New Orleans Cuisine

My Creole & Cajun Recipe Page

This is my blog dedicated to New Orleans & Louisiana cooking! I'll give links to great Creole & Cajun recipes and sites, as well as some of my own recipes. I love talkin' New Orleans, food and otherwise! Incidentally, I'm from Detroit. Go Figure. Lets just say I figured out "what it means, to miss New Orleans" and this site helps ease the pain.

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"Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins."
-Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces

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Saturday, April 30, 2005

New Orleans Cuisine - Brabant Potatoes Recipe

This is a simple side dish popular in New Orleans Cuisine. It's very quick and easy to make, and it will accompany just about any entree. The Recipe:

Brabant Potatoes Recipe

2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Oil
2 Large Idaho Potatoes
1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter, cut in pieces
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
2 tsp Italian Parsley, Finely Minced

Scrub the Potatoes and cut into 1/2" dice (you can peel these if you prefer). Soak these in cold water for about 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and wash under cold water, the object is to remove some of the starch. Drain and pat dry with paper towels, you want them very dry.
Heat the Oil to 360-375 degrees in a 2 qt saucepan. Deep fry the potatoes until golden brown, in batches, you don't want to overcrowd the pan (see note). Drain on dry paper towels.
In a saute pan heat the Olive Oil over medium low heat and saute the garlic until fragrant, add the parsley and the butter, incorporating it in by constantly shaking the pan back and forth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and pour over the potatoes, serve immediately.

Serves 2-3

Overcrowding the pan when deep-frying does two things:
1. Keeps the oil from surrounding the potatoes
2. Lowers the temperature of the oil too quickly, which will result in soggy and greasy food, as opposed to crisp. When your temperature is too low, the food absorbs the oil in like a sponge.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

New Orleans Cuisine - Shrimp Victoria

Yesterday I made the Brennan's classic Shrimp Victoria. The two key ingredients in this recipe, besides good quality Shrimp, are Fresh Basil, and Sour Cream which adds a nice tang to the dish. This is great to serve over Rice or Pasta. Here is my version:

New Orleans Cuisine Recipe - Shrimp Victoria

1 lb Peeled and Deveined Shrimp (I use Wild-Caught Louisiana)
1/4 stick Unsalted Butter
1/8 Cup Thinly sliced Green Onions
1/8 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
1/4 Cup White Mushrooms Thinly Sliced
2 oz Dry White Wine
2 oz Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt or to taste
Pinch of White Pepper
Pinch of Cayenne
1 tsp Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp White Roux (Equal parts Unsalted Butter and Flour, cooked together for 1-2 minutes)
2 oz Sour Cream

Melt the butter in a saute pan, add the Green Onions, Mushrooms, Basil, and Shrimp. Saute until the shrimp just start to turn pink. Add the white wine and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the Heavy Cream, Worcestershire and seasonings. Add the Roux, cook for 1-2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream, adjust the seasonings if necessary, serve immediately. Brennan's serves this over parsley rice, it goes well over pasta also.

Serves 2

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Mr. Lake's Nonpompous New Orleans Food Forum

If you love love New Orleans Cuisine, check out Mr. Lake's Nonpompous New Orleans Food Forum! It's a great, very frequently updated forum about New Orleans Cuisine that is a lot of fun. As the site says:

Forums for all those who enjoy sharing information about New Orleans, food, drink, and history.

Enough said, I'm there. Check it out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

New Orleans Cuisine's Red Beans & Rice Recipe

I had yet another enjoyable time cooking, and eating Red Beans and Rice yesterday! I put my Beans on the stove and went out to mow the lawn, when I came back in, the aroma was so intense I felt I was walkin through the streets of New Orleans. The smoky Andouille steals the show, simmering and bubblin' away with Holy Trinity, Garlic, and the Beans; swellin' and puffin' and almost do. Jelly Roll Morton was lazily tinkling the Piano and wailing in the background:

Don't choo leave me here,
Don't choo Leeeave Me Heeere,
If you juss muss go, sweet babe
Leave a diiiime fo beeer

Talk about sensory overload, My Oh My! The smells of fresh cut grass and Red Beans, all with Jelly Roll as a backdrop. One of those nice little moments.

