One of the best things about living on the Gulf coast was being introduced to Cajun food and Mardi Gras. One of the first things we did on the coast was to attend a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade. We were all caught up in the spirit of the celebration with moon pies and beads. We often visited Louisana while living in Pensacola, especially during the years that Wes played with a travel ice hockey team out of Baton Rouge. We enjoyed the people, their food, and their customs.
We do not celebrate Mardi Gras in a big way here in Georgia, but I say, there’s no better excuse to cook up some good Cajun food. I found this recipe on www.raisedonaroux.com, where I found many other recipes that I can’t wait to try! This chicken marinates for 48 hours for a wonderful flavor. It’s cooks up wonderfully crispy with the addition of corn starch, and it is incredibly moist and juicy. Don’t let the hot sauce scare you because it isn’t hot at all. The marinade simply gives it an excellent taste.
Fat Tuesday Fried Chicken
- Seasoning Mix:
- 3 tbsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. dried thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 tbsp. onion powder
- 2 tbsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp. white pepper
- 1 (3-lb.) whole chickens, cut into serving pieces
- 4 c. buttermilk
- 2 tbsp. Louisiana hot sauce
- 2 tbsp. Crystal hot sauce
- 4 c. all-purpose flour
- ½ c. corn starch
- Peanut oil for frying
- In a small bowl, thoroughly combine seasoning mix. Season chicken with 6 tbsp. of the mix. Reserve remaining mix. Place chicken in 1 or 2 large resealable bags.
- In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauces; pour over the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for a least 4 hours or up to 48 hours, (the longer it soaks the better), turning occasionally.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and reserved seasoning mix.
- Set a rack on a large baking sheet.
- Working one piece at a time, remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into the bag. Dredge in flour mixture and shake off excess. Place on prepared rack.
- Pour oil halfway up the side of a large, deep skillet (preferably cast iron) and heat to 350° F.
- Prepare another large baking sheet lined with paper towels and a rack over top.
- Fry chicken in batches, starting skin side down. Do not overcrowd skillet. Once chicken is added to oil, the temperature will drop. Maintain cooking temperature of 315° F for ideal frying. Fry, turning, until golden brown and cooked through to reach an internal temperature of 165° F. Remove to rack and allow to drain. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.
I have always been more of a pound cake baker than a layer cake baker. I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe it’s because they are just so darn easy and they tend to get better with time. My favorite pound cake recipes seem to get moister the longer they sit.
Here’s a wonderfully moist cake that I love making this time of the year. I prefer to use my homemade applesauce but any applesauce will work. It is not only delicious but it is lovely when sprinkled with powdered sugar and would be beautiful on a holiday dessert table!
Spiced Applesauce Pound Cake
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2¾ c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 c. light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 c. no-sugar applesauce
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-cup bundt pan well and place it on a large baking pan, set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, being careful not to overmix.
- Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Place the baking pan/bundt pan onto middle rack in preheated oven. Bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
- Cool completely before inverting on a cake plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
Almost 29 years ago I married a hunter. He enjoys hunting almost anything, and he likes to fish too. When Wes was born a little over 23 years ago, Greg knew he had a life-long hunting partner. Hunting and fishing are sports that the men in this family have enjoyed for generations. When we were young married, with no kids, I would spend the weekend at deer camp with Greg, my father-in-law, and my brother-in-law.
I even went hunting by myself one time. Yes, you read that correctly…one time. After convincing my best friend, Loretta, to take a Hunter’s Safety class with me, I sat in a stand, with a gun, by myself. I enjoyed being in the woods. Every sound I heard I imagined a huge deer, bigger than anything Greg had ever seen, walking straight to me. I ended up shooting at a deer and missing and crying all evening. I’m not sure how I would have handled it had I killed the deer.
That was my last time hunting with a gun. Since then I have taken my camera. I still enjoy the peacefulness of the woods, but for some reason, Greg won’t take me because he says I’m not quite enough. We are passed those young married days when he wanted to spend every moment with me so now I’m left at the house. (I’m actually okay with that, though!)
