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New Orleans Oyster Festival 2011

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From New Oyster Festival 2011

I meet many wonderful people through this blog, most of which I never get to meet in person. I met Seth McMillan, this way and later through Facebook, so when I knew I was coming down to New Orleans for a visit I sent him a message saying we should try to get together, he suggested we go check out the Second Annual New Orleans Oyster Festival that was happening on the same dates of my trip, great call!

We met up at about 8:30 a.m. on the Sunday morning, both a little rough around the edges from the night before. I followed Seth’s lead by grabbing a Gatorade from the Walgreens across from Jax Brewery where the festival was being held. Another great call…electrolytes. I like this guy already!

Seth is a Sous Chef at Bourbon House Seafood Restaurant and an all around great guy. He does the seafood ordering for the restaurant, so he shared a lot of interesting information about ordering Seafood in New Orleans, and about all of the vendors and purveyors that he deals with in the day to day. We shared restaurant stories, talked food and eventually ended up at the Bourbon House bar for eye openers until the festival opened up (by the way, the frozen Bourbon Milk Punch at Bourbon House is a hell of a way to start the morning, loved it!)

After some good conversation at the bar with the bartender, who colorfully relayed a story of his early morning run in with a very hungover guest of the hotel, which had my sides splitting, we headed over to the festival with a nice lady that was at the bar when we arrived, who needed someone to walk over with. After making sure the bartender got our descriptions she said:

“I should be crazy walking away with two strange guys in the city, but at least there are like a million people around!”

To which I jokingly replied:

“That’s what alleys are for.”

But alas, we arrived safe and sound after a few hundred abduction jokes and said goodbye to the nice lady whose husband was working at the festival. We then did a flyby of all of the tents to see what they were offering.

From July 21, 2011

Here is a listing of the restaurants that were there and what they were serving.

After the flyby we stopped at the Drago’s tent. It was a windy day, with a little bit of welcomed rain that kept the temperature, still hot, but almost livable. The wind carried huge gusts of aroma from Drago’s famous Charbroiled Oysters deep into the Quarter. Later in the day we were on Chartres and were caught in a smell storm of charcoal, oysters and cheese sauce flare up, that made my mouth water. Here are some of the grill men working the Oysters.

From July 23, 2011

Drago’s Restaurant owner Tommy Cvitanovich was on hand and let me get a few pictures of Drago’s Char-Broiling Fire Engine, complete with flat screen TV’s, tappers of Abita Amber, and a Jagermeister dispenser.

From July 21, 2011

Tommy dispensing the Jager!

From July 21, 2011

Drago’s Char-Broiled Oysters are in my humble opinion, one of the best damned ways to eat a Louisiana Oyster! I even created my own recipe to try to duplicate them at home. In fact, I proudly announce that my photo from the same shoot from that post is being used on the cover of The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Oysters!

From Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

Here is the recipe:

Drago’s Style Char-Broiled Oysters Recipe

From November 21, 2011

Here is the real deal from the festival!

From July 21, 2011

After visiting the Drago’s tent we decided it was time for an ice cold Abita Amber:

From July 21, 2011

While hanging around the beer tent Seth ran into, and introduced me to Sal Sunseri of P&J Oyster Company, which is absolutely legendary in New Orleans, and unfortunately, is still reeling from the effects of the BP Oil spill damage to the Louisiana Oyster beds. In fact, the Oyster Festival was started last year to educate the country about the benefits and importance of the Louisiana Gulf Oyster, as well as to showcase the restaurants and the dishes that they create from them. P&J also has a wonderful cookbook:

The P&J Oyster Cookbook

Sal Sunseri and Seth McMillan:

From July 21, 2011

While hanging near the Abita Beer tent we stopped and checked out James Andrews Band, I absolutely love this photo that I caught of the incredible trumpeter James Andrews at work!

From July 21, 2011

I also have to say, as incredible of a food experience that I always have in New Orleans, I also always have an equally incredible music experience! Hopping clubs on Frenchman Street at all hours, the Monday night Super Jam at Maison! Street Musicians galore! Rebirth Brass Band at Maple Leaf Bar on Tuesdays. More on the music in a later post, on to more food!

Fried Oyster Po Boy with Smoked Tomato Relish from John Besh’s restaurant Luke:

From July 21, 2011

i

These are Oysters from the largest Oyster Contest, they are easily bigger than my opened hand.

From July 21, 2011

Oyster Rockefeller Bouhe from Royal House, Seth said that this was his “guilty pleasure” of the day!

