Eggplant Dressing

This dish is similar to Dirty rice, but also uses eggplant. This makes a good side dish.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
2 tbps. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
4 medium eggplants, peeled & chopped
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 cup water, divided
salt & pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste
3 cups cooked and cooled rice

Directions:

Brown beef in oil. Add onions, bell peppers, eggplant, garlic and some of the water. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Mix well. Cook on medium until eggplant is thoroughly mashed, adding remainder of water as needed to make moist. Add rice and mix well. Serves 4 to 6.

Creole-style Baked Beans

BBQ time…

This would be good paired with the Creole Potato Salad from last summer.

Creole-style Baked Beans

2-16 oz. cans of Pork & Beans or White beans
1 large red bell pepper, grated
1 large yellow onion, grated
2 toes garlic, minced fine
1/2 lb. smoked sausage or chaurice, sliced on bias
1 small can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons creole seasoning
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/4 lb. dark brown sugar
3 strips of bacon

Set aside brown sugar and bacon. Brown sausage. Add bell pepper and onion and sauté until most of water is gone. Add garlic and tomato sauce. Add sausage/vegetable mixture to all other ingredients, mix well, and place in a lightly greased casserole dish. Lay bacon over the beans and sprinkle top with rest of the brown sugar. Bake in a 325º oven for a full hour. Remove from oven and allow beans to rest for 15 minutes. Serves 10.

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Happy Belated Fiesta 2007!

As you probably all know by now, I am a direct descendant of the Canarian immigrants (Canary Islanders-Los Isleños) who settled in SE Louisiana in the late 1700’s. No, that doesn’t make me latino (not that there’s anything wrong with it!). But according to the newest US demographic questionnaires (the ones you have to fill out for colleges, financial aid, and census information), it does make me “Hispanic-Other”. Those silly bureaucrats. Although, that “Other” bit makes me and my brother laugh. If you know us personally, you know why.

I am about a month late posting the following links since the Los Isleños Fiesta occurred on March 23 and March 24. I like to make a late entrance.

Canary Islanders Heritage Society

Los Isleños Society Events

Un favor, por favor. If any of you gentle readers happens to go to any of these various events in the future, piense de mí and kindly get me a shirt?

Now for a traditional Canarian recipe: Papas Arrugadas con Mojo Verde. This is similar to mainland Spain’s papas bravas except the papas in the former recipe are boiled and then steamed rather than pan-fried. This is a great substitute for hash browned potatoes at a brunch.

Papas Arrugadas con Mojo Verde

4 1/2 lbs. small or new potatoes
5 tablespoons Kosher salt (plus enough to make the water as salty as sea water)

Wash the potatoes well. Put salt into large pot—start with a few tablespoons, you can add more to the water later. Add water—it is best if you add enough water to cover the potatoes so that you know you have added enough salt—the potatoes will float when the water is perfect. Add the potatoes to the pot of salted water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Drain most of the water from the pot and sprinkle the potatoes with the 5 tablespoons of salt. Turn down the heat and gently shake the pot so that salt crystalizes on the potatoes. Finally, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a tea-towel for 5 minutes and the potatoes should now be arrugadas (wrinkled). The old school way of covering the potatoes was done with cabbage leaves in lieu of a tea-towel. Maybe for taste?

Mojo Verde:

1 teaspoon cumin
1 head of garlic
4 fresh jalapeño peppers
Italian parsley, fresh and chopped
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (fleur de sel)

You will need a mortar and pestle or a good food processor to make this. Take the cumin, garlic, and salt and combine them with your mortar and pestle or food processor until they create a paste. Clean out the peppers of all seeds and veins, dice and then add diced peppers and parsley to your mash. Blend well. Combine mash, vinegar. and olive oil and mix thoroughly. This can either be a dipping sauce (preferred) or poured over the potatoes.

Maque Choux

This is a Cajun dish as far as I can tell. As I remember it, the dish was either introduced to the French settlers in the bayou by the Native American tribes in the area or the dish was a synthesis of ingredients the settlers had on hand. I had never had it until this year and it is wonderful! There is a lot of black pepper used in this dish (my doing) so feel free to reduce the amount if you find that amount intimidating.

Maque Choux

8 ears fresh corn, husked and silked (or 7 cups frozen)
6 strips bacon
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon creole seasoning or Cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt

First, prepare the corn by holding each ear of corn firmly with the bottom end placed on a cutting board or in a large bowl to keep the kernels from splattering. With a sharp knife, cut straight down the cob, cutting off only 2 or 3 rows at a time until all kernels are removed. Then, using the back of the knife blade, scrape down the cob to remove the corn “milk.” Add this milk to the corn kernels in a large bowl. Repeat procedure with each of the remaining ears of corn. Set aside.

