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Crawfish Boil Recipe

From Crawfish Boil

Any spring social event in Louisiana is most definitely going to be centered around a Crawfish Boil. This is a time to relax with family and friends, enjoy the outdoors, and enjoy the bounty of the season, live Louisiana Crawfish.

The magic behind your boil, in my humble opinion, remains in the hands of two details. Fresh, Lively Crawfish, and your cooking liquid.

Crawfish Boil Recipe

15 lbs Live Louisiana Crawfish
4 Large Spanish Onions, quartered
6 Lemons, halved
4 Heads garlic, halved widthwise
8 Fresh Bay Leaves
3 Bags Crab Boil
1 bunch fresh Thyme
1 Cup Creole Seasoning
1/2 Cup Cayenne, or to taste
1 1/2 lbs Kosher Salt
About 5 Gallons of water, or enough to fill a 30 Quart turkey fryer pot 3/4 full
3 lbs Small Redskin Potatoes
6 Ears of Fresh Corn, shucked, trimmed and cut in half

Bring the water to a boil in a 30 quart Turkey fryer pot with the onions, lemons, garlic, bay leaves, crab boil, cayenne and salt. When the mixture reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

From Crawfish Boil

Your crawfish should be picked through for dead ones and placed and washed by first hosing them down, then leaving them in the basket and placing it into a large pot, filling it with water, draining, filling with water, draining, until the remaining water is eventually clean, about 3-4 times. I’m not in the purging with salt camp, I don’t think it does anything more than what I described above.

From Crawfish Boil

While you’re waiting, and this is a very important part of this recipe, drink a few of your favorite ice cold beers and go visit with your company, this is a social event, relax enjoy! Have the washed Redskins waiting in the basket insert nearby and visit. Take advantage of the downtime!

Before adding anything to the pot, taste your cooking liquid! It should taste overly salty and overly spicy. Drink more cold beer, then add your basket insert to the pot with the potatoes. Let cook for 15-20 minutes. After said time has passed add the corn, and cook for about 10 minutes.

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Bring the liquid to a boil and add the live Crawfish.

From Crawfish Boil

Bring the pot back to a boil as quickly as possible, give a good healthy stir and boil for about 5-10 minutes depending on their size.

From Crawfish Boil

Turn off the heat, put a lid on the pot and allow the crawfish to steep in the liquid for 20-30 minutes. The longer they steep, the spicier and more flavorful they will become. When in doubt as to how long to let them steep, pull one out and have a taste! When you’re sure that they are ready, lift the basket and let them drain. When they are well drained dump the contents of the basket onto a picnic table or any outdoor table heavily lined with newspaper.

From Crawfish Boil

Everyone please note, I don’t have any feeling left in my hands from working in the kitchens all these years. The girls were laughing as I was holding the basket with steam blowing off of it, this isn’t a dummy shot, just a big dummy holding a hot pot with bare hands.

From Crawfish Boil

Let your guests belly up to the table and eat until their hearts are content!

Here are some pics from our small but wonderful boil!

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

The full spread, the potatoes and corn take on all of those wonderful flavors. The potatoes especially, the skins dry out and develop that salt crust and the insides take on the spice.

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

Here is my baby girl Anna with her portion.

From Crawfish Boil

Yeah, that was a gag shot, we can’t even get this little one to eat chicken fingers, don’t worry though, I will keep cracking away on her culinary darings.

Thanks again to Charlie and the fine folks from Cajun Grocer for the generous portion of their premium Live Louisiana Crawfish!

This is my brother Brad. We don’t get together as often as we should these days but this boil was the perfect opportunity to do so and we had a wonderful time. Brad actually helps me with all of the technical details on this site and even hosts it for me on his server! He is also responsible for the new layout, which I absolutely love and has inspired me to start posting more often. Thanks for everything Brad!

From Crawfish Boil

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe
Live Louisiana Crawfish

Live Louisiana Crawfish from Cajun Grocer

Back when I did my review of Cajun Grocer’s Turducken in November, Charlie asked me if I would like to do a review of their Live Louisiana Crawfish when the season came around. Hmm…live Louisiana crawfish, for free? Let me think about it…..just kidding, of course!

Thanks a million to Charlie and the folks at Cajun Grocer for sending such a generous portion of a superior product, and all I had to do was just write about it, which I do for fun anyway!

