Apr 13, 2015

Southern Salad {Sweet Pea Salad}

We eat a lot of salads down here.

Sweet Pea Salad | Ms. enPlace

 

Potlucks, BBQs, family gatherings.
Salads are always on the table.

Sweet Pea Salad | Ms. enPlace

Southern salads are more about fruit and Jello and macaroni and mayonnaise than lettuce and tomato.

Sweet Pea Salad | Ms. enPlace

I'm not big on Jello salads.
It's taken me a while to like mayo based salads too.

Sweet Pea Salad isn't something I grew up eating, but it is very popular here in Cajun country.

Sweet Pea Salad | Ms. enPlace

Since it deals with mayonnaise, I didn't think I would like it.  But a little old Cajun lady insisted I try it at a potluck supper.  (She made it.)
Now it's one of the first things I pick as a side for a plate lunch.

Sweet Pea Salad | Ms. enPlace

For the dressing, I took a tip from my late grandmother-in-law (another little old Cajun lady).  When she made potato salad, she mashed the hard boiled egg yolk into the mayonnaise and mustard to create a thick, creamy dressing.


Print It

Sweet Pea Salad

1 (15 oz) can Petit Pois, drained
3 hard boiled eggs
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp Tony's Creole Seasoning
1 1/2-2 tsp sugar
heaping 1/4 cup Blue Plate mayonnaise

Place drained petit pois in a large salad bowl.

Cut the hard boiled eggs in half.  Pop the yolks out of each half and place in a small bowl.  Mash with a fork.  Add the onion, Tony's, and sugar to the mashed egg yolk and stir.  Stir in the mayonnaise to make a dressing.

Dice the hard boiled eggs (mins the yolk) and toss with the peas.  Fold in the dressing.

Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.


More Salads...
Summer Salad w/ Blackberry Thyme Vinaigrette
Blackened Shrimp Pasta Salad w/ Creole Tomato Dressing
Pink Fruit Salad








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Apr 6, 2015

Fried Crawfish Po'Boys and a Po'Boy Cookbook Review

Po'Boys are one of my favorite foods.  Nothing beats a good, dressed* Po'Boy for supper on a Saturday night.

Fried Crawfish Po'Boy w/ Cajun Power Mayo | Ms. enPlace

Roast Beef Po'Boys dripping with debris gravy* are my favorite.  But other classics like fried shrimp, catfish, oyster, or crawfish are ok with me too.

Fried Crawfish Po'Boy w/ Cajun Power Mayo | Ms. enPlace

   

I tend to pick straight on classics then quirk things up with a flavored mayo, mustard, or some other sauce.

This time around I made a garlicky, lemony mayo with lemon juice and my son's favorite thing to put on everything:  Cajun Power Garlic Sauce.

Fried Crawfish Po'Boy w/ Cajun Power Mayo | Ms. enPlace
served with a side of Creole Oven Fries

The foundation of a really great Po'Boy is the bread--a crisp crust and soft, cottony inside.   After that, pretty much anything can be made into a Po'Boy.

And that's where this book comes in.

The Southern Po'Boy Cookbook: Mouthwatering Sandwich Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans 
by Todd-Michael St. Pierre

This isn't a new cookbook; it was published in 2013.
But it does have some new po'boy ideas like a Pain Perdu (French Toast) Po'Boy for breakfast and a Cheesy Pepperoni Po'Boy to make the kids happy.

There are also twisty takes on standards.
The old carb lovers dream--the french fry po'boy (yes, there is such a thing) becomes a Poutine Po' Boy.  The classic fried catfish po'boy is sexed up into a Pecan-Crusted Trout Meunière Po' Boy.

There are roughly 52 po'boy recipes.
One po'boy per week for a year.

I have work to do.  I've only tried two so far.

The Ultimate BLT
aka The Slidell

BLT Po'Boy

This po'boy is made with basil mayo, mozzarella, bacon, and arugula (I used lettuce), and tomatoes that are slowly roasted with a garlic-herb dressing.  Two slices of bacon per po'boy just seemed skimpy so I doubled it.  The author likes to make the joke that he doesn't like a heavily dressed po'boy--he prefers a scantily clad one.  But one cup of mayo split between two po'boys was really a bit much.  Overall, this was a good po'boy and one I'd make again.  The tomatoes were my favorite part and the basil mayo was a nice touch.

Eggplant Parmesan Po'Boy
aka The Bywater
Eggplant Parmesean Po'Boy

I thought this was a clever idea for a meatless po'boy that doesn't involve seafood or frying (the eggplant is baked).  This is also a clever idea for using up leftover eggplant parmesan...which is what I would suggest.  The author makes these eggplant parm po'boys right from scratch.

This is something I noticed throughout the book.  The Plaquemines (Turkey & Stuffing Thanksgiving Po'Boy) uses Thanksgiving leftovers.  I find that many of the recipes in this book would be fun ways to serve leftovers.  I'm sure the author doesn't want to assume that you have leftover glazed ham and mac & cheese to make The Mama's Boy, leftover red beans and andouille sausage to make The Metairie, or leftover crawfish etouffee to make The Atchafalaya.  But I don't think I'll be soaking red beans overnight or baking a glazed ham to make a po'boy--no matter how much I love po'boys.

For the record, the only po'boy I'd spend hours on would be a roast beef.

At first glance, the names of the po'boys seem fun and slick.  Most of the po'boys are named after areas in and around New Orleans (The Garden District, The Marigny, The Harahan, The Treme) or are NOLA related (The Jazz Fest, The Satchmo, The Snug Harbor).

