One of America’s Favorites – Gravy

December 2, 2013 at 7:35 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Gravy can be served in a pitcher or gravy boat.

Gravy can be served in a pitcher or gravy boat.

Gravy is a sauce, made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking. In North America the term can refer to a wider variety of sauces. The gravy may be further colored and flavored with gravy salt (a simple mix of salt and caramel food colouring) or gravy browning (gravy salt dissolved in water) or ready-made cubes and powders can be used as a substitute for natural meat or vegetable extracts. Canned gravies are also available. Gravy is commonly served with roasts, meatloaf, rice, and mashed potatoes.

 

 

 

Types of gravy;

Chocolate gravy is a variety of gravy made with fat, flour, cocoa powder and sometimes a small amount of sugar.
* Egg gravy is a breakfast gravy that is served over biscuits. Meat drippings (usually from bacon) and flour are used to make a thick roux. The roux is salted and peppered to taste. Water and milk (even parts) are added, and the liquid is brought back up to a boil. A well-beaten egg is then slowly added while the gravy is stirred or whisked swiftly, cooking the egg immediately and separating it into small fragments in the gravy.
* Giblet gravy has the giblets of turkey or chicken added when it is to be served with those types of poultry, or uses stock made from the giblets.
* Onion gravy is made from large quantities of slowly sweated, chopped onions mixed with stock or wine. Commonly served with bangers and mash, eggs, chops, or other grilled or fried meat which by way of the cooking method would not produce their own gravy.
* Red-eye gravy is a gravy made from the drippings of ham fried in a skillet/frying pan. The pan is deglazed with coffee. This gravy is a staple of Southern U.S. cuisine and is usually served over ham, grits or biscuits.
* Vegetable gravy or vegetarian gravy is gravy made with boiled or roasted vegetables. A quick and flavorful vegetable gravy can be made from any combination of vegetable broth or vegetable stock, flour, and one of either butter, oil, or margarine. One recipe uses vegetarian bouillon cubes with cornstarch (corn flour) as a thickener (cowboy roux), which is whisked into boiling water. Sometimes vegetable juices are added to enrich the flavor, which may give the gravy a dark green color. Wine could be added. Brown vegetarian gravy can also be made with savory yeast extract like Marmite or Vegemite. There are also commercially produced instant gravy granules which are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
* White gravy (sawmill gravy in Southern U.S. cuisine) is the gravy typically used in biscuits and gravy and chicken fried steak. It is essentially a Béchamel sauce, with the roux being made of meat drippings and flour. Milk or cream is added and thickened by the roux; once prepared, black pepper and bits of mild sausage or chicken liver are sometimes added. Besides white and sawmill gravy, common names include country gravy, milk gravy, and sausage gravy.

 

 

 

In the UK, a Sunday roast is usually served with gravy. It is also popular in different parts of the UK, to have gravy with just chips (mostly from a fish’n’chip shop). It is commonly eaten with pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, Yorkshire pudding, and stuffing.
In British cuisine, as well as in the cuisines of Commonwealth countries like Australia and New Zealand, the word gravy refers only to the meat based sauce (and vegetarian/vegan alternatives) derived from meat juices, stock cubes or gravy granules. Use of the word “gravy” does not include other thickened sauces. One of the most popular forms is onion gravy, which is eaten with sausages, Yorkshire pudding and roast meat. Gravy is very popular in the North of England; often, it is served with chips.

 

 

 

Biscuits covered in sausage gravy

Biscuits covered in sausage gravy

One Southern United States variation is sausage gravy eaten with American biscuits. Another Southern US dish that has white gravy is chicken fried steak. Rice and gravy is a staple of Cajun and Creole cuisine in the southern US state of Louisiana. Gravy is an integral part of the Canadian dish poutine.
In many parts of Asia, particularly India, Malaysia, and Singapore, the word “gravy” is used to refer to any thickened liquid part of a dish. For example, the liquid part of a thick curry may be referred to as gravy.
In the Mediterranean, Maghreb cuisine is dominated with gravy and bread-based dishes. Tajine and most Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) dishes are derivatives of oil, meat and vegetable gravies. The dish is usually served with a loaf of bread. The bread is then dipped into the gravy and then used to gather or scoop the meat and vegetables between the index, middle finger and thumb, and consumed.
In gastronomy of Minorca, it has been used since the British colonisation during the 17th century in typical Minorquian and Catalan dishes, as for example macarrons amb grevi (pasta).

