Mardi Gras also called Shrove Tuesday,or Fat Tuesday,in English, refers to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.
Related popular practices are associated with Shrovetide celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. In countries such as the United Kingdom, Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday, which is derived from the word shrive, meaning “confess”.
The festival season varies from city to city, as some traditions, such as the one in New Orleans, Louisiana, consider Mardi Gras to stretch the entire period from Twelfth Night (the last night of Christmas which begins Epiphany) to Ash Wednesday. Others treat the final three-day period before Ash Wednesday as the Mardi Gras In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras-associated social events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving,then New Year’s Eve, followed by parades and balls in January and February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday. In earlier times, parades were held on New Year’s Day. Other cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro; Barranquilla, Colombia; George Town, Cayman Islands; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; and Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Carnival is an important celebration in Anglican and Catholic European nations.In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the week before Ash Wednesday is called “Shrovetide”, ending on Shrove Tuesday. It has its popular celebratory aspects, as well. Pancakes are a traditional food. Pancakes and related fried breads or pastries made with sugar, fat, and eggs are also traditionally consumed at this time in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
In a heavy pot, we’ll brown our meatballs, today we’ll stuff our meatballs with the trinity, season, and brown, remove and saute the trinity, then make your fricassee, with the roux and water or stock, get to the point where you like the thickness and add your meatballs, we’ll cook this on medium for40 minutes or until done. add your chopped green onion tops, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until ready to serve.
3 pounds of ground beef
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops, set aside
season to taste black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper
It all started with a “hint” ( why don’t you crack a sauce Piquante” I guess that’s all it takes, If you think back to some of your best, it was probably spur of the moment.
I just happen to have some almost just killed ducks, so here we go! You can see I have my favorite pot, It’s almost full ! My really favorite part is making it almost empty.
1 1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup flour
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion tops
1 can 8 oz Ro-Tel sauce “Original”
3 quarts water
Seasoning, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper
We have 3 ducks browning in the pot right now.
In a heavy pot, I heat and use a little lard, to brown my ducks, don’t use much your ducks are fatter than you think, that’s where the flavor comes from, I like to brown on a medium heat, and after they are brown I’ll chop up a onion and add it to wilt with my duck fat. when you have browned remove and make a roux.
Add all your seasonings, the trinity, Ro-Tel sauce, blend well and continue to cook to brown you sauce a bit.returning your ducks, blend until everything is cover with your sauce, add your water or stock.cook for a bout an hour, then season to taste, and add more water if needed continue to cook on medium heat, The tip of the day, cook until your ducks are tender, tender, tender.
Now when all is ready, your sauce piquante is ready. add your chopped green onion tops, cover & simmer for 20 minutes.
I just took a taste and I’m glad my guest aren’t here yet.
“the best taste is always the stolen one”!
Always have a little something sweet, and some fresh dripped coffee.
Now I know, when I told my Dear, I was going to write this up, She, Said I don’t want people to think We eat things like that, Well She Don’t, It got so bad when we first Married, She made a rule , that if I cooked something, I had to leave a foot on it, so she would know what I was trying to feed her!
This is the simple recipe for the camp, Smothered nutria.
Once it has been processed it would take about an hour, to fix this, we’ll start with a large nutria, and cut this up like you would any mammal, rabbit, squirrel, deer,beef, you get it,
Take your large dutch oven and heat some oil, lets season our rat, and when the oil is hot, lets brown it until you can’t stand it, then when it brown on all sides, remove and make your sauce rouille, we’ll add our onions, bell pepper and flour, stir constantly till you have a roux, and season it like you like, add your stock like they say and finish your sauce, add your meat back in and cook until tender, this is a very tender meat dish and I always serve it over rice, with my favorite sides.
1 large nutria
2 tbsps of oil
granulated garlic (to taste)
season to taste, Black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper,
2 cups chopped onions,
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 tbsps flour
3 cups stock,
The state has been trying to get the people to help with the Nutria problems in Our wetlands, and I’ll give you a link to check out what they will do for Us!
It being Friday, We all know what today is! Fish Day !
We will do an old fashion Courtbouillon today, only thing added is Fried on the side, So let’s do a Catfish, I always use a spotted cat, skinned and the lips cut off, cut the head bone into six pieces, your seafood house will do this for you., if you are processing this fresh fish for yourself, You Know !
