Sunday, November 13, 2011

White Bean Chili Verde with Pork and Mango

Latin rhythms and cuisine have always meshed effortlessly into New Orleans’ heritage, from the famous Carnival tune “Mardi Gras Mambo” to the spicy Spanish influences found in Creole Cooking.

This flavorful white bean - green chili with a Latin influence is simple to fix and perfect for cold evenings.


GATHER YOUR GROCERIES:

4 cans of Blue Runner Creole Cream Style White Navy Beans
12 ounces of (3/4 jar) of Salsa Verde, use the whole jar if you like a lot of heat
16 ounces mango juice
1 pound country style boneless pork ribs
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 table spoon parsley
Salt to taste


THE WAY TO DO IT:

Brown the spare ribs in a large  pot on the stove. Remove the browned ribs and pour of any excess fat. Retain the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the diced peppers and onion to the pot and sauté until wilted. Add the garlic, salsa Verde, mango juice, parley and beans to the pot.  Chop the ribs into smaller pieces and return to the pot. Simmer for 1 hour. Add water if the chili thickens too much and Salt to taste.

One of my favorites. Bon Appétit!

Friday, October 7, 2011

YOU MIGHT BE A CAJUN COOK IF...


You refer to winter as "gumbo weather"

You gave up Tabasco for Lent.

You think your Turkey should be “Deep Fried.”

You ever bought a beer at a drive-thru window.

Any of your dessert recipes call for Hot Peppers.

You let your black coffee cool and find it has solidified.

You think boudin, hog-head cheese and beer is a bland diet.

Watching "Swamp People" inspires you to write a cookbook.

You take a bite of 5-alarm Texas chili and reach for some Tabasco.

Your children's favorite bedtime story begins with, "First you make a roux..."

You think the 4 seasons are: "Onyons, celery, bell peppers, and garlic."

You think the 4 basic food groups are "Boiled seafood, Broiled seafood, Fried seafood, and Beer."

Your dinner plans begin with: "Well, I've got the rice started."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Red Velvet Bourbon Cake Balls

This trendy treat with a New Orleans flare is perfect for entertaining, and sure to be raved about at your next party.

GATHER YOUR GROCERIES:

Red Velvet Cake Mix - baked but not frosted
Cream Cheese Frosting - 1 can
Semi- Sweet Chocolate Chips - 1 bag
¼ cup of Bourbon Whiskey

THE WAY TO DO IT:

Cook the red velvet cake following the directions on the cake mix package and cool completely. Do not frost. Crumble cake into a large mixing bowl and drizzle ¼ cup of whiskey into the crumbled cake.

Dollop frosting into the cake and whiskey mixture and combine thoroughly. It may be easier to use your hands but it will get messy. Chill mixture for one hour. Roll the chilled whiskey cake into quarter size balls and place on a cookie sheet. Chill the balls for several more hours until they are firm.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, following the directions on the package. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until chocolate hardens.

Enjoy!

Rebel Lee


It was 1979, and my great uncle Rebel Lee was not feeling well at all. The doctor told him that he was going to do something called exploratory surgery on his innards to find out what was wrong.

After the surgery, Doc told him that there was so much cancer, that he just sewed him right back together. Ole doc said Rebel Lee was about to meet his maker.

In the hours that followed, Rebel begins to think and ponder about his life. He begin to realize that his life had been full of some days . . . some day he would retire, some day he would build that camp on the bayou, some day he would hunt and fish anytime he wanted too. Now he knew there wasn’t going to be any some days, only today, with very few tomorrows.

Rebel decided he wasn’t going to wait any longer for some day. He was going to live his life the way he always wanted to. The day he got out the hospital, Rebel didn’t go home to bed like doc told him to. Instead he changed out the transmission of that old truck of his. When the truck was fixed, he loaded the bed full of carpentry tools, and with his dog beside him, he headed for the bayou to build his camp.


When the camp was finished, Rebel spent his time hunting and fishing. He embraced life like an outlaw. It didn’t matter if it was deer or shrimp season. If he wanted to hunt deer he did. If he wanted shrimp for dinner, he used his cast net and caught him some.

Rebel Lee died in his sleep with his dog lying beside him. When his family found him, they also found several freezers loaded with deer meat, catfish filets and frozen shrimp. It was February, 1989. . . Ten years later.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cajun French Language Dictionary



Cajun French is different from the language spoke in France. Acadians migrated from France over 300 years ago. Just as Americans speak English differently after being separated from England for hundreds of years, the same is true of the Acadians. Here is a few of my favorite Cajun phrases:

Bon Appetite! Enjoy!


Bonjour Mes Amis Good day my friends.


Ca c'est bon That's good!


C'est magnifique That is great!


Faire des commissions buy groceries, making grocery bill


Fais do do   Traditional Cajun dance or party


Lagniappe  An unexpected nice surprise.


Laissez les bon temps roulet  Let the good times roll!


Mamere Maw maw or Grandma


Merci Beaucoup Thank you very much.


Mon cher My dear.


