Archive for the ‘Cajun Food’ Category

Beck’s Garden District Salad

March 23, 2012

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At La Cucina’s “Girls Night Out” Cajun Cooking Class, Chef Bill Beck shared his tricks of the trade

The Garden District in New Orleans is world famous as an example of Southern architecture.

The District earned its name because of the mansions built in this spot for the wealthy plantation owners: their supersized houses initially featured glorious oversized gardens.

As the City grew during the late 1800s, a number of the owners of these spectacular mansions sold off parcels of their land and smaller Victorian houses were built on the site of these former gardens.

Today, the Garden District is a unique melting pot of architectural styles, characterized by “a mélange of high styles gleaned from not just the Spanish and French, but also from the Italians, the British, and the “Greek Revival.” (for further info, see About.com’s insightful overview on the District’s lineage.)

The food emanating from New Orleans reflects the varied influences that shape and define this unique city – which is what makes the New Orleans cuisine so attractive.

In tribute to this heritage, Chef Bill Beck of Beck’s Cajun Cafe rolled out his Garden District Salad at a recent cooking class held at La Cucina in Reading Terminal Market.  The classes, designated as a “Girls’ Night Out,” focused on Cajun cooking with Chef Bill demonstrating a series of New Orleans small plates, including this Garden District Salad.

The salad is colorful and evocative of sunshine-laden days spent in New Orleans….

Ingredients

(This salad serves 4 people.  Scale up quantities dependent on the size of your dinner party!)

1x jar of marinated artichokes

4 stems of hearts of palm, cut into 1/2 inch rounds

1 red pepper roasted and skin removed, then cut into strips.

Spring mix salad greens

For the vinaigrette dressing

(The recipe below produces approximately 14 oz of dressing.  As the recipe includes raw egg we would not recommend storing the dressing for any length of time.  Use immediately.  If you would like to omit the egg then the dressing will keep for longer, perhaps 2-3 days, in the fridge.

2 tsps of Dijon mustardbsps olive oil

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 egg white

6oz of virgin olive oil

4oz of vegetable oil

2 tbsps of finely minced cloves

2-3 tbsps of water

1 1/2 tbsps of honey

Juice of a lemon

1 1/2 oz Apple Cider

1 1/2 oz Champagne Cider

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Mix first three ingredients together in a bowl.

2. Slowly add the two types of oil to this mix. Add approx 2oz at a time (Note the virgin olive oil provides a strong flavor.  To balance this out and ensure that the salad is not overwhelmed, Chef Bill prefers to use vegetable oil in tandem with the virgin oil.)

3. Add chives, water – to thin the dressing slightly – and the honey.

4. Add the juice of the lemon and then add the two vinegars a little at a time — to stretch out the dressing.

5. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Toss Spring mix salad in dressing, then add in other prepared salad ingredients (artichokes, pepper, hearts of palm.)

The resulting salad has great texture and crunch.  Enjoy!

Summer Sazerac Cooler

March 23, 2012

Sazeracs are a traditional New Orleans cocktail, and this version is oh-so-refreshing as the temperatures outside rise.

These Summer Sazerac Coolers were a huge hit at Chef Bill’s Cajun Cooking Class Girls Night Out last week in La Cucina at the Market. 

The class sold out early, so if you missed your chance to attend, you can make your own Sazerac.  Chef Bill was kind enough to share his recipe….

                          Summer Sazerac Cooler

6 ea Sugar Cubes

¾. Tsp Peychaud’s Bitters

½ Tsp Angostura Bitters

2 ea Lemon Peel, no pith 1.5 inches long

2 ea Orange Peel, no pith 1.5 inches long

1.5 oz Vieux Carre Absinthe

3 oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey

3 oz Club Soda

5oz Lemon/Lime Sparkling Water

2 oz Coke

2 cups Ice Cubes

Method:

1.) Muddle in a large pitcher, the sugar cubes and both bitters till well combined and somewhat melted.

2.) Add citrus peel and muddle slightly to bruise, so as to let out the oils.

3.) Add ice to pitcher followed by the liquor and stir well to dissolve the sugar and combine the rest of the flavors.

4.) Add the flavored sparkling water followed by the coke and club soda stir gently to combine. Enjoy

Beck’s Crawfish Boil, Don’t Miss It!

March 16, 2012

Run, don’t walk, to Beck’s Cajun Cafe this weekend for their Crawfish Boil!

