffee, you will learn it reading these books, I do not jest.  At the end of each book is a list of coffeehouse recipes.  Today I am making the fictional coffee sleuth’s (Clare) Cappuccino Muffins. Anything with with 2 varieties of coffee in it must be good (and yes they are).

The Dry Team:

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp dark roast ground coffee
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped almond or hazelnut
  • 1 tspn orange zest (about half a small orange)

 

The Wet Team:

  • 1 stick butter (soft)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup espresso or double strength coffee (cooled)

The Plan:

  1. Oven 375. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Combine dry team. Mix to ensure no chunks of cocoa or brown sugar. (yes, throw coffee grounds into it).
  3. Mix wet team with hand mixer.
  4. Pour wet team into dry team. Mix until smooth, do not overmix.
  5. Scoop into baking cups. These are muffins not cupcakes, fill them to the top or just below.
  6. Bake 20-25min. Until toothpick comes out clean.

The “Froth” for the Cappuccino Muffins:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 1/2 stick butter (soft)

Use hand mixer on butter in a med bowl. Mix in other ingredients until smooth (this is icing, it will be relatively thick).

As an added coffee garnish, I added a mini espresso chocolate as the crown.

CappuMuff

Cappuccino Muffin

 

 

 

 

There are many other coffeehouse/coffee inspired recipes on the Coffeehousemystery website.

Kate’s Saffron Sauce [No Reservations]

 

In one of my favourite movies, No Reservations, Kate is the head chef at a trendy restaurant when life intervenes.  She inherits her niece after a tragic car wreck that kills her sister,  and if that isn’t enough, she gets a new sous chef, a puppy-eyed bachelor, when her friend has a baby.  One of the most important dishes to the movie plot is seared scallops with Kate’s secret saffron sauce.  Of which, I have found and tested.

Kate’s secret Saffron Sauce (for 2)Whisking Saffron Sauce

  • 1/4 cup white wine or cooking sake
  • 2 minced Kaffir Lime Leaves (Kate’s secret ingredient)
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 1/2 pinch of Saffron
  • 1 1/4 tbsp heavy cream (not whipping cream)
  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper

Kaffir Lime Leaves

Put the first 3 ingredients in a sauce pan, reduce by half. Add cream and saffron. Add butter, 1 tbsp at a time until each is melted, whisking constantly.  Do Not Boil!  Remove from heat, squeeze in the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

The Scallops

  • 8-12 large scallops (depending on size)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tspn thyme
  • 1/4 tspn oregano
  • 1 tbsp lemon pepper
  • olive oil

Searing the Scallops

Mix flour, salt, thyme, oregano, lemon pepper in small bowl. Coat Scallops. Place scallops in med-high skillet coated with olive oil.  Sear each edge of scallops until golden (2-3 minutes per side).  Plate 1/2 scallops on two plates, drizzle liberally with Saffron Sauce.

 

Note:  I found the Lime leaves at the local Thai Market.

 

Seared Scallops and Kate's Saffron Sauce