Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year Traditional Southern Foods - Happy New Year!

Ever wonder why Southerners eat certain foods to ring in the new year? Or, what are the traditional foods that make up a Southern New Year's menu and how they came to be? Read on to find out!



I don't know about 'round the rest of the country, but most Southerner's wouldn't dare allow the New Year to pass without eatin' some kind of pork, a big ole mess o' black-eyed peas (or some other form of southern cowpeas) and greens of some kind, often either collard greens, turnip greens, or good ole, basic southern fried cabbage.

And I mean that even people who don't particularly care for greens or black-eyed peas - such as The Cajun himself - make sure that they at least have a bite of both of 'em - though to be honest, tradition says it is best to ensure that you get at least 365 peas in your body on New Year's Day just to account for the whole year. Might as well just eat a "mess of 'em" I reckon, just to be on the safe side!


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Grandma’s Elixirs - Hot Toddy Cold Remedy

Grandma's Hot Toddy Cold Remedy - Hot tea, lemon, honey, ginger & cloves with a splash of good ole whiskey.

Hot Toddy Cold Remedy

Looking for a recipe on how to make a great hot toddy cold remedy? You've come to the right place, because it's nearly 2:00 a.m. and I have been up and down - meaning from the bed - on and off since earlier this evening. I have a horrible, horrible cold - the worse I've had in awhile. The Cajun is coming down with something too, and I called my son earlier and he left work early sick to go to the doctor and said my daughter in law isn't feeling well either. The worse part is that my brother is in town, and only for a few days! So we all have to get better quick!

There were several occasions that my Mama made a hot toddy for me growing up when I was feeling under the weather. It was, and remains, an old home remedy for colds and flu. I always thought it was interesting that parents were more than willing to pass on a bit of booze to their underage kids, but honestly we never looked at it as being cool, since we felt so bad. It was simply medicinal. I'm sure Mama only put the tiniest splash of whiskey in it anyway.

Traditionally a hot toddy uses Scotch Whisky, hot water, sugar and lemon, but my Mama always made her hot toddy with tea. This recipe is similar to her recipe, but I played around and added a few additional healing elements. I think it turned out great and I'm working on my second cup tonight before I crawl back into the bed.

Feel free to vary the tea too. If you're off to bed, a bag of Zen green tea and Calm are nice too. It really does seem to help make me feel better, and since I'm up, I figured I might as well pass it on. Hopefully you won't need it, but just in case, hope you'll remember seeing it here! But, if this is timely for you then while you're at it, check out my post over at My New 30 Blog for some natural cold & flu treatments geared toward sinus congestion.


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Monday, December 28, 2009

Custardy French Toast

Thick slices of leftover bread, soaked in an egg, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla mixture and dusted with cinnamon sugar, pan fried for a crispy outer coating.

Custardy French Toast

Pain Perdu (or Lost Bread) is a classic French dish that is intended to use up leftover, stale loaves of bread so that it is not "lost." Pain Perdu is usually served with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar.


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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Breakfast Po'Boy (Denver)

If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!

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What Exactly IS a Po'Boy Anyway?

Ever heard of a Western Omelet Po'boy? Well, read on!

Back in the day when the primary focus of my weekends was centered around all night dancing and cocktails with my friends at the clubs, it was pretty standard that we'd all end up in the wee hours of the morning at either the Waffle House or Mary Mahoney's Le Cafe for coffee and a bite to eat before heading to the house.


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Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Merry Cajun Christmas Eve!



Merry Christmas Y'all and Good Eatin' 
from our home to yours!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spicy Cheese Bites

Bite sized cheese cookies, made with shredded cheese, flour, Cajun seasoning and Rice Krispies cereal.

Spicy Cheese Bites

Some folks call these, cheese cookies, but whatever you call them, they are a great make-ahead appetizer munchie for game day or any party or gathering.  This recipe makes a large batch but can easily be halved. Sort of like the flavor of a cheese straw, another very popular Christmas appetizer, but with an unexpected crunch from Rice Krispies cereal that'll have folks wondering what it is. You can also use well crushed regular corn flakes too if that's what you happen to have in the house.

Without the cayenne these have a sort of delayed, but fairly mild kick. If you want spicy hot, definitely add the cayenne or Cajun seasoning and adjust that to taste, because that really bumps up the heat. For a party though, you might want to lean on the milder side.

Nothing could be easier than this to throw together either - just make sure that you make enough because they WILL go fast, and that's not counting the ones you'll be popping in your mouth, which you will! The first batch of these I did by hand, the second I dumped it all in the KitchenAid. If you don't want to break out the mixer it works fine by hand, but I gotta say the mixer makes a much easier job of it if you don't happen to need (or want) the upper body workout! I made two trays at a time and just switched the sheets around halfway.


