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Southern Stylings

Southern Stylings

Jambalaya

February 28, 2017

I’ve had many requests for a good home-cook version of jambalaya, and this is that. Like the dish itself,  a mix of Spanish and French ingredients with African thrown in by way of the Louisiana bayou, the word jambalaya derives from Provencal for “mish-mash”.  But I love that the Atakapa–a native American people who lived in the river valleys of Louisiana along the Gulf of Mexico–had a phrase: “Sham, pal ha! Ya!” which meant “Be full, not skinny! Eat Up!” that etymologysts say Spaniards changed to “jambalaia.”  The dish includes a Cajun or Creole version of the Spanish sofrito (tomatoes, garlic, oil and onions) at its base, along with spices, seafood, sausage, sometimes poultry and always rice. What’s atypical about it is we’ve cooked the rice separately to preserve the fluffiness of the grains, and, to allow diners to choose how much of the beautiful stew to top it with. Continue Reading…

Southern Stylings

New Orleans Okra Giardiniera

July 29, 2016

When Liz Williams, director of New Orleans’ Southern Food & Beverage Museum was little, her mama couldn’t stand okra. “So, I didn’t eat it either,” says Liz. But Liz’ Louisiana-born-and bred daddy loved the stuff.  He bought a jar of pickled okra on a picnic outing and won  Liz over with the crunchy spears. “When I figured out what it was, I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my mom that she was wrong about okra,” Liz laughs. “Eventually, she grew to like it.” For anybody else out there who is skittish about okra, pickling it is the way to go.  This vibrant, crunchy and lightly spicy giardiniera–a Williams family favorite–is a showcase for pickled okra. Continue Reading…

Southern Stylings

Crawfish Boil & Crawfish Monica

February 10, 2016

Alfredo Nogueira can’t remember the first time he ate crawfish. “But I’m sure I was really little,” says the chef, who grew up just outside of Orleans Parish, in Louisiana. Relocated to Chicago where he serves Cajun & Creole food (and what is probably the city’s best cup of chicory coffee) at Analogue restaurant, Nogueira is telling crawfish tales: The story of how he got his start cooking the creatures, for example. As a young teen busing tables at huge-volume seafood restaurant, being cool was of interest; being brawny, even more so. “And there was no one brawnier or cooler than the guy who was in charge of the crawfish boils,” Alfredo laughs. “I said to myself, that’s what I want to do.” Continue Reading…

Southern Stylings

Biscuits with Country Ham

December 3, 2015

Pull these soft little clouds of biscuit hot from the oven, slit them and fill them with salty country ham, or sweet/salty brown-sugar ham for a brunch opener or simply as a very-special snack. It’s your choice–we’ve included all three recipes:  a lovely light Southern biscuit, traditional thin-shaved country ham, and a more-to-Midwestern tastes brown-sugar ham adapted from an old Will Rogers recipe.

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