Highway 61 rises from mists as gray as the uniforms of the men who once fought here as it leaves Vicksburg. Meandering through the Mississippi Delta, you pass through hundreds of sleepy towns on your way to the city that never sleeps The Big Easy – New Orleans!
Click here to access the recipes page.Being a seaport, this Southern cityâ€™s cuisine was flavored by people from many lands. African slaves, Native Americans, and Caribbean seamen added their flavors to the cuisine of the melting pot that became New Orleans.
The first settlers were French, usually the second-born sons of aristocrats who left France to seek adventure in the New World. They brought their traditional style of cooking from the continent, and being rich aristocrats, they also brought along their chefs as well! These Frenchmen came to be called Creoles, and made up the upper crust of New Orleans. Their descendents can still be found in the French Quarter today.
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The next group was displaced French-speaking people from the Acadia region of Nova Scotia. The Acadians who were called Cajuns by the local Native American tribes. Both groups mixed their traditional dishes with the cuisines of African slaves and Caribbean seamen to form the Cajun and Creole dishes that New Orleans is famous for.
Cajun vs. Creole Cooking
In general, Cajun dishes are the country cooking of Louisiana, highlighted by dirty rice, gumbos, jambalaya, andouille (pronounced ahnd-wee or ahn-do-wee, itâ€™s a spicy smoked sausage) and simple foods such as fried catfish. Cajun cooking traditionally uses pork fat and simpler ingredients.
Creole is the food of the city, a more refined cuisine represented by Oysters Rockefeller, Shrimp Remoulade and Bananas Foster. It traditionally used the butter available to the wealthy Creoles, and more expensive ingredients.
Some people will tell you that if a dish has tomatoes, it’s Creole, not Cajun. That isn’t always true. Tomatoes have been known to turn up in jambalaya or gumbo, which are both Cajun.
Both Cajun and Creole use the Holy Trinity of New Orleans cooking: green peppers, onions and celery. They both also rely on the roux (pronounced Roo) as the base of the dish. A roux is simply flour cooked in fat, either pork fat or butter, until it browns. This adds flavor and thickness to the dish.
Click here to access the Cajun Kitchen WebsiteBlackened What?
There has been a trend lately that started when some hapless cook burned a piece of meat, then to cover up his mistake, smothered it in pepper and tried to pass it off as “Cajun Blackened Moose” or whatever. If you serve this mess to a Cajun, he’ll laugh in your face, smack you upside the head, and tell you to get back into the kitchen and cook him some real food. There is no such thing as blackened anything in real Cajun cuisine. Don’t be fooled.
The most popular time to visit New Orleans is during Mardi Gras, which is called Carnival by the natives of Louisiana. It runs from Epiphany (Jan. 6) until Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. But no matter when you go, youâ€™ll never meet a stranger and youâ€™ll never go to bed hungry. As they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)
Carnival MasksThe music you’ve been listening to is called Jolie Blon and is the finest piece of Cajun music ever written. It should be the National Anthem, in my most humble
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