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Rolo Pretzel Turtles - Super Easy Turtle Candy

Super easy turtle candies, made from pretzels, rolo or caramel kisses, and then topped with pecan. Delicious, easy and a great holiday candy to get the children involved to help make.

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

These little Rolo Pretzel Turtles are about the easiest and most clever candy recipe anybody could have thought up. Made from mini pretzels, rolo candies or caramel kisses, and a pecan half, they are a super easy treat to do with your kids.

I always do a cookie and candy tray every year, but didn't get around to doing as much homemade as I usually do, so I let the grocery store give me a hand this year with some of it. I even grabbed some of my favorite New Orleans creamy pralines, Aunt Sally's Sugar & Spice Pralines (with hot sauce, oh yeah!) that thankfully we can get right here at our local Rouses Grocery, and added those to the tray. I also picked up a strawberry filled Christmas King Cake.


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Monday, December 21, 2009

Spaghetti Daube in Creole Gravy

Spaghetti Daube is a well loved Deep South dish and not surprising because it is such a budget stretcher. A slow braised beef, it is cooked in, then shredded & returned to a lovely Creole sauce. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

Spaghetti Daube in Creole Gravy

Daube, pronounced dohb, in its French origins, is simply put, a stew of braised beef. In years past, it was a popular dish amongst the population along the Point Cadet area of Biloxi where my family is from, but I'm afraid that it has gone the wayside with the younger generations, and even those of us in the not-so-young-generation. Too bad, because it is both delicious and definitely not difficult at all to do. While it does take a long, slow cooking period of several hours, you don't really have to tend to it much at all during that time. This meal is also a great budget stretcher as it goes a long way and can feed a nice big family. I can just imagine my MoMo (my mother's mother) serving up a big ole pot of this spaghetti to my Poppy and all those kids of theirs!


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Friday, December 18, 2009

Classic Old Fashioned Southern Pecan Pie

Follow this recipe and these tips and you'll have yourself a perfect Southern Pecan Pie

Perfect Southern Pecan Pie

Ah, southern pecan pie - a classic no doubt. It is no secret that we love our pecans down south. We use them on top of pies, in the crusts of pies and of course, in pies.  We use them as a topping, in cookies, and even in cookies you might not expect them in. We make glazes with them, put them in cranberries, and even add them to pasta! Heck, we even put 'em on bacon. I could go on. All I can say is thank goodness they are plentiful down here!


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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Spicy Cajun Sausage and Corn Soup

A flavorful tomato-based soup with corn and andouille smoked sausage. Use garden fresh veggies or pantry items - either way it's a delicious soup.

Spicy Cajun Sausage and Corn Soup

Corn and tomatoes naturally pair together so well, and thanks to canned veggies, we have access to them to make a mighty fine soup in the colder weather months. A very common soup down south, all always with the spin of the cook, I have a feeling it was probably made with the tail end of the summer crops, or birthed out of the need to use up leftovers. I'm sure that's where the croutons fell in, probably using big leftover chunks of double toasted French bread, but you can certainly just leave them out if you like.


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Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade Southern Beef Stew

A savory southern beef stew, made from chunks of seasoned chuck roast, a mixture of beef stock and water, loads of herbs, potatoes, celery and carrots, rich and loaded with flavor.

Homemade Southern Beef Stew

Like creamy butter beans, Homemade Southern Beef Stew is another one of those belly warmin', budget stretchin' meals that's pretty popular this time of year. The weather this weekend was absolutely perfect for it too.

This is an old standby beef stew recipe that I've used since the late 70s and have made very few changes to the basic recipe since then. I have always used shortening since those days - you know... old dog, new tricks and all - but you can certainly substitute some cooking oil or even bacon fat if you prefer. I just always manage to find myself reaching for the Crisco when I make this for some reason. Nostalgia, maybe?


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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rocky Road Candy Squares

Rocky Road Candy Squares, made from chocolate chips, condensed milk, chopped peanuts and marshmallows.

Rocky Road Candy Squares


I settled on this recipe while doing a review of the cookbook Da Cajn Critter, and while there were loads of great Cajun recipes I could have chosen, since we were rolling on closer to the holidays and I need some more candy recipes, I thought these candy squares would be a great addition to the Christmas sweets tray.

The version below is a slightly adapted version of Janet's Rocky Road Squares found in the cookbook, substituting butter for margarine and also changing the pan technique a bit. This results in a delicious rocky road candy of chocolate, marshmallows and crunchy peanuts that would be a fine addition to your holiday sweets table. I hope that you enjoy it!


