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Everything posted by HungryC

  1. Shrimp jambalaya instantly springs to my mind. If you want to make it really special, go through the trouble of making shrimp stock from the shells to use as the cooking liquid for the jambalaya. And a nice shrimp stew (the brown kind, with a roux) would be good, too. Kinda like a chicken stew or fricassee, but you use shrimp instead of chicken. Especially good with large shrimp. Or an oh-so-cajun shrimp & potato stew (don't serve this one over rice). Make a medium brown roux, smother/wilt the veggies (onion, celery, pepper, lots of garlic) in the roux, add water or shrimp stock, a half-teaspoon of crab boil, and a whole bunch of peeled, cut up potatoes. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, then add in peeled (usually small) shrimp and the juice from a fresh lemon, a generous handful of chopped parsley and one bunch of green onion, chopped. Once the shrimp are done, taste & adjust salt. Or, make a shrimp and rice stuffing for those green peppers. Cook the rice, making it slightly underdone. Saute chopped celery, onions, bell pepper, garlic, green onion in a little butter until soft, then add the shrimp and saute until just pink. Fold in the rice, then stuff into cleaned green peppers. Top the peppers with a sprinkle of seasoned bread crumbs and a slice of lemon. Stand the peppers up in a baking dish; pour a little water into the bottom of the dish and bake peppers until tender.
  2. I have used it successfully in standard cheesecake recipes, but it is grainer and has no stabilizers like the commercial philly product, so I find that an extra egg added to the recipe helps with the texture. In addition, a little extra heavy cream might be needed, depending on the consistency of the CCC (some can be very drained/dry).
  3. Hey Danno, how large were the curds in your final product? I buy Mauthe's when I can find it because it has a superior texture (I think) to John Folse's. M's has a slightly larger curd and is a little grainier than Folse's, which is more solid and somehow less cheese-y. I made a great creole cream cheese peach ice cream last month...easy as pie. Heavy cream, couple of yard eggs, vanilla, tub of creole cream cheese, sugar, pureed fruit (skin & all for a little extra color). And I like CCC as a savory spread...chopped fresh herbs (garlic chives, basil, thyme, whatever looks good in the garden) and a little garlic is excellent on toasted french bread or bagels.
  4. Nice story on Hansen's Sno Bliz on NPR Morning Edition this AM....listen at www.npr.org, click on Morning Edition.
  5. Just to make you out-of-towners drool: several vending machines on the Tulane campus sell Hubig's pies. It is so wonderful to see a locally made product alongside the FritoLay & Nabisco stuff.
  6. I love most of the books mentioned, but I thought I'd add a few of my favorites not yet mentioned: --Pirate's Pantry: good SW LA cooking, produced by a community group in Lake Charles, with nice instructions & illustrations on picking crabs, opening oysters, peeling shrimp, cooking wild game, etc. These features make it a great gift for someone unfamiliar with seafood. --the New Orleans Cookbook by Richard Collin; very good! --Times-Picayune's Creole Cookbook (various editions) Of the already mentioned cookbooks, I also love Leon Soniat's La Bouche Creole, Lafcadio Hearn's Creole Cook (more for historic interest rather than cooking), the Real & Rustic Emeril/Bienvenu's book, and Bienvenu's Who's Your Mama.
  7. Hey, docbrite, I love the Palace Cafe in Opelousas, too. The vibe is great; it has that worn-around-the-edges, well-loved, homey feeling that can't be faked--the counter, the cases. I love the way that most folks are on a first-name basis with each other, too. Glad to hear that the food is still up to scratch; my last visit was pre-Katrina, and it seemed that the food was a little off.
  8. HungryC


    Finally made it to Cochon; nifty decor...sort of packing-crate-meets-camp-meets-feng-shui. Here's my rundown: --pork & blackeyed pea gumbo: very tasty, deep brown roux, medium-thick with shreds of pork, finely cut greens, and blackeyed peas; long peppery finish. I'd order this again. --"link" sausage on a wedge of grits with peppers and onions: a competent, well-executed pork sausage, but nothing original or unique. --hogshead cheese: triangles of very meaty, only lightly gelled, mildly flavored headcheese, accompanied by small toasts and housemade pickles and mustard. I thought that the presentation was more than a bit precious, and the headcheese needed more "greens" (parsley, green onions) and definitely needed more heat & garlic. --smoked brisket & horseradish potato salad: I was expecting a dry smoked brisket, but this was a wet, fatty brisket with only the lightest tang of smoke...kind of plain, really. Nothing special about the potato salad, either. I really wanted to love this place, unreservedly. These flavors are in my DNA. But it didn't blow me away. It was all too contrived, overdone, yet in other spots, too restrained. (I actually snickered at the price tag for boudin balls.) I couldn't even bring myself to eat dessert: perhaps because homemade banana pudding, german chocolate cake, and pineapple upside down cake all routinely emerge from my kitchen. Am I the only one underwhelmed?
