There are neighborhoods in Baton Rouge where, during Mardi Gras, a parade-goer can wander right into a stranger’s house and help himself to a serving of gumbo, or red beans and rice, straight from the stove. But if you cannot make it down to the bayou this year, you can at least download the Extreme Cajun Cooking app ($2.99 for iPhone) and have many a Mardi Gras favorite ready for anyone who might come a calling.
Created by two Baton Rouge gents, Logan Leger and Chad Aucoin, the app provides over 150 recipes cultivated from Cajun chefs both famous and obscure. Perhaps best known is Tony Chachere, whose Cajun seasoning blend can be found nationwide. He offers a classic chicken and sausage jambalaya, as well as crawfish etouffee. Jessica Wood, of the Cajunlicious blog, provides the traditional king cake, probably the only recipe in the world that calls for “1 plastic baby (optional).”
And from the town of Ville Platte, “the self-proclaimed smoked meats capital of the world,” the owners behind Slap Ya Mama seasonings share the family recipe for crawfish pie. The search functionality of the app is pretty limited but, after all, one should approach the experience with a Big Easy sensibility. This would entail a slow browse through the 10 recipe sections which include Wild Game, Gumbo and Stews, and Tailgate favorites like mini muffalettas. It would also include the understanding that not everything is quite as finished as it should be.
A section on sauce techniques contains just one instructional video on ranch dip, and a page on Cajun cooking basics is only a list of ingredient measurement equivalents. These are perhaps best seen as lagniappes, free little tastes that make what you’ve paid for all the more pleasurable.