As I've said before, I make Red Beans and Rice just a little different everytime. This is the one I made yesterday. I always try to use some kind of bone marrow, the beans just seem to come out so much creamier, yesterday I used Pork Necks. You could use Ham Hocks, Smoked Turkey leg, Ham Bone, it really doesn't matter too much, as long as there is some marrow in the pot. The Recipe:

New Orleans Cuisine's Red Beans & Rice Recipe (Number One)

1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
1 Cup Onion, chopped
1/2 Cup Bell Pepper, chopped
1/4 Cup Celery, Chopped
1 Cup Andouille, Cubed
1/2 lb. Small Red Kidney Beans (soaked overnight or for at least a few hours)
1 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, Minced
3 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock (You could certainly use water)
A few Pork Neck Bones (be careful of any small bones that could fall off and get lost in the pot)
3 Fresh Bay Leaves
1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar (When I don't use Pickle Meat, I add a little vinegar because I like the flavor it gives)
1/2 Cup Tomato Sauce (I learned this from Louis Armstrong's Recipe)
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Green Onions, thinly sliced on the bias
1/2 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice

Mix together the Holy Trinity (Onions, Celery, Bell Pepper). Drain the beans.
Melt the butter over medium heat.
Add 1/2 of the Holy Trinity, 1 Tbsp of the Creole Seasoning, and the Andouille, turn the heat to medium high. Cook this for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables start to get some color.
Add the beans and cook stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
Add the Chicken Stock or Water, Garlic, Pork Necks, Bay Leaves, the remaining Trinity and Creole Seasoning. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let this simmer for 2- 2 1/2 Hours. The first hour is low maintenance; an occasional stir and making sure the beans are covered with liquid. The second hour, you want to check back a little more often, the beans will really start to absorb some liquid and you don't want them to stick.
After the beans have cooked for two hours, add the Tomato Sauce, the Parsley and 1/2 of the Green Onions. Make your Rice. Cook the beans for another half hour.
To Serve:
Remove the Pork Necks (get as much meat off of these as possible, and add it to the pot; it's wonderful), and Bay Leaves. Mound a half cup of Rice each, onto two serving plates, Cover with a generous helping of the Red Beans, Garnish with the remaining Green Onions. Make sure their is a bottle of hot sauce on the table. Perfect compliments to this meal are a simple vinaigrette salad, Good Quality French Bread, and your favorite Ice Cold Beer.

Serves 2-3

More posts on Red Beans & Rice:

Red Beans and Rice and Comfort Foods
Red Beans and Rice Recipe links
Red Beans and Rice

Monday, April 25, 2005

Red Beans and Rice and Comfort Foods

It's Monday, and I'm doing laundry today... that's the best excuse I can come up with to make a pot of Red Beans! I always get excited when I'm thinking of making Red Beans, all of the cookbooks start flying off of the shelves, even though I don't follow a recipe. Music is always playing, something slow and low to give the beans something to bubble to. I feel good when I'm making Red Beans. It's my favorite dish to make, I probably enjoy cooking them more than eating them, and that's saying something. This is comfort food, right? I have a few comfort foods, this is one of them. We all have one or more, a dish that makes you happy, or even a little sad; maybe the person it reminds you of is gone, or maybe the nostalgia is a little too strong. Somehow, even if it's bittersweet, it still makes you feel good.

I will post today's Red Beans and Rice Recipe later.

Here are some previous posts on Red Beans and Rice:

Red Beans and Rice Recipe Links
Red Beans and Rice

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A Great Post at The Wreckroom

Check out this great post! I met Sleepbomb through blogville and I have frequented his site The Wreckroom ever since, little did I know his father was Freddie Assunto of The Dukes of Dixieland, who passed away in 1966. I have some recordings of them with Louis Armstrong, his father was a fantastic Trombonist and showman! Anyway, read the story, this post is part of what makes the internet great, I love to hear people's stories.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

New Orleans Cuisine's Louisiana-Shrimp Etouffee

I made Shrimp Etouffee yesterday with Emeril Lagasse's new line of Wild Caught Louisiana Shrimp. I'm not really a big fan of Emeril's packaged sauces and what-not, but this one is just Louisiana Shrimp wearing his mug on the package. The shrimp are great! Flavorful, tender, great! I figured what better dish to give the Shrimp a test run than the New Orleans Cuisine classic, Etouffee. Be forewarned, this dish is not for the health concious; as a matter of fact, you may want to keep a defibrillator in the dining room. There's butter and plenty of it!
I always buy shell on shrimp, why? For the same reason I buy bone in cuts of meat. Stock. The amount of shrimp you're using for this recipe will produce just enough Shrimp Stock, plus a little extra (recipe below). Shrimp stock only needs to cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Shrimp Stock

The Shells and tails from 1 lb. of Shrimp
1/2 Cup chopped Onion
1/4 Cup chopped Celery
1/4 Cup chopped Carrot
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
1 tsp. Black Peppercorns

Add all ingredients to a 2 qt. saucepan. Cover this with cold water, it should be about 2 - 2 1/2 Cups. You'll need 1 1/2 Cups for the Etouffee. Bring almost to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Strain.

