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. =)


Jambalaya [UncookedWhiteRice Recipe]

I have done jambalaya posts in the past, and I have been evolving my own version.  Jambalaya is great because it is an easy 1 dish meal.  It needs some prep work, but little effort beyond that.

The List:

Cooking Jambalaya

Cooking Jambalaya

  • 1 1/2 cups stock
  • roux to your desired darkness
  • 2 small tomatoes or a can of diced (I like to get fire roasted)
  • small onion
  • 1-2 pieces of celery (chopped)
  • 1 sm bell pepper (for color reasons its good to use a non-green variety)
  • 1 cup of dry rice
  • choice of meats (I use 2 andouille, and 1/2 lb shrimp in this recipe)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • ground pepper to taste (I don’t add salt because of sausage and stock content is usually high in sodium)
  • splash of Cajun hot sauce and/or cayenne powder to taste

The Method:

Make your roux in a large pan.  Dilute with the stock, stirring well. Add all other ingredients, stir to mix and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover for 20 minutes.  Fluid should be sufficiently absorbed, remove from heat and serve!



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).


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 =)

Red Beans and Rice with Cornbread

My lovely wife was the chef, and I played sous chef.  I also got a picture of her rigged up with the baby like how I often do my cooking prep-work.

Mini-Sous Chef

Mini-Sous Chef

Wife and mini-sous chef made the cornbread while I chopped up some cooked chicken & poblano sausage for the red beans and rice.

Forty-five minutes of baking and simmering later,  our little Cajun Cornbread Boy was done cooking and said it was time to eat!

And eat we did. There are few things more satisfying to your hunger than a bowl of Cajun flavoured yumminess with cornbread to mop it all up with.  *sigh*

Cajun teriyaki monsoon

A decent storm came though and disrupted my plans for the evening.  Bad Internet at home and no electricity in other parts of town.  But, I did get some Chinese Dates planted amongst other random plants right before darkness set in.

We went to eat at my sister-in-laws house.  Pork curry, seafood dumplings and kimchi dumplings.  Yum.  I love curry, all nationalities of it.  She also brought me back a fancy brand of mirin from Dallas, a requirement in a number of Japanese dishes such as teriyaki and other sauces.  So I wouldn’t be surprised to see teriyaki chicken on the table tomorrow =)  I would like to show you a really cool way to do it.

I have also decided to embark on a Cajun culinary journey over the summer.  I’ve been married into a Cajun family so I really do not do a whole lot of the Cajun cooking.  I’d like to try some recipes out and learn how to do it all for myself.  We won’t be living here forever, I’d better get it mastered before we go.

We are also planning to go visit the great-grandma in Louisiana in July. Eat a bunch of yummy Cajun food and look around Lafayette.