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Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Best Stop Supermarket

When talking about the Cajun culture and particularly its cuisine Boudin and Cracklin' are sure to come up. I know in our family a trip home to Lafayette isn't complete with out stopping to pick up a few pounds of each. There is truly some remarkable family owned stores and markets in Acadiana that specialize in these items but one that stands out from the competition is non-other than "The Best Stop Supermarket"  located at 615 Louisiana 93, Scott, La just West of Lafayette. This past week my family and I stopped in for our fix and to pick up some boudin for Granny. It amazes me every time the level of friendly service and quality of products this Acadiana gem holds. You are always greeted upon entering and one of there staff members is readily available to take your order or explain the products. 
This particular trip we were on a boudin only mission but I always take the time to admire the spread. Some of my favorites are the stuffed chops, smoked boudin sausage and chicken sausage however as you can see the inventory of fresh cut meats is very impressive. Pre seasoned meats and items with there own  flare are a bit more common than just butchered meat but primal cuts are also available. Best known for the boudin and rightfully so, there mix of pork, green onions and rice is a true icon for Cajun cuisine. There is nothing like driving away from The Best Stop with a hot link of boudin in hand and a cold soda on Sunday afternoon. So next time your on I-10 stop by and give them the opportunity to show you why south Louisiana is known for its unique cuisine. 

The boudin below is about 3 pounds purchased for granny (she shared).

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Drink Swamp Pop

Previously in South Louisiana the name "Swamp Pop" most commonly referred to a style of music but for two Lafayette entrepreneurs it has hit the shelves of local grocery stores as there creation of a Premium Sugarcane Soda. This past week the company announced there Lafayette based product would be hitting the shelves of Rouses Supermarket locations through out South Louisiana and South Mississippi as well as some additional placements throughout Lafayette. 
One of the founders of Swamp Pop Chef Collin Cormier I grew to know well while living in Lafayette as he and I were trying to get the Food truck scene off the ground there. That being said Chef Collin also owns and operates the Viva La Waffle Food Truck with partner Chef Fred Nonato and no doubt after the Waffle Trucks success will they have a hard time drawing the attention of Acadiana to a new venture. Chef Collin and Swamp Pop partner John Peterson (Owner of Genterie- Mens Clothing Boutique) have introduced the product as a Louisiana version of an Old Fashion Soda enhanced with local Louisiana ingredients like Sugarcane, Satsumas, figs, praline, etc. in a glass bottle for an Old School finishing touch. Once again I think Chef Collin has nailed a new concept creation to enhance the rich culture we live in here in South Louisiana. Unfortunately for me the Praline cream soda was sold out at Rouses but it just goes to show its initial popularity. I look forward to seeing new flavors as seasons change as well as  Chef Collin and partner John Peterson success in this new venture. They certainly will have my support in pushing this great product representing old Louisiana flavors in a New style by the next generation of Entrepreneurs.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chefs to Watch

As a Chef and entrepreneur in this great state of Louisiana I find myself admiring the competition around me daily. This region is filled with some of the best Chefs, farmers and restaurants in the country. Our great cuisine has been a part of our culture for years and with every new generation of chefs it gets just a bit better. 
I personally like to walk a fine line between enjoying the style of many early settlers infused together and enhancing our history with modern day twists. There are a few dishes that as homegrown chef I refuse to alter as they have been so good for so long why mess with them. The dishes are some of the most commonly known to non-natives and eaten daily by residences: Chicken and Sausage  Gumbo, Étouffée, Corn Maque Choux and Red Beans & Rice. These are some recipes I learned at an early age and are to good to mess with, my point being that I believe it is important these new generations of chefs respect the history as well develop the future. 
Annually Louisiana Cookin' magazine picks a group of "Chefs to Watch" that they feel stand out among the crowd. This year I was lucky enough to be chosen among these great chefs. These chefs are proud of there heritage and respect the culture enough to constantly be supporting local farmers and vendors through daily use in there kitchens. You can find the full list of the chosen Chefs and there featured recipes in the September/October issues. These recipes are for the dish that each chef will be featuring at the Chefs to Watch Event October 21st at Cafe Reconcile. This event is a huge fundraiser for Cafe Reconcile and great opportunity for Louisiana Cookin' to help support the efforts of the Cafe with underprivileged youth trying to fulfill there culinary dreams while developing the next generation of Chefs and Restauranteurs. Tickets can be purchased very soon at or donations can be made directly to the cafe at
hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cheese or not cheese?!?

Hogs head cheese is becoming a bit more popular these days especially with the Southern Chefs riding the Charcuterie wave. As an advocate of farm fresh local products I often find myself trying to creat recipes with the less commonly used parts. I, like the Farmers, have no desire for any parts or crop to go to waste. With this particular dish I am not trying to reinvent the wheel as this recipe has been fairly standard for years. Despite the name there is no "cheese" involved however the finished project after being put in a mold of sorts can slice or even spread like a few different styles of cheese. Without a doubt the big taste is pig, now with every recipe the enhancing favors can vary but none the less the pig is the star. For instance in my application I have placed a whole head in a stock pot with 3 gallons water and added 1 stalk celery, 2 cups garlic cloves, 1 red onion, 1 large carrot, 1 bell pepper. After boiling the head for 2.5 hours I double up the original veggies and add them for another hour to have the veggies in different stages when finished. At 3.5 hours the skull can be removed (falls of the bone) leaving the cartilage, skin, fat, veggies and water in the pot. At this time I drain 50% of the water out ( the less water the firmer it gets) and use the immersion blender to purée all the ingredients. This is a good time to add your favorite seasoning, hot sauce or any extras (I like adding beer at this point) you want while completing blending process.Now your ready to place the mix in its molding device (Pyrex, hotel pan, cake pan, ice cube trays, etc) so that it can be chilled for 24 hours prior to serving. The following day you may slice away and place it on your favorite chip, cracker, toast point or whatever application you have planned.

Chappapeela Farms Hog Head-July 2013-stage 1