New Orleans: C & A Seafood

MCCN Editor Crystal Johnson went to New Orleans for the first time and had the opportunity to taste the local cuisine. She found an unexpected but enjoyable spot called C&A Seafood. Read all about her experience!

Multi Cultural Cooking Network

Although most restaurants in New Orleans are worth the wait in the more touristy locations such as Jackson Square, Magazine St and Bourbon St, you’ll find C&A seafood off the beaten path of Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and close to the major interstates by 5 minutes or less. My mother at age 75 was not up to standing in line or walking the streets so we searched for a non-tourist location.

Shrimp Po’ Boy

C&A is Asian owned so not only will you find New Orleans cuisine but a few Chinese offerings. This would not have been my pick for an authentic experience. I wanted the glamorous trendy/classic but it seems C & A has repeat local business so that was a good sign.

Sitting outside at picnic table eating gumbo

The front the building has a pleasing decor with picnic tables fun for eating with friends or family…

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Jambon-buerre

Showcasing the Jambon Beurre
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Wait! What’s so exciting about a ham sandwich? Well, it’s a French ham sandwich…duh! Leave it to the French to turn the seemingly simple into the simply sumptuous. Ooh la la, mes amis…the French will give you something to write home about starting with their Jambon-buerre.

Details! Details! It starts with the right ingredients. Salt & Wind, a travel company that caters to food lovers, recommends a ficelle (string) baguette. It’s a much thinner loaf bread. This bread is often called a baguette but is sometimes referenced in the category of a baton, which is typically a shorter loaf.

Now, here’s where we get decadent! In order for this to work, you will need to get a salted European butter to spread over the bread. Then select a Jambon de Paris. If you’re not able to find it, then just make sure that it is a high-quality super thinly-sliced ham.

It’s a simple treat but the French just know how to make simple things so good. Check out the ingredients below and read the recipe instructions on SaltandWind.com.

Ingredients

2 ficelle French baguettes (baton)
High-quality salted European butter
Jambon de Paris (or another high quality thinly-sliced ham)

A Simple Syrup Blackberry Lemonade

Photo Credit: Baker’s Corner (Flickr)

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! I’m so excited to tell you about this recipe. It’s so simple and I made it twice so I could figure out how to make it mine. Well, it’s ours now, if you choose to try it. So if you haven’t looked around the blog, this is where I tell an unnecessary yet cute (debatable) little story to explain why I’m sharing this recipe. So here goes…

I bought some blackberries with the purpose of doing what I normally do. I tend to be pretty boring with my use of blackberries and use it in the same way all the time—in a smoothie, on a parfait, or on top of a shortcake. I wanted to try something different so I tasked the browser servant to look for blackberry recipes. As I started to see different recipes using blackberries, I noticed a few really easy recipes for blackberry lemonade using a simple syrup.

What really got me was when I read about how I was being cheated out of my sweetness by not creating a simple syrup for lemonade (Well, that’s how I interpreted it.) Sugar is absorbed so much better in hot water.

Are you the kind the person that once you get a recipe in your mind you have to make it? Phew! I thought I was the only obsessive one in the building…hello friend! Well, I got the idea of making this blackberry lemonade in my head, and so I did what I usually do with recipes…half-read them and decide how I’m going to change them. It’s true. I do it all the time. It’s a thing with me so I won’t be offended if you do that to this one.

For this blackberry lemonade recipe, I changed the frozen from concentrate lemonade and just used lemon juice from a bottle. You can also use fresh lemon juice (I just wouldn’t add it in to boil with the simple syrup). I also added more sugar because I just love sweetness but take it down by a 1/2 cup or a cup if you don’t like it as sweet. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients

12 to 24 (handful of blackberries)

2 cups (Equal parts sugar and water for simple syrup)

1 cup lemon juice

2 cups water

Instructions

Add equal parts sugar and water in a pot and turn on low to medium to make your simple syrup. As the simple syrup comes to a low boil, add a cup of lemon juice and your handful of blackberries. You will notice the more blackberries you add, the darker the simple syrup will become. (If you add about 12 blackberries, it will most likely have a pinkish color as mine did but if you double it, the syrup will have a deeper blackberry hue.)

