Tuesday, January 26, 2010

NEW ORLEANS/CAJUN Superbowl Party Ideas and a Virgin Islands Update

OOPS, I was just a tad over enthusiastic yesterday about my announcement, and I implied that I was moving to the US VIRGIN ISLANDS on a permanent basis. Actually, it is for a guarantee of 6 months, and possibly longer, but it is not an open ended commitment.

My wife has been given the opportunity for a temporary job transfer. I am coming along as the unemployed beach combing spouse (think Moondoggie). It is the best of both worlds, being allowed to "visit" the island for an extended length of time, get to know the local community and for me, the cuisine, but at the same time, we have the knowledge that we are not permanently leaving family, friends and the life we love. It is a great deal for her, but a better deal for me!

I went out yesterday, shopping for a new thong swim suit, but was not able to find one to fit. So I bought a new pair of sunglasses instead. Somethings I will just have to wait til we get on site to prepare.

It does beg an interesting question we are having (read fight when I say question)...

I have a pretty well stocked kitchen for my cooking needs. Kitchenaid mixer, great professional set of pots and pans, Quisenart, mini-chopper, knives and my beloved smoker and grills... What can I fit in a suitcase to take that are MUST HAVE items. We will be moving into an apartment, with limited amounts of cooking supplies furnished. We have been warned that anything we buy on the island will be very expensive, so bring full bags. We will be taking only 4 suitcases between us, and weight considerations will prevent the Kitchenaid from being packed (I wonder if it will fit in a carry on?). All I really need are a couple pairs of shorts, couple swimsuits, dozen t-shirts and sandals. The rest of my 2 bags should be cooking utensils. Am I right... Come on ladies, back me up, it makes sense... Right???

My wife's concern is how many pairs of shoes she can pack. Since she has to dress professionally (for the islands anyway), shouldn't I just get one bag and her three?

Who will win this fight... er, I mean discussion???

Oh well, that's our discussion and we have a couple weeks to work that out.


And one request from me to my foodie buddies... If any of you have FOODBUZZ accounts, would you take a moment and look over the other 24-24-24 postings that were done this week. They are all on one page for easy viewing. There is a place for you to "BUZZ" and "VOTE" and "VIEW" each dinner. Great ideas all, but i am just competitive enough to wonder why the Spam dinner has a higher BUZZ rating than my Cajun dinner... I mean come on???

So, click HERE for the 24-24-24 dinners and BUZZ and VOTE for me, at least til I am more popular than Spam.

OK... As promised, here is an overview of potential SUPERBOWL party foods you might want to consider... Let me know if you are hosting a party and you need any advice on any of these dishes. the Saints in the Superbowl... Come on, that DEMANDS a Cajun themed meal!


DESSERTS

Pina Colada BREAD PUDDING
With a Whiskey Sauce


OMG... Do not miss this dessert.
Rich, thick, gooey and it just SCREAMS Cajun Country. I took a standard bread pudding, added white chocolate chips, crushed pineapple, pecans and coconut to make the taste of a Pina Colada translate to this bread pudding. It is easy to make ahead, and would be HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a party. I made a gust post of this recipe at Tamy, my blogger buddies site, 3 SIDES OF CRAZY. Click on the photo to follow the link to here site and the posting.

MARDI GRAS KING CAKE

This will be the easiest recipe for you to recreate... Get one sent to you mail order! A terrific asset for your party would be The CAJUN GROCER website. They offer many different fillings in the classic King Cake look. What could be easier, order up a King Cake and wait for all the compliments... They will roll in with the good times, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a party. Click on the photo to the right for a link to the CAJUN GROCER website. Especially if you are looking for an easy party, they will provide everything from beads to a Turducken to this dessert!

PECAN PRALINE LACE COOKIES

OK, this is a small cheat, as aside from the taste of these cookies, they are not really Cajun. But, they taste so much like a New Orleans praline that I am including it here. They are wonderful cookies, and I advertised them as the best cookies I have ever eaten... AND THEY ARE! Click the photo on the left for the recipe, and you will be thrilled. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a party.



BANANAS FOSTER

Again, perfected in the restaurants of New Orleans, this is a wonderful dessert because of the Panache factor of serving this FLAMBE! The post I did has me making it on my grill, but it is the exact same procedure on the stove top. Slightly dangerous, but it is my wife's favorite dessert. It is a little scary to ponder burning anything at a Superbowl party, but it would make your event spectacular! Click the photo for a link to the post, and keep a fire extinguisher handy! Considering the circumstances, I would only recommend this if you are having a sit down dinner. Serving flaming anything while moving about is not recommended.



MAIN COURSE


RED BEANS AND RICE

NO Cajun themed party would be complete without it. And this recipe is incredible. I took it from Alton Brown's Foodnetwork TV series, GOOD EATS. It takes a bit of advance planning, as you pickle a pork shoulder for the meat. BUT, it is soooo worth it. It is also a recipe that can be made in advance. In fact, it is better the second day when all those flavors have a chance to meld. I guest blogged this at OUR KRAZY KITCHEN. You can click on the photo to the left to get to the site! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a party.


