If you don’t live in the Deep South you probably don’t make a bisque.  You may not even know what it is. According to Wikipedia,

A Bisque is a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin, classically based on a strained broth of crustaceans. It can be made from lobster, crab, shrimp or crawfish.


While you may think this is just a soup it is much more than that.  It is creamy, full of meat, and perfect on a cold winter day.  Did I say it was also delicious?

    ½ cup butter
    ¾ cup all-purpose flour
    ½ cup chopped yellow onion
    ¼ cup chopped celery
    ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
    2 cups half-and-half
    8½ cups Shrimp Stock, recipe follows
    ¼ cup brandy
    5 tablespoons tomato paste
    1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1 pound peeled and deveined large fresh shrimp

    Garnish: dry sherry, chopped fresh parsley

In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 6 minutes. Stir in onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and Old Bay. Cook, stirring constantly, 7 minutes.

In the container of a blender, combine onion mixture and half-and-half. Blend until smooth and return to Dutch oven.

Add Shrimp Stock, brandy, tomato paste, and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 35 to 40 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink and firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Garnish with a drizzle of sherry and chopped parsley, if desired. Serve with French bread. {Notice there is no French Bread with the bisque. I served mine with Okra and Corn Fritters (recipe coming)

The magazine also has the recipe for the shrimp stock but I used my own.

    10 cups Seafood Stock
    shells and heads from 5 lb peeled shrimp
    1 cup sliced yellow onion
    1/2 cup celery, cut into pieces
    1/4 cup chopped parsley
    1 tsp Tony’s Seasoning
    2 tsp coarsely grated pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce and simmer for about 1 hour. Strain for a clear broth.

I use seafood stock because it adds a more wonderful flavor. If you cannot find seafood broth, use veggie broth or 10 cups water.

This was filling, comforting, and so full of flavor. Definitely something to make when it’s rainy and cold outside. OR why wait for that kind of weather…..

For the month of March I am using Louisiana Cookin’ magazine for Cookbook Countdown.

The recipe is from Louisiana Cookin’ Sept/Oct 2013 but it is also online at Louisiana Cookin’.

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2) Foray.


Living in Louisiana means that every year we have a Sweet Potato season. Those lovely orange orbs of sweetness can be used for just about anything – cookies, biscuits, bread, soups, stews – or just eaten with some butter and cinnamon sugar (our fave). But most of all they make great pies…or tarts.

When the November/December issue of Louisiana Cookin’ showed up there was a recipe for a Sweet Potato tart that I just could not pass up!


      Enough for two 10 inch tarts

    2 pounds sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled, and mashed (about 3 cups mashed)
    2 cups sugar
    3 large eggs, slightly beaten
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out Piecrusts, and fit into 2 (lO-inch) fluted tart pans with removable bottoms. Gently press crusts into bottom and up sides of tart pans and trim. Line pans with parchment paper, and place pie weights on top.

2. Bake until crusts begin to set, about 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment paper, and bake until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Let crusts cool on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes.

3: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sweet potato, sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine.

4. Divide filling evenly among prepared crusts. Bake 10 minutes; decrease heat to 300°, and bake until tarts have set and are dark golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes.


The first time I baked mini tarts with this recipe. And I made a few changes. I did not include the butter (mainly because I forgot it was in the microwave), deceased the sugar by 1/2 and subbed in Truvia, increased all the spices just a smidgeon. I also used whole eggs rather than all yolks. It didn’t hurt the taste AT ALL.
You can find the original recipe on Louisiana Cookin’

And if you want lots of yummy Louisiana recipes this is THE place to find them.

Louisiana may be hot in the summer and breed mosquitoes the size of house cats, but the food is spectacular. French, Spanish, and African cuisine form the base for many of your dishes. And while not pretty, this pie is spicy and delicious. perfect for National π DAY!!

I was born in Louisiana.
I didn’t stay here long.
By the age of 3 I was in San Antonio, followed by Topeka, Stillwater, Sacramento, and a score of other places as my family traveled. I think the longest we were anywhere was 9 months.

No, we weren’t running from the LAW, we were running with the Air Force.

It wasn’t until I was college bound that I returned to Louisiana to stay and it wasn’t until WAY {and I do mean WAY!!} after I was married that I learned to cook and appreciate the wide range of flavors found in Louisiana Cuisine. Mostly French with a little of everything else thrown in for color. I started with simple things from older Louisiana Cookbooks and have worked my way up to more complicated dishes. Like this one!

