It’s a Cajun Hoppin’ Leap Year Celebration!

Okay, I gotta ask you, am I a bit off? When I realized that it was Leap Year, I got all excited. I wanted to cook up Frog Legs for the occasion. Is that a little touched in the head? Am I twisted? Or is life too short not to make every crazy moment count?

I gotta tell you, when I first started talking about creating a Leap Year Menu featuring Frog Legs, I got some push back from the fellows, especially Kiddo. He has been fairly forthcoming in that there is no way he is going to eat any part of a frog. At first he said he might, if it were fried, but the more he thought about it, the more he dug in. Hubby said that was okay. We’d have frog legs as an appetizer, and since frog legs are “just like chicken” Kiddo could have fried game hen legs instead. I actually thought about having my family over for supper and telling them I was serving fried quail legs. That and sautéed “mushrooms” that are really escargot. Hey, if I don’t broaden their culinary horizon, who will?

The more I worked on the menu, the more ideas I ran past my guys, the more I realized we needed to make some compromises. The appetizer and dessert are mine – with that whole “leap” thing in mind. The grilled steaks with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables are for my guys, because I love them. They put up with my craziness, and I let them know how much I appreciate their willingness to come along for the ride.

Happy Leap Year everyone!

Cajun Hoppin’ Leap Year Menu
Cajun Fried Frog Legs

Cajun Fried Frog2

Steakhouse Cajun Marinated Rib Eye Steaks
Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes
Hickory Balsamic Roasted Asparagus with Carrots 

Jumping Cherries Jubilee

Jumping Cherries Jubilee

Cajun Fried Frog Legs
Frog Legs
8 pairs Frog Legs
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
Cayenne Pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon Roasted Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
Coarse Black Pepper to taste
Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste
Vegetable Oil for frying

Seasoned Dredging
2 tablespoons Flour
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Milk
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Black Pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
1 teaspoon Milk

Rinse frog legs under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. If desired, separate the legs for easier handling and eating.

Combine kosher salt, onion powder, cayenne, garlic powder, dried thyme, paprika and black pepper. Add a little hot sauce to taste. Coat the frog legs with Cajun seasoning, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.

Heat the oil in a skillet to 350 degrees. Set up a dredging line. Pour 2 tablespoons of flour into the first dish (station 1), then whisk the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl (station 2). The final station is the seasoned flour. Combine 1/2 cup of flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Cajun Seasoning. Whisk to combine, then stir the milk into the seasoned flour.

Dredge the frog in the plain flour first, then dip into the egg mixture and then finally in the seasoned flour mixture.

The line must be followed so that the plain flour sticks to the legs, the egg mixture adheres to the flour, and finally the seasoned flour attaches to the egg mixture. This will create a thermal blanket allowing the outside to fry crisp, while protecting the legs from drying out. After all, these are tiny legs.

Fry frog legs in the hot oil until crispy and golden, turning as needed for even browning. Do not overcrowd the pan to avoid lowering the oil temperature too much.

Let the legs drain on paper towels. Serve with fresh lemon wedges if desired.

Steakhouse Cajun Rib Eye
Cajun Seasoning
1/2 cup paprika
1/3 cup salt
1/3 cup freshly ground white pepper
1/3 cup garlic powder
1/3 cup onion powder
2-1/2 Tablespoons dried thyme
2-1/2 Tablespoons dried oregano
2-1/2 Tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2-1/2 Tablespoons cayenne pepper

Marinated Cajun Rib Eye
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
3 (16 oz) aged rib-eye steaks, 1-1/2 inches thick
2 -1/4 cups flavorless vegetable oil
6 Tablespoons Au Jus (optional)

Cajun Seasoning: In a mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients. When mixed, transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place.

Note: Seasoning will keep for 3 months, great to have on-hand.

Marinated Cajun Rib Eye: Put the Cajun seasoning in a large, shallow glass or ceramic pan. Press each side of the steaks in the seasoning to cover completely. Remove the steaks and lightly pound them four to five times on each side with a meat mallet or small, heavy skillet to soften the meat, but not flatten. Discard any remaining seasoning in the pan.

Pour the oil into the now empty pan and add the steaks one by one. They should be covered with oil; add more if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Alternatively, marinate steaks in heavy-duty resealable plastic bags. When you are ready to cook the steaks, remove them from the oil and pat off excess oil with paper towels. The oil can flare on the grill or in the broiler. Set the steaks aside for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill or preheat the broiler and position a rack 4 inches from the heating element. The coals should be medium-hot for the charcoal grill. The burners should be on high for the gas grill.

If using a grill, cook for about 8 minutes. Turn, using tongs, and grill the other side for 8 to 9 minutes for medium rare, or until the desired degree of doneness.

If using a broiler, broil 4 inches from the heat source for about 8 minutes. Turn, using tongs, and grill the other side for about 8 minutes for medium rare, or until the desired degree of doneness.

To serve, spoon some of the Au Jus over the steaks if desired.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes
2 large White Onions
3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
Kosher Salt as needed
2 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes,
4 Garlic Cloves
White Pepper to taste

Peel onions. Finely chop and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions, season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized, 35 to 40 minutes. Keep warm.

Peel potatoes, cut into quarters and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover potatoes by 1 inch. Peel garlic, grate over the potatoes. Stir to blend. Bring pot to a boil, the add Kosher Salt to taste. Cover; reduce heat and summer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes or so.Place a colander in a large metal mixing bowl. Drain potatoes into the colander. Lift from the bowl, let drain completely. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid, discard the rest.

Return potatoes speckled with garlic to pan. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and white pepper. Mash until smooth, adding reserved liquid as needed. Stir in onions, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately.

Hickory Balsamic Roasted Asparagus with Carrots
1 lb Asparagus
2 large Carrots
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Hickory Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon Chicken Stock
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Trim asparagus, snapping the woody ends. Set aside. Peel carrots, cut into thin matchsticks and set aside.

Mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl, set aside. Add asparagus and carrots to a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole baking dish. Pour the olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture over the top. Toss well to coat evenly.

Sprinkle with just a little chicken stock to moisten. Season generously with salt and pepper. Toss to coat again.

Put baking dish in the heated oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until vegetables are cooked through, while still crisp.

Transfer to a warmed serving platter, serve and enjoy.

Jumping Cherries Jubilee
1-1/4 cups cold milk
1 (4 oz) package Vanilla or French Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 cup Cool Whip, thawed
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds, divided
1 (20 oz) can Cherry Pie Filling
Additional Cool Whip or Whipped Cream for garnish

In a medium bowl whisk milk and pudding mix until well combined. Gently stir in whipped topping and 1 tablespoon of almond slices. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to fully set.

Fill parfait glasses, wine glasses or Trifle Bowl with alternating spoonfuls pudding mixture and cherries, beginning with pudding, ending with cherries.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Dollop with whipped cream or Cool Whip and garnish with remaining almonds.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.