I'm sure her fear has somewhat subsided now that she is an adult, but if you mention one of God's Beautiful Creatures to her, to this day I swear you can see a flicker of fear flash behind her eyes.
When I think of Louisiana, I think of this.
Many many years ago, when my sister was about 4 or 5 years old, she and I went on a trip to Louisiana with some family friends. We were at a backyard barbecue, having a great time, when all of a sudden I heard my sister screaming. I looked over, and she was literally being attacked by a butterfly. It kept flying into her, over and over again, as she shrieked wildly and flailed about. I'm no psychologist, but if I were to pinpoint a moment from which her fear was born, I'd be willing to put money on this one.
She survived unscathed, just in case you were wondering.
But naturally, that's the first thing I think of when I think of Louisiana. The second thing I think of is Cajun food. Something that I was really missing when I was living in NYC.
For my birthday this year, my mom gave me a jalapeño corer to help me overcome my ill-fated relationship with jalapeños (A gift of True Love). She also gave me an amazing French cookbook called Paris to Provence by Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington. I was thumbing through the recipes the other night and came across one for bouchées à la reine, or as Jason likes to call them, Fancy Hot Pockets.
How can I get creative and southern with this delectable delicate French cuisine?
And then it dawned on me. Delicate…Butterflies…Sister's Irrational Fear...Louisiana...Cajun! French and Cajun! The perfect marriage!
Aaaaand that's how my brain works.
I used the recipe in the book for my French inspiration and this recipe from Feats of Feasts for the Cajun influence.
I was very nervous about how the heck this would turn out, but I have to say, the combination worked WONDERFULLY.
The flavors were very complex - between the flaky biscuit-like taste of the pastry puff, the creamy mushroom flavor of the sauce, and the hint of Cajun spice coming through with the chicken, my Cajun/French marriage was a match made in heaven.
The obvious next step would be for me to start a food dating service.
The sauce was r i d i c u l o u s . Never one for having any shame whatsoever, I found myself straight up eating it up with a spoon from the saucepan as we were putting dishes away.
I paired the dish with some arugula and orange cherry tomatoes, topped with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, some freshly squeezed lemon, cracked pepper, and feta cheese.
A word to the wise: The bouchées (or is it the reines?) are super filling and rich, so having one with a small salad is the perfect serving size. I was ambitious by putting two on my plate, but I only had the one for dinner. Totally out of character for me, I KNOW, but it is in no way a reflection on the quality of the bouchées. The little buggers are simply very unsuspecting in how filling they are. Also, I'd previously had 3 leftover pieces of CRISP pizza and some (many) slices of cheese prior to this, so that may have slightly impacted my appetite...
Oh, and definitely drizzle some of that bad boy sauce on top of the bouchées when they're done. You WON'T regret it.
Personally, I think they're more like Fancy Chicken Pot Pies.