Tag Archives: Cajun

Cajun Grill-less Corn Recipe

15 Jul

Our post this week comes from The Farm Table member, and guest blogger, Laura Miller, who blogs over at Beyond the Cuke. When we asked her to come up with a post for us featuring Farm Table produce, we were flattered to get this post in return. First, she had us at Game of Thrones, and while we don’t expect to be adding “milk of the poppy” to our add-on list anytime soon, we were delighted to hear she thinks so highly of us. Thanks for a great post, and recipe, Laura!

3 Reasons Why The Farm Table is the Best of All of the CSAs

Let me just put it this way–If this was Game of Thrones, House Baratheon, House Lannister, House Stark and House Greyjoy would see no reason to wage war because The Farm Table obviously rules the realm. Here’s why:

1. No vegetable ninjas here. I’ve tried my share of vegetable delivery services and I’ve never come across one with such friendly neighborhood coordinators! In fact, not only did these other services not have Angela, my friendly neighborhood coordinator who chats with me about running and blogging, but they might not have had NCs at all for all I know. After all, I’d just leave a box out and sometime by the end of the day–varying times, meaning that my veggies might sit out for a bit since I wasn’t sure when to expect them–it’d be replaced by another box of veggies.

Okay, okay. I’m sure there are neighborhood coordinators for all CSAs but I’m just going to assume they were vegetable ninjas until you provide evidence that proves otherwise.

2. The “S” in “CSA” could stand for “Social.” It doesn’t, but it could. With everything from farm volunteer days like this one in May to local food tastings like the one that I had the pleasure of attending last night at The Savory Grain, your weekly veggie boxes basically come with berries, potatoes and a new set of like-minded friends.

3. Piles and piles of produce. Here’s a visual:

Beyond the Cuke

So maybe we don’t get corn every week but we get the week’s version of corn. No more eating out of season food that has traveled all of the way from South America or the West Coast. In July, you’re going to eat peaches. In September, you’re going to have some apples. And you’re going to enjoy them because they’re delicious, in-season and local.

Since this week’s corn is, well, corn, here’s something to make with the Farm Table box bounty:

Cajun Grill-less Corn, otherwise known as “Targaryen Corn”

What You’ll Need:

4 medium ears of corn
2 tablespoons vegan butter substitute
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup vegetable broth

What You’ll Do With It (before eating it, of course):

1. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. While the water’s boiling, peel your corn.
2. Add the corn to the water. Return to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until tender. Keep an eye on it–you don’t want mushy corn but you don’t want hard corn either!
3. While boiling the corn, melt your vegan butter substitute in a small saucepan. Stir in the chili powder, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne and stir for 1 minute.
4. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and broth. Once combined, whisk into the butter mixture. Bring to a boil and cook and stir until slightly thickened, which should take about 1-2 minutes.
5. Drain the corn and then get your Van Gogh on and paint the corn with the seasoned butter.
6. Sit back and enjoy compliments from your fam, after enjoying at least two ears yourself, of course.

Veganized recipe from Taste of Home

Laura Miller Beyond the Cuke
Laura Miller blogs about each week’s kitchen triumphs–and kitchen “learning experiences”–featuring The Farm Table produce at Beyond the Cuke. Follow @beyondthecuke on Twitter and Instagram.

The Joys of Dirty Rice

24 Sep

Farm Table member and guest blogger Christen Miller, who shared her Maque Choux recipe in her last post, is back to teach us how to make another regional dish, “Dirty Rice,” substituting eggplant for the more traditional pork liver. Christen’s food mentor, Gussie Thibodaux (originally from Louisiana), taught her how to make this dish when they were neighbors living in Texas :

One of the things I love about regional cooking is sometimes the names are…colorful. 

A favorite of mine for years is that classic Cajun dish, Dirty Rice, also known as Rice Dressing, but that’s not nearly as fun to say or serve!

I learned my version in Gussie’s kitchen in Galveston, and I’ll give it to you just as she taught me, and add my changes as notes…either way it’s delicious and you’ll love it.

Traditionally dirty rice is made with chicken or pork liver. As this cooks, it breaks down, giving it the “dirty” look it’s named after. Gussie told me she couldn’t stand liver in any way, shape or form, so she substituted a surprising ingredient — eggplant. As eggplant always has and always will be one of my favorite foods, I was thrilled. 

The trick is to brown everything well as it adds a richness to the dish, and of course use the “holy trinity” of onion, celery, and bell pepper!

Gussie Thibodaux’s Dirty Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (I use veggie crumbles)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped (I use red also if I have it)
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 whole or ½ large eggplant, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (I use long grain brown rice or brown basmati)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I use vegetable broth), plus a little extra

Directions:

  • Cook the rice with the broth according to package directions. This can be done while you are cooking everything else.
  • In a non-stick or cast iron skillet brown the meat or veggie crumbles well, and chop with the spatula while cooking to make sure it’s finely broken. Once it’s cooked, remove to a bowl and remove any excess fat from the pan.
  • Add some good oil if needed (coconut or Extra Virgin Olive Oil), and add all the vegetables at once along with the seasoning. Cook and stir until they are all nicely browned, then remove from the pan and add to the meat/veggie crumbles you have set to the side. You can leave any left over oil in the pan at this point.
  • Now you make a roux! Heat the 2 Tbs of oil in the pan on medium heat, then add the flour. Cook and stir continuously until the flour is a lovely brown color – almost as dark as a copper penny. Do not rush this, and don’t use too high heat or it will burn before it browns!
  • Add the meat/veggie crumble and browned vegetables back in to the pan, and stir to coat with the roux. Gently stir in the cooked rice, and if it seems a bit dry, add some broth a little at a time.
  • Serve as a side, but it also makes a great main dish with a salad and some bread.

