A Downhome Kind of Meal – Part 1 – The Vegetables

It was a good fried chicken kind of night. Fried chicken is good Southern comfort food, at least it is for me. I did not make the fried chicken. I certainly can, but why when Safeway already does such a good job of it and they make it very affordable too. I needed some good Southern side dishes to go along with our fried chicken. So I made some Creole zucchini and tomatoes and some Creole sweet potatoes with bacon and onions.

Creole and Cajon foods are native foods from Louisiana, and were born in the Spanish colonial period. They are cooking styles that are influenced from many different cultures from around the world, such as African, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Caribbean and Native American, just to name a few. These started out as the poor man’s food, and were a combination of whatever was around at the time of cooking, meaning every time you cooked a dish, it might be a little different than it was before. That’s perfectly OK. That’s just called Southern cooking. Creole cooking uses tomatoes and tomato bases in their recipes, whereas Cajun cooking does not. Cajun seasoning relies on the use of many peppers, such as white and black pepper, bell peppers and cayenne peppers. This cuisine also incorporates paprika and garlic.  Creole seasoning primarily relies on herbs like oregano, bay leaf, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley and paprika. But today, the two styles are intertwined and it is hard to tell the difference between the two. Some say the difference between Cajun food and Creole food is that Cajun is more rural and less, “upbrow” whereas Creole is more city food, and is a little fancier.

Fried chicken is about as simple and downhome as you can get. Both my Creole zucchini and tomatoes and sweet potatoes with bacon and onions were very simple too. But don’t downplay simple. Simple is still delicious!

The common seasoning used for both my Creole zucchini and my sweet potatoes was the Cajun/Creole seasoning blend. This can be used to spice anything up and give it a little Southern flavoring. I very rarely add garlic powder or dried onions though, because I prefer fresh garlic and onions and use them both for almost everything I cook.

Cajun/Creole Seasoning Blend

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried onions

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp white pepper

Mix everything together and use for whatever you want to kick things up a bit.

Creole Zucchini and Tomatoes

1 shallot, sliced thin

1 TBSP garlic

1 zucchini, sliced

1 yellow squash or a couple of sunburst squash, sliced

2 tomatoes, diced

1 TBSP Cajun/Creole seasoning

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

olive oil and/or butter

Sautee the shallot, garlic, squash and seasonings together in the olive oil and/or butter for about 5 minutes. I like to use both, especially when cooking vegetables.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and combine thoroughly. Then add the tomatoes. Cover and steam for about 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.

I grew up cooking vegetables this way. This is just how I always made them. Little did I know there was actually a name for this style of vegetables. It just goes to show, there is always something new to learn. 🙂

Today, I give you the vegetables. Tomorrow I will present the sweet potatoes. Hang tight. Don’t go away. I’ll be be back. I promise. 🙂

Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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