Hi World, I’m back with more Louisiana festivals. Today I am going to continue in Central Louisiana (also known as Crossroads).
The first one of the day is the Pecan Festival in Colfax. Since I’m a lover of pecans (we carry all types in our shop, it’s hard for me to keep from eating lots of them) so I have to trick myself into believing they’re not there at all.
Back to the topic at hand…the Pecan Festival. It is held the first full weekend in November. This year the dates will be November 7 – 9 in downtown Colfax. The attendance is anywhere between 60,000 to 75,000. It grew out of the parish’s centennial celebration in 1969. They say that the reason they celebrate the pecan is: many local farmers grow the crop and pecans were native to the area. They were staples of the Native Americans’ diet. When the settlers came, they included the pecans in with their other crops. In the early years the festival was called “Frontier Days”. Some celebrities of the day were part of the festivities. Festivities include arts & crafts booths, a costume contest, a cooking contest, carnival rides, musical entertainment, fireworks (on Saturday night), and, of course, delicious food. AND, visiting The Country Store is a must! This is another great event for the whole family.
Other festivals in the Central Louisiana area include (but not limited to) are: The Corn Festival in Bunkie, The Sweet Potato Festival/ Bluegrass Festival, The Peach Festival (sounds yummy, doesn’t it?) and more.
Until next time, have a great day, have fun at the festivals and God bless.
Please enjoy this delicious recipe for a yummy southern pecan pie!
Ingredients 1 sheet refrigerated piecrust (half a 15-ounce package) 1 cup light corn syrup 1 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 large eggs 2 cups toasted pecan halves Freshly whipped cream, for serving (optional) Directions Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll the piecrust and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhang under and crimp the edge with a fork or your fingers. Bake the crust until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a rack. (Leave the oven on.)
Whisk the corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl, then whisk into the corn syrup mixture.
Finely chop 1/2 cup pecans and spread evenly over the piecrust. Roughly chop another
1/2 cup pecans and mix into the corn syrup mixture, then pour the filling into the crust. Arrange the remaining 1 cup pecans on top in a decorative pattern.
Bake the pie until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.
Recipe from: www.foodnetwork.com
Hi Again World
Our next journey into great festivals is through the area we call Crossroads. There are some great areas in this part of Louisiana. They are quaint and beautiful.
One of my very favorite places in all of Louisiana is Natchitoches (pronounced nack-i-tish). It is such a neat place. The historic district is on the Cane River Lake and every building is filled with little shops. I will be covering more on this at a later date. I can get lost talking about this town but today I am writing about festivals. So, I must bring myself back to reality.
Natchitoches is home to some fun festivals. The first one I want to cover is the Jazz and R&B festival. It is held in April along the Cane River Lake. Friday evening is tailored to the college students. Saturday there are different stages with, of course, jazz, R&B, rock and many other types of music. Plan on (as always in Louisiana) good food, great music and wonderful camaraderie. On top of all that, the atmosphere cannot be beat.
Natchitoches is also home to the Meat Pie Festival. This town is famous for its’ homemade meat pies. This year it is held Friday evening and Saturday from morning into the evening, September 20-21. It is held at the Riverbank stage downtown. There are live bands, a 5k run, children’s games, dancing along the Cane River Lake, meat pie tasting and contests, delicious food and more.
While this fine town has many more festivals and events throughout the year, I want to tell you about one more annual festival. It is the Christmas festival. It runs from sometime in November through the first weekend in January. If I may make a suggestion for anyone wanting a special treat and wondering what to do over the holidays, that you check into this wonderful town. What a beautiful time of the year it is in this in Natchitoches. You’ll be glad you did. You will make happy memories.
We included a great recipe for meat pies. C’est Bon!
Louisiana Meat Pies
Ingredients1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil 1 tablespoon butter 1/2 cup diced onions 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper 1/2 cup diced celery 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1/2 pound lean ground beef 1/2 pound ground pork Beef stock or broth, as needed Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Cajun seasoning, hot sauce and/or cayenne pepper, to taste 2 pie crusts, homemade or store bought (Pillsbury recommended) 1 egg A bit of water Cooking oil, if deep frying
In a heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and celery and saute about 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Last minute or so add the garlic. Add the beef and pork and saute until cooked through and most liquid has reduced down. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 60 minutes. Add small amounts of broth as necessary to prevent sticking. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Remove from heat and let cool. You want your filling to be room temperature but not hot. If it is too hot it will make the pastry dough soggy. Number of servings will depend on how you cut the dough.
To Bake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the pie crust in half and spoon a generous portion on each half. Prepare egg wash by whisking together egg and water and brush it around the edge of each round, fold over and press edges together with a fork. Place the meat pies on a greased cookie sheet or pan. Make a couple of small slits in the dough so the steam will vent out, brush some of the egg wash over each pie and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
To Fry: Traditionally at the festivals these pies are fried. Preheat your fryer to 375 degrees F, and then cut the pie crust up into smaller rounds – somewhere between 3 and 5 inches or so. Portion out the meat mixture onto each of the rounds. Proceed as above to fold and seal them with the egg wash, except don’t brush the egg wash on top of course. Fry the pies until golden brown; drain and serve hot.
