Boiled Crawfish

Boiled Crawfish

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Spring is here! This is such a special time of year. Things are warming up, sandals are coming out of the closets, and most importantly, crawfish is being boiled everywhere! As lent comes to a close, us Louisiana Catholics love to get family together and cook up some mud bugs. We spend this time mourning the death of Jesus, celebrating his resurrection, and getting family together over the most delicious food EVER!

Growing up, my parents worked many holidays. Easter was a big day at the restaurant, so they would arrange for my grandparents to drive from Thibodaux to Plaquemine to pick us up, and take us to Napoleonville, where we have a huge extended family, the Waguespack clan! I have so many childhood memories there of crawfish, Easter egg hunts, go-kart rides, and tons of family all gathered under Aunt Joyce and Uncle Ray’s beautiful trees filled with Southern moss as we enjoyed family time and food. My Granny used to peel crawfish for me, until I was old enough to do it myself, at which time she was the woman who taught me how to peel my own crawfish. I love her. I think of her every time I eat crawfish.

Now, years later, crawfish boils during spring are still a big part of who I am. My brother learned how to boil crawfish, carrying on the torch of tradition. Marrying a good Abbeville boy didn’t hurt either, because of course he is an expert at boiling crawfish! Together, these 2 men have seriously boiled the best crawfish I’ve ever had. My brother, Jonathan, always gets creative and throws in different vegetables. He loves tossing in artichoke, asparagus, carrots and brussel sprouts. Everyone in the family contributes something different to the party. Great music plays in the background all day. It truly is such a special time.

Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. This day is a day of remembering the immense sacrifice Jesus made for us. Naturally, Cajuns made this special day even more special by gathering friends and family over delicious food. What better way to celebrate our salvation?

This year for Good Friday, my little family gathered in Baton Rouge at  Jonathan and Blair’s beautiful home to boil crawfish and enjoy each other’s company. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my family and I all live apart from each other. So, any day we can come together is a treat. Like I just mentioned, everyone contributes something different. Blair, who is a fabulous bartender, made a Moscow mule bar! Vodka, ginger beer, and muddled berries all served over ice in a copper mug is a delicious treat on a warm, sunny day. I made the crawfish dip. I’m going to include that recipe at the end of this post. I make the dip a little differently each time, and throw whatever I have on hand in the dip. This one came out great. My mom provided dessert. She stopped by Rouses in Thibodaux and picked up our family’s favorite: chocolate fruit doberge cake. Doberge cake originated in New Orleans and is a layered cake with different fillings. We love the chocolate fruit version. The icing is a pudding, and it is oh so good! Jonathan and Terrent provided crawfish and all the fixins. And Blair’s sister, Carrie brought the booze and her one-of-a-kind wit.

I’m going to take a minute here to drop a line for my talented bestie, Sara Taylor. She made these beautiful sugar cookies for our Good Friday celebration. Sara recently took a huge leap of faith and started her own cookie making business, named My oh Mya, after her sweet daughter, Mya, who was born only 3 days after Shelby! Isn’t it amazing how becoming a parent can inspire you? Anyway, make sure you check her out on Facebook or Instagram under My oh Mya. Her work is amazing and her cookies are DELICIOUS! I was so excited when I saw that my mom picked these up from Thibodaux and brought them to Baton Rouge. She even personalized them for our girls. Here’s the link to her page. You will be in awe at her talent!

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The best part about being Cajun…is marrying another Cajun! We ate crawfish on Good Friday with my family, and then we had a re-do with my husband’s family on Easter Sunday. Crawfish TWICE in one weekend? Heaven!! I included pictures from that gathering too. There are lots of kids in my husband’s family, so the day is structured around them. Terrent and his Uncle Shane boiled the crawfish. We had more people, so they boiled 4 sacks. Let me just say…that last sack was the best! The last sack is always the spiciest, so I like to sit back, relax, enjoy a beer, and wait for those. They are totally worth the wait.

