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NEW ORLEANS HOME OF
MARDI GRAS, JAZZ AND EMERIL'S GUMBO

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
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Courtesy New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. Photo by Donn Young.

The Masks of Mardi Gras
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Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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Beaumont, Texas

 

From Tales of the Cocktail,  the Creole Julep. Maksym Pazuniak, a mixologist at Rambla and Cure created the cocktail with his balanced and well layered julep.  Recipe as follows:
Creole Julep by Maksym Pazuniak of Rambla and Cure
    • 2 1/4 oz. Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum
    • 1/2 oz. Clement Creole Shrubb
    • 1/4 oz. Captain Morgan 100
    • 2 dashes Fee Bros. Peach bitters
    • 2 dashes angostura bitters
    • 8 - 10 mint leaves
    • 1 Demerara sugar cube

Muddle sugar, Creole Shrubb and bitters until sugar is dissolved in a 10 oz. tall glass. Add mint and press to express oils. Add cracked ice. Add Cruzan and Captain Morgan 100 and stir until frost appears on outside of glass. Garnish with  mint sprig.

For how-to-make New Orleans' famous Sazerac cocktail, click "Recipes".

For more about 2011 events, go to www.talesofthecocktail.com 

 

CREOLE and CAJUN CUISINES of SOUTH LOUISIANA 

Creole and Cajun cuisine are not the same although many chefs are blending the two styles of cooking today. Both began developing in the 18th century. The area's great love of food, flavor and tradition combined with the vast array of natural products available helped to create these multi-faceted cuisines that are so unique.

Creole cooking was an urban, elegant cuisine appealing to the  descendants of the original settlers of Louisiana, the French and Spanish. While New Orleans began as a French possession, Creoles came from the affluent, aristocratic families of Paris and Madrid and other European cultural centers. Each group adapted their native French and Spanish recipes to the bounty of local ingredients available in south Louisiana. Creole cuisine was born in the early kitchens of the area and perfected by the cooking skills and knowledge of the African cooks in the household. This  unique  cuisine was developed by many nationalities who settled in New Orleans - French, Spanish, African and Native American. Add the influences of later immigrants - Irish, German, Italian, Caribbean. The resulting style of cooking drew upon the many ingredients available in the area, fresh seafood from the Gulf and nearby lakes and rivers, spices from Africa, African cooks introduced okra, sweet potatoes, hot peppers, filé powder, made by the Choctaws from the young, tender leaves of the Sassafras, an essential ingredient in Gumbo. 

Cajun cooking was reflected in the country-style, one-pot, slow-cooked dishes of the French Canadians - known as the Acadians - who were exiled from Nova Scotia by the British in the 1750's. They settled in the bayous but had very little contact with the sophisticated New Orleanians. Cajuns became wetland farmers and fishermen developing their own customs and language that was very different from the Creole. The homestyle cooking made use of garlicky andouille sausage, fish and shellfish, rice and hot spices such as three kinds of pepper - red cayenne, black and white. Add a dash of Tabasco pepper sauce (developed by the McIlhenny family in 1868) to typical one-pot meals of Cajun country as jambalaya, gumbo and crawfish etouffeé.  
These two cooking styles of South Louisiana grew and flourished into one of the leading regional cuisines of the United States. Whether a home kitchen cook or a leading chef in a New Orlean's restaurant, each draws upon the plentiful harvest of the area - rice, crawfish, mirlitons, okra, green onions, green peppers, garlic, eggplant, sassafras (filé powder) , sweet potatoes, frogs, turtles, ducks and sugar cane. From the Gulf of Mexico comes oysters, shrimp, red snapper, pompano, crabs, redfish, scallops and flounder. Combine this wide variety of food with the rich cultural heritage of the people and, voila!, meals that are unlike any other. No wonder that food is considered "a way of life" in New Orleans. 
See Recipes for creating the traditional dishes of New Orleans.