The Paella is not a regular Spanish Paella but rather that of the Isleños, immigrants from the Canary Islands, who settled around New Orleans in the late 1700s. They were an attempt by Spain, who controlled Louisiana at the time, to increase population and therefore power in the area. This is one of many dishes still made by the descendents of the Isleños living today in St. Bernard Parish.

Shrimp-Andouille Paella {Louisiana Cookin’ October 2012}

    1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
    1 pound andouille sausage, sliced {If you cannot find Andouille I would think any smoked sausage would work.}
    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped .
    1 cup chopped onion
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    2 cups water
    1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
    1 (16-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
    2 chicken bouillon cubes
    2 teaspoons paprika
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
    Y2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon saffron
    1 pound medium fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
    2 cups frozen peas, thawed
    1 (2-ounce) jar pimientos, drained
    Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage, chicken, onion, and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
Add 2 cups water, rice, tomatoes, bouillon, paprika, cayenne and black pepper, and saffron. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
Stir in shrimp; cook, covered, another 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Stir in peas and pimento. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Despite all the ingredients it is amazingly easy to put together in just one pot. Just one!!

IF you want to learn more about this cultural group that has colored the cuisine of Louisiana you can find more HERE!

Brother Devil Shrimp. What an interesting name. Probably because of the spicy nature of this dish. And it CAN be spicy!! Lots of crushed pepper – or not, depending on your tastes.

Looking through a collection of shrimp recipes I ran across several for this shrimp but narrowed them down to just two. One from The Food Network and one from Tommy Centola Between the two of them I came up with a dish we liked.

    1 pound raw large Shrimp peeled and deveined
    2 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
    ½ – 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes {depending on how spicy you like it!}
    3 tablespoons Olive Oil
    1 medium Onion, minced
    1 14½ ounce can Diced Tomatoes
    1/3 – ¾ cup Dry White Wine
    2 – 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
    3 cloves Garlic, minced
    3 sprigs Fresh Oregano, leaves stripped and roughly chopped
    3 tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped
    3 tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped
    12 ounces Linguini

In a large bowl, toss shrimp with Seafood seasoning and red pepper flakes.
In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the shrimp and sauté until just cooked through {don’t over cook or the shrimp will be tough}, about two minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a large plate and set aside.
Add the onion to the same skillet and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Then add the garlic and anchovies; cook, stirring, until the garlic is soft, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes with their juices, the wine, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt.
Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the parsley, basil, pasta, and shrimp to the sauce along with any collected juices from the plate and toss to combine.

This was really tasty and just spicy enough but a litle soupy. I either need to cook it just a tad longer or NOT add the liquid with the tomatoes

In the South today is Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday”. The day when you enjoy all the decandence in life with none of the guilt.

I woke up this morning and decided to make a King Cake. The first one in DECADES!! I just had a feeling I needed to make one.

I used a recipe from David Haydel that I have had forever and have no idea where I got it. The dough is his:

For the King Cake:

    1 cup milk (at room temperature)
    1 tsp. flavor (lemon, orange, vanilla, or butter)
    4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup all-purpose shortening
    2 large eggs, beaten
    4 cups all-purpose flour
    Vegetable oil
    Cinnamon sugar
    12 tbsp. granulated sugar
    Purple, green, and yellow food-coloring

Put the milk in a small bowl and add the flavoring. Dissolve the yeast in the milk
and set aside for a few minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, cream well togeth-
er the sugar, salt, and shortening. Add the beaten eggs and continue creaming. Blend
in the yeast mixture and add the flour slowly, kneading constantly until the
dough is smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes. Allow the dough to rise in a
warm place for about an hour and a half or until double in size.

Roll the dough out in a rectangular shape-and brush the surface with vegeta-
ble oil. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Seal in the sugar by folding the
dough in half lengthwise. Cut the dough into three even strips, sealing the edges,
and then braid the strips together. Form the braided dough into a circle and let it
rise until double in size. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees and mix the purple, green,
and yellow food-coloring pastes with 4 tablespoons of sugar each; put the colored
sugars on the cake just before it goes in the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
An alternate choice is to frost the baked and cooled cake with white icing and then sprinkle on the colored sugars. Serves 10-15.

I filled half of the cake with a heavy handed cinnamon sugar mix.

And half with a pecan praline filling.

Pecan Praline Filling:

    I cup roasted, broken pecans
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp cinnamon
    pinch salt
    4 Tbl Cane Syrup

Mix all the ingredients and spread on the rectangle of dough.

We are now ready for a SUGAR HIGH!! Enjoy.