Doesn’t that look fun? It was.

Anyway, now that I’ve explained how we do things….let’s get started on talking about how we boil crawfish! Here we go!

Beer pairing: Abita Strawberry

Music pairing: Tab Benoit

Crawfish Boil ingredients: 

1 sack of crawfish

1 dozen Frozen corn on the cob

about 3-5 lbs russet potatoes

3 packs mushrooms

1 bunch of asparagus

1 artichoke

2 lbs sausage

1 bag of carrots

4 heads of garlic

6 onions

6 lemons

Instructions:

Add live crawfish to large tub, fill with water and drain. Repeat this step until water color is clear.

In a large crawfish pot, bring water to rolling boil and add seasoning of choice. Add small potatoes and onions, bring back to rolling boil and cook for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are slightly undercooked (potatoes will continue to cook in ice chest.) Remove from water and place in ice chest. Bring water back to rolling boil and add crawfish, garlic, smoked sausage and lemons. Bring water back to rolling boil (watch for steam leaving pot) then continue to cook for 3-5 minutes. After 3-5 minutes, turn fire off and add corn to the pot. Let crawfish and contents sit in seasoned water for 15 min. Remove basket of contents from pot, drain water and put in ice chest.
Serve with dip, a cold beer, and enjoy!
Don’t forget to suck the heads!

 

Crawfish Dip

Mayo 1/2 jar

Ketchup (Enough ketchup until it’s dark pink color)

Worcestershire- a few dashes

Black pepper (lots)

Red pepper 1 tablespoon

Lemon juice of half a lemon

Horseradish (As much or as little as you like. we like a lot!)

Cajun Power- a few dashes

Stir together ingredients above!

What do you do with leftover boiled crawfish? I’m glad you asked! Next time, on Everyday Cajun

xoxo- Cajun Queen

 

Everyday Cajun with the Cajun Queen

Everyday Cajun with the Cajun Queen

Hey everyone! Happy Sunday! I had such a great weekend. Saturday morning we went to the Delcambre Seafood and Farmers Market. I’m going to make a whole post about it this week because it is totally worth sharing with all of you! Then, Saturday night, I went to my favorite restaurant with my favorite person! My best friend Katie and I have been friends since we were 3 years old. She is the closest thing I have to a sister, but we live 2 hours apart from each other, and growing families make the trek from Plaquemine to Abbeville difficult. I was so excited for her to come visit me, and I was even more excited to take her to my favorite restaurant, Dupuy’s in Abbeville. We ate oysters, both raw and charbroiled, and we shared a perfectly cooked filet topped with jumbo lump crabmeat. The food was amazing and the company was even better. 12801193_10100418407186134_6340331323742655735_n

Isn’t she beautiful? She’s even more beautiful on the inside. I just love her.

Anyway, enough about my fabulous weekend. Let’s get to the reason for this post. I have so enjoyed my time writing this blog since I started in December. What began as a hobby has grown into something more. Everywhere I go, people tell me they are reading my blog. People are texting me, telling me they tried my recipes and they love it. The biggest compliment I’ve received has been “Your blog makes my heart smile. It’s so awesome to see something positive on social media. Thank you and your parents for raising such an inspirational person!” Well…this brought tears to my eyes. The blog began as a creative outlet for me. I was going through a trying time when I started it, and I was looking for something to lift me up. I pictured the blog being an online collection of pictures, recipes and memories that my daughter could someday look back on. So, to hear that I’ve inspired others and made others smile…It makes me feel so blessed. It makes me want to continue this journey…for my dad, for myself, and for my followers.

My sister in law is an incredibly talented graphic designer who designs invitations, logos for businesses, to name a few. She graduated in art from Nicholls State which lead her to work for Lamar designing their billboards. She and I were talking one day about the blog, and how she thought I should “brand it”. Being from Texas, she told me that she has always viewed Cajun cooking as intimidating and difficult. After reading my posts, she says that I’ve found a way to create a Cajun lifestyle for everyone. In short, I’ve created a way for people to be Cajun everyday. She dubbed this as a lifestyle, Everyday Cajun (with the Cajun Queen).