I have had to cook my share of fish and game over the years. Dove season opened here last Saturday so I thought I would share this easy Emeril recipe that Greg and Wes love. This recipe works well with dove, quail, or pheasant, and probably any other bird you wanted to try. Simply adjust the cooking times to accommodate the size of your bird.
Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Quail, Dove or Pheasant with Bourbon Pepper Glaze
- 8 quail, dove, or pheasant, dressed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 strips thick-cut bacon
- ½ c. pepper jelly
- 3 tbsp. bourbon
- ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Season each bird with salt and pepper. Wrap a slice of bacon around the bird and secure with a toothpick.
- Preheat grill to medium-low.
- In a bowl, whisk the pepper jelly, bourbon, and Worcestershire sauce until smooth.
- Place the bacon-wrapped quail on the grill and cook, turning frequently, for 12 minutes or so, or until the bacon is beginning to caramelize in places and the birds have grill marks on all sides.
- Brush the birds with the glaze and continue turning, glazing, and cooking until the birds are nicely glazed and grilled on all sides and the flesh is cooked through, about 12 minutes longer. (Internal temperature of 165°F).
- Remove from grill and rest briefly before serving.
When I was a young cook, potatoes were a specialty of mine. After all, I could prepare them various ways to end up with something different each time. Times sure do change because I rarely cook potatoes these days. Mostly, because Greg likes to eat a low-carb diet. Sometimes I just get a craving that I can’t stop, though. These potatoes were a result of one of those cravings.
The crispy smashed potatoes are delicious on their own, but when you add the salt and vinegar it takes these babies over the top! They are perfect as a side with hamburgers and hot dogs or delicious with a meat and sides.
Watch the potatoes closely during the last 20 minutes of baking. It may not take quite that long. Also, if you have a few potatoes that are too big, it’s fine to cut the larger potatoes in half, or even quarter them. I have had to do this before. However, if you do this be sure to toss the boiled potatoes very gently with the butter, because they will fall apart easily.
Crispy Salt and Vinegar Smashed Potatoes
- 2 lb. baby potatoes (Red, White, or Yukon Gold)
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus additional for sprinkling
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. white vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- Add potatoes and 1 tbsp. kosher salt to a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Drain and return potatoes to saucepan. Add butter and gently toss to coat. Transfer potatoes to prepared baking sheet, spreading them out in a singer layer. Using a heavy mug or glad, gently press down on each potato until it pops and smash down to about ½-inch thickness.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven and turn each with a spatula. Drizzle with olive oil and continue baking for 20 minutes more.
- Once baked, sprinkle with vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot.
Boiled peanuts are a traditional snack here in the south and one of my favorites. They can be found at many country stores, roadside stands, and even canned and on the vegetable aisle of the grocery store. They are a must for any road trip, football game or fall festival. Many cook them in large pots outdoors, but you can prepare a small batch in your kitchen. It’s easy to do in your crock pot because you do not have to keep a constant watchful eye on them. You will need the check the water level after the first few hours of cooking because the peanuts will soak up a lot of the water. Once I have added additional water, I just give my peanuts an occasional stir to check their progress and leave them to do their thing. Yum!!
Crock-pot Boiled Peanuts
- 2 lb. raw peanuts, in shell
- ½ cup kosher salt
- Place the peanuts in a crock-pot and add salt. Cover the peanuts with water, then add a little more.
- Cover and cook on high for approximately 20 hours, stirring occasionally and checking the water. The peanuts will soak up a lot of water in the first few hours. You may need to add additional water at this point.
- Drain peanuts before serving or storing. Store in zip-top plastic bags in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Cajun Boiled Peanuts: Add 1 (3-oz.) pkg. boil-in-bag shrimp and crab boil and ⅓ to ½ cup hot sauce to the slow cooker before cooking.
You can freeze these peanuts in a zip-top freezer bag up to 2 months. Reheat in the microwave before serving.