From July 21, 2011

The last stop was Bourbon House‘s tent, because Seth works there I got a behind the scenes view of the cooks making what was one of my favorite things to eat at the festival, Barbecue Shrimp, for the Barbecue Shrimp Po Boy. The second photo being one of my favorites from my whole trip! I love food photography, maybe because it’s hard to go wrong! If the food looks appetizing it is an amazing photo opp!

From July 21, 2011
From July 21, 2011

The finished product Barbecue Shrimp Po Boy from Bourbon House!

From July 21, 2011

The other offering from Bourbon House, Seth’s choice, and a good choice, Mcilhenny Oysters! He gave me a sample of an Oyster before he dug in, absolutely delicious, perfectly fried and the sauce was a perfect compliment! This is also one of my favorite pics from my visit!

From July 21, 2011

These festivals are such an incredible way for visitors and locals alike to sample the wares of a lot of different great restaurants in one spot, not to mention listen to some great live music!

After we were done with the Festival, Seth and I continued to hang out and decided to jump in my rental car and go find an awesome restaurant to check out, the city was our Oyster, pun intended, but as we found out, Sunday afternoon is no time to dine in New Orleans.

Boucherie…closed, Dante’s…closed, this little place right there I heard about has great…DAMN…closed! Look at this a Tapas bar off of St. Charles, the door’s open! Finally! Let’s go check it out! How ya doin?

“Good, but we don’t open until 5 o’clock. Sorry.”

DAMN IT!!!! Ahh, excuse me…Do you have a bathroom? Great, thanks.

The afternoon was a relentless barrage of closed signs and shuttered doors, we had nothing to do but laugh by the end of it. It was either laugh or cry.

We ended up at the mostly unlikely place for two educated diners to be eating in New Orleans. Jackson Square??? How the hell did we end up back here? Next stop:

Stanley!

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

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Homemade Rendered Lard

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From Homemade Rendered Lard

Lard…the four letter word. Like one of my other favorite four letter words, if used in moderation, it can add emphasis and an added oomph…and let’s face it, sometimes, just sometimes, there is no other word that can be used that will properly express your feelings as well as that four letter word.

Lard makes things taste good. I’m going to repeat that, because it bears repeating. Lard makes things taste good! That is all I’m really concerned about here on Nola Cuisine, making things taste good, and making people happy with food, and by people, I mostly mean me and my family. I share my thoughts and hope you enjoy them too.

Lard makes things taste good, when things taste good, they make me feel good, when I feel good, it lowers my stress level, and believe me, the stress is going to kill me far before the lard does.

I use lard in moderation mind you, I’m not condoning cooking every meal in lard, but when you’re making that Sunday supper of Fried Chicken…nothing is going to make that crust crispier or more flavorful than lard (unless maybe you add some bacon fat as well.) If you only make Pies once or twice a year and you KNOW that Leaf lard makes THE BEST pie crust, why not use it? How much is each guest going to have? One Piece? Two? If this were a pie eating contest you should be concerned. It’s not. Use what yields the best results.

When talking about lard, I’m talking about homemade rendered lard. I don’t like the stuff they sell in the grocery store, which is a mixture of lard and hydrogenated lard. It tastes funny in my humble opinion, it has a chemical like aftertaste. I’m not a chemist or a scientist, I don’t know what the hell they do to hydrogenate fats or oils (by the way I don’t want to know, for the comments section…kinda kidding). I do believe however that the processed foods are the foods that are killing us, or better said that we’re killing ourselves with. I’m not a crazy organic guy, but lets be honest, we’re killing ourselves with all of this mass produced crap. We really are, I’m no exception.

Make your own lard. Use it for special occasions, or for your favorite dishes where it applies. Use it in moderation and ENJOY it! Don’t stress about it! Enjoy life! Our culture has us stressed about everything under the sun, we’re afraid of our own shadows for God’s sake…it’s ridiculous. The dinner table is really our only place to relax (when we can even make it there), so when you sit down at the dinner table, relax! Free your mind and indulge in GOOD cooking and good company!

Here’s how to make homemade lard, the same application applies for duck fat…another post. (Stepping off of my soapbox)

How to make homemade Rendered Lard

2 lbs. Clean Fresh Pork Fat cut into 1/2″ cubes (I usually use back fat because I can find it locally. Leaf Fat is the best and is preferred for baking purposes)
1/2 Cup water

Some important notes:

*Use only CLEAN, FRESH fat. If the fat has an off flavor, your lard will have an off flavor. The fresher the better! I get my pork fat from a polish butcher here in Michigan where I live, who, by the way, also has a ton of house made rendered lard for sale! The polish word is “Smalec.”