I contacted Charlie from Cajun Grocer last week and he asked me when I planned on boiling them and I said Saturday, he suggested shipping them Thursday for Friday and keeping them someplace cool with a bag of ice on them until I was ready to boil on Saturday, this worked out perfectly. The crawfish arrived early Friday morning and I promptly did as he said, hosed them down in the sack, and placed them into a cooler with a bag of ice over them. I peeked around through the purple sack in awe of the size of some of the little devils, as their beady little eyes watched me as well.

From Crawfish Boil

When Saturday rolled around I hosed them down again and placed them back into the cooler, again covered with ice. I invited my brother Brad and his girlfriend Heather over for a boil, the 15 lbs would be more than enough for the four of us, you see, up in Michigan folks don’t crush the 5-8 pounds that can be standard in Louisiana.

From Crawfish Boil

I got my liquid boiling away (my crawfish boil recipe) in the afternoon in a 30 quart Turkey Fryer with a basket insert at the ready. I cut my onions, lemons, garlic, corn, washed the new potatoes and headed out to cut the sack open and sort through the critters to remove any casualties from travel and time, and I was pleased to find that there were very few dead ones, and in fact the majority were extremely feisty.

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

Even more impressive than than how feisty they were, was their size, varying from medium to gargantuan like this one.

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I picked through them one by, sorting them in my 2 1/2 year old daughters wading pool, as she watched in horror. “In my poool!!! in my pool!!”

From Crawfish Boil

After I got them sorted I washed them several times by first hosing them down, then leaving them in the basket and placing it into a large pot, filling it with water, draining, filling with water, draining, until the remaining water was eventually clean, about 3-4 times. Clean and ready for the boil!

From Crawfish Boil

Coming next, the Crawfish Boil Recipe using Cajun Grocer’s Crawfish!

Related Posts:

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe

Preview Pic!

From Crawfish Boil

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes whick links to every recipe featured on Nola Cuisine!

Homemade Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream

Here is the latest batch of Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream, made from the Creole Cream Cheese which I made the other day. It’s texture is like velvet, and the flavor like frozen cheesecake, I can’t get enough. I made a quick strawberry sauce to accompany this (recipe follows), though it goes just fine all alone. The recipes:

Homemade Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream Recipe

1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
6 Large Egg Yolks
2/3 Cup Creole Cream Cheese
1/3 Cup good quality Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche

Combine the Cream, Milk, Sugar, and Vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the mixture just starts to boil, remove from the heat. Put the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl, then temper the yolks with a little of the milk mixture. Combine the two mixtures. then return them to the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook the custard until it coats the back of a wooden spoon, 2-4 minutes, DO NOT BOIL. Strain into a mixing bowl and refrigerate until chilled, at least a few hours (you want it very cold before it enters the ice cream machine). Meanwhile, combine the Creole Cream Cheese and Sour Cream then put them through a fine mesh sieve, mashing them through with the back of a wooden spoon. When the custard is cold, fold in the Creole Cream Cheese and Sour Cream. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve as is or freeze overnight for a firmer ice cream.

Makes 1 Quart (You’ll wish you had doubled it! My Creole Cream Cheese Recipe makes enough for a double batch of Ice Cream.)

Strawberry Dessert Sauce Recipe

1 Cup Fresh Strawberries, chopped
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tbsp Grand Marnier

Add the ingredients to a heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries break down slightly, and the sauce reduces a bit. Chill.

I also added some additional chopped fresh strawberries to the cooled sauce for more texture.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which features links to all of the recipes on this site.

Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

I made a fresh batch of Creole Cream Cheese yesterday that I finished today. I just ate what you see in the picture, sprinkled heavily with sugar, and I can tell you honestly, you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t try this recipe. This is the easiest cheese in the world to make, and you will learn more on its versatility, when I post further with recipes for Creole Cream Cheese Cheescake, and Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream (a.k.a Frozen Creole Cream Cheese, my fave, which I will make in the next few days.

By the way, what I used for a cheese mold this time was an inexpensive silicone muffin tin, which I punched drainage holes into with a hole puncher, traditionally used for paper (but not here on Nola Cuisine).

The way I have presented Creole Cream Cheese here is at its simplest, the way it was meant to be served; sweetened with fresh fruit and cream as a breakfast treat. Give it a shot, it is extremely cheap and easy to make.

