Cajun Grain Rice

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I’ve been following the Donald Link’s (Chef and author of Real Cajun) video series called Taste of Place on his website, if you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it. He tours farms, goes out with fisherman, and visits with purveyors of superior products, not just in Louisiana, but primarily in the south. He then usually does a cooking video with whatever product was featured.

Long story short, I recently caught the episode where Link visits the farm of Kurt & Karen Unkel who own and operate a rice farm in Kinder, Louisiana (the video is embedded below.) Kurt’s words and philosophies really make sense to me. He’s organic, not because it’s trendy, but because it makes the most sense, for nutrition, flavor, and I’m sure profitability. The rice goes into a slow feed and a husker and into the bag that it’s shipped in. It still contains the germ and all of the other elements that a nutritious rice should.

Cajun Grain
11574 Hwy. 190
Kinder, LA 70648
1-337-207-0966


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I visited the Cajun Grain website after viewing this video and was elated to see that they sell their Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice on Amazon! I immediately ordered two 4 lb bags which arrived a few days ago.

From Cajun Grain Rice – Kinder, Louisiana

I opened the bag and took a deep whiff and you can immediately smell the field. I can’t wait to experiment with this incredible, minimally processed product. I’m thinking Boudin! Here is the video:

<a href='http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/taste-of-place/?vid=69d958d8-e8fb-f448-8430-300be80818bf&#038;videoId=69d958d8-e8fb-f448-8430-300be80818bf&#038;src=v5:embed::&#038;from=sharepermalink' target='_new' title='The beauty of brown rice'>Video: The beauty of brown rice</a>

Kurt has also been featured in the documentary film Harmony, which is narrated by Prince Charles, as well as the New York Times article, Rice Dreams in Louisiana.

You can find and purchase Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice from their website which is below, or on Amazon here:

Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice, Two 4lb. bags.

Cajun Grain
P.O. Box 370
Kinder, LA 70648
337-207-0966

From Cajun Grain Rice – Kinder, Louisiana

Stay tuned as I can’t wait to share some recipes using this wonderful Louisiana product! I am also in full swing in sharing all of the details of my most recent trip to Louisiana! Most recently, my visits to Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant and the Abita Brewery. It feels good to be back!!

Related Posts:

Review of Donald Link’s Real Cajun

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

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Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant

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From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

Well I’m back. I know, I know…it’s been a long stretch between posts, but a recent visit to New Orleans and some out lying areas of Louisiana, has me re-inspired, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the daunting task of posting all of the terrific content I have compiled on that four day journey, I also have some new recipes to share as well. So here we go…it sincerely feels great to be back at this! I hope you enjoy!

Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant
30160 Highway 51
Akers, LA 70421
1-985-386-6666

Long on my Louisiana bucket list of places to dine has been Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant, about 45 miles away from New Orleans, Akers, Louisiana to be exact, on Highway 51, between Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain, and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It’s a scenic drive from the airport, I-10 provides great views of Bayou Piquant and Lake Pontchartrain, and elevated Highway 51 snakes through the Maurepas Swamp, providing visitors with excellent views of the Cypress swamps, complete with spanish moss. I’m a sap and I love Louisiana, so every time I see those picturesque views after I’ve been away for a spell, it gives me a nice warm glow.


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Josie and Louis Middendorf opened Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant on July 4, 1934 during the great depression. The restaurant was passed down through two generations of the family. The Lamonte family who owned the restaurant for 40 years, sold it and passed the torch to Horst & Karen Pfeifer in 2006 after the couple lost their New Orleans restaurant Bella Luna during Hurricane Katrina.

The original Middendorf’s restaurant is still standing across the parking lot from the new restaurant and deck where I enjoyed my meal.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

I only made it into the main restaurant to say hello to the hostess with the beautiful smile, and to tell her that I would like to go eat on the deck, she directed me and off I went!

It was dog hot on the day I visited, but the deck provided a shaded atmosphere with misters running along the openings to keep it cool…an awesome view to boot:

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

It was totally comfortable out there, perfect. In fact, I wish I was on that deck right now, ordering up some of the best fried seafood known to man and a cold beer. I would be on that deck all the time if I were a local. The deck is complete with boat parking:

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

On to the good stuff…

Middendorf’s is the Mecca of fried Catfish, specifically, thin fried catfish. Understand, I’ve been reading about this place for years and years, well before the current owners took the reins, so there is cause for concern about building a pyramid up in one’s mind.

