SILVER BAYOU RUM…it’s a Louisiana thang!

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#bayourum
A few weeks ago I introduced y’all to Bayou Rum, distilled not far from my hometown here in Louisiana. Southwestern Louisiana culture might seem kind of ‘slow’ to some folks, but growing up here, traveling across the globe, and then coming back home helped me to truly appreciate where I’m from, and really grasp the eclectic complexities all the communities along the Louisiana Interstate-10 corridor. So when my Mom and Dad returned from a daytrip with bottles of Bayou Rum and cups and little trinkets, I was KRUNK!

Now believe it or not, I am not a rum drinker…but I will cook with it all day long. And I recently prepared a cranberry sauce infused with Bayou Rum. And yes, flavor and sweetness of the rum shined through beautifully. So on Christmas day with the family we didn’t have much liquor in the house, and the only thing I could find with an alcohol content was the remaining Bayou Rum…what the hell.

When Chef G says that something is good, you can trust that endorsement without doubt…and this rum is GOOD! No, I don’t work for the company. When I taste things that impress me, I want others to experience them as well. Here’s the deal…Bayou has mass appeal because of two things, in my humble opinion —

1. The water used to distill it is of the freshest quality. I can’t explain this succinctly, but I KNOW fresh water when I taste it. Whether it is in beers, distilled liquor, fresh properly filtered water is the difference between a mediocre and spectacular product.

2. The pure flavor of not only the water, but the sugars as well make Bayou Rum one of the smoothest rums I’ve ever tasted…EVER. Even though it has a 40% alcohol content, it is mellow as HELL! And I grew up in southern Louisiana eating raw sugar cane…that is the sweetness that I tasted in the rum. My Mom said that it has tones of vanilla, but I guarantee that is a result of a very ‘patient’ process used to heat the sugar. It doesn’t even have the slightest hint of woodiness, or that toasty flavor you get when you even slightly burn sugar or molasses. The process has clearly been perfected, and I hope that it never changes.

I know I sound like some sort of professional rum taster doing a review for a major publication, but my success as a culinary artist is primarily due to my ability to taste BEYOND the resulting flavors of foods and beverages to discern things that the average consumer might never notice…and I get excited when I experience uniqueness on my palate…

This is my unsolicited review of Bayou Silver Rum…

GET SOME Y’ALL!
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http://bayourum.com/blends/

Following an authentic “sugar house” recipe, Bayou Rum gathers raw unrefined cane sugar and molasses from M.A. Patout & Sons Enterprise Factory in Patoutville, La. – all pressed from fresh sugarcane harvested from Louisiana fields.

The Silver Bayou Rum is proofed with triple filtered fresh water delivering the cleanest and purest taste possible. From traditional cocktails, including Louisiana favorites, to your own creations, Bayou Rum delivers the heart and soul of the ultimate cocktail experience. The smooth and subtle character of Bayou Rum is perfect over ice, in a classic daiquiri or mojito, or in your favorite rum cocktail creation.

There is also a Spiced Bayou Rum infused with classic traditional spices with a Louisiana twist. Featuring Louisiana grown ingredients, this special gumbo of spices creates a unique and satisfying blend that makes it the perfect rum for mixing. Spiced Bayou Rum livens up everything from a rum and cola to unsweetened tea or an ice cube. One sip and you’ll understand.

LAISSEZ LES BONS TEMPS ROULER!

CHEF G’s SALAD THREE WAYS…

Sometimes I just feel like making food…this was one of those times…

I woke up recently with visions of an asparagus tepee in my head. I don’t know why. I had never seen one before, but I was determined to figure out how to make it my culinary reality. From that inspiration, I ended up making three different salads.

1. Grilled Chicken and Roasted Asparagus Salad w/ Homemade Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette

2. Fried Crawfish & Grilled Gulf Shrimp Salad w/ Homemade Creole Remoulade Dressing

3. Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Gala Apples

I came up with the basic concepts, purchased a few ingredients, laid everything out on a patio table, and went to work.

This is what I started with:

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And believe it or not, I prepared everything outside even though it was only 30-degrees outside…good times! Open-mouthed smile

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First up…Grilled Chicken and Roasted Asparagus Salad w/ Sweet Peppers, Dried Mixed Berries, Toasted Sweet Pecans, and a Homemade Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette.

The first thing I did was finally construct my asparagus tepee…

Chicken (2)

How cool is THAT???!!!

To cook it I put it on the grill for about 2-3 minutes. The asparagus softened some, but I was still able to make it work. Next time I’ll use thicker stalks.

Next I toasted the pecans in a skillet until that nutty aroma permeated the air. At the end I added a little all-natural cane syrup to add a touch of sweetness. The mixed berries were dried cranberries, cherries, and blueberries.

