Exploring Louisiana

It’s hard to believe, but there is more to Louisiana than just the French Quarter of New Orleans. And there’s more to celebrate than Mardi Gras. I know, mind blowing, isn’t it?

Take Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church. This amazing church is one of the oldest Catholic Churches in America. That said, it is the third oldest in Louisiana. The church was founded in 1765 by a group of Acadian exiles from Canada. Since colonial days, Saint Martin de Tours has been the religious and cultural center of St. Martinville and the Attakapass Nation along the Gulf of Mexico.

However; the honor of the oldest Catholic Church in Louisiana goes to Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. Since 1718, three Roman Catholic Churches have stood on this site. The first was a humble wooden building, which was torn down in favor of a larger brick and timber church. The second church was completed in 1727. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788. It was almost a year before the ruins could be cleared for the new cathedral. Construction began in 1789, and was completed in 1794. In 1849 the diocese decided to move ahead with plans to renovate the church. As construction continued, it was determined that the walls of the structure needed to be demolished. Today very little of the beautiful Spanish Colonial structure has managed to survive. However; the bell of a tower built in 1819 is still in use today and rings out on the hour. While the Cathedral is open to visitors daily for self-guided tours, mass is also held daily. Those visiting are encouraged to show reserve reverence and respect as this is a house of worship.

The Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana is a State Historic Site. It is considered one of the most well preserved domestic Southern plantations remaining. The Plantation offers a look at the lifestyles, both of plantation owners and slaves, during the mid 19th century in the South. The beauty of the gardens are not to be missed. On the grounds are camellias, azaleas, and rare shrubs and trees. The gardens were created by the owners, Daniel and Martha Turnbull, in 1835. The Turnbull family occupied the mansion for more than 120 years.

Are you ready to sit down to our Bayou Inspired Four-Course Supper? All I can say about today’s share is I hope you brought a healthily appetited because we’ve got a lot of Cajun goodness going on. You might want to pace yourself and let the meal linger for hours.

A Show-Stopping Louisiana Feast
Appetizers –
Creamy Louisiana Garlic Shrimp Crostini
Crab Stuffed Cajun Jalapeno Peppers
Cajun Spiced Deviled Eggs

Main Entrée –
Creamy Cajun Chicken
Slap Yo Mamma Asparagus
Red Pepper Linguine with Garlic Butte

Salad –
French Provencal Toss Salad with Truffle Oil
Warm Bread

Dessert –
New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Creamy Louisiana Garlic Shrimp Crostini
1 small loaf French Bread
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 lb medium Shrimp
1 tablespoon Italian Parsley
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1-1/2 tablespoons Louisiana Hot Sauce

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice French Bread into 1/4-inch thick slices. Brush bread slices with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange bread slices on prepared baking sheet,. Bake in heated oven until nicely brown, about 8 minutes. Turn oven off, and let bread stand in oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, devein and remove tails from shrimp. Keep chilled until ready to cook. Finely snip about a tablespoon or so parsley, set aside.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute or until fragrant. Add shrimp; cook until pink and firm, about 4 minutes. Add Parmesan, cream, hot sauce, parsley. Season with salt and pepper, stirring until Parmesan melts and the cream thickens.

Arrange bread on a serving platter. Spoon shrimp onto bread. If desired, drizzle with some of the sauce. Serve warm.

Crab Stuffed Cajun Jalapeno Peppers
4 oz Cream Cheese
2 Green Onions
8 oz Lump Crab Meat
10 large Jalapeno Peppers
3 slices Bacon
1/2 teaspoon Slap Yo Mamma Cajun Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
3/4 cup shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Set aside.

Let cream cheese soften. Slice green onions, set aside. Pick over crab meat, flake and set aside. Split Jalapeno Peppers lengthwise; scoop out the seeds and white membrane. Set peppers aside.

Stack bacon, slice lengthwise in half, then dice. Fry bacon bits over medium heat until golden and crisp but not blackened. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. If you are southern, you’ll save the bacon dripping for later.

In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and cheddar cheese. Add bacon, green onions, and crab and gently stir in.

Stuff jalapenos with cream cheese mixture and place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and stuffing is warmed through.

Arrange on a serving platter, serve warm.

Cajun Spiced Deviled Eggs
16 Eggs
1/2 cup Mayonnaise or more
2 tablespoons Sour Cream
1-1/2 teaspoons Spicy Brown Mustard
Salt to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
Splash Apple Cider Vinegar
Paprika for dusting
Parsley for garnish, optional
Small Tomatoes for garnish, optional

Place eggs in a saucepan. Cover with cold water; bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.

