Monday, January 28, 2013

Homegrown Louisiana Cooking

Last week I made my version of Shrimp Creole.  As with most recipes I change them to my liking.  I made plenty so we shared some with a couple we talk with during the mornings at one of the local restaurants.  They loved it.  He had some for lunch, dinner and lunch the next day.  The next thing I know he brought me a book to read, Justin Wilson's Homegrown Louisiana Cooking.  The book has 270 pages of what I would say is Louisiana and Justin Wilson history via the influence of food.  

Each chapter begins with a story about Louisiana.  Some are historic, some are about the influence of nature and why certain foods are used, but most chapters also mention the people of Louisiana and the importance of food in the culture.

There are many recipes that sound so good and the recipes are well explained in detail of the process.  Some recipes include pictures, but most don't.  Some of the ingredients I don't have access to, because it is wild game and we don't hunt.  We have friends who hunt, but not all the items he offers in recipe form.  Some items I don't eat.  I am sorry I don't eat oysters.  I have tried them, but I didn't like them.  I will try most everything once or twice, but if I don't like it I just don't eat it again.

I did notice Wilson cooks with wine, which I like the flavor in cooking, but we don't have any.  I guess I need to get some for cooking.  Some items he talks about we do not have available in our stores.

I really enjoyed the chapter about sauces and gravies.  He points out that many recipe assume you either know how to make a particular sauce or it is available at your local market.  I like making things from scratch, so when I saw his recipes for sauces I was happy.  Many of his sauces are similar to the way I make then, but they  may have an ingredient or two that I have not included in my recipe.

I also liked that he has recipes to use leftovers.  My husband and I will eat leftovers.  Sometimes cold, sometimes reheated, but most of the time I make something different from the leftovers.  Tonight was one of those nights.  I had left over country ribs that I started in the crock pot with onions and seasonings.  I saved all the juices and onions and the left over bar-b-que pork meat.  I sliced it back into the juice.  We had two pieces of rib steak that may have weighed 3/4 lb and last night we had one hamburger left over.  So this is what I did with the leftovers.

Leftover Surprise

Cut up leftover meats to bit size that you have saved all leftover juices and vegetables from the original cooking.
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can of peas or vegetable of your choice
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream
 3/4 to 1 lb of spaghetti or noodles

Start by cooking the spaghetti or noodles according to package directions.  I used spaghetti, so it cooked in 8 minutes after adding it to boiling water.  While waiting for the water to boil I was cutting my meat and heating the juices and mushroom soup.  I added the spaghetti to the water and also the meat to the juices to warm.  Right before my 8 minutes was up I added the peas to the juice, soup and meat mixture.  I drained the spaghetti, added the sour cream to the meat mixture and I then combined the spaghetti and meat sauce.  This was a less then 15 minute meal to make, using leftovers, but if your juices and or gravy was good during the first meal the mixture is good enough to serve to company.  Maybe keeping the meat mixture and noodles separate with a salad on the side.  We each had two helpings and have enough left over for someone to have lunch tomorrow.


Judy D in AZ said...

I remember when Justin Wilson had a TV program. I just loved it-such fun and great sounding recipes. Enjoy the book.

Anonymous said...

I loved watching Justin Wilson on PBS many years ago. the only thing I made was Potato salad without potatoes! Saltine crackers were used instead of potatoes. I wish I had written the recipe down as I would love to make it again.