 

 

 

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Seafood of the Week – Crayfish

October 1, 2013 at 8:11 AM | Posted in Ball Park Smoked Turkey Franks, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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Northern kōura, Paranephrops planifrons

Northern kōura, Paranephrops planifrons

 

Crayfish – also called crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, or mudbugs – are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related; taxonomically, they are members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea. They breathe through feather-like gills and are found in bodies of water that do not freeze to the bottom. They are mostly found in brooks and streams where there is fresh water running, and which have shelter against predators. Most crayfish cannot tolerate polluted water, although some species such as the invasive Procambarus clarkii are hardier. Crayfish feed on living and dead animals and plants.

 

 

The name “crayfish” comes from the Old French word escrevisse (Modern French écrevisse). The word has been modified to “crayfish” by association with “fish” (folk etymology). The largely American variant “crawfish” is similarly derived.
Some kinds of crayfish are known locally as lobsters, crawdads, mudbugs, and yabbies. In the Eastern United States, “crayfish” is more common in the north, while “crawdad” is heard more in central and southwestern regions, and “crawfish” further south, although there are considerable overlaps.
The study of crayfish is called astacology.

 

 

In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the term crayfish or cray generally refers to a saltwater spiny lobster, of the genus Jasus that is indigenous to much of southern Oceania, while the freshwater species are usually called yabby or kōura, from the indigenous Australian and Māori names for the animal respectively, or by other names specific to each species. An exception is the freshwater Murray crayfish, which belongs to the family Parastacidae and is found on Australia’s Murray River.
In Singapore, the term crayfish typically refers to Thenus orientalis, a seawater crustacean from the slipper lobster family. True crayfish are not native to Singapore, but are commonly found as pets, or as an invasive species (Cherax quadricarinatus) in the many water catchment areas, and are alternatively known as freshwater lobsters.

 

 

The body of a decapod crustacean, such as a crab, lobster, or prawn, is made up of twenty body segments grouped into two main body parts, the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Each segment may possess one pair of appendages, although in various groups these may be reduced or missing. On average, crayfish grow to 6.9 in. (17.5 centimeters) in in length, but some grow larger.

 

Astacidae Austropotamobius pallipes

There are three families of crayfish, two in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern Hemisphere. The Southern-Hemisphere (Gondwana-distributed) family Parastacidae lives in South America, Madagascar and Australasia, and is distinguished by the lack of the first pair of pleopods. Of the other two families, members of the Astacidae live in western Eurasia and western North America and members of the family Cambaridae live in eastern Asia and eastern North America.
Madagascar has an endemic genus, Astacoides, containing seven species.
Europe is home to seven species of crayfish in the genera Astacus and Austropotamobius.
Cambaroides is native to Japan and eastern mainland Asia.

 

 

The greatest diversity of crayfish species is found in southeastern North America, with over 330 species in nine genera, all in the family Cambaridae. A further genus of astacid crayfish is found in the Pacific Northwest and the headwaters of some rivers east of the Continental Divide. Many crayfish are also found in lowland areas where the water is abundant in calcium, and oxygen rises from underground springs.
Crayfish were introduced purposely into a few Arizona reservoirs and other bodies of water decades ago, primarily as a food source for sport fish. They have since dispersed beyond those original sites.

 

 

Australasia has over 100 species in a dozen genera. Many of the better-known Australian crayfish are of the genus Cherax, and include the marron (now believed to be two species, Cherax tenuimanus and C. cainii), red-claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus), common yabby (Cherax destructor) and western yabby (Cherax preissii). The marron are some of the largest crayfish in the world. They grow up to several pounds in size. C. tenuimanus is critically endangered, while other large Australasian crayfish are threatened or endangered.
Australia is home to the world’s two largest freshwater crayfish – the Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish Astacopsis gouldi, which can achieve a mass of up to 11 lb (5 kilograms) and is found in the rivers of northern Tasmania, and the Murray crayfish Euastacus armatus, which can reach 4.4 LB (2 kilograms) and is found in much of the southern Murray-Darling basin.
The two species of Paranephrops are endemic to New Zealand, where they are known by the Māori name kōura.