Let’s saute our trinity, in melted butter,a dash of minced garlic, saute until wilted, then add the RO-TEL, (sodium free), 3-5 minutes, stir this around a little bit. Set aside, using my coutbouillon pot the round one! Make sure it’s at least 6 qts, we’ll add about 1/3 of sauteed vegetables, top with 4 catfish fillets, & 8 shrimp,Season this layer, to taste, I use salt, black pepper, cayenne, this time sprinkle a little smoked paprika & dust with all purpose flour, let’s add another 1/3 of sauteed vegetables, do this a total of 3 times, then the top layer should have a good layer of vegetables, seasoning and flour, lightly dusted. Let’s pour in 1/2 cup water around the edge inside the pot ! Cover tightly, place on low heat, Pick up your pot by the bail, and twist it a time or two, it helps settle the ingredients;
Now it’s the critical time, cook it for 1 hour. boy it’s hard not to peek but Don’t
This recipe is good for a bouree’ crowd, now lets open it up, and using your favorite wooden spoon, remove the ingredients splashed up on the sides, just push them gently to the bottom, and Do Not Stir!
Recover and cook and additional hour, this is a good time to pick up your pot by the bail and give it 3 twist shifting the ingredients.
By this time you can hardly stand all these hungry people. have all your sides, and rice cooked, open another bottle, freshen all the drinks, calm all the Ladies, have your coffee pot ready, and as always, a little something sweet.
Open it up, and the steaming has made a sauce rouille, mostly because of the Smoked paprika, we’ll sprinkle our parsley over the sauce, and recover, while you calm everyone down, as always, we’ll season to taste, and I have a long spatula to remove the fillets, as you serve this, now with this crowd, it’s going to be delicious, and everybody will want to come back the next time you cook,
Cajun in a Box’s Black pot, “Courtbouillon” On the Bayou!
12 catfish fillets
2 doz, shrimp
1/4 pound butter
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1/3 cup minced garlic
2 cans RO-TEL, no sodium
Cajun in a Box, seasonings
2 tbsps smoked paprika
6 tbsps all purpose
1 cup chopped green onion tops
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup water
I know it’s going to be a great day, Like Zig Ziggler use to say,
“If you think it’s not a great day try Missing one”!
Red Beans & Rice. a Cajun Country Tradition that has taken the World by Storm!
Beans, Beans, good for your heart, the more you eat! the More you, Well you know the rest of that story.
Beans came with the People, ( the Cajuns) & many others, but depending where your people came from, ( small white navy beans, large white beans, red kidney beans, a great favorite with us, are the red beans. mostly cooked with a smoke meat, Sausage, pork, any smoked pork you have will do. "What's your favorite"?
Beans work well with a side dish of meat, and as with many Cajun recipes, better the next day.
Today we'll use a local sourced Pure Pork smoked sausage, with our red beans.
This recipe we will call Beans & Rice!
Let's start with Ingredients;
1 pound of red beans, navy beans, great northern white beans
This dish is served over rice, and I always use Locally grown rice. (a Medium grain).
This dish will serve 8 so depending on your rice habit, I would cook 3 cups/raw
Soak your beans over night, Drain and put your beans your pot, I use a heavy cast sauce pan, start on a medium heat, add your butter, saute your onion, bell pepper, celery, & garlic, when wilted, move to your bean pot, add your meat, cook for 5-7 minutes, add your beans cover with your stock, cook until beans are tender, Season to taste as you're simmering, and cook your beans, stirring, and making a creamy sauce.
Back along a deep bayou, with oaks and cypress trees so old and covered in Spanish moss, hanging to the dark water, flowing with the currents, there lives an old way of life. Along “Bayou Black“, there’s some places where no one has a camp, no one hunts for frogs or where the air boats go, No one even hunts for sinkers, but if you happen to be where the bayou Black comes into the lost bayou channel, in the fog, or the mist maybe just before the dark drops on this place, you may see a small pirogue, a pirogue moving along with no visible effort of the only person in it. The only sounds are the creatures along the bayou, the frogs, the chirping of the insects, and the drone of the things along a dark bayou, Her head covered in this wide bream straw hat, a funny looking straw hat that seems to have a life of its own.