Recipe from: deepsouthdish.com
I’m so passionate about this wonderful state we call Louisiana. I don’t think most people realize just how much we have to offer.
A few days ago I told you I was going to cover festivals and wrote about two of them. Even though most of them are here in Southern Louisiana, today I am covering a few in the north part of the state (which is known as ‘Sportsman’s Paradise’.
The first festival I want to cover will be of interest to all of you history buffs. It is the ‘Battle of Pleasant Hill Re-enactment’ festival. Even though it has already passed for this year, it may be fun to plan for 2015. It is held in April. The first day of the event is school day. Educators can bring their classes to get a firsthand look at history. The students will learn how they loaded a 19th century rifle and how Napoleonic tactics worked. They have demonstrations of Artillery, Cavalry, Infantry and Civil War medicine. A treat for everyone (sorry folks, this day is for students and homeschoolers only). These events take place on Friday. Saturday is a day for the whole family to enjoy. They will re-enact battles, as well as other activities. There will be vendors selling food and more. My husband and I plan to attend next year. While I’m not a history lover, these types of events make everything come alive to me.
The next festival is the Watermelon festival (held this year July 25-26 in Farmerville). This festival was started in 1963 by the Jaycees. The festivities include a tennis tournament, bicycle and tricycle races, arm wrestling, watermelon eating and seed spitting contests, a festival parade, food vendors and more. This will be a fun day for everyone! And, the watermelon is sooo good!!
The last festival I’m covering today is the Red River Revel Art festival held in Shreveport on the Red River. This festival draws 180,000+ people and has been hailed as one of the best in Louisiana and ranked in the top 75 in North America. It lasts 8 days and is packed with art, performing arts, lots of food vendors and artists selling their creations. It is in October (this year it will be held October 4-11).
Enjoy the recipe we have added for you. You’ll find a high quality Louisiana made Vodka right here on our website that is perfect for the recipe below. CLICK HERE for a direct link.
Ingredients 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup water 5 cups watermelon, seeds removed 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 1/4 cups vodka 2 ounces melon liqueur, optional 8 lemon twists, for garnish
Directions Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until the sugar has completely dissolved. Let cool.
In a food processor, puree the watermelon flesh. Add a little of the sugar syrup to sweeten, to taste. Pour the pureed watermelon into 2 empty ice cube trays and freeze for at least 4 hours.
In a blender combine the frozen watermelon cubes, more simple syrup, to taste, lemon juice and vodka, melon liqueur and blend until smooth. Pour into 8 frozen martini glasses and garnish with a lemon twist.
Recipe from foodnetwork.com Happy tasting until next time! Stay tuned.
FESTIVALS, FESTIVALS, AND MORE FESTIVALS
I thought I would spend the next few blogs talking about all the wonderful festivals and activities throughout the great state of Louisiana. I know every state has fun activities; however, I don’t know of any quite like Louisiana. New Orleans just finished two weekends of Jazz Fest (people come from all over the world to hear the great entertainers, enjoy the food and just hang out).
Louisiana is home to seafood, shrimp, crawfish, rice, frog, music, art, cracklins, cattle, andouille, alligator, gumbo festivals, to name only a few. We love our festivals down here. They are wonderful activities for the entire family. The food is usually spectacular, the music is second to none. Take for instance, the Louisiana Zydeco festival…it doesn’t get any better for you music lovers.
One of the festivals going on right now (it lasts for two weeks, ending this Sunday, the 11th). It is in Lake Charles and is called Contraband Days. This is the pirate festival (Jean Lafitte). There are pirates, music, rides, great food and more. It’s right on the lake. Everyone is hoping for good weather for the final weekend (the forecast calls for some rain).
New Orleans is host to the Oyster festival (May 31 – June 1). All oyster lovers will be in bliss. One can get everything from oysters on the half shell to fried oyster po-boys, etc.
The camaraderie at the festivals make them even more enjoyable. Come to Louisiana and enjoy good food, fellowship, great music and fun! It is not just about New Orleans. It is about the entire state. There is sooo much to see and do in this wonderful state. Come on down. We are a friendly, colorful group of people and will welcome you with open arms!
Until next time, enjoy the recipe below for Oyster Fritters! C’est bon.
