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Cooking resources at your library, kitchen suggestions and tips, and more.
Louisiana: Cajun, Creole, it’s all good “I Gar-on-tee”
If you were fortunate enough to see any of Justin Wilson’s cooking shows on PBS some years ago, you might recall his charming mangling of the English language. Instead of saying “I guarantee”, he pronounced it “I gar-on-tee”. His book Justin Wilson’s homegrown Louisiana cookin’ is true to its title. Besides recipes that are familiar to many, it contains unusual dishes such as Stuffed and baked heart and Broiled alligator tail.
Two good starter books for Louisiana cuisine are Besh Big Easy and The best of New Orleans. The recipes are not complicated and are good for novices as well as experienced cooks.
When the Cajun food craze hit the U.S. in the 1970s, the most well-known Louisiana chef was Paul Prudhomme. Decades later, his books are still an invaluable resource for Louisiana cooking. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s fork in the road, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana tastes, and The Prudhomme family cookbook are among them.
If you’ve watched the Food Network over the years, you’ve probably seen shows featuring Emeril Lagasse. Of the well-known stars of that network, he is one of the most familiar. He owns several restaurants, among them Nola, Emeril’s New Orleans, and Emeril’s Delmonico. Some of the recipes in his books are available on the Food Network website, http://www.foodnetwork.com/.
His books include Emeril’s new New Orleans cooking, Emeril’s Delmonico, Emeril 20-40-60 (meal preparations in 20, 40, and 60 minutes time), Emeril’s TV dinners, Essential Emeril, Farm to fork, and Emeril’s cooking with power. The last one includes recipes for slow cooker, multi cooker, pressure cooker, and deep fryer.
Kitchen tip: Don’t forget the great cooking resources on the Internet. Besides the aforementioned Food Network website, others are allrecipes.com and food.com. Look for websites by chefs. Among them are Paul Prudhomme (chefpaul.com), Emeril Lagasse (emerils.com), and a great index of sites (neworleanswebsites.com). Almost any type of cooking ingredient can be found on the Internet, which is very useful for a county such as Jackson that doesn't have a lot of specialty markets. My favorite for Louisiana food is Cajun Grocer (cajungrocer.com). A great resource for ingredient definitions and substitutes is the Cook’s Thesaurus, a cooking encyclopedia (foodsubs.com).