Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Swamp Chef Cajun Nachos With Zak - Video Recipe

And now for a brief moment of levity with a tasty recipe, of course. With the Super Bowl right around the corner, you'll want to try my latest Outre Entree, Swamp Chef Nachos!

My nephew Zak lives in Gonzales, Louisiana where my Mom is, too. He has worked in the restaurant business off and on since high school, so he has good taste and he approved my latest recipe, especially after indulging in a bit of puffery, of the cannabis variety...hmmm, maybe that had a bit of influence?

And Swamp Chef Nachos? It is a similar recipe to regular Nachos, with the main difference of adding Crawfish Tails! 

This seafood spin is easy enough to substitute with cheaper small bay shrimp if you don't have access to a one-pound package of cooked Crawfish Tails.

Click on any photo or GIF to see larger.

This recipe video starts simply enough, just a walk in the neighborhood and a chance meeting.

 And who should the Swamp Chef run into but his nephew Zak and his English Mastiff and Lab mix,  Marshall. I bet you can't guess what I'm walking...well you'll have to watch the video!

 If you have been following my food blog then you may remember my nephew Zak. We have collaborated on a couple of recipe videos when I visited him in Louisiana. Click on the recipe names to see our earlier collaborations. Chef Zak's Cajun Style Tuscan Primavera Pasta and Blackened Fish with Sweet Potato Hash (his Mom Brenda, my sister, makes a nagging appearance at the end of the video.)

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

You know what Nachos are, right? Happy Hour food at its best. Usually, Nachos are tortilla chips covered in melty cheese, pinto beans, and sometimes taco-style ground beef. A final topping is chopped onion and tomato, or chunky salsa.

My Cajun Nachos are seafood briny and cheesy. I also use a can of Cajun Red Beans.

The overall flavor is like a gooey seafood enchilada, with more crunch from the tortilla chips. 

The Red Beans are a tasty touch and add extra heft to fill you up with veggie protein. Red Beans are a nice substitution for typical Mexican-style Pinto Beans. I picked a local Gonzales, Louisiana brand that has a creamy bean sauce. 

But you can get the same result by heating up regular Red Beans from the can. Add half of the bean broth and as it gets warm just crush a dozen beans or so. Stir with the bean liquid to make a thick sauce, kinda like Mexican refried beans. You can add more or less bean liquid until you reach the desired creaminess. Of course, just whole beans from the can without a creamy sauce will work as well.

Canned beans are easy to find, even Red Beans. If you want to experiment try Black Beans. Regular Pinto Beans are cheap everywhere. Chili With Beans are second best!

I used a mild shredded white queso or cheese. Any favorite cheese is fine, like cheddar, mozzarella, or Monterrey Jack. I get mine cheap at Dollar Tree and 99c only Stores. I start with a pound of shredded cheese but add as much cheese as you like.

Regular corn Tortilla Chips are cheap enough and you can get hefty servings with just one 8-ounce bag.

Of course, the hardest thing to find is a one-pound package of cooked Crawfish Tails. And while not cheap I gotta break my 99-cent rules sometimes. It's okay to use cheaper small cooked Bay Shrimp. Since you are just heating up Nachos, everything is cooked.

I finally top Cajun Nachos with Creole Seasoning and Louisiana Hot Sauce. These last ingredients are optional and it's okay to use any Hot Sauce if you can take the heat! 

As the oven heats up add tortilla chips to a baking pan or dish and layer on the goodies. Pop it in the oven and when the cheese is melty then my Cajun Nachos are ready to eat! Since all the ingredients are cooked you are just heating it up.

My Swamp Chef Cajun Nachos has it all, maybe too much of a good thing, well it's up to you to decide if it's all too much.

Cajun Nachos - Video

Play it here, video runs 5 minutes, 35 seconds.

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

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces to 1 pound of peeled Crawfish - Small bay shrimp are an easy substitution. Of course, you can add any cooked protein like ground chicken or beef.
  • 1 can Red Beans - about 16 ounce can. Mash some beans for a creamy sauce.
  • 1 pound Cheese - I used white "quesadilla" shredded cheese. Okay to use any melty type like yellow cheddar or white Monterey Jack cheese, even Velvetta. 
  • 1 package of Tortilla Chips - about 8 ounces. I used half-yellow and blue chips for color. Add enough to make 2 or 3 layers of chips in the baking dish or tray, kinda like a lasagna.
  • 2 Green Onions chopped - optional for a colorful garnish and extra flavor.
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce - optional. To taste, okay to use any favorite hot sauce. Add as little or as much as you can handle.
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning - optional, and okay to add less, as it's quite salty, like tortilla chips.

Directions

Layer chips on a wide baking dish or pan. I pile on enough for 2 or 3 layers.

Next top with red beans and half the cheese.

Add a layer of crawfish tails or bay shrimp...and more cheese!

