Cranberry Lemon Sourcream Muffins


Part two of a very Cranberry Christmas!

These muffins go so fast when I bake them I usually bake up dozens. They freeze well and thaw quick enough to enjoy with your morning coffee for breakfast (lunch and dinner…)

I always over do the cranberries, but I like them tart. You could up the sugar to 1 cup if you prefer it sweeter.

It should be noted that you can substitute the lemon for 2 limes or 1 orange, depending on your tastes.

Lemon Cranberry Sourcream Muffins

Cranberry Lemon Sour Cream Muffins

1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup melted margarine
2 cups frozen cranberries (Less here would be okay)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix the sour cream, eggs, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl.

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.

Add the flour and baking powder and stir until well mixed.

Add the melted margarine and mix well qutil the batter is creamy. Add in the cranberries.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

You can also use loaf pans or mini loaf pans but note that the baking time will be longer (Over 45 minutes.)

Gyro Burgers


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup peeled, seeded, and shredded cucumber
  • 2 1/4 cups plain yogurt
  • cheesecloth
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small sweet onion, minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Urfa biber
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 hamburger buns

Directions

  1. Place the grated cucumber on a heavy-duty paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Top with another towel, and pat dry; set aside. Scoop the yogurt into a large square of fine cheesecloth, twist the ends to close, and squeeze to remove excess moisture.
  2. Transfer the strained yogurt to a bowl, and stir in 2 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Gradually add 1 tablespoon olive oil, whisking constantly, until fully incorporated. Mix in the garlic, dill, and drained cucumbers; cover and refrigerate.
  3. Combine the red onion, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and sumac. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Place the ground beef in a bowl and add the minced onion, red pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, Urfa biber, and butter. Mix gently with your hands until all of the ingredients are well distributed.
  5. Place bell pepper in blender and blend until it is mostly pureed. Pour off any excess liquid, and add the bell pepper and kosher salt to the meat; mix well. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions and form into patties slightly larger than the buns, as the patties will shrink a bit.
  6. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  7. Brush the patties with 2 tablespoons olive oil and grill on high and direct heat about 5 minutes per side or until done to your liking. Place each burger on a bun; top the burgers with cucumber and yogurt tzatziki and the lemon-soaked red onion and sumac mixture.

Mardi Gras Cajun Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffe


  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons seafood seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • 1 pound crawfish tails
  • 1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, and stir constantly until the mixture turns ‘peanut butter’ brown or darker, at least 15 or 20 minutes. I use a large fork with the flat side to the bottom of the pan in a side to side motion. This is your base sauce or ‘Roux’. It is very important to stir this constantly. If by chance the roux burns, discard and start over.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, and stir constantly until the mixture turns ‘peanut butter’ brown or darker, at least 15 or 20 minutes. I use a large fork with the flat side to the bottom of the pan in a side to side motion. This is your base sauce or ‘Roux’. It is very important to stir this constantly. If by chance the roux burns, discard and start over.
  3. Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper (if using), and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.

New Orleans Catfish Fries


Ingredients

  • 1 (10 ounce) fillet frozen catfish
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 quart oil for frying

Directions

  1. Lay catfish fillet horizontally on cutting board. Cut thin 1/4 inch wide strips from the filet at a 45 degree angle. This is easy if your knife is sharp, and the filet is partly frozen.
  2. Dust fish strips moderately with cayenne pepper, and gently tumble together to evenly coat all strips. They should look pink all over when you are through. On the Bayou, this is called a dry marinade. Place catfish strips on a plate or pan, and set aside for a few minutes to thaw.
  3. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Place enough corn flour to bread your catfish on a bowl or plate, and season with salt and black pepper.
  4. Place thawed catfish into seasoned corn flour, and tumble gently until all strips are evenly coated. Deep fry in hot oil for about 3 minutes, or until done. Fish should be golden brown, slightly crisp outside, and moist and flaky inside when done.

Crawfish Cornbread


Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1/3 cup chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails
  • 1 pinch seasoned salt, or to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pinch garlic powder, or to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Stir together cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, onion, green pepper, pimentos, vegetable oil, Cheddar cheese, cream-style corn, jalapeno pepper, crawfish tails, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder until the mixture is well combined. Pour the crawfish mixture into the cornmeal mixture, and stir together. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the cornbread is lightly golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Mardi Gras King Cake


The King Cake is a Mardi Gras tradition that involves a pastry, a small plastic baby, and a party. The King Cake is baked with a small plastic baby hidden inside, the person who gets the piece with the baby in it has to host next year’s party. Make sure to buy a new small plastic baby. To be extra careful, use a plastic toy baby that is too large to swallow.

Ingredients

  • PASTRY:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • FILLING:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • FROSTING:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  5. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
  6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10×16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners’ sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

Mardi Gras Meat Balls


Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 5 1/4 pounds alligator meat
  • 1 1/2 pounds onions
  • 2 bunches green onions
  • 2 bunches fresh parsley
  • 1 medium head garlic
  • 1/2 bunch celery
  • 1 quart oil for frying
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons dried savory
  • 2 ounces salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds cracker meal

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes; drain. Put the alligator meat, onions, green onions, parsley, celery and potatoes through a meat grinder into a large bowl. Mix in the eggs, savory, salt and pepper until well blended. Shape into 1 ounce balls (golf ball sized) and roll in cracker meal.
  2. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Fry meat balls until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels.