Monday, March 1, 2021

Cheapest Stir Fry - Chicken, Carrot & Cabbage

I out-cheaped myself this time! Chicken is the cheapest meat, and carrot and cabbage are about the cheapest veggies -- put them in a stir fry and you have my latest recipe video in living orange and green. Not only is it cheap but my Chicken, Carrot & Cabbage Stir Fry is delish.

Buy skinless and boneless chicken and it comes together super-fast. Bone-in chicken is cheaper. Chicken breast isn't hard to debone at all. 

A dark meat leg quarter is a little trickier to do but give it a go sometime. 

I have a local Latin market that sells chicken so cheap it hurts.

All you gotta do is chop a carrot and half a head of cabbage. Go ahead and make the veggie slices big and fat so it's quicker to do. Be as lazy as you want to be for this recipe.

You can get cheap carrots and cabbage at any grocery store.

I cook the chicken first until just done then push it aside. Next, saute veggies for just a couple minutes if you like them crunchy, or go for 4 minutes well done.

Finally bring it all together with Asian flavors including, ginger, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. I find powdered ginger works fine if you don't have fresh. I also add chopped garlic, but garlic powder is fine.

Stir, heat through and you are ready to eat. I like my Chicken, Carrot & Cabbage Stir Fry served over steamed white or brown rice.

Chicken, Carrot & Cabbage Stir Fry - Video

Play it here, video runs 3 minutes, 51 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Chicken - sliced. White or dark meat. Add as much or as little as you like. 
  • 1 Carrot - chopped large or small chunks. Okay to use packaged grated carrot.
  • Cabbage - half a head. Remove wilted or brown outer leaves if necessary. Cutaway stem from the bottom if you use the lower half of cabbage. Okay to use a package of grated cabbage or just a packaged coleslaw mix. 
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger - raw or dried.
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic - chopped or dried.
  • 1 tablespoon Oyster Sauce - optional. Okay to use a favorite stir fry sauce, like Sweet and Sour.
  • 1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil - okay to use any favorite vegetable oil for stir-frying chicken.

Directions

If you are serving my stir fry with cooked rice you should have it done and just heating. This stir fry barely takes 10 minutes to do.

For stir-frying you want to have all the chicken and veggies sliced and chopped, as this recipe comes together rather quickly.

Add sesame oil to a medium/hot frying pan or wok. Add sliced chicken and stir fry until done about 5 minutes.


Push aside chicken (okay to remove) and add chopped carrot and cabbage.
 

Stir fry veggies to desired tenderness. If you like them crunchy, a couple minutes is enough time. For well-done veggies give them 4 or 5 minutes of sauteing.

Now bring it all together with chopped garlic and ginger.

Finally, add oyster sauce and soy sauce. Mix well, you just want to heat up the sauce for a minute. 

I like to serve the Chicken, Carrot & Cabbage Stir Fry over steamed rice to soak up the sauce.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Southern Fried Fish - Recipe Video

When I visit my Cajun family in Louisiana I have Fried Fish as often as possible. And the preferred fish to fry is Catfish. Read on to see my video on how my Mom does it and most Southern cooks, too. 

There is not a lot to this recipe, just coat raw fish with cornmeal then fry it in hot oil. The extras are Cajun Seasoning and Garlic Powder. You could make my Southern Fried Fish with simply seasoned Cornmeal using salt and pepper.

I lived on the Gulf Coast of Texas and everyone fried seafood coated with cornmeal. When we moved to Louisiana, when I started High School, they did the same.

Go to any restaurant, or gas station and grocery with a kitchen in the back and you will often find Fried Catfish on the menu. The crispy crunchy fried fish comes as part of a plate lunch with veggies or stuffed into a Po-Boy Sandwich. 

Freshwater Catfish are plentiful in Louisiana rivers and bayous. They are fierce fighters and thick-skinned, so they are not easy to prepare for cooking, so locals just buy them at seafood markets and grocers.

The catfish fillets are deboned and skinless and come ready to fry. The pieces are anywhere from three to six inches long, and an inch or so thick.  They are usually farm-raised and mild in taste. When cooked the flesh is firm but flaky, and very moist. 