MUFFALETTA Sandwich

A true New Orleans original. Easy or complicated, as I have a recipe for the olive spread that is at the center of the taste of this classic. Or, buy the appropriate bread, the cold cuts and a prepackaged jar of Muffaletta spread and you have a classic in minutes. I made a guest blog of this sandwich at my buddy's blog, Min of THE BAD GIRL's KITCHEN. Cut the sandwich into appetizer finger-food size wedges and this is
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a party. Click on the photo to get to the recipe.


ALLIGATOR ETOUFFEE (Could also use shrimp for this recipe) Really and truly, give your party something to talk about. Alligator cooks a lot like shrimp, so give it a shot. If your local store does not stock alligator, when you order your king cake from the The CAJUN GROCER website, order up a little alligator to go with it. Click on the photo to see the recipe for Alligator (shrimp) creole (etouffee). You will need to scroll down a ways, but it is there. I like to have something unique at a party, so this is indeed HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a party.


Another easy recipe for you to recreate... Get one sent to you mail order! A terrific asset for your party would be The CAJUN GROCER website. They offer many different ready to heat and serve main dishes. What could be easier, order up a stuffed chicken and wait for all the compliments... They will roll in with the good times, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a party. Click on the photo to the right for a link to the CAJUN GROCER website. Especially if you are looking for an easy party, they will provide everything from beads to a King Cate to this one stop meal!


FRIED TURKEY

Sure, it may look black and burnt (I used a honey brine, so the sugars caramelized and the color is black), BUT, the turkey was amazing. Moist, tender, and an incredible flavor. The technique originated in Cajun country, and it makes a great centerpiece to the party. Crack her open and let people graze. You need lots of extra cooking apparatus, but once you own it, you will want to make this again and again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a party. Click on the photo to the right for a link to the recipe I used.


The world famous TURDUCKEN
A duck, wrapped in a chicken, wrapped in a turkey!
Get one sent to you mail order! Bake or Smoke it and your party will be the talk of the neighborhood. I made one for Thanksgiving, and everyone still mentions it! A terrific asset for your party would be The CAJUN GROCER website. What could be easier, order up a TURDUCKEN and wait for all the compliments... They will roll in with the good times, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a party. Click on the photo above for a link to my post on the birds, and then head to the CAJUN GROCER website to order one.


SOUPS/APPETIZERS/SIDE DISHES

CREOLE SHRIMP AND ARTICHOKE SOUP

This is an amazing soup, rich, thick and filled with flavor. If you are having a sit down super prior to the game, I would highly recommend this soup. Honestly, nothing better. BUT, for most parties, I do not recommend soup. Too labor intensive, and is best served fresh. It just is not as good if you let it sit for awhile. I love it, but
NOT RECOMMENDED for a party. For the recipe, click on the photo to the left.

CAJUN SHRIMP

Now these little beauties can be served as is, or feel free to make some rice or risotto and serve them over that. I am cheating a little, as I am giving you a link to a recipe that calls for JERK spices. Just substitute one of the standard prepackaged Cajun spices sold in any store. Click the photo to the right to get to my post on shrimp! These are easy and fast to make. Have a distinctive and powerful taste.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a party.

CAJUN CORN CASSEROLE

Any vegetarians coming to the party??? This is a great side dish recipe to have for them. And very easy. Just some corn muffin mix, corn and seasoning. Click the photo to the left to get to my original post. It may need a little dressing up to make it party worthy, maybe plate with a few of the Cajun shrimp, but it is important that you have a vegetarian option available for party goers, so HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.



CAJUN SAVORY Onion/Mushroom VEGETARIAN BREAD PUDDING
Again, this is another terrific idea if you have any vegetarians attending your party. This was highly well received when I made it. The tastes all blend very well, and it is a crowd pleaser. Go ahead and click on the photo for the link to the posting. It is important that you have a vegetarian option available for party goers, so HIGHLY RECOMMENDED




DRINKS

SWEET TEA

It is NOT the same as your sun tea or regular tea with sugar added. Called the house wine of the south, Sweet Tea has a unique taste. My Blogging friend MARY from
Deep South Dish allowed me to guest post a terrific recipe, which you can find by clicking on the photograph to the left. Sweet tea would be a terrific choice to serve as a non-alcoholic beverage. It is a great authentic recipe, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.