Finally, sprinkle on Cajun Seasoning, and drizzle a little Hot Sauce (these steps are optional.)

I add extra cheese on top to keep the crawfish tail meat from drying out. I used white shredded cheese, but okay to use easy-to-get cheddar cheese. You can shred or just slice it, or break it into smallish chunks. Add as much cheese as you can afford, it's up to you.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Since crawfish are cooked (or almost cooked,) all you are doing is heating up the beans and melting the cheese.

When the cheese is melted and beans heated through, remove from oven and top with chopped green onions, this gives the dish a vibrant green and white color with a little extra veggie crunch. I've had this without green onion, too.

Serve hot with a cold beverage of your choice!


Friday, January 22, 2021

Blackberry Pancakes - Video Recipe

Are Blackberries the most intense berry? They are comprised of mini-bubbles of juice and seeds that burst like Pop Rocks. They go from super-sweet to slightly tart all in one bite. But give a bit of grilling time in my Blackberry Pancakes and they smooth out perfectly.

In the South, we have a similar berry called Dewberry. They look and taste almost the same. Growing up that's the berry I was familiar with. 

These days in Los Angeles I can get a 6-ounce plastic pack of fresh Blackberries in my local 99c only Store quite often. You could use frozen berries, but they will be mushy. Frozen are yummy in smoothies.

No special tricks to this recipe, I just add fresh Blackberries to a lightly oiled heating pan and pour on pancake batter. 

For the pancake batter, I use a commercial brand. If you have a homemade recipe then use it. I can get a large box of dry pancake batter at my local 99c only Store or Dollar Tree. Regular grocery stores sell it cheap enough, too.


My recipe is the easiest and quickest thing to make and starting the day with fresh fruit is a big tasty plus.

Check out how I make a cheap$kate breakfast of Blackberry Pancakes.

Blackberry Pancakes - Video
Play it here, video runs 1 minute, 41 seconds.

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

Ingredients (2 servings, using a pancake mix)
  • 1 cup pancake mix - any favorite
  • 3/4 cup water - okay to use milk for a richer pancake batter.
  •  Blackberries - a handful. Depending on size, I use whole blackberries but sometimes will slice them in two. Okay to substitute with any fresh seasonal fruit like: blueberry, peach, apricot, strawberry, and even sliced banana or canned fruit like pineapple.
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil - to grease skillet. Add more when needed, depending on how many pancakes you make.
  • Butter and favorite pancake syrup as toppings - add as much as you like.



Directions
Prepare pancake batter according to package directions. My pancake mix calls for 1 cup of flour and 3/4 cup of water.


Mix pancake ingredients in a bowl. When mixed it will be like thick country gravy. Start to heat the pan over medium/low heat.


I like to place fruit down on pan first so it is in direct contact with the skillet for a little caramelization. You want to pour batter against the Blackberries so they stick to the pancake when you flip it.


Follow the Pancake mixing and cooking directions. The box directions below mention cooking time to brown each side as 1.5 minutes each....hmmm, they must be using a super hot pan!


My pancakes are larger and cook longer than these directions - of course, cook them your way.

If you want a dark brown pancake presentation, then just cook one side to get the right amount of brown, then cook the other side for a minute, to finish. Serve browned side up, on the plate.



It is easier to just mix berries into the batter, but I like the look I get laying down the berries first and pouring on the batter.

I serve hot with melted butter and my favorite pancake syrup.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Greatest Conspiracy Theory - The British are Coming! The British are Coming!

Queerier than QAnon, dippier than the Deep State, and more slipshod than Stop the Steal, my conspiracy theory Trumps 'em all, and it's 99.99% accurate like all the rest. The knuckleheaded 99c News Team had dug deep and uncovered the Greatest Conspiracy Theory of All Time.

As usual, it's the .01% that are the real troublemakers. The question is what side of the fringe are you?

I seldom get political, but I couldn't resist the headlines of the last couple of weeks. You may want to stop here if you are a Trump fan because I can't help but pull his chain a bit in my satirical blog post that follows. But I do try stirring in food humor -- sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.

Breakfast in America - coffee, whole-grain toast with lingonberry jam, egg & shiitake mushroom scramble, and sweet potato.

First off, the Election was manipulated by the Deep State and rigged Election Voting Machines, duh!  But it's Hollywood that really was the Wizard of Election Fraud, I mean, Oz. Living in Los Angeles I have the inside scoop: Hollywood has been taken over by British Actors who have our regional American accents down pat, sooo...the 2020 Election was a British Coup! Yes, it's the Revolutionary War 2.0

The first Prime Minister of America - Boris Johnson?

Think about it, England has been waiting over 225 years to reclaim the Colonies, and thanks to their Presidential plant, Donald J. Trump, they have finally won. Trump was brainwashed by Hollywood British Producers (aka Secret Service MI6) during his The Apprentice years!