Catfish is generally a cheaper fish. I don't see it at 99c per pound lately, but regular sales hover between 2 and 3 dollars per pound.

My recipe is the way my Mom orders it on Fish Fridays from her fave local eatery, Cajun Catch. It's piping hot out of the deep fryer with Tarter and Cocktail Sauce on the side and served with Green Beans and Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with a Dinner Roll. By the way, Tarter Sauce is just mayo mixed with pickle relish.

The Swamp Chef casting for catfish.

While Fried Chicken is coated with flour, most Southern Fried Fish is coated with cornmeal. Sometimes it's a combination of half flour and half cornmeal. 

You'll want to spice up the coating by mixing in salt, pepper, and a favorite Cajun Seasonings or Old Bay, and pungent Garlic Powder. If you can't get these season mixes, then make your own with a bit of garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika or red chili powder.

Typically dried spices for cornmeal or flour when frying.

I've made a simple mix with just salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and cornmeal - that's enough for a lot of flavor.

I've met some who do not like cornmeal because it's a bit crumbly and the flavor's just not for them. Try a half mix of flour and cornmeal if that is the case, you might get away with it. 

You do need an inch or so of oil to fry the coated fish in. I use generic vegetable oil, but you can use any favorite oil. Just make sure the oil is hot when you add the fish so there is less oil absorption --  it's easy enough to drain the fish once it's fried. I place mine on a wire rack, or you can pat dry with paper napkins.

Just fry until the cornmeal coating is slightly browned. It may be hard to tell as cornmeal is usually yellow, so it doesn't brown as much as white flour. It's easy enough to break off a piece of frying catfish to test - the flesh should be firm and flakey when done.

With a medium/hot oil it should take about 5 minutes of frying cornmeal coated fish, depending on the size of the fillets. 

Here are some of the best types of seafood to fry: Catfish, Tilapia, Alaskan Cod, Halibut, Striped Bass, Trout, Perch, Shrimp, and Oysters. Try out any local fish you prefer.

My easy Southern Fried Fish recipe is quick to do and so good you will want to invite the neighbors over for a Fish Fry patio party. Best to serve with a simple Coleslaw or Potato Salad (click on names for my recipes) and a cold brew.

Fried Fish - Video

Play it here, video runs 3 minutes, 29 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

Ingredients

  • 10 to 16 ounces Catfish fillets - skin removed and deboned. The fillets are cut into about 3 to 6 inch pieces.
  • 1 cup Cornmeal - okay to make the mix half cornmeal and half flour.
  • 1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning - Old Bay seasoning is easy to find as well. A homemade seasoning is a tablespoon each of garlic powder and paprika or red chili powder.
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • Black Pepper to taste - about a teaspoon.  Salt is optional.
  • Vegetable Oil - enough to fill the frying pan to an inch deep. About a cup.

Directions

Catfish fillets should be thawed and ready to cook. Add oil to a frying pan over medium/high heat.

Prepare coating. Add cornmeal to a wide plate. Mix in garlic powder and Creole Seasoning. I like a teaspoon of black pepper, too. Salt is optional as Cajun Seasoning usually has plenty.

When the oil is hot it's time to coat the fish in a Cornmeal Mixture. Add a few pieces of catfish and coat all sides with the Cornmeal Mix. The Cornmeal Mix should stick to the fish fillets. Press fillets into the mixture if necessary.

Add cornmeal coated fish fillets to the hot oil. Be careful as the oil may splatter at first. The typical temperature of the oil is around 350 degrees hot. I just go by looks, if the fish bubbles when it hits the oil then that's hot enough. 

Allow fish to brown on one side for two to three minutes before turning to cook the other side. Don't move the fish when first added to hot oil or the coating will pull off. If you use a deep fryer this is not a problem.

Total frying time should not be much more than 5 minutes if the oil is hot enough. It's okay to pull out a piece of fish to check for doneness. The Fried Fish should be firm and flakey when pulled apart. It should still be moist as well. 

You might not be able to fry all the fish at once so don't overcrowd the frying pan. As a batch of fish finishes frying remove and place on a paper towel or a wire rack to drain excess oil.