Now this drink just screams NEW ORLEANS. 3 kinds of rum, pineapple and orange juice, they are very, very tasty. I like that they can be made in advance by the pitcher full. I also adjusted the recipe if you would like to make them one at a time. I change the classic recipe just a tad, by adding coconut rum instead of white rum. But the look is very authentic. If you rush out to Goodwill stores, you should be able to find Pat O'Brien hurricane style glasses to serve them in, but that is not necessary to the taste. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Again, Mary let me guest post this recipe on her site, Deep South Dish and you can find that recipe by clicking on the photo to the right


SAZERAC COCKTAIL

This is my favorite cocktail. When I am in New Orleans, I drink as many as I can in as many places as I can. they are rarely offered outside of the area. Very authentic, but honestly... Pick another drink. I don't really recommend them for a party. They are an acquired taste, VERY STRONG (@80% Rye Whiskey). NOT
RECOMMENDED for a party. For the recipe, click on the photo to the left.


I have a million things to do in the next few days, but I plan to keep posting each day...


and as a reminder...

I got my love of New Orleans from several vacations I have taken. This last year, I had such an incredible n ight of fun at Arnaud's restaurant. The good folks at Arnaud's are helping to make my party memorable with a give away... A copy of their cookbook. Double click the photo of the cover to the right to learn how to enter this wonderful freebie contest!

16 comments:

  1. I say for every pair of shoes she takes, you get a kitchen item. How's that?

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  2. Congrats on your move! So exciting :)

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  3. I say the cooking supplies are non-negotiable. Then again. I travel with my measuring cups. So I'm slightly biased.

    You could always ship them...

    All of your food looks amazing! Do you think you could arrange so that you stop over here on the way...

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  4. i like the shipping idea.

    i'm off to vote for you!

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  5. Can you say JEALOUS? No? Then let me say it, I think we are all jealous that we are freezing here and you get to go off and play on the beautiful beaches. I must agree for every pair of shoes ( a girls must have) a kitchen item (practical must have) as well! I agree though, if you're going to be there that long you might as well ship what you can't bring on the plane since it is more expensive to buy it. Hey the servicemen do it when they get new orders, even ship their vehicles to the new places. Sure hope you all have a blast for all of us! We'll be expecting lots of photos!

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  6. I have some pretty nice appliances but don't use them as much as I should, preferring to do most chores by hand. However, since you are that master baker and griller, I think due consideration should be given to your needs. As far as clothes go, I'd prefer to buy THOSE there.

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  7. Another vote for shipping stuff here.

    Particularly with the weight limits on carry-on bags nowadays - if it's over 50 pounds, you get hit with extra fees.

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  8. Had a comment ready, it disappeared!! Ugh.

    So I have some thoughts...I moved across the country in a Ford Festiva, which has about the same amount of space as 4 suitcases, really.

    It's all about NEED vs. WANT. Just think about what you really need--for example, I'd take two knives. A nice big chef's knife (but not your favorite in case your luggage gets "lost"), and a small paring knife. Leave the rest. Leave the Kitchenaid. If you NEED a mixer, pick up a small hand mixer before you go. (if it breaks, one of us can send you a new one!)

    We get so used to the nice fancy convenient things like appliances/grills/smokers/etc. but we don't really need them. Just make a pile of what you think you NEED, then EDIT and edit and edit again. Until it fits.

    You should take some of your favorite spices, I'd double bag them in ziplocs, label them so TSA doesn't freak!

    I think you should aim for 2 suitcases each, but divide things up to distribute the weight evenly and try to stay under that limit.

    But what do I know, when we went to Mexico I didn't wear shoes for 6 days unless we went to town (not required at beachfront restaurants!)

    good luck! Don't fight! This is the opportunity of a lifetime! You can always learn new ways of cooking things too. And leave Julia, hard as that may be given your new relationship. =) If you need a recipe, one of us can get it for you. You know where to find us.

    (Shipping is a good idea, but don't forget insurance, and don't go crazy with it--it costs a LOT!)

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  9. Nice ideas!...

    Good luck with your "discussion".. I'm with your wife on this one... I have an out of control shoe fetish that would make Imelda Marcos proud... am I dating myself by mentioning her?

    Seriously... can you ship a box of stuff? If you can't do it before you leave.. maybe you can prepare it and make arrangements for a friend to send it for you.

    And now the bigger question... I realize grilling in Kansas in the winter is a little tough so I understand all the other kinds of posts... will you have a balcony and grill there?... the weather should be a whole lot better for grilling there than in Kansas

    And finally.... I'm jealous.. permanent or not... it's tropical... I wanna go...wahhhhh

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  10. What an amazing opportunity for you both! I can't wait to hear about your cooking and eating adventures!

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  11. Ship the essential stuff and buy a grill, there! And could you please put me in the one suitcase? I promise to be good and will help with the cooking! You lucky Moondoggie, you!

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  12. I say don't bring a single thing with you. Take the opportunity to start from scratch and learn about the food and culture of the area, see how they cook, experiment and have fun. Your kitchen stuff will still be waiting for you when you get back :)

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  13. I SO want to be an unemployed beach-combing spouse!

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  14. Hello, I do not agree with the previous commentator - not so simple

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  15. I, of course, a newcomer to this blog, but the author does not agree

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