The Radiators, one of New Orleans favorite bands, say it best: “Suck the head, Squeeze the tip.”  They’re talking about eating crawfish, of course.

Never tried fresh crawfish?  You don’t know what you’re missing!  Head to Beck’s Cajun Cafe  this weekend for a traditional Crawfish boil!  Chef Bill will be combining the season’s freshest crawfish shipped directly from the Gulf, with corn, potatoes, a healthy dousing of Yuengling beer, and a signature blend of his spice rubs to create a giant pot of Cajun heaven.

See you there!

Philly Tradition Gets a New Orleans Spin

March 7, 2012

 

Chicken and Fried Oyster Salad is a Philadelphia tradition; it’s been appearing on menus around our City since the 1800s.  Beck’s has put a new spin on this Philadelphian favorite, creating a memorable special to run during Flower Show week — a New Orleans Po’ Boy laden with both chicken and oysters.  Stop in and see us today!

Flower Show Specials at Beck’s Cajun Cafe

February 28, 2012

This week’s specials honor  the Philadelphia Flower Show, and will be on the menu through March 11.  Don’t miss Chef Beck’s nod to the big event!

Chicken Salad and Oyster Poboy–this old Country Club classic gets an updated Cajun twist with the addition of Beck’s Creole Mayo.  We served this as a bite sized appetizer at the Valentine to the Market Gala and it was such a hit we decided to keep it on the menu through the Flower show.

Garden Poboy–This vegetarian poboy honors gardens everywhere.  We use a traditional poboy roll, and fill it with portobello mushrooms, roasted peppers, grilled onions and cheese.

Fried Oysters and Chicken Salad at the Reading Terminal Gala

February 25, 2012

We hope to see everyone at the Valentine to the Market Gala tonight!  This is a great party featuring live music, lots of entertainment, plentiful bars, and best of all, food catered by the Reading Terminal Market Merchants.  In case you’re a last minute type, you can  purchase tickets here or even at the door.

We’re all set to go with our Valentine appetizer–a Cajun twist on a Philly Classic:   fried oysters with chicken salad.  It is a valentine party, after all, and you know what they say about oysters…

In case you won’t be there tonight to sample these beauties,  here’s how we make them:

Coat Oysters in  flour seasoned with salt and pepper, then dip in egg and roll in panko.

Fry them in heated oil (peanut, canola, vegetable are fine, avoid olive oil).   Turn oysters til crispy on both sides and fully cooked through.

Drain briefly on paper towels.

Top with a scoop of your favorite chicken salad, a dab of Creole Mayo, and a snip of chive.

Enjoy.

King Cakes for Mardi Gras at Beck’s

February 15, 2012

Mardi Gras is February 21!    Celebrate with an authentic King Cake from Beck’s Cajun Cafe.

What is a King Cake?

A King Cake is a traditional Mardi Gras treat:  a braided yeast cake, decorated with purple, green and gold icing, filled with cinnamon and nuts.  They also contain a small plastic baby, bean or other trinket.

Why purple, green and yellow?

These are the traditional Mardi Gras colors:  purple represents justice; green represents faith and yellow represents power.

What’s the deal with the baby?

The tradition holds that the person who finds teh baby has good luck for the coming year, and has to host the next King Cake Party.  Because Mardi Gras is based on the Christian celebration spanning Epiphany to Lent, the baby symbolizes the baby Jesus.

Where does the name come from?

“King Cake” takes its name from the three kings, or Magi, who visited the Christ Child on January 6 or Epiphany.

For the best Cajun food outside of N’Awlins, visit Beck’s Cajun Cafe today and laissez les bons temps rouler!

This Week’s Specials…starting January 23

January 22, 2012

Don’t miss these new items:

Hot Roast Turkey Po Boy with Pickled Jalapeno Relish

Butterscotch Rum Pecan Pie

Weekly Specials 1/16/11

January 15, 2012

Mardi Gras season is hotting up.  In the mood for some Cajun food?  Try this week’s specials: Quiche Lorraine with gumbo sauce & Cajun Fries or try our Chicken Salad and Fried Oyster Po Boy.  They’re equally delicious!

This Week’s Specials….

January 8, 2012

Don’t miss these great new dishes…..

Cajun Cream of Potato and Spicy Ham Soup

Homemade Jalapeno Poppers with Beck’s Creole Mayo