I wrote an extensive post on this subject with the recipe just over a year ago, which I am including below because:

a.) I didn’t have this wonderful camera to show the fruits (no pun intended) of my labor a year ago, and a picture is, as they say, worth a thousand words.

b.) I worked hard reasearching this post, so it bears repeating, at least for my sake (or your sake if you plan on making this recipe.)

Here is the post and recipe from July 29, 2005, about a month before Hurricane She Who Shall Not Be Named reared her ugly head on the wonderful city of New Orleans. I hope you enjoy and learn as much from this post as I did researching and making the dish:

Creole Cream Cheese used to be widely available in New Orleans, over time however it became harder to find, and never outside of Louisiana. It’s a soft cheese eaten as a breakfast treat, sprinkled with sugar, covered with cream or half & half, and usually fresh fruit. This is what “>The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook of 1901 had to say about the subject:

Cream Cheese is always made from clabbered milk. The ‘Cream Cheese Woman’ is still as common a sight on our New Orleans streets as the Cala Woman was in the days gone by. She carries a covered basket in which are a number of small perforated tins in which the Cheeses are. In her other hand she carries a can of fresh Cream. She sells her wares to her regular customers, for the old Creoles who do not make their own Cream Cheese are very particular as to whom they buy from, and when once a good careful, clean woman gets a ‘customer’ she keeps her during her period of business, coming every fast day and Friday with her Cheese and Cream, for this is a great fast-day breakfast and luncheon dish.

The “Cream Cheese Woman” has long ago gone the way of the “Cala Woman”, but fortunately for me, I enjoy making it myself. It’s a fairly long but very simple process; combined, about 10 minutes of actual work. Rennet is a coagulating enzyme which comes from a young animal’s stomach, but there are also vegetable varieties. It comes in liquid or tablet form, I use the liquid animal variety. Although I had a hard time finding it in my area, you may find it in tablet form in the baking aisle at your grocer. If not, do what I did and order it from Cheese Supply(dot)com. The shipping is a little steep for just a small item, so I ordered some Manchego, Cheesecloth, and a few other items to pad the bill. The recipe:

Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

2 Quarts Skim Milk
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
8 drops Liquid Rennet or 2 tablets
Cheesecloth

Combine the skim and buttermilk in a good sized saucepan. Over medium heat bring the mixture to 110 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Pour the heated mixture into a large, non-metal bowl. Add the rennet, stir and cover with cheesecloth. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. After a few hours there should be chunks (Curds) and liquid (Whey), try to keep Miss Muffet at bay. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, then spoon the curds into the colander, try to keep them intact. Let this drain for 1 hour or until it is one solid piece. Discard the Whey, or make Ricotta, which is made from cooked Whey. I haven’t tried it yet, but next time I will. Place gently into a bowl and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve with sugar, half & half, and fresh fruit.

*New* I have another recipe for Creole Cream Cheese that says you cannot use Homogenized milk. I’ll have to locate some to see if there is any difference in the finished product. The same recipe states you can substitute reconstituted dry skim milk. Another variation in this recipe is the use of Plain Yogurt as the culture, in place of the buttermilk. I will post when I try this.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes! It’s an index with links to all of the recipes featured on this site. Also check out my new sister site to Nola Cuisine called American Gourmand!

Boudin Sausage Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

**UPDATE** My latest Boudin Recipe complete with PHOTOS!

The commonly known Louisiana Boudin (BOO-dahn) is Acadian through and through, traditionally made as a way to stretch the meat after a Boucherie, to feed more mouths. There are two varities, Boudin Blanc, commonly just refered to as “Boudin”, and Boudin Rouge, which is becoming very difficult to find. It is made in a similar fashion but with fresh pig’s blood. Believe me, if I ever get my hands on some fresh pig’s blood, you will definately see a Boudin Rouge recipe on this site.
In Cajun country there are as many Boudin recipes as there are cooks, most using basically the same ingredients, in different proportions. You can find Boudin sold just about anyplace along the road that has a roof (probably some without.) Gas stations, shops, you name it, they will most likely have a sign that says “Hot Boudin”.
The old Creole versions were more along the lines of the traditional French, made with meats and fowl and a panada (bread and cream) as a binder (To see a more traditional French version of Boudin Blanc, see my friend Carolyn’s recipe at 18thC French Cuisine). The Acadians use(d) rice, something that was/is plentiful in South Louisiana.
I make mine with lots of green onions and parsley, also Louisiana staples, and the mark of a good Boudin. A lot of recipes will just make basic rice, cooked in water. That just doesn’t make sense to me, so I like to use the Pork cooking liquid to cook my rice, utilize all of that flavor. You could use leftover cooked rice in this recipe, but I prefer to make fresh. You can stuff Boudin into casings as I’ve done here, or shape into Patties or Balls for pan frying. I also like to get some thick Pork Chops and stuff them with Boudin. Boudin is great for breakfast, or for lunch with saltine crackers and a cold beer. The recipe:

