Food Writer Fridays – Jessica Wood from Cajunlicious

I don’t think many blogs get my curiosity going more than Cajunlicious.  I’ve visited New Orleans on several occasions and of course I’ve seen the movie The Big Easy more times than I care to admit but when I look at Jessica’s blog and see all that fantastic food – I’m in love.  I know envy is wrong, my mother told me that, but this woman is beautiful, successful and can cook. Who could help being envious?

All of my grandparents come from Eastern Canada and the music and dancing they did at weddings and get-togethers is very much like the music of New Orleans.  That’s where the similarity ends.  I grew up with traditional French cooking which is nothing like what Jessica creates.

Red Beans and Rice by Cajunlicious.com

She was born and raised only 25 minutes from downtown New Orleans and the kitchen was definitely the heart of her home.  She said that food in her part of the country was more than simple sustenance.  Just one peek at her blog and you’d see the truth in that statement.

Red Chile Gravy Shrimp Enchiladas by Cajunlicious.com

When she was young, all the aunts, uncles and cousins would get together at her grandparents’ house every Sunday after mass to fill their bowls with gumbo, potato salad, etouffee and jambalaya.  When they stopped eating they moved to telling stories resulting in heaps of laughter.  She learned to cook from her mother, her grandmother and even her great-grandmother and they continue to inspire her every time she walks into the kitchen.

Cajunlicious, All Things Cajun, by Jessica WoodThe success Cajunlicious has had is remarkable.  The blog launched on Valentine’s Day in 2011.  Seriously!  She told me that nobody was more surprised at its success than she was.  The popularity of the blog turned into the cookbook Cajunlicious, All Things Cajun, published last December. The cookbook includes recipes she learned as a child from Granny and Pawsey (grandfather in Cajun French).

I can’t imagine how busy you would be cooking, photographing and writing a new blog, doing all the networking to promote it, becoming an overnight success, writing a cookbook AND having a family life but she’s done it with the ease of any true Cajun.  Many people include Cajun recipes on their blogs and in their cookbooks but Jessica lives Cajun day in and day out.  I suspect that’s why she’s so popular.  She speaks with authority about the traditional ways to make all these dishes.

Gator Dogs by Cajunlicious.com

Unlike me, Jessica plans ahead.  I know, I need to do that too but I’m not quite there yet.  She plans her menus and blog posts well ahead of time and creates the grocery list at the same time.  She has the house to herself during the day and she is able to use natural light to do all her photography.  Like the rest of us, she cringes at her early photos.  We’ve all come a long way.

Crabb Eggrolls by Cajunlicious.com

When asked what she likes best about her blog and it’s definitely cooking.  She finds cooking relaxing and an activity that she can exercise her creativity.  I feel the same way. While she loves cooking traditional recipes handed down from her grandparents, she very much enjoys recreating or creating new ones like Gator Dogs, Cajun Pizza, Red Chile Gravy Shrimp Enchiladas, and Crab Egg-Rolls.

We know how much she loves her home in Louisiana but if I gave her tickets today she’d be off for dinner in Paris in a heartbeat.  She would order wine, bread, cheese and escargot for starters.  She tried escargot in 2005 for the first time while on a cruise and she’s been a convert ever since.

Creole Tomato Broth by Cajunlicious.com

The recipe she created that she’s most proud is her Creole Tomato Broth.  She says it goes with anything and she’s been known to eat an entire French baguette dipped in this broth with some seared tuna.

The Holy Trinity, Onions, Bell Peppers and Celery

Every Cajun dish starts with The Holy Trinity, onions, bell peppers and celery.  Give her these and some Cajun seasoning and she could be happy wherever she happens to be.   She can be especially happy making her quick, easy and delicious Red Beans and Rice.  Sure, it’s easy to prepare and tastes wonderful but it also brings back childhood memories.  She makes it in a crockpot now and says it’s a cinch for anyone to make.

A plate of stuffed mushrooms was served with almost everything when she was young.  Her father would take Jessica and her sister to pick their own mushrooms and they’d stuff them and fry or sauté them.  Mushrooms bring back happy food memories.  The crab stuffed mushrooms she’s sharing with us today hold a special place in her heart.  The family made them every year during the holidays.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms by Cajunlicious.com

5.0 from 8 reviews
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is a great holiday treat.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Cajun
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of mushrooms
  • 5 ounces lump crab meat
  • Parkay butter spray or 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1-tablespoon cream
  • ½-cup bread crumbs
  • 1-tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 1-tablespoon lemon juice + a wedge to squeeze on top
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
  • Hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Wipe mushrooms with a damp towel. Pop out the stems, chop, and set aside.
  2. Spray mushroom caps with the parkay butter spray. Spray a shallow baking dish with butter sparingly.
  3. Pour 3 tablespoons of the butter into a saucepan; add reserved chopped mushroom stems, minced onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  4. Combine cooked ingredients with breadcrumbs, green onion, Greek yogurt, cream, lemon juice, crabmeat, and seasonings. At this point, I added a few dashes of hot sauce and a few dashes of Tabasco pepper vinegar. Fill each mushroom cap, piling up.
  5. Sprinkle each mushroom with a little Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes, until hot and mushroom caps are tender.
  6. Serve with lemon wedges & enjoy!

