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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Great Cajun Cook Off

Posted: August 1, 2008
by: T.Alexander

Certain foods have a fan base just like a rock band. BBQ comes to mind first. I’m not sure what gives a food category license to have more excitement and passion than other categories, but it is a fact of life. And no category has more passion than Cajun Cookin’. For those of you who share this passion, here is an event you must know about. A Cajun Cook-Off! Below is information right off their web site:

“The Third Annual Great Cajun Cook-Off is here! Brought to you by the Cactus Cajun Foundation, this year’s event will take place on Sunday, November 2, 2008 from 1 to 4 PM at the Lath House Pavilion in Downtown Phoenix. The Cook-Off is an exciting fundraiser featuring a cooking contest between amateurs and professionals in the categories of gumbo and jambalaya. All proceeds from ticket sales go directly to the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity and the Joel Monte West Club Scholarship.”

If time and distance won’t allow you to attend the cook-off in Phoenix, and you wish to be there in spirit, consider making a donation to this worthy charitable event.

You may also enjoy authentic Cajun cooking from GourmetStation….as a gift for another or a treat for yourself. Our Cajun cuisine is configured in 3 & 4 course Cajun dinners delivered....exquisite food gifts.

Cajun Cuisine - Great Gourmet Food Gift

Posted: February 25, 2007
by: T.Alexander

This is the time of year when I start to crave Cajun cuisine. The weather is still cool and the warmth of the stews, boulet, bouille and café Noir seem “right.” Some believe that Cajuns live to eat. I think they simply eat to enjoy life and have found a truth in their food - when married with Zydeco style music and a party, make for an exceptionally good time. Cajun_icon

There is some confusion between Cajun and Creole cuisine. Great chefs are keen on the subtle differences, but most of us foodies might have a hard time distinguishing the difference. Creole dishes are said to be more “continental” while Cajun food is more seasoned, possibly spicy, and hearty. I guess that’s a way of saying that Cajun cuisine is more regionally focused as some original dishes were centered around locally procured wild game, rice and other regional ingredients.

Two essentials to preparing Cajun cuisine are the “holy trinity” of onions, bell peppers and celery and a well used black cast iron pot. There’s your beginning – all you need.

If you don’t have time to shop, chop and cook, try GourmetStation’s line up of Cajun cuisine. Whether you’re craving a little Cajun gumbo for yourself or a 4 course Cajun gourmet dinner for two, we’ve got you covered. One of our more popular Cajun gourmet food gifts is our Gumbo in Boule….two sourdough boules, two servings of chicken & andouille sausage gumbo, and bake your own chocolate & caramel cookies for dessert.

The idea is to hollow out the center of the boule, making a soup bowl out of the break. (Don’t throw away the bread – you can find a million uses later on.) Fill the hollowed boule with delicious gumbo and you’ve got a meal fit for the Mardi Gras king.

As they say – Ah C’est Bon!

Gourmet Food Gift – Go Cajun

Posted: May 23, 2006
by: T.Alexander

There are always reasons to send a gourmet food gift. To say thanks, thinking of you, get well, cheer up – you name it. Normally when I send gifts the intent is to lift the spirits of the recipient. Now there are lots of choices and top of mind may be flowers or chocolates. Not that there is anything wrong with flowers or chocolates mind you, but wheres the imagination? Flowers and chocolate are a safe gift, but not necessarily a wow gift. So let me share with you a wow gourmet food gift…a 3 or 4 course gourmet dinner from GourmetStation.

You may choose from Parisian, Tuscan, Cajun or Fusion fare, but for the summer, I recommend that you “Go Cajun”. Here’s why. Summer is casual, fun and light. We dress light and eat light. Cajun cuisine may be spicy, but it’s not necessarily heavy. But more importantly, it’s FUN! I found a definition of Cajun and had to share it with you. Read on.

