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Creole food...help!!!

Sooo, in all my infinite brightness and intelligence I have wisely invited a group of friends over for dinner this week for creole food. Upon reflection I realised that the only creole thing I can cook is jumbalaya...it is good jumbalaya, but now I need ideas on what to serve as a starter and as a dessert. Being in Australia, creole isn't done widely here and I have only had limited information come up online. Can the wonderful CH community help me with their experience and ideas? This is just an informal dinner with good friends and I am limited by how much time I can spend standing up in the kitchen due to a dodgy knee. I was thinking perhaps a key lime pie for dessert as it seems really simple and delicious - any pointers on that? Is there a way I can make it so it's not super sweet? As for starters I am completely lost so any ideas at all would be a great help. I know to most North American people here these seem like REALLY stupid questions, but we just don't tend to make this kind of food in Australia. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Well besides onion rolls or breadsticks and a salad, I would be tempted to serve cajun dressing balls with remolade sauce. Here is a link to a recipe: http://cajunlicious.com/2011/05/lefto...

    There is a restaurant in New Orleans, I like to go to when I am in town (Deanies in Metarie, Louisiana). They serve small red potatoes boiled in crab boil. You could use Zatarains if it is available to you. Be fairly heavy with the crab boil. The starch in potatoes cuts a lot of the heat.
    Deanies serves them as an appetizer. You just cut them in half, put some butter on them, maybe some salt and dig in. (Deanies also serves dressing balls.

    )

    As far as dessert, I would go with a southern dessert like lemon cream pie, pecan pie, coconut cake. If you are adventurous, you could go with bananas foster... very impressive and surprisingly easy.

    That is a lot of food so I don't think anyone would fault you for just going for the salad and breadsticks and a dessert.

    The key lime pie is an excellent idea. I use the one with bottled key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk. I dress it up with raspberry sauce from a squeeze bottle and some whipped cream.

    If you have the time, the dressing balls will get rave reviews.

    Shoot I just saw your request for pointers on the key lime pie.

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup key lime juice
    1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
    4 egg yolks
    1 9 inch graham cracker crumb pie shell (Making it is better but the cheap graham cracker pie shells you can buy at the store aren't too bad.)

    Mix ingredients together and pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 15 minutes. let it cool for 30 minutes on a rack then put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hank Hanover

      Thank you for the pointers! Time is not a huge issue for me, I will have a whole afternoon to cook and prepare food. The issue for me is standing up for long periods of time, which is why I thought jumbalaya was a better option to serve than the Persian feast I initially intended on doing. I did consider doing bananas foster, but then thought about key lime pie as I don't actually like banana's...but I DO like setting fire to things so maybe I can do both. Can I make key lime pie the night before? I also like the idea of doing small things people can pick at to start with, but again my knowledge of what small creole nibbly things would be is woefully inadequate. Not that anyone would actually care what I served as long as the wine is flowing, but I thought it would be cool to keep with the theme.

      1. re: TheHuntress

        A key lime pie in the fridge lasts a few days.

        By the way. Praline candies would fit in but you would have look up a recipe. Even better Spiced pecans. Pecans hold a very special place in a southerners heart. The tree grows wild in the south. Here is a link to a recipe. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

        For your standing issue, you might consider this rolling kitchen stool. http://www.parsonsadl.com/details.php...

    2. So when you say Creole do you really mean Creole or Cajun? They're not really the same, but they are related. Or do you just mean great, southern/Louisiana style food? Because Key Lime Pie isn't particularly creole.

      How do you feel about Deep Frying? For apps, you could make Cajun Popcorn out of Crawfish, Shrimp or Alligator (I suppose you have Crocodile) if you can get it, with a remoulade sauce, or a simple shrimp or crab remoulade. Lots of Oysters on the half shell and Boudins Noir et Blanc would also be typical starters.

