Remembering the Big Easy
It's no secret that New Orleanians live to eat, or that their distinctive Creole cooking is an international symbol of the city's gumbo-pot history and tradition. But in practical terms, the restaurant scene is a life force for the community, pumping about $2 billion into the local economy and employing one in 10 New Orleanians before the storm.One organization that has been doing some amazing work supplying morale, operating soup kitchens, organizing school cafeterias and providing support and good warm creole/cajun meals to those left destitute and abandoned in the Gulf Region is Share our Strength. They are sponsoring a Restaurants for Relief Night this Tuesday. Please see if there is a participating restaurant near you.
The industry took a major hit, according to the Louisiana Restaurant Association, with 54 percent of the metro area's 3,414 restaurants still closed. Among those still missing in action are neighborhood favorites such as Mandina's, Mandich, Gabrielle, and Gautreau's, some of which are being rebuilt.
Most famous restaurants in the French Quarter and Uptown, however, were spared serious damage from the hurricane. The toll of weeks without electricity in the summer swelter, though, proved to be costly enough. Emeril Lagasse's three restaurants lost $1.4 million worth of wine alone. And then there was the pervasive reek of spoiled walk-in refrigerators.
"Who knew that steak would turn to liquid and seep through the floors and walls?" said Ti Martin, whose family owns the 126-year-old Commander's Palace, which was stripped down to the studs for a $6 million-plus renovation. "We saved the molding, and that's about it." - philly.com
Also, please check out Chefs in Exile - Every New Orleanian has a Katrina Story... but some come with recipes.:
Chefs in Exile will document the personal stories of these chefs: how they survived Katrina and fought heroically to reopen their damaged restaurants-understaffed, with no potable water, and often homeless themselves. In the darkest days following the hurricane, these chefs provided solace through their cooking to family and friends, stranded hotel guests, and relief workers throughout the city and beyondI know what it's like to miss New Orleans, and miss the Bananas Foster at Brennans.
Ingredients: - 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.