What have they done to Count???

This is the time of year for fall photos, apple cider, trick-or-treat, and Monster cereal.

While I’m more of a Grape Nuts kinda girl, I do love Count Chocula and Frankenberry this time of year, so I picked up a couple of boxes at the grocery store.

Remember Count Chocula?

Have you ever wondered what the hell those two pointy things are on the top of his head? Is that supposed to be his hair or is that a very strange monster cap?

Doesn’t matter, I guess. Look what they’ve done to him.

He looks much younger with his groomed brows. Still, he’s not a sexy vampire if that’s what they were going for.

Remember Frankenberry?

They got him too.

I can’t believe that removed that smoke stack from his head, that was my favorite part.

Beignets (recipe)

Can you believe we saw a Café du Monde in Japan? True. About two days into that trip I told everyone (over and over) that everything works as it should in Japan. Or that everything is as it should be. Yeah. That’s what I said.

You going to have donuts? Then they should be the best in the world. Beignets. They got ’em in Japan.

Proof:

No, I did not see Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ Donuts there.

So today, for Mother’s Day, I’m missing my mom who is too many miles away. She often cooks beignets and uses several recipes. I’ve blogged about it :::here::: with easy recipes for when you want to make them in a hurry. If you set out a day ahead of time, or maybe just a few hours early, you may want to try the following recipe which I find tastes identical to Café du Monde’s.

New Orleans Doughnuts

1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
1/4 cup soft shortening
7 cups all purpose flour
oil for frying
confectioners sugar

In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over water; stir to dissolve. Add sugar, salt, eggs and milk. Blend with rotary beater. Add 4 cups of the flour; beat smooth. add shortening; beat in remaining flour. Cover and chill overnight.


You don’t really have to chill it overnight, but at least let it rise for an hour and then punch down the dough once before rolling out. To store in fridge, I put a chunk of butter or shortening in a gallon Ziplock bag to grease the inside then put my dough in there.

Roll out on floured board to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Deep fry at 360 degrees 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned on each side. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle heavily with confectioners sugar. Makes about 5 dozen – Dough keeps well in refrigerator for several days. Cover bowl with Saran Wrap and punch down occasionally.

(recipe credit Marguerite Lyle, pg 44, Talk About Good! (Le Livre de la Cuisine de Lafayette).


I have to use a thermometer or I burn the oil.

They taste and rise better if you can make this dough a day ahead of time. Also, it is easier to take about 1/4 of the dough from the fridge and roll that out instead of working with all of it in one go. Seven cups of flour makes one gigantic hunk of dough.

Serve with café au lait (coffee milk: 1/2 cup coffee mixed with 1/2 cup warm milk). Put on some jazz, dip your beignets in the coffee and wish your mamma was Cajun.

Circus Kitchen

I hardly ever go back and read old posts. Never think about it. Except when I’m looking for a recipe I’ve put up here. I’ll use the search bar (upper right column) to find it. It’s much easier than pulling out my battered recipe scrapbook which has pages falling out all over the place. I know a lot of cooks have recipes memorized or they make things up as they go. I do that too, but I also post recipes of things I don’t make often and have to look up measurements. Or other people’s recipes.

A recipe page on here would be great, I can find them all in one click…

A little while later…

Okay, I’ve made the page and it is toward the top, in the right-hand column. Or you can go click the link The Circus Kitchen to get there.

I should be ashamed

I don’t know why I have a fascination with amusement park type machines/gadgets for home kitchens, but I do. Years ago I kicked off my collection with a cotton candy machine.

It’s not the toy one, it is a good sized machine that makes full sized cones of fluff. Of course I didn’t pay full price for it, I stalked that thing in the store until it went down to about $30. Through the years it has been the big thing to pull out for the kids’ birthday parties.

We have had just about every type of snowball machine you can imagine and if there is a hand crank or Snoopy character involved, you can bank on having your shoulder go out. No photo of that one, but we have an electric one somewhere and it is probably the one machine the kids have used the most.

The hot dog roller is fun to drag out by the pool in the summertime.

But the donut machine thingy was a total disappointment, I never could make a good one and none of us are crazy about fried anything.

I should have known better, if we’re going to eat donuts, this is the way to do it.