CAJUN ('ka:-j@n), n. A person born or living along the bayous, marshes and prairies of south Louisiana; devoted to gumbo, boudin, sauce piquante, crawfish and jambalaya; dedicated to the fais-do-do, French music, hard work and letting the good times roll. Gumbo_in_a_boule

Any person who is devoted to gumbo and boudin and let’s the good times roll is all right by me. Cajun cuisine has many associations, but the most prevalent to me is kick back, eat & have fun. That’s what your recipient will feel when they receive a gourmet food gift from GourmetStation’s Cajun menu. Go ahead, let the good times roll.

Celebrate Fat Tuesday

Posted: February 28, 2006
by: T.Alexander

Good Morning! Today is Fat Tuesday. Do you have any plastic beads or funky dancing shoes around? Well put them on and celebrate. New Orleans is celebrating the end of the carnival season and the day before Lent with its Mardi Gras festival. Singular and original - there is only one Big Easy and only one Mardi Gras. Even after the wrath of Katrina, the city is unstoppable...vibrant with spirit while the good times roll. Here's what the New York Times has to say about Mardi Gras 2006.Bourbon_street_sign_2_1

If you're like the rest of us you think of delicious spicy food when you think of Mardi Gras celebration. Check out this link to Mardi Gras recipes including the famous King Cake. If you're too busy to shop and cook, remember GourmetStation's collection of delicious Cajun cuisine. Cajun gourmet dinners, soup samplers featuring Gumbo, and desserts including Praline Pecan Cheesecake. Whether you're looking for a meal gift for another or just great gourmet food to stock up on, we have the answer. Now - back to letting the good times roll!

Cajun Seafood & Chef Paul

Posted: February 14, 2006
by: T.Alexander

When I think of New Orleans and Cajun cuisine the first thing that pops in my mind is Chef Paul Prudhomme. The second thing is seafood. I met Chef Paul in the mid 1990’s at the time he was consulting with high profile foodservice clients. I’ll never forget the joy of getting my cookbook autographed and feeling as if I was in the presence of pure authenticity. Chef Paul is as authentically Cajun as Cajun can be. Chef_paul2 He was born and raised on a farm near Opelousas Louisiana deep in Acadiana country. Chef Paul was the youngest of 13 children. His last sister left home when he was only seven and he found himself in the kitchen with his mother learning the art of Cajun cooking. Void of electricity and refrigeration in those early days, Chef Paul learned the value of fresh. The rest is history.

If you want to celebrate Mardi Gras in your own way, try this recipe – Crawfish, Shrimp or Crabmeat in Cream Sauce Over Pasta. Perfect for this time of year. I like the option of selecting my favorite shellfish. If time does not permit shopping and cooking, let GourmetStation bring a little Mardi Gras to you or your gift recipient with our Cajun Cuisine Celebration…three and four course gourmet dinners from our Cajun collection.

Hail the rebirth of New Orleans and let the good times roll.

New Years Eve New Orleans Style

Posted: December 23, 2005
by: T.Alexander

If you are seeking a truly unique New Year’s Eve celebration to bring in 2006, consider the one and only New Orleans. Champion of the US spirit – onward & upward – New Orleans refuses to allow Hurricane Katrina to put a damper on this celebration. Below is a review of what you might expect from Zagats. Enjoy. Bourbon_street_sign_2

“No city is more eager to ring out the old year and ring in the new than New Orleans. That's especially true of its restaurant and tourism industries, key components of the city's economy as well as its character. Devastated by Hurricane Katrina just a scant four months ago, those industries are now gearing up to celebrate the New Year's arrival, which they hope will be a turning point on the road to recovery.

"You will love the NEW New Orleans! Opening January 2006," trumpets the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site. Kicking things off will be a New Year's Eve celebration in Jackson Square featuring fireworks, live music and the dropping of a giant gumbo pot (instead of a ball) at midnight.

Restaurants are joining in the year-end festivities too, even if some will have barely opened their doors before the party starts. Creole-soul food mecca Jacques-Imo's Cafe - scheduled to reopen just two days before New Year's Even - plans to offer a five-course prix fixe menu accompanied by unlimited champagne. Emeril Lagasse's eponymous flagship, Emeril's, as well as his NOLA restaurant - both of which reopened in the past few weeks - are among others that will also be offering special prix fixe menus. More...


