Oh-Boy! The Perfect Po-Boy

My Roast Beef Po-boy

Growing up in South Louisiana, po-boys were just about as common as hamburgers are today. In small towns back then, we didn’t have a burger chain on every corner. It was mostly mom-and-pop sandwich shops and greasy spoon cafés that put out their home-cooked specialties, especially po-boys. I grew up in Washington Parish an hour… 

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Chicken Stuffed Bell Pepper

Chicken-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Maque Choux Sauce

When I saw the bin of ripe green bell peppers at my local farmer's market, I immediately thought of stuffing them.  In Cajun country, stuffing sweet peppers with ground anything is a basic recipe that every home cook knows by heart.  Usually it’s a mixture of beef and pork sausage with just the … [Read More...]

Brussels Salad

Falling in Love with Brussels

Ever since renowned Cajun Chef Paul Prudhomme blackened his first redfish in the 1980s, you would think that all South Louisiana folks burn just about everything they cook. Not so.  But just go to any wanna-be Cajun restaurant outside of Louisiana and you’ll see a menu full of these overdone dishes. … [Read More...]

Hot Damn Chicken

From Ho Hum to Hallelujah!

Food can be boring.  Ok, I've said it and you know exactly what I'm talking about.  Slapping a spoonful of mashed potatoes on a plate along with a plain baked chicken breast doesn’t exactly set the world on fire with excitement. Why can’t we serve up a bit more creativity at mealtime? Now, don’t … [Read More...]

Derby Day Frappe Closeup

Derby Day Delicious

I have a dilemma. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the mint julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby held in the spring of each year. Most of the country is just digging out of the snow and even in my backyard, there is no mint to be found. Come July, I’ll have mint taking … [Read More...]

Crawfish Stuffed Potatoes CU

Crawfish Baked Potato

I know many of you will agree that nothing goes better with a thick, juicy steak than a baked potato. I’ve been to the fanciest steakhouses in all the land and when it comes to the perfect side dish, I’ll order a baked potato – loaded, for sure – every time. Oh, I’ve tried the creamed spinach, the … [Read More...]

Herb-Roasted Chicken

Perfect Herb-Roasted Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is as basic to French Acadian cooking as it is to French Provencal cooking.  Although the spice blends vary and most Louisianans would be stumped at the thought of trussing a bird, the two cultures still elevate the lowly poulet to a stellar dish. It seems these days that … [Read More...]

Stuffed turkey wing with rice and gravy -- a Creole favorite. (All photos credit: George Graham)

A Wing and A Prayer

The rich Creole history of South Louisiana is a beautiful mixture of heritage and customs that have become an essential ingredient of the cultural gumbo of Acadiana.  Time-honored Creole traditions of Zydeco music, the Acadian horse culture, and the delicious recipes handed down through generations … [Read More...]

Crawfish Asparagus Tart

Louisiana Crawfish and Asparagus Tart

Oh, for the love of crawfish. These little crustaceans show up every spring to spice up our Acadiana tables and are gone by the heat of summer. At least that was the way it used to be years ago before farming, processing and retail distribution transformed a natural rite of spring into a year-round … [Read More...]

French Mustard-Braised Rabbit

A Tale of Two Mustards

The people of South Louisiana have many ancestral ties to their French cultural roots – cooking included. For instance, a delicate roux made by a trained saucier in the kitchen of a Michelin-starred French restaurant takes the same basic technique as one made by a skilled Cajun or Creole cook on a … [Read More...]

Creole Oyster and Spinach Soup

Rockin’ the Rockefeller Boat

Antoine’s restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans is famous for many classic Creole dishes, but Oysters Rockefeller is at the top of the list. While the ingredients in the 100-year-old recipe remain a closely held secret, the family insists that spinach is not one of them. As if to defy that … [Read More...]

Catfish Courtbouillion

Cajun Catfish Courtbouillon

Rosalie Fontenot Waldrop is my mother-in-law and a sweet Cajun lady who grew up in rural southwest Louisiana at a time when change threatened the traditional French Acadian way of life. Back in the post-war 1940s and 50s there was a movement afoot throughout Acadiana to eradicate the French language … [Read More...]

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Asparagus Aspiration

There are vegetables that scream flavor, and then there are those that speak softly.  Asparagus whispers.  I’ve had a love affair with asparagus for many years now and continuously stalk the perfect recipe.  I’ve eaten asparagus dishes in France, in Napa, and in many of the best restaurants on both … [Read More...]

Crab & Corn Bisque

Corn and Crab Bisque

Louisiana cooking is famous for pairing farm-to-table vegetables with fresh Gulf seafood. Oyster and spinach is a common duo in many soups and shrimp and artichoke shows up frequently as well. But my all-time favorite is a traditional soup: Corn and Crab Bisque. This cream-based soup has its origins … [Read More...]

Pain Perdu with Syrup

Pain Perdu – the Cajun French Toast

Literally translated, pain perdu is French for “lost bread" -- the Louisiana version of French toast. And this dish is steeped in historical meaning and cultural significance for the Acadiana table. For early French-speaking Cajun settlers living off the land in the rural farmland of South … [Read More...]

Okra and Tomatoes with Stewed Chicken and Sausage

Okra is Okay

Here's the thing -- okra is a vegetable of extremes.  For the most part, folks tend to categorize okra as a “love it or hate it" relationship.  It’s hard to be indifferent about okra.  True Southerners, and especially good Cajun cooks, identify strongly with okra.  But, even within okra circles … [Read More...]