  9. I've used leftover roasted domestic duckling in a duck gumbo--used the pan drippings as part of the fat in making the roux, stripped the meat from the frame and boiled the frame in the gumbo, then added the chunked meat near the end. Not exactly the same flavor as wild duck gumbo, but a good use of leftover fowl, much as you would make a day-after-Thanksgiving turkey gumbo. But restaurants MUST be making duck gumbo with domestic duckling, as it is against game regulations in this state to sell wild game in restaurants (no USDA food inspections, etc) here in Louisiana. I had a delicious duck gumbo at Herbsaint recently, too. Or do restaurants buy pen-raised mallards?
  10. I would buy it for the recipes--the history section is underwhelming to say the least if you're a serious student of Louisiana history; it's the worst sort of glossed-over, un-nuanced historical survey suitable for junior-high textbooks. Recipes are a mix of traditional and innovative, but I would rate them at least as traditional as RiverRoad/Talk About Good (good community cookbooks, but more of a snapshot of LA cooking in the 80s among their contributors, as compared to Soniat's specifically nostalgic cookbook, which I happen to love dearly). Folse's book is unwieldy in the extreme, hard to use, and the layout/typography choices are strange at times (difficult to read). I confess that I didn't buy it for myself, but as a gift for an out-of-state friend. I check it out from the library when I want to use it and have copied a few recipes to keep for posterity.
  11. I had merguez (always delicious--I wish Jamila's would sell it to me by the pound or give me a recipe!), strawberry lemonade, several mango freezes, the combo plate from Mona's, a mini sweet potato pie, and an order of beignets. Lines at the food stands were very long all day on Friday...I was tempted by the andouille calas, the quail gumbo, and the cochon de lait poboy, but I was too into the music to waste time in those long lines!
  12. Ditto what everyone else said about the seafood, with a short personal anecdote: in early October, when still in the throes of post-K funk, I went fishing west of Larose. I stopped just inside the Pointe-aux-Chenes wildlife management area to throw a cast net to catch some bait. Standing atop a small wooden dam, I surveyed a sorry sight: a few forllorn appliances, stranded wa-ay out in the marsh by either Katrina or Rita's tidal surge, acres of drowned, salt-browned marsh grass, and other assorted hurricane-related flotsam (styrofoam bits, a chest of drawers, the clothing from said chese of drawers, etc). I tossed out the net anyway and was rewarded on the first pull with a dozen u-16 shrimp! Ten minutes of tossing the net yielded a bucket full. Who needs bait when you catch dinner so easily? That's when I started feeling better and thinking long-term about the environment's resiliency. (Don't get me started on coastal restoration, certainly a topic for another forum). Anyway, I encourage you to buy direct from the fisherman. Those guys need all the help they can get after last year. Right now, I'm getting my own small boat & nets ready for the inshore recreational trawling season in May. I'll probably catch more than a fair share of debris, but hey, I'll be providing a service of sorts if I haul it all out of the water.
  13. The article wasn't SO bad; he makes good points about finding good food in places frequented by locals, but he did sort of misse the point that you don't cook dead crawfish. That curled tail is not a mark of "freshness" but an indicator of edibility. Throw away the dead ones, no matter what. Blech. And regarding the previous posts on crawfish in jambalaya, here's my $.02: --Plaquemines Parish isn't in Acadiana. Plaquemines has lots of isleno, croatian, african-american, mixed-up-french-spanish-etc generally "creole" people, but it isn't especially cajun. You could probably, pre-Katrina, find a few cajun french speakers, but not a critical mass of them like in most of Acadiana proper (see the nifty color coding on the LA state highway map if you're unsure on the geographic area). So I wouldn't consider use of crawfish in a jambalaya in Plaquemines as cultural evidence of anything other than the contemporary LA tendency to stick crawfish in damn near everything, regardless of the ethnicity of the cook or dish in question (hence, crawfish egg rolls, crawfish boudin, crawfish phyllo puffs, crawfish cornbread dressing, crawfish risotto, various crawfish pastas, crawfish hot tamales, etc) --where I grew up in Acadiana, crawfish were most definitely NOT a traditional ingredient in jambalaya. Some cooks in this area will tell you that crawfish taste too "muddy" to be used in a jambalaya or gumbo...in part because it's a coastal area with year-round access to the some of the most delicious, beautiful shrimp on the planet. Today, you could probably find a crawfish jambalaya or two in that locale, but today imported, peeled tails are sold in polybags at Wal-Mart. So you can't get all caught up in the right-wrong, traditional vs nontraditional issues. Food changes every time somebody chops an onion or stirs the pot.