Some of the techniques that I use in this recipe, I picked up from Paul Prudhomme's books. I've mentioned before that I am a big fan of his cooking, if I keep making recipes like this one, I'll be a REALLY big fan of his cooking! The best Etouffee I've ever eaten was from K-Paul's. During Carnival they open their window and serve a number of different dishes, street food style! The Etouffee recipe:

New Orleans Cuisine's Louisiana Shrimp Etouffee Recipe

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp Creole Seasoning
4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
3/8 Cup A.P. Flour
1/4 Cup Onion, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Celery, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 1/2 Cups Shrimp Stock
2 tsp Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Hot Sauce (I like Crystal or Louisiana Gold)
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 lb Good Quality Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined, Save shells for the stock (I use Wild-Caught Louisiana Shrimp)
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice

While your stock is simmering heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to make a red-brown Roux 7-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 Tablespoon of the seasoning, the Holy Trinity (Onions, Celery, Bell Pepper), and the Garlic. Set aside. (Up to This step can be done in advance.)

When the stock is finished and strained, bring 1 cup of it to a boil. Whisk the Roux and vegetable mixture in and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add 1 Tablespoon of the seasoning, Worcestershire, and the Hot Sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Have your Creole Boiled Rice ready and your serving dishes warmed before starting the next step.

In a large Cast-Iron frying pan, melt 1/2 stick of the butter over medium heat. Add the Green Onions, Shrimp, and remaining 1 tsp Creole Seasoning. Saute until the Shrimp just start to turn pink. Add 1/2 Cup more of the Shrimp Stock and the remaining 1/2 stick butter; cook until the butter is melted and incorporated into the sauce, 3-5 minutes, constantly shaking the pan back-and-forth (versus stirring). If you sauce starts to separate, add a splash of stock and continue shaking the pan.

Mound 1/2 cup of Creole Boiled Rice on each serving plate (2), Divide the Etouffee onto the two plates. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A 1975 Article about Brennan's by Patricia B. Mitchell

I found this article about Brennan's circa 1975 that I thought I would pass along, which is an interview with the General Manager at the time David Wilson. When asked what the two most popular lunch dishes are at Brennan's, he replies Shrimp Victoria and Shrimp Creole Agnew, as in Spiro. I love the old pictures, most of all the truck parked in front of the restaurant loaded with bags, all stuffed with New Orleans French Loaves. Brennan's isn't quite as busy as it once was, but it's still a great Old Guard Creole Restaurant. If you've never been to Brennan's, it's great to go at least once, if just to dine at such a landmark of New Orleans Cuisine. If the choice is between Brennan's and say Commander's Palace however; that is a different story.

Also check out the rest of her Food History Food Notes section, which features food history topics and articles similar to the one about Brennan's, also Galatoire's, Antoine's, and Marti's. That is just the Louisiana section, many other states are featured. This is a great site!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wild-Caught Louisiana Shrimp Hitting The Stores

I was at the grocery store a little while ago, and I noticed that Emeril Lagasse is now selling Wild-Caught Louisiana Fresh Frozen Shrimp. Damn that's good to see! The Fisherman are finally getting a little help due to new Mandatory Country of Origin labeling, which will definately increase distribution of American Shrimp. Tony Chachere's is also onboard with a new line, among others mentioned in this article. Few people know how hard of a time the Louisiana fisherman are having these days, mostly due to the continuing loss of Louisiana wetlands, here is an article about it if you're interested. There is also a great book that I'm reading right now on the subject called, Bayou Farewell - The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast by Mike Tidwell. Essentially what is happening, is the land is sinking, mostly due to the leveed Mississippi. The Mississippi doesn't flood the wetlands anymore, due to the levees, therefore land is no longer created; it just diminishes. It's really a major, man-made problem that has effected the fisherman most of all, due to the mess it has created in the ecosystem. It made me feel good to see Louisiana Shrimp in mass quantities at my grocery store, it's a step in the right direction. Not to mention, the Shrimp is of better quality than the mostly farm-raised varieties from over seas. Few of us, before now, really had an idea where the shrimp we were buying was coming from. Now that I know that it's Louisiana or just American Wild-Caught, that is what I will buy. Also check out the Louisiana Seafood website.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pickle Meat or Pickled Pork