Now this sight is often missed, it’s so easy to miss Celeste going by in the silence, of a dark night. If you see her, you wouldn’t give it a second thought, but as you “pass an eye on her”, it’s plain to see, her long silver gray hair, her skin of her face tight over high cheek bones, the one eye she seem to pass on you, as she glances your way,the other always just out of the light or covered by that thick long silver gray hair, Those blue eyes, clear, twinkling, and seems like You have never seen eye’s just like that. Blue eye’s that makes you forget all the rest of her did she really hunch a little, I don’t remember, She seemed tall, but she has blue eyes ! As she passes you see the strange wake behind her cypress pirogue, As She does, She’s down tha bayou to the village, she always there early in the morning, when the coffee is being roasted and ground up down at the store. I don’t know how far from the village to her place, but I was told, her house looks like it grew up out of that cypress swamp where it stood, there being a short little dock, on the bayou, with Just a pirogue, on its side, a small porch with a moss draped roof, with two Naturally growing cypress, for post. The swamp lights, causes a glow.
Now we have all come to know her, “Ms Celeste”, that being her name since birth, I hear she doesn’t know where or when, but we believe the truth being she had always been here and probably always will. She being, the “Traiture”, on this part of the bayou, here in Cajun country. The people say, She always has a cure, or potion. Ready to help or heal, Celeste always speaks to all she meets like she had spoken to them just yesterday an ongoing dialogue, it seems she knows everyone, and all the happenings, it was fun for the daring youngsters to approach her and ask a question trying to stump Celeste. But Celeste could always finish your thought for you with the right answer; It would chill you to be rude! but you always left with a feeling of caution, a feeling that you were close, The people along the bayou’s believed that you could not beat her magic, Ms Celeste. Now getting back to her place, about the only thing you could see around the place was CoCo, a big big old gator. Big old gator, well he was huge, and till you was up close to that blue/black silence. It was said Celeste had hand raised the gator, and it was hers, some say they even talk, with each other after sundown, on the bayou.
Coco “Dri” was what Celeste calls him, it rolled off her tongue easy, for a thing so small and smiley looking in the beginning, long ago, he sure got some smiling to do now, with all them teeth!
Coco & Celeste had a special bond, some say CoCo comes from Her past, some “gris gris” ,the last remains of a tragedy from up the bayou,Celeste’s past, Celeste’s bayou!
If you see that Coco in the water, gliding like a Kayak, along with the currant, so quiet, and then disappear in a blink,like a ripple of water, then to see that huge animal emerge from that dark water of the bayou with a “200 pound wild hog” in his jaws, gives me the chills just to think.
The first time that spring day, Coco came into the village, Celeste, right there in her pirogue, well the whole place lit up, you couldn’t see a stray dog anywhere on that one mule street. It caused such a stir, but the next time Celeste came in, it was like she was always there, Coco just eased up the bank of the bayou and lay next to her pirouque, 4 feet longer than Celeste’s 10 foot boat, and so much wider, He must weigh 1200 lbs, just sleeping there, like you could walk up and touch him.
Early in the fall Celeste comes into the village to trade, her trinkets, of good luck, her healing potions, all in high demand, the other goings on the locals had with her. were carried on in the shade of a giant moss covered oak, just off the street and out of ear shot.
This most recent visit, Mr.Jackson, who owned the local mercantile, asked her where’s your “Coco”? Him not being with her, because from his high porch he could see the bank of the bayou where Celeste docked her pirogue. Celeste looking up into that autumn sky, then at Jackson, saying he sometime goes off by himself for a time.
Jackson thought about her then and wondered what she look like besides that blue eye peeking out from under her Summer hat.
Celeste set up her basket of trades, and potions, on the edge of Jackson’s gallery, just in the shade and did her business, before heading up the Bayou in the growing dusk.
Celeste talked to her self-more than most folks, and while traveling up the bayou, she was worried by the absences of Coco, and it being so odd, that he’d miss the handouts and such that a trip to the village would always provide. Jackson saved some cuts and left overs from the morning butchering’s, and He loved how Coco would power his way out of the bayou, with his tail, he must jump 10-12 feet out of that water, Jackson would always say, amazed by the power of Coco !!!
Celeste hurrying home, she mixed up a gris-gris, and blew the powder into the air, it made the most beautiful, color’s against the night sky, like a screen with the shimmering lights, of the heavens, and she asked in the lowest voice, Where’s my love, and the waters, and trees, and moss, and all the things of the swamp began to show up, and there almost hidden from view, was Coco, and he seemed to be watching something on that bayou, then the vision of men, strange men to this bayou country, in a big ole high power boat and all sorts of nets, and poles, and hooks, and the smell of fish, and crabs, and shrimp, and it seem like all the smells of life on the bayou, “death” coming from that black boat. And those men. The strangest smell of all, was of old death, it being so powerful and thick, you could almost see it coming off of that blackboat, it made Celeste, shrink back in “terror”! Coco, DRI where you at !