      Entrees could include the aforementioned Jambalaya, or Gumbo, or any of a variety of etouffee (shrimp, crawfish, chicken, etc). Or a chicken or crawfish Maque Choux. You could do any form of Blackened Fish you like and is popular in your area. Shrimp Creole is also a very popular dish. For dessert, you already have some great suggestions but a bread pudding would also be very popular.

      I think I spelled these right so if you Google them you should come up with some good recipes. They don't have to be hot and spicy but they should all be richly flavored. And be sure to improvise and make them all your own.

      Hope this helps generate some ideas. If you need some more, I would recommend going to Emeril Lagasse's or Paul Prudhomme's websites and downloading some of their restaurant menus.

      Also, check this out if you want to drool...

      http://www.commanderspalace.com/menu/

      3 Replies
      1. re: acgold7

        Thanks acgold7. I am definitely thinking Creole as opposed to Cajun, but I'm not being particularly hard lined about it as I just don't know enough about it all. I do recognise that key lime pie isn't Creole, I just got the idea from a Creole/Cajun website that suggested it could be served as a dessert after a Creole meal. I am confident with jumbalaya - I wouldn't mind doing gumbo but okra isn't so easy to come by here. I'm not against deep frying, I don't have a deep fryer but I am happy to fill a pot with oil and do it that way. I actually like the idea of putting an Australian twist on alligator and using crocodile, that would actually be really cool. I suppose I could do blackened portions of crocodile fillet, or shallow fried portions with remoulade...I am feeling inspired!

        1. re: TheHuntress

          You don't have to have okra for as Gumbo; you can make it with anything you wish. And you'll have better luck Googling Jambalaya recipes if you spell it "Jam," like Ham, from which the name is derived.

          Check out the Commander's menu and see if the pictures inspire anything.

          Can you even get Croc meat?

          Cajun/Creole may just be my favorite food ever. There are so many variations and the flavors just make you never want to stop eating.

          You could also think about Creole Coffee with Chicory and Beignets for dessert as long as you have the fryer out and the oil hot.

          1. re: acgold7

            I might save the gumbo for another day and at least serve one course that I am somewhat accomplished at. But it's definitely on my list of things to do as, like you, I love the variations and flavours but it's just a really uncommon cuisine around here - we have a very Mediterranean and South East Asian influence. I can get croc meat, it is still an unusual meat even here, but I do live near what I believe to be the greatest butcher on the planet who stocks everything weird, wonderful and amazing. I'll check out the pics for inspiration too, I am slowly feeling a bit more confident now. If all else fails I'll just pour more wine!

      2. As someone who just finished making a big pot of gumbo, don't make key lime pie, make a whiskey bread pudding. I ate a different rendition of bread pudding almost every night when I last went to New Orleans... it is so good! Emeril's recipe is good and easy to make ahead of time (I've found most of his recipes for Cajun/Creole food are pretty good):
        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...

        I am assuming you mean Cajun/Creole food aka New Orlean's cuisine (there are distinctions but I don't think it matters for your purposes). Other foods I think of when I think of New Orleans (other than bread pudding and jambalaya): Beignets, Red beans and rice, muffaletta, Shrimp Remoulade, BBQ Shrimp (New Orleans/Louisinana style), Crawfish or Shrimp Etouffee, Gumbo, po' boys, oysters (on the half shell with Tabasco and lemon), and crawfish anything.

        Here is a really good website for recipes (including a few more for whiskey bread pudding and even one for key lime pie if you really want):
        http://www.gumbopages.com/recipe-page...

        If your friends are interested, you could make some traditional cocktails as well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: lrealml

          Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am meaning New Orleans cuisine...I'm thinking that broadening it to a New Orleans style thing is just a better idea. Other than the fact that a portion of my guests are jazz musicians it just means I have more to play around with. I was thinking of serving cocktails, but if so I'm just going to serve my personal favourite, Hemingway daiquiri's

          1. re: lrealml

            I was going to suggest a bread pudding as well. So many different things you can do with it. If you don't want to put the whiskey in the bread pudding, a whiskey/bourbon whipped cream is always nice on top too. You can also do a praline creme anglaise over the bread pudding.

