Sharing best ideas

Chef Ryan Trahan at Blue Dog Cafe in Lafayette was crowned King of Seafood last week at the 11th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-off for his Cracklin Crusted Red Snapper with Pickled Crawfish Tails, Buttermilk Chili Consume, Spring Vegetables, Burnt Leek Oil, Fermented Cream and Bowfin Caviar dish. Presentation was a part of the judging process.

DI annual cookbook recipes are jewels

Taste and see what is good — and to the winner comes praise. Thus is the 15 year tradition for the annual Daily Iberian Cajun-Creole Cookoff and Cookbook. The “Cajun-Creole Cookery” cookbook started back in the 1950s as part of the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival celebration. It has evolved through the years to be two publications, one is a special section on the sugar cane industry, the other an annual cookbook featuring recipes of local cooks, some professionals, but most are simply good cooks. 

 The highly prized first place winner has typically been featured in a story for the cookbook. All recipes submitted, which are not directly copied from other sources, are included therefore the September publication makes a great collector’s item and gift for Christmas. 

The thing is, it takes recipes in order to produce the cookbook or to have a cookoff. The good news is we have the first recipes and the early birds, Brenda Boudreaux, Margaret Melancon and Darnelle Delcambre, received a new cookbook courtesy of Versa Press. They print many of the books published in south Louisiana including the recent “Creoles of South Louisiana: Three Centuries Strong,” by Elista Istre, and “Donkey Otie’s Forever Birthday Story,” by Vicky Branton.

The high quality cookbooks are a treasure chest of Southern recipes from Mississippi and the Carolinas. Usually slow coming in, recipes this year are no different. We need your creative offerings because they will help shape the rest of the planning. 

Will there be a Cookoff? Only if cooks are willing to participate. Will there be a Cookbook? There is always a reason to share recipes and we’ve brainstormed some ideas just in case the usual submissions fall below our quota. 

New Ideas

One conversation about the cookbook included making a section for people needing to watch their intake of carbohydrates or other issues like diabetic cooking. There could be a children’s section or even vegan — younger generations just don’t cook like they did in the 1950s, for that matter neither do the older cooks in today’s generation of homemakers. 

Our commitment is to find what our readers are doing in the kitchen and duplicate it so others can share in prize winning recipes that fit today’s budgets, cooking styles and health issues. In order to do that, we need your voice — and recipes — to tell us, “what’s cooking” in Teche Area kitchens.

Sometimes cooking styles change depending on innovations in cookware. For example, Emma Christensen at TheKitchn.com has the explanation for the word used in one of today’s recipes. The terms “nonreactive” versus “reactive” cookware are referring to the type of metal from which your pot or bowl is made. Aluminum, cast iron and copper are all “reactive.” Stainless steel, ceramic, glass and metal cookware with enamel coating are all “nonreactive.”

Foods cooked in reactive pots will often pick up a metallic flavor and sometimes turn funny colors, particularly very acidic or very alkaline foods. Whipped egg whites can develop gray streaks and tomato sauces start tasting tinny. 

Therefore, nonreactive cookware doesn’t react with food at all. You never have to worry about using it in the kitchen. The downside is that it’s usually more expensive.

By the way, copper cookware is the exception to the rule. Copper is a reactive metal, but it’s valued for things like whipping egg whites (makes the whites more stable) and quick cooking (because copper conducts heat very well). It’s also pretty darn expensive, Christensen said.

Time to Commit

There are a number of cooks, and cocktail makers, who have asked about the cookoff. It’s time to get your recipes in. In fact, one such resident and product distributor might notice his product is mentioned in one of today’s recipes. If that doesn’t tell you the time is right for submission, what will it take? 

Drop off your recipe, email it, mail through the post office or fill in our online submission form. We’re waiting on you to plan the rest.

Be creative, you might try something like these 2018 chef recipes from the Louisiana Seafood Cookoff where Chef Ryan Trahan from Blue Dog Cafe was crowned King of Seafood. 

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