Mouche a mielle Honey bee


Parran Godfather

Click Here for the complete list: Sugie Bee's Cajun French Language Dictionary

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gumbo Ya Ya

In New Orleans lingo, Gumbo Ya Ya means everyone talking at once, usually at a large gathering or party.

Making a roux is tricky and will take a lot of time to get to the desired color.  However, a properly cooked roux is the backbone of this dish and once mastered, you will love using it in all types of gumbos, soups and stews.



GATHER YOUR GROCERIES:

1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
8 cups chicken stock or broth
3 cans of beer, your favorite
1 tablespoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 cloves minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley
½ pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices
1 pound roasted chicken, boned

THE WAY TO DO IT:

Open one can of beer and sip while cooking; you’re going to need it. Begin making your roux by preheating a thick pot using medium to low heat. Pour in the oil, then add the flour gradually while stirring constantly with a spoon. Your arm will get tired, but continue to stir until your roux is the color of chocolate. Too high heat will cause the roux to speckle and burn. Use caution because the roux mixture becomes very hot and can burn like napalm.

When your roux has reached the desired color, add the bell peppers, onions and celery and stir until it smells wonderful, about 30 seconds. Slowly pour the stock into the roux, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Use caution as this process creates a lot of steam. Add your 2 remaining cans of beer and all remaining ingredients except for the chicken and rice. Bring to a boil.

Simmer gumbo, uncovered, about an hour, skim any fat and stir occasionally. Add your chicken during the last 15 minutes of cooking.  Serve over cooked white rice and garnish with thinly sliced green onions. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bonnie Blue Meets Mickey Mouse

In October 1975, my baby sister Bonnie Blue was born. Baby girl had curly white-blond hair, a round cherub face and bright blue eyes.  Bonnie Blue looked like an adorable Gerber Baby . . . drool and all.

As the big sister, it was my job to babysit Bonnie when my parents were away. I didn’t really mind and by the time she turned 2, I would often carry her to the park near our house. The park had many fascinations; an ancient oak tree for climbing, swings and slides to entertain little sister, and most of all Frampton.

Yes, at the age of 14, I had discovered boys and Frampton was the first object of my affection. Frampton had long wavy red hair, kind of like an Irish setter, and chocolate brown eyes.  He was trying to grow a mustache. However, the hairs had only grown on the sides of his mouth and not under his nose.

My father, Honest Joe had decreed that I was not allowed to date until I turned 15. Nobody went against Honest Joe.  So, in a moment of brilliance, I decided to call Frampton "Mickey Mouse" whenever baby sister was around.

At dinner time, the conversation would often go like this . . . Dad would ask Bonnie "Did you go anywhere today?" Baby girl would reply “The park.” Dad would ask “Did you talk to anyone?” Bonnie would say “Mickey Mouse.” Honest Joe would then say “That’s nice” and I would be able to breathe again.

At a recent family gathering, I saw one of my grandchildren playing with a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy. That doll reminded me of Frampton, so I told Bonnie Blue the story. Bonnie stared at me with an incredulous look on her face as I finished the tale. Then she burst out laughing and said “That explains a lot of things.” I said “What things?” She said “I am so going to get you back!” I said “Tell me baby sister.”

Bonnie then told me that she had gone through her entire life thinking that when she was a child, she once had an imaginary friend named Mickey Mouse.

I really am sorry that I confused my little sister. But, I still can’t help smiling whenever I remember that time . . .

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bayou Blackened Catfish

This Cajun style catfish dish has just the right touch of spices to give your taste buds some savory flavors and it's inexpensive and easy to cook. This recipe calls for the catfish to be cooked in a cast iron skillet or large heavy skillet.

GATHER YOUR GROCERIES

6 thin boneless catfish fillets
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon paprika
2 sticks of butter, melted
lemon wedges

THE WAY TO DO IT

Rinse the catfish fillets under running cold water and then pat dry with paper towels.
Combine dried thyme leaves, dried oregano leaves, cayenne pepper, black pepper, white pepper, sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika in a small bowl. Dip catfish fillets in the melted butter and sprinkle with seasoning mix.  Be sure to completely coat each fillet.

Heat a black cast iron skillet until it is very hot.  Pour the leftover butter into your skillet. Carefully place the catfish fillets into the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. The blackened seasoning will produce some smoke, so another way to tell when to turn over you fillets is when the smoke turns gray. Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve while hot.

Cecil helps a Friend

Cecil was Honest Joe's father, my grand-father and a French speaking Cajun born in Opelousas Louisiana. Grand paw spent the latter part of his life living beside and fishing in the bayous of Terrebonne Parish.



 Cecil used round tar-dipped nets and a small flat-bottom boat, called a pirogue, to bring in his favorite catch, catfish.  Running catfish nets was hard back-breaking work,  and those who made their living that way, respected each other’s territories and looked out for one another.

One night, just as he was falling asleep, Cecil got a phone call from his pod nah, close friend, Jacques. He told him, “I’m going a way for a while and I need you to take care of my nets and my dog.” Cecil replied, “for sure, but where are you going?” Jacques said “just away” as the phone went dead.
Grand paw woke up early the next morning and harvested catfish from both his friend's and his own nets. When the work was finished, he drove the pirogue back to the dock, walked up the stairs to his home and settled down to enjoy a cup of Community coffee while reading the newspaper.

