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katherines

Have You Switched to Summer Beer?

Southern Star's Bombshell Blonde - crisp, refreshing, and in a can! Abita makes a satsuma harvest wit, which sounds great in theory, but results have varied from year to year.

From the Road: Boudin at The Best Stop Supermarket in Louisiana

Seeing The Best Stop on the SE homepage this morning is too surreal. Come to Lafayette on your way back and stop by Johnson's Boucaniere for lunch and the French Press for dinner!

Foods we did not like as kids but now like as an adult..Got one?

Squash! My mother, who loves squash, would tease us as kids whenever we asked what she was making for dinner. "Well, we're going to the Squash Blossom!" It was a fictional restaurant that, we believed, served nothing but squash. I don't think we ever had squash as children (she'd cook it for herself and offer a bite to us) and I didn't have it until college, but I'm deep in love with it now! If I ever open a restaurant, I'll name it "Squash Blossom" just for her.

Also, liverwurst, thanks to watching my dad glop it onto his sandwiches every morning.

Louisiana Spotlight: Raising Cane's and New Orleans Original Daiquiris

@nelkins - not the best idea, as the officer can and will notice that half of the daiquiri is gone, despite a magical unopened straw.

When I first moved down to South Louisiana, I remember being completely awed by this concept and the fact that most of the people I knew don't try to cheat it. The only downside, however, is the anguish of having to wait until you get home to indulge in the frozen boozy goodness. My favorite flavor is R.I.P., but will settle for Jungle Juice in a pinch.

An American "South" meal in the Great White North

I agree with knowing what region she's from. I live in Cajun country, but have roots in New Orleans, and the difference between Creole and Cajun cooking is quite dramatic.

Honestly, the idea of cooking and eating gumbo in the summer is borderline blasphemy, but if the weather's alright with you up in Canada, then by all means. Boobird is right: first, you start with a roux. Depending on your location, you can try to find it at the store. However, making it can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. With a seafood gumbo, I recommend a darker roux, whereas for a chicken and sausage gumbo, a medium roux is suitable. Here's some websites talking about roux:

http://www.cookinglouisiana.com/Cooking/Making-a-Roux.htm (they recommend using a spatula, but I find a whisk to work best)

http://www.southerngumbotrail.com/roux.shtml (while most people say that their roux takes HOURS upon HOURS to cook, it is possible to achieve an adequate roux in a smaller amount of time. Low and slow is easier because you don't have to be as watchful.)

Let it be known though, file powder is a Creole thing. The Cajuns I know are very quick to clarify that they don't use file. ALSO the classic side for gumbo in Cajun cuisine is potato salad, not bread.

healthytouch101 brings up a good point with jambalaya, as it can be made in large quantities easily. However, again, the Creole jambalaya I've run into is very different from Cajun jambalaya.

Since I could probably talk about Louisiana cuisine for days, I'll just condense it into a list, which is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive:

Main dishes: Pork and sausage (Cajun) or Chicken and Shrimp (Creole) jambalaya, shrimp or chicken stew (served over rice), red beans and rice, crawfish (or shrimp) etouffee, shrimp or crawfish bisque,chicken fricassee, shrimp creole, sauce piquante, catfish courtbouillon, smothered chicken/sausage/steak (served over rice), and any kind of poboy you can think of, although fried shrimp or fried oyster are most common.

Sides: boudin (dear lord, trust me, I make boudin at a boucaniere, don't try this at home, just buy it) and boudin balls, shrimp-stuffed mirlitons (or bell peppers), cornbread dressing, rice dressing/dirty rice, oyster dressing, platters of fresh, preferably homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers, maque choux, and petit pois.

Desserts: I'm not as well-versed in this area, as I don't care for sweets all that much, but beignets, pecan pie (or any pie, really), and pralines come to mind.

Okay, I'll shut it now. Whew!

Help! Keeping the kitchen cool in the summer

You all have been wonderful!!!

I don't have a lot of counterspace for new appliances (crockpot, George Foreman grill), but I do have a rice cooker, so I'll see what sort of things I can whip up in there. I'd never even seen a rice cooker in my life until I moved down here and my New Iberia-born boyfriend wouldn't move in with me without his. I'll admit though, he's converted me from my old ways of "plink-plink" rice! The fan on top of the fridge trick sounds promising too.

