Warning: You may gain 10lbs and increase your cholesterol just by reading this post.
Rich is from south Arkansas, about 15 minutes from Louisiana and his stepdad is from LA so he grew up with a lot of Cajun foods. One of our favorites is the Cajun take on French toast, called Lost Bread or Pain Perdu in French. It originated as a way to use up leftover French bread. His mom always makes this for us for breakfast, but using regular bread instead of French bread. While my family were here visiting over the holidays, Rich took over the breakfast tradition and made Lost Bread for us all.
Cece's Lost Bread
4 Tbs sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
small can Pet milk
Beat eggs well then stir in sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Add enough Pet milk
"to achieve correct consistency" (don't you just love family recipes like this:)) Melt butter in electric skillet (or on the stove if you prefer) at 350 degrees, melt enough to completely cover bottom of skillet. Dip 4 pieces of white or wheat bread, one at a time, in the egg mixture until bread feels heavy but does not tear. Place in skillet. Brown completely on one side. Pick up each slice of bread before turning and melt more butter underneath it, then turn over and place on melted butter to brown the other side. Serve warm with powdered sugar and syrup.
The menfolk cooking breakfast for the ladies. Rich was making the Lost Bread while Dad made bacon and eggs.
A couple nights we just did an hors d'ourvres style dinner with chips & salsa, a cheese/meat/cracker tray, olives, fruit and baked brie. I had never baked brie before so I made the mistake of buying a wedge instead of a wheel. Bake wedge=melted cheese runs out the side. It still tasted delicious though. I added some chopped butter, brown sugar and pecans underneath and on top of the cheese and baked in small baking dish in the oven. We served with crackers and apples..YUM!
Shrimp & Grits is the quintessential Charleston meal. There are several different varieties, some using a brown gravy sauce and some using more of a barbecue or tomato based sauce. This recipe uses brown gravy. It's not gravy like you would put on mashed potatoes, so if you're not a gravy fan I wouldn't let that deter you if the rest of the recipe sounds good to you. I'm not sure what kind of grits you're used to but the ones here are different from what I was used to in Arkansas. They are thicker, creamier and heartier..and more delicious! We made some modifications to the recipe, adding more cheese and some cream to the grits to really fatten it up and make it richer. It turned out really great but it could use a little kick if you like your food a little spicier so I think next time I will add a bit of red pepper or more hot sauce at the end.
Dad and I peeling and deveining the shrimp that we bought from a local seafood market.
Dad chopping veggies.
She-Crab Soup is also a very Lowcountry dish. It's a rich, creamy bisque-like soup. We cheated a bit and used a mix for the soup base but it was wonderful and was easily as good as what we've gotten in some of Charleston's finest restaurants. Mom cooked the soup and added quite a bit of extra butter and cream, so I think next time I'll cut that back to keep it from being quite so rich. You can order the mix online at amazon, and can used canned crab so you can bring a bit of the Lowcountry to your kitchen wherever that may be!
Mom making the soup in my very awesome new but vintage Le Creuset dutch oven from the '50s.
Everything cooking on the stove.
Time to eat! I even put my juice in a wine glass to be festive.
Of course we had to have dessert. This is my Aunt Beth making a cake. It was a boxed yellow cake with homemade chocolate peanut butter frosting.
Feel like you need to run 26.2 miles to work that off??