BYOB Badge

It looks like Saturday is going to be my major baking day. With hunting season just one month away I will be alone on Fridays and Saturdays so they will be perfect times to bake. (And cook some dishes just for ME!!) Even though hunting season hasn’t started yet the preparation is already beginning so it seems like a good time to start

    Sweets on Saturday

(To go along with Tuesdays with Dorie, French Food Fridays with Dorie, and Craving Ellie on Thursdays)

When my Mother moved into a small retirement community and an equally small apartment she had to clean out her cookbooks. I know she had well over 100 cookbooks and she didn’t have room but for about 1/4 of them. Many of them were none I was really interested in, but there were some that caught my fancy. Usually it was because of the author, but some times it was because of the picture on the cover – like this one….

I mean really, how you resist THAT???? I couldn’t. So it joined my collection (along with aboug 10 others!!)

That was 2 years ago and I hadn’t used it since I collected it. (I KNOW!! How could I wait that long??)When I asked The Hubs the other day what kind of dessert he wanted (I was between TWD recipes.) he asked for coconut cake. Well, you can guess exactly where I went.

1/2 of the recipe gave me a perfect sized cake using the small oval pans from Wilton’s 2nd cake decorating class.


      3 cups AP flour
      2 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      1 tsp vanilla
      1 cup milk {I used coconut milk}
      1 cup butter, softened
      2 cups sugar
      4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and use a fork to mix them together.
Pour the milk or coconut juice into a measuring cup and stir the vanilla into the milk.
In a large bowl, beat the softened butter with a mixer at medium speed until creamy.
Add the sugar and continue beating, stopping to scrape down the sides, until the mixture is light and evenly combined.
Add the eggs, one by one, beating well each time, until the mixture is thick and smooth.
Add about 1/2 of the flour mixture to the batter and beat well at low speed.
Then add about half the milk to the batter, beating well.
Continue beating as you add another third of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the milk, and then the remaining flour mixture, beating well each time until the batter is very thick and smooth.
Quickly scrape the batter into the prepared cake pans, dividing it evenly, and place them in the oven.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cakes are golden-brown, spring back when touched lightly in the center, and begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. Watch closely – one may be done before the other.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 10 minutes.
Then turn out the cakes onto wire racks or plates, turn the layers top side up and cool completely.

There are several frostings you can use but I used

    Classic Boiled Icing.

    I cup sugar
    1/2 cup water
    2 egg whites

Stir the sugar into the water to dissolve it.
Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, and cook withouth stirring for 3 minutes.
Then boil for 5 – 10 minutes more, stiirring often until the syrup has thickened and will form itself into a thread 2 inches long when poured from a spoon back into the pot.
Set the syrup aside.
Beat the egg whites in a large bowl with a mixer at high speed until they are bright white, shiny, and pillow into voluminous clouds.
While still beating, slowly pour the cooked syrup into the egg whites to blend them together into one fluffy white icing. 4 – 5 minutes
Quickly spread the icing on the cake, cover with sweetened coconut and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to set up.
Cover the cake carefully and refrigerate briefly.
The icing is best if made, used, and enjoyed the same day.

While I only made 1/2 the cake recipe, I made the full amount of frosting. You can never have TOO MUCH frosting.

This, my Friends, is the Quintessentual Southern Dessert. Don’t wait too long to make it. And when you do, it won’t last long.

We have mosquitoes.
We have lots of humidity.
We have long spells of very dry weather.

That is living in the Deep South. But we also have some of the best seafood around. Fresh from the gulf. Available on a daily basis. (Well, until now, maybe….)

We also have catfish. And while we may not corner the market anymore because of all the catfish farms around it is still plentiful and delicious. If you put the two together you can come up with some delicious entrees.

    Pan Fried Fish with Crabmeat Sauce

I used catfish fillets but you could use any good solid fish – cod, halibut, haddock, etc. I prefer the taste of catfish.
Take the fillets and season WELL. Salt, pepper, seasoned salt. Whatever suits your fancy.
Dip the fillets in seasoned fry mix. {I make my own – 1 cup flour, 2 cups cornmeal, seasoning mix to taste}.
And pan fry in shallow oil until fish is flaky and golden brown.
Set aside and keep warm.

    Crabmeat Sauce

4 – 6 ounces crabmeat, flaked
2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl Ffour
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tsp fresh minced parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup light cream or half and half
parsley and green onions for garnish

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.
Stir in flour until smooth and bubbly.
Add the green onions, parsley, salt and pepper.
Slowly stir in cream or half and half
continue cooking, stirring constantly, unti thickened.
Add the crabmeat and leave on heat until heated through.
Arrange fish on a platter and trope with crab sauce.
Garnish with parsley and green onions.

You could also oven ‘fry’ the fish is you like. But since this is pan fried, there is NOT a lot of oil involved.

Hope you enjoy it as much as me did.

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