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Category: Cajuns

Cajun Cooking TV Is Re-Launching in Fall 2010

[ 5 ] September 5, 2010

Cajun Cooking TV

 

Hello Cajun Cooking TV Fans,

We’ve heard your wonderful and kind comments regarding our Cajun Cooking TV website, How-to videos and Cajun recipes.  We cook not only Cajun recipes and Creole recipes passed down through generations of Louisiana families, but simple homemade dishes that are easy to prepare. 

Mike and I enjoy sharing our home and fun times we have on Saturday nights.  How-to cooking videos are simply made by recording what we are cooking for supper – no scripts and no rehearsal. 

Some people ask me how we got started doing these Cajun cooking videos.  Mike asked me one day what I liked to do and would be a good website.  Viola!  Cajun Cooking TV was born.  We have had an unbelievable response. 

Just last month, over 18,000 visitors viewed our Cajun Cooking TV website and nearly a million people have viewed our How-To videos.  And we appreciate you.

cajun cookingHelping us cook these Cajun recipes and fine Cajun food, you’ll notice three little girls in our videos.  Ashley is our god-daughter, the dancing ham. Amanda is her sister; sometimes actually referred to as “Sister”.  We have enjoyed caring for these girls most of their lives on weekends.  We call them our “weekend kids”. 

Addison is our granddaughter who we have had just about every weekend since she was born.  She is getting so big right before our eyes. 

We also have three grown daughters who sometimes show up for dinner.  Oh and we can’t forget Jose who shows up in the videos circling our feet when dancing ensues in the kitchen thanks to the Swamp Pop music on the radio.

After hearing how much our fans want more videos, we are re-launching and redesigning our website and starting a whole new series of Cajun cooking How-To videos for our down home Cajun recipes. 

Coming up is Crock Pot Beef Stew, Tailgate worthy Cajun Shrimp Boil, Boston Butt Pork Roast in the oven, various dishes we’ve had at restaurants and many more. 

Feel free to contact us and make a request.  If we’ve never made it, we will give it a try.

Again, thank you for watching our Cajun Cooking TV videos and supporting our message that cooking can be fun, a shared experience with family, and a good reason to dance in the kitchen.  Give it a try and see ya on Saturday nights! 

Joie de vie. 

Sincerely,
Mike & Beryl Stokes
Cajun Cooking TV
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

PS – Unfortunately, we’re no longer going to be able to include music on our videos, because music is now a no-no on YouTube (they are citing copyright issues). We just wanted to let you know that we are still singing and dancing while we cook up your favorite Cajun recipes!

What Is Creole Cooking?

[ 0 ] November 27, 2008

Creole cooking is very similar to Cajun cooking in the fact that they both use ingredients such as bell peppers, onions and celery in their dishes. However, the Creole style of cooking differs in some ways due to its use of local ingredients and simple European flavors instead of wild game and the Acadian’s heavy French flavors.

The Creole style of cooking was found mostly in the homes of rich people whereas the Cajun style of cooking was found in the poor farming communities.

Creole dishes were also served in many courses on a beautifully set table instead of a single pot over an open flame, thus distinguishing it from the Cajun way of cooking.

The History of Creole Cooking

The history of the Creole’s cooking style actually began when European settlers arrived in the late 1600’s hoping to start a new life and acquire a large amount of wealth. Their European flavors mixed with the French, African, Caribbean, Italian and Spanish, which in return created what we know as Creole, or New Orleans style, cooking.

With the use of Italian and Spanish ingredients, Creole dishes took on a whole new flavor with an abundance of tomatoes.  The tomatoes were used in dishes such as jambalaya, and gumbo and often replaced the use of roux (flour and oil).

The use of beans became another important ingredient often found in Creole dishes. Its fame took on familiar dishes like red beans and rice, a New Orleans classic.

Okra and Creole Cooking

Okra was also an important ingredient.. It was first used by the African slaves, who shared their secrets of cooking by using the juice of the okra to thicken soups and stews like gumbo. Okra was also used in whole to give dishes like jambalaya and gumbo and added flavor.

Other ingredients included, rice, pork, oysters, shrimp, crab and crawfish, which were also found in other styles of Louisiana cooking.

To season the dishes, Creoles used garlic, parsley, bay leaf, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. And while the use of these seasonings was evident in their dishes, the results are actually far less spicy than most Louisiana dishes.
 
Today’s version of Creole cooking is actually very different than what had originated from the past. The flavors are mixed with the Cajun, which are only slightly different from one another. More often than not, it is hard to tell what is true Creole and what is not thanks to the commercial industry and the similarity in recipes.

However, if you are planning a trip to Louisiana any time in the near future, you can probably find a local who can show you the true way and taste of Creole style cooking.