Before the days of refrigeration and commercial curing plants, Pickle Meat or Pickled Pork was a staple in the Creole Kitchen. From what I understand, it's still fairly easy to find in New Orleans. Some people will not make Red Beans and Rice without it, and I have to say, the best pot of Red Beans that I've made, was made with Pickled Pork. The meat is so tender from the brine, that it just breaks down in the pot, leaving behind all of that wonderful flavor. It's a cinch to make, now that we don't have to do 25 lb. batches. Long ago the pork from a very recently butchered hog would be cured in large batches, and kept in barrels. Here is what The Picayune's Creole Cookbook of 1901 had to say on the subject, along with the process:

Pork should be pickled about twenty hours after killing. It is pickled always in sufficient quantity to last for some time, for if proper care is taken, it will keep one year after pickling; but it may also be pickled in small quantities of three or four pounds at a time, reducing other ingredients in the recipe according to quantity of pork used. To twenty-five pounds of Pork allow one ounce of saltpetre. Pulverize thoroughly and mix with a sufficient quantity of salt to thoroughly salt the pork. Cut the Pork into pieces of about two pounds, and slash each piece through the skin, and then rub thoroughly with the salt and saltpetre mixture till the meat is thoroughly penetrated through and through. Mash the cloves very fine and grind the allspice; chop the onions. Take a small barrel and place at the bottom a layer of salt, then a layer of coarsely chopped onions, and sprinkle over this a layer of the spices and minced bay leaves. Place on this a layer of Pork; pack tightly; then place above this a layer of salt and seasonings, and continue with alternate layers of Pork and seasonings until the Pork is used up. Conclude with a layer of the minced herbs and spices and have a layer of salt on top. Cover the preparation with a board on which a heavy weight must be placed to press down the meat. It will be ready for use in ten or twelve days.

Here is a more modern version, which is more of a brine than the version in the old text. I love the slight acidic flavor that it lends to a pot of Red Beans.

Pickled Pork or Pickle Meat Recipe

2 lbs. Very Fresh Pork Cut into 2 inch cubes (I use Pork Shoulder or Boston Butt)
1 Qt. White Vinegar
1/2 Cup Mustard Seed
6 Each Whole Cloves
6 Each Whole Allspice
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
3 Fresh Bay Leaves
6 Whole Garlic Cloves
1/2 of a Medium Onion, Coarsely Chopped
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns
1 pinch Pink Meat Cure or Prague Powder

Add all the ingredients except the Pork to a 2 qt Saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, then place it into a container to cool in the refrigerator. When the mixture is completely cold, add the pork. Make sure the pork is completely covered; stir to make remove any air bubbles. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 4 days before using.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Creole Onion Soup

This is a New Orleans Cuisine recipe I made tonight to use up some of my Beef Stock that wouldn't fit in the freezer. Creole Onion Soup is very similar to French Onion Soup, except it is creamed at the end. I also don't put a ton of cheese on this soup, instead I float a few Garlic Toasts which are topped with grated Gruyere and Chives, see below. You could certainly pile on the cheese a la French Onion if you prefer. The Recipe:

Creole Onion Soup Recipe

3 oz Unsalted Butter ( 3/4 stick)
4 Large Spanish Onions, Thinly Sliced into 1 - 2" Pieces
2 tsp Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Minced Fresh Garlic
3 Tbsp Flour
2 oz. Dry Red Wine
3 Cups Beef Stock
2 Tbsp Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
Pinch Cayenne
Pinch White Pepper
4 oz Heavy Cream
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper To Taste

Melt the butter over Medium Heat in a Heavy Bottomed Dutch Oven. Add the Onions and Sugar, raise the heat to high until the onions are transparent, stirring often, about 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the onions are nicely caramelized. Add the Garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour stirring constantly until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the Wine and Beef stock, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the Fresh Thyme, Bay leaves, Worcestershire Sauce, Cayenne, White Pepper, some Salt (not too much yet) and Black Pepper. Simmer this for about 1 1/2 hours. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the Heavy Cream, adjust the seasonings.

This is a small recipe, about 2- 3 servings.

Garlic Cheese Toasts

Preheat the Broiler.
Slice a baguette on the bias into as many pieces as you need, about 1/2" thick. Broil these on both sides until Golden Brown. Rub the toasts on both sides with a smashed garlic clove. Top with grated Gruyere Cheese and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, place back under the broiler until the cheese melts, about 1 Minute. Top with thinly sliced Chives.

Float 2 of these on top of each serving of Creole Onion Soup.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Cheese Straws

I haven't posted for a few days, due to some computer problems. I would like to personally thank Bill Gates and his fine staff for their wonderful products. If you haven't picked up on it, I'm laying the sarcasm on with a Spackle knife. Can someone in food blog land bake another pie to throw in his face? Okay, I'm through ranting, and I've fixed my computer. Back to food.