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For the dressing, I didn’t measure the ingredients, but here’s what I used…

INGREDIENTS:

clip_image004 pear infused balsamic vinegar

clip_image004[1] extra virgin olive oil

clip_image004[2] all-natural cane syrup

clip_image004[3] toasted sesame seeds

Vinaigrette (3)

Vinaigrette (1)   Vinaigrette (2)

I used organic chicken breasts, and grilled them for only a few minutes on each side over high heat to ensure they remained moist…perfection. After slicing the cooked chicken, I started assembling the salad. Turned out great!

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Next upFried Crawfish & Grilled Gulf Shrimp Salad w/ Homemade Creole Remoulade Dressing.

Seafood (8)

This one was really simple to prepare. I deep fried some Louisiana crawfish tails, grilled some humongous Gulf shrimp, fried some bacon, and made the dressing.

Seafood (4)  Seafood (2)

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Now for those who aren’t familiar with remoulade, it is a rich sauce created in France, where it is traditionally made from mayonnaise and herbs and used to flavor vegetables and salads. A mustard-flavored variation of French remoulade is popular in Danish cuisine. In its traditional form, first devised in France, remoulade consists of mayonnaise, usually made from egg yolks, oil, and lemon juice, which is mixed with capers, minced pickles, anchovy paste, and chopped fresh herbs like tarragon and chives. The resulting sauce is usually white or pale yellow in color. French cuisine often calls for the use of remoulade as a flavoring for cooked or cold vegetables and salads.

All remoulades are based on either oil or mayonnaise, but the Creole adaptations tend to vary significantly in ingredients, taste, and appearance from the traditional French version. Most Louisiana remoulades include mustard, garlic, paprika, and Creole/Cajun seasonings. And yes…there are many versions.

Here is a basic recipe for the remoulade:

INGREDIENTS:

clip_image003 1 ¼ cups mayonnaise

clip_image003[1] 1/4 cup mustard (Creole mustard if you have it)

clip_image003[2] 1 tbsp sweet paprika

clip_image003[3] 1-2 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning

clip_image003[4] 2 tsp prepared horseradish

clip_image003[5] 3 tablespoons ketchup

clip_image003[6] 1 tsp hot sauce

clip_image003[7] 1 large clove garlic, minced and smashed

clip_image003[8] 1 scallion, finely chopped

clip_image003[9] 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Remoulade (3)

I did say “BASIC” recipe…of course I made it my own. Creole remoulades tend to be really strong and spicy, but I wanted a milder flavor to complement the salad as a dressing. I used regular yellow mustard instead of the Creole variety. For zestiness I added white vinegar and fresh lemon juice. These liquids also thinned the mixture enough to use as a salad dressing. I tossed in about a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 3 tablespoons horseradish. For me, the horseradish is what defines the remoulade. In addition to mayonnaise, I added about 1/4 cup sandwich spread to add a touch of sweetness, and smoked paprika took it over the top.

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Last is the Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Gala Apples.

I had leftover ingredients…so I used them…

I used one of the grilled chicken breasts from the first salad, and added sliced Gala apples, roasted whole okra, and cherry San Marzano tomatoes. I also threw a couple of grilled shrimp on the plate…why not? And I topped it off with the remoulade dressing from the second salad above. Very simple…really delicious…

Chicken (6)

I hope that I’ve inspired you to be daring and creative in the creative in your kitchen using simple, inexpensive ingredients. I had a lot of fun preparing these salads, and I hope that enjoy the recipes and photos.

APPRÉCIEZ…BON APPÉTIT!

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CREOLE CRAWFISH DEVILED EGGS

This is one of the simplest appetizers to prepare…anybody can do this!

INGREDIENTS:

clip_image002 6-8 large eggs

clip_image002[14] ¼ cup finely chopped cooked crawfish tails

clip_image002[1] 5 tbls mayonnaise

clip_image002[2] ½ tsp sugar (optional)

clip_image002[3] sea salt, cayenne pepper (to taste)

clip_image002[4] chopped parsley, cilantro, basil, tarragon, or any other herb of your choice

clip_image002[5] smoked paprika (optional)

Crawfish Deviled Egg (2)   Seafood (4)

Crawfish Deviled Egg (1)

DIRECTIONS:

― Boil eggs and immediately cool in cold water

― Slice eggs in half lengthwise, remove yokes

― In a bowl, combine yokes with the other ingredients and mix until smooth. Reserve some of the crawfish for garnish.

― Cut one corner of a plastic storage bag, fill with the mixture, and pipe into the egg halves

― Garnish with herbs and paprika

THAT’S IT!

Crawfish Deviled Egg (3)

APPRÉCIEZ…BON APPÉTIT!

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CATFISH, SHRIMP, & CRAB CAKES w/ LEMON-BUTTER ORZO

This was a very delicious and easy meal to prepare. And it all centered around the cranberry sauce. I don’t always share recipes because I rarely use them, but I will provide basic directions to help you create fabulousness in the kitchen if you want to try this.

