A Zydeco Fan.
On a recent trip trip to New Orleans it took me several days walking around the French Quarter to figure out what was missing.
On my last tour of the city in 1999 there was a sound in the air that carried you down the street with toes tapping. It was infectious and blaring out of multiple stores on every block! That Cajun beat possessed your soul and caused anyone who heard it to dance down the street. It made the NoLa’s atmosphere as unique as the cuisine.
On my third day I realized that the toe tappin’, movin’ and groovin’ atmosphere has slipped away. Don’t get me wrong, jazz is still there and in the air, but that unmistakable sound of zydeco is just a whisper. I heard that whisper coming from The Krazy Korner on Bourbon Street. Drawn in by the sound of a washboard being slayed; I heard The Daywalkers. This band was closest thing to zydeco I had heard the whole trip. I could have stayed and listened to them for hours, but I had to leave to position myself for the Mardi Gras parade that was winding itself through The Big Easy. On my way out of the bar I did purchase one of their newly released CD’s.
Curious about the lack of zydeco in the city I asked the bellman at my hotel. When I questioned him where it went he got a very pensive look on his face. He slowly looked up at me and said that it had been years since he had heard it abundantly in city. There was sadness when he realized it was round about the time Hurricane Katrina rolled through and darn near destroyed the city. New Orleans suffered a great deal, I just hope that wonderful Cajun beat finds itself a home again in The Big Easy… I sure did miss it!
But oddly enough, I don’t layer it, and I’m not sure there are seven layers in it anymore. Growing up, I had eaten this salad many times. However, it WAS layered and beautiful to look at. Seven layers of lettuce, celery, onion, bell pepper, frozen peas, dressing, and bacon bits all served up in a glass dish. It was a beauty to behold and so crisp and fresh. With the advent of summer we have had our first few salads of the year. And with each one we remark how delicious and satisfying it is.
Had another one this afternoon and there is something about it. Not sure what it is. My daughter says it’s the dressing. (which very little of is needed). But maybe it’s everything else we have added/subtracted from the original. My “Seven Layer Salad” looks much different from its inspiration salad. As much as I like the flavor of bell peppers, they don’t like me. My husband doesn’t like peas so they only party on my plate. and other ingredients have found their way into the mix. I don’t layer it anymore due to the different taste of each family member… the dressing however, is constant on all plates. And even the dressing is different from the “original”. Very similar, but different enough.
For this summer tradition we gather:
- greens romaine lettuce and spinach are our go-to
- thick slices of deli meat and cheese that we cut into chunks smoked turkey, smoked ham, baby swiss*
- boiled egg
- red onions
- green onions
- grilled corn (cut off cob and chilled)
- Parmesan cheese, shaved
- french fried onions (instead of croutons for an extra added crunch and saltiness)
*You can go to your grocer’s deli and request the deli meats sliced thick. Tell them roughly 3/4″. At my store I can request they use the #10 setting. You’ll want close to a pound of meats and half a pound of baby swiss.
- 3/4 cup Mayo
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- juice of a half lemon
- a dash of Worcestershire sauce
- cracked black pepper
The measurements for the dressing ingredients are WAGs. I honestly don’t measure out these ingredients. It isn’t baking, where measurements are exact. It’s a make-til-ya-like-it kinda of dressing. I like a nice thick, loaded with tons of cheese, kinda of dressing. The flavor resembles a Caesar dressing. It is sooooooooooo very good. I use very little of it on my salad. The flavors in the salad alone are enough to carry it, but the salad wouldn’t be the same without it.
Hope you like it as much as we do.
My darling husband introduced me to this chocolate sauce. Now, growing up I had eaten “homemade” doughnuts before. Not the “let them rise for hours” variety, but the whomp kind. You know, the whomp biscuit kind. The kind that comes out of the cardboard tube that you have to whomp on the counter-to open and then fry in hot grease. But this isn’t about the biscuits parading around as doughnuts. This is about the sauce, the dark, warm, and dreadfully easy to make chocolate sauce.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/2 stick of butter
- a good healthy dollop of creamy peanut butter
Put everything in a pot and heat until the sugar is melted and the sauce is smooth.
Now as is, this sauce is homespun goodness and perfect over the
whomp biscuits doughnuts. It’s a good base to take in many directions. You just need to keep in mind that it gets fudgy and thick as it cools. You will also want to be sure to have at least a gallon of milk handy. It screams for milk!
WARNING: This breakfast will be sure to induce what we call a sugar coma. Do not consume on a morning where you have an active day planned. Your desire to do anything will be completely sapped.
This has become tradition on camp outs and special occasion days, or often served for breakfast after a slumber party. Father’s Day is coming up, I see this in our future! Nothing else like it.