            And I was going to suggest a take on the muffaletta for an appetizer that I've done. Sort of a crustini muffaletta (bread - olive tapenade - meat - cheese - heat). Easy.

          2. I usually serve Oysters Rockefeller, although I like the idea of alligator too.

            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ty...

            The above is close to my oyster recipe

            4 Replies
            1. re: coll

              You have read my mind, I was thinking along the lines of Oysters Rockefeller, but I'm not so keen on cooking the oysters. I've been craving chilli/lime oyster shots for a while, but that's just moving away from the whole creole thing.

              1. re: TheHuntress

                Oyster shooters! Another favorite of mine.

                I think anything with oysters would be New Orleans-ish. Then again, I'd use any excuse to have me some oysters.

                1. re: coll

                  Ah, well, if I have your blessing then.... ;)

                2. re: TheHuntress

                  I prefer them raw as well... Tabasco/Lemon (New Orleans style) is very similar to Chili/lime... you should try Tabasco/Lemon if you haven't.... it is my favorite way to eat raw oysters and oysters are my favorite food...

              2. not sure what greens you have down under, but long cooked mustard/collard/turnip greens with a piece of fatty pork of some kind are usual attendees.
                if they are jazz guys, red beans and rice are familiar territory ( satchmo was a huge fan). corn pudding, some kind of baked grits casserole?. cornbread!
                not sure of your season there but relatives in the deep south always had sliced tomatoes, roasted red peppers, sliced dressed cucumbers, and coleslaw on the table.

                1. I always do shrimp cocktail (cold app with coctail sauce and lemon) or salad for appetizer to something heavy like jambalaya. Definately for desert either bread pudding with bourbon (or rum) sauce OR a bananas foster. All New Orleans style dishes. All with wine or cocktails.

                  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

                  My favorite bread pudding recipe is Brennan's, which also does bananas foster:

                  http://www.food.com/recipe/Brennans-B...

                  http://www.brennansneworleans.com/r_b...

                  there is also a 'bananas foster bread pudding' if you'd like to try that. Good luck

                  1. Wow, thank you so much everyone, this has been a huge help. So upon reflection of all these excellent suggestions I think I have made my mind up. To start I am thinking oysters with tabasco and lemon and a salad. Jumbalaya for main and then for dessert I will do banana's foster (because I so badly want to set fire to them!) and I will do a key lime pie the night before just so I can have something for dessert too (I don't eat banana's). This way it's all very simple and I won't have to spend too much time on my feet. I'm keen to try all the suggestions I've been given (especially bread pudding and red beans and rice), but I shall have to save those for another day. You've ll been a marvellous help, thank you!

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                        Ah, now I was meaning to post back - thanks for rerminding me. It went very well, albeit with a few minor hiccups. For starters I went with a salad - I did Emeril's creole ribbon salad (http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food...), which turned out really well, it was delicious. My minor hiccup was when I went to serve my allegedly fresh oysters I took a sniff of them and they smelled not so great. I chose not to serve them, I prefer not to gift my guests with food poisoning :) But aside from that we had awesome jumbalaya - I finally stopped in at a butcher that specialises in smoked meats to get some smoked sausage and I was able to get my hands on some fantastic jumbo tiger prawns as well. As I ended up with a smaller than expected table of guests I only did one dessert and went with key lime pie. I like to prepare my desserts in advance and in all honesty as much as I wanted to set fire to the banana's foster it was probably inadvisable given the amount of alcohol we tend to consume. The key lime pie turned out really well, I made several individual ones and instead of using plain crushed biscuits for the base I used gingernuts. I served them up with candied lime peel and double cream. I really must thank you all for your help and ideas, it really made me think about another style of cooking and the dinner was loads of fun!