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CRANBERRY SAUCE

A friend of mine mentioned that she and her family did not eat cranberry sauce until she found a recipe that uses flavored Jello. Well I personally love homemade cranberry sauce, and this Jello thing intrigued me. So of course I had to try it.

INGREDIENTS:

clip_image001 fresh cranberries (I had four bags…use whatever amount you like)

clip_image001[1] water

clip_image001[2] sugar (about 2 cups…adjust to taste)

clip_image001[3] 1 pkg Strawberry Jello (I used the larger boxes because I had so many cranberries)

clip_image001[4] 1 pkg Mandarin Orange Jello

clip_image001[5] Bayou Rum (optional…but if you use liquor, use a white variety like vodka or light rum)

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Really simple. Bring the cranberries to boil in enough water to cover the amount that you have in the pot. I add the sugar and liquor during this first boil. Allow them to cook down and the liquid to reduce and thicken, adding small amounts of water as necessary until they are kind of slushy.

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Now the recipe I was given says to reserve two cups of the liquid to make the Jello, but I just dumped both boxes into the pot and used a big whisk to work into the cranberries. I had never done this before, and I had no idea what to expect. The result was a lighter cranberry sauce than I usually make, with sweet citrusy tones from the Jello flavors. And the generous amount of sugar that I used was still necessary to counter the bitterness of the cranberries and the acidity of the Jello mix.


CATFISH, SHRIMP, & CRAB CAKES

Next I had to figure out what to serve with the cranberries. I had some organic chicken thighs in the refrigerator, but I really didn’t have a taste for poultry at the time. I also had a few Swai (Basa) fish filets, but I cooked some of those recently. So I dug a little further in the freezer and found a couple of catfish filets and about ½ lb. of extra small Gulf shrimp…and I thought to myself, CRAB CAKES! Seriously!

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Here’s the deal — when I prepare dishes and have leftover uncooked foods, I don’t like to let them hang out in the freezer or fridge too long. I enjoy challenging myself to use and combine different stuff to make unique or variations of different foods. On this night I wondered how a traditional crab cake would turn out if I added that shrimp and catfish into the mix. So the only things I had to purchase were fresh crabmeat and Japanese Panko breadcrumbs.

INGREDIENTS:

clip_image002 extra small Gulf shrimp (I had about ½ – ¾ lb, peeled, deveined, and chopped/minced)

clip_image002[1] 2 catfish filets (I used small ones)

clip_image002[2] 2 lbs fresh lump crab meat

clip_image002[3] ½ box Panko breadcrumbs

clip_image002[4] ½ – 1 cup Bulgarian buttermilk (enough to bind the breadcrumbs)

clip_image002[5] Grated Parmesan cheese (about a handful — or 1 cup)

THAT’S IT! I stepped outside the box on this one and decided not to use any seasonings…NONE. The seafood was so fresh that I wanted to let their natural flavors work the palate and do what they do.

I tossed everything in a big ass mixing bowl and combined all the ingredients, adding just enough buttermilk to keep the formed patties together without falling apart. I had a LOT of seafood because I wanted huge cakes. But you can make your as large or small as you want.

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Normally I would use one of my stainless steel pans for these, but I opted for the non-stick deep skillet with a lid this time. Because I had raw shrimp and fish in addition to the crabmeat, I could slowly brown the cakes while covered to ensure that the raw ingredients were fully cooked yet still moist. I also used a little olive oil for extra flavor, and to ensure even browning in the pan.

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LEMON-BUTTER ORZO

Last came the Orzo. I wanted to try out this risotto recipe made with orzo that I found, but I thought that it would be a perfect match with the seafood and cranberries if I tossed it with lemon juice, zest, and butter…so that’s what I did.

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INGREDIENTS (reduce amounts for less pasta) :

clip_image003 semolina Orzo pasta (I used 2 cups uncooked pasta)

clip_image003[1] 3 ½ cups seafood stock (you can use chicken or any other flavor you prefer)

clip_image003[2] 1 stick fresh cream butter

clip_image003[3] fresh chopped basil and cilantro

clip_image003[4] zest and juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons (tweak it)

clip_image003[5] sea salt (to taste)

clip_image003[6] shaved almonds (optional)

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In a saucepan, reduce the stock to about 1 cup, add the butter and salt, and whisk until combined. Add salt and taste to adjust. Add the herbs. Be quick. Do not let this stage of the sauce reduce too much. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, but only for about 7 minutes so that it’s not fully cooked. Toss the orzo with the lemon-butter sauce until well coated and add the shaved or sliced almonds if desired. You can even try pecans or cashews if you’re adventurous.


Now all that’s left to do is putting everything on a plate and eating it…

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APPRÉCIEZ…BON APPÉTIT!

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