Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Charcutepalooza takes a leap back in time: Challenge 4
Let me start at the begining. In the 1980's Cajun food swept California like a wild fire. Everyone was talking about it. Cajun and Creole restaurants were opening up left and right. I lived in Santa Monica, California and I was a new mom. I was 24 years old and I was home with a baby. I was bored. I decided to work my way through Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen cookbook. I really did work my way through most of that book and luckily I didn't hurt anyone. My cooking skills back then were still in their infancy.
When I saw that this Charcutepalooza was to be hot smoking and I decided to make Tasso I had the good ole days in mind. I showed you the hot smoking in the making of the Tasso, but now was when the magic of doing something with it was to happen. We decided to gather a brave group of friends to come eat Cajun food with us. I dug up the actual copy of my Paul P's book and started checking out the possibilities. What could I use this Tasso in? Well, the perfect thing was right there before my very eyes. Tasso Jambalya.
The smell of the trinity cooking brought back some very powerful memories. I was transformed back to the day when I wore leggings and semi mullet hair and stuff like that. I think I might have even been listening to Cindy Lauper while cooking this.
Man, I really digress. Ok, so you know that I have a tendency to go off into my own "little world".
I was feeling that 80's groove and even decided to make some of those swell Jalapeno and Cheddar Cheese rolls from the holy book of Cajun.
We were really into our Jalapeno's back in the day. Unlike the 80's when we used Margarine in everything because we were told it was better for us, these days I use lard. (I don't want to hear one word out of you mom).
Meantime, we had a pork loin that was from OUR pig. These guests were in for a treat.
Yes, the recipe was also from the P man.
So the table was set and everything was under control. Well, as under control as I ever get.
We served up some charcuterie because we could. Shut up, I know it isn't Cajun but if I don't serve it to everyone I will never be able to use it all in my lifetime. Not only that but French....Cajun... there is a connection. Not only that but our posse loved it.
The hurricanes were flowing.
Pork loin out of the oven and ready.
Jambalya all ready to go.
Oh oh wait. I also made a Cajun Green Bean and Artichoke recipe (which was MY favorite thing of all) but it wasn't from "THE book"
There ya have it! A Cajun dinner less a mullet and padded shoulders.
My buddy Matt likes being in my blog post. "Hey goober here is your hand shot".
Last but not least was dessert. Dr. Food made an unbelievable Bread Pudding that he learned how to make in New Orleans at a cooking class. I saw a picture of Dr. Food with a mullet too so it really was an 80's thing.
Well, yeah, we ate it before I got a picture. You know that means we were having a good time drinking copious amounts of wine and stuff. You know this means although it makes for a crappy blog post about the dessert it made a hell of a time in real time. I guess I am a bad blogger but a good liver. You know what I mean.
Ok, now I need to wash my hair and forget all things mullet. Next thing you know I will be digging out my padded shoulder jackets.
Green Bean and Artichoke Casserole
Chuck Taggert The Gumbo Pages
2 lbs fresh green beans or French haritots verts; OR
You can get away with frozen ones, I suppose. NOT canned.
1 9-oz. package frozen artichoke hearts. Do not use canned. I'll know.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 onion, finely diced
6 - 8 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
If you're using fresh green beans and you don't mind the extra labor, split them lengthwise (or use French-style if frozen). Cook the green beans in boiling salted water or steam until just tender. Medium-dice the artichoke hearts.
Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil. In a large bowl, mix the beans, bread crumbs, cheese, hearts, and the oil with the onions and garlic. Season liberally with black pepper; salt to taste.
Put the mixture into a 9"x14" baking dish, and sprinkle the top with additional bread crumbs and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 - 30 minutes.