I never get these machines unless they are on clearance. Don’t know why I’m like that, maybe it helps with the guilt.

For Christmas I got Blane a popcorn machine. He’s been saying for about 5 years that he wants one and he was going to find just the right one, but he never got around to it. I found one on sale at Kohl’s for $30, the same one they are selling at Target for $100.
You have to see this in action, so I uploaded to YouTube:

I swear I didn’t really buy this for myself. I originally bought it for Blane Jr. but someone else gave him one, so I asked Blane Sr. if he wanted it. He jumped on it like a kid in a candy store. Or like me in the clearance aisle.

Time to watch a movie.

All was well until the meat grinder got involved

The day before Christmas Eve was so perfect I got to take the dogs out and shear off all that hair they’ve been shedding all over the house. The next day it snowed like crazy and although it was about 45 degrees when it began, the temperature dropped rapidly, the snow picked up, and then it piled up everywhere. Perfect. First white Christmas in my lifetime.

So everyone’s all crazy happy, singing Christmas carols that only a day earlier they said they never wanted to hear again, ever. Blane, he’s putting up the Christmas tree. I didn’t even have to ask, this is what Christmas snow does to southerners).

Me? I pull out the new meat grinder I got to make rice dressing. Last year I tried chopping all the meats and it didn’t work out. This year will be different for sure, there is magic snow on the ground and… Dude. A meat grinder, okay? What can be cooler than that in the kitchen?

It’s not one of those old metal crank ones.

I will get one of those next time I’m in Louisiana. I grew up watching my mom use hers, so I know how to operate the thing.

I got what I could get around here, an attachment that fits on my KitchenAid stand mixer.

What’s important to know about this is it’s electric and I don’t ever read instructions to anything. Half the fun of a new thing is figuring it out how to make it work.

So I threw a pack of raw chicken gizzards down the hole and used the plunger thing to tamp it. Out the other side, curly strings of meat emerged. Awesome and quick. This was something that took at least an hour to chop by hand last year. Oh what a magical thing.

Next came the raw chicken liver. I threw those down the hole and tamped it, but nothing happened. So I shoved the plunger down hard and out the other side… An EXPLOSION of pureed chicken liver in my face, hair, on my arms, shirt. I look behind me and oh God, my dog Mireille! She’s white and I see these thick, red lines of raw meat all over her.

Now that was pretty disgusting for me, but for the dog? She ran around in circles licking herself, what a gift she must have thought, if she could think.

When the other dog heard all the ruckus, she came dashing in to clean the floor. That stuff was all over.

You know how difficult it stop a dog from eating raw meat spray? It took two people to straighten out that mess. Thanks a million, Blane, you saved Christmas.

A murder of cake

As I was walking out to the trash with the turkey carcass, I got to thinking about an English wedding I attended. How did I get from turkey to wedding?

Well, at the wedding I noticed there was a tiny wedding cake, not nearly large enough to feed even a tenth of the people there. It seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. I could see that cake running out by the time the bridesmaids got their cut. That’s how small it was.

Then something peculiar happened. The newlyweds cut the cake, each had their ceremonial bite and put the rest on the table. Then. No one ate any more cake.

So I had to ask someone. What is the deal with the cake? Is a fake or something?

I was told it was indeed a real cake and I was very welcome to have some but I would likely spit it out, that’s how bad this cake was.

I went over and took a closer look. It was a freaky color, burnt orange or something like that. A rich fruit cake. Rich! They told me it was a tradition to serve it at weddings in England and no one ever eats it, but they do it because that is how it has always been done.

What a murder of cake.

Tradition sometimes just doesn’t make sense. And that brings us back to the turkey.

I hate turkey. The taste, the smell, and then the leftover meat that is wasted. I have decided I will never cook another one again. If someone insists on having it, I’ll cook a turkey breast. But no more full birds.

As for the English, what I find really funny is how beautiful their cakes are. Look at these I photographed through a bake shop window in York in 2005. I apologize for the quality of the photos.

I love that castle cake.

And the cute bears in a tub.

Oh, what a murder of cake photos…

Scraps

I don’t like giving my dogs human food because they have sensitive stomachs, but every once in a while I am curious to see if they would actually eat what they’re begging for.

