When you are outside shopping and you see words you do not understand exactly what they are or mean but you have heard of it, try this column for the Cajun language. We need to know more about the Cajun's since the area is so close to Kennett and is full of the best foods to eat in the entire United States. Try them and you will like the simple but delicious foods of Arcadia.
Amandine (ar-man-deen) is a method of serving fish or seafood with a lemon butter sauce topped with toasted, slivered almonds.
Andouille (ahn-doo-wee) is a lean, spicy, smoked Cajun pork sausage that adds great flavor. Use in gumbos and jambalaya dishes, and it's served grilled with red beans and rice.
Beignet (bin-yey) is a square French doughnut, deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar.
Bisque (bisk) is a rich, thick creamy soup made from seafood. In Cajun country, it is made with crawfish or shrimp.
Blackened is a method of cooking invented by a Cajun country native, Chef Paul Prudomme. It is not part of traditional Cajun cooking but the spices and the quickly seared meat in butter in a cast iron skillet to get a crunchy coat have become part of the Cajun and Creole cooking. Do not burn, over-char or put excruciatingly spice with pepper on the meat. I use a blackened seasoning mix from a restaurant from Chicago.
Boudin (boo-dan) is a nicely seasoned Cajun sausage traditionally made of pork and rice and spices. There are several different versions. Some are hot, mild, smoked, and some made with Louisiana seafood such as crawfish and shrimp.
Boucherie was a period before freezers and large refrigeration. Families and neighbors would get together to butcher the fatten calf or pig and divide the various cuts of meat amount the participants. If a pig joined in to be slaughtered, the Cajuns would make such dishes as boudin and hogshead cheese from its participation.
Bread Pudding is a traditional New Orleans dessert made from yesterday's French bread. The loaf is broken up, soaked in custard and baked until golden brown. Restaurants usually serve the pudding with whiskey sauce.
Cafe au Lait (caf-ay-oh-ley) is a half and half blend of strong chicory coffee and hot milk. It means coffee with milk.
Cajun Cuisine is the cooking of the Cajun people, the transplanted Acadians expelled from Nova Scotia in the 1750s who settled in Louisiana. Coming out of hard times, Cajun cooking traditionally involved one large pot and offer stretched limited offering to feed many.
Cajun Sausage is famous in South Louisiana. Chaurice, Duck, Alligator, Crawfish, Pork, Chicken, Shrimp Sausages are just a sample of the many kinds of special sausages made in Cajun country.
Cane Syrup is rich sweet syrup extracted from Sugar Cane and tastes great on pancakes and waffles and is an essential ingredient in Louisiana Pecan Pie and lots of other favorite Southern dishes. Steen's is the best.
Chicory is an herb ground, roasted and used to impart the unique flavor of New Orleans coffee. A bit bitter in taste.
Cohon de Lait (coo-shon duh lay) is an even when a suckling pig is roasted over a blistering hickory fire until the inside is tender and juicy and the outside brittle as well-cooked bacon.
Coutbouillon (coo-boo-yon) is a spicy Louisiana stew made with fish, tomatoes, onions and vegetables, and typically thicken with a Creole Roux.
Crawfish is the tasty freshwater crustaceans, locally known as "crawdads" or "mudbugs". In Louisiana they are called "crayfish". Cooked in gumbo, etouffee, and various other South Louisiana dishes. In season (which usually runs from early Spring through to mid Summer), the crayfish is shipped throughout the country. Purchase five pounds with hot corn on the cob, boiled potatoes, a green salad, and some cold beer and you are ready for the height of joy in the South.
Crème Brule's (French for:"burnt cream") is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a layer of hard caramel, created by burning sugar under a grill or other intense heat source. It is usually served cold in individual ramekins. The custard base is normally flavored with just vanilla, but it can be enhanced with chocolate, liqueur, fruit, etc. Sometime the harden sugar on top will be caramelized by igniting a layer of liqueur sprinkled over the top.
Creole Cuisine is New Orleans cuisine and is derived from French, Spanish and African cooking techniques, aided by some Native American ingredients and dishes and making use of regionally available produce, meat and seafood. It is a city cuisine commonly employing sauces and more involved preparations.
Creole Mustard is a spicy version of mustard made in South Louisiana using select mustard seeds that are marinated before procession. Zatarain's Spicy Creole Mustard is the best.
Deep Fried Turkey is the Cajun way to cook turkey, where the bird is immersed in a pot of cooking oil.
Dirty Rice is a rice dish sautéed with green peppers, onions, celery and variety meats. Zatarains also produces a good product.
Dressing in Louisiana is synonymous with stuffing, or a side dish for a meal. In Kennett I would not touch on this subject with any of the city or country cooks around. This is a give me.
I will go on for another column since there many ideas placed in each definition. Just put this in your personal cookbook for references for the future.
Have a Happy
Larry Eiker is a Kennett resident who enjoys traveling all over the world and experiencing great food, while bringing some of those ideas back home to the Bootheel to share with others.