Christmas is almost here, and if you’re like us, you’ve probably got more than a few folks on your list who love Cajun and Creole cuisine. If you’re planning to give cookbooks this year, we’ve taken the legwork out of your search. Here are some of the best Cajun and Creole cookbooks to come out recently. From the adventurous chef in your life to the gourmet cook, these titles have something for everyone.
For the Person Who Has Everything
Here’s a gift idea for those hard-to-shop-for people. They probably don’t have Louisiana De Mer, our newest hardcover cookbook that features more than 75 unbeatable Cajun and Creole seafood recipes. This 160-page collection includes Bayou State classics like Crawfish Etouffee, Broiled Oysters, Blackened Catfish, and Shrimp Po’ boys. Louisiana de Mer will help you make the most of all the Louisiana “Seasons” with chapters like Carnival, Lent, Grilling Season, Tailgating, and Holiday Parties. In addition to scores of recipes, we’ve included plenty of priceless tips and tricks. Learn how to make the perfect roux, build flavor with homemade spice blends, and master the basic Creole sauces. The cookbook makes a great accompaniment to a subscription to Louisiana Cookin’.
For the Newlywed/Beginner
In his previous books, Chef John Besh has focused on exquisite and elaborate Creole dishes, family meals, and the influence of his mentors on his culinary creative process, but in Besh Big Easy (Andrews McMeel, 2015), he had a different goal. He wanted a cookbook that would help preserve classic New Orleans recipes, dishes that every New Orleanian and every lover of the Crescent City should be exposed to, but were slowly fading away with the passage of time. The softcover volume includes more than 100 recipes over 11 chapters and covers old-school favorites like stuffed artichokes, grillades and grits, chicken fricassee, stuffed tomatoes, caldo, a quick-and-easy version of New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, and more.
For the Bibliophile
Fans of New Orleans’ most iconic novel, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, will find a delightful culinary companion in Cynthia LeJeune Nobles’ A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook: Recipes from Ignatius J. Reilly’s New Orleans (LSU Press, 2015). Filled with almost 200 charming recipes typical of 1960s era New Orleans as well as fascinating Confederacy of Dunces trivia, the cookbook is divided into chapters representing the various characters, locations, and businesses mentioned in the novel. A handy Confederacy of Dunces glossary and list of characters help bring the novel to life for those unacquainted with John Kennedy Toole’s comedic tour de force. This cookbook takes a lighthearted yet impeccably researched look at the epicurean side of the novel, and celebrates the singularity and timelessness of both Louisiana’s food culture and the literary treasure that inspired the cookbook.
For the Adventurous Cook
Jeff Young, The Catholic Foodie, recently released Around the Table with the Catholic Foodie: Middle Eastern Cuisine (Liguori, 2014), a Middle Eastern cookbook that celebrates the idea of preparing and enjoying a meal with loved ones. Drawing strong inspiration from both the Lebanese heritage of his wife, Charlene, and his pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Jeff presents a collection of inspiring stories and recipes that encourage families to make dinnertime a sacred tradition. Recipes like Mediterranean Trout and Garlic Shrimp with Tomatoes, Peppers, and Feta take advantage of local ingredients, while traditional Middle Eastern favorites like Falafel and Baklava are presented in easy-to-understand format. Plenty of seafood, vegetarian options, and delicious desserts provide something for everyone.
For the Travel Enthusiast
Houmas House Plantation’s time-honored tradition of gracious hospitality is lovingly documented in Jim Blanchard’s latest coffee table book, Louisiana’s Sugar Palace: Houmas House Plantation and Gardens (Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, 2014). The showpiece of a tome covers the entire history of Houmas House, including detailed records and personal accounts from notable visitors throughout the plantation’s history. Vibrant photography of the grounds, flora, and fauna of Houmas House shines alongside recipes for Louisiana favorites like Curried Pumpkin and Crawfish Bisque, Pan Roasted Duck Breast, and Bananas Foster. Readers will delight in this stunning souvenir while diving deeper into the fascinating history of Louisiana’s famed Sugar Palace. Pick up a copy at the Houmas House gift shop, or call 225.473.9380.
For the Traditionalist
Lifelong New Orleans resident Kit Wohl knows better than most the pride Crescent City locals take in their food. Now on the eighth title in her Classic New Orleans cookbook series, the award-winning author carries on her tradition of providing readers an authentic taste of Creole cuisine with New Orleans Classic Creole Recipes (Pelican Publishing, 2014). The book explores the celebrated history and recipes of the Crescent City, featuring an array of New Orleans classics like Red Beans and Rice, Shrimp Creole, and Beignets. Sprinkled with bits of history, culinary know-how, and local folklore, New Orleans Classic Creole Recipes is a goldmine for any connoisseur of Creole cuisine.