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Everything posted by HungryC

  1. How about using the filling from the regional Louisiana specialty called the Natchitoches meat pie? It's a savory combination of half pork, half beef, browned with lots of garlic, ground cayenne peppers, and green onions (chopped scallions), as well as a little salt & black pepper. Seems simple, but it is definitely a great combo. It's traditionally used to fill a shortcrust fried or baked fold-over pie, but it would be dynamite in a potsticker.
  2. Get some disposable alumnium pie plates and tie 'em to your tomato stakes. The shiny fluttering is a good squirrel/mockingbird deterrent. A yard cat is an even better tomato protection device!
  3. Fortunately, they still speak quite a bit of French in those parts, though a little less with each passing year. I grew up in Larose--it's really not that far--less miles than a drive to Baton Rouge from New Orleans. And, at the rate the coast is eroding, we need to enjoy our coastline every chance we get. If you haven't seen the area around Port Fourchon, it's also worth a visit. It's an incredibly important link in our petroleum infrastructure, located in an environmentally sensitive spot. Back to the food: the Leeville Restaurant has tasty food and impeccably fresh seafood. The newish Oceana Grill in Golden Meadow (run by some cooks from the dearly departed Randolph's) is also pretty good.
  4. If you're craving shrimp, drive down LA 1 with an ice chest to Golden Meadow or Leeville. Yesterday afternoon, I paid $4/lb for 10-15 shrimp, unloaded directly from the boat. Hard to believe that I paid more a gallon for gas than I did a pound for gorgeous, fresh shrimp!
  5. Crawfish season is mostly over. Prices were slightly high, mostly due to gas/fuel costs rather than scarcity of product.
  6. HungryC


    They're pretty good in potato salad--a nice, zingy change from relish.
  7. For $20, you could have bought a whole pound of peeled LA crawfish and made three or four fried crawfish poboys! I'm amused by your efforts to po-boy the lobster. I too am always disappointed by lobster--rubbery, bland, awash in butter. Perhaps if I'd ever had it fresh off the boat in Maine I'd feel differently.
  8. While I can appreciate "vibe" as a reason to be a faithful patron, nobody goes to Ms. Mae's, Saturn Bar, F&M, the Mayfair, etc for the FOOD. J'Anitas is first and foremost a restaurant---not a hangout, a bar (it doesn't even have a bar), or a happening. It's a standard restaurant: tables, chairs, food. No couches, no barstools...and on my one and only visit, I was the only person in the place (so much for people watching). I don't wish the proprietors ill--I just think the food isn't very good. Isn't that the most important part of a restaurant?
  9. So I popped over to J'Anita's two weeks ago. I love BBQ, NOLA needs more BBQ, etc. Except that the pulled pork was sorry--wet, soggy, not one iota of outside/crust. And the house special sauce was oddly thick, sort of gelatinous, and sort of sour/horseradish-y. Side dishes of coleslaw & beans were hit & miss: slaw was fine (though ordinary), but baked beans were overly cumin'ed and verged dangerously close to chili in taste & texture. Has anyone else tried this place? I keep hearing good things, but I did not experience anything that made me want to return.
  10. 190 proof might be illegal in California, but not in Louisiana. I can buy a bottle of 190 proof Everclear at my local Winn-Dixie, Wal-Mart, liquor store, or convenience store.
  11. Ouch to those shipping charges! I had no idea. Glad that your boil went well. Did you peel the leftovers to make etouffee?
  12. It is located at the corner of Tchopitoulas & Bordeaux streets. I haven't been yet this season; tried to go last week, but I drove by too early in the day. Maybe this weekend....
  13. I've never seen ramps (they look like little leeks to me) growing in south Louisiana, but we don't have an abundance of wild, open woodland spaces...our dry land is heavily cultivated and/or developed, and our forest/woodland areas tend to be pretty wet for a good portion of the year. I'm familiar with wild onions, which grow in abundance all over meadows & fields, and even in backyards. These have a pungent odor and rather bitter flavor. Central & north Louisiana's woodlands tend to be pine-dominated, managed forests run by the timber/pulp/paper industry. You might try contacting someone at the Caroline Dormon Nature Preserve (Briarwood) near Saline in Natchitoches Parish http://www.cp-tel.net/dormon/ If anyone knows where to find ramps in LA, those folks will know, or will connect you with someone who does. She was an early LA conservationist who wrote a good guide to LA native plants. It was reprinted by Claitor's in the late 80s early 90s...if you can find it, get a copy.
  14. I think you hit the nail on the head with this post; what's wrong with using the REAL NAME of the dish? Is someone afraid of a little Spanish? Somehow everything in CI seems sanitized, americanized, systematized.....the whole mag is far too stiflingly whitebread and rigid; it reads like a '50s home-ec publication to me.
  15. Robouchon, smobouchon. My cajun grandmother, born in 1901, taught my father to do this, who taught me. I've done quite a bit of fieldwork among cajun cooks all over south Louisiana, and it is a very common practice to cook "fresh" potatoes (not storage potatoes, but rather the new crop, just dug out of the ground). I'd imagine that similar knowledge persists in potato-growing areas as well. The method certainly works--I've done it many, many times (though it does take longer than 5-7 minutes). To further bend so-called conventional wisdom about frying, I've seen quite a few cooks pour a small amount of water into frying potatoes if they're browning too quickly. This is an outdoor technique, as the oil will bubble up furiously, so do be careful if you try it.
  16. HungryC

