Friday, September 30, 2005 

Sorry haven't posted....

we've been a little...well...concerned.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 

Fortune Cookies...Not what you might think!

Fortune cookies are widely believed to be the invention of Makota Hagiwara, manager of Golden Gate Park's Japanese Tea Garden in 1909. He served his invention to the Tea Garden clientele and it quickly became an rousing success. Like many innovators satisfied with a smile and handshake as a reward, he didn't bother to copyright his creation.

This oversight allowed Chinese merchants to copy and market the fortune cookie which became famous as San Francisco's Chinese Fortune Cookie.

Los Angeles eventually chimed in with a claim as home to the first fortune cookie. Eventually this dispute went to court where the claim was found to be without merit, leaving San Francisco the undisputed birthplace of the fortune cookie.

As fortune cookies became popular,
fortune cookie factories opened up, first in California and then other places in the United States. Eventually, the fortune cookie would be exported all over the world, even to China. A machine that automatically inserted the fortune and folded the cookie was invented in the 1970s by Edward Louie of San Francisco. The first fortune cookie factory finally in China in 1993.

Fortune Cookies

Makes 15
These delicious cookies don’t have to be confined to Asian meals; they also are wonderful party favors, place cards, or everyday desserts. The batter used to make these fortune cookies is traditional tuile batter. Tuiles are thin, crisp cookies that are easy to mold into curved shapes while still warm from the oven. Remember, the key to success with these oversize cookies is to shape them quickly.

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 pinch of salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
Nonstick cooking spray


1. Heat oven to 400°. Spray a cookie sheet liberally with cooking spray. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites and sugar, and beat on medium speed, about 30 seconds. Add flour and salt, and beat until combined. Add butter, heavy cream, and almond extract, and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
3. Pour 1 tablespoon of batter onto half of the baking sheet, and spread with the back of a spoon into a thin 5-inch circle; repeat on the other half of the sheet. Bake until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown, about 8 minutes.
4. Transfer baking sheet to a heat-resistant surface. Working as quickly as possible, slide a spatula (an offset spatula, available at specialty kitchen shops, works best) under one of the cookies. Lift it up, and place it on a clean kitchen towel. Using your fingers, fold the cookie in half, pinching the top together to form a loose semicircle. Hold the cookie with your index fingers inserted at each open end, and slide your thumbs together along the bottom line. Press into the center of the cookie while bending the two open ends together and down to form the shape of a fortune cookie. This whole process should take about 10 seconds. Once the cookie hardens, which begins to happen almost immediately, you cannot fold it. Place the fortune cookie on the kitchen towel to cool, and shape the second cookie. Repeat until all the batter is used up. To speed up the process, bake four cookies at a time, staggering two cookie sheets by 4 minutes to give you time to shape. To avoid wasting batter, practice folding with a circle of paper first.
5. Write your message on a long strip of sturdy art paper, such as Japanese moriki. Thread the fortune through the cookie when it has cooled.

Monday, September 26, 2005 

Chefs for Humanity

Chefs Ming Tsai, left, and Cat Cora, right, prepare meals for Hurricane Katrina workers in the Bayou View Elementary School kitchen in Gulfport, Miss., Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005. Chefs for Humanity, a coalition of chefs and culinary professionals, is helping to provide meals and food management for emergency workers in the Gulf coast area. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

read more at their blog

Cat Cora's Olive Oil Cake: Ladi Tourta

3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups granulated sugar
12 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces milk
2 ounces orange liqueur
2 ounces fresh orange juice
3 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces blanched almonds, finely chopped
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch cake pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, olive oil, milk, liqueur, orange juice, and lemon zest. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Whisk until well blended. Fold in the almonds. Pour the mixture into the buttered cake pan. Bake for 1 hour. Place on a rack to cool. Run a knife around the edges and place it on a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Sunday, September 25, 2005 

This is kinda cool....

Cup-A-Cake!

Grab your cupcakes for on the go action! Wow!

Only two problems I have with this right off the bat...My cupcakes tend to be HUGE...and they also don't tend to stay around long. ;-)


And there's a cool cupcake blog, too...

Cupcakestakethecake!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 

I was dinking around

tyring to work on an "updated" look....and I lost all the "extras"

don't you just hate when that happens?


AAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!

Monday, September 19, 2005 

Bed and Breakfast Cookies

One of my favorite memories of visiting bed and breakfasts is often the meals or goodies they had available, usually hand made by the owners. It always made the stay much more "homey" and personal.

I stumbled across a website that collects recipes and b&b properties and puts them together. Now...if I could only visit all these fine places and try out all their recipes....

Fabulous!

Swedish Melting Moments
presented by Ashley Inn Bed & Breakfast
Charleston, South Carolina
A true taste of the South set in a charming architectural treasure!

Yields 2 dozen

1 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
Cookie Glaze (see recipe below)

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Sift in flour and cornstarch, mix well. Add flavorings, blending well. Chill 1 hours.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 3" apart on greased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a small glass dipped in water. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. (Cookies do not brown, but should be cooked through to center). Carefully remove to wire cooling rack (cookies very fragile). Spread cookie glaze evenly over each while still warm. Cool and store in airtight containers.