 

Crawfish Boil

Crayfish are eaten worldwide. Like other edible crustaceans, only a small portion of the body of a crayfish is edible. In most prepared dishes, such as soups, bisques and étouffées, only the tail portion is served. At crawfish boils or other meals where the entire body of the crayfish is presented, other portions, such as the claw meat, may be eaten. Like all crustaceans, crayfish are not kosher because they are aquatic animals that do not have both fins and scales. They are therefore not eaten by observant Jews.
As of 2005, Louisiana supplies 95% of the crayfish harvested in the US. In 1987, Louisiana produced 90% of the crayfish harvested in the world, 70% of which were consumed locally. In 2007, the Louisiana crawfish harvest was about 54,800 tons, almost all of it from aquaculture. About 70%–80% of crayfish produced in Louisiana are Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crawfish), with the remaining 20%–30% being Procambarus zonangulus (white river crawfish).

 

 

Crayfish are commonly sold and used as bait, either live or with only the tail meat, and are good at attracting channel catfish, largemouth bass, pike and muskellunge. Sometimes the claws are removed so that the crayfish don’t stop fish from biting the hook. Crayfish easily fall off the hook, so casting should be slow.
The result of using crayfish as bait has led to various ecological problems at times. According to a report prepared by Illinois State University, on the Fox River and Des Plaines River watershed, “The rusty crayfish (used as bait) has been dumped into the water and its survivors outcompete the native clearwater crayfish”. This situation has been repeated elsewhere, as the crayfish bait eliminates native species.
The use of crayfish as bait has been cited as one of the ways zebra mussels have spread to different waterways, as members of this invasive species are known to attach themselves to crayfish.

 

 

 

The Great Gator Trial!

July 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM | Posted in cooking, Food | 1 Comment
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Well on this Saturday at noon I tried Gator Meat for thr first time and loved it! I had heard it tastes similar to Chicken and it does. I think the meat might be a bit tougher than Chicken but besides that it seemed pretty much the same.

I purchased the Gator on line from http://www.cajungrocer.com/ I purchased the Alligator Nuggets – BREADED 2 Pound bag. I fried the Gator in Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 4 minutes per side. The breading is fantastic! Thin breading and it fries up golden brown and the seasoning is perfect on it. It’s spicy with a hint of heat but not over powering. I served it with a Boar’s Head Savory Remoulade Sauce for dipping. I’m a Gator Meat fan as of today! i also purchased some Crawfish that I’m going to fix maybe later this week. plenty of the Gator left also. The Cajun Grocer web site is loaded with great Cajun food, sides, spices and recipes. A-1 servive also along with fair shipping rates. Here at the bottom of the post I’ll leave the Cajun Grocer info along with the Gator Meat info. You got to give this a try!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over 1,000 Authentic Cajun Food Products!

Here at Cajun Grocer we carry over 1,000 Authentic Cajun and Creole Food Products including Fresh Cajun Boudin, delicious Mardi Gras King Cakes, select Crawfish, and of course our world famous award winning Turducken – voted best Turducken by The Wall Street Journal. So enjoy your visit here at Cajun Grocer, where the food is fresh and the people are friendly.

Cajun Food

Most people think of Cajun food as being extremely spicy, blackened foods. This couldn’t be further from the truth. True Cajun style cooking utilizes fresh, quality ingredients paired to create complementary flavors without the need for lots of seasoning. Additionally, Cajun food should never be overcooked. However, some dishes should be thoroughly cooked, allowing the flavors to meld together over time.

If you want the freshest authentic Cajun food available, you’re going to want to start from scratch with the freshest ingredients. Our fresh Cajun food products are shipped from Louisiana in a custom-printed cooler packed with dry ice to ensure freshness when they arrive at your door.
Whether it’s standard Cajun delights like gulf shrimp, fresh sausage, gumbos or stuffed breads, or more adventurous dishes like alligator, jambalaya, boudin, crawfish etouffee and live crawfish, you won’t be disappointed in the quality of our fresh food products. All of our fresh Cajun food products are shipped in dry ice for the freshest delivery possible.