Allow to boil for about 7 to 10 minutes and check for taste. The simple syrup should taste pretty sweet but don’t be scared…you will be diluting this mixture.

In a pitcher add 4 cups of water and then combine with your simple syrup mixture (with or without the blackberries). Chill and serve.

Extra Blackberry Lemonade tips 

  • If it’s still to sweet add more cups of water to taste. 
  • You can add fresh basil, thyme or mint to your chilled lemonade.
  • Yes, you can chill and serve with ice but this is also killer as a hot beverage.
  • Freeze this with the blackberries and make yourself an awesome frozen icee! 

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For the Love of Granitas

Strawberry Granita from Vaccaro’s in Hunt Valley, MD (Photo Credit: Monica Johnson, MultiCulturalCookingNetwork.net.

In Baltimore, the undefeated standard for a cannoli is Vaccaro’s. And that’s where I went, one warm summer night for a nice little treat. Of course I got the cannoli, but I also saw so many lovely flavors of Granita…I just had to try one.

Yum! Yum and Yum! It didn’t disappoint. As my tastebuds had a flavor party, it really reminded me of my childhood, growing up in Brooklyn eating Italian Icees from the pizzeria. Granitas are Sicilian in origin, but are available throughout Italy. The semi-frozen dessert is made from sugar, water and usually a wild card fruit ingredient or flavoring.

The texture is coarser than sorbet because of the way it’s frozen and manipulated during the freezing process. The wonderful thing about granitas is that it’s so easy to make. With just three ingredients, I took my shot at making a watermelon granita for myself (using frozen watermelon).

Strawberry granita from Vaccaro's in Hunt Valley, MD.
MCCN Editor, Monica Johnson’s watermelon granita. (Photo Credit: Monica Johnson)

Watermelon is just one choice. Let me Bubba Gump some of the other options: wild strawberry, mandarin orange, mint, jasmine and granitas made with any number of juices. Lemon juice is a popular choice. Chocolate granitas are also a popular choice that originated from the port city of Catalina, Italy.

Check out this watermelon granita recipe from LiveEatLearn.com.

The “Zemo” Global Snack Effect

Don’t take candy from strangers! Baron Zemo tempts child with Turkey Delight

“Turkish delights…they’re irresistible!” And with those words we go down the rabbit hole with Marvel character’s Baron Zemo on episode 4 of The Falcon and Winter Soldier. It appears his words were correct (Spoiler Alert) as he used the snack to lure a poor little girl into giving him information. Okay, so yes this is still the Multi Cultural Cooking Network. It’s not The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode review. However, upon viewing the episode, I started to wonder about various snacks from around the world.

Turkish Delight
Turkish delight (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

As you might imagine the origins of Turkish delight candy is from Turkey. The Turks call it lokum or lokma. The confections are made from a gel of starch and sugar. It is infused with fragrant flavors like rosewood, lavender, lemon and Bergamot orange. Many versions include fruit or nuts. They are also used as wedding favors.

Make your own Turkish delight with this recipe from the Spruce Eats.

Halva
Halva (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Let’s travel to Northeastern Africa and the Middle East to find our next snack. Halva is widely eaten in Egypt and countries like Iran, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan among others. However, it’s also eaten in European countries like Greece as well.

Halva is a Middle-Eastern sesame candy usually made from tahini (sesame paste). The recipe will either be nut/seed-based or flour-based. Traditionally, the nut/seed-based halva, which is the more common version, is sesame-seed based and made with heavy cream, sugar or honey.

Halva can also be made from sunflower seeds as well; although, this is more a European way of making it. A flour-based halva recipe may use flour/semolina, butter, sugar and water. But keep in mind, recipes change from country to country or region to region. In modern times, ingredients like cocoa, pistachio and other dried nuts or dried fruits may be included. Make your own halva! Try this FromtheGrapevine.com recipe.