I was talking the other day with Cookie Jill about Cheese Straws, and how they're extremely popular down south, and not-so-much, north of the Mason-Dixon line. I don't know why. I know they're good, no one else seems to get it up here! What do they know? You can't even get a beer to-go up here! If you've ever read Liquor by Poppy Z. Brite, which is about two New Orleans cooks, cheese straws are what Rickey makes when he's stressing out. The recipe I use to make these is based on the one from the Commander's Palace's cookbook, Commander's Kitchen.

Cheese Straws

1 1/4 Cups Good Quality Cheddar Cheese
3/4 Cups A.P. Flour
1/2 Stick Room Temperature Unsalted Butter, Cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 Large Egg Yolks, Beaten
1/2 tsp. Cayenne (I make these pretty spicy)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix together the flour and cheese with your hands. Work the butter in with your hands. Add the egg yolk and seasonings and work in with your hands. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it is a nice shiny ball. Roll this out to a 1/3 inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch strips and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden orange. Let cool.
Makes about 5 dozen. These can be stored in an airtight container.

Here is Cookie Jill's Version!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Marchand de Vin Sauce

After creating a beautiful Beef Stock the other day, I decided to post on one of my favorite New Orleans Cuisine, classic sauces: Marchand de Vin. You will find this sauce in all of the old guard restaurants: Anotoine's, Galatoire's, Brennan's, Arnaud's. This sauce is perfect for a steak, and even better on the decadent Breakfast dish, Eggs Hussarde. Eggs Hussarde is, bottom to top: Holland rusk, Marchand de Vin, Canadian Bacon, Poached Egg, Hollandaise. Served with baked Tomato halves. The recipe:

Marchand de Vin Sauce Recipe

3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Finely Minced Ham
1/2 Cup Finely chopped Green Onions
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Mushrooms
2 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
2 Tbsp Flour
1 1/2 Cups Beef Stock
3/4 Cup Red Wine
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste.
Dash of Cayenne

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and saute the Ham, Onions, Mushrooms, and Garlic over medium heat until the whites of the onions are translucent. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, for about 5-7 minutes. Add the Beef Stock and Red Wine, Bring to a boil. Add seasonings. Let simmer for about 40 minutes. The sauce should coast the back of a spoon.

*Note* You may or may not need salt in this recipe due to the ham.
**Variation** The flour can be omitted if desired, just reduce the sauce to the correct consistency.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Casual Dining in New Orleans

This is the kind of restaurant guide that I like, from the Washington Post, although biting the heads off of crawfish (see Franky & Johnny's), may not be the best advice, unless of course your lunch date knows the Heimlich. New Orleans Cuisine Neighborhood favorites! Unfortunately, after the tourists like myself, scour the net for Neighborhood favorites, they become tourist traps after a number of years. Hey, C'est la Vie! It happens. Me personally, I don't care if I have to wait for a "Fantastic" meal. I've waited in Hawaii, New York, New Orleans and elsewhere for "Fantastic Meals", ultimately disappointed. My wife and I went to A Pacific Cafe on Kauai after being told to do so by practically everyone on the island. After a long wait for a table, I ordered rare Ahi Tuna with Soba noodle wrapped shrimp. Sounds good right! I received a lukewarm plate of food with the Tuna so well-done, as my mentor Chef used to say, "It would have only been suitable for Miracle Whip and a bag of Wonderbread!" A $40 plate of Disappointment. I also waited in Hanalei the next day for Tropical Taco. A $7 plate of pure casual heaven. Worth the wait. If waiting is part of the cost for truly great food, I'm willing to pay! I expect to wait for great food, or just really good casual, diner food. I found this article at Appetites.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Beef Stock Recipe

This is how I made my beef stock yesterday. I make stock not so much by recipe, as by ratio. When making stocks in a restaurant, you're not measuring out water. You start with a certain poundage of bones, a ratio of mire poix to the bones, and you build on that. It's still a recipe, in a manner of speaking, but it's a little different. It still comes out the same everytime, but you're not filling measuring cups of water, there is no time for that in a restaurant kitchen. Here is how I make Beef Stock at home, using the restaurant procedure. I used 8 lbs of Beef and 2 lbs of Veal bones. If you can find all Veal Bones, it's better. Veal bones make a more subtle stock.

