Rushville Republican

Recipes

March 10, 2012

Cook's Corner: Cajun cookin'

RUSHVILLE — Creole and Cajun cooking is synonymic with Louisiana style of cooking. Cajun cooking originated with folks from the southern part of France. Several groups migrated to Nova Scotia in the 1600's, formed a colony called Acadia. In the early 1700's the British forced them to leave their settlements and a large number of them settled in the bayou country of Louisiana. There they lived a simple life of farming and fishing. They adapted to living off the land and using what was available to them in order to survive. The rich and fertile soil along with a long growing season provided an excellent area to raise a diverse variety of crops. From the brackish waters of the deltas to the fresh water of the bayous there was an abundance of meat sources. From the waters came fish, turtles, alligators and the ever popular crawfish. Deer, rabbit, squirrel and various other wildlife provided a diversity of food supply.

With the abundance of new foods available to them that they quickly incorporated into their lifestyle, life was good. Indians and a few Spanish taught them there was spices available just by taking a walk in the woods. An example of this gumbo file' which is dried and ground sassafras. Mirlitons which is a squash like vegetable had been brought into the area by the Spanish, bringing it up from Mexico where it is still called chayote.

Black pepper, white pepper and cayenne pepper are used extensively in meat and vegetable dishes. White pepper is the outer part of the pepper while the black is is the inner part While imparting different flavors that excite the taste buds it creates a full flavor in foods. A major thing to bear in mind is that you do not want to taste the pepper first but to notice it only as an accent. White pepper while costing a little more than black pepper is certainly worth the difference. Cayenne pepper as we all know imparts a stronger heat sensation in foods. Used in different ratios these three can and will make a huge difference in your dining pleasure. Beside improving flavor pepper also cleanses the palate to the point of wanting another bite.

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