Thursday, June 04, 2009

Cajun Cooking

Few days ago, the infamous forwarder of emails, Cazzo, forwarded an email about Cajun Cuisine. I read some of the recipes and thought about an old female friend that I called the Raygen Cajun. I was in between live-in girlfriends at the time.

Her surname was very French and she was originally from the New Orleans (Nawlins) area of Louisiana. But she didn’t look French, so I questioned her about her heritage.

She told me that it was her former husband’s name and it sounded better (for business purposes – Real Estate Sales) than her maiden name. Her father was of Spanish and Arcadian French descent and her mother was Turkish. Both parents were educators at Tulane University.

She was a petite woman probably weighing in at 90 pounds. She couldn’t drink more than two alcoholic beverages before getting wild, crazy and very passionate. She was an inexpensive date, to say the least. If she had three drinks, she was like one of those young ladies that you see on the “Girls Gone Wild” videos. I bought her three drinks many times.

On one of those three drink nights she began to reminisce about New Orleans. I had been there, as a young man, for Marti Gras; but never really saw the much of the city or the surrounding areas.

I asked her if she would like to visit her parents. Her eyes lit up like sparklers and she asked me “really?” I said yes, we’ll go in the morning. We then adjourned to my bed.

On Saturday morning we took the first flight from BWI Airport to New Orleans. I believe that it was on American Airlines. We arrived before noon, rented a car and proceeded to her parent’s house which was west of New Orleans proper.

The house was an old Plantation House that was built in the 1880’s. The original house that was built in the 1700’s was razed. The house sat on about 5 acres. The property had been sub-divided several times over the course of the years. Her father told me that it was originally on more than 1000 acres of farmland.

This house had six bedrooms and one bathroom. Each bedroom had French doors that led to a veranda. My bedroom had a steel mesh chair and table on the terrace and faced west. It was the ideal place to have a sundowner cocktail.

The first night there we went out to dinner, courtesy of her parents, to a New Orleans restaurant named Brennan’s; I ate the blackened Red Fish.

On Sunday morning, I accompanied her father to the local seafood market where he bought 3lbs of fresh (caught that morning), head on, shrimp. He told me that he was making Gumbo for us for dinner that night.

I had had Gumbo before, but never like this Gumbo. It was made with fresh okra and Cayenne peppers that came from plants in the back yard. This was authentic Cajun cookery. I helped to prepare the dinner by dicing the onions, chopping a knob of garlic, beheading and peeling the shrimp and slicing the okra (about 3lbs). I also had watched his every move in the kitchen.

First, in a large cast iron skillet, he put bacon grease and lard and heated it to a moderate temperature. He then placed the diced onion and some sliced shallots into the pan. When they became translucent he drained them with a sieve and placed them into a stainless steel pot, returning the liquid to the skillet.

Next into the skillet were the garlic, hot peppers and the okra. This was constantly stirred until softened. This was put into the pot, grease and all, along with the shrimp and a local smoked sausage (sliced). Two cups of water was added as well as what her dad called fillay powder which thickens the Gumbo.

I have duplicated his recipe many times, but using olive oil instead of bacon grease and lard and using Habanero peppers in place of the Cayenne peppers. Hillshire Farms smoked sausage is a reasonable substitute for the Cajun smoked sausage. Served with rice and beans, it is a great meal.

Although it was a memorable and pleasurable trip; my lady friend and I hadn’t had sexual relations for three days. For me, it was good to be home again!

The Beach Bum

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Blogger Thomas said...

I am impressed, your memory is unbelievable!!! Considering that you have probably consumed as much, or more, alcohol than Spook, it is amazing that you can remember so much detail.

How many years ado was this, 20?

Thu Jun 04, 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger alfredo_tomato said...

Oh, some Gumbo would taste good right now. I'd settle for some fresh from the vine Okra.

Thu Jun 04, 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger The Beach Bum said...

Thomas -

Fine memories are like fine wine, you savor them!

Al -

You now have the best Gumbo recipe, so go for it!

The Beach Bum

Thu Jun 04, 11:04:00 PM  
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