Beef Stock Recipe

8 lbs Beef Bones
2 lbs Veal Bones
About 1 1/2 Cups Tomato Paste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Place the bones on roasting pans in a single layer, I used two pans. Roast the bones in the oven for 1 hour, turning them over occasionally. Roast until nicely browned, black is bad. Smear the Tomato Paste onto the bones and put back in the oven for an additional 30 minutes, or until the paste starts to brown.
Transfer the bones to a large stockpot using tongs. Cover the bones by 2 inches with COLD water. Bring up almost to a boil. Skim any impurities and scum off of the surface with a fine mesh skimmer. When the stock just barely starts to boil, immediately turn the heat down. You want the stock at what we call a Lazy Simmer. A slow bubble here and there. Once you've achieved this, you can pretty much leave the stock alone, checking periodically to make sure you're maintaining your lazy simmer, or to add a little more cold water to keep the bones covered. You always want to keep the solids covered with liquid. Skim periodically. Simmer for about 4-5 hours.
In the mean time, add the following (except the Sachet bag) to your pans:

4 Medium Onions, Quartered, skins and all (washed)
5 Carrots, Washed and cut into 2 inch Chunks
5 Stalks Celery, Washed and cut into 2 inch Chunks

Sachet d'Epices (wrapped in a cheesecloth bundle and tied):
3 Fresh Bay leaves
4-5 Sprigs Fresh Thyme or 2 tsp dried
4-5 Parsley Stems
3-4 Garlic Cloves Crushed

Coat the mirepoix with the fat and Roast in the oven for about 1 hour or until the Onions are Caramalized. Put the roasted vegetables into a bowl and set aside. Deglaze the pans over a burner, with about 1-2 cups of cold water in each, scraping away the brown particles with a whisk. Do not skip this step. There is HUGE flavor hiding in these seemingly dirty pans! Add the liquid to the simmering stock.
When the stock has simmered for about 4-5 hours, add the Mirepoix and Sachet to the pot. Simmer for 1-2 hours more.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. A conical strainer is best if you have one. I ladle the stock into the strainer. The object is to avoid stirring or Disturbing the stock too much, making it cloudy. Also, Do not press on the bones or other ingredients to release more liquid. Discard the solids.
At this point, if you want to concentrate the flavor, you can put the strained stock on the stove at a brisk simmer and let it reduce to your liking. Otherwise, cool the stock down as quickly as possible. Submerging the container in a sink filled with ice water works best, stirring occasionally. You do not want to put hot stock into the fridge.
The next day, take the stock out of the fridge and skim the solidified fat from the top. You can now freeze the stock in small, convenient batches. Julia Child always suggested freezing some stock into ice cube trays, which gives you small portions to spruce-up sauces.

Tomorrow I'll post a recipe made with my Beef Stock, maybe Creole Onion Soup, I haven't decided yet.

Making Beef Stock

I made a large batch of beef stock yesterday. As I've mentioned before, my freezer is comparable to the catacombs, filled with bones from all types of animals: Beef, Veal, Chicken, Pork, Lamb, Turkey. I usually buy the bone in cuts of meat, just so I will have the bones for stock. I'm also fortunate enough to have a grocery store nearby, which always carrys a few packages of beef bones, or turkey wings. Everytime I'm there, I grab what they have and put them in the freezer. When I can't fit another turkey neck into the catacombs, I make stock. I usually do beef and poultry in the same day, but I haven't collected enough chicken and turkey bones.
Most home cooks are intimidated by making stocks. Making a good stock is a cakewalk, as long as you follow a few simple rules:
  • Always start with cold water
  • Never boil
  • Never stir
  • Cook your stock slow & low, no shortcuts

A well made stock has no store bought equivalent. There are many dishes within New Orleans Cuisine that require a good beef stock: Turtle Soup, Marchand de Vin Sauce, Demi Glace, Sauce Robert, Creole Onion Soup, Espagnole Sauce, and many more. You have to do some planning however, before you make your stock. About a week before the day, I start saving trimmings from onions, celery, and carrots. Also put your bones into the refrigerator from the freezer, about 3-4 days before you plan on making the stock. Make stock on a day when you plan on staying around the house, maybe laundry day. There isn't a lot of work involved, just a lot of time.

My Beef Stock Recipe

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Leidenheimer Baking Company

After posting about New Orleans French Bread, I was just checking out the Leidenheimer Baking Co. website. Apparently they have National distrubution, shipping throughout the country, but they primarily produce for New Orleans and the Gulf South area. Check out the cool Po-Boy Screensaver! They also have Recipes, Articles, and a History of the company, which has been around since 1896.