3/4 cup flour Salt 1 egg 3/4 cup beer 1 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest Peanut oil 2 dozen oysters, shucked, oyster liquor (juices) reserved 1. Mix flour and a pinch of salt together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside. Put egg into another medium bowl and lightly whisk, then add beer, olive oil, and lemon zest and whisk until well combined. Add egg–beer mixture to flour and whisk until batter is smooth. Cover and set aside at room temperature to let rest for 1 hour. 2. Pour peanut oil into a medium heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of 2" and heat over medium heat until temperature reaches 370° on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, rinse oysters in cold water, put them into another medium pot, and add enough of the reserved oyster juices that they reach about halfway up oysters, adding a little water if necessary. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook just until oysters contract and plump up, about 3 minutes. Drain oysters. 3. Give batter a quick stir. Working in 2 batches, use your fingers to dip one oyster at a time into batter, then carefully drop oyster into the hot oil. Fry oysters, gently stirring and turning them with a slotted spoon occasionally, until batter is crisp and golden, 1 1⁄2–2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to let drain. Season to taste with salt while still hot. 4. Serve oysters in clean, dry oyster shells with a squeeze of fresh lemon, if you like. Serve immediately. SERVES 4 Recipe from Saveur.com
Hi World! Welcome to Cajun Treats! It is our honor to bring some more fun information on life in Louisiana as well as some wonderful recipes that have made these people and state so popular around the globe.
I was not born here. At first I resisted being told I would become a Cajun before I knew it. What I found was that the people here were friendly, fun-loving and hard working. I have enjoyed getting to know many of these delightful folks. And can they cook!! There are many wonderful nationalities that have great food, however, they haven’t quite the knack that the Cajuns have here. Of course, if you’re looking for healthy this is probably not the kind of cooking one would want to have as a regular diet (certainly not good for the waistline).
In the months ahead I will be discussing their habits, history and more humorous moments. I will also feature various parishes, what they are famous for, some little known, but wonderful products and restaurants, etc. What I want to do in this blog today is to tell you a little about me so you feel right at home.
I was born and raised in Southern California (Hollywood to be exact). I was not discovered by any major Hollywood producer so my folks moved me near one of the beautiful beaches in Southern California. That is where I lived until many years later. I sadly left the beach because I knew it was time for me to grow up. Being a natural redhead, I couldn’t tan and being around everyone else did not make me a happy camper. All I would do was turn red, peel, freckle and go back to my very fair complexion. It wasn’t until a very cute doctor got very stern with me and told me that if I didn’t sit under an umbrella at the beach my skin would turn into leather and I would get lots of wrinkles (just what I wanted to hear) and potentially could get skin cancer so I became extremely careful. Enough on this topic.
I don’t like to cook. Fortunately I married a man that is a great cook. He makes my breakfast, prepares my lunch and cooks my dinner (eat your heart out girls). He messes up the kitchen so I go behind him and clean up after him, which is fine with me because I don’t like to cook. When he goes out of town and I’m left to fend for myself I either order takeout or I sometimes just eat out of a can. I know that’s pathetic but it beats cooking and cleaning for myself. The thought of having to do both when I would prefer to be doing something much more to my liking seems a much better use of my time. Besides, I would probably spill a whole pot of something on me and the floor which is quite wasteful, don’t you think?
One day I may tell you about the one (and only time) I cooked for someone. It was a disaster and I never heard from him again. Good grief, writing this about myself is depressing. I never knew I was this helpless. Oh well, he loves me anyway and I make really pretty gift baskets. I like to drive fast and when I was younger I saw many a flashing red light in my rearview mirror. I could go on but I won’t. I’ll spare you and maybe save some stuff for the future.
Even though I’ve written some information about me, I cannot close without one of my favorite Cajun meals (of course I don’t cook it but it’s fun and delicious when my husband or someone else does). What’s so neat is that one of my favorite meats is duck and, I’m excited to report that duck season just wrapped up here in Louisiana, which means duck recipes should be in full swing, just as this tasty recipe is.
Ingredients 1 to two or more duck(s) of choice 1/2 cup oil (butter optional for more flavor) 1/2 cup flour 1 large onion chopped 1 small bell pepper chopped 1 to 2 ribs of celery chopped 3 pods of garlic finely minced 1/2 cup chopped green onions (scallions) 1/2 cup chopped parsley 4 cups chicken broth or shrimp stock 1 tbsp Cajun Seasonings olive or canola oil for browning 1/2 tsp white pepper 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Directions Note: If the ducks have been frozen, let the ducks “bleed out” in the bottom drawer of your refrigerator for 2 to 3 days before cooking. In a large stock pot boil on high the cleaned ducks for 30 to 45 minutes to reduce the wild flavor. Remove the skin if any; cut as much meat off the bones as possible. Discard the carcass. Lightly dust seasonings on the duck meat. In a medium saucepan, lightly brown the duck in the 1/2 cup oil and remove duck meat from pan. Heat remaining oil if needed and add the flour to make a roux. Stir constantly until light brown in color. Add the chopped onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and blend well. Saute until the onions start to wilt. Gradually add the chicken stock blending the water and the roux mixture. The cooks’ choice for her chicken stock is Wylers’ chicken granules. After all is blended, reduce the heat, cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes (stirring occasionally to avoid sticking). Stir in the browned duck meat. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes (allow more time if cooking several ducks) and adding more chicken stock and seasoning if needed. Add the green onions and parsley in the last 15 minutes of the cook-time. Serve over rice and don’t forget the French bread for wiping up the plate. Recipe by: www.realcajunrecipes.com