Recipes, Travel & Culture

Louisiana 

It’s been a dream of mine to live in either Texas or Louisiana (Louisiana is closer) I’m in LOVE the history (including the haunted, paranormal history), the food (most especially the food) and the architecture.

History:

The history of the territory that is now Louisiana began roughly 10,000 years ago. permanent settlement, traces back to the Archaic period, appearing about 5,500 years ago also known as Mound Builders.

The Mississippian culture  disappeared mostly before the 16th century, with an exception of a few Natchez communities that kept Mississippian cultural practices alive in the 18th century. European influence began in the 16th century, and La Louisiane which was named after Louis XIV of France, became a colony of France in 1682, before being passed to Spain in 1763. Then it became part of the United States in 1803 following the Louisiana Purchase. In 1860 47% of the population of Antebellum, Louisiana was enslaved, making it a leading slave state;  Louisiana seceded from the Union during the American Civil War on  January 26th 1861. The largest city in the entire South,

New Orleans was strategically important as a port city, was taken by Union troops on  April 25th 1862.

Haunted History:

Unexplained noises, shadowy figures, objects moved or displaced—these are a small sampling of the ghost stories emanating from the historic homes, buildings and cemeteries across Louisiana. I won’t list them all, but here are three of the most intriguing ghost stories of Louisiana.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 Location: New Orleans, Louisiana 

There is no question which tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 belongs to Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. Thousands of followers have left offerings and marked three “x’s” on her crypt in hopes of having their wishes granted.

Laveau is just one among the many famous dearly departed buried in (and said to haunt) the New Orleans’ oldest cemetery.

St. Louis was built in 1789 and is situated close behind the French Quarter, it spans only about a block but supposedly houses 100,000 of the city’s dead, many of whom are thought to still walk the cemetery’s grounds. Take a cemetery tour to get the insider knowledge. 

Note: Visitors to the cemetery must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide.

Book on Marie Laveau 

LaLaurie Mansion Location: New Orleans, Louisiana: 

Mystery, intrigue and frightening tales have surrounded the LaLaurie Mansion since the 1830s. The highly influential, French-Creole  Delphine LaLaurie (Mad Madam LaLaurie)was a well-respected member of society known to throw opulent parties. The truth came out On the morning of April 10, 1834 when a fire swept through burning part of the mansion but also revealing Madame LaLaurie’s darker side.  Firefighters discovered chained and tortured slaves in a chamber in the home. Though LaLaurie and family fled the country, never to be seen again, these tortured souls are still looking for revenge.

Future owners, rumored to have been plagued by ghosts, each left soon after buying the property. Ghost hunters swear it’s the most haunted house in the French Quarter, but some historians say the tales are not true. Next time you’re in New Orleans, take a haunted tour and pass by the mansion to decide for yourself.

Book on Madam Lalaurie 

And last but not least we have:

Dauphine Orleans Hotel Location: New Orleans, Louisiana 

Tales of twisted fates are retold for an eternity at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel and bar, (May Bailey’s Place). There seem to be four main characters who keep making their presence known from beyond the grave. One of which is the Lost Bride, who is believed to be the spirit of a young woman, Millie, a courtesan, who was working in May’s Place. Her fiancé was shot dead in a gambling dispute on the morning of their wedding. According to many accounts, Millie took to wearing her wedding gown around May’s Place and even after her death many years later, Millie still roams the Dauphine hopelessly waiting for her fiancé. Don’t miss May Bailey’s—it’s been the site for two different “overnight lockdowns” by the hosts of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures TV series.

Okay so now we have a layout of history, let’s look at the food! Seasonings such as Cayenne pepper, Tony Chachere’s, Tabasco sauce and Zatarain’s are prevalent in the cuisine of Louisiana. The state is mostly known for its Cajun, Creole, and Native American cuisine. 

 Creole cuisine is influenced by traditional French cooking with Spanish, African, and Indian influences. Cajun however is one of the most popular cuisines in the United States, it has a reputation of being incredibly spicy and dependent on frying. People in Southern Louisiana say that others eat to live, while they live to eat.

So here is a New Orleans recipe!

Shrimp and Crab Gumbo 

This gumbo from chef-owner Donald Link of Herbsaint in New Orleans owes its flavor to the roux, a mix of flour and oil that’s cooked until it’s coffee-colored.

STOCK 

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 gallon plus 2 cups clam juice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped 8 bay leaves

ROUX

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

GUMBO

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped 
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped 
  • 1 pound okra, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds 
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder 
  • 1 tablespoon paprika 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons filé powder (see Note) 
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper 
  • Salt 
  • Shelled and deveined shrimp (from the stock) 
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over Steamed rice, sliced scallions and Tabasco, for serving

Step 1   In a stockpot, heat the oil. Add the shrimp shells and cook over high heat, until starting to brown, 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until it begins to stick to the pot, 2 minutes. Add the clam juice, onion, celery, carrot and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat for 25 minutes. Strain the stock into a heatproof bowl.

Step 2   In a saucepan, whisk the flour with the oil to make a paste. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the roux turns golden brown, 30 minutes. Increase the heat to moderately high and cook, stirring, until the roux is dark brown, 10 minutes longer. Scrape the roux into a bowl and reserve.

Step 3   In the stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic, onion and celery; cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add the roux and cook until bubbling. Stir in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until no floury taste remains; skim off the fat.

Step 4   In a skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the green pepper, okra, chile powder, paprika, filé, oregano, thyme, cayenne and white pepper. Season with salt and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, 5 minutes. Stir in a ladleful of the liquid in the stockpot, scrape up the browned bits and transfer to the gumbo in the pot. Simmer, stirring, for 1 hour.

Step 5  Add the shrimp to the pot and cook, until just white throughout, 2 minutes. Stir in the crab; season with salt.

  • Chef’s Notes: 

Filé powder is made from ground, dried sassafras leaves. It is available from cajungrocer.com 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s