Cookie Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
Combine ingredients; whisk until smooth.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 

Antoine's

Established in 1840, Antoine's is the country's oldest family-run restaurant.

It was spring in 1840, when New Orleans was queen city of the Mississippi River, when cotton was king and French gentlemen settled their differences under the oaks with pistols for two and coffee for one. "Dixie" had not yet been written, destined to become the marching anthem for Confederate forces in the War Between the States.

This was the city young Antoine Alciatore adopted, after two frustrating years in New York, to establish a restaurant that would endure under his family's direction for more than 150 years and set the standard that has made New Orleans one of the great dining centers of the world.

The names of each of the 15
dining rooms at Antoine's Restaurant are steeped in history: Mardi Gras has been the premier attraction in New Orleans since 1857, just a few years after the birth of Antoine's. Four of our private rooms bear the names of 4 of our Carnival krewes -- Rex, Proteus, Hermes, and 12th Night Revelers .

The Mystery Room acquired its name due to Prohibition, the 18th Amendment prohibiting the sale of alcoholic drinks (from 1919 until 1933). It covered the era of the bootlegger and the Al Capone reign of terror in Chicago. During this time, some would go through a door in the ladies' restroom to a secret room and exit with a coffee cup full of booze (in spite of the Blue Laws).
The protocol phrase at table when asked from whence it came was: "It's a mystery to me." The name stuck and to this day, it's still the Mystery Room, nestled charmingly at the end of an interesting corridor.

go on....take a
tour of one of the dining rooms!

Antoine's Café Brûlot Diabolique

One 1-inch stick cinnamon
8 whole cloves
Peel of 1 lemon, cut thin
3 lumps sugar
3 jiggers brandy
3 cups strong black coffee

In a brûlot bowl or chafing dish, place the cinnamon, clove, lemon peel and sugar. Put brandy into a ladle, ignite, and pour over ingredients in bowl. Keep ladling brandy over ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Gradually add coffee and continue ladling mixture until the flames fade. Serve immediately. Makes 8 demitasse or brûlot cups.


I'm not quite sure the extent of the damage to Antoine's or when they will reopen. A report said that at least one of the walls fell out onto a courtyard and that there still is no potable water so eating is "at your own risk", but let's hope they come back and continue their amazing history.

Saturday, September 17, 2005 

Might Not Go Well With Cookies....

But it certainly goes well with our broken heart. Abita Brewing, a Louisiana brewing company, has a special beer coming out next month and some items for sale to benefit Louisiana's recovery efforts.

Abita Beer
We're proud to be a Louisiana Company and brewing
beer is what we do best. We have created
Fleur-de-lis Restoration Ale to raise funds for those whose lives have been torn apart by Hurricane Katrina. Be on the look out for this golden ale which will hit store shelves the week of October 3 and buy a bunch of six packs. $1 from every six-pack will go to the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation.

click here to read more about Fleur-de-lis Restoration Ale

We also have special pins, hats, t-shirts and more to help in the charity effort. 100% of the net proceeds from the merchandise sales will benefit the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. To learn more about the La Disaster Recovery Foundation visit www.louisianahelp.org

Neighbors are helping neighbors, opening their homes and their hearts. The Abita Brewing Company slogan echoes the thoughts and prayers of so many longing to see the Greater New Orleans area rise again…we are Louisiana True.
If you feel you must give gifts this Holiday season, put some of these great items on your list.

Friday, September 16, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Meet Jonathan Wright of The New Orleans Grill of the Windsor Court Hotel.

Chef Wright has an illustrious past. He’s had experience at Raffles Hotel in Singapore and circled the globe to Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons in London. LMAQS is one of the only Michelin 2 star establishments in the UK.

In 2000, Wright opened his own restaurant, La Gousse D’ail, (“the garlic clove”) in Oxford, UK. It was touted as “thrilling” and his style was described as “extravagance and exactitude in equal measure.”

Wright then moved on to the Big Easy. Before he began cooking at The Grill Room, he made sure to take a tour of New Orleans, locating quality purveyors of herbs, seafood, meat and vegetables. He planned to meld his culinary style with New Orleans’ bounty. Wright’s style is a marriage of his classical training and sensibilities with a bold, contemporary look and taste. He likes to contrast textures and temperatures, but lets the flavor speak for his food.


Zagat Survey (2004) calls Chef Wright “Britain’s culinary gift to the city” and says he is “still wowing high end foodies with his exquisite Louisiana-influenced Contemporary Cuisine, presented by a superb staff.” “Expect a magical night,” surveyors say. Quickly named “New Orleans’ Best New Chef by New Orleans Magazine (October 2003), Wright was named “One of three ‘Chefs to keep an eye on’ in the U.S. by Esquire magazine (November 2003).

The Windsor Court is slated to reopen on 1 November 2005.