So I was eating an apple last week and tested Mireille. She turned her nose up at it.

Then Scrappy came around. She took a couple of licks and then went crazy on it, eating everything but the stem. It’s the funniest thing because I had no idea a dog would eat that.

And enjoy the hell out of it.

We all think it’s funny.

Strawberry Cake with Never Fail Icing

It is birthday season. Blane Sr. last week and Blane Jr. this week. I made this strawberry wonder for my son after he asked me to surprise him with a special cake.

I started with three layers of white box cake mix. Between the layers I put a layer of strawberry preserves and some fresh sliced strawberries.

strawberry layer

The icing is the magical part. It is a meringue type icing, not something you can buy in a tub or box but something you have to actually crank up the stove to make. It is worth the entire seven minutes of your time. That is one of the popular names for it, Seven Minute Icing. But it takes a little longer than that to make. It is also known as Never Fail Icing, but I’ve had it fail on me before. Those failures have much to do with the humidity. If it is rainy outside, it won’t sugar properly and will be sticky.

So, besides sunshine, here is what you need for the icing:

2 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup of sugar (granulated, not powdered)

3 tablespoons of water

1 teaspoon of vanilla

You’ll need to make it in a double boiler. Don’t panic if you don’t have one, I ghetto mine with a bowl and a stock pot. Just make sure the boiling water in the lower pot does not touch the bowl.

Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar and water in a bowl and mix for one minute before putting the bowl or upper pot over the boiling water. (hold off on the vanilla for now)

mix

See below, my aluminum bowl fits perfectly over my stock pot with the boiling water.

double boiler

While the water in the lower pot boils on med heat, use an electric mixer to whip the mixture until stiff peaks form (yes you are doing this over the stove, don’t burn the cord for your mixer).

sugars

Like this in the above photo. This takes about seven minutes. Then you take it off the pot of boiling water and add the vanilla. Whip some more until the sides begin to sugar, about a couple more minutes and not over the stove.

Now you need to work fast and you had better have that cake ready because the icing needs to go on now!

sides first

Ice the sides first, then the top.

deco cake

I added some special toys on top while the icing was still wet. What will happen over the next half hour is the outside of the icing will become crunchy and yummy and…

That cake did not last 12 hours in this house.

While the strawberries on the outside are really pretty, I do not recommend you put them on the icing as they cause the icing to run due to the moisture in the berries. (now I know)

Another variation is the banana cake. Blane’s grandmother gave me this recipe years ago, so it is a family favorite.  Bake a yellow cake instead of the white, and for the layers between, make a small box of Jello brand instant pudding (small box and only use 1 1/3 cup of milk in the directions). Spread a layer of pudding then a layer of sliced banana between each layer. Frost with the Never Fail Icing and call yourself The Boss.

yum

mini wheats star trek shirt

One of Spanky’s friends was over the other day and while we were all playing Scrabble, she mentioned how she was a big fan of Captain Kirk.

I told her about the Kellogg’s Mini Wheats offer. You collect these tokens off the box, send them in, and get a free Starfleet tee shirt (or just one token and $9.99). Oh boy. We happened to have a box of the cereal in the pantry as Blane loves the stuff.

She reminded me of a friend I had in grade school who was bananas about Star Trek and had made her own geeky Captain Kirk costume one halloween. I really felt for that kid as her costume was quite shabby. I wished I could reach back in time and give that kid one of these shirts. I really wish I could. But I don’t know her anymore.

I do know this other kid who is just as passionate about Star Trek and equally deserving. And since Blane’s been sending me to the store for more, more, more Frosted Mini Wheats, I told the kid if she went to the store and got eight more boxes of it, she could have all the tokens.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and we are sick of these damn Mini Wheats. Don’t ever want to see them again. Ever.

So I saved the day by getting some Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

cinnamon toast crunch

Spanky’s looking over the box and says, “Look how thick this guy’s glasses are, I don’t think I’d let him cook anything for me.”

Looking at him closely, I realize he looks like someone else.

tony chachere

This guy!

If you are interested in the Star Trek shirt offer which ends 6/30/10, check out Kellogg’s Star Trek promotions website.

When is food too old to eat?