At the deck at Middendorf’s you order at the bar and pickup at the bar (although everything was delivered to me, along with smiles and nice conversation.) The beers available are generic, miller lite, bud, corona, etc.., no Abita, no fancyfied beers, which tells me this place is all local, love it!

I ordered the thin fried catfish, which is the legendary house specialty, and I also read great things about Middendorf’s Barbecued Oysters, so I ordered them as an appetizer with a cup of Turtle Soup.

I expected the Barbecue Oysters to be along the lines of Barbecue Shrimp, but they were totally different, in a good way, more along the lines of an Oysters Roffignac. Cleanly shucked with a wonderful red topping, a great first taste for my first meal in Louisiana! To be quite honest, I didn’t take notes, I don’t remember what flavors were going on there, just that they were wonderful and like no other Oyster dish I’ve had previous! Delicious!

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

The Turtle Soup left me a little flat, not terrible by any means, just didn’t blow me away.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

On to the star of the show, Thin Fried Catfish, probably the most perfectly fried fish I’ve had. Crispy, clean flavor, not a bit greasy. The stuff dreams are made of.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant
From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

The hush puppies are very good, as well as the coleslaw.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant
From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

After making my taste buds happy at Middendorf’s I was back on the road to my next destination, with a brief stop off in Ponchatoula, the berry capital. Did a little exploring then moved on to Abita Springs for my next stop (as well as my next post), the Abita Brewery Tour!

Check out my friend Tim’s post on Middendorf’s at his blog RouxBDoo’s Cajun and Creole Food Blog!

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

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Barbecue Shrimp

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I came across a new store here in the Detroit area with a terrific seafood counter that occasionally carries fresh Wild Caught USA Heads on Shrimp, which immediately makes me think Barbecue Shrimp. Heads on Shrimp as I’ve mentioned in the past are rather hard to come by up here in the north, especially product of the USA. I always snatch them up when I find them.

The last time I found them I whipped up a very simple batch of Barbecue Shrimp, just a few basic ingredients. This may seem like a lot of black pepper, but trust me. Here is the recipe:

Barbecue Shrimp Recipe

2 lbs fresh Head on USA Gulf Shrimp, antennas removed
4 large Cloves fresh Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary, chopped
Enough freshly ground Black Pepper to cover the Shrimp in the pan, about 1/4 Cup
3 Sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into 1″ pieces
French Bread for dipping
Cold Beer

Preheat an oven to 350 F degree oven.
Toss the Shrimp with the salt, garlic, and Rosemary. Place in a single layer in a cast iron frying pan. Coat with the black pepper. Top with the cut up cold butter.

Place into the 350 degree oven and bake for about 30-45 minutes. Baste occasionally. Be careful not to overcook, but also make sure that the Shrimp all soak up the sauce.

Serve with a lot French bread for dipping, your favorite cold beer, and a case or two of napkins.

Serves 1-2.

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

Related Posts:

Barbecue Shrimp recipe #1
Shrimp Etouffee Recipe
Shrimp Creole Recipe

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Shrimp Creole Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

To be quite honest, there are certain dishes that I never intended to include on this site because they have been so completely bastardized by restaurants across the country. Shrimp Creole is near the top of the list. Why would I want to include this dish? Everyone has a recipe for it. A lot of restaurants, even outside of Louisiana serve it. Why in the hell do I even want to bother? Everyone knows what Shrimp Creole is!

But then it dawned on me. You know what? Maybe because of all the hack versions out there, a lot of people, especially outside of Louisiana, don’t know how great Shrimp Creole can be! Every bad rendition of Shrimp Creole, just like Shrimp Etouffee, served in some dive restaurants across the country, have created a perception to the diner that this dish is just OK, or in the worst case scenario, absolutely horrible. For God’s sake, some restaurants even serve shrimp covered in canned Marinara sauce and pass it off as Shrimp Creole. Yikes.