Prawn Crackers

Southeast Asia is full of interesting food and prawn crackers is one of them. Prawn crackers are made by mixing prawn, tapioca flour and water. This mixture is rolled out, steamed, and cut in thin slices, and to eliminate the moisture, it is often sun-dried before deep frying this mixture in extremely hot oil.

Because it is prepared with tapioca flour, the snack is gluten-free and grain-free. It is a light, aromatic, fluffy snack. When homemade, you can avoid some of the additives and colors that are added.

Prawn crackers’ history runs deep. We’re talking 9th and 10th century deep! The snack is mostly associated with the Malaysian and Indonesian cultures. It’s known in Indonesians as krupuk udang and in Malaysia as keropak.

These crackers are eaten in China, where they tend to color them with colors like white, pink and blue. Vietnam calls it Bánh phồng tôm, which is made of ground shrimp, sometimes mixed with cuttlefish (which is touted to have a taste somewhere between octopus and squid), arrowroot flour, tapioca flour, onion, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, cracked black pepper and salt.

The prawn cracker is not widely available in the states or Europe, but may be served in some Asian restaurants in the U.S. and Europe.

Variety is the spice of life

William Cowper (poet)

Even though this article was inspired by a villainous Marvel comic character’s love for Turkish candy, It’s still cool to learn about different snacks from around the world. You aren’t going to find all of them at your local international store. (Although, you should go in, support and expand your horizons.) But what if you could not only learn about the snacks but receive international snacks as well?

In doing a little research, I found a website called SnackCrate.com, which ships a supply of snacks over 20 full-sized snacks from countries around the world. The service is for a fee monthly.

It ships with a fun-fact booklet, games and a music playlist. How cool is that for a gift to give to your little niece, nephew or your favorite foodie? Granted, these snacks are going to be more along the lines of junk food, but come on…junk food is our guilty pleasure every once in a while. Find out more about Snack Crate on their website.

At the time of this article, Snack Crate listed some of the following snacks on their website:

Don Tacos

A Japanese take on Mexican tacos

Kamekame

A chewy gummy candy inspired by Japanese ramune soda. It starts out with a punchy sour taste and is followed by a fizzy sweetness.

Jammie Dodgers

A shortbread biscuit with a fruity jam filling that’s been around for over 50 years in the U.K.

Maple Lollipops

A quintessential Canadian lollipop, made with 100% pure maple syrup.

Argentina’s Empanadas de Vigilia

Argentina is really well known for their beef; however, you’d be surprised what you can find out with a little digging. When perusing around the world wide web, I wanted to find out if Argentina had an asado for Easter (traditional barbeque event in South America) like the Christmas Asado. And what do you know? They do.

We won’t get into all those details. That’s another article for another day, but my big “get” was that the beef-loving country loves their seafood too, especially during the Lenten season. A large percentage of Argentinians identify as Catholics so the 40 day period during Lent is meatless. All the more reason to switch out the beef/pork in their empanadas and make the traditional empanadas de vigilia.

The empanadas de vigiilia are meatless and will include options like seafood. Tuna or white fish are popular and some recipes may have veggies like spinach. A real favorite is the empanada with Roquefort, which is a blue mold cheese from France, made from sheep’s milk. The Roquefort empanadas are blended with walnuts for a savory treat.

By Thesupermat – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39709529

The empanadas de vigilia are typically eaten before Christmas and it is also traditionally eaten before Easter Sunday. Now, when Easter Sunday comes around, it’s time to grab the whole slab of beef. Meatless is over! But more than that..it’s a celebration of Resurrection Sunday and the Easter asado is on! (I told you I’m not writing about that now.)

Argentine Atun Empanadas Recipe (Tuna Empanadas)
Photo Credit: Flickr
Ingredients

1 tablespoons oil
onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cans (5oz each) tuna
1 tomato, crushed
10 empanadas tapas (discs) for baking (preferably puff pastry dough)
1 egg, beaten

See the full recipe on Que Rica Vida

What In the World is for Breakfast? (Japanese Soufflé Pancakes)

What in the world is for breakfast? Pancakes are in my top 5 favorite foods ever. So when you say pancakes, crepes or flapjacks, I’m definitely listening. When you say Japanese soufflé pancakes, you have my whole ear. Japanese soufflé pancakes are not new, but they have become all the rage in Japan in the last several years. The thick and airy soufflé pancakes are often eaten for breakfast and for dessert as well.