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Friday, December 11, 2009

Butterscotch Pecan Cookie Mix in a Jar

Cookie Mix in a Jar is a great holiday gift and this recipe for Butterscotch Pecan Cookies is a delicious choice.

Butterscotch Pecan Cookie Mix in a Jar

Butterscotch. Pecan. Cookies. Seriously. Now y'all know reading the title of this recipe that this was right up my little ole southern ally didn't ya? 


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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Southern Creamy Butter Beans (Large Lima Beans)

Large lima beans, or butter beans as we refer to them in my part of the Deep South, have a lovely creamy texture, and with this mix of seasonings, are just pure comfort food.

Creamy Butter Beans

Good old-fashioned, creamy butter beans, are a southern favorite for sure! Not to be too confusing, Southerners refer to both large and small lima beans as butterbeans, although there is also butter peas to consider, a smaller pea-shaped cousin, and a pea that is actually a bean and not a pea, akin to other Southern peas, such as lady cream and zipper, and that some Southerners also call butter beans ... but not to be confused with buttered peas which is a whole 'nother thing - just to confuse the rest of the world, as we Southerners love to do.

Whew! You just gotta love The South.


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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Fudge {Classic Fantasy Fudge}

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Fudge - Classic Fantasy Fudge becomes a magical story that you can share with your children or grandchildren as you make this old fashioned favorite together!

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Fudge

I've said many times that I'm not much of a candy maker, and while I have tried multiple times over my long life span on this earth, I still have not conquered the perfect old fashioned fudge that I love. You know the one. The ones that they use to sell upstairs at Gayfers. The kind you pick up at those candy stores when you are on vacation. The kind that doesn't have a drop of marshmallow creme in it! Well, despite my attempts I haven't made it there yet. Maybe one day.


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Monday, December 7, 2009

Eggplant Josephine

Eggplant Josephine, a popular dish at the now closed White Pillars restaurant, made from slices of eggplant, dredged in flour and fried, topped with crabmeat, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, then baked.

Eggplant Josephine

Eggplant Josephine, sort of a Deep South coastal seafood take on Eggplant Parmesan, was a pretty famous dish when I was growing up. It was a signature dish at the White Pillars, a very popular local restaurant owned by the Mladinich family of Biloxi. Housed in an old 1919 white mansion located at the foot of Rodenburg Avenue right on the beach at Highway 90, owned originally by Dr. and Mrs. H. M. Folkes, and then called Gunston Hall, the restaurant was a beautiful and elegant structure.

Photo Credit


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Blender Hollandaise Sauce

Blender Hollandaise Sauce
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of boiling water
1/2 pound of butter, melted
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste

Melt the butter. Have the lemon juice, cayenne and salt at the ready.

Separate the eggs, saving the whites for an omelet. Drop the yolks into a blender and turn on low. Drizzle in very slowly the boiling water and then the butter, adding in a slow stream. Add in the lemon juice, cayenne and salt; taste and correct the seasonings as needed. Serve immediately.
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Leek and Cabbage Soup with Andouille Sausage

A chicken stock based soup made with a mirepoix of carrot, onion and celery, and cooked with sliced leeks, cabbage, potatoes, seasonings and spicy andouille sausage.

Leek and Cabbage Soup with Andouille Sausage

Who knew that the combination of cabbage with leeks made such a great soup?! Throw in some andouille sausage and the flavor just really pops.

I had a head of cabbage in the fridge and was in the grocery store the other day when I decided to grab a bunch of leeks, knowing they would make their way into some kind of soup with the cabbage. Once I got started with a basic mirepoix of carrot, onion, celery - and of course the leeks - I thought smoked sausage would make a nice compliment to it. Despite the simplicity of this soup, this was a highly flavorful and just simply delicious soup.


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How to Clean Leeks



With leeks it's very important to get them cleaned well, since there are so many nooks and crannies for grit and dirt to hide in. We're using mostly only the white part of the leek and just about two inches of the green part just above there.


Split the leek down the entire length ...


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crabmeat Quiche

Crabmeat Quiche

Crabmeat Quiche

I was in the mood for a quiche today and just so happened to have pouches of crab in the freezer. Nothing better than fresh lump crab for sure, but I like cooking on the fly sometimes straight out of the pantry, so I always try to keep a couple of these pouches around. They freeze well, are perfect for this very reason and they work much better than canned crab in many recipes, including this quiche. If you don't have access to the pouches, which should be in the fresh or frozen seafood section of your store, canned is fine to use too - just drain it well.



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