 

 

You might also like:

Comments

  1. says

    I love Jessica’s blog! It is super fantastic and a favourite place to visit so I am glad you featured her :D
    Great to discover more, see wonderful foodie pics and in general an awesome post :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    P.S I was also wondering if you received my second email my friend – my email stuffed up for a bit during that time so just confirming :)
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted..Anyone For A High Tea?

  2. says

    I was following her blog and then lost track of it so thanks for bringing it back to my attention! What a wonderful review/interview! I love Cajun Food – in fact, Paul Prudhomme’s cookbook was the very first cookbook my husband and I bought together (maybe the first I ever bought myself) and we did a lot of cooking from it, but years ago! Time to start again and thanks for this post I’ll be finding my Cajun way through Jessica’s blog! Yay for her book too!

  3. says

    Maureen, I had a dream that I left comments and shared all of your latest posts. Somehow, the dream imbedded itself in my lobes, and I truly believed I did all of the above, especially the white chocolate macadamia cookies because those are my fave cookies in the world. Ok, I think everything that’s been going on has rendered me brain ‘hazed’. Regardless, love Jessica’s blog – fantastic FWF’s as always..and the food looks delicious ‘as always’ :)
    Lisa recently posted..Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips for SRC, and Part 9

    • says

      Oh Lisa, we all do that I think. I look at blog posts and I swear I’ve left a comment. Maybe I don’t wait to see if they went through. Sometimes our connection is a bit dodgy.

  4. says

    If my husband wasn’t already my husband, I know I could get him to propose to me if I made him these crab stuffed mushrooms. Seriously! Heading over to Cajunlicious right now. Thanks for the intro! Have a wonderful weekend :-)

  5. says

    I was born in NOLA, but raised in Texas. My parents went to LSU for grad school. And a dear family friend of ours is a ragin’ cajun. We love our creole food. Still have my Paul Prudomme cookbook as a reference guide! I can’t wait to check out these recipes!

  6. says

    There is no doubt that Jessica does have some great talent for Cajun cuisine. Between the blogging, the published cookbook and chefs hangout, she is one busy girl. To be that busy and keep it together does require a lot of organization as well as skill for cooking that comes naturally. Great to come here and learn more about her! Thanks for interviewing this fast rising star!

  7. says

    Wow, what fabulous looking dishes she has, the shrimp enchiladas are right up my alley. Maureen I would love to get the link to your curry quinoa if you get a minute. Nice to meet you Jessica and I’m excited to try some of your cajun cuisine out.

  8. says

    Another great interview, my friend! I am really looking forward to exploring Jessica’s blog, as I fell in love with Cajun food back in Michigan, when I worked at a restaurant that served jambalaya, etouffee, gumbo, and many more wonderful dishes:)
    And, congratulations on your book, Jessica!

  9. says

    I haven’t heard of this blog before. What a great and generous write-up. She certainly has had amazing success in such a short space of time. Unbelievable how her cookbook has already been published! I’ll look forward to visiting her blog xx

  10. says

    Hi girls!

    How exciting to see Jessicas talents featured on your awesome space Maureen. I have been following Jessicas Canjunlicious for quite some time, in fact she was one of my first blogging connecions out there. Cajun food is pretty much unknown here, even to my family in france, so I am always glad to learn something new from Jessicas talents. I totaly recommend the folks out there to check out her space and new cookbook!

    Jessica, you rock girl!

  11. says

    Very nice profile. Never been to New Orleans. Have flown over it many times. And like you have seen The Big Easy so many times I ‘feel’ like I have been there. That is one great movie. Gonna have to visit some day. Another Bucket List.

  12. says

    Wow! What a great introduction to some Cajun style dishes for those of us who’ve never been to New Orleans or have tried Cajun foods. These dishes look amazing! I make beans in the crock pot all the time and what a great way to “kick it up a notch”. I’m definitely going to have to check out some of Jessica’s recipes. Thanks for sharing!
    Noel Chapman recently posted..The Nevada County Grower’s Market

  13. says

    What a lovely ode to Cajunlicious and congratulations to you both. Although I love New Orleans, I’m often wary of some of the food as too much spice doesn’t agree with me. I look forward to reading through her recipes and discovering more of the authentic cajun flavors.

  14. says

    Oh, these mushrooms look divine! I’m a big fan of Jessica’s, too…and I’m overdue to stop by and check out her delicious blog! Excellent feature!

  15. says

    Yes – her blog is amazing. Loving the mushrooms – wondering if I have all to make this today (already been to the grocer’s twice). I also am intrigued by the fact that every culture/cuisine seems to have their own holy trinity and they’re always a wee bit different.

  16. says

    Oh! Another blogger who is new to me! Have I ever said how much I enjoy this interview feature? Well, maybe once or twice! ;-) Anyway, it’s true – you’re doing a great service, introducing us to so many bloggers we might not know about. Now, on my way to Cajunlicious (after I finish catching up on your blog, of course!).

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe:  

Current ye@r *

CommentLuv badge