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We Will Rise Again

Posted: October 16, 2005
by: T.Alexander

The next several posts will be on Cajun icons. Since I’m a dog lover, the first and obvious salute is to George Rodrigue and Tiffany, better known as Blue Dog. In 1994 I lost a beloved pet, Dmitri. To help with my grieving, a friend introduced me to Blue Dog and presented me with a little book – a journey, so to speak, as Blue Dog makes her way through the cosmos searching for truth. “To find her you must lose her. The Blue Dog knows the way.” Others had found peace and solace in Blue Dog – like Whoopie Goldberg, “It’s nice to know that when I get to the other side, Tiffany will be there waiting to impart all that she knows. She is my fave.” 

I read the little book faithfully – it was always by my bedside. In time the grieving turned to hope and the hope turned to peace. Now Blue Dog is helping others as George has engaged his art skills to help victims of Hurricane Katrini. The name of the piece is We Will Rise Again. This 28” X 20” silkscreen retails for $500 and sales will benefit the Louisiana Chapter of the Red Cross. The commission is open through September 30, 2006. Below is what George has to say about Katrini, this Blue Dog art…I think you can see how Blue Dog once again brings peace and solace to others.

“Those of us from South Louisiana grew up with the aftermaths of hurricanes Audrey, Betsy, Camille...and now Katrina. As with times before, "we will rise again." Tears and rising water threaten to drown us. But don't be deceived. The land may be under water, but the spirit of New Orleans and the culture of Louisiana hold their heads high.

We Will Rise Again shows the American flag covered with water. The blue dog is partly submerged, and its eyes, normally yellow, are red with a broken heart. Like a ship's S.O.S., the red cross on the dog's chest calls out for help.Blue_dog_relief_1

Katrina hit me personally at Ground Zero. My immediate thought was for the safety of people I know, followed by the shock of seeing helicopters and boats alongside familiar street signs, as rescuers assisted people from rooftops and attics. For the second time in this young 21st century I sat at my easel weighted by personal sorrow and my desire to help, this time also reflecting on the devastation of my city and the suffering of my neighbors.

New Orleans has been home to my gallery and studio for sixteen years; it is where the Blue Dog was born. My wife is a third generation New Orleanian, and the Big Easy remains the 'big city' to my Cajun hometown of New Iberia. Wendy and I join thousands of New Orleans residents in our pledge to go HOME, to re-build our city, and to pay tribute to those who lost their lives with a commitment to care for our citizens, embrace our culture, and make the good times roll ... again.” George Rodrigue

History of Cajun Cuisine

Posted: September 1, 2005
by: T.Alexander

Cajun cuisine could be called fusion, a combination of Southern and French food. It's history is amazing. Immigrants of French peasant ancestry settled the Acadian region of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia in the early 1600's. Tensions between the French settlers and the British forced the Acadians out of the region deep into Louisiana where they tried to reunite families. The name Acadian was transformed to Cajun by the English speaking inhabitants of Louisiana. A lukewarm Spanish government in New Orleans met the immigrants and were eager to relocate them into rural areas.Gumbo_brunswick_stew_1

A Cajun kitchen consisted of a cast iron kettle suspended over a hearth. Mainstay foods were corn, potatoes, okra and rice. Wild game and livestock supplemented their diets. Original Cajun dishes were bland but development of the roux gave texture and dimension to their dishes. And of course, rice was used to stretch meals to feed large families.

Today's Cajun cuisine tends to be spicier and bolder than the original recipes with popular items such as andouille, boudin, jambalaya, gumbo, and etoufee. The use of the dark roux and the holy trinity of chopped green peppers, onions and celery form the complex, exciting and flavorful cuisine that we know as Cajun.  Let the good times roll!

Remember GourmetStation's collection of Cajun gourmet food gifts for your next gifting opportunity.