*Cut the fat into equal sized pieces, this helps to prevent some pieces from geting too brown before others, which will give the lard an off flavor.

*Remove all lean meat from the fat before rendering.

*1/4 cup of water is added to the pot for each pound of pork fat. This keeps the fat from burning or browning in the pot, before the fat starts rendering. The water will evaporate away.

The Process:

Add the fat and water to a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven:

From July 18, 2011

Cook the fat and water at medium-high heat until you start to see the fat really start to liquify in the pot, turn the heat to low. Cook slowly for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Your lard is ready when the remnants in the pot, now called cracklings are golden brown.

From July 18, 2011

Strain the cracklings in a fine mesh strainer, obviously reserving your beautiful golden homemade lard.

From July 18, 2011

Drain the cracklings on paper towels season them with salt and snack on them, or use them to make Crackling Corn Bread!

From July 18, 2011

Place into a clean, dry container, I use a French Market Coffee can, and store in the refrigerator for at least six months. Use to make Fried Chicken that looks like this and tastes even better!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

From July 18, 2011

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

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Radosta’s Famous Po-Boys

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After my visit to the Abita Brewery, and my 23.83 mile jaunt across Lake Pontchartrain from Abita Springs, I decided to keep with my ritual on every trip to New Orleans and go straight for a Roast Beef Po-Boy! I’ve heard good things about Radosta’s in old Metarie, so that is where I headed.

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys

Radosta’s Restaurant & Deli
249 Aris Avenue Metairie, LA 70005-3424
1 (504) 831-1537

Tucked away on a neighborhood street, it took a little looking to find. Although it was slow when I came in, I got the feeling right away that this is the kind of joint that locals in the neighborhood pay a strong allegiance to. The folks that own and run it, are just as nice as can be.

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys


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I ordered at the deli counter, the gentleman behind the counter took my order, and when I asked about a drink he said, “Just help yourself to anything you like from the coolers, just like you’re at home. You can pay on the way out.” I liked that.

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys

I grabbed an ice cold Abita Jockamo IPA, because hell, why break the theme of the day. I had a seat to wait for my order and snap a few shots of the interior.

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys

I love neighborhood places like this, and it always makes me jealous that I don’t have one like it. A father and son grabbing a Po boy and a soda, presumably after school, another family relaxing and talking after a late lunch. The counterman casually checking the score on the TV as he prepares my sandwich. No stress, no mess. Business as usual.

My food arrived a few minutes later, a dressed Roast Beef Po-Boy, and a cup of Gumbo. I started with the Gumbo, and I have to tell you, I was floored, just delicious. Nothing crazy, or new, just a well made, well seasoned File Gumbo. I loved it. Honestly, I don’t usually order a Gumbo at restaurants, because quite frankly, I like my own. But I was glad I did on this occasion, it really hit the spot.

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys
From Radosta's Famous Po Boys

On to the main attraction, the Roast Beef Po-Boy. Very good, wonderful beef, tender with good flavor! Good buttered and toasted French Bread. Dressed. Generally I like my Roast Beef Po Boys a little more sloppy, lots of gravy and mayo. This one was more about the beef itself which was very good and a very generous portion!

From Radosta's Famous Po Boys

After stuffing myself I went to the counter to pay, had some nice conversation with the delightful gal tending the register, I presume one of the owners, and went on my way, fat and happy!

Related Posts:

Parasol’s Style Roast Beef Po Boy Recipe
Parasol’s Bar & Restaurant
Domilise’s Po Boy & Bar
Roast Beef Po Boy with Debris Gravy Recipe
Mother’s Restaurant

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

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Cajun Grain Rice

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From

I’ve been following the Donald Link’s (Chef and author of Real Cajun) video series called Taste of Place on his website, if you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it. He tours farms, goes out with fisherman, and visits with purveyors of superior products, not just in Louisiana, but primarily in the south. He then usually does a cooking video with whatever product was featured.

Long story short, I recently caught the episode where Link visits the farm of Kurt & Karen Unkel who own and operate a rice farm in Kinder, Louisiana (the video is embedded below.) Kurt’s words and philosophies really make sense to me. He’s organic, not because it’s trendy, but because it makes the most sense, for nutrition, flavor, and I’m sure profitability. The rice goes into a slow feed and a husker and into the bag that it’s shipped in. It still contains the germ and all of the other elements that a nutritious rice should.