I cooked a gumbo about eight days ago. Normally, if it doesn’t get eaten in about 3-5 days, it gets pitched. Gumbos are big so I usually portion some to go in the fridge for leftovers and some for the freezer.

So, for lunch yesterday I was digging around for some grub and noticed the one I made for the freezer was still in the fridge. I felt rotten and irresponsible for not putting it away, what a dumb assed thing.

It smelled okay. It was seasoned up pretty well too, I mean, what could grow in that?

So I put it in the micro and ate it.

Sometimes I wonder if I have a stomach like a dog. I have never had food poisoning in my life. Not once. 

Yogurt? I have eaten yogurt three weeks past expiration. 

Cheese? That stuff doesn’t go bad until the furry stuff grows on it. And I have cut that off and eaten what’s inside. 

I wouldn’t feed that to my kids though. I have a whole different set of rules for them.

So here’s what I want to know. When are leftovers too old to eat?

Chicken?

Beef?

Pork?

Spaghetti?

Fish?

Rice? (I recently had a cousin insist  10 day old rice in the fridge was still good)

Yes, I know I can look it up on the internet, but I want to know what y’all think, because see, yogurt? That expiry date is too conservative.

Finally, what’s the craziest outdated food you’ve ever eaten?

My God What Are They Doing?

Blane asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I told him I want a big-ass cake, big enough to jump into.

I was kidding of course. I always thought it was a bit backwards that people jumped out of cakes and not into them.

Anyway, I didn’t think anyone would make me a cake today because it is a work and school day, but this house does smell the cake right now and I’m not allowed in the kitchen. They are all saying I will have a monster cake.

I’m ready to take the dive, man, ready.

I’ll update with photos later tonight or tomorrow.

This is also the last day of Holidailies and I’d like to thank Jette and Chip and everyone else who participated. It was just as enjoyable as I thought it would be.

Update: Here’s what they were up to.

The girls made me a monster cake with 5 layers and bought a healthy torte. I had made three layers last night and left them to decorate since the girls had school, but Spanky said, “No way, I have to bake it.”
So she baked two more layers and Kara did the icing.

It was so big the cake cracked while we were out eating.
three-cakes

I lit the candles with my little shotgun lighter.
shoot-the-cake

Want some?
slice-of-cake

There’s enough for everyone, even the dogs got some.

Don’t Smother Me Bro

The only traditions our family had for New Year’s were to eat some black-eyed peas and cabbage. One is for good luck and the other for money, but I always wanted both so I just knew to eat a bite of each and I was good for a year, no need to memorize what goes with what.

I do think cabbage is the money one since lettuce is slang for dollar bills.

So I went to the grocery for the ingredients. There is no tasso (smoked pork chunks) here, but I did see some smoked hog jowls. I have never eaten that before, but what the hey, I’m a Cajun and it looked ghetto enough to go in my smothered cabbage.

Does that sound scary? Smothered cabbage?

It always did to me, especially when I was little. How about smothered chicken? I could just hear the poor chickie squaking as my mom shoved the lid down on that pot.

Anyway, I’ve been gone from Louisiana so long I second guessed myself on how to smother cabbage. I think my mom used to boil down the cabbage first, then smother it. But I don’t know, it seems like that would boil out the vitamins.

So I checked the trusty internet and found this recipe on cooks.com:

pam”s smothered cabbage

Okay, I know you won’t hit that link so I’ll just show you an excerpt. This is a real recipe.

Saute onion, garlic and bell pepper in butter. Remove all stuffing from pillow and replace with sauteed seasonings. Set aside. Wash heads of cabbage using warm water and a mild shampoo. Dry thoroughly using a blow dryer and diffuser. Place cabbage heads on a soft surface. Cover the cabbage heads with the pillow and press firmly until cabbage is completely smothered.
(You will know they are smothered when they stop screaming). Remove pillow…

Noooooooo.

Anyway. Here’s how I do mine.