Chocolate Fondant with Pistachio Ice Cream and Warm Cherries

Yield: 8-10 servings

Lava Cake
8 ounces dark chocolate
6 ounces butter
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ Tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
4 eggs, at room temperature
7 ounces sugar


Ice Cream
2 cups milk
5 ounces sugar
8 egg yolks
2 ounces heavy cream
2 ounces pistachio paste
1 Tablespoon Kirsch

Cherry Compote
2 cups cherries
2 ounces sugar
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 Tablespoon Kirsch
1 vanilla bean


For Lava Cake:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Over double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter. Sift together cornstarch, cocoa and salt, set aside. Whip together eggs, yolks and sugar until pale yellow ribbons form. Slowly whisk chocolate mixture into eggs. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ones. Mix until just combined.

Pour into greased stainless steel ring or muffin tin. Bake 8 minutes for 4 ounce portion. Rest 3 minutes before inverting from tin.

For Ice Cream:
Combine milk, sugar and yolks over double boiler. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until mixture coats back of spoon. Add kirsch, pistachio paste and heavy cream. Mix with immersion blender until smooth, strain if necessary.
Refrigerate overnight, then make in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.


For Cherry Compote:
Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into sugar.
Puree 1 cup cherries and cook 1 cup cherries with vanilla sugar, kirsch and lemon juice until sugar is completely dissolved and cherries are just softened. Add cherry puree and reduce ¼.


Serve warm or chilled.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 

The South Shall Bake Again

The French Quarter looks like it will be opening up soon...maybe not quite ready for business. But, it does ease the heartache just abit.

Despite the name, much of the architecture was built during the Spanish rule over New Orleans rather than the French. A great fire in 1794 destroyed much of the Quarter's old French colonial architecture, leaving the
colony's new Spanish overlords to rebuild it according to more modern tastes -- and strict new fire codes, which mandated that all structures be physically adjacent and close to the curb to create a firewall. The old French peaked roofs were replaced with flat tiled ones, and now-banned wooden siding with fire-resistant stucco, painted in the pastel hues fashionable at the time. As a result, colorful walls and roofs and elaborately decorated ironwork balconies and galleries from both the 18th century and 19th centuries abound. (In southeast Louisiana, a distinction is made between balconies, which have no roof over them, and "galleries," which do.)

Long after the U.S. purchase of Louisiana, descendants of French colonists lived in this part of town, and the French language was often heard there as late as the start of the 20th century.



One can't say the same for the Pecan industry, which is one of the things we prize about the South. Pecans. Fabulous pecans. For more than just pie and pralines, too.

Louisiana Pecan Balls

MAKES: About 28 cookies...can store airtight for up to 3 days

1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped pecans (about 4 oz.)

1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and the vanilla until smooth.

2. In a medium bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Add to butter mixture and beat on low speed to mix, then on medium speed until well blended. Stir in pecans.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 1 inch apart on buttered or cooking parchment–lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.

4. Bake in a 300° regular or convection oven until cookies are pale golden brown, about 25 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking. Let cookies stand on sheets until cool enough to handle.

5. Place remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Gently turn warm cookies, a few at a time, in powdered sugar to coat. Set cookies on racks to cool completely.

Per cookie: 143 cal., 59% (85 cal.) from fat; 1.3 g protein; 9.4 g fat (4.4 g sat.); 14 g carbo (0.5 g fiber); 73 mg sodium; 18 mg chol.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 

Tabasco in Cookies...Who Knew?

Louisiana has always been spicy...and part of that spicy heritage has been Tabasco!

Tabasco has been produced by the McIlhenny Company since 1868. Several new types of sauces are now produced under the name Tabasco Sauce, including jalapeño-based green, chipotle-based smoked, habanero, and garlic sauces. The jalapeño variety does not include Tabasco peppers.

The peppers were traditionally grown on Avery Island, but the bulk of them are now grown in the more temperate climates of Central and South America, where the weather and more farm area allow a more predictable and larger year-round supply of the peppers.

Avery Island is not really an island – it is a huge dome of rock salt, three miles long and two and a half miles wide. At it's highest point it is only 152 feet above sea level. It is located seven miles south of New Iberia, surrounded by wet marsh and the Bayou Peiti Anse. It’s one of five along the Louisiana Gulf Coast, formed when an ancient seabed evaporated, depositing pure salt, which rose up in large chunks and pushed the ground into a hill.Long before its namesake Avery family settled there in the 1830s, American Indians discovered that Avery Island’s verdant flora covered a precious natural resource—a massive salt dome. There the Indians boiled the Island’s briny spring water to extract salt, which they traded to other tribes as far away as central Texas, Arkansas, and Ohio.

More History of Tabasco and listen to NPR's story on the spicy stuff! But who knew you could use it for cookies!

Peppersass Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients
2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
2/3 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 egg
2 teaspoons
TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer at low speed until well blended. Add egg, TABASCO® Sauce, vanilla and flour mixture; beat until smooth.


Divide dough in half; place halves on plastic wrap. Shape each half into log about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Cover and refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours or overnight.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in shallow dish. Cut dough logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices; dip each slice in sugar. Place slices 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are golden around edges. Cool on wire racks.

Monday, September 12, 2005 

This Dog is Blue

George Rodrigue has designed a print to raise money for the hurricane katrina relief effort. The finalization of the image has taken some time due to the lack of computer equipment, printers, etc, that are now swamped by flood waters. An e-mail notification will be sent to our entire e-mail list with complete information, as soon as we are prepared.

