We’ve had a bit of warm weather here in Louisiana and my azalea bushes are bursting into bloom. This reminds me that spring — and Mardi Gras — are on the way. Along with spring comes crawfish season. These crustaceans are plentiful this year, so I’m planning on making a several crawfish dishes. This week I’m attempting to cook Crawfish Bisque. This wonderful, thick soup is prepared in a way that is unique to Louisiana. The crawfish add a distinct favor. The traditional way to make Crawfish Bisque is an all-day process, so I’m adapting the recipe to something that I can manage. The bisque is still tasty and delicious!
Do tomatoes grow in Louisiana? Yes, they do. I’ve not had much luck, however, at growing them in my garden. But thanks to roadside stands and farmers’ markets, I’ve got some juicy, ripe tomatoes to use. And I’ve saved a recipe for “Roasted Tomato Soup”, hoping for the right occasion to use it.
Incredibly, we’re headed into several more days of freezing sleet and snow here in Louisiana. Haven’t seen this much icy weather in several years. Schools and businesses are closed; so we’re basically on lock-down. At least it would be wise to stay home and warm today and tomorrow. Start a fire in the fireplace, do some cooking, check the blogs.
Looking around my kitchen for things to cook in this cold weather, hearty stews and gumbos come to mind. Gumbo is uniquely Louisiana; every cook probably their own recipe variation. It’s origin really isn’t know; to me it represents a melting pot of all the cultures and foods that were brought to Louisiana. Gumbo is served in southern Louisiana at about every social event–weddings, parties, church gatherings, buffets lines–I even went to a funeral in a very rural area for an deseased employee and found gumbo served at the wake!
Gumbo is essentially a dark brown meaty, flavorful soup/stew served with rice; some cooks prefer thin soups, some like thicker. It’s adaptable to many ingredients that a person may have on hand in their kitchen. My favorite is Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.
Soup in a pumpkin brought to a holiday meal table makes a spectacular presentation. It’s a family favorite and we’ve made it many times over the years. It dates to the time when we looked forward on Sunday to getting the Washington Post newspaper in our mail box. It impressed me that the world news was always on the front page.
Each Parade Magazine contained a food feature by some well known chef such as James Beard, Julia Child, The Silver Palate authors–Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins (my personal favorites). This was probably my first glimpse at gourmet cooking. The November 13, 1983, issue contained a very young-looking Julia Child preparing “Soup in a Pumpkin.” I still have the original copy.