2 heads cabbage
some bacon, tasso, or hog jowls
salt and pepper
onion and bell pepper
garlic
can of chicken broth

Cut cabbage into two inch cubess. Put in a gigantic pot of boiling water or steamer and cook until wilted. While that’s cooking, fry bacon and drain off almost all the fat. Throw your onions, peppers, and garlic in there and saute. Add can of chicken broth, then toss in the steamed cabbage a little at a time because it can’t all fit in the pot at once. It cooks down a lot. As it shrinks, add more cabbage. Keep the lid on tight while it cooks on medium low flame. Stir often.

img_0451

That’s my steamed cabbage being added (upper right) and the smothered cabbage (left). This is how much one head cooks down. The whole deal takes about a couple of hours to cook.

And that’s it for the holiday cooking season. I’m exhausted and damn glad it’s all over. I feel like a new person already.

The Gift

Every time I go into the grocery store I bring in one of the shopping carts from the parking lot. I get the kids to do it too, if they’re with me.

It’s not that we’re a bunch of do-gooders. It’s that I owe it. When my kids were little, I was one of those people who always left the cart in the lot. I felt bad about it, but I didn’t want to leave my kids alone in the car while I brought it back into the store.

Yesterday we went Christmas shopping at the Hell Hole Mall. They always have those Salvation Army people ringing bells at the entries this time of year and since I’m not a cash and carry type person, all I ever have to offer is a smile. I feel twice as bad if it’s cold out.

I did happen to have a few dollars on me, and as it dropped the money into the bucket I asked the lady how long she had been out there.

She said, “Eight hours.”

It wasn’t cold out, but it was a dark, grey day with a seeping sky. A little more than a mist, but not quite a rain. Just enough to keep you uncomfortably soggy.

I asked her if she would like me to go get her some food. Her face lit up as she said, “A Chick-fil-A would be nice.”

So we ran all the way across the mall and back to bring this lady some food (yay credit card).

It woke us up. We’d been having trouble getting in and out of the car because of the comfy seat warmers. I don’t know whether to praise or curse the inventor of that thing.
I can totally understand someone falling asleep at the wheel with that on.

Anyway, of all the things I bought yesterday and I haven’t even put much of a dent in the list, that bag of food was my favorite “gift.” Had I not done that, I would’ve felt as if I wasted my day.

Why Debone?

People who have not had a turkey this way ask “why debone?”

Besides it being a new twist (I’m a writer, I’m big on twists) on an old tradition, it’s great if you have a small oven and a big turkey. It also cooks faster, doesn’t tend to dry out, and the seasonings are more uniform throughout. When it’s time to carve it up, well, there is no carving. You just slice right through it like butter and everyone gets to eat it while it’s still hot.

deboned-turkey

Here’s a photo of the deboned turkey I roasted for Thanksgiving.

I didn’t stuff it since I don’t like my stuffing all sogged up with turkey drippings. After deboning, I rubbed it it with Cajun seasoning (Tony’s is good), some minced garlic, and about a stick of melted butter, then let it marinate for a few hours. It only took three hours in a 325 degree oven to cook. Considering this was a 26 pound turkey (bone in weight), I’ve lessened my carbon footprint along the way.

Here’s a good tutorial on Youtube if you want to know how to debone a turkey or a chicken. If you like to cook, you might want to consider trying it this way. Just make sure you have a sharp knife.

After a lovely dinner with my family and some friends, we all watched Wall-E. It’s a CG animated film, but I don’t think it was made for little kids. It’s about a robot that lives alone on Earth 800 years into the future, when humans have destroyed the planet with garbage and God knows what else. The humans have all gone to live in outer space on a luxury cruise liner where everything is so automated they have all gotten obese and can’t even walk because they’ve lost bone density (that’s what happens if you don’t exercise).

Anyway, poor Wall-E is on Earth cleaning up all the trash and trying to get the Earth inhabitable again for the humans to return. It’s an excellent movie and is out on DVD now.

A couple of our guests mentioned that they saw people were already lined up at Best Buy for their after Thanksgiving Day Sale. This was a full 16 hours before the store opened.

So we all took a ride out to the Best Buy near our house and sure enough, people were really lined up. Some of them had tents. Here’s a photo.

bbcamp

I rolled down the window and asked a guy in line what he was buying. He said a plasma tv for $599. A woman farther back in line said she was buying a laptop computer for $399.
Everyone seemed to be in a wonderful mood, I guess it was sort of like a party out there for them, something different to do.