If you are wondering how the soufflé pancake is different from your everyday, normal, on top of the griddle pancake. The difference is mostly in the treatment of the egg. In the recipe for soufflé pancakes, egg whites are whipped into a meringue and added into the pancake mixture. Meringue isn’t the easiest to make; however, trial and error is how some of the best recipes have been made.

Japanese souffle pancakes are on some restaurants menus in the U.S. One such establishment is Gram Cafe and Pancakes in San Francisco, which has a vast array on their menu (including a matcha, hazelnut chocolate and a tiramisu pancake). Do a quick Google search and you’ll find where Japanese souffle pancakes are offered near you. In the meantime, check out the Just One Cookbook website to learn how to make the Japanese soufflé recipe yourself. See the ingredients below.

Ingredients

2 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
1 ½ Tbsp whole milk
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup cake flour (If you’re using a cup measurement, please follow this method to measure. Otherwise, the amount of flour tends to be more than you need. You can make your Homemade Cake Flour.)
½ tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc) (for greasing the pan)
2 Tbsp water (for steaming)

Three ‘I’m Not Cooking Today!’ Recipes

I wouldn’t say I’m dramatic when I’m suffering from a cold, but let’s just say my energy is down; therefore, I may not want to communicate with my stove. So my recent visit to cough and sniffle land got me thinking that I need to have some additional “I’m not cooking today!” recipes on deck.

The recipes wouldn’t just be for the occasional sick day; the purpose would also extend to the “I just don’t wanna” day as well. Now, I’m not advocating being lazy but, sometimes you just need a day. I found a few goodies so feel free to add these to your list too.

Antipasti Salad

The Italians had it right. What a way to start off the meal! Just get some fresh veggies, cured meat, cheese, olives and a vinaigraitte and your in business. Here’s a recipe for antipasti salad from Inforum.com.

Photo Credit; Flickr
Pesto and Prosciuitto Zucchini Linguini

When the warmer weather hits, the last thing you want is to be bogged down with the heaviness of carbs. Pick up some zucchini linguini or use a spiralizer. Here’s the best part…you don’t have to cook it. Keep it light with this Pesto and Prosciuitto Zucchini Linguini recipe from Tasty.co.

Photo Credit: Arctic Peninsula (Flickr)
Cucumber Avocado Blender Soup

Gazpacho gets a lot of the shine but there are other cold soups you can enjoy as well. What happens when that fresh crisp taste of cucumber blends with the creamy, earthy, buttery taste of avocado? You get a rich, but not too heavy, flavor palette. Try the Cucumber Avocado Blender Soup recipe from Purewow.com.

Photo Credit: s’4’s World (Flickr)

LocalBites Puts Live Stream Cooking Classes in Your Hands

Host or post! The explanation could be a little more nuanced but that’s a good starting point to describe what the website, LocalBites, does. It allows you to host your own livestream cooking class or post your signature recipes along with the “where to” information to find the ingredients locally. It also incorporates live stream cooking classes from over 200 professional chefs.

It’s all very social…a point, which is hammered home on the website. The aim is simply “cooking made social.” LocalBites founder, Hiroshi Tashiro, is very passionate about this and understands the desire and motivations for people to learn new recipes.

Originally from Japan, Tashiro admits that upon moving to the U.S. he has become very interested in learning how to make American recipes. He also noticed that he was not the only one who was interested in stepping out of their personal cultural recipe zone. He had also been asked about his knowledge of Japanese recipes by some of the people in his circle.

Visionaries see a need then work out the solution to meet the need, and that’s how LocalBites was born. Tashiro calls it a “social experience.” The website is just the first step in connecting people through food, culture and proximity. Check out the video to learn more about Tashiro’s future plans for the site, how to post recipes or host a live stream class on LocalBites.