Why do people call me that Cajun Queen? Well…it all started in 2003, in Plaquemine, LA. Growing up in Plaquemine, all kids went to an annual celebration called the Acadian Festival. The Knights of Columbus work hard every year to put on this event, which is more than just a festival. It is a special way to pay tribute to our ancestors, the Acadians. You see, many years ago, the Acadian people were exiled from Nova Scotia. Many of these people were relocated to the swamps. The British thought that this would be a way to eliminate the Acadians, as the swamps were no place to live. They saw the living conditions as deplorable, and they were sure the Acadians would cease to exist. Families were torn apart. It was scary and sad. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote an epic poem about this, particularly regarding a woman named Evangline who was separated from her lover, Gabriel. Evangeline spent her life in search of Gabriel, never to find him. It is written that she settled as a Sister of Mercy, serving the poor, and that she finally meets Gabriel at the end of his life, and he dies in her arms. Such a beautiful tale of suffering, heartbreak, sacrifice, and true love.

Plaquemine’s Acadian Festival is devoted to this story. Growing up in Plaquemine and attending the festival was the highlight of my year. Not only is there the weekend long festival, but there is a parade, the water ceremony, a mass, and the presentation of the new queen at the Civic Center. The town of Plaquemine spends this time in anticipation and excitement around the events.

I grew up in St Louis Subdivision in Plaquemine, in walking distance from the festival. Every year, my mom took my brother and I to the festival all weekend long. Riding the rides, eating funnel cakes, and running into friends from school was so much fun. I remember as a little girl, I spotted the queen of the festival. She was walking around, greeting the visitors, wearing her crown and sash. I was in awe of her and I dreamed of one day being the queen of the Acadian Festival, also known as Evangeline, after Longfellow’s poem.

My senior year of high school, my classmates and I were invited to compete to be on the court for the Acadian Festival. I did what I had to do to get on the court, which involved spending a summer calling members of the Knights of Columbus, asking them  to vote for me. Once I was voted onto the court, a day was scheduled for us to interview with judges from out of town. At the end of that day was an exciting moment for me…I was crowned 2003 Evangeline! Look how proud my daddy was.IMG_0496

Well, ever since my reign as Evangeline, it has been a running joke with my family and friends that I’m still the “Queen”. As I always say, “Once a queen, always a queen”. My mom actually opened a boutique and named it Queeny’s! I think that being a Queen is a lot like being a Cajun. It’s a way of life. I try to never take myself too seriously. I strive for the very best in all aspects of my life. I treat others with kindness and lift them up. And most importantly, I NEVER give up.

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So there you have it. My story. I realized I was telling my dad’s story, which is the most incredible, beautiful story ever. But, I’ve decided to share MY story with all of you, and put my own style into the blog. I hope that Everyday Cajun with the Cajun Queen will be a place that people visit to smile, laugh, cry and be creative. I hope it can be an open forum where I can post about recipes, fun places to visit, and share stories about our culture. I hope that it gives everyone the confidence to cook from the heart, and to realize that we can be Cajun everyday! I hope that it promotes resilience, just like our ancestors did when they were exiled from Nova Scotia. Instead of giving up, they found a pot, grabbed some random ingredients and made a gumbo. This spirit is what I’m all about. So… please continue to follow me on my journey. Live. Love. Laugh. And when life hands you roux, make a stew.

This is a picture of me after the water ceremony. I was presented on a canoe, in Bayou Plaquemine, in front of the whole town! I got up to the pier, and my dad’s beaming face was brighter than the stars. I’ll never forget this moment.

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xoxo- Cajun Queen

Oh! and as far as that girl I mentioned in the beginning… I love growing old with you and I can’t wait to see where this life take us!!