Cajun Boudin Sausage Recipe

1 1/2 lbs Pork Steak
1/2 lb Very Fresh Pork liver (not frozen), rinsed
1 Medium Onion, Coarsely chopped
3 Garlic Cloves
2 Bay Leaves
1 Sprig Fresh Thyme
Water to cover by 1 inch
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
2 Cups Uncooked Long grain Rice
1 Bunch Green Onions, thinly sliced
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Italian Parsley
Cayenne to taste

Cut the pork steak and liver into 2 inch pieces and place in a large saucepan, along with the onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover with cold water by 1 1/2 inches. Season well with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer, skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Simmer for about 1 hour or until the meat is very tender. Remove the bay leaves, and thyme, then strain the solids from the broth, reserve the broth.
Grind the meats and cooked onion and garlic while they’re still hot, you could also chop this by hand.

For the Rice:
In a saucepan with a lid, combine the rice with 3 Cups of the reserved broth. Taste the broth for seasoning, if necessary season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then down to very low heat and cover. Cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

When the rice is cooked, combine it with the ground meat mixture, green onions, and parsley. Mix thoroughly and season to taste with Kosher salt, black pepper, and Cayenne.

Stuff into prepared hog casings (instructions on how to link homemade sausage), or form into patties or balls for pan frying. This also makes a great stuffing.

To heat the stuffed Boudin sausages, either poach them in water between 165-185 degrees F, or brush the casings with a little oil and bake in a 400 degree oven until heated through and the skins are crispy. When I poach them, I take the Boudin out of the casings to eat it because they become rubbery.

Other recipes for Sausages and Seasoning Meats at Nola Cuisine:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Chaurice Sausage Recipe
Tasso Recipe
Pickled Pork Recipe

Andouille Sausage Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

I started making my own Andouille a few years back because the stuff they sell in the grocery stores here in Michigan is a joke, you may as well break open a package of Oscar Meyer hot dogs for your Gumbo.
You know the kind I mean, basically Alpo, stuffed into a casing and injected with liquid smoke. I can’t use that garbage, so I make my own. Andouille is a cornerstone to many great New Orleans & Louisiana dishes, so you really need a good one! I would rather use a good quality Kielbasa, than a cut rate Andouille. The better the Andouille, the better the dish! Luckily, I enjoy making sausage, it is a very worth while investment of time if your finished product turns out well. Here is how I go about it.

I used a nice fatty, 5# boston butt, trimmed of tough connective tissue. Fat is good for sausage, especially Andouille. You want about 75% lean/25% fat. Here I hand chopped half of the meat into 1/4 inch pieces for texture, and ground the rest. The recipe:

Andouille Sausage Recipe

5# Pork (I prefer a Boston Butt) Trimmed of tough connective tissue and cut into 2 inch cubes.

Combine the following in a bowl:
2 tsp of Cayenne or to taste (Remember, if you make it too hot, every dish you make with it will be too hot! Start off with a little, you can add more after you taste the finished seasoning)
1 Tbsp Paprika
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Garlic
1/8 Cup Fresh Ground Black Pepper
3 Tbsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves, chopped
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 healthy pinch Cure #1 (1 tsp. of “cure” per 5# of meat)
1/2 Cup Ice Water

Toss this mixture with the meat, making sure it is well coated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 days.

**Note – Prague Powder#1 is used for wet curing meats, to retain color and freshness. It is a ratio of 16 oz. salt to 1 ounce sodium nitrate.

Chop half of the meat into 1/4 inch pieces and grind the other half with a coarse grinding plate. Mix the two together with:

1/8 Cup Non-Fat Powdered Milk (this is a binder)

Stuff the sausage into prepared Hog Casings (Beef middle casings if you can find them). Here is my method of Linking Sausage.