Enjoy!

Maque Choux

22 Aug

This recipe comes from Farm Table member, Christen Miller, a nostalgic recipe from her days in Texas, learning to cook from her Louisiana-born neighbor who infused Cajun-inspired dishes into Christen’s life. Christen’s food talents include: vegan and vegetarian, wild foods, Cajun and tex-mex, historic (Native American, civil war era, colonial era), healthy recipes, and campfire cooking, including dutch oven, cast iron skillet, grill, and foil. We look forward to Christen contributing more recipes to our blog for your enjoyment. 

Christen swears by Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning, and you can almost taste the dish below as she describes how to make it. With corn on the menu last week and in the Chef box this week, why not try this recipe out?

Some of my earliest memories are from the garden of my youth. Hot Texas sun, red clay dirt, the drone of cicadas and the smell of warm pine needles will always invoke memories of sweet tomatoes, a cucumber tee-pee, and that particular shade of purple you can only find in an eggplant. We planted our garden in March, and we were still pulling tomatoes in December. What we didn’t get from our own piece of land often came from close by. We lived in an agricultural society. Sweet corn and rice were cash crops in Waller County. Most of the kids in my school were in Future Farmers of America or 4-H, and raised cows, sheep, goats and chickens to show in fairs. It was just how we lived.

But agriculture wasn’t the only food source in our house — my father is an avid fisherman, and the main source of animal protein on our table was fresh caught bass or perch, speckled trout or red snapper. We had eggs from our chickens, and blackberries and muscadine grapes picked from the road sides. And of course…we had barbecue!

I don’t live in Texas any more, I don’t have a garden, and there is rarely time to fish. But the values I learned in childhood of the importance of eating local and close to the earth have stayed with me. I was thrilled when I found out about The Farm Table from a flyer at my child’s school. An opportunity to participate in a community run organization that delivers local produce to your door? Sounded to good to be true! Thank goodness it isn’t– I feel like it’s Christmas every Thursday when I get home and find “The Box” on my doorstep, and the smell of fresh produce takes me back to childhood, and stirs both my creativity in the kitchen and my memories of all my kitchen mentors who’ve been in my life.

The first day my husband and I moved into our house in Galveston, TX, we met our next door neighbors Gussie and Emery Thibodaux. They hailed from Louisiana and were some of the kindest, generous, and most genuine folks I’ve ever known. And Gussie could cook like no one I’d ever met. I hope to share many of her recipes, but one of my favorites is her corn Maque Choux  (pronounced mock shoe) – I’ve read that the origin of the name is not French as it seems, but a variation of an American Indian name. Gussie never measured anything, and so I learned to cook like her with a dash of this and some of that, going by smell and taste to determine if it was right. Maque Choux is one of those regional dishes that has as many variations as there are families that make it. It showcases corn in a unique and wonderful way. I don’t know how true that is, but I like the story. Every time I cook it up I can picture her stirring and stirring the pot and telling me, “You gots to stirl and stirl and stirl it!”

Gussie’s Maque Choux

Ingredients:

  • Fresh corn, at least 1 ear per person
  • Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning
  • Oil, 1/2 cup corn oil or more OR about 2 Tbs of coconut oil
  • Water, as directed

Directions:

  • Start with the freshest corn, but you can use frozen if you must. At least one ear per person will do, but more is recommended.
  • Using a very sharp knife, cut the corn off the cob in two thin layers, then flip the knife over and use the back to scrape every bit off the cob. Squeeze the cob to get every bit of milk out. Season with Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning to taste. Don’t skimp on this.
  • Put enough oil in a heavy pot to coat the bottom. (This is the one area in which I don’t do just what Gussie said. She put at least half a cup of corn oil or more. I use about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.) Get the oil nice and hot – medium heat is best.
  • Add the corn all at once. Cook and stir until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, but don’t let it burn. When you have some nice browned bits add enough water to cover the corn, then scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Let the water cook down until the pan is almost dry. Do that again – water to cover, scrape up browned bits, simmer down until almost dry. Your corn should put off a roasted aroma, and smell so good your mouth is watering. This process caramelizes the corn and brings out all the natural sweetness.
  • Add water a third time, but this time not as much and don’t let it cook all away – you want some moisture in there. Taste for seasoning, and you are done.
  • This dish goes with just about anything, and leftovers (if there are any) are fantastic as a condiment on burritos or tacos, stirred into pasta salads or casseroles.

Do you have a food mentor who left their mark on your cooking repertoire? A neighbor, a family member, or a friend? We’d love to hear more. Tell us about them in the comment section below!