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Crawfish Pie {and Corn Maque Choux}

Crawfish Pie {and Corn Maque Choux}

IMG_0527It’s that time of year….crawfish season!!

Like I’ve said before, I love seafood. And crawfish has a special place in my heart. I love that crawfish is seasonal, because when it comes back around, it makes it that much more special. We love eating crawfish any way possible. Boiled crawfish is such a treat. Gathering friends and family, playing music, drinking a few cold beers, and boiling some spicy mudbugs are what we live for in South Louisiana!

In addition to boiling crawfish, we Louisiana folk love to cook with crawfish. My dad made a killer crawfish etoufee that he served over a heaping serving of jambalaya, all aside some fried shrimp. He called this the Cajun two-step. You can still order this dish at Flanagan’s in Thibodaux, where he worked to put it on the menu! I order the Cajun two-step when I go there. It always reminds me of him.

My mom also cooks with crawfish, and she makes my favorite crawfish delicacy: crawfish pie. My mom always made this for me. When I was in college at Nicholls, I’d go home to Plaquemine for the weekends and she’d send me home with a crawfish pie. Well, when I moved away to Lafayette, and was living on my own, I had no choice but to make it myself, only to find that it is super easy to make! In fact, when Terrent and I first started dating, he’d come to my little apartment and I’d cook, we’d drink wine, and watch TV. One of the first things I cooked for him was crawfish pie. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he asked me “You really made this?”. I was loving the fact that I impressed him so much with such a simple recipe. He said from that point on, he was hooked on both me and my cooking. He jokes because I didn’t cook crawfish pie again for years, and he said “You reeled me in with your crawfish pie, and you never made it again”. When I decided to make it this week for the blog, he was like a little boy on Christmas morning.

Tips: make sure you buy fresh, Louisiana crawfish. Not frozen. And not from China.

I don’t make pie crust. I just don’t. So, my mom always told me to buy the Pillsbury pie crust from the grocery store. This one is near the biscuits. It comes in a long, skinny box, that looks like a spaghetti box, and has 2 round pie crusts that you roll out into your pie dish. I use a 9″ glass pie dish. This crawfish pie has 2 lbs of crawfish in it so it makes a lot of filling, requiring a nice sized pie dish and crust.

Crawfish pie is so delicious, I like to accompany it with a side dish, just to make sure I don’t eat the whole pie. A good side dish for crawfish pie is corn maque choux. My corn maque choux is quick, easy, and flavorful.

Are y’all ready to celebrate crawfish season with me?

Here we go!

Wine pairing: whatever dry white wine you choose to use in this recipe. I used my go-to Kendall Jackson Chardonnay

Beer pairing: Abita Strawberry

Music Pairing: your favorite oldies. Embarrassingly, my oldies are on a Pandora station called 2000’s pop.

Ingredients:

Crust:

Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie shell- place in pie pan- deep dish

Filling:

1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter

1/4 cup flour

1 onion, chopped

1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped celery

(For the last 3 ingredients, I used Guidry’s seasoning I had in my fridge)

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley

1/2 cup green onion, sliced

Tony Chachere’s seasoning, or your favorite Cajun seasoning

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 lbs. fresh Louisiana crawfish tails

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter over low heat in a large skillet. Gradually add flour and cook slowly, stirring constantly until a very light roux forms. Add onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, parsley, and green onion. Continue cooking and stirring until vegetables are very soft. Add Tony’s, wine, and heavy cream. Mix gently but thoroughly and cook for 3 minutes over low heat. Add crawfish tails and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and gently.
  2. Spread cooled filling into unbaked pastry shell. Gently place top crust over filled pie. Moisten and seal edges (I moistened with egg wash). Cut 6 slits in the top crust, then bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and serve.

Tip: if you let the whole pie cool first, you will get more perfect looking slices. If you can’t wait for it to cool, it will ooze out more. It’s delicious either way, but prettier if you let it cool first.