The image will be posted on the
website as soon as it is finalized. It will certainly be full of the artist's raw emotions-- not just over the devastation of his
home city, but the suffering of his friends, and the end of an era.

Basic Dog Cookies

Mix together
3 1/2 cup unbleached flour,
2 cup whole wheat flour,
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup skim milk powder

1 tablespoon (or 1 package) dry yeast
3 1/2 cups lukewarm chicken or meat broth

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm chicken or meat broth. The richer this broth is, the better your dog will like the biscuits. Let yeast broth mixture set 10 min. Then stir in flour mixture. Roll resulting dough out 1/4" thick. Cut dog biscuit shapes from dough. Brush biscuits with egg wash. Bake on greased cookie sheets at 300* for 45 min. Then turn off oven and leave in overnight to finish hardening.

Makes 60 medium-sized biscuits.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 

One of a Kind

Mobile, AL also suffered from Katrina's wrath but not as much as New Orleans or Biloxi, the other two important and well known Southern Gulf Coast cities.

Beginning as a Native American habitat in the 1500's and it's history of having six separate flags fly on it's land, Mobile certainly is a "one of a kind" place.

And when people mention Mardi Gras, one automatically thinks of New Orleans..but don't be fooled....the tradition Mardi Gras actually started in Mobile in 1703 when it was a colony of French soldiers.
After having survived a particularly nasty bout with yellow fever, they decided to celebrate, but since party favors were few and far between in the New World, the men opted to paint their faces red and just act crazy for a few hours. They must have had fun because it became an annual event.

Mardi Gras was transformed into a parade event in 1840 by a group known as the Cowbellion de Rakin Society, the first of many of Mobile's so-called mystic organizations who journeyed to New Orleans in 1857 to help a group there set up a Mardi Gras celebration.

One of the strangest "one of a kind" aspects of Mobile is the "jubilee"
The eastern shore of Mobile Bay periodically experiences an unusual phenomenon called a Jubilee. A jubilee, which usually takes place in the wee hours of warm nights, describes a massive upsurge of sea life from the bottom of the bay. This phenomenon has also been observed in a similar bay in Japan and is believed to be caused by low oxygen levels in the water. This upsurge to the surface usually consists of crabs, shrimp, flounder and other sea delicacies. Needless to say, a jubilee, when first realized, is quickly spread by word of mouth along the coast, providing an impromptu fishing party in the middle of the night. - wikipedia

And, of course, they have a rich and storied history of food and Junior League Cookbooks. The one that I have in my bookshelf, "One of a Kind" which made its debut in April 1981 and has sold over 103,000 issues and received the Southern Living Hall of Fame Award.

Bobbie Austin's New Orleans Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

1 loaf French bread
1 quart milk
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons margarine, melted

Soak bread in milk. Crush with hands until mixed. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla and raisins. Pour melted margarine in the bottom of a thick pan and pour in the batter. Bake until very firm at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes to an hour. Cool.

Whiskey Sauce
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons milk
2 jiggers whiskey

Cream together butter and sugar. Add milk and flavor this with whiskey. Heat. Serve over bread pudding.

Serves 10

Saturday, September 10, 2005 

Cajun Cooking School

One of the most memorable things you could do while visiting "Nawhlins", was to take a cooking class. There was one very visible one down at the River Walk, Cooking Cajun Cooking School that I remember.

This is taken rom their website...I hope that they will be back and making visitors worldwide drool again...

Two of the world’s most popular regional cuisines, Creole and Cajun, blend the flavors of fresh ingredients with New Orleans’ rich French, Spanish and Caribbean heritage. The result is a jazzy, robust taste that enhances even the most everyday foods.Creole cooking requires subtle seasonings and oils resulting in intense flavors. The dishes are rich in texture and often begin with a roux, a browned mixture of flour and oil.

Most Creole dishes reflect the sophistication of Louisiana’s cities and their lively social styles. New Orleans, “The City That Care Forgot,” celebrates more events and holidays than any other place on earth. Cajun dishes are Creole’s country cousins developed by the descendants of French-speaking Acadians who were banished from Nova Scotia in the 1700s.

At Cookin’ Cajun Cooking School, we enjoy sharing our rich culinary heritage of Creole and Cajun through daily classes delicious recipes, techniques and good times.

At the Cookin' Cajun Cooking School in the Riverwalk Mall. You can learn enough in a two hour class to go back home and cook a fabulous feast for your family & friends. In each two hour class our experienced chefs will prepare a full three course meal. While enoying your lunch, you will learn cookking tips and techniques as well as being entertained with humorous stories about New Orleans and Cajun country.

Famous New Orleans Pecan Pie

3 extra large eggs
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup corn syrup, dark or light
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped or halved
1/8 teaspoon salt


We suggest prebaking the pie shell or tart shells for about seven minutes at 350° F. For best results, use weights in the pie shell.

1. Beat eggs until frothy. Add other ingredients, mix well, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Yield: (1) 9-inch pie.

