Assortment of famous Louisiana dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish bisque and more Image via Wikipedia
From Denny: Cajun cooking has evolved over 244 years since the first Acadian settlers arrived in Louisiana. They were originally deported by the English from Nova Scotia and it was ten years later they migrated to Louisiana. For generations the French and English have carried on a cultural clash and divide so this deportation came as no surprise even in the New World. It did bring terrible hardships to the Acadians as they strove to develop a new life in an inhospitable environment.
The lines between Cajun and Creole cuisine have blurred over the past few decades ever since Justin Wilson popularized Louisiana cuisine back in the 1970's with what was locally known as "good hunting and fishing camp food." Wilson also was a fan of hot sauces and so the idea of Cajun food as "hot and spicy" stuck in the national mind ever since. The reality is that Cajun did not originate as one with fiery pepper sauces, cayenne pepper and spices but rather, to this day with the oldest generation, was a savory and flavorful cuisine style.
The authors of this regional cookbook offer up insight into the subtle differences from region to region in Louisiana because Louisiana is a lot like France in that respect. The 22 counties considered as Cajun Country (which includes some of the state of Texas), known as parishes here, are divided into cultural regions: Acadian Coast, The Wetlands, Upper Prairie, Lower Prairie, the Bayou Region, Southwest Louisiana and the Marshes and Coast.
French Onion Soup Image via Wikipedia
This regional, simple, 100 recipe cookbook (lots of illustrations but without photos) offers recipes from each region, so you get a look at six different versions of the celebrated and widely known gumbo dish. They include side dishes, traditional French soups like Belle Rose French Onion Soup and then on to desserts too, one known as Dark Sugar Pralines.
The cookbook has lots of great Cajun resources like listings for food festival events, Cajun web sites for food and events and tourism.
What this cookbook is all about is easy comfort food made by real people for home style cooking. It's also an easy pleasurable way to learn about a different culture through food!
Photo by afagen @ flickr
Lily B's Shrimp Creole
From: “Cooking in Cajun Country” new cookbook by Karl Breaux with Cheré Dastugue Coen (Gibbs Smith, $16.99, paperback)
My Amazon store has the book for $12.74 and available for free shipping too! Check it out, go here.
4 Tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 cups chopped tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined or 2 cups frozen shrimp*
(* Health Warning: try to buy Louisiana or American shrimp as Chinese and other Asian shrimp lives in heavily polluted waters, polluted with heavy metals! Check your package for country of origin before purchase.)
1/2 to 1 cup water
Cajun/Creole seasoning, to taste
2 cups cooked Louisiana rice
1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, celery and bell pepper until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté 5 minutes more.
2. Add salt, pepper, basil and tomatoes and stir; add shrimp. If using frozen shrimp, add 1/2 cup water and simmer for 10 minutes. If using fresh shrimp, add shrimp and 1 cup water and simmer until shrimp turn bright pink, about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not overcook.
3. Add Cajun/Creole seasoning to taste.
4. Serve over 1/2 cup cooked rice per serving.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and thanks for visiting! Good eating!
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