Now for the lagniappe recipe:

Corn Maque Choux 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Corn (I had 2 small cans of mexicorn at home, and used that. Frozen corn could also work if you defrost first)

1 can of rotel

Guidry’s seasoning (Or onion, bell pepper, celery)

3 cloves of garlic

Cajun Seasoning (We use Tony’s)

Instructions:

Heat oil in pan. Add produce, cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic, stir to combine. Cook garlic until fragrant. Add corn and rotel to the pan. Season as you like it. We use a lot of cayenne pepper in this one. Once heated through and combined, simmer on low heat and serve.

I hope everyone enjoys this family favorite!!

xoxo- Cajun Queen

Cajun Queso

Cajun Queso

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CHEESE!!!! Oh man I love cheese. My favorite type of cheese? Liquid cheese. Our favorite place to eat queso is El Camino Restaurant in Abbeville. Their queso is so creamy and delicious. I often dream of queso.

I must start this one out by saying that my husband created this recipe! It’s true. He suggested we make this at home on Mardi Gras Day. Which reminds me of how we met….

It was 5 years ago, in the streets of Downtown Lafayette, and it was in the middle of Mardi Gras. Beads were flying, drinks were being chugged, and I was having the time of my life with my parents and my good friend, Lacey. As the night got later, my parents went back to my apartment, and Lacey and I continued to hit the town. Walking past one of the bars downtown, we passed a group of guys, and my friend, Lacey, whistled at them. (to this day, Terrent makes a joke that I whistled, but I’m here to set the record straight. It wasn’t me). Well, the group of guys turned around, asked us to have a drink, and we hung out the rest of the night. At this time, I had been single awhile and I rarely talked to guys when I was out. But, this guy was different. He was cute, but unassuming. We had fun together. And, when the night was over, he asked me for my number and we went our separate ways. A week later, we had our first date, and from there we were pretty much inseparable. Here we are now, together 5 years, married 2 1/2 years, and we are proud parents to a baby girl. In fact, she, too, loves Mardi Gras.

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The reason I share this story with you all is because I want to instill in everyone the realization of how special Mardi Gras is to me. The day after I met Terrent, I told my Dad about him. My dad said “Ahh. That Mardi Gras State of mind. It’s what dreams are made of”. At the time, I didn’t quite know what he was talking about. But now, looking back, I totally get it! My brother and his wife met and fell for each other at Mardi Gras. My parents’ best memories are on a parade route. And I met the love of my life, in the heart of Downtown Lafayette, celebrating the best holiday in the world.

Now, 5 years later, we have seen our ups and downs. But, like any true Cajuns, we grow with each experience. Mardi Gras Day this year was different. I spent the day working, came home, kissed my husband and our baby, and we all hung out and cooked Cajun Queso. That Mardi Gras state of mind is real, and in the Percle-Broussard home, we make it a point to have that state of mind year round.

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Ok. Now, go indulge in carbs and cheese!!!

Here we go!

Wine Pairing: Chateau St. Michelle Chardonnay

Beer Pairing: Abita Jockamo IPA

Music pairing: Rebirth Jazz band

Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon flour
half pound andouille sausage
1/2 cup Guidry’s Seasoning mix (onion, bell pepper, celery)
1 bottle of beer (we used Jackamo IPA by Abita)
LA hot sauce to taste
Cajun Power garlic sauce
Johnny Jambalaya’s Herb Dressing and Marinade
Jalapeños
1 can rotel
chop and cook sausage. add in Guidry’s onions and cook. remove and set aside
in a large saucepan, melt the cream cheese, beer and rotel over medium heat. stir to combine.
toss in shredded cheese and flour. stir to combine. add sausage and jalapeños (use as many as you like. we like it hot)
Stir and add a splash of Cajun Power and a splash of Johnny Jambalaya’s Herb Dressing and Marinade.

 

I hope you all have a great week. When you’re feeling sad or defeated, just remember: there is nothing that chips and queso can’t fix!

xoxo- Cajun Queen (and my Cajun King)