Cajun Chicken

Searching for another set of flavors and methods I could apply equally to chicken and fish, I decided that blackening with Cajun spices was something that would agree with both.  We didn’t have any Cajun spice on hand, and I don’t really like using premixed spice blends, partly because so many of them have chemical ingredients for freshness and de-clumping agents.

So I searched for a recipe online, made some myself, and used it – warning, it is spicy!  I also thought it was just a little bitter, but it could have been because the spice mixture, naturally, burned.  Tasty, but I missed the onion powder (we were out) and I don’ recommend leaving it out.  Unless you don’t like onion, I guess.

Alongside the Cajun chicken/fish, I turned to a staple food in this house, buttermilk mashed potatoes – lower in fat, tangy, buttery, salty, creamy.  Looking for additional vegetation, I whipped up a simple salad of jicama and mandarin oranges.   If you don’t know jicama, I would recommend getting acquainted.  I have often described it as a mix between an apple and a potato – the texture is similar to a raw potato, and the taste a little earthy, but with the crunch and sweetness of the apple.  Wonderful in salads or as a snack on its own.

Cajun Spice Mix (makes about 1/2 c.)

from Serious Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. cayenne pepper (I halved this and it was still pretty spicy)

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together until well-blended.
  2. To use, lightly coat chicken or fish with spice mix, then cook over medium-high heat in hot oil or butter.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes (2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 3/4 c. – 1 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. butter or margarine (or more to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash and cube potatoes.  Cover with cold water in a saucepan, salt, bring to a boil, and simmer until potatoes can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife.
  2. Mash potatoes with a potato masher, or run them through a ricer.
  3. Add 1/4 c. of the buttermilk and butter or margarine.  Add buttermilk, a little at a time, until to your desired consistency.  Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste.

Mandarin Orange and Jicama Salad (3-4 servings)

Ingredients:

  • small can mandarin oranges
  • 1 small or medium jicama
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Drain oranges, reserving 2 tbsp. of the juice.  Set aside in a bowl.
  • Peel and dice jicama.  Add to the oranges.
  • In a small bowl, combine reserved juice with white wine vinegar and minced garlic.  Whisk in olive oil and taste for seasoning.  Pour over oranges and jicama.  Chill, if desired.
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