Jambalaya Will Make Everyone Happy

Jambalaya is a rice dish famous in the Creole cooking of Louisiana, a kind of Louisiana version of the Spanish paella.  In the Creole cooking of jambalaya, a cooking associated with New Orleans, they make it “red” through the use of tomato paste and/or tomatoes while in Cajun cooking, the cooking of the Acadians from French Canada, it is made “brown” without tomatoes.  Besides the rice, jambalaya is usually cooked with ham, chicken, sausage, shrimp, and oysters seasoned with herbs.  The tasso called for is a kind of Louisiana cured pork shoulder sometimes called tasso ham. You can order it on-line at CajunGrocer.com. Apparently, this word jambalaya comes from an old Provençal word jambalaia, which refered to an old dish made of chicken and rice.  But the famous Provençal poet, Nobel Prize winner, and gastronome Frédéric Mistral (1830-1914) claimed that the original jambalaya was an Arab dish.  This recipe is based on one by Marc Savoy of Eunice, LA that appears in various places on the internet.

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Recipe type: Rice
Cuisine: Creole Louisiana
Serves: 4
  • ¾ pound bone-in chicken, cut up
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ pound smoked Andouille or Polish sausage, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • ¼ pound tasso, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Water
  • 2½ cups medium-grain rice
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning spice, such as Paul Prudhomme’s or Tony Chachere’s
  1. In a cast iron skillet, over medium heat, cook, turning with tongs, the chicken in a little vegetable oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and tasso and cook for 10 minutes. Pour off the fat, is excessive, but keep the drippings in the pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until soft. Add 5 cups of water and the Cajun seasoning spice. Bring to a boil over high heat and add rice then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook over low heat until rice is tender and the water absorbed, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.


Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches Make “Moon of the Faithful” Syrup for Crêpes

This Sicilian sweet syrup is part of what is known folklorically as being part of cucina arabo-sicula, the cooking influenced by the long ago Arab presence in Sicily.  In some Muslim countries, the apricot is known as the “moon of the faithful.”  The apricot belongs in the same family as the peach and nectarine, all fruits used in this delicious syrup.  If you can buy your fruits from a farmers market it will taste far better than supermarket fruit.  This syrup can also be poured over plain cake, omelets, waffles, fried bread, ice cream, or other fruit. The peels of the nectarines and peaches can also be removed with a vegetable peeler which is recommended if the fruit are quite ripe. In the photo, the fruit used is mulberries, but you can use fruit.

Crêpes with "Moon of the Faithful" Syrup
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In Italian, crêpes are called crispelle, and this Sicilian dessert is perfect for those summer fruit that make the syrup--peaches, nectarines, and apricots.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Sicilian
Serves: 6
  • For the syrup
  • 3 large ripe peaches
  • 3 large ripe nectarines
  • 6 ripe apricots
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • For the crêpes
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon unsalted butter or as needed
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Plunge the fruits into the boiling water for 2 minutes to remove their skins. Drain, peel off their skin and pit them and chop.
  2. Place the fruit, sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat and cook 35 minutes. Let cool in the saucepan and when it is completely cooled store in bottles or containers in the refrigerator.
  3. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt together. Break the eggs into another bowl or measuring cup and beat. Pour the milk in with the eggs and beat again. Pour the eggs and milk into the flour and stir vigorously until it is smooth and thin.
  4. In a medium nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over high heat, coating the bottom of the pan. Pour in a ladleful of batter, turning the pan rapidly in a circular motion so the bottom of the pan is coated and the batter very thin. After about a minute, lift the edge of the crêpe and flip and continue cooking until golden in less than a minute. Set each crêpe aside as you finish cooking them.
  5. Fold the crêpes in quarters, stuffed with cut-up raw fruit if you like, or just plain, and spoon the syrup on top. Store remaining syrup.


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