The pandemic closed Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen, but its recipes live on in ‘The Cajun Vegan Cookbook’ – Los Angeles Times

December 13, 2021 by No Comments

The sounds of the zydeco band didn’t so much drift from the corner of the North Hollywood strip mall as stampede out of it. The good times began to roll at Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen in early 2017, with live music, raucous annual Mardi Gras parties, po’ boys, beads, jambalaya, craft nights, hush puppies, fried okra and other “Looziana” fare, all of it vegan. But three years later, those good times came to an end.

Chef-owner Krimsey Lilleth (née Ramsey) closed her namesake spot, canceled a planned second location in Silver Lake, and eventually left Los Angeles due to the pandemic. These days, the Baton Rouge native is more likely to forage for mushrooms in the Snoqualmie Valley than serve anyone a pot of chicory coffee, but you don’t need to track her down in the hills of Washington state to learn the secrets of her plant-based restaurant. She’s written them all down for you.

In late November, Lilleth released “The Cajun Vegan Cookbook,” with more than 130 recipes for sauces, stews, salads, sandwiches, sips, sweets and entrées, all pulled from her Louisiana upbringing but made meat- and dairy-free. Vegetables, she says, take to spice and hearty seasoning, and when it comes to the bayou’s own blend of African, French and Spanish cuisines, the spice flows.

“I think with a lot of cooking that’s based in some sort of old tradition or culture, we always have some sort of spice base or flavor profile that isn’t meat-based. It’s what you put on the meat or marinate the meat in, and that’s super true for Cajun food,” she said. “When people think about Cajun food, a lot of times the ‘holy trinity’ comes up: celery, [bell] pepper and onion. That’s in almost every single classic or Cajun-Creole dish — and Cajun spice. I think it’s a great foundation for whatever you want to do with it.”

Lilleth is already writing another plant-based cookbook, one focused on whole foods and simple preparation.

(Jess Joy)

She uses her own Cajun spice blend of white pepper, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cracked black pepper to bring heat to the Cajun ranch dressing (one of Lilleth’s most-requested recipes) and to main dishes like the blackened tempeh, and uses the “holy trinity” to add depth to the nori-tinged étouffée and to the green gumbo packed with chard, mustard greens, collards, kale and turnip greens.

Everyone who’s gone vegan can point to a deciding moment or era, she says. For some, it’s a kind of a slow build; …….



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