That's it. Allow cooling for a minute then dig in. I make a simple Tarter Sauce to go with Fried Fish. Just mix a quarter cup of mayo with a tablespoon of pickle relish.

I like to serve with Coleslaw or Potato Salad, just click on the names to be directed to my recipes. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Swamp Chef Plays Golf - The Fried Egg

From Fried Egg to Birdie? Yep, it's another wacked-out Swamp Chef video and it has nothing to do with cooking, except in the title, The Fried Egg. And click on any highlighted Golf Lingo to read the definition.

When the Swamp Chef swings he often strikes out, but when golfing its game on! 

FYI a Fried Egg in golfing terms has to do with the appearance of a golf ball half-buried in a Sand Trap.

In lush and damp Louisiana Golf Courses are the greenest, with trees and lakes scattered throughout. 

A chip off the old block who doesn't take Duff, the 99 Cent Chef's brother from another daddy, the Swamp Chef, plays a mean green, on and off the golf course that is. So who's your Caddy?

The Mossy Putter knows his way around 18 holes, but unfortunately, his golf ball is a Bunker magnet as you will see in the golfing video below. But don't count the Swamp Chef out, he has a surprising Stroke left. 

So check out my latest video in the rough and watch the Swamp Chef Duck Hook the ball and land a Birdie or was that an Eagle?

The Fried Egg - Video


Monday, February 15, 2021

Mardi Gras Cuisine with the 99 Cent Chef

You are in for a movable feast during this Cajun holiday called Mardi Gras. The real partying starts February 16 on Fat Tuesday, and continues thru the weekend. Usually, everyone lines streets for the parades and floats with masked bead throwers. This is the time of year when New Orleans lets its freak flag fly -- all week long! 

But 2021, in the time of the Coronavirus Pandemic, it's no dice -- sorry but the parades and float are virtual so Mardi Gras does not become a Super-Spreader event like last year. But read on anyway and I'll show you how locals have a tasty time when the plague years end.

Click on any photo to see larger.

Mardi Gras is more than plastic beads and Kings Cake. So read on and watch 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.


Alright, let's get this party started! Walking the French Quarter in New Orleans, revelers carry drinks spiked with knee-buckling Everclear spirits. I always make a stop at the local drive-thru New Orleans Original Daiquiris for a  boozy slushy beverage

Yep, you heard right, that's the way we roll in Cajun country. Watch the video below to see how we get away without getting a ticket for an open container violation!



Here's another of my patented GIF stories about a Cajun Happy Hour that has a chilling finale featuring my girlfriend Linda.

If buzzy spirits are too much for you, then settle down within view of the Mississippi River in New Orleans for a chickory-flavored cup of Joe and sugar-powdered beignets at world-famous Cafe du Monde. After the caffeine and sugar rush, you will be ready to take in New Orleans and the outrageous French Quarter, just a few steps away.



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.


Cajun Flea Market Eats - Video

I hitchhiked with my high school buddy Marvin (featured in the Po'boy Sandwich Tour below) to New Orleans for Mardi Gras during the school break. Back then it was all about grabbing a Muffaletta, listening to street Brass Bands and Rock and Roll, catching some beads thrown down by inebriated revelers perched behind French Quarter iron-wrought balconies and Mardi Gras parade floats and getting a good buzz (we were underage, so no booze, but we found other natural ways.)

Chef, Marvin & Dennis - high school buddies

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


Looks like Red State Louisiana has agreed with Blue State California in legalizing marijuana for medical use. I guess we can all get along if there's a peace pipe to share.

I've kept in touch with my high school buddy Marvin and like to look him up when I land in New Orleans. Check out the video below to see how I (dinner) roll these days, when I tour the Crescent City in search of a delicious Po' Boy Sandwich with my high school bud - all the tasty details are in my original blog post here.

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

New Orleans Po'  Boy Tour - Video

Recently I met up with my long-lost brother from another.....daddy, aka the Swamp Chef! He showed up on Mom's doorstep one day and she welcomed him back into the family, and I must say he's a chip off the cypress tree block. He'd fit into a-rockin' Cajun ZZ Top lineup, slinging a wooden stirring spoon instead of a guitar.