Cecil got freesôns, goose bumps, as he read the obituary for Jacques. It seems his friend had passed away early the previous day, hours before the phone call. Grandpa was startled for a moment, but such things happen on the bayou. He knew what he had to do. He drove his truck to his pod nah’s house and picked up the dog.

That dog spent the rest of his canine life, riding beside Cecil in the pirogue and sleeping under his porch . . .

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wham-Bam Cajun Seasoning Mix

This is my favorite mix of seasonings to provide an authentic Louisiana Cajun flavor to everything from red beans and rice, potatoes, appetizers, jambalaya, gumbo, and side dishes.
The secret is the combination of black, cayenne and white pepper, each one influences a different part of the palate. The blending of the three peppers, garlic, onion, salt with a touch of sweetness gives the Wham-Bam effect to your mouth. A little sprinkle can spice up just about any dish.

GATHER YOUR GROCERIES


½ cup of sea salt
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon each of red cayenne pepper, white pepper,  ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dried white rice.

Mix the ingredients together and place in a salt shaker for use at the table. The white rice keeps it sprinkling in humid weather. I also like to keep extra, mixed without the white rice, in a sugar bowl for cooking. I hope you enjoy the Wham-Bam Cajun Seasoning Mix.

Bon Appétit!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nanny and the Drag Queen


 My Godmother had a wonderful way with people. She believed that personality and actions are what makes a person, not what is on the outside. Nanny went out of her way to be kind to everyone she met, and once she met someone she treated them as a friend, unless they proved otherwise. 

In the early 1950’s Nanny got a job at F.W. Woolworth on Canal Street in New Orleans. Back then most of the merchandise was behind counters and customers had to be helped by a sales person if they wanted to try on shoes, bra’s, slips or dresses. There was a real hierarchy among the workers and many thought they were too good to wait on black customers or “crackers” (poor white people). 

One day a male “Drag Queen” who worked at a nightclub in the French Quarter came in and asked to try on ladies shoes. The other sales clerks turned up their noses and refused to help him.  Nanny was the only one who would wait on him. She helped him pick out shoes, and then walked him to the other ladies departments for makeup, undergarments and several complete outfits.

The Drag Queen left ecstatic and soon spread the word to his fellow performers about his favorite sales clerk. One thing about cross dressers, they spend lots of money on their wardrobes. Nanny soon had a steady stream of customers and was the highest performing sales clerk. 

Eventually Nanny and was promoted to floor supervisor and was able to help my mother “Beanie” get an internship at Woolworth in 1963. I think of Nan often and try to follow her example whenever I meet someone who is “different”. . .

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sugie Bee's Shrimp Creole

 Gather your Groceries

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar
  • 2 cups of seafood or chicken stock 
  • 2 cans of beer
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds large shrimp (about 32), shelled
  • Cooked white rice and chopped green onions 

The way to do it:

Open 1 can of beer, sip during cooking. Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add oil. and cook the onions, celery, and green bell peppers until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cayenne and sugar let the vegetables brown (caramelize) slightly.  (This is where the wonderful rich brown color comes from.)  Add the chopped garlic and stir in until it smells wonderful (30 seconds or so) Add the stock, tomatoes, your other can of beer, hot sauce, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 35 minutes. Add shrimp and cook about 4 more minutes, until they are bright pink and cooked through. Serve on a bed of cooked white rice and garnish with chopped green onions. Yummy . . .

Honest Joe meets King Creole

In January 1958 Elvis came to New Orleans to film the movie King Creole. The epic was Presley's last black and white film and was said to have been his favorite role of his entire career.

My dad, Honest Joe, who grew up on the streets of  the Big Easy, and a few other tough looking neighborhood boys got a job with the film crew convincing the locals to remove anything on Bourbon street that didn't fit the 1920's theme of the movie. The teens worked earnestly to remove window air conditioners, garbage cans, flower pots and signs. Locals that didn't cooperate, often found their stuff missing in the morning.

The boys did such a good job, the film crew allowed them to hang out, watch the filming, run errands and act as extras in the movie.

My dad is so proud that he helped  "The King". It's been over 50 years and he still mentions it from time to time.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hello World

In my family, everyone has a nickname. Mine is Sugie. I think it is a shortened form of the word Sugar because I was such a sweet baby. I was born in New Orleans in 1964. I lived on Rampart St with my father Honest Joe and my mother Beanie.

I must have been a beautiful baby because my Nainain (Godmother), who I called Nanny, said I looked just like a Chatty Cathy doll. As the oldest, I had an entire 16 months of total adoration from my parents until my brother showed up and ruined my one baby show.

My parents called my brother, little man. I couldn't say little man so I changed his name to Manny and 45 years later the name still sticks. Me and Manny overcome our differences and happily basked in the glow of our parents love until 16 months later when my little sister Bird showed up.

Bird became the baby and I was suddenly the Big Sister who had to help take care of the baby.  I wanted to be the baby, not take care of the baby. My life was ruined. . .