BOURBON PECAN PIE
Add one tablespoon bourbon whiskey to the filling before baking.

CREAM CHEESE PECAN PIES
often eight ounces cream cheese. Mix with 1/4 cup powdered sugar and one egg or liquid-egg substitute. Spread over pie or tart shell, and pour in filling.

ALMOND PIE
Substitute sliced or slivered almonds for pecans. Use almond extract instead of vanilla.

 

Chef's for Humanity's eBay Auction for Katrina Survivors


Less than nine months after its creation by Food Network's Iron Chef Cat Cora, Chefs for Humanity continues to make a great impact, providing food and humanitarian aid for people impacted by hunger and tragedy. Survivors of Hurricane Katrina now will receive aid raised by the organization.

Chefs for Humanity's Sept. 12-21 fundraising event, an eBay auction of autographed chefs' jackets will benefit UNICEF, earmarked for Hurricane Katrina relief. And for the first time in UNICEF's six decades of providing humanitarian aid to children around the world, the international relief organization has been requested to assist with an emergency response in the United States.

"You see the devastation on TV. You see the children crying, hungry, with so little hope," said Cora, who founded Chefs for Humanity immediately following the massive tsunami that hit southeast Asia and Africa in December 2004. "And you wonder how you can help, what you can do. I founded this organization for times just like this - so people can have an avenue to help those in need. This is just one opportunity.

"Hurricane Katrina has touched my life personally, as I have family in Jackson, Miss., and I have friends from some of the most devastated areas. We can help rebuild this beautiful section of the country and the hundreds of thousands of lives torn apart by Katrina. And this eBay auction is just one of the first steps." Chefs for Humanity's "Jackets off our Backs" eBay auction features nearly two dozen world-famous chefs, including 10 celebrity chefs from the Food Network. Auction participants include: Food Network's Mario Batali, Cat Cora, Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, Gale Gand, Emeril Lagasse, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Sara Moulton, Rachael Ray, and Ming Tsai.


For a complete list of participating chefs and to bid on jackets, visit http://www.chefsforhumanity.org.

Follow their actions on their blog.

Friday, September 09, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Meet Megan Roen of Bayona, New Orleans

In 1995 Megan Roen earned a bachelor’s degree in English and French from Vanderbilt University, but she couldn’t ignore her culinary calling. She enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, later choosing an externship in the pastry department of Park Avenue Café in New York City to “round out” her cooking education. Working with Executive Pastry Chef and James Beard Award Winner Richard Leach proved to be a pivotal experience, and Megan chose to continue to study pastry. She furthered her experience with Chef Francois Payard and Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Philippe Maury at Payard Patisserie and Bistro in New York City. Next she became the sous pastry chef and then acting executive pastry chef at the Rihga Royal Hotel in Manhattan, and later the pastry chef at Seven.

In 2001 Megan returned to her native New Orleans as the pastry chef at Bayona restaurant, where she has honed her own style through independently created dessert menus that change bimonthly and seasonally. Her creations have been featured in Modern Bride magazine, the New York Daily News, and the New Orleans Culinary Concierge. Starchefs.com, a culinary Web site, also named Megan a Rising Star Pastry Chef.

Apple Pecan Beignets with Pecan Panna Cotta

Chocolate Raspberry Flourless Cake

Milk Chocolate Mousse Bombe

 

Raise New Orleans Spirits....

Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour!
Monday, September 12, 2005,5:00 - 7:00 pm
On Monday, September 12th, between the hours of 5:00pm and 7:00pm, bar customers across the nation will raise their glasses for a “Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour” as bar and restaurant owners shake up New Orleans' classic cocktails to directly benefit New Orleans food and beverage industry workers who are out of work and sorely in need of funds for rebuilding their lives.

During this special event New Orleans classics will be offered at participating bars for $10 per drink. Receipts from the Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour will be donated to a special tax-deductible relief fund established by the Museum of the American Cocktail. 100% of all monies received will be distributed directly to the workers and their families who apply for aid through the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For participating restaurants, click HERE.

Vieux Carré Cocktail
3/4 oz. rye whiskey
3/4 oz. brandy
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
1/8 oz. Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud's bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Build over ice, in an Old Fashioned glass

Famously served at the Carousel Lounge at the Monteleone Hotel
In 1886, Mr. Monteleone bought a 64-room hotel on the corner of Royal and Iberville streets in New Orleans’ world famous French Quarter. The setting was ripe for Antonio to spread his entrepreneurial wings when the nearby Commercial Hotel became available for purchase. That was only the beginning of an amazing historical landmark that is one of the last great family owned and operated hotels in the city. Since 1886, four generations of Monteleones have dedicated themselves to making their hotel what it was and still is- a sparkling jewel in the heart of the French Quarter.
Hotel Monteleone is one of only three hotels in the United States that has been designated a literary landmark. This designation was given to them from the Friends of the Library Association. Only two other hotels share this designation: The Plaza and The Algonquin in New York. These hotels have had a plethora of famous writers frequent their establishments as well as include them in their works.