99 Cent Chef, Mom, and Swamp Chef

When the Swamp Chef shows up there is always a delicious celebration -- and this time it's a BBQ Sausage Po-Boy Party!! Here in Gonzales, Louisiana, it's all about the bread when making a Po-Boy, or as it's also known, a Poor Boy (I can't figure out how to spell Po' boy as I've seen it all kinda ways!) Just watch the video below to see how the Swamp Chef grills locally made sausages by Ivderstine Farms Butchers and stuff them into a loaf of Reisling's French bread.



The Swamp Chef & Zak gets gooey and spicy with Cajun Nachos.

To quote Zak : "Uncle Swamp Chef for the win, these Cajun Nachos are lit."

Swamp Chef Cajun Nachos

The Swamp Chef knows the lay of the land around here and he recommends all you Mardi Gras tourists who need a pitstop, to park here in Gonzales, Lousiana for a big lunch plate of Jambalaya. Just check out the Swamp Chef giving you the lowdown in the video below. And it's dirt(y rice) cheap of course!



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 Zak, I got that covered.

If you hang out in Louisiana for any amount of time you will inevitably eat spicy steamed mudbugs, crayfish, or as the locals call them, Crawfish


They are milder in seafood flavor than shrimp and are about the size of a small bay shrimp. Cajuns start to eat them while still wearing a bib like Miles, my nephew Matt's son, in the video below.


If you've never had them then watch my video below to learn how to eat one.



It quickly becomes a party when I visit Gonzales, Louisiana to see my Cajun family with nieces, nephews, and their kids galore


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.)


Chef Matt's Shrimp & Grits - Video


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 keeps 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.

Ms. Patti's Vegan Red Beans and Rice - Video

 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, Mom's Jambalaya.

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

Mom's Jambalaya - Video

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 - Video

Lately, when Mom makes hot and spicy Gumbo she adds a scoop of cool Cajun Potato Salad. The last time she was here in Los Angeles I got her to make some, and my cute niece Maranda dropped by to help. This recipe is a family affair you can check out below.


Mom's Cajun Potato Salad - Video

Next to Gumbo, a rich and creamy Étouffée made with local crawfish is another decadent stew. Check out local Chef Tony's take on Crawfish Étouffée.



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 attest. He also throws in a mind-blowing side of Sweet Potato Hash, and yes, it's loaded with bacon.

 Zakk's recipe gets everyone in on the action including his Mom and my Mom, who make noshing appearances. So do check out his delicious Cajun recipes below and click here for all the written details.


Zakk's Blackened Fish with Sweet Potato Hash - Video

The South's favorite nut, next to peanut, is the pecan. And my chef nephew Matt has the best Pecan Crusted Fish recipe this side of the Mississippi River. And he throws in a vegan Spinach Salad with a creamy Strawberry Vinaigrette. Now that's a mouthful.


Pecan Crusted Fish and Spinach Salad with a Strawberry Vinaigrette

My most outrageous Cajun recipe is an Alligator Po' Boy sandwich made by my nephew Chef Matt. They say alligator tastes like chicken -- to me, it is close to the texture of a pork chop and tastes somewhere between chicken and shrimp. Just check out the recipe video and make sure to watch all the way to the end, where the relatives go hog wild over the Alligator Po' Boy.


Alligator Po' Boy - Video

How low can one recipe go? Well, check out the Swamp Chef and nephew Chef Matt's Deep Fried Frog Legs...not for the faint of palate! This recipe goes from a swamp frog hunt to the deep fryer.


Frog Legs Recipe - Video

If you are not in New Orleans attending the glittery and debauched Mardi Gras festivities, you can still have a tasty good time - if you remember to bookmark this page and come back to make any of my Cajun Mardi Gras meals. So 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. $11.55 for Shrimp or Oyster, and $11.75 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.

Another local food find for Cajun Cuisine is a restaurant and deli store called Little Jewel, in downtown LA's Chinatown. It's the real deal too. Listen in as you get all the tasty details in my special Restaurant Nocturne arty video below. (BTW, the chef/owner drops an F-bomb at 1:53 minutes.)



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