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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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Mint Julep

I'm a few months late with this post by some standards, but not by mine, afterall, this isn't "Kentucky" Cuisine. I like to have my first Mint Julep when it tastes best; that is, when it's hotter than hell outside. There is no better time for a Mint Julep in New Orleans, or Detroit for that matter, than summertime.
To me a Mint Julep instantly evokes visions of Plantation Homes of old during the swelter of Summer, maybe a table underneath Spanish Moss-draped Live Oaks, and a glistening silver cup, beaded with sweat and garnished with an emerald sprig of mint. Ah, what could be more refreshing than that.

The Mint Julep Recipe

6 Fresh Mint Leaves
1 Tbsp Simple Syrup (See Note *)
2 oz. Bourbon (I like Maker's Mark)
Crushed Ice (See Note **)
Wooden Spoon
Rocks Glass (use a silver cup if you have one!)

Combine the mint and simple syrup in the bottom of the glass. Using the handle end of the spoon, smash the leaves into the simple syrup (muddle). Add the Bourbon, then the top with lots of crushed ice, stir, trying to keep the mint leaves on the bottom of the glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve.

*Note - Simple Syrup is equal parts (by volume) water and sugar, cooked just until the sugar disolves. I make a 1 Cup batch and keep it in a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator.

**Note - It's important to use Crushed Ice, it keeps the mint on the bottom of the glass while you're sipping.

Makes 1 Cocktail.

If you don't have a taste for Bourbon, try a Mojito over at Cook's Journal. It's a Cuban Rum drink that is very similar.

Also, check out this great idea for making Mint Juleps from the Food Network that my good friend Tom emailed me. Very cool idea, I will have to try it!

Other New Orleans Cocktail Recipes from this site:

The Sazerac
The Ramos Gin Fizz

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Okra Jambalaya Recipe

I've been doing some research into Cuban Cuisine lately and I came across a recipe called Arroz Con Quimbombo, or Rice with Okra. It is cooked in the Spanish Paella style, using Chorizo, and Spanish Valencia rice, which is similar to Arborio. I'm very intrigued by Cuban cooking right now, it has a lot in common with Louisiana's Cuisine, with it's Spanish, African, and Creole influences. I didn't get around to making the Cuban dish yet, but it inspired me to make this into a Jambalaya, I will make it in the Cuban style later in the week which will be posted at Cook's Journal. I love exploring root dishes, and it is plain to see (IMO) that Jambalaya is a derivitive of Paella.
I love fresh Okra, and anyone who loves Okra knows that it goes wonderfully with Tomato, which is also featured in this recipe. As I've said in the past, I always finish my Jambalayas in the oven, I find the even heat produces a better textured rice. I use a cast iron pot here, some folks will pass out if they see you cook okra in a cast iron pot, personally, I have yet to notice any discoloration in Okra that has been cooked in cast iron.

Okra Jambalaya Recipe

1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/4 Cup Andouille Sausage, Diced
1/2 Cup Tasso, Diced
1/2 Cup Onion, Diced
1/2 Cup Bell Pepper, Diced
1/2 Cup Celery, Diced
2 Tbsp. Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup Tomataoes, Diced
1/2 Cup Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
1 tsp Fresh Oregano, Chopped
1/4 Cup White Wine
1 1/4 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Cup Enriched Long grain Rice
1 1/2 Cups Fresh Okra, sliced into 1/2" rounds
(Seasoning Mix: 1/2 tsp Cayenne, 3/4 tsp White Pepper, 1/2 tsp Black Pepper, 1 tsp Kosher Salt, 3 Bay Leaves)
Chopped Parsley
Green Onion, Thinly Sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a cast iron dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the Andouille and Tasso until slightly browned, then add 1/2 of the trinity (onion, bell pepper, and celery), saute until tender. Add the Okra and Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the Tomato and cook for about 1 minute, then add the Tomato Sauce, Fresh Thyme, and Oregano, cook 1 minute more. Add the Rice, cook 1 minute. Add the stock, garlic, white wine, bay leaves, seasoning mix, and the other half of the trinity. Stir well and bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, but still has a little bite. Stir in the chopped parsley, and sliced green onions. Enjoy!

