Cajun Potluck - June

>> Friday, June 3, 2011

We have a rotating monthly potluck dinner with our friends and when it's your turn to host, you get to pick the theme. We've been doing this for about three years and it's amazing to think how much everyone's lives have changed during that time - weddings, pregnancies, babies, new homes, new jobs, etc. We decided that we're going to start taking pictures every month so that we can have them as a reminder of all the fun times we always have at potluck. That idea got me thinking that it would be fun to start doing a monthly post with pictures and recipes for all the dishes we bring each month. So this will be the first of many potluck posts, I hope!

This month Candace and Craig chose to do a Cajun theme. They made a magnificent Shrimp Creole for the main course, which I ate (and thoroughly enjoyed) over Hunter's dirty rice. I've never eaten a lot of Cajun/Creole food, so I had no idea what to bring. After giving it some thought, I decided grilled corn on the cob would work just fine. In order to make it fit with our theme, I decided to serve it with a compound butter full of Cajun flavors. Easy-peasy, a lot more fun than plain ole butter, and it really gave the corn a great flavor; however, the butter was far from attractive. Because I made the unfortunate decision to roll into a log shape, there were quite a few comments about it looking phallic or poop-like. I think next time, I'll just put it in a ramekin! Also, grilling the corn with the beer in the foil packets really added a great dimension to the flavor that I highly recommend!

Recipes will either have a link under the picture or the full recipe will be found at the bottom of the page. I hope you enjoy the recipes as much as we did!

These were so good, and boy, did they go fast! I'm not sure everyone even got to try one before the entire platter was devoured!

{Candace's shrimp creole}

{Hunter's dirty rice}

I've never had a corn pudding with bacon before, and it added such a great smoky flavor that everyone loved. I know at least one person went back for seconds but I'm not saying who!
{my creole compound butter}
See what I mean about it looking dirty?!? Even extra herbs and tabasco sauce couldn't help it at all - may have even made it look worse!

{my corn on the cob}

{Candace's tres leches cake - not cajun but it was Jennie's birthday and it's her favorite}
I'm not a fan of tres leches cake because I find that so many of them are verging on completely mushy and way too sweet! But I loved this one though - it was moist without being soggy!
This was sooo good! The bourbon added a really nice flavor without being overpowering. Plus I thought it was really cute spin on the cajun theme - a bourbon cake for Bourbon Street!
{banana pudding}

{my dessert plate - why choose just 1 when you can have all 3?!}

Shrimp Creole
adapted by Candace from Southern Living

2 (14 1/2-oz) cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c chopped celery (about 2 ribs)
1 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2-3 t hot sauce - depending on how spicy you like it
1-2 t Creole seasoning
1 lb peeled large fresh shrimp
white rice, for serving (I prefer to use long grain rice, but you can easily use Minute Rice to speed things up)

Prepare rice according to package directions; keep warm.

Pulse stewed tomatoes in a food processor 3 or 4 times or until chopped.

Saute green pepper, onion and celery in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet for 8 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Stir in chopped tomatoes, diced tomatoes, hot sauce and Creole seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Stir in shrimp, cover, and simmer 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Dirty Rice
recipe from

1 lb. sausage
1/2 lb ground beef
3 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c parsley, chopped
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
4 c cooked white rice
2-3 green onions, chopped

Cook sausage and beef in large skillet until almost browned. Drain all but 1-2 tablespoons drippings. Add celery, pepper, onion, garlic and spices. Cook until meat is browned and veggies are softened, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess grease. Combine veggie mixture with rice and mix well. Stir in parsley and garnish with green onions.

Grilled Corn with Creole Compound Butter

12 ears of corn, husked
1 bottle dark beer (I used Shiner Bock)
1 stick butter, softened
1 garlic clove, grated
1 lime, zested
2 t chili powder
1/2 t celery salt
1/2 t onion powder
5 - 10 dashes Tabasco sauce, depending on how spicy you want it
2 t fresh chives, snipped

To make the butter, in a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, lime zest, chili powder, celery salt, onion powder, Tabasco and chives. Place softened butter mixture into small ramekin and smooth top. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Wrap each ear of corn in foil and add 2 T beer to each foil packet. Wrap it up carefully so the beer doesn't leak out. Grill for 10-15 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before eating. Serve with compound butter.

Candace's Tres Leches Cake
a Candace original!

for the cake
1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist yellow cake mix
1 1/4 c water
1 T vegetable oil
2 t vanilla
4 eggs
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 c whole milk or evaporated milk
1 c whipping cream

for the frosting
3/4 c whipping cream
1/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for dark or nonstick pans). Grease and flour or spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.

Bake 29 to 35 minutes or until edges are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes. Poke top of hot cake every 1/2 inch with long-tined fork, wiping fork occasionally to reduce sticking. (Don't hold back on the holes - the more, the better :-)

In a large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, whole milk and whipping cream. Carefully pour evenly over top of cake. Cover; refrigerate about 1 hour or until mixture is absorbed into cake. Frost with frosting and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

For the frosting, place the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using whisk attachment, whisk together on medium/high speed until stiff peaks are formed.

Banana Pudding
recipe from the Jell-O box

2 pkg (3.4-oz) Banana Cream flavor instant pudding
2 1/2 c cold milk
1 box mini Nilla Wafers
3 bananas, sliced
1 tub (8-oz) Cool Whip Lite, thawed

Beat pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

Arrange layer of wafers on bottom and up sides of a 2-quart bowl; top with layers of half each banana, wafers and pudding. Repeat layers; cover with Cool Whip. Refrigerate 3 hours.


Lora and Casey June 7, 2011 at 6:59 AM  

Yummy yummy yummy! Everything was so delish! Thanks for posting, E. :) I can't wait to make that corn puddng. Oh, and I think the word you were looking for re: your butter was "naughty" not "dirty"!

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