All About Blue Crabs

[ 0 ] November 4, 2008

All About Blue Crabs

Louisiana may be known for its blue crabs, but did you know that they’re not all blue? The crabs get their name because of their bluish color, but some of these shelled creatures can also be gray or turquoise. Yet despite the color, the crab is a favorite with Louisianans everywhere!

blue crab

Blue Crab

A blue crab is found in both salt and fresh water in all almost all parts of the world. Here they are typically found in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Because they are bottom-dweller, a young crab is prey to many animal species. Birds, sharks, eels, catfish, sea turtles and even their own kind will hunt them.

But animals are not the only prey they must look out for. Fishermen harvest the crab for commercial use. Trotlines or crab pots are used to trap the crab during the warm months when they are more active. Sometimes a dredge is used during the winter months when they are not so open to the cold waters.

Once a crab is harvested, workers must separate male from female. The easiest way a fisherman will distinguish a male crab from a female crab is by looking for a “T” shaped apron and blue-tipped claws. A young female crab will have red-tipped claws and a triangular shaped apron that forms a “U” as an adult.

When an adult female becomes pregnant she will carry her eggs under her abdomen until they are released into the water, which takes about two weeks.

Once the eggs hatch, the crab grows to its adult size in about a year and a half.

During their growth, a crab will shed its shell many times. During this process, the new shell will be soft which at this time are often harvested for their delectability.

Those that are left to harden are no strangers to a Louisiana table either. A hard-shell crab is one of the most common delicacies of Louisianans.

What Cajuns Do with Blue Crabs

The hard-shell crab is often boiled and served whole in the shell. Louisianans then crack the shells and enjoy the meat inside. Much of the meat is found in the claws for hard-shell lovers, but the entire crab maybe eaten when cooked as a soft-shell.

Boiling a blue crab isn’t the only way to prepare it. A crab may be fried, steamed and even baked, there are hundreds of Cajun recipes for blue crabs. But many Louisiana chefs will agree that the best way to cook a crab is by boiling or steaming it.

But no matter how a crab is prepared, one thing is for sure, it’s all good!

Click Here to Learn
How to Boil and Eat Louisiana Blue Crabs


What Is Cajun Cooking?

[ 4 ] October 27, 2008

What Is Cajun Cooking?

cajun cookingCajun cooking began when a group of people known as the Acadians were forced to leave their French-Canadian homes by boat to the United States after the British took over their homeland. Because many U.S. states were unwelcoming to foreign people, the Acadians took up residency in Louisiana where they were accepted.

The Acadians made use of the lands of Louisiana by planting rice and sugarcane in the fields and fishing for shrimp, oysters and crawfish in the rivers. They became friends with the Native Americans, Africans and English, despite being submitted to a new and strange land.

Because the English found if difficult to pronounce the word Acadian, the “A” was eventually from the name and the “D” was pronounced as a “J.” The result was the word, Cajun.

While in the beginning, the recipes did come from the Acadians and their native homeland, it was actually a combination of heritages that created true Cajun recipes. Everyone from the English to the French to the Spanish, to the Africans, added to what has made Cajun cooking the flavor it is today.

Cajun Cooking is Spicy Not Hot

When people think of Cajun cooking, they often think of spicy food. While it is true that Cajun cooks use some spices like Tabasco pepper sauce in their dishes, most Cajun recipes are a lot milder in pepper than the way some replicated Cajun dishes are made.

True Cajun dishes actually contain a good amount of various seasonings verses just a lot of spicy pepper. It requires a perfect blend to truly create an authentic Cajun dish. Many true Cajun dishes also contain a combination of bell peppers, onions and celery.

Cajun Cooking Ingredients

Other important ingredients that are most often used in Cajun cooking include, rice, okra, sausage, chicken, ham, crawfish, shrimp, andouille and oysters. These ingredients are then turned into the dishes many of us know and love like, jambalaya, etouffee and gumbo.

Cajun Cooking in Cast Iron Pots

For many Cajun cooks, a black cast iron pot is used when cooking. The pot is usually one that has been handed down by a family member and was once hung over an open fire. Not only does the precious heirloom create authenticity in Cajun cooking, it also carries a good amount of iron that is absorbed into the food.

While many other states and even some countries try to imitate Cajun cooking, most often the results are nowhere near a true experience. If you really want to experience the authenticity of true Cajun cooking, a visit to south Louisiana is highly recommended.

The History of Cajuns

[ 0 ] October 3, 2008

The History of Cajuns

Cajuns originated in the mid-1700’s after the British forced them from their home of Acadia, which was once a part of Canada. After refusing to bow down to the British Crown, the Acadians were forced to leave by boat to other countries where they would start new lives and eventually be known as the Cajuns.

But, there’s more than just the Cajun name to these French ancestors. There is a story untold, before they were famous for their cooking and music. A story that is as sad as it is tragic.

Around 1755, a colony of French Canadians found themselves helpless as a British army attacked, and their country of France ignored their desperate pleas for help.

These people were known as the Acadians. Because of their Christian beliefs, the Acadians refused to give into the British’s attempt to take over their religious beliefs. After all, the British had already taken their land and enslaved their children. So instead, the Acadians were given 18 months to leave their beloved colony and many were eventually sent to the U.S as a result.