Tie each sausage link with kitchen string to make a loop for hanging. Hang uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. This step is to let the casings dry out to allow smoke absorption, very important.

I smoked this in an inexpensive upright barrel smoker, with charcoal as the heat source, and unsoaked Pecan chips for the smoke. The sausage was hung beneath the top rack, no water pan.

I smoked this at 130º F for 2 hours, then increased the heat to 165º F for another 2 1/2 hours, refreshing the wood chips as needed. The trick here, is to get as much smoke flavor into the sausage before it is actually cooked through, and too hot of a temperature will render the fat out of your sausage. I controlled the temp by the number of coals, and keeping them piled up and pushed to one side. When you spread your coals out the temperature will increase. I added more coals to reach the 165º F mark.

The internal temperature of the sausage should read 155º F on an instant read thermometer. Remove at this point and immediately spray with cold water. Hang at room temperature in front of a fan for 1 hour then refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

Portion and store in vacuum sealed packages in the freezer.

Other recipes for Sausages and Seasoning Meats at Nola Cuisine:

Here is my Latest Batch of Andouille Sausage!

Chaurice Sausage Recipe
Cornbread and Andouille Sausage Recipe
Tasso Recipe
Pickled Pork Recipe

My post about my visit to Jacob’s Andouille.

Check out Egullet’s, Eating Louisiana Andouille page, with pics from Wayne Jacob’s, and Jacob’s Andouille, in the Andouille capital, Laplace, Louisiana.

Homemade Tasso Recipe

Tasso (TAH-so) is a smoked seasoning meat used to flavor dishes like Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Red Beans & Rice. Tasso used to be made from the trim after an Acadian Hog Boucherie, thin strips, heavily seasoned, dried, then smoked for hours. These days however, most of the Tasso that is available is a little more fancy, more of a ham than the style of the old days, mine is somewhere in between. I always find it amazing how ingredients and recipes, that basically came from scrap and the poorest times evolve into Gourmet, I love it. Tasso will keep in the freezer and is pretty easy to make, but you have to do a little planning.
A few Tips:
After seasoning it, I recommend keeping it in the fridge, at least 3 days to let it cure, look at how nice and pink the center is.
Take it easy on the Cayenne when making your seasoning blend, start off with a small amount, then add to your taste, the amount here is moderate. It should have some heat, but I don’t like losing control of the heat in a dish I’m cooking because my Tasso was too hot, so I cut it back a little, for the same reason that you don’t salt stocks.
Here is my recipe for Tasso. I used a Boneless Pork Roast cut into about 4-5 inch long, 1/2 to 1 inch thick slices. This is seasoning for about 5 lbs of pork:

Homemade Tasso Recipe

5 lbs Pork cut as described above
Seasoning:

3 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 Tsp Cayenne or To Taste (see above)
4 Tbsp Paprika
2 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp White Pepper
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Mix the seasoning together well. Rub the seasoning into the meat, you want a lot on there, call it 1/8 inch, use it all. Place on a plate or tray, cover and refrigerate 3 days.

Before smoking put the Tasso on an elevated rack so that air can circulate around it, then put a fan on it for about 2 hours to dry it out. I also don’t use a water pan when smoking Tasso, this is something that I actually want to dry out during the smoking process.

I hot smoked this batch in an inexpensive upright barrel smoker using charcoal as the heat source (heated with a chimney starter, no lighter fluid or matchlight coals please.) I used Pecan chips that were soaked in water for 1 hour for the smoke.
I smoked this a total of about 4 hours, the first 2 hours at about 150-160 degrees F. The second two hours at 180-190 degrees F.
The object is to get as much smoke into the meat, before cooking it all the way through. I brought the internal temperature of the meat to 150 degrees F in the last 2 hours of smoking.
When finished I again put the Tasso in front of a fan for about 1 hour. Refrigerate. When completely cold portion and store the Tasso in vacuum sealed packages. Freeze.

Makes 5 lbs of Tasso

Related Links:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Chaurice Sausage Recipe
Pickle Meat Recipe
More on Tasso:
Check out these Pics at Egullet of Wayne Jacob’s beautiful Tasso and Andouille, made the old way in LaPlace, Louisiana.