New Orleans French Bread

The Po-Boy is the staple sandwich of New Orleans Cuisine, along with The Muffuletta . There are a virtual ton of recipes on the net and in cookbooks for Po-Boy's, with every type of filling imaginable. That's great! However, there is one small problem. Unless you live in the Crescent City, you really can't find the Main ingredient: The Bread. Actually, this is a BIG problem. I've made a lot of Po-Boys here in Michigan, with a lot of different French Loaves from all over. The sandwiches have all been pretty good, but I always kinda' crinkle my nose thinking, This Bread is just not right. The French Bread or Long Bread in New Orleans, along with the Round Italian Muffuletta loaves, come from a number of different bakeries: Leidenheimer's (which is the biggest, on Simon Bolivar, Central City), Angelo Gendusa's (N. Rampart), Binder's, or United Bakery (St. Bernard in Gentilly). They sell the stuff in about 3' or longer lengths. The bread has a distinct balance of crust and body that is hard to match. If you use a bread that is too chewy with too much crust, it won't work. If you use a bread that is too soft, it won't work. New Orleans French Bread is a perfect balance of light body with crisp crust. It's also a little bigger than your average Baguette, perfect for holding fillings. My stomach is rumbling thinking about Po Boys! I've made a few versions from recipes I've found, but they're still, just not right. This is my new mission in life! To make my own Po-Boy bread! I'll keep you posted. Also more on Po-Boys later.

New Orleans Cuisine - The Best There Is

A great recipe and link site from Lots of great recipes, check out this section of Crawfish dishes, including the Jazz fest fave Crawfish Monica! They have also have great recipes for Breads, Italian, Indian, Asian, and Mexican cuisine. Check them out.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Bourbon Milk Punch

Since we're talking booze, I may as well post the Bourbon Milk Punch recipe. I usually only make this at Christmas time, but it's rather similar to the Ramos Gin Fizz, so what the hell. By the way, check out Culinary Fool's Ramos Gin Fizz from yesterday, it looks great! Anyway, the drink. I go a little heavy on the Bourbon (I like Maker's Mark) in my version, so you may want to cut it back. This recipe is for 1 cocktail:

Bourbon Milk Punch Recipe

2 oz. Good Quality Bourbon (I like Maker's Mark)
1/2 oz. Vanilla Extract
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
1 oz. Heavy Cream
2 oz. Whole Milk
1/4 of 1 Egg White

Add the contents to a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake until good and frothy. Serve in a frosted old fashioned glass. Garnish with:

Freshly Grated Nutmeg

**I can't wait until the mint in my herb garden comes in for Mint Julep's.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Ramos Gin Fizz

Along with the Sazerac, the Ramos Gin Fizz is one of the most well known cocktails of New Orleans. The drink was invented in the 1880's by Henry C. Ramos at Meyer's Restaurant, which he owned. The drink was made famous, however, by the Roosevelt Hotel (now The Fairmont) where Louisiana Governor, and later Senator, Huey Long did all of his business. Huey proclaimed the Ramos Ginn Fizz his favorite drink. On one occasion, in full Huey Long fashion, he took the bartender from the Roosevelt Hotel with him on a business trip to New York, to show them how to properly make the drink. He called it his gift to New York. The Roosevelt trademarked the drink in 1935. The Fairmont still makes a great Ramos Gin Fizz in their Sazerac Bar, I sampled it on my last trip. Here is their version of the drink that I found online from Saveur magazine:

The Fairmont's Ramos Gin Fizz Recipe

3 dashes Lemon Juice
2 dashes Lime Juice
3 dashes Orange Flower Water
1 1/4 oz. Dry Gin (they use Gordon's)
1/4 of the White of one egg
1 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
3 oz. Milk

Add the contents to a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake very well until good and frothy, strain into a cocktail tumbler.

Orange Flower water is the most important ingredient in this drink, but go easy with it, a little goes a long way, when you smell it you'll believe me. I generally put about one small dash. There is a French company that produces it called A. Monteaux. Here is a link to where you can order it. I also found a 10 Fl. Oz. bottle from a Lebanese company at my local grocery store.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2005 Food List

For those of you lucky enough to be at Jazzfest this year, here is the list of food vendors. Here are just a few of the performers I would love to see: The Original Meters Reunion, Tribute to Howlin Wolf (Hubert Sumlin, damn I wanna go), Jelly Roll Morton Ensembles, B.B. King, Buddy Guy (where do I tell my wife I've been from 4/22 - 5/1?), Neville Brothers, Leah Chase, Pete Fountain, Dukes of Dixieland (I'm mentally thinking of what I absolutely need when packing my bags), Buckwheat Zydeco, Dr. John, and BeauSoleil. If anyone knows the safest parking lot to park and sleep, without being noticed, email me.

Full listing of Performers Jazzfest 2005

Also, New Post to Cook's Journal

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Picayune's Creole Cook Book & Historical Cooking

In my last post I mentioned The Picayune's Creole Cook Book. For anyone interested in the cuisine of New Orleans, or if you just love cookbooks, this is a great fun read. I have a 1987 reprint addition that is edited and compilated by Marcelle Bienvenu, the original was published in 1901. The recipes are left as is, with measurements such as one half-gill or a wineglassful, and Marcelle's comments and suggestions in a sidebar. You can really get an understanding of the evolution of Creole Cuisine when reading this book. You can also see how Cajun & Creole, like it or not, have fused together in certain areas over the years. The recipes are stripped versions of the ones we know today. I love to read this book for the same reason I love to read Carolyn's 18th Century Cuisine, if you haven't checked her out yet, do so. She does everything in the old world way and it's fascinating. I love to see how recipes have evolved, and our cooking techniques and equipment have advanced. I also believe that with some of those advances, our food quality has declined; meaning processed foods. Its fascinating to think about a cook having to tend a wood fire, to maintain an even cooking heat. I've tried it on my wood burning stove/fireplace, it's definately not easy. Yet with our modern conveniences and gadgets, the only cooking most people do is throw a plastic container in the microwave, whose contents I wouldn't be able to spell, let alone pronounce. If you like historical cooking, and just learning about how to really make things from scratch, check out the above cookbook and website.

Creole Cream Cheese

Creole Cream Cheese used to be widely available in New Orleans, over time however it became nearly impossible to find, and never outside of Louisiana. It's a soft cheese eaten as a breakfast treat, sprinkled with sugar, covered with cream or half & half, and usually fresh fruit. This is what The Picayune's Creole Cookbook of 1901 had to say about the subject:

Cream Cheese is always made from clabbered milk. The 'Cream Cheese Woman' is still as common a sight on our New Orleans streets as the Cala Woman was in the days gone by. She carries a covered basket in which are a number of small perforated tins in which the Cheeses are. In her other hand she carries a can of fresh Cream. She sells her wares to her regular customers, for the old Creoles who do not make their own Cream Cheese are very particular as to whom they buy from, and when once a good careful, clean woman gets a 'customer' she keeps her during her period of business, coming every fast day and Friday with her Cheese and Cream, for this is a great fast-day breakfast and luncheon dish.

The "Cream Cheese Woman" has long ago gone the way of the "Cala Woman", but fortunately for me, I enjoy making it myself. It's a fairly long but very simple process; combined, about 10 minutes of actual work. Rennet is a coagulating enzyme which comes from a young animal's stomach, but their are also vegetable varieties. It comes in liquid or tablet form, I use the liquid animal variety. Although I had a hard time finding it in my area, you may find it in tablet form in the baking aisle at your grocer. If not, do what I did and order it from Cheese Supply(dot)com. The shipping is a little steep for just a small item, so I ordered some Manchego, Cheesecloth, and a few other items to pad the bill. The recipe:

Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

2 Quarts Skim Milk
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
8 drops Liquid Rennet or 2 tablets

Combine the skim and buttermilk in a good sized saucepan. Over medium heat bring the mixture to 110 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Pour the heated mixture into a large, non-metal bowl. Add the rennet, stir and cover with cheesecloth. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. After 24 hours their should be chunks (Curds) and liquid (Whey), try to keep Miss Muffet at bay. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, spoon the curds into the colander, try to keep them intact. Let this drain for 1 hour or until it is one solid piece. Discard the Whey, or make Ricotta, which is made from cooked Whey. I haven't tried it yet, but next time I will. Place gently into a bowl and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve with sugar, half & half, and fresh fruit.

*New* I have another recipe for Creole Cream Cheese that says you cannot use Homogenized milk. I'll have to locate some to see if there is any difference in the finished product. The same recipe states you can substitute reconstituted dry skim milk. Another variation in this recipe is the use of Plain Yogurt as the culture, in place of the buttermilk. I will post when I try this.

There are some companies making this product:

Chef John Folse's Bittersweet Plantation Dairy
Mauthe's Creole Cream Cheese, although their website isn't working.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Check out my New Food Blog: Cook's Journal

As much as I love Cajun & Creole cooking, I need an outlet for my other cooking passions, so I created a second food blog, which will allow me to stay on topic on this site. I don't only cook Louisiana food, although it is my favorite food genre. Yesterday I made a phenomenal Char-Grilled Pizza, the recipe for which I posted on the new site. If you have time check it out. I'm striving to post at least once a day to each site.