There are a lot of good and bad recipes for Shrimp Creole out there, hopefully you will enjoy this one as much as I do. The defining factor that I think makes this dish great, instead of just good, in addition to the use of the highest quality Louisiana or Gulf Shrimp, is using homemade Shrimp Stock in place of water during the preparation of your Creole Sauce.

All that aside, on to the dish…

As I see it, Shrimp Creole and Shrimp Sauce Piquant are pretty much the same dish, with a few differences.

First, Shrimp Creole, or as it was once known, Shrimp a la Creole, is a New Orleans dish. Shrimp Sauce Piquant is Acadian, much spicier (hence the name) and usually, but not always containing a roux. But as I said, they’re pretty darned similar, and like most dishes in New Orleans these days the two cuisines have kind of merged in a lot of different areas. Like any dish that there are a trillion recipes for, it’s all a matter of your personal taste.

Like I always say, let’s not fight, it’s only dinner after all, just make sure it tastes good.

The Recipe:

Shrimp Creole Recipe

2 lbs. Peeled and Deveined Shrimp, save shells to make Shrimp Stock
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
2 Ribs Celery, finely chopped
1 small Green Pepper, finely Chopped
2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2-1/2 Cups Very Ripe Fresh Tomatoes, Diced
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Cups Shrimp Stock (recipe here)
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
2 Bay leaves
Cayenne to taste
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt to taste
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp White Pepper
1 bunch Fresh Thyme
2 Tbsp Tabasco
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup Green Onions, green tops thinly sliced, white part sliced into 1/4″ thickness
1/8 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, minced
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan with the vegetable oil over medium high heat. When the butter begins to froth add 1/2 cup of the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown. Add the remaining onions, celery, and bell pepper, reduce the heat to medium and season with 1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning and a healthy pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetables until soft.

Add the tomato paste mixing well, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to brown, then add the fresh tomatoes and another healthy pinch of Kosher salt, this will help the tomatoes break down. Stir well.

When the tomatoes start to break down into liquid add the white wine, and turn the heat to high until most of the alcohol burns off. Add the Shrimp Stock, remaining Creole seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne (to taste), and Thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

(If necessary at this point thicken the sauce with 1 Tbsp Cornstarch/ 2Tbsp water. Bring to a boil to maximize the thickening power of the cornstarch.)

Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, and season to taste with Kosher salt. Last chance to re-season your sauce, remember that good cooking is all about proper seasoning. Make your Boiled Rice, and season your shrimp with 1 Tbsp Kosher salt and a pinch of Cayenne.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and add the shrimp. The key is to not overcook your shrimp. Let them slowly simmer in the sauce until just cooked through.

Serve with boiled rice and garnish with the remaining green onions and parsley.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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

Related Posts:

Shrimp Etouffee Recipe
Shrimp Stock Recipe
Shrimp Remoulade Recipe

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Soft-Shell Crabs

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I purchased some Soft-Shell Crabs today which I will prepare for dinner tonight, and of course feature as a recipe later tonight or early tomorrow. I only buy soft-shells fresh when they’re in season, I don’t believe in frozen soft-shells personally, it leaves me something to look forward to in the spring.

Soft-Shell Crabs are not a different species of crab as some may believe but simply a Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus, which has molted. Like many other crustaceans, crabs outgrow their shells and grow new ones. The prime soft-shells are called busters, as they have just busted from their shells and are at peak softness. Not long after the crabs have busted from their shells, the new shells will start to form and have more of a leathery texture.

Soft-shells can be fried, sauteed, broiled, grilled, you name it. Later I will share one of my favorite ways to prepare and serve them, I’m really looking forward to it.

Soft-shell crabs should not be cleaned until shortly before you’re ready to cook them as they will spoil faster.

To clean a Soft-Shell Crab cut off the eyes and nose portion of the front of the crab with kitchen shears. Next, lift the corners of the top shell and remove the inedible gills. Lastly, turn the crab over and remove the Apron which is a soft way of saying the genitals. Sorry, but it is what it is…just remove it. 🙂

Your soft-shells are now ready to be cooked, and so are mine…until later today.

Update – Here is my recipe for Fried Soft-Shell Crabs with Creole Choron Sauce.

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

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