Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mardi Gras Cuisine with The 99 Cent Chef

You are in for a movable feast during this Cajun holiday called Mardi Gras, and today is the culmination: Fat Tuesday. Read on and watch for my videos to see some delish Cajun recipes, plus I'll even give you a personal Po' Boy Sandwich Tour of New Orleans. So scroll on down!

 Click on any photo to see larger.

I lived in Gonzales, Louisiana during my high school daze. I didn't know what to expect when our family moved there from Texas. I did some wild stuff over the next four years and ate a lot of down-home Cajun cooking. The video below takes place in a local flea market, so check it out to get the flavor of the place.

I hitchhiked with my high school buddy Marvin to New Orleans for Mardi Gras during school break. Back then it was all about grabbing a Po'boy sandwich, listening to music, catching some beads thrown down by inebriated revelers perched behind French Quarter iron wrought balconies or Mardi Gras parade floats, and getting a good buzz (we were underage, so no booze, but we found other ways.)

Chef, Marvin & Dennis - high school buddies

We knew no fear and locals were friendly enough - even picking us up: a couple of hitchhiking long-haired teenagers. One memorable ride was in a hand-painted hippie Volkswagon van were the college aged driver wearing tie-dye, and cool chicks in tight bell bottom jeans in the back bench seat passing around a doobie, before dropping us off in the city.

Now, I'm much more tame. Check out the video below to see how I slowly roll these days, when I visit New Orleans in search of a delicious Po' Boy Sandwich with my high school bud, Marvin.

You will get a street-level experience of the Big Easy and the eccentric locals from my documentary short.

 New Orleans Po'  Boy Tour

I know you are here for the recipes, too, and boy do I have a pirogue boatful. Between Mom and my Cajun line-cooking nephews, Matt and Zakk, I got that covered.

When I visit Gonzales Louisiana to see my Cajun family, it's a party. And this first recipe is made with a beer flavored sauce. Warning, in the video we had to go through a Party Pack of Abita beer to find just the right flavor.

My nephew Matt has been cooking for years now and has some major culinary skillz. I'll let him give you the low down on a Southern classic Shrimp and Grits video recipe (click here for recipe photos and text.)

Shrimp & Grits Recipe

The cheapest Cajun entree is Red Beans and Rice -- made by my Southern friend Miss Patti. She is a vegetarian with a menagerie of critters she keep on her property just outside the city of New Orleans.

For real New Orleans-style Red Beans you should use the brand of beans called Camellia. But if you can't find them, it's okay to use any cheap red kidney beans.

We always have a good time together and you will too watching us cook together. Recipe details are a click away, here.

 Red Beans and Rice

 Mom knows Cajun cuisine best. And she is here to share a few with you right now.

It's best to start at the beginning and here's the first recipe we did together, Jambalaya.

I make this recipe the most. Nothing too it: just brown chicken pieces and sausage with a whole chopped onion. Finally add rice and water to make the best comfort food ever. Well this is my Mom's version of Jambalaya (click here to read all about it.)


 Mom also makes a killer Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. The trick is all in the deep chocolate colored roux - actually just flour that's slowly browned in oil.

I'll let Mom explain in the video below (the recipe text is here.)

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

My other line cooking nephew, Zakk, knows how to blacken fish the Cajun way. And boy does he do a skillful job at it, as my video below will show. He also throws in a mind blowing  side of Sweet Potato Hash, and yes, it's loaded with bacon.

 Zakk's recipe is a family affair were his Mom and my Mom make a noshing appearance. So do check out his delicious Cajun recipes below and click here for all the written details.

I can't actually remember all the good times I've had during my Mardi Gras high school years, it gets a little foggy. If you are not in New Orleans today attending the glittery festivities, you can still have a tasty good time - if you remember to bookmark this page and come back to make my Cajun Mardi Gras meals. And Laissez les bons temps rouler!

New Orleans Po' Boy Dining:
Short Stop Po-Boys - 119 Transcontinental Drive (near New Orleans Airport)
Metairie, Louisiana 70001
Phone: (504) 885-4572
Website: http://www.shortstoppoboys.com

Mother's Restaurant - 401 Poydras
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

Phone: (504) 523-9656
Website: http://www.mothersrestaurant.net

Parasol's Bar and Restaurant - 2533 Constance Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Phone:(504) 302-1543
Website: http://www.parasolsbarandrestaurant.com

For a tasty local Los Angeles Po' Boy try The Gumbo Pot in the Mid-City located Farmer's Market. $8.75 for Shrimp or Oyster, and $9.75 for Mixed. For menu click here. Warning, the seafood Po' Boys have a sour bite because of inserted sliced lemon -- I usually take the slices out.

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