Blane couldn’t wrap his mind around it. “Why don’t they just go work somewhere for a few hours to make up the difference and buy it at regular price?”

Although I’ve never camped out at a store for deal like that, I have punched a time clock. I can see not wanting to do my regular job, rather hanging with other bargain hunters for the night instead. Also, these people might not have the opportunity to put in extra hours at work. I can understand that.

At about three this morning Scrappy had a panic attack. That means one of two things. Garbage man or big storm. Looked out the window and it was like a monsoon rain.

I feel for the people in that line right now. I hope there was someone in that store to let them inside the first set of double doors to wait out the storm.

What Would Elvis Do?

Ugh. Someone over at A Hamburger Today came up with this idea for a
Hamburger Fatty Melt which is a hamburger patty smashed between two grilled cheese sandwiches.

You read that right. Two grilled cheeses and a hamburger patty.

I don’t even think a Cajun would eat that. At least not this one.

You know what people wanted to know when they saw that recipe?

Where’s the bacon?

So he put bacon in the grilled cheeses and on the patty and called it The Bacon Hamburger Fatty Melt.

Oh yeah.

My stomach hurts just looking at it. Still, guess what I cooked just hours after seeing that? Grilled cheese. Ah the power of suggestion.

Phantom Stawberries

My first memory of crushing failure occurred when I was a not yet literate child. The culprit, a box of corn flakes.

As you can see from this photograph I took at the grocer a couple of days ago, they’re still at it.

 The lying liars!

Time after time I sifted through every corn flake in the box for those strawberries. First, trawling through the dark box with my little hands, then pouring it all out a mixing bowl to analyze the contents in broad daylight.

I kept thinking someone in the house was quicker than I and took all of them… the greedy little bastards. Not that I had any intention of leaving any strawberries in there, either.

It was like panning for gold and highly frustrating. Failure after failure.

I tried this at my grandparents, too. Opened their box and fished through with no more luck than at my own house. My grandmother kept telling me corn flakes didn’t come with prizes like Sugar Smacks and Apple Jacks. I didn’t tell her what I was looking for because I didn’t want her to know I was interested. That might keep her from raiding all the berries next time. I never told anyone what I was looking for and I’m a bit surprised right now that none of the adults could figure out why I kept digging relentlessly through corn flakes (which I refused to eat, BTW, even little kids reject things that have been “picked over”).

This box of cereal that I saw a couple of days ago reminded me of chasing strawberries that didn’t exist.

See? “With Real Strawberries.”

I’ll bet someone just as burned as I about the phantom strawberries grew up and went to work for Post just to put some real strawberries in a box of cereal.

That person is my hero today.

The image of that stupid rooster on the old box of corn flakes continues to haunt me to this very day.

Coming Down

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone stayed as sweet and cheerful as they were around Christmastime? Isn’t it funny how people open doors for you, smile for free, and help random strangers during the Holidays, then go back to being their same old nasty selves as soon as December 25th is crossed off the calendar?

Just a thought.

So here is my turkey deboning ordeal. It wasn’t that difficult, I used that link in my Cajun Christmas post and pretty much just shaved meat from bone.

I stuffed it with garlic and cornbread dressing, sewed it up with some unflavored dental floss, and put it in the oven. It turned out to be the best turkey we’ve ever had. It’s nice not to have to fight the bones when carving it.

The girls and I made a strawberry cake in the Christmas tree Bundt pan:

We exchanged gifts:

That was Sweetpea’s gift to Spanky. It cracked me up that she didn’t wrap the present. She says it’s what’s inside that counts. I agree. I know she spent four hours looking for the right gift and used her own money. Her thoughtfulness on that end is what’s special about it. That she didn’t waste any money making it look pretty and was bold enough to hand her sister something in a bag, well I just love that. It also reminds of the broke days when we used to wrap presents with the comic section of the newspaper.

Blane and Angela came over with their new puppy, Loo-B, and we all played Catch Phrase. It’s a fun game if you have a lot of people. Some of Sweetpea’s friends came over, so we had a crowd. In fact we had a hard time shutting it down.

Loo-B passed out on Spanky’s lap.