 

http://www.cajungrocer.com/

 
Alligator Nuggets – BREADED

Our farm raised alligator nuggets (a.k.a. alligator bites) are breaded or pre battered. Best prepared by deep frying. Enjoy!

Cooking instructions: Fry at 350 for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.

Fried Alligator

Ingredients:

1/2 pound alligator meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Louisiana Fish Fry batter, for coating
Cooking oil, for frying Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serving suggestions: remoulade, creole mustard, or cocktail sauce

Prepartion:

Fill a deep pot halfway full with oil. Heat to 360 degrees F. Coat the alligator meat with the fish batter. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until gator floats in oil. Remove and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve as an appetizer with remoulade sauce, mustard sauce, or cocktail sauce for dipping.

http://www.cajungrocer.com/alligator-nuggets-breaded-226.html

One of America’s Favorites – Po’ boy

July 9, 2012 at 10:10 AM | Posted in Food | Leave a comment
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A po’ boy (also po-boy, po boy, or poor boy) is a traditional submarine sandwich from Louisiana. It almost always consists of meat, usually roast beef, or fried seafood. The meat is served on baguette-like New Orleans French bread, known for its crisp crust and fluffy

Shrimp po’ boy

center.

A key ingredient that differentiates po’ boys from other submarine sandwiches is the bread. Typically, the French bread comes in two-foot-long “sticks”. Standard sandwich sizes might be a half po’ boy, about six inches long (called a “Shorty”) and a full po’ boy, at about a foot long. The traditional versions are served hot and include fried shrimp, and oysters. Soft shell crab, catfish, crawfish, Louisiana hot sausage, fried chicken breast, roast beef, and French fries are other common variations. The last two are served with gravy.
A “dressed” po’ boy has lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayonnaise; onions are optional. Non-seafood po’ boys will also usually have mustard; the customer is expected to specify “hot” or “regular”—the former being a coarse-grained Creole mustard and the latter being American yellow mustard.
The New Orleans roast beef po’ boy is generally served hot with gravy and resembles a Chicago Italian beef sandwich in appearance and method of preparation, although the size, bread, and toppings differ. To make it, a cut of beef (usually chuck or shoulder) is typically simmered in beef stock with seasonings such as garlic, pepper, thyme, and bay for several hours. The beef can be processed into “debris” by cutting it to shreds when done (folklore says that a po’ boy roast is done when it “falls apart with a hard stare”) and simmering the shredded beef in the pot for a longer time to absorb more of the juice and seasoning.
The sandwich was featured on the PBS special Sandwiches That You Will Like.

In the late 1800s fried oyster sandwiches on French loaves were known in New Orleans and San Francisco as “oyster loaves”, a term still in use. The sandwich was alternately called a “peacemaker” or “La Mediatrice”.
There are countless stories as to the origin of the term po’ boy. The more popular theory claims that “po’ boy” was coined in a New Orleans restaurant owned by Benny and Clovis Martin (originally from Raceland, LA), former streetcar conductors. In 1929, during a four-month strike against the streetcar company, the Martin brothers served their former colleagues free sandwiches. The Martins’ restaurant workers jokingly referred to the strikers as “poor boys”, and soon the sandwiches themselves took on the name. In Louisiana dialect, this is naturally shortened to “po’ boy.”

New Orleans is known for its grand restaurants, but more humble fare like the po’boy is very popular. Po’ boys may be made at home, sold pre-packaged in convenience stores, available at deli counters and most neighborhood restaurants. One of the most basic New Orleans restaurants is the po’ boy shop, and these shops often offer other dishes like red beans and rice and jambalaya. Many New Orleans neighborhood restaurants are in this mold offering po’ boys, seafood platters, and a number of basic Creole dishes: Tracie’s, Parkway Bakery, Maspero’s, Liuzza’s, Acme’s, Domilise’s, Parasol’s, Frankie and Johnnie’s, and Casamento’s.
In 1896, George Leidenheimer founded his bakery, Leidenheimer Baking Company, on Dryades Street. In 1904, the bakery moved to Simon Bolivar Avenue where the family business still operates, and is one of the primary sources of po’boy bread. There is fierce competition between po’boy shops, and resident opinions of the best po’boy shop varies widely.
Each year there is a festival in New Orleans dedicated to the po’boy, The Oak Street Po’Boy Festival. It is a one day festival that features live music, arts, and food vendors with multiple types of po’ boys. It is held in mid-November along a commercial strip of Oak Street in the city’s Carrollton neighborhood. The festival gives away “best-of” awards, which gives the chefs incentive to invent some of the most creative po’ boys.

