Sunday, May 24, 2009

A recipe on how to make Cajun chocolate pecan pralines

A lot of people ask me how to make a good praline. There are several ways to make pralines, and I am going to give you one of my favorite praline recipes. This one is for making Cajun style chocolate pecan pralines. The pralines do take some work, but man, I love them, and they are worth the time, especially if you like chocolate and pecans, and of course, candy!


First you need to gather the following ingredients together;
1 1/2 Sticks unsalted butter
1 c Sugar
1 c Packed, light brown sugar
1 c Milk
1/2 c Heavy cream
1 c Coarsely chopped pecans
2 c Whole pecan halves
2 tb Vanilla extract
1 1/2 c Semisweet chocolate chips

First off, you need to chill the chocolate chips . Then assemble all the ingredients and utensils before starting to cook. (Measure out the chocolate chips and keep them in the fridge until just before needed.) You need to gather up everything you need beforehand: a large, heavy-bottomed aluminum pot or skillet with deep sides, a long-handled metal whisk or spoon, 2 large spoons (or an ice cream scoop with a manual release) and a very lightly greased cookie sheet.

Next, just melt the butter in the pot over high heat then add the sugars, milk, cream and chopped pecans. You will need to cook this 5 minutes, and whisking constantly. Then reduce heat to medium, and continue cooking and whisking about 10 minutes.

Add the pecan halves and continue whisking and cooking until done, about 8 to 10 minutes.
(If it starts smokes toward end of cooking time, just lower the heat.) Stir in the vanilla. then immediately drop about 1/4 cup of chocolate chips into about one-sixth of the batter.
Then you really need to stir it all quickly and just enough to cover some of the chips with batter but not you do not want the chocolate chips to melt yet.

Quickly drop the chocolate mixture onto the cookie sheet by heaping spoonfuls, using the second spoon to push the batter off the first (or use ice cream scoop). Each of the pralines should be about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.

Repeat with remaining mixture, stirring briefly before adding more chocolate chips. The cooled pralines should be light brown, opaque, somewhat chunky and crumbly. Sometimes it takes some practice to get the pralines just right, but just keep trying until you get the hang of it, it really is worth the effort!

This recipe yeilds about 24 chocolate pecan pralines, more or less!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How to make Cajun sauce picante

How to make Cajun sauce picante

I just love to make this Cajun dish, and making sauce picante is really not hard at all! To me it tastes better with peeled crawfish tails, peeled shrimp, fish, or chicken (I usuallly use cut up chicken breasts)but some folks use other a combination, and others add sausage. Every Cajun makes their recipes in different ways, so you usually won't find recipes with the exact same ingredients!

To make the sauce, I use the following ingredients:

1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
8 0unces of water
2 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere's)
1/2 to one whole onion-chopped
About 4 green onions-chopped

I usually don't add salt and pepper, because for me the Tony's has enough. You may want to adjust this to your own taste.

Mix first four ingredients until well blended, then add the onions and green onions
Then add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large fry pan and heat the mixture over medium or low heat, until the onions have softened a bit.
Now you can add your crawfish tails, shrimp, fish, or chicken, and continue cooking until meat is done.

*NOTE: Crawfish and shrimp do not take very long to cook, fish takes a bit longer, and chicken usually takes the longest.

You can also add pre-cooked meat once the sauce is done, and not cook as long.

I normally serve this over cooked rice, because I like it that way, but lots of people like it over pasta.

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