I hope you all had a great Christmas.

holiblack07.jpg

My Sorry-Ass Cajun Christmas

Around Thanksgiving my nephew Capone told me he was deboning a turkey. Thinking he must have learned from the experts in Cajun Country, I asked him who taught him how to do that. He said he just looked it up on the internet, found out how to debone a chicken and applied that to the turkey.

He reminds me so much of his dad, not afraid to try anything, especially when it comes to cooking.

So I got me a turkey yesterday and searched YouTube to see if anyone had a video of how to make a turducken. I do have a little clip of what a Turducken is if you want to watch it. I wanted one with a Cajun in there to show you the character of the people down there, to kill two birds with one stone, but I didn’t find it. These people are from Houston and may be from Louisiana (last name is Hebert, that’s gotta be from home), but they don’t sound like it.

No, no. If you want to see a Cajun, a real one. Check out this guy, Poo Poo Broussard. He’s a local comedian and has the Cajun thing down to a “T.”

You HAVE to see this, the viral video that made Poo Poo famous. It is EXACTLY how the most Cajun of Cajuns talk. (just takes 30 seconds of your life)

And that coonass is funny. Here is what would have happened if ET landed in Cajun Country. (sucks one minute of your time)

If you want to see more of him, you can find all of his YouTube videos and homepage here. My favorite line on his “about me” description, “MA MOMMA NEVER WUD BRESS FEED ME, SHE SAID SHE JUS LIKE ME AS A FRIN.”

Cajuns are infamous for making fun of themselves, and this is a little exaggerated, but fun.

So that is what I did last night, seached up YouTube just to hear some voices like mine because I am lonesome for my own.

Sweet Potato Crunch

The kid’s favorite side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas is a casserole of sweet potatoes with a sugary pecan topping. This dish is the first to get cleaned out. So let’s make it.


Set oven to 350 degrees.

Gather up:

3 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 beaten eggs

1/2 stick butter

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix above ingredients and put in a buttered pan.

Topping:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup melted butter

Combine and spread over sweet potato mix in pan. Bake for 35 minutes.

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Let’s Make A Gumbo

I have finally succeeded in making a roux. Yay! Now I can show you how to make it and then we can make a gumbo (the real thing, I’m from South Louisiana).

To make a roux:

(skip this part if you can buy roux in your area.)

Use equal parts flour and oil. I used 1.5 cup flour to 1.5 cup vegetable oil. Whisk it together and put it on a medium-low flame.
This will take about 45 minutes. Use a spatula to stir the mixture about every 15 seconds. You can cook it faster on a higher flame, but make sure it does not get to the smoke point. If your roux is smoking, it is burnt. Ultimately you want it to be the color of chocolate. You have to turn off the flame just before it gets to that color because the mixture keeps cooking. Here are the various shades of roux as it cooks. I used a jar of store bought roux to compare the color.

Notice I took it off the stove before it got to the desired color. Keep stirring for another 5 minutes. Don’t burn yourself. They call it Cajun Napalm for a reason.

Here it is now. Just right.

Now for the gumbo:

Transfer roux to a 2 gallon stockpot or cauldron.

Add about 1/2 gallon of hot water to the roux. Whisk. (for store bought roux, add 12 oz of it to cold water.)

It will look like this, don’t worry.

It will come together when it boils. In the meantime, keep stirring until it becomes a suspension or your roux will fall to the bottom of the mixture and burn.

Once it comes to a boil, add another 1.5 gallons of hot water.
Season with a Cajun spice mix. I use Tony Chachere’s, enough to where it tastes barely salted. At this point it is very dilute.

Put the fire on medium and boil.

Gather up, chop, and saute:

1 onion, 1 bellpepper, 2 stalks celery, two cloves of garlic. The onion tops are for garnish later.

Throw that in the stockpot and boil down for about an hour and a half. You’ll notice the gumbo has boiled down just enough to add one chicken.

Brown chicken pieces before adding to the gumbo. Add two links of sliced smoked sausage. Boil on medium for about 45 minutes. Add chopped onion tops.

Serve over cooked white rice. If you can buy file (pronounced fee-lay) which is ground sassafras leaves, sprinkle some of that on your bowl of gumbo.

Ca C’est bon.

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