Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Taste of New Orleans

Jazz Fest starts this weekend in New Orleans! If you have any time, it's definitely worth a look & listen. The Fest, which runs from April 28th to May 8th, is two long weekends of non-stop music and delicious eats.

It's not all Jazz at Jazz Fest, not even close. There's one jazz tent among 12 tents and stages spanning every type of music including rock & roll, blues, gospel, pop and hip hop. Plus, for foodies, Jazz Fest is the ultimate feast. There's row upon row of food vendors, all of whom are local to Louisiana. There's nearly an infinite variety of local Cajun & Creole treats, so it's best to peruse the list beforehand, make a game-plan, and wear loose-fitting shorts or pants.

From past years, some of our favorite items are the Crawfish Monica from Kajun Kettle Foods- it's Cajun mac & cheese at it's finest and is loaded with creamy goodness, Cajun spices and plenty of fresh crawfish. We also feasted on Fried Soft-Shell Crab and Fried Catfish Po-Boy sandwiches from the Galley Seafood Restaurant in Metairie. There are also great Gumbos, Jambalayas and Muffuletta Sandwiches, so pace yourself! Finish it all off with a mini pecan pie or beignets and an iced café au lait. Wow, now we're definitely hungry!

To help you get ready for Jazz Fest with a taste of New Orleans, we fired up the FoodPair search engine and found a handful of delicious dishes from across the Web.

Muffuletta Sandwich
This sandwich features a tangy olive salad, so slather that on and then add your favorite toppings.
Ingredients: garlic, olive oil, caper, parsley, celery, bell pepper, bread, olives, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, provolone, salami

Becca's Jambalaya
A classic New Orleans rice dish loaded with great flavors!
Ingredients: garlic, shrimp, lemon juice, green and red bell pepper, onion, rice, sugar, celery, bay leaf, tomato sauce, canned tomato, Andouille sausage, chicken broth, hot sauce, Creole seasoning

Creole Seafood Seasoning
This seasoning mix is great on everything from Shrimp to Oysters to Catfish.
Ingredients: dried oregano, paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne powder, dried thyme, dried basil, powdered onion, powdered garlic

Hearty Okra Gumbo with Chicken & Shrimp
Gumbo is a fantastic stew best served over rice.
Ingredients: basil, garlic, olive oil, shrimp, lemon juice, green bell pepper, okra, bay leaf, salt, tomato paste, canned tomato, chicken thigh, chicken broth, chili sauce, yellow summer squash

Buttermilk Beignets
Beignets are light & fluffy and go great with cafe au lait.
Ingredients: sugar, buttermilk, salt, powdered sugar, baking soda, milk, peanut oil, active dry yeast, bread flour

These are another classic, simple local favorite for dessert.
Ingredients: cream, pecan, sugar

Let's get cooking!

Any other favorite ingredients or dishes you'd like us to highlight? Post them in the comments section or on our Facebook page! And while you're at it, "Like" us on Facebook to get helpful updates in your news feed.