Those men came to the bayou’s to hunt, trap, and take the life out of this place.
Celeste lost the powder and it fell to the ground, Knowing it would be days, before those men got to her bayou, if they made it that far, but she also knew, that Coco was smart and would not be caught easily, or even be seen by the men.
Celeste knew Coco had felt her presence, as he always did, when she did her conjure on the bayou in the dead of the night.
Coco would make his way back to her on the bayou. Early the next morning she was in the village, to let the people know, that strangers were on the way, and prepare themselves, for their coming!
Celeste, before leaving the village, placed a gris-gris, against the men, the hunters, of the bayou, that were coming to kill and steal the bayou’s Treasure & the People’s living, The gris-gris was wrapped in a lily pad and bound with Spanish moss, from a big ole cypress, all contents are a secret, known only to the conjurer, this gri-gri, it was to make them clumsy, confused, and maybe drop something they need, to hinder their prideful arrival on Celeste’s bayou!
Celeste made her way through the shallow’s where they can’t go, moving like shadow following the sun’s progress through the sky, making no more noise that a damsel fly, the hunter’s never knew, their faith and future were being planned! just off of that bayou they thought they were sneaking down, hunting the giant gator, they heard live here. Celeste could smell them now and they were full of the stink of death, and gasoline, from that motor, that they ran down the bayou causing all the “tragedies” of such men!
Celeste could see in her mind’s eye the dead, and dying along the bayou’s that these men had been through , the eyes of terror as they killed and captured what they saw, and missing few along the way. Far too many lives lost for the love of money. Piles of bones, and scales, and the left over parts of the world that they could make money with, they left them where they fell, They got themselves some big plans on my love, “Coco Dri”, well it going to be a different story, this day! They all going to be sorry this day! Celeste stopped at the place these men were going to camp that night, and she knew because an owl had said, so. Celeste placed a gris gris there and when her shadow left that place, the clouds began to billow, and the wind made a terrible noise through the cypress, and moss sort of like something evil crawling, and a low growl, like a hungry thing. Darkness had fallen when the men tied their rope of the boat on the cypress knee,
she felt one of them men was missing, they had dropped him and all their trophy’s at that new landing up on ole river. She would deal with that one later, at the place where people come into the bayou. Celeste cringed when she felt that wind coming through the cypress and moss, heading through the backwater to the camp of the hunters where they thought they were going to sleep. Then the buzzing started, and the sound their wings and legs made on the branches, and leaves of the trees and bushes, surrounding the bay where they hatched and came to life, to start the time of horror for the men.
Celeste back at her place, began to pace in a small circle, and make a noise, and it sound like many things, some may say it a chant, but I am not so sure, as she pace, and the Moon comes over the Swamp, and it seem so late but it only just dark, the noise in that old place start to rise in volume, and If you ever passed a night in the Swamps, or along a bayou with some big woods and a bottom near, you know how loud, it get in there, from all the creatures, some rub their legs, some beat their wings. They sing for all sorts of reasons, some for love, and others to bring you close, so they can jump on you and eat you up.
Celeste can see things with that blue eye, and can hear things too, an owl done told her where them men’s were going to make their camp, and the frogs listening one to the other, said that man that went to town was coming this way, not wanting to wait for daylight, he didn’t want to miss anything, so he got them supplies, and all the ice, they had on that ice truck and then he pass a few drinks of some shine, one of them swamp rats, was selling at the road leading into the village, it was the color of the bay water, he was now standing in, loading his boat.
That chanting was getting louder, and louder, and if you were near, you would say you could hear something, in that bay, but it really wasn’t clear, and it seemed faint, but you would know you were hearing something, and it wasn’t a noise you would think you hear on the bayou, in the night time.
Celeste wasn’t worried about anybody hearing the noise, because her mind’s eye told her the bayou’s and bays the swamp and the night was all alone except for them men that hunt, and that kill, they there for just one thing now, They was wanting to kill her love, ” Coco”, but the night is young. Celeste’s magic just starting and the fog began to roll in among the cypress as the mist settles over the green of the swamp, the frogs begin to sing to Celeste, a passerby would only hear the rib it rib it rib it of the night, but Celeste knew that songs of the frogs, say that man at the landing, loading that boat, to bring them men’s their power, to take away the things Celeste love.
Well he not there no more, gone forever into that deep dark place no man should go!!!