Some of the names make sense.  The St. Charles Avenue is a fried lobster po'boy with remoulade sauce.  Upscale like it's namesake.  The Havana features cuban style pork.  The Lafayette is a po'boy filled with boudin, a Cajun sausage popular in the Lafayette area.

Most of the names are just out of left field though.  And that bugs me.
Why is The Metairie called the Metairie?  Red beans are eaten all over New Orleans.  Why is The Pontchartrain--a huge source of seafood for the New Orleans area--a breakfast French toast po'boy?  Why was the name not given to a po'boy featuring seafood?  Similarly, why is the classic roast beef po'boy called The Lakeside?  And on a personal level, why is The Algiers a po'boy featuring fried scallops and chipotle sauce?  I'm not saying fried scallops with chipotle sauce wouldn't be good.  But I grew up in Algiers and can assure you that we did not eat scallops.  Or chipotle.  This not standard Algiers fare.  Like I said, it just bugs me.

Summing it up:
I found the book to be interesting because of my passion for po'boys.  The food pictures and artwork, showing New Orleans scenes, make me want to eat po'boys all day and spend some time in my hometown.  I don't know that I'll really follow many of the recipes as they are written, but the book did give me a lot of jumping off points for branching out when it comes to the good ole po'boy.



Print It

Fried Crawfish Po'Boys w/ Cajun Power Mayo

for the mayo:
1/2 cup Blue Plate Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp Cajun Power Garlic Sauce

Mix together in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

for the po'boys:
1 12" French Bread
oil for frying
1 lb crawfish tails
3/4 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
10 oz of your favorite fish fry (I use LA NOLA style fish fry)
shredded lettuce
sliced tomato
pickle slices (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the bread in half lengthwise, leaving a "hinge" on one side.  Cut the bread into two equal pieces to make two po'boys.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes to warm and crisp the bread.  Remove and set aside.

Heat oil to 350 degrees.  While oil is heating, dust the crawfish with flour and shake off the excess.  Combine the egg and milk.  Dunk the crawfish in the mixture, then coat with fish fry.  Shake of the excess and carefully add to hot oil.  Fry until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Spread the bottom side of each po'boy with the mayo.  Pile on the crawfish.  Top with lettuce, tomato, and pickle (if using).

~~~~~~~~~~~~
*FYI:
Dressed means to order a Po'Boy with mayo, lettuce, tomato, etc.
Debris Gravy is a rich roast beef gravy, filled with little bits of beef (the debris).  It's the best part of a roast beef Po'Boy.

Products and sources:
(note: these are NOT affiliate links)
Louisiana Fish Fry: New Orleans Style w/ Lemon
Cajun Power Garlic Sauce
Louisiana crawfish tail meat
~~~~~~~~~~~~                


More Crawfish...
Crawfish Stuffed Grilled Peppers
Crawfish Omelets
Crawfish Calabacitas








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Apr 1, 2015

Spring Dessert {Old Fashioned Cajun Tarte à la Bouille}

Tarte à la Bouille, or custard pie, is an old time Cajun dessert.


Tarte à la Bouille | Ms. enPlace


It's a simple thing, made with simple ingredients...like most old fashioned Cajun dishes.

And like most classic Cajun dishes, it's the simplicity and honesty in the food that makes it something special.


Tarte à la Bouille | Ms. enPlace

This pie is made with what we call "sweet dough."  The sweet dough crust is more like a sugar cookie or a sweet shortbread than typical pie crust.  Sweet dough is often used to make fruit filled turnovers we call "sweet dough pies."

Sweet dough pies are popular treats at local festivals.  Actually, they even have their own festival in the fall in Grand Coteau, LA.


But back to the Tarte à la Bouille.



Tarte à la Bouille | Ms. enPlace

The filling is a simple vanilla custard that can easily be modified with other flavors.



Tarte à la Bouille | Ms. enPlace

The dough...well...the dough.  


Let's just be real for a second.  I'm no baker.  Truth: I hate baking.  It's fussy with measurements and sifting.  Softening and chilling.  Cutting and rolling.  Oh, and lots of dirty dishes.


So why I thought making my own pie dough was a good idea, I'll never know.


I struggled.  And it pissed me off.  Words were said.  Not so nice words.

But the pie did turn out well.  


Tarte à la Bouille | Ms. enPlace

Note: this recipe calls for a lattice top.  A bottom crust is pretty much all I could manage.  The remaining dough is in my freezer waiting for another day's adventure.


  Print It

Tarte à la Bouille

slightly adapted from Nun Better: Tastes and Tales from Around a Cajun Table

For the Sweet Dough:

3/4 cups shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda

Cream the shortening and sugar together.  Add milk, egg, and vanilla and mix well.  Sift the flour, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda.  Add to the milk mixture and mix to form dough.  Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours.  
Roll out onto a floured surface to fit a 9" pie plate.  Use the remaining dough for a lattice top.

For the Custard:
2/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, flour, salt, and eggs well in a heatproof bowl.  In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.  Slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, mixing well until the egg mixture is warm.  Add all of the egg mixture to the saucepan with the milk.  Cook over medium heat until thickened.  Cool slightly and add the vanilla.  Spoon the custard into the pie shell and add the lattice top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. 


 More Spring/Easter Desserts...
Heavenly Hash Cake
Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
Gold Bricks








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