The trip by boat was not easy however, and many of the Acadians died along the way from disease and malnourishment. Those that did survive settled on the swamp and land regions of New Orleans because many U.S. colonies refused to accept them. Some refused to give up their old life and returned to their homeland of Acadia, only to be imprisoned.

Those that settled the Louisiana lands were faced with diseases, death and a new territory. But the Acadians did not give up.  They used what resources were given to them and turned the land into a profit. They trapped and fished; making shrimp, oysters, crawfish and crabs a main source of income. Some farmed the lands, making rice, okra and peppers, profitable.

Despite all that had happened, the Acadians did not keep to themselves. They made friends with the Spanish and Native Americans who were local to the area.

The Acadians Become the Cajuns

Soon the English knew them as the Cajuns, rather than the Acadians. The “A” was made silent and the “di” became a “J” since this was how their native ancestors pronounced it. The result became the word, Cajuns.

For a while, life was good for the Cajun people, but by 1921 the U.S had decided it was time the Cajuns learned the English language.

Cajun children were forced to go to formal schools and beaten if they refused to learn the English language. If the children spoke their native language in school, they were punished. As a result, the Cajuns began to speak less of their native tongue. However, this did not stop the Cajuns from teaching their French language at home.

By 1939 at the start of World War II, the U.S. changed their determined ways. The Cajun’s used their French language to translate and help the American Soldiers in France.

It wasn’t until the 20th century however, that people began to truly accept the Cajuns. Today, they are famous for both their cooking and their music.

Cajun Cooking

Cajun cooking however, has been the most popular in their culture. Many Cajun based restaurants strive to be the best in Cajun cuisine while grocery stores carry their own versions of Cajun foods. 

Cajun culture has certainly improved to a society that once turned a deaf ear to this French colony.

The Cajuns have allowed us to share and experience their wonderful culture. For that, we are blessed.

Hurricane Gustav vs Cajun Cooking TV

[ 2 ] October 3, 2008

Hurricane Gustav Cajun Cooking

Hurricane Gustav hindered our Cajun recipes cooking production, but not our spirit, nor our appetites for great Cajun food.

We were without electricity and Internet connection for 14 days, and had a major clean-up job after that. But, we’re happy to say we’re back to Cajun Cooking and will be bring you Cajun recipes weekly once again.

We’re also adding a “Cajun Culture” category, where we’ll be publishing articles on all sorts of things Cajun.

So, we’re happy to be back, and we’ll get those Cajun recipes and videos rolling again.


Cajun Zydeco Music

[ 0 ] August 26, 2008

 

 Cajun Zydeco Music

The origin of Cajun Zydeco music is as diverse as the Cajun people themselves. The history of Cajun music starts right around 1755 when the Acadians were being expelled from Nova Scotia. The people traveled south and eventually settled in Louisiana.

Louisiana Cajun Music

These Acadians brought their own style of music with them. It was music that had strong French influences. But just as the experience of being driven from their homeland changed them personally, it also changed their music.

The Acadians began to incorporate their experiences with the British and the Native Americans into their ballads. The New World definitely had a huge impact on their lives.

Cajun French music of long ago was really stories that were sung without the accompaniment of instruments. These ballads were performed at family gatherings and other social events. Sometimes rhythm was supplied by the clapping of hands or stomping of feet.

The fiddle was a major instrument in Louisiana Cajun music. It was played at dances and other large gatherings. One of the most famous Cajun fiddlers was Dennis McGee. His bayou music incorporated a blend of cultural influences which included African rhythms, blues and singing styles of the Native American Indians. His music is said to have been key to developing the modern Cajun Zydeco music of today.

A big change in Cajun music came in 1925 when the accordion was introduced. The great thing about the accordion music was that its sound was loud enough to carry across a crowded, noisy dance floor. The accordion was the perfect accompanying instrument to the fiddle and gave Louisiana music a lighter, more joyful feel.

When the radio and recordings came on the scene in the 1920’s, Cajun musicians were exposed to other musical influences from outside the Louisiana territory. These outside influences brought about more changes to the Cajun music scene.

As the rock and roll movement took hold in the 1950’s, Cajun music changed to include some of these rock and roll elements into its music. It was labeled swamp pop music. It could be described as hillbilly melodies combined with New Orleans style R & B, or Cajun Country.

Cajun music continues to evolve with the times. There have been country music artists that have included strong Cajun influences in their music. Cajun Creole music is a unique style of music that demonstrates the fortitude of the Cajun and Creole communities. It is a celebration of life and expresses the ability of people to overcome.

You can be sure we have a Cajun CD rockin’ our soul every Saturday night when we’re cooking up one of the Cajun recipes for the Cajun Cooking TV videos!

If you want to experience a unique blend of sounds and lyrics, get your hands on some true Cajun Zydeco music. There is no other music in the world like it.

Beryl Stokes

Beryl Stokes