Friday, 10 January 2014

Blues and a gumbo....

I had bought the lens while in Vancouver.... a Canon 100-400

So, the other day I finally had a chance to run it out and just 'see' what it did.

It'll take some getting used to, but man, it is sweet.

That cold I had...plugged the sinuses which in turn caused my inner ear to swell up and now has an infection. I can't hear anything except a constant buzzzzz....and then it began to hurt, so off to le doc's and the drugstore for the inevitable antibiotics. Ten days...8 left...and I should be able to hear again. Too has come in handy! 

 A crawdad boil.....

We have now started to plan out a 12 day trip..being billed as our Blues, Gumbo and Bayou Tour. Having gotten a taste of the south two years ago, in New Orleans, we are going to wander the back roads of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama..seeking out good Cajun grub, honest blues music and people. If you want to make any suggestions, please feel free...

from Wikipedia...

Cajun dishes

Three popular local dishes in Acadiana are noted in the Hank Williams' song Jambalaya, namely "Jambalaya and-a crawfish pie and filé gumbo."

Primary favorites

Boudin that has been smoked

Seafood gumbo
Boudin - sometimes spelled "boudain", is a type of sausage made from pork, pork liver, rice, garlic, green onions, and other spices. It is widely available by the link or pound from butcher shops. Boudin is usually made daily as it doesn't keep well for very long, even when frozen. Boudin is typically stuffed in a natural casing and has a softer consistency than other, better-known, sausage varieties. It is usually served with side dishes such as rice dressing, maque choux or bread. Boudin balls are commonly served in southern Louisiana restaurants and are made by taking the boudin out of the case and frying it in spherical form.
Gumbo - High on the list of favorites of Cajun cooking are the soups called gumbos. Contrary to non-Cajun, or Continental, beliefs, gumbo does not mean simply "everything in the pot". Gumbo exemplifies the influence of African and Native American food cultures on Cajun cuisine. The word originally meant okra, which is a word brought to the region from western Africa. Okra, which can be one of the principal ingredient in gumbo recipes, is used as a thickening agent and for its distinct vegetable flavor.
A filé gumbo is thickened with sassafras leaves after the stew has finished cooking, a practice borrowed from the Choctaw Indians. The backbone of a gumbo is roux of which there are two variations: acadian, a golden brown roux, and creole, a dark roux, which is made of flour, toasted until well-browned, and fat or oil. The classic gumbo is made with chicken and the Cajun sausage called andouille, pronounced {ahn-doo-wee}, but the ingredients vary according to what is available.
Jambalaya - Another classic Cajun dish is jambalaya. The only certain thing that can be said about a jambalaya is that it contains rice, some sort of meat (such as chicken or beef) and/or seafood (such as shrimp or crawfish) and almost anything else. Usually, however, one will find green peppers, onions, celery and hot chili peppers. Anything else is optional.
Rice and gravy - Rice and gravy dishes are a staple of Cajun cuisine[1] and is usually a brown gravy based on pan drippings, which are deglazed and simmered with extra seasonings and served over steamed or boiled rice. The dish is traditionally made from cheaper cuts of meat and cooked in a cast iron pot, typically for an extended time period in order to let the tough cuts of meat become tender.[2] Beef,[3] pork, chicken or any of a large variety of game meats are used for its preparation.[4] Popular local varieties include hamburger steak, smothered rabbit,[5] turkey necks,[6] and chicken fricassee.[7]

Food as an event

Crawfish boil

Louisiana-style crawfish boil
The crawfish boil is a celebratory event where Cajuns boil crawfish, potatoes, onions and corn in large pots over propane cookers. Lemons and small muslin bags containing a mixture of bay leaves, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper and other spices, commonly known as "crab boil" or "crawfish boil" are added to the water for seasoning. The results are then dumped onto large, newspaper-draped tables and in some areas covered in spice blends, such as REX, Zatarain's, Louisiana Fish Fry or Tony Chachere's. Also, Cocktail sauce, mayonnaise and hot sauce are sometimes used. The seafood is scooped onto large trays or plates and eaten by hand. During times when crawfish are not abundant, shrimp and crabs are prepared and served in the same manner.
Attendees are encouraged to "suck the head" of a crawfish by separating the abdomen of the crustacean and sucking out the abdominal fat/juices.
Often, newcomers to the crawfish boil or those unfamiliar with the traditions are jokingly warned "not to eat the dead ones". This comes from the common belief that when live crawfish are boiled, their tails curl beneath themselves, but when dead crawfish are boiled, their tails are straight and limp. Seafood boils with crabs and shrimp are also popular.


A traditional "boucherie" near Eunice
The traditional pig-slaughtering party where Cajuns gather to socialize, play music, dance, and preserve meat does still occur in some rural communities and individual farms, but the use of every last bit of meat, including organs and variety cuts in sausages such as boudin and the inaccessible bits in the head as head cheese are not a necessity as they were before the days of refrigeration.

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