Then in a stockpot, cook the bacon until crisp. Save bacon strips for another use—like peanut butter and bacon sandwiches! Leave bacon fat in bottom of stockpot. Cook onions and the red and green bell peppers in the bacon fat until soft — about 5-10 minutes. Add corn kernels and corn milk, spices, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the corn from sticking. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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Crab Boil Mashed Potatoes

With Thanksgiving coming up soon, I thought it was time to start posting à propos recipes. The following is inspired by the potatoes served before your meal at Deanie’s in Metairie. For folks not “in the know”—when it comes time to throw a seafood boil, it is customary to add corn and potatoes to the water along with the seafood and seafood boil mix to serve alongside the crabs, shrimp and crawfish. At Deanie’s, they serve these delicious potatoes as a substitute for bread before your meal arrives. By using the following method to boil your potatoes for mashing, you will give just enough zing to your mashed potatoes for some real soul.

Just my humble opinion, but Yukon Gold potatoes are the best for mashing, but some people prefer red skinned. Use appropriate mashing potatoes.

Crab Boil Mashed Potatoes

For the water:
1 package (3 oz.) Dry Crab Boil
4 quarts of water
4 tablespoons salt
1 quartered lemon
cayenne pepper to taste

3 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon salt
8 Tbsp heavy cream
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp milk
Salt and Pepper

A potato ricer, food mill or masher

Put potatoes into a large pot of crab boil water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes, or until done – a fork can easily be poked through them.

Warm cream and melt butter, together, either in microwave or in a pan on the stove. Drain water from potatoes. Use ricer, mill or masher to mash potatoes into a separate bowl. Add cream and melted butter mixture. Use a strong spoon to beat further, adding milk to achieve the consistency you desire. (Do not over-beat or your potatoes will get gluey.) Salt and pepper to taste. You may add creole seasoning to taste at the end if you desire.

Serves 8.

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Creole Potato Salad

It’s the nearly the Fourth… and what do you think of besides fireworks? Picnic food! And an obvious picnic food is potato salad. One of our local grocery chains carries Creole Potato Salad at the deli counter and given my past experience with the creole/cajun moniker in the past, I was suspicious of it (to say the least)… but it’s so good! After eating heaping spoonfuls of it and breaking down what has to be its ingredient list in my head, I believe that this recipe closely approaches what our local store sells.

Creole Potato Salad (modified from Zatarain’s website)

2 ½ lbs boiled Yukon Gold or red skinned potatoes
¼ cup celery, finely diced
½ cup red or yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 medium bell pepper, finely diced
3 hard-boiled eggs, finely diced
1 teaspoon creole-style mustard
1 teaspoon chow chow (you may substitute hot dog relish or yellow mustard)
½ cup pickle relish
½ cup dill pickle, finely diced
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
creole seasoning to taste
black pepper to taste
Kosher salt to taste

Wash, peel and dice potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Cook until firm done. Pour cooked potatoes into strainer and rinse with cold water. Set aside into large mixing bowl. Prepare all chopped vegetables and add to the potatoes and mix thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and mix for uniform consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate and serve. Like all potato salads, this gets better as it sits, you may want to make it the night before your planned event. You may want to adjust seasonings one more time after the potato salad has chilled, spices tend to taste stronger when food is warm.

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Creole Hot Water Cornbread

I had never heard of hot water cornbread in all my years, but when G. and I went to Louisiana Fried Chicken a few weekends ago, it was one of the options for a bread. It reminded me of a large, flattened hush puppy and was pretty tasty. I don’t recall where I found this recipe, but if you recognize it as yours (or your mama’s) please tell me and I will credit that person. I tweaked it a little as the original recipe called for lard for frying (which I don’t like, it has too heavy a taste for me) but feel free to use lard instead if you so choose.

Creole Hot Water Cornbread

1 2/3 cups cornmeal
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 3/4 teaspoons white sugar
3/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning
5 teaspoons shortening
1 1/4 cups boiling water
peanut oil for frying

Combine the cornmeal, Creole seasoning, onion, and sugar in a medium bowl. Pour in boiling water and shortening; stir until the shortening melts. Place peanut oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a large skillet; bring to a temperature of 375 degrees over medium-high heat. Shape heaping tablespoons of the dough into flattened balls (thickness is a personal preference). Fry in hot oil, turning once, until crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels or better yet, a brown paper (like paper bags).

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