Have you ever been on a bayou, deep in the swamps of Cajun country in the dark of night, with the wind just barely moving the Spanish moss, hanging from the tops of the cypress and oaks, along the banks? The heat pulling at you, with the air thick with your own sweat.
If you ever been on a frog hunt, or just checking your fishing lines, or traps, you know the sound of life. The buzzing’s and chirping, the hoots, and howls of all the night birds, and small insects drawn to your light.
The sounds you can hear from a moving boat, just faster than a paddle stroke, can be so different than the sounds of a bayou, in the dark, in the still air of autumn. Standing knee deep in the water, too dark to see.
Up at the men’s camp they all talking at once like they each want to be heard, the one’s talking the loudest well it is easy to see they are afraid.
A fear of things not known and the things that they know are coming for them because of the stench of man on them, Men that hunt, and men that kill. The smell of gasoline, and fast boats, of rifles, and shotguns, nets, and cruel traps, put to use on the unsuspecting, and the young as well as the old.
Hunting & killing not for food, but for the cruelty of the act. Men killing for the blood, the rush of overcoming a being that lives.
The Boss of the hunters, was not talking loud, he also was not drinking like the weak men who worked for him, he had sat a distance away, not looking into the roaring fire, built to keep the things away.
He sat with his back to the camp listening, and waiting for the moment his spirit would tell him it’s time to move. Knowing when and where to move can save a man from a gruesome faith, in the wilds of Cajun country.
It was in a moment that something made his breath catch, quieting him , trying to catch the faintest hint of a noise or a smell or even maybe the urging of his spirit, that’s when the darkest came on them, in an instant, the man standing nearest the bayou, was struck by a force so cruel. Just before the rush of water coming from the bayou, as if the entire, bank had been forced down into the dark depth.
Washed away everything at their feet, fire, and even more the light the fire gave them, their only advantage at that moment was drowned the next man gone, where just moments earlier he was spending money he had not even made yet.
A power moving through the camp, moving the water, from the bayou at a rate like a wave of the ocean, and the wind singing in their ears, was the last thing they heard
The Boss man turned toward the rumbling in the bayou, not realizing he heard the thing that all fear, it was here, it was near and it was coming for him, shining red two enormous eyes before him.
The owl hooting to one another throughout Celeste bayou, letting all who know, the time had passed the sun bright and the wind gentle as Celeste tying up her pirogue, and making her way to Jackson’s store to set up her basket, with the potions and things the people of the bayou need from her.
Doing some business, busy she didn’t even look up when she heard Jackson talking about missing men on the Bayou.
Let’s start this section of the cook book with an “Alligator Soup“!
4 pounds alligator meat, cut into bite size, Your local fish market will have this, and ask what type of meat they have, so you can use a different cut next time.
1 cup of oil
1 cup of flour, (all purpose)
2 cups chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 clove garlic minced
seasonings salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper
4 cups water or seafood stock
1/4 cup lemon juice
A little wine for the cook!
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 small tomato paste
1 can RO-TEL (original)
Start with your black pot, set on medium heat, let stand dor 5 minutes, the add your oil to brown your meat, brown it well, remove and make a roux, with your oil & flour, brown. After your roux is done add your stock, blend well, let’s add our seasonings, and vegetables, (except) 1/4 cup chopped green onion tops, our tomato sauce, RO-TEL, Add your alliagtor meat, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium, We’ll cover and simmer until the meat is tender, I do this in about an hour, Our paste is to thicken, as needed. This allows me to make my rice, and side’s with this soup, crusty breads & Crackers, salads of all types, will do. maintain your volume while cooking, and season to taste, before serving, take off of heat, add green onion tops, and cover till serving. Our paste to thicken, as needed
Let’s start with all the crab claws you want, If you get these from your local seafood house, they will be ready to cook, If you caught these crabs yourself, I don’t have anything to add, Keep up the good work.
Take 2 eggs, whip them up and add 1 cup of milk, I like to season my claws, the Cajun in a box, way. dip you claws in the batter , then in the mix, ” Love some of the mixes right off of shelf, I know you have prepped your frying area, I am always cautious when frying any food, You should be too!
Heat the oil, to 350-375 degrees, there are many ways to know, from kitchen matches lighting to a drop of water, use a Thermometer!
Let’s deep fry our claws or just fry our claws, until golden brown. Let me tell you, this will not last long, and find your new favorite dip to eat these with.
PS. these appetizers really go well with any on the meals you can prepare, using Cajun in a Box recipes, and products!