Hello to our new National Dish - Beans on Toast 

Goodbye Big Mac

You see, the United Kingdom wanted someone divisive like Trump to put one political party in the driver's seat of government, so Donald J. Trump really did Make American Great Again...for Merrie Old Englande, that is.

Five years ago it was a cyber-invasion by the Russians -- for this Election, the British are Coming in disguise...for us! 

Having Hair Trigger Trump in the White House was a disaster in the making, and his bungled handling of the Coronavirus has put President-Elect Joe Biden in the driver's seat for the foreseeable future. 

Of course, Democrats keeping control of the House of Representatives was a forgone conclusion, but with Trump in charge, he gave the Dems the Senate too! 

And he quashed the Republican's final stab at sabotaging the Electoral College by sending in the clowns, or disguised British Insurgents, to lay waste to parts of the Capitol Building in their final gleeful insult to our Republic, just like British soldiers did in August of 1814 when they looted and burned the White House to the ground.

Click on any photo to see larger.

As proof, what American in his right mind (Antifa, much less the Proud Boys) would be barechested with a face painted like Mel Gibson's Braveheart, wearing a horned fur helmet, and carrying the American Flag attached to a spear? Only the selfie-taking, overheated, clich├ęd imagination of a British B-actor would show up in this costume.

And the result of the Capitol insurrection was that the Electoral College Count was completed in less than 24 hours, thanks to Benedict Arnold Trump -- God Save the Queen!

President Trump   =   Benedict Arnold     

So stay tuned and watch President-Elect Joe Biden with VP Kamala Harris steer the ship of state right into the arms of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson...you'll see. 

And once Britannia rules America will the Big Mac be forced to come topped with Beans?

This treasonist pillage of America's greatest fast food burger will not stand!

Give me Big Mac without Beans or 

give me Death!


Friday, January 15, 2021

National Bagel Day - Recipes

  How about a Salmon Schmear that's 99.99% Kosher on National Bagel Day!

I never had a Bagel when I lived in Louisiana and Texas as a youth, but now you can get them in coffee shops and larger grocery stores. Bagels are boiled and then baked to create a crunchy surface and chewy interior. They go back to the 17 century in Jewish communities of Poland.

My girlfriend Linda grew up a half-hour from New York City the capital of Bagels. I got a crash course there when we visited her family. 

Check out our breakfast video below at Ess-a-Bagel restaurant in NYC where they are baked on the premises serving a dozen varieties of amazing Bagel Sandwiches!

Ess-a-Bagel - Movie

I do love a toasted Bagel in the morning, usually as a sandwich with a fried egg, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Also, you should try a simple breakfast recipe with sauteed and caramelized onions that are mixed into your favorite egg scramble, and served on a slice of toasted Bagel. A Bagel for breakfast gets the job done to get you out the door...or at least out of bed.

In past film commercial shoots this non-kosher cameraman /chef was quick to line up for a catered breakfast; going past the multitude of sugary pastry confections and heading straight for Bagels, cream cheese, Lox (cured salmon,) sliced red onion, and tomato to build a Jewish deli kosher classic. 

You should click here to see my Homemade Lox recipe. It's really easy to do, just coat a thick slice of raw salmon in equal parts of sugar and salt, wrap in plastic, or a glass container, and let it cure in the refrigerator for a couple of days (unwrap and drain liquid  during curing.) Finally, rinse and pat dry, that's it.


Now Lox (mildly brined, cold-cured raw salmon) is too expensive for this Chintzy Chef but canned, or soft packaged cooked salmon is a fine inexpensive substitute. 

Fold it into room-temperature softened cream cheese, lightly mix with some lemon juice and you have a spreadable feast - a Salmon Schmear.

I find small tubs and packages of a Cream Cheese Style Blend in the 99c only Store cold case. Real Cream Cheese has doubled in price this year.

Bagels turn up in bargain bins at my local chain grocery store, Ralphs, for half price and cheaper.

Salmon Schmear is also a delicious party dip, just set out your preferred cracker, pita, or toasted wedges of bagel. This kosher morning starter is a Chef's favorite; right up there with McDonald's decidedly non-kosher sausage and egg, syrup-filled pancake sandwich "McGriddle".

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)

  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese (Philadelphia Cream Cheese is kosher)
  • 3 oz. small package or can of cooked salmon (Pillar Rock salmon brand is kosher)
  • Sliced tomato and onion (preferably red onion - for this recipe I used yellow onion)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
  • 99.99 cent bagels

Directions

Allow cream cheese to reach room temperature. Drain salmon and mix into cream cheese. You can use less cream cheese for a fishier version.

Add a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice. Mix lightly for a chunky spread.

Toast bagel then add Salmon Schmear with tomato and sliced onion.

Blueberry Bagels are somewhat controversial. I like them but my girlfriend Linda despises them - won't go near them.


Hey, we have to agree to disagree, I like them toasted with a smear of butter.


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