Day 33 - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Ziggy and I arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana around 9am. We took off towards downtown and couldn't believe it when we ran into Stephanie and Johnny. They were happy to see me and Ziggy and offered to show us around. As we walked around Baton Rouge, they really knew alot about their fair state. Ziggy reached into her bag and put on her Louisiana hat.
We all laughed and I said, "We're ready. Tell us about Baton Rouge and Louisiana."
Stephanie said, "Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana and the center of all things this great state has to offer. Look around and you'll be amazed by our diverse arts and culture, delicious cuisine and dynamic music scene. From every direction, everything uniquely Louisiana culminates here in our capital city. From a taste of Cajun Country to the west to the romance and charm of Plantation Country to the east, visitors to Baton Rouge delight in the seamless merger of past and present."
Johnny continued, "Baton Rouge is now one of the fastest growing cities in the South. It's a bustling Metropolis of cutting edge technology companies, high-powered law firms and forward thinking city leaders who passionately support the arts and promote the local economy. Old Man River just got an upgrade. Yes, this is one city that's rolling on the river."
They took us down to meet Louisiana Nate Tucker, Crawfisherman at large. He showed us how to catch crawfish and then he was going to make us the best crawfish dish we ever had! Ziggy thought we were going to have shrimp, but I told her that this would be even better.
Nate said, "To catch lots of crayfish, you need a good, productive, crayfish trap. But without bait, even the best trap isnt much good. To catch crayfish, you need bait. Thats a simple and accurate statement. What is the best bait?"
I told him when I was growing up in Missouri, we used liver. He said, "Fish make the best bait, But you could use meat too. But not spoiled meat or bad smellin' fish. Crawfish won't go near it! Now, how about some Louisiana Crawfish Etoufee?"
Stephanie and Johnny had to leave so we went into the house and man, were we surprised. A little bitty place on the outside, but nice on the inside. See the photo I took below the recipe.
Now-a-days, you can buy Crawfish just about anywhere at your supermarket in the seafood section. They come in one pound packages and are frozen to maintain integrity and freshness. They are a little sweeter than shrimp and lobster and simply put, delicious.
Here's the recipe.
Louisiana Crawfish Etoufee
1/2 cup roux *
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1 small can diced rotel tomatoes
2 cups water
3 lbs of cleaned crawfish meat
1 tsp. each salt, pepper, garlic powder
dash of cayenne
1 cup finely chopped green onion tops for garnish
*Make a roux by browning "slowly" in a small iron skillet ...1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup flour until it is dark brown.
Do not rush this. Add chopped white onions and bell pepper. Next add rotel tomatoes, water and seasoning. Stir very well over medium high heat. Cover and reduce to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add crawfish tail meat.... and raise heat to a slow boil. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. Take off the heat , Cover and let set while you cook a pot of white rice. (About 3 cups of raw rice, 6 cups water, salt, and butter )
Serve over the 'cooked' white rice and garnish each bowl with green onion. This is so good with garlic bread and potato salad or cole slaw.
A lemon pie makes a good desert with this dish.
"You gotta suck da head on dem der crawfish!"
Yippee! We're going to Ohio tomorrow. Stephanie asked if I needed a car. She works for Enterprise Leasing but we're flying instead. Plus, on this flight cause we're flying 1st Class, we get to sleep in style.
Before we left, I had to ask Nate about what it meant to him to be an American. He said, "Well, where else can I keep an old beat up 'otto' mobile in my front yard. It's art ya know." And he posed for us.
So we said our good-byes and even took some crawfish to eat on the plane. I sure do love crawfish. When this trip is all over, I think I will make a crawfish bisque and maybe even a crawfish pie. Yum!
See ya tomorrow in Columbus, Ohio!