Authentic versions of Louisiana style po’ boys can be found along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast—from Houston through the Florida panhandle. The term “po’ boy” has spread further and can be found on the Southeastern seaboard and in California, but may refer to variations on the local submarine sandwich.
In New Orleans a “Vietnamese Po’ boy” is another name for a Bánh mì sandwich. This variation can be found throughout the city owing to the influence of Vietnamese immigrants, who brought with them Vietnamese-French bakeries.

Mardis Gras

February 17, 2012 at 1:25 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Mardi Gras

The terms “Mardi Gras” (play /ˈmɑrdiɡrɑː/), “Mardi Gras season”, and “Carnival season”, in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash

Mardi Gras 2010 celebrants in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Wednesday; in English the day is sometimes referred to as Shrove Tuesday, from the word shrive, meaning “confess.” Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. Popular practices include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, etc. Similar expressions to Mardi Gras appear in other European languages sharing the Christian tradition. In English, the day is called Shrove Tuesday, associated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins.

In many areas, the term “Mardi Gras” has come to mean the whole period of activity related to the celebratory events, beyond just the single day. In some US cities, it is now called “Mardi Gras Day” or “Fat Tuesday”. The festival season varies from city to city, as some traditions consider Mardi Gras the entire period between Epiphany or Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday. Others treat the final three-day period before Ash Wednesday as the Mardi Gras. In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras-associated social events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving, then New Year’s Eve, followed by parades and balls in January and February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday. In earlier times parades were held on New Year’s Day. Other cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Barranquilla, Colombia, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Quebec City, Canada; Mazatlán, Sinaloa in Mexico; and New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

Carnival is an important celebration in Anglican and Catholic European nations. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the week before Ash Wednesday is called “shrovetide”, ending on Shrove Tuesday. It has its popular celebratory aspects as well. Pancakes are a traditional food. Pancakes and related fried breads or pastries made with sugar, fat and eggs are also traditionally consumed at this time in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of traditionally ethnic French cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations. Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France’s claim on the territory of Louisiane, which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The expedition, led by Iberville, entered the mouth of the Mississippi River on the evening of March 2, 1699, Lundi Gras. They did not yet know it was the river explored and claimed for France by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1683. The party proceeded upstream to a place on the west bank about 60 miles downriver from where New Orleans is today, and made camp. This was on March 3, 1699, Mardi Gras, so in honor of this holiday, Iberville named the spot Point du Mardi Gras (French: “Mardi Gras Point”) and called the nearby tributary Bayou Mardi Gras. Bienville went on to found the settlement of Mobile, Alabama in 1702 as the first capital of French Louisiana. In 1703 French settlers in Mobile began the Mardi Gras celebration tradition. By 1720, Biloxi had been made capital of Louisiana. The French customs had already accompanied colonists who settled there.

In 1723, the capital of Louisiana was moved to New Orleans, founded in 1718. The tradition has expanded to the point that it became strongly associated with the city in popular perception, and embraced by residents of New Orleans beyond those of French or Catholic heritage. Mardi Gras celebrations are part of the basis of the slogan, Laissez les bons temps rouler, (Let the good times roll) and the nickname “Big Easy”. Mobile, Alabama, the former capital of New France, also has a long tradition of celebrating Mardi Gras. Other cities along the Gulf Coast formerly occupied and owned by the French from Pensacola, Florida, and its suburbs to Lafayette, Louisiana, have active Mardi Gras celebrations. In the rural Acadiana area, many Cajuns celebrate with the Courir de Mardi Gras, a tradition that dates to medieval celebrations in France.

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