Great ingredients make for great meals. Whenever you can, use the highest quality supplies for your recipes. The flavor difference will always come through in your finished dish.
If there is an ingredient that you are not familiar with, check our Ingredient section. There are pages and pages of information about the ingredients used in my recipes.
Cajun blends should be Coumadin safe but making your own is a good idea.
This ingredient is safe for those who are lactose intolerant.
This should be a low sodium ingredient, but check the label for the presence of both salt and salt substitutes such as potassium chloride.
GERD / Acid Reflux
This ingredient contains GERD triggers and those with GERD may wish to avoid it.
This ingredient should be gluten-free, but check for anti-clumping agents. Gluten-free spice blends should contain only easily recognizable ingredients.
There is a difference between Cajun and Creole food. Creole cuisine grew out of the the settling of New Orleans and Louisiana by Europeans from Spain and France. The cuisine is influenced by African, Caribbean, Italy and other immigrants. Cajun recipes come through the settling of Acadians in rural southern Louisiana. The easy way to think of the difference is that Creole recipes are city food and Cajun dishes are country meals. Even though the origins are different there are similarities in spices and ingredients.
Practically speaking, the two cuisines are similar enough that people think of them as the same and they do share common ingredients and flavors - rice, beans, crawfish, oysters, crab, shrimp, yams, chicken, okra and the like.
Likewise, the seasonings are similar and there are as many different recipes for Cajun Spice blends as there are Cajuns. There are so many great blends available that I don't often make my own. Recipes for spice blends can include any of the following ingredients:
People think of Cajun and Creole food as being spicy, and some dishes are, but most are more subtle. The fragrant base of peppers, onion and celery - the Holy Trinity - shouldn't be overpowered by super-spicy flavors. Great Louisiana recipes are more subtle than that.
Be sure to check the Nutrition Facts on the spice blends to see if they contain sodium. I have seen blends with as much as 300 mg sodium in 1/4 teaspoon. Choose a blend with little or no salt. At the same time I have seen no-salt-added blends that use potassium salts to mimic the flavor of salt. My experience with these is that the result is a dish that has a metallic aftertaste. Here's a recipe for a good basic Cajun Spice Blend.
There has been research that indicates eating meals spiced with chilies increases fat burning as well as the amount of energy used by the body. Researchers have felt that this might be an approach to fighting obesity.
More Hot Research!
In a follow-up study ... 36 volunteers were randomly assigned to a bland or chili-containing diet, then after four weeks of following that diet, they switched to the opposite diet for a further four weeks. The chili-containing diet included the equivalent of 30mg per day of capsaicin, the active ingredient in chilies.