Thursday, September 08, 2005 

Happy Birthday to ME!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005 

De Bonnes Choses a Manger

that's Cajun for "good things to eat"

New Orleans maybe the most damaged, but there were other parts of Louisiana that suffered the wrath of that Wicked Witch, Katrina. Houma, in the the Terrebonne Parish, or bayou country, didn't get slammed. It got hit, but more like a black eye than a complete body slam.

I have a sweet little spiral bound book, De Bonnes Choses a Manger that I picked up somewhere awhile ago. With woodcut illustrations of swamp and spanish moss encrusted oaks it is filled with old time recipes, you know the ones where the submitters' names are inscribed underneath the title of the dish. Glancing through you see some typical French/Louisiana names....Mrs. W.E. Thibodoux, Mrs. Rufus McIlhenny, Mrs. S.J. Burguieres, Mrs. Ralph Buisson and Mrs. Aurestile Pellegrin it brings to the reader a sense of community, a sense of history, a sense of pride and a little lagniappe of southern charm. Things that no hurricane can ever truly take away.


The little cookbook was originally published in 1964 by St. Matthew's Guild in Houma, LA. I can't access the churches' website...who knows when we can, but looking at a walking tour site or video tour of Houma, it looks delightful...a little bit of real americana with a little tabasco sauce thrown in for good measure.

Peanuts and Popcorn Balls

1 pint Louisiana syrup (may we suggest Steen's) (cane syrup)
3 quarts popped corn
2 tablespoons butter
1 quart roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon hot water

Cook syrup, vinegar and butter to hard-ball stage. Remove to back of stove, add soda dissolved in water. Pour syrup over popcorn and peanuts, stirring until each kernel is well coated. Mold into balls. Note: you can add food coloring to the syrup to get different colors.

 

Katrina didn't like Bananas Foster and Coffee

She blew down and waterlogged alot of the warehouses and ports that are used to store those and other food items. Get ready for some sticker shocks in the supermarket too....

New Orleans, one the nation's biggest coffee ports, holds about 8% of the world's supply, and coffee industry experts predicted that the loss of the tens of thousands of tons stored there would take a year to replace. Coffee contracts have risen 11% this week in New York trading.

"The market has decided that all of the 1.6 million bags stored in the New Orleans warehouses is dead meat," said commodities analyst Ann Prendergast of Refco Group.

Procter & Gamble Co., maker of Folgers, said half its supply was unaccounted for. - latimes


Chiquita Brands International Inc., one of the world's largest banana producers, said it suspended shipments because of damage to its facilities at Gulfport.

The company, which normally imports about a quarter of its Central American banana crop through the port, said it would divert those shipments to facilities in South Florida and Texas until its Mississippi facilities were repaired. - latimes


Louisiana oysters and other consumer goods that depend on busy Gulf Coast ports could be hurt by Hurricane Katrina, boosting prices.

Commodities and goods at risk include poultry, cotton and catfish in Mississippi and timber across the region.

..China and other countries could pick up the slack for shrimp because they're already big exporters to the USA. But if gulf oyster beds are damaged, "Prices would go sky high," says Bob Jones, executive director of the Southeastern Fisheries Association in Tallahassee, Fla.

Louisiana is the USA's top oyster producer, so no other supplier could immediately step in, he says. - usatoday

And of course, Nawhlins is known for it's restaurants. Sounds like some are aiming to come back the the Crescent City....


"New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin."~ Mark Twain, 1884
Nearly 10 percent of the New Orleans labor force, about 55,000 people, worked in the city's estimated 3,400 restaurants.

.. "We have been instructed by the matriarchs that we will rebuild," Brad Brennan, of the family that owns the famed Commander's Palace and eight other restaurants, said from his office at Commander's Palace Las Vegas. "There was no hesitation."

The matriarchs are Brennan's aunt, Ella Brennan, and his mother, Dottie Brennan, who was evacuated to Houston, where the family also has a restaurant.


Brennan said it was too soon to know the extent of the damage, but all of the 800 employees of the Brennan restaurants were accounted for. - deseretnews

We fear that Bayona has severe damage. Commander's Palace has been partially destroyed. But no real news of the many others. Antoine's. Galatoire's. KPaul's. Brennan's. The Pelican Room. . But mark your calendars.... Restaurants across the county will stage a "Dine for America Day" on Oct. 5 to support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Information: www .dineforamerica.org (beginning Thursday)

You can always try to cook up some memories on your own.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 

Beignet there....Doughnut that.

The Los Angeles Times has brought some good news from The Crescent City....Cafe du Monde still lives as does Gallatoire's, which celebrated it's 100th year this year. However, the venerable Commander's Palace is partially destroyed.

Coffee is strong at the Cafe du Monde
donuts are too hot to touch
Just like a fool, when those sweet goodies cool
I eat 'til I eat way too much

- Jimmy Buffett
from his song "Te Wino and I Know,"
on the album Living and Dying in Three-Quarter Time, 1974.
The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and on the day an occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.