I do have a gas oven, which gets hot enough to melt spoons whenever the oven is on, so I suppose I should have taken that as a sign. Of course, this is a very good thing for Louisiana "winters" (40 degrees + high humidity = chilled to the bone), when making a stock seems like the only thing that will heat the house up.

Screening in the porch myself had never crossed my mind, honestly, but knowing how easy it could be has me daydreaming of afternoons without swatting flies away from my drink. It'll also let my pets (cat and small dog) have some quality time with the outside world. I'll definitely look into that!

I usually don't plan on company, but the idea of just sweating it out one day and then having an arsenal of leftovers for surprise guests seems perfect, except for the fact that my boyfriend has this aversion to eating leftovers (only a few things are exempted, like gumbo, pizza, and Indian food). That, and the fact I only have Sundays off makes usual weekday routine of "it's 7:00pm, I just got home, now what do I cook?" much, much easier.

Again, thank you all for the great tips and advice!

What is your worst cooking disaster?

My first attempt at scalloped potatoes, which involved me grating cheese on my crappy grater , mandoline-ing about 5 huge potatoes and nearly losing a knuckle, fanning them out just so in my newly-gifted le cruset casserole dish, only to drop the whole damn thing on the floor just before it got past the oven door. I spent the next 30 minutes wiping up heavy cream and potatoes from the floor and off cabinets, as well as having to find all the broken pieces from the dish, only to dump it all in the trash.

I Won't Eat It

Well, geez, I love okra! In gumbos, stewed, fried, or pickled!

I eagerly want to get over my aversion to mushrooms, as I enjoy the flavor they impart when cooked, but cannot STAND the texture (and yet, I eat okra?). I've tried several types and several preparations, but to no avail. However, my boyfriend loves them, so I'll buy, prep, and cook with them, but pick them out from my plate and give them to him.

I still can't find a way that I enjoy eggplant yet, aside from ratatouille. It's edible, but underwhelming (and again, the texture).

Everything else, however, is fair game. Except for pickled pigs feet.

Where do we need to stop to eat on our cross country road trip?

Jacques Imo's (Creole cooking at its best) and Central Grocery (muffulettas make my life worth living) in New Orleans, definitely. Unfortunately, I've spent more time drinking than eating in New Orleans, so if I don't go to either of these places (although there's been a lot of talk about Cochon), I just find some poboy shop to fill me up.

If you're taking I-10 from NOLA to Austin and have a night or two to spend in Lafayette, LA, you won't regret it. It's the heart of Cajun country and has more mouth-watering plate lunches and boudin (Johnson's Boucaniere and Creole Lunch House will make you weep) than you can possibly eat, and with a night of cajun honky-tonkin' at the Blue Moon Saloon (also a hotel) to burn off all the calories.

Since others have mentioned brew pubs, The Austin Draught House is a perfect way to spend a Sunday drunk as a skunk and sippin' on craft brew in the Texas sun. It's not far from one of the few Torchy's taco stands (the closest one is in the Austin Trailer Park Eatery). Amy's Ice Creams has a few locations as well, one being right behind Waterloo Records, and offer such delights as Shiner Bock ice cream.

Help! Keeping the kitchen cool in the summer

Last night, I cooked a dinner for 4 that consisted of steak, roasted sweet potatoes and green beans, and some sourdough crostinins with goat cheese. It's miserably hot down here in Louisiana, and despite my efforts (blasting AC, trying the "bowl of ice in front of a fan" trick), the kitchen was still unbearable. Living in an old, botton floor apartment means that I have no windows that open, so I can't let the heat escape (unless I open the side door, letting mosquitos/flies/other critters in), and no amount of margaritas could compensate. I don't have access to a grill, and even then, the weather outside + bugs + a tiny porch isn't much better.

I'm no stranger to embracing the heat and sweat - I've lived here for 5 years now, but this is becoming quite the cooking obstacle. I really don't want to eat just salad and gazpacho for the next few months, so does anyone have tips for meals that don't heat up the kitchen and/or how to keep my kitchen from feeling like a sauna when I cook?

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