This would also be wonderful topped with Creole Sauce.

Makes 3-4 Servings

Other Jambalaya Recipes:

Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya
Shrimp and Chicken Jambalaya

Other Recipes using Okra:

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Five Favorite (Food) Books

I was tagged by B at Culinary Fool to do the favorite book meme, so here it is:

Number of Cookbooks I've owned: Right now about 86, 25 of these being Creole and/or Cajun. I've owned more cookbooks in the past, which I've donated to the library during moves.

Last book that I bought: Great Restaurants of the World: Commander's Palace

Last (Food) book I read: What Einstein Told His Cook by Robert L. Wolke
Cookbooks: I'm Just Here For The Food by Alton Brown
Bouchon by Thomas Keller

Five Cookbooks that mean a lot to me: I love all of my Cookbooks, I use all of them at least on a weekly basis, not to mention the 10 or so I usually have out from the Library. But here is my list.

1.) Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen
2.) All of Mario Batali's books, Molto Italiano is getting to be one of my faves.
3.)Both Commander's Palace cookbooks, the 1984 by Ella & Dick Brennan, and the 2000 by Ti Adelaide Martin and Jamie Shannon.
4.)The Picayune's Creole Cookbook - A reprint of the 1901 edition with notes from Marcelle Bienvenu
5.)The Joy of Cooking - Always my first resource when I have a question.
I'm cheating:
6.)The Food & Wines of Spain by Penelope Casas
7.)Creole Gumbo and All That Jazz by Howard Mitcham

Which Five People would I most like to see fill this out: (I don't think any of these folks have done this yet.
1.)Jill at Cookies In Heaven
2.)Caryn at Delicious! Delicious!
3.)Chuck Taggart at The Gumbo Pages (Looka!)
4.)Kevin at Seriously Good
5.)Carolyn at 18thC Cuisine
6.)Mario Batali

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Pain Perdu with Pecan Cane Syrup and Bananas Brulee

Pain Perdu or Lost Bread is a brunch and breakfast favorite in New Orleans. If you have leftover French Bread from the night before, this is an easy, economical, and wonderful breakfast, I'm eating it right now as a matter of fact :). It will turn out best if you use lost bread, or stale bread, if your bread is too fresh it will get soggy and lose some of it's texture. Still good, mind you, but not as good. I have an interesting classic Creole recipe for this from the 1901 Picayune's Creole Cook Book, the batter used is as follows:

5 Eggs
2 Tbsp of Orange Flower Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
The Finely Grated Zest of a Lemon
3 Tbsp Brandy

I will have to try this one sometime, sounds interesting, and of course they fry the bread in Lard. Ahh, the Good Old Days! Of course, Lard has only half of the Cholesterol of butter, which I use, so I shouldn't talk. If you don't have Steen's Cane Syrup, you could use Molasses, or good old Maple Syrup. If you can find it though, (found it!), it's a great product. Here is my version of Pain Perdu:

New Orleans Cuisine Recipe - Pain Perdu with Pecan Cane Syrup and Bananas Brulee

3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
1/8 Cup Banana Liquer
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
A dash of Nutmeg
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Leftover French Bread, Cut into 3/4" thick Slices
(This recipe will make enough batter for 3-4 servings.)

Pecan Cane Syrup (Recipe below)
Bananas Brulee (Recipe below)
Mint Sprig
Powdered Sugar (Optional)

Whisk together the Eggs, Milk, Banana Liquer, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg. Heat the Oil and Butter (this will keep the butter from burning) over medium heat. When hot, dredge the bread slices in the batter, making sure they soak up quite a bit, then place the bread in the oil/butter mixture and fry until they're a nice golden brown on both sides and cooked through. You can keep them warm in a low oven until ready to serve.

Serve drizzled with the Cane Syrup (recipe below), dividing the Pecans between plates. Garnish with the Bananas Brulee (recipe below) and the Mint. Give a dusting of Powdered Sugar if desired.