The Original Cafe Du Monde is a traditional coffee shop. Its menu consists of dark roasted Coffee and Chicory, Beignets, White and Chocolate Milk, and fresh squeezed Orange Juice. The coffee is served Black or Au Lait. Au Lait means that it is mixed half and half with hot milk. Beignets are square French -style doughnuts, lavishly covered with powdered sugar. In 1988 Iced Coffee was introduced to the cafe. Soft drinks also made their debut that year

We might see the price of coffee go up because according to research from the economic development group of Greater New Orleans, Inc., today, one-third of all coffee imported to North America lands first in New Orleans.

Monday, September 05, 2005 

The New Orleans King Cake

The New Orleans tradition, begun in the 1870s, borrows heavily from European customs. As part of the celebration of Mardi Gras, it is traditional to bake an oval cake in honor of the three kings - the King Cake. The shape of a King Cake symbolizes the unity of faiths. Each cake is decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors: purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power. A small baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus, is baked into each cake.

In New Orleans, King Cake parties are held throughout the Mardi Gras season. In offices, classrooms, and homes throughout the city, King Cakes are sliced and enjoyed by all. Like the biblical story, the "search for the baby" adds excitement, as each person waits to see in whose slice of cake the baby will be discovered. While custom holds that the person who finds the baby in their slice will be rewarded with good luck, that person is also traditionally responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next party or gathering.

The traditional King Cake is made from twisted strands of cinnamon dough, topped with icing, and sprinkled with purple, green, and gold colored sugar. Today, many additional varieties of King Cake are also available, with fillings such as cream cheese, strawberry, apple, and lemon.

King Cake

2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup warm milk (about 110°F)
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 plastic king cake baby or a pecan half
5 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sugar sprinkles

Combine the yeast and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the melted butter and warm milk. Beat at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks, then beat for 1 minute at medium-low speed. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest and beat until everything is incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and starts to climb up the dough hook.

Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl with the vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioner's sugar. Blend by hand or with an electric mixer on low speed. Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your fingers, pat it out into a rectangle about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide.

Spread the filling lengthwise over the bottom half of the dough, then flip the top half of the dough over the filling. Seal the edges, pinching the dough together. Shape the dough into a cylinder and place it on the prepared baking sheet seam side down. Shape the dough into a ring and pinch the ends together so there isn't a seam. Insert the king cake baby or pecan half into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough.

Cover the ring with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.


Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.


Brush the top of the risen cake with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the icing. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons milk, the lemon juice, and the remaining 3 cups confectioner's sugar in medium-size mixing bowl. Stir to blend well. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors around the cake.


The cake is traditionally cut into 2-inch-thick slices with all the guests in attendance.

YIELD: 20 to 22 servings

Sunday, September 04, 2005 

La Bouche Creole

Whether you are a native New Orleanian, a newcomer, or a visitor to the Crescent City, satisfy your craving for "la bouche Creole" (the Creole taste) in your own kitchen with the help of well-known Creole chef Leon Soniat, Jr.

In La Bouche Creole, Soniat gives the recipes for the most popular Creole dishes -- the ones most frequently found in restaurants -- and also shares the secrets for the classic Creole dishes found on his family table.

There are more than 200 recipes in La Bouche Creole, including: Okra Seafood Gumbo, Creole Bouillabaisse, Crabmeat Mornay, Chicken Jambalaya, and Coush Coush. From familiar New Orleans dishes to unique adaptations of traditional recipes, this cookbook is a truly comprehensive sampling of Creole cooking.

Interspersed among the recipes is Soniat's colorful running monologue of Creole life in old New Orleans -- steps being scrubbed with red brick dust, trips to the bustling French Market, and crabbing and shrimping excursions on the train "Smokey Mary" to Lake Pontchartrain. Soniat, who credited his mother and grandmother as his cooking teachers, wrote a weekly column for New Orleans' newspaper, The Times-Picayune/States-Item, and hosted a local radio cooking show.


Rice Pudding

1 cup uncooked rice
1 quart milk
8 tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
5 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
1 tsp. cinnamon
(salt to taste)

Combine rice and milk. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heatuntil rice is tender.

Add the butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon rind,raisins, and eggs.

Pour into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish.

Sprinkle with the cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees F for about 25minutes.

This will serve between six and eight.

Saturday, September 03, 2005 

A FOOD BLOGGER CHALLENGE!

I challenge other food bloggers to give aid to those who worked in the food industry and made New Orleans so flavorful:

New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund A fund has been established to benefit employees of the hospitality industry of the Greater New Orleans area who have experienced hardships because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Contributions may be sent to:

Greater Houston Community Foundation
4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77027
Call 713-333-2200 for additional information.
this is being set up by the Brennan Family.
You can go to the Commander's Palace website for more information.

Friday, September 02, 2005 

Happy New Orleans Chef Blogging Friday

New Orleans is flavorful. You can't be in the city without smelling, tasting, endulging. On this Chef Blogging Friday we celebrate those chefs who made Nawhlins food known far and wide.


Emeril Lagasse (Emeril's, Nola, Delmonico)

As a boy, Emeril Lagasse began bread and pastry making
at a Portuguese bakery in his Fall River, MA, neighborhood. Turning down a music scholarship to follow his culinary dream, Emeril worked his way through the Johnson and Wales University culinary program to earn a doctorate.

