You know the band Alabama? I always found it funny that they sang a song about Louisiana Saturday nights since their name is, well, Alabama. Guess my rivalry between Bama and LSU will never die, eh?
There are so many great things going on in Louisiana lately. Between the New Orleans Saints clinching a Superbowl win and Mardi Gras, I just thought it would be great to celebrate with family the traditional Louisiana way: CRAWFISH!
Oh yes, that silly crustacean that is also referred to as a crayfish or mudbug. We have been anxiously awaiting crawfish season, and we lucked out with a sack (roughly about 40 lbs.) from a local crawfish farmer for some crawfish foodie fun! I say lucked out, because it’s VERY early in the season and well, like the rest of the country, our winter isn’t exactly mild. Since it’s so cold, the crawfish basically go dormant. So, the crawfish are in short supply (and sadly, pricey). However, we just had to have some of this. It’s been far too long for us, and let’s just say we weren’t disappointed.
I’m sure some of you are insanely jealous and then there are some of you who are thinking, why crawfish?
Crawfish are insanely abundant in the swamps/marshes of Louisiana (when they are in season), and have been around since the native Americans and European settlers. Because of their abundance out here, they have remained popular for centuries and have sort of become tradition for family gatherings. In the Spring/early Summer, you can literally smell crawfish boil in the air in most neighborhoods. So many families do boils and LOVE it. It’s crazy that Louisiana supplies 90% of all domestic crawfish in the nation, yielding 75-105 MILLION pounds of crawfish. (fun facts via www.crawfish.org)
So, now that you can understand our state’s small addiction to this little creature, here’s what we enjoyed at the party!
Mini Crawfish Pies*
Crawfish Boil (of course)
Decorated Crawfish Sugar Cookies*
* There will be separate blog posts about these items off the menu.
Since the pies and cheesecake had to be assembled the night before and the crawfish for the boil wouldn’t be caught until the next morning , we purchased some Louisiana crawfish conveniently peeled into 1 lb. bags. Let me tell you, if you have to choose between Louisiana crawfish and foreign crawfish, you should strongly consider Louisiana crawfish. It might be a few more bucks than foreign crawfish, but I will say, they are TOTALLY not the same. Louisiana crawfish has so much more flavor and the tails are usually much larger too, so if you are thinking of buying crawfish in stores, seriously consider splurging a few extra bucks and getting domestic crawfish.
These crawfish pies were so yummy! The tray of these were gobbled up, and just came together so easily. I will admit, I used pre-made pie dough, but hey, the filling made up for it BIG time! I was a little happy to have some leftover filling to freeze and make these again sometime soon!
This savory cheesecake was pretty darn easy to put together too. We ended up using this as a spread for crackers, and it was just so flavorful. We didn’t really eat it as a cheesecake though, since it was a very rich appetizer and we had to save room for the crawfish boil!
This is crawfish boudin. We like to buy this from a local cajun meat shop. I love this shop because they just know how to put a twist on the most basic things to taste perfectly Louisianian. If we had a long day at work and no time to cook (or just feeling lazy), it’s easy to pop something from there in the oven and enjoy it within an hour!
Back to boudin. Boudin is basically a rice dressing stuffed in a casing. The main ingredient is usually pork, but this meat shop makes fun types like red beans and crawfish! While it looks like sausage, most people find the casing to be unappetizing. So you just end up eating it out of the casing, which easily peels away.
We enjoyed our boudin spread on crackers. It was delicious!
We timed it to where we enjoyed appetizers while boiling these little fellas.
They went from this:
After they were done, we did not hesitate to fork out the newspaper and dig in! Crawfish boils aren’t usually strictly crawfish. Personally, we boil ours with lemons, onions, garlic, corn, potatoes, mushrooms and sausage. It’s fun to have a little variety in there!
And of course, for spice wimps like me, since these bad boys are boiled in a LOT of cayenne pepper and spices, there was plenty of french bread to calm down the burning taste buds! We purchased this bread at a produce stand that is known for selling great local foods. I love supporting local businesses, especially when it’s dealing with food, because it’s much fresher, flavorful and sometimes, even CHEAPER than buying at just your typical supermarket.
This boil was definitely enjoyed by all. We had a little bit leftover, which we’ll be peeling and freezing to use in another cajun dish sometime soon, but out of the sack of about 40 lbs., it was mostly gone! I guess we were hungry!
After the clean-up outside, we all went inside to hang out, let our tummies digest and enjoy a platter full of decorated crawfish cookies! Or, at least offer it out to those who saved some room for some! Stay tuned for how I made these. I am pretty happy with how these turned out, since I didn’t have a crawfish cookie cutter!
Thanks again to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this party. My family had a wonderful time catching up and enjoying this fabulous Louisiana staple! I hope this boil is first of many for this crawfish season! YUM!