Cajun Grain
11574 Hwy. 190
Kinder, LA 70648
1-337-207-0966


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I visited the Cajun Grain website after viewing this video and was elated to see that they sell their Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice on Amazon! I immediately ordered two 4 lb bags which arrived a few days ago.

From Cajun Grain Rice – Kinder, Louisiana

I opened the bag and took a deep whiff and you can immediately smell the field. I can’t wait to experiment with this incredible, minimally processed product. I’m thinking Boudin! Here is the video:

<a href='http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/taste-of-place/?vid=69d958d8-e8fb-f448-8430-300be80818bf&#038;videoId=69d958d8-e8fb-f448-8430-300be80818bf&#038;src=v5:embed::&#038;from=sharepermalink' target='_new' title='The beauty of brown rice'>Video: The beauty of brown rice</a>

Kurt has also been featured in the documentary film Harmony, which is narrated by Prince Charles, as well as the New York Times article, Rice Dreams in Louisiana.

You can find and purchase Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice from their website which is below, or on Amazon here:

Cajun Grain Brown Jasmine Rice, Two 4lb. bags.

Cajun Grain
P.O. Box 370
Kinder, LA 70648
337-207-0966

From Cajun Grain Rice – Kinder, Louisiana

Stay tuned as I can’t wait to share some recipes using this wonderful Louisiana product! I am also in full swing in sharing all of the details of my most recent trip to Louisiana! Most recently, my visits to Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant and the Abita Brewery. It feels good to be back!!

Related Posts:

Review of Donald Link’s Real Cajun

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

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Abita Brewing Company Tour

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From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

After my first stop at Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant, and a brief stop in Pontchatoula, I jumped back into my car and made my way east, above the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain to Abita Springs, LA to visit and hopefully take the Abita Brewery tour.

Abita Brewing Company Tasting Room & Tour
166 Barbee Rd.
Abita Springs, LA
1-985-893-3143

The Abita Brewing Company Visitor’s center was opened in 2008, the old brewery now houses the Abita Brew Pub. They even have their own cookbook called Abita Beer: Cooking Louisiana True

Upon arriving at the brewery I quickly pulled into a parking spot, and hustled up to the front of the visitor’s center:


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From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

I bellied up to the end of a group which was just entering and noticed that everyone was wearing wrist bands, so I stepped back and approached the guy at the door clutching a $20 bill in my hand.

“How much is the tour?” I asked.

“$20 bucks” he replied “You’ve got just enough!” then put his hand out. As I reached to hand him my dough he broke out into a wild cackle that would have made a Hyena blush, then slapped me on the back. Crack!

“This is free man!! You’re just in time! Here’s a wristband and a cup, have a good time!” Another friendly slap on the back and off I went, entering the Abita Brewery visitors center tasting room which wins the 2011 NOLA CUISINE award for Best Place to get Drunk for Free! Not a really a real award, mind you, but if I had one, Abita would win it, hands down!

By the way, don’t be a stooge like me and go here alone, I could only sample as I had to drive into New Orleans. Best to find some other stooge to drive you so that you can truly partake in this excellent, rare, FREE beer drinking opportunity!

Also, please forgive me for the less than crisp photography on this post, but please note: All photos were taken while holding an ice cold cup of Abita beer…I know my priorities. 🙂

The visitors center is wonderfully decorated with art work on the walls representing many of your favorite or soon to be favorite Abita beers, Purple Haze:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

My old standby Abita Amber:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

One of my new favorites Jockamo IPA:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

Now, I’m not going to lie, the artwork wasn’t the first thing that I noticed upon entering the tasting room, it was the line of fellow guests lining up behind the Mahogany bar to fill up their cups from one of 15 tappers of different Abita Beers. As much as they wanted, as many different kinds as they would like to try…all for free. In essence, a beer drinker’s bliss.

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

The atmosphere is ultra relaxed, everyone just hanging out meeting some new people, drinking some great beer, playing a game of ring toss:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

After about 15-20 minutes of hanging out sampling the wares, the tour begins with a video. The crowd mostly ignores the video, then the tappers are cut off to focus attention onto the tour into the brewery which is about 10 minutes long.

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

It is quite loud in the cellar, and folks tended to keep talking while our tour guide was talking, which made it very hard to hear. Understandable I guess, free beer tends to make people chatter. I only caught snippets of the dialogue as I was standing in the back, fortunately for those of us that were interested, the information is available online here.

Here are some pics from inside the Cellar:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

Booties must be worn