Years in New Orleans influenced this Creole dish by an island-born cook
Cooking has been a passion of Ariel Allen Stinson her entire life.
The 30-year-old native of Galveston, who now lives in La Marque, has pursued that passion for the past 12 years, and now is serving up delectable dishes at anniversaries, weddings, school functions and birthday parties.
Stinson is the granddaughter of one of Galveston’s most famous Black entrepreneurs — Andrew Augustus “Gus” Allen Sr. — who owned several businesses on the island, including restaurants, motels, coffee shops and apartment buildings. Stinson always has wanted to cook for the masses, she said.
“Coming from a Southern Creole family full of cooks, it was only right that I pursued my passion for cooking,” she said. “And, since both of my grandparents, Gus, and my maternal grandmother, Anna Rose Guidry, were both amazing cooks, they inspired me to follow in their footsteps.”
Stinson gained more inspiration after living in New Orleans for five years and was able to experience different Creole and Cajun dishes she’d later add to her recipe collection, she said.
So, in 2020, after being encouraged by her husband, Jerome, they decided to start a catering company, 8∙13 Cuisine, which serves such dishes as chicken and spinach Alfredo, garlic chicken pasta, garlic shrimp pasta, lasagna, enchilada casserole, red beans and rice, and the company’s most requested fare — seafood pasta and crawfish bread.
Stinson, whose favorite dish to make is seafood gumbo, is looking forward to coming up with more new and exciting ideas to add to her menu, she said.
“The crawfish bread recipe was inspired from my time spent in New Orleans,” Stinson said. “Once we added that to the menu, our business took off. I can’t thank my husband, our children, and my parents enough for pushing me toward my dream. It’s now a reality and I’m just happy people are enjoying what we have to offer — one dish at a time with a Southern Creole taste.”
8∙13 Cheesy Crawfish Bread
Servings: About 5
1 loaf French bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup red onion, small dice
½ cup bell pepper, small dice
½ cup celery, small dice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups cream of mushroom soup
1 cup spinach
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon Accent
1 bag crawfish tails
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheese
1 cup shredded jalapeño cheese
Slice French bread in half lengthwise and scoop out the inside of the loaf. Set aside.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Sauté crawfish, onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic for 15 minutes.
Add cheeses, cream of mushroom and spinach; blend until melted. Season the mixture to your liking.
Spread crawfish mixture inside the bread, then put halves back together.
Butter the top of the loaf, wrap it in foil and bake in a 375 F oven for 20-30 minutes.
Cut bread into slices and serve while it’s hot.