TASTE OF NEW ORLEANS

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 In July, I taught my first Cooking Class at Coastal Cupboard…It was fun, festive and successful.  We talked Cajun, Cooked Creole and Danced to Zydeco music.  Here is  a little bit about the class.

Whether you refer to it as New Orleans, Cajun or Creole cooking…the styles may be different, but the images that this cuisine conjures is an authentic American Cuisine whose culture has influenced most every cook.  My father grew up in New Orleans, my Grandmother grew up near Baton Rouge and my Granddaddy Carter was a founding member of the New Orleans Petroleum Club, the power lunch spot of the oil industry.  I have been visiting Louisiana all my life.  I remember as a child going to Mandina’s on Canal Street, enjoying the best meat and three in the city not to mention the best Po Boys in town.  I recall my first Muffaletta Sandwich at City Grocery in the Quarter and Beignets across the street at Café du Monde …but the fondest memories I have of Louisiana Cooking is in the home.  My Grandmother made the best Gumbo ever…dark and chock full of sausage, shrimp, chicken, okra, tomato and blue crab…shell and all!  Beignets were a Sunday treat once or twice a year…I still remember the cast iron pot she used to fry these yeast doughnuts.

In this New Orleans Cooking Class I start with an interpretative appetizer that is not necessarily from Cajun Country, but combines two recipes that are certainly enjoyed in New Orleans and the South…Pimento Cheese and Blackened Shrimp.  Pass these with cocktails or serve aside a light green salad as a first course or light Lunch/Brunch offering.

Next up is one of my favorite Cajun dishes and that is Jambalaya…this rice dish has infinite variations, just make certain that the recipe that you choose, cooks all the ingredients together…unlike some that will have you spoon the vegetable/meat/seafood mixture over separately cooked white rice.

My Grandmothers Gumbo was legendary…but some people don’t like the dark roux that some Cajun cooks like…so in this recipe I encourage you to darken the roux as you see fit…if you like dark gumbo with a slight sabitter, yet satisfyingly rich taste, then carefully cook the roux till it resembles a dark coffee color, making certain that you constantly stir it to keep it from getting burnt or if you like a slightly nuttier, milder taste cook the roux to a dark brown sugar color…either way is acceptable.

No New Orleans tour could be complete without Beignets…the classic New Orleans raised doughnut that is legendary…so turn on some Zydeco music, invite a friend or family member to join you  and share the feast.

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