Note: If eggs are fairly fresh, add about a tablespoon of baking soda to the boiling water. This will help in peeling fresh eggs.

Remove pan from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. While the eggs steep, in a large bowl make an ice-water bath. Remove eggs from hot water with a slotted spoon. Crack shell WITHOUT peeling, plunge eggs into the ice bath.

Set set in cold water for 20 minutes. Under cold running water, peel eggs and place on paper towels to dry.

Split eggs, place yolks in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Arrange whites on a two serving trays.

Pulse until yolks are smooth. Add Mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, seasonings and a splash of vinegar. Whip until smooth.

Transfer filling to pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe filling into whites. Lightly dust with paprika. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Creamy Cajun Chicken
Cajun Chicken
3 large Chicken Breasts
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning for chicken
Flour for dredging
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil

Cut the chicken in half lengthwise so you have 6 thinner cutlets. Sprinkle breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Cajun Seasoning. Dredge in flour. Let chicken rest on a wire rack for the seasoning and flour to adhere to the breasts.

Heat oven to warm to hold chicken once cooked.

Add the butter and oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken. Cook it for about 4 minutes per side or until it’s nice and golden. Take the chicken out of the pan; transfer to a rimmed platter and hold in the oven. If necessary, cook chicken in batches, adding more butter and oil for second batch.

Cajun Cream Sauce
4 Garlic Cloves minced
1/2 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
Splash White Wine
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
Parsley garnish

Mince garlic, drain sun-dried tomatoes. To the empty pan, add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken stock and white wine. Let it bubble for about a minute over medium-high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium; stir in the cream and Cajun seasoning. Whisk to blend.

Return chicken to the pan; cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through. Mince parsley, sprinkle over the chicken. Taste sauce, adjust seasonings as desired.

Slap Yo Mamma Asparagus
1 lb Asparagus, trimmed
Slap Yo Mamma Cajun Seasoning to taste
Olive Oil as needed
Splash Lemon Juice

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Wash and snap asparagus to trim stalks. Gently pat dry.

Lay asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with Cajun seasoning as desired.

Bake in the heated oven for about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with lemon juice, toss and arrange on a serving platter. Serve and enjoy.

Red Pepper Linguine with Garlic Butter
1/2 lb Linguine
2 tablespoons Butter
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes

Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook linguine until done al dente – cooked but firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, heat a small sauté pan, add butter and garlic. Sauté until the butter is melted. DO NOT let the garlic brown. Off heat, add oregano and pepper flakes. Set aside until ready to use.

Drain pasta, place in a warm serving bowl. Pour butter mixture over pasta, toss to coat evenly.

Serve and enjoy.

Provencal Toss Salad
8 oz Young Greens (4 large handfuls)
1 oz Parsley
1 oz Tarragon Leaves
2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Truffle Oil
Sea Salt to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Feta Cheese for garnish
Chopped Walnuts for garnish

Wash the greens and spin dry. Press garlic over the greens and mix with your hands, gently “rubbing” the garlic onto the tender leaves. Sprinkle greens with chopped parsley and tarragon leaves. Toss gently to mix everything together. Set greens aside.

In a glass measuring cup, whisk vinegar, olive oil and truffle oil together. Season to taste with a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Pour oil mixture into the bottom of a serving bow. A chilled metal bowl works well.

Set the greens on top of oil mixture and refrigerate.

Mix at the table when ready to serve. Pass the Feta cheese and walnuts table-side for those who want a little something extra.

Serve salad with warm French Bread and sweet butter.

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
Bread Pudding
1 loaf French Bread
1 quart Milk
4 tablespoons Butter
3 Eggs
1-1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 tablespoons Vanilla
1 cup Raisins

Tear bread in pieces and scatter in a bowl. Add milk, soak bread at least one hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter, pour into an oblong baking dish. Tilt dish to coat in butter, set aside.

Beat eggs with sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Add to bread mixture. Stir in raisins.

Pour pudding into prepared dish and bake in heated oven for 1 hour. Let cool then cut into serving cubes and place in bowls. Set aside to make the sauce.

Bourbon Sauce
1 Egg
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
3-1/2 tablespoons Bourbon Whiskey

In a small bowl, lightly beat egg. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, the beaten egg Bourbon. Return to low heat, stirring constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved.

Serve warm over bread pudding.

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.

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