Looking for something different to do with a cut of beef sirloin? 8-15: Cajun-Style Sirloin is a pretty quick and easy way to prepare beef, and also comes with a bonus cucumber salad recipe as an accompaniment/garnish. The cucumber salad and yogurt topping give this dish almost a Middle Eastern feel–they’re used to cut the heat from the paprika, curry, and cayenne pepper used to season the meat.
I’ve yet to visit Louisiana myself in person, but Simply Delicious has a few different Cajun and Creole recipes to try that can take you there culinarily, at least. There’s even some non-Simply Deliciousversions of this recipe out there, if you’re looking for variations. I’m still intrigued by the addition of the cucumber salad and yogurt topping for this version–that seems very avant garde for 1980s home cooking.
Many moons ago when I first began this project, I wrote about Simply Delicious‘ use of adjectives to spice up the descriptions of their dishes. 3-7: Snappy Crab Soup reminds me of 3-13: Velvety Carrot Soup in its use of flashy words to get you interested in something hard to get excited about.
This is essentially a crab bisque, without the extra steps of simmering shells. The “hot pepper seasoning” they refer to in the blurb above is Tabasco sauce, so this is a mildly Cajun-influenced recipe as well. I remember thinking Tabasco sauce was the HOTTEST thing ever when I was a kid…I’ve learned so much since then. 🦀🌶
Cajun and Creole cooking are not something I’ve had a ton of experience with, so 7-21: Jambalaya is somewhat unfamiliar territory. I didn’t grow up eating a lot of New Orleans cuisine, other than my mother’s ill-fated attempt at making gumbo once.
It’s not a difficult recipe (quite the opposite, actually), but I don’t feel like I have a solid understanding of the difference between what makes it good and what makes it great. That’s something that comes with experience, both as a taster and as a creator.
I couldn’t have even told you that there are two types of jambalaya, Creole and Cajun. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the difference between the two is the absence or presence of tomatoes. Simply Delicious identifies this version as Creole, which is correct–that’s the version that has the tomatoes in it, which this one does. 🎺🍅
I looked around for similar types of recipes to confirm that this wasn’t just a Simply Delicious invention–and I really couldn’t find too many. There’s nothing wrong with battering beef and frying it–just don’t call it a beignet.
Chili’s, Applebee’s, Red Robin…I’ve enjoyed racks of ribs at almost every restaurant that offers ribs as a major offering on the menu. Freshly smoked ribs are a delicious delicacy. These oven baked ribs lack the smokiness of ribs cooked in a smoker. The flavor profile for 7-19: Cajun-Style Pork Ribs is influenced by the alcohol-infused marinade and the Cajun spice rub mixture.
Simply Delicious thinks these spices are fiery, however, I’ll have to disagree. Maybe I’m too desensitized to spice now, but I could have used about 30% more spiciness. I wasn’t always a fan of spicy food, but now some of my favorite hot sauces are sriracha, Tapatio, and Tabasco.
I’m counting 1-10: Seafood Cocktail Louisiana as the fourth dish I made of this year’s 7-recipe Thanksgiving cooking marathon (TGV 2016) , but its components actually spanned a few days (and a few cooks). This was one of three appetizers I made for my Thanksgiving dinner–the others being a crudité & hummus platter and 1-5: Pigs in a Blanket.
My mom was always big on the idea of “shrimp cocktail” as being necessary for Thanksgiving dinner appetizers (it was always part of her family’s holiday dinner when she was growing up), so in order to honor that idea, I chose this recipe.
As I mentioned above, I’m counting this as the fourth dish I made–it spanned Wed. 11/23 and Thu. 11/24 as different components had varying levels of make-in-advance-ability. My sous chef made the dressing and prepped shrimp the first night, while I assembled the dish itself right before serving the next day.
I made another “New Orleans” recipe at the same time as this one–you can go back and read 12-29: New Orleans Beans and Pasta for what is essentially a pasta version of this dish. Either one is a hearty and relatively inexpensive meal. Since the two share a lot of ingredients, consider making both–they store and reheat well. 💰
I wasn’t quite sure how “authentic” 12-29: New Orleans Beans and Pasta would be when first looking this recipe over–Simply Delicious doesn’t exactly nail it on cultural faithfulness a lot of the time. A lot of that has to do with the time at which the books were written–many ingredients, methods, & tools that are easily accessible now were not 30 years ago.
However, this is essentially an American recipe, so I would assume it shouldn’t be that far off–if this is in fact a realNew Orleans dish. 🎷
I wonder how many different linens/vases/glasses/odd statues they had to accumulate to photograph all of these different recipes. Just a thought I had while looking at this picture. Another thought: who decided on some of these things? What makes this picture decidedly New Orleans? ⚜🎉
I’ve often talked during this project about my mother and her predilection towards recipe experimentation. One of these instances was where she attempted to make gumbo–I’m not sure where she got the recipe from, but I remember the family failing to choke down poorly cooked okra and my father making a quick run to KFC while she surreptitiously got rid of the rest.
The mere mention of gumbo usually brings this unsavory memory back, and so I attempted 11-26: Fish Gumbo with a fair amount of trepidation.
Roux is something I’ve covered several times throughout this project, and it’s an essential flavor and texture component of gumbo. Letting a roux brown deepens its flavor, and there’s a fine line between too light and over cooked.