  14. HungryC


    I can't wait to try it out. Disappointed a bit, though: the text boasts of headcheese, but I don't see it on the menu...wonder if his will be as good as mine!
  15. I, for one, will be in that number when they reopen the front doors to their little roadhouse in Avondale (or more accurately, Boutte). Oooh, I feel compelled to point out (for the sake of geographic accuracy) that Mosca's is more that eight miles east of Boutte. It is slightly (like half a mile) west of Avondale proper; some would call the area Waggaman, but IMHO Waggaman is on the river & doesn't stretch back to US 90. In long-days-gone-by, its precise location was called Willswood Ponds (and the structure itself was the Willswood Tavern, I believe). I just don't want anyone mapquesting Boutte and getting turned around....4137 US 90 in Avondale will yield accurate results. Located on the south side of the highway (eastbound side).
  16. Jacques' other restaurant in NOLA, Crabby Jack's, is also open. It's a casual lunch joint on Jefferson Highway right near the train tracks (just before the parish line). Duck poboy, daily specials, etc.
  17. Umm, yeah, vegetarians & weight-watchers DO struggle in ALL of south Louisiana. She'll probably have discovered the near-campus spots by now, but just in case, try Saigon on Highland just north of campus--vietnamese food that probably has some vegetarian options. On the higher end, Juban's, Mansur's, and White Oak Plantation are all worth a visit.
  18. I looked up the recipe in my copy of Revel: it's more like a dacquoise, with several layers of baked meringue joined by a filling & then a chocolate frosting. Sounds interesting, but makes me wonder how the name "black forest" stuck to it.
  19. My advice: be patient, wait for "real" crawfish season and enjoy 'em lots when they're cheap. With tons of pond crawfish, we've all grown accustomed to lots of crawfish, early. I'm so damn old I can remember when you had to go out and catch 'em yourself if you wanted any at all. I just untangled my set-nets from the other fishing gear piled up in the garage and am anticipating the first foray into the Spillway to see what I can scare up...
  20. Just west of Lafayette is the BestStop Supermarket, one of my favorite sources of tasso, smoked sausage, stuffed quail, etc. Take the Scott/Cankton exit, head north, and you will see it on your left (west) about two miles north of I-10. An ice-chest worthy stop. Or a good cracklins, beef jerky-n-beer stop.
  21. I beg to differ: my homemade grillades (yesterday's brunch) looked almost exactly like the Upperline version. If anyone is seeking a recipe, try the grits & grillades from Leon Soniat's La Bouche Creole cookbook (also has lots of other good, traditional NOLA recipes like redfish courtbouillion, calas, etc). Incidentally, the grillades you'll find in much of Acadiana are very different: thinly sliced, highly spiced tender pork, quickly grilled over either coals or an open flame. You'll find them at a boucherie (hog-killing & cooking), at festivals, or on backyard BBQ grills. I can't think of a single restaurant serving this kind of grillades...
  22. I TiVo'd it; will watch tonite. Can't wait...I am happy that they're doing more "interesting" ingredients these days. I think that Iron Chef America has suffered from a lack of pizzaz re: secret ingredients. Much of the original show's charm derived from the unisex salmon, exotic pork, live octopus, etc.
  23. I wouldn't take two small children to Lilette, even two very well-behaved ones. You might be more comfortable at Dante's Kitchen for lunch. Or, why not go to Crabby Jack's? The ultra-casual environment will accomodate kids nicely, and the menu ranges from the great duck poboy to lots of other favorites & interesting things with a twist. A good way to get an inkling of the Jacques-Imos culinary style during the day. On Jefferson Highway at the parish line (where it runs into Claiborne).
  24. Poupart's still rocks...those florentines are great. Bonefish isn't bad for a small chain seafood place...I like Coyote Blue in spite of its chain-mexican vibe (the pork tamale appetizer is quite good).
  25. I can't wait to get started; I was excited to be pitching in--then I learned that Besh was doing lunches. Now I'm really happy. Re: the article, I think it's too early to have the jazz funeral for our food culture. Give it a little time...yes, many places won't reopen. But other places will rise up to fill the void...given a little time and patience (and on a small positive note, I drove by Dunbar's the other day & the family was busily cleaning the place out).
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