Jessica Wood from Cajunlicious

by Helene

jessica wood from Cajunlicious.comOnly a few blogs out there awaken my curiosity and one of those blogs is Cajunlicious. I have visited New Orleans several times and of course I have seen the movie The Big Easy more times than I care to admit, yet when I look at Jessica’s blog and see all the scrumptious food – I’m in love.  Of course envy is one of the seven sins, my mother told me that, but this woman is beautiful, successful and she can even cook. Who wouldn’t be envious?

My grandparents come from Eastern Canada and the music and dancing culture at weddings and get-togethers comes close to the music of New Orleans.  That’s where the similarity ends.  I grew up with traditional French cuisine which is nothing like what Jessica creates.

Red Beans and Rice by Cajunlicious.com

She was born and raised only 25 minutes from downtown New Orleans and the kitchen was certainly the heart of her home.  She said that food in her part of the country was more than just simple sustenance.  Just one peek at her blog and you’d see the truth in that statement.

Red Chile Gravy Shrimp Enchiladas by Cajunlicious.com

When she was young, all the aunts, uncles and cousins would get together at her grandparents’ house every Sunday after mass to fill their bowls with gumbo, potato salad, etouffee and jambalaya.  When they finished eating they moved on to tell stories, resulting in heaps of laughter.  She learned to cook from her mother, her grandmother and even her great-grandmother and they continue to inspire her every time she walks into the kitchen.

Cajunlicious, All Things Cajun, by Jessica WoodThe success Cajunlicious has had is remarkable.  The blog launched on Valentine’s Day in 2011.  Seriously!  She told me that nobody was more surprised at its success than herself.  The popularity of the blog turned into the cookbook Cajunlicious, All Things Cajun, published last December. The cookbook includes recipes she learned as a child from Granny and Pawsey (grandfather in Cajun French).

I can’t imagine how busy you would be cooking, photographing and writing a new blog, doing all the networking to promote it, becoming an overnight success, writing a cookbook AND having a family life but she’s done it with the ease of any true Cajun.  Many people include Cajun recipes on their blogs and in their cookbooks but Jessica lives Cajun day in and day out.  I suspect that’s why she’s so popular.  She speaks with authority about the traditional ways to make all these dishes.

Gator Dogs by Cajunlicious.com

Unlike me, Jessica plans ahead.  I know, I need to do that too but I’m not quite there yet.  She plans her menus and blog posts well ahead of time and creates the grocery list at the same time.  She has the house to herself during the day and she is able to use natural light to do all her photography.  Like the rest of us, she cringes at her early photos.  We’ve all come a long way.

Crabb Eggrolls by Cajunlicious.com

When I asked what she likes best about her blog, she answered that it is definitely the cooking.  She finds cooking relaxing and it is an activity where she can exercise her creativity.  I feel the same way. While she loves cooking traditional recipes handed down from her grandparents, she also very much enjoys recreating or creating new ones like Gator Dogs, Cajun Pizza, Red Chile Gravy Shrimp Enchiladas, and Crab Egg-Rolls.

We know how much she loves her home in Louisiana but if I gave her tickets today she’d be off for dinner in Paris in a heartbeat.  She would order wine, bread, cheese and escargot for starters.  She tried escargot in 2005 for the first time while on a cruise and she’s been a convert ever since.

Creole Tomato Broth by Cajunlicious.com

The self created recipe which she is most proud of, is her Creole Tomato Broth.  She says it goes with anything and she’s been known to eat an entire French baguette dipped in this broth with some seared tuna.

The Holy Trinity, Onions, Bell Peppers and Celery

Every Cajun dish starts with The Holy Trinity, onions, bell peppers and celery.  Give her these and some Cajun seasoning and she could be happy wherever she happens to be.   She can be especially happy making her quick, easy and delicious Red Beans and Rice.  Sure, it’s easy to prepare and tastes wonderful but it also brings back childhood memories.  She makes it in a crockpot now and says it’s a cinch for anyone to make.

A plate of stuffed mushrooms used to be served with almost everything when she was young.  Her father would take Jessica and her sister to pick their own mushrooms and they’d stuff them, fry or sauté them.  Mushrooms bring back happy food memories.  The crab stuffed mushroom recipe which she’s sharing with us today holds a special place in her heart.  The family cooked the recipe every year during the holidays.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms by Cajunlicious.com

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is a great holiday treat!
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Cajun
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of mushrooms
  • 5 ounces lump crab meat
  • Parkay butter spray or 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1-tablespoon cream
  • ½-cup bread crumbs
  • 1-tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 1-tablespoon lemon juice + a wedge to squeeze on top
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
  • Hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Wipe mushrooms with a damp towel. Pop out the stems, chop, and set aside.
  2. Spray mushroom caps with the parkay butter spray. Spray a shallow baking dish with butter sparingly.
  3. Pour 3 tablespoons of the butter into a saucepan; add reserved chopped mushroom stems, minced onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  4. Combine cooked ingredients with breadcrumbs, green onion, Greek yogurt, cream, lemon juice, crabmeat, and seasonings. At this point, I added a few dashes of hot sauce and a few dashes of Tabasco pepper vinegar. Fill each mushroom cap, piling up.
  5. Sprinkle each mushroom with a little Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes, until hot and mushroom caps are tender.
  6. Serve with lemon wedges & enjoy!

 

Helene
Helene is the author behind MasalaHerb.com and shares FoodWriterFriday with Maureen from OrgasmicChef.com. She is originally Austrian/French but moved in her very early twenties to the beautiful coastline state Goa, India. She loves to discover new exotic ingredients and she enjoys developing Indian/European fusion dishes and of course you will find her also cooking traditional Austrian, French and Goan dishes.
Helene
Helene

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