    Summer menus

    It's definitely not too early here on the 30th parallel, just south of New Orleans. I picked the first ripe tomatoes this weekend, so last night's supper included a tomato & feta salad. Another few days, and I'll have the first of loads of fresh zucchini....always in search of new zucchini recipes, like anyone else who plants the damn things. The inshore, white shrimp season kicked off this week; although the catch will be slightly impacted by the Mississippi River's high water, I should be dining on just-caught shrimp by the weekend.
  17. Has anyone else ever heard teacakes called "pillowcase cookies"? Several elderly informants have used this name--supposedly you cooled 'em on a pillowcase or stored the baked cookies in a clean cotton pillowcase?
  18. I volunteered on Wednesday afternoon at the pasta master class & the opening reception. Antonio Pisaniello, chef at La Locanda di Bu prepared two lovely pastas. Best of all, after the session, he gifted me with his heavy grooved brass pasta rolling pin (called a macerono? sorry about my almost non-existent italian). He was great.
  19. HungryC

    Chicken Wing Dilemma

    This suggestion is so retro it just might qualify as cool....marinate in bottled italian dressing. Or, if that's impossibly common & processed (or too loaded with corn syrup--some bottled dressings have quite a bit), make your own italian vinagrette, sans sugar. Bake or grill until done & slightly crispy. Another extremely tasty alternative is fresh lime juice, vietnamese fish sauce, a bit of oil, and beaucoup black pepper. It is shockingly simply, but way more than the sum of its parts. I use it all the time on boneless thighs, and it packs on the flavor even with a very short marinating time (~30 minutes).
  20. HungryC

    Steam ovens

    But baking in a pre-heated pot doesn't really work for rolls or baguettes....
  21. HungryC

    Steam ovens

    A steam oven will create excellent, crispy crust on breads.
  22. St. Charles streetcar has been running from Canal to Lee Circle for than 18 months, and down to Napoleon for a year at least. Most recently, the line was powered up back in December '07 all the way to Riverbend (the intersection of Carrollton & St. Charles). One just rolled by my office window as I'm typing this post. Latest progress report says the line will be fully operational all the way to the end of the St. Charles/Carrollton line (Carrollton at Claiborne) by the end of May. Yay!
  23. HungryC

    About roux

    I picked up the newspaper this AM to find this poem---from the author's newest book "Let it Be a Dark Roux: New & Selected Poems": 'Making a Roux' by Sheryl St. Germain I am making a roux, like my mother, like my grand- mother, like all the women whose shadows stretch before and behind me. I am standing before the stove stirring, and I wonder what they thought of as they stood and stirred, as their hands went round and round in this ancient gesture. I wonder if they looked deep into it as I do, as if it could speak, stared at this flour and grease come together, this stuff that is base, thickener, nothing you cook will ever cohere without it, this stuff that must be cooked over the slowest fire, this stuff that must be tended until the heat turns it the color of nuts, the color of the earth, the river the sweet color of some skins, the color the roux gives up to the dish it will thicken. I am making a roux, like my mother, like my grand- mother, it is so simple, this flour and grease come together with its thick bready flavor, like the two of us come together. Let it be a good roux, a dark roux, let the cream, the smoky glue, the sweat and dirt of us, thicken some dish already seasoned, already rich.
  24. Casamento's on Thursday night. No glass to break, casual, laid-back place. Fried seafood, raw oysters, real people.
  25. HungryC

    About roux

    Brian, you bring up an interesting point. In traditional gumbo technique, the roux is made, and its cooking is arrested by adding chopped onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, etc. Once these aromatics are wilted, the stock/water is added next. You describe a process--making a roux on the side and having a pot of boiling other stuff (I'm assuming veggies & proteins), awaiting delivery of the finished roux (in my case, a slightly cooled roux). This process is the one I use ONLY when making LARGE quantities, like the 60 quart pot I mentioned in my earlier post. We cool the roux partially to make it easier to handle, as hot roux sticks to the skin & will result in nasty burns, kinda like hot sugar syrup. I am not aware that a hot roux added to hot water will continue to cook, but rather that it will just sink right to the bottom of the pot in globs and not mix into the stock very quickly. Again, the potential problems are that these chunks indee might burn if stuck to the bottom of the pot or, if the flour was insufficiently cooked, turn slightly solid and never incorporate into the liquid. These "roux bergs" are pretty nasty, I can attest, and there is no way to get rid of them once they're formed. You pretty much have to pitch the whole batch and start again. When making gumbo in "home" quantities (say, up to a 16 or 20 quart stockpot), I generally follow the traditional method of making the roux & stopping the cooking by adding the aromatics...this mixture is then easily scraped into a stockpot for the next steps. I guess if you had long arms, you could make roux directly in a stockpot, but I'm short so it's not practical. My newest pot is a 7-quart wide Le Creuset french oven, sold as a "risotto" pot, which might be the perfect gumbo pot. Thick, even-heating bottom for roux-making, shallow enough to be comfortable for constant stirring, yet big enough to allow for a rolling boil.
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