After school, Emeril turned his eye toward the classic cuisine of France. He polished his skills in Paris and Lyons before returning to the US, where he worked in several fine restaurants in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Building a
reputation through his use of only the freshest products, he came to the attention of Ella Brennan, the doyenne of New Orleans' culinary community. She persuaded 26-year-old Emeril to move to the Big Easy, where for nearly eight years he presided over Ella and Dick Brennan's legendary restaurant, Commander's
Palace.

Emeril opened his own restaurant in 1990. From the day its doors opened, Emeril's Restaurant and its owner drew ecstatic praise. Congratulations came not only from the local New Orleans gentry and the writers who prowl the region for culinary news, but also from such national magazines as Esquire, Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure, as well as from such noted food critics as John Mariani and Gene Bourg. - FoodNetwork

Paul Prudhomme (K-Paul's)
From a very early age, Paul Prudhomme knew that he wanted to make preparing food his life's work. After completing school, he traveled for several years, working as a cook in all kinds of restaurants, and learning as much as he could about the ingredients and styles of cooking in different parts of the country. "Sometimes, when I thought the food was too bland, I'd sneak in a few dried herbs and spices," he said. "When customers complimented the dishes from my station, I'd try to remember exactly what I'd used, but that was hard, so I began keeping little notes on good mixes in my pockets. Sometimes I'd get caught, and this didn't make me popular with the head chefs."

His wanderlust temporarily satisfied, Prudhomme came to New Orleans, a mere 90 miles from his home, where he honed his skills and built a following at a noted Garden District restaurant. Then, in 1979, he and his late wife, K Hinrichs Prudhomme, opened K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. A small restaurant on Chartres Street in the French Quarter, it was originally envisioned as a casual eatery for local customers. Word soon spread of the magic being created in the little kitchen, though, and it wasn't long before customers, both natives and tourists, began lining up to sample some of the amazing dishes created by Chef Paul Prudhomme. Two of his signature creations - - Blackened Redfish and Blackened Steak - - are widely imitated. -
Chef Paul Prudhomme

The late Jamie Shannon (Commander's Palace)
Shannon, a 17-year veteran of the famed New Orleans restaurant and co-author of the "Commander's Kitchen" cookbook, was known as a champion of southern Louisiana regional ingredients and a consummate cook. He won the James Beard Award as best Southeastern chef in 1999 and led the kitchen of Commander's Palace when the Beard Foundation named the restaurant the nation's best in 1996.

Shannon was born Oct. 31, 1961, in Sea Isle, N.J. He was introduced early to local foods when he visited his grandparents, who owned a nearby farm, where they raised vegetables, chickens and hogs. He later worked in a cafeteria and a seafood restaurant in Wildwood, N.J., before attending The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, on a full scholarship. After graduation he served as saucier at Ivana's restaurant in the Trump Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J.

He joined the kitchen staff of Commander's Palace in 1984 when Lagasse was executive chef. Beginning as a saucier, Shannon moved up through the ranks to executive sous chef When Lagasse left in 1990 to open his own restaurant, Shannon was named to replace him.

During his tenure as executive chef both Shannon and Commander's Palace were recipients of numerous awards. Those honors include Chef of the Year from Chefs of America, 1992; Outstanding Service Award, James Beard Foundation, 1993; No. 1 Restaurant in America, Food & Wine magazine, 1995; Most Popular Restaurant, Zagat Survey, New Orleans, 1999; and No.2 Chef in the World, Robb Report, 1999.

In 1997, when asked if New Orleans felt like home to him, the New Jersey native responded: "It is my home. I love the summer. The food is incredible. The people are outstanding. And then you have the music. It has so much culture and depth. I wake up every morning and say, 'I love New Orleans, and I love my wife and I love my job.'" -
Nation's Restaurant News

and one of the dishes that really symbolically represents the Crescent City.....

Bananas Foster

In the 1950's, New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas shipped from Central and South America. Owen Edward Brennan challenged his talented chef, Paul Blangé, to include bananas in a new culinary creation-Owen's way of promoting the imported fruit. Simultaneously, Holiday Magazine had asked Owen to provide a new recipe to appear in a feature article on Brennan's.

In 1951, Chef Paul created Bananas Foster. The scrumptious dessert was named for Richard Foster, who, as chairman, served with Owen on the New Orleans Crime Commission, a civic effort to clean up the French Quarter. Richard Foster, owner of the Foster Awning Company, was a frequent customer of and a very good friend of Owen.

Little did anyone realize that Bananas Foster would become an international favorite and is the most requested item on the restaurant's menu. Thirty-five thousand pounds of bananas are flamed each year at in the preparation of its world-famous dessert.


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup banana liqueur
4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
1/4 cup dark rum
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet.
Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.


Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan.

When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum.
Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum.
When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream.


Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.

I challenge other food bloggers to give to aid those who worked in the food industry and made New Orleans so flavorful:

New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund A fund has been established to benefit employees of the hospitality industry of the Greater New Orleans area who have experienced hardships because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Contributions may be sent to:

Greater Houston Community Foundation
4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77027
Call 713-333-2200 for additional information.

Thursday, September 01, 2005 

Too True


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