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.


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


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.


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


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 . . .