Serve with Cafe Noir, Cafe au Lait, or if you're in the mood a Ramos Gin Fizz!

Pecan Cane Syrup

1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1/4 Cup Pecan Halves
1/2 Cup Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup
1 Tbsp Bourbon (optional)

Heat the butter and Sesame Oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the Pecans, and saute until Fragrant. Add the Steen's and Bourbon, mix well and keep warm for serving.

Bananas Brulee

1 Banana (per guest)
Granulated Sugar
Kitchen Torch

Cut the Bananas in half lengthwise. Cover the flat sides with a heavy coating of sugar, as in Creme Brulee. Flame with the torch until the sugar is Caramelized and has a hard shell.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Pommes Frites or French Fry Recipe at Cook's Journal

Check out my Pommes Frites Recipe at Cook's Journal. Coming soon here, since I'm in the mood to fry Potatoes, and the frying techniques are so similar, Pommes Souffle! Those wonderful little fried Potato Puffs of air made famous by Antoine's, Galatoire's, and most of the other "old line" Creole restaurants. Coming very soon.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

New Orleans Cuisine - Shrimp Remoulade Recipe

Shrimp Remoulade (pronounced ruma-lahd) is a nice first coarse cold appetizer, because the sauce has a nice zip to it that really gets your taste buds jumping. Of course, the most important thing about this dish is the Shrimp. There is nothing worse than bland, overcooked Shrimp, so I've included my recipe (which is actually more of a technique). As far as the best Shrimp Remoulade in New Orleans, I'll leave that up to you and the comments section, as always your comments are always appreciated! One that I had in the city was at Arnaud's, which is supposed to be famous for it's Remoulade, called Shrimp Arnaud. I thought it was too heavy on the horseradish personally, and I'm a guy that likes horseradish. I like a balance of flavors, all I got out of the one at Arnaud's was nostril flare.
There are two types of Remoulade sauces in Louisiana, and probably a million recipes for each. One is a white, mayonnaise based style, similar to the French Bistro Classic, Celeriac Remoulade. The other is a red version, the version I prefer, and the one which is below. This sauce is best if made a day ahead to let the flavors marry. The Recipe:

Remoulade Sauce Recipe

1 Large Rib Celery, Chopped
2 Green Onions, Chopped
1 Garlic Clove, Chopped
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, Finely Chopped
2 Tbsp Creole Mustard
2 Tbsp Paprika
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Horseradish
2 tsp Hot Sauce
2 Tbsp Ketchup
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper To Taste
1/2 tsp Cayenne or to taste

Combine the above ingredients in a food processor, process until smooth. With the motor still running, slowly drizzle in:

1 oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

The emulsion should be fairly thick. Adjust the seasonings and refrigerate overnight.

For the Shrimp, I used a 26-35 Ct Shrimp. When cooking Cocktail Shrimp it's important to leave the shells on, both for flavor and to prevent the shrimp from curling up too much. I don't cook these long at all, it's actually more of a steep. This is for a small portion:

Boiled Shrimp Recipe

1 tsp Mustard Seed
1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns
3 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Cayenne
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
1 Rib Celery Chopped
1 tsp Whole Allspice
5 Whole Cloves
1 1/2 Lemon
6 Cups Water

Combine the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 20-30 minutes. Prepare an ice bath, call it 6 cups ice and 6 cups cold water. Return the liquid to a boil. Add:

16 Shrimp (26-35 Ct)

Turn off the heat. Wait 2 minutes (make sure the Shrimp are white all the way through), then remove them to the ice bath. When they're completely cooled, remove the shell and tail, then devein.

Marinate the shrimp in the sauce for about 30 minutes, I don't like to keep them in too long.

To serve the Shrimp Remoulade, cover the base of 2 chilled appetizer or salad plates with shredded lettuce. Tastefully arrange the shrimp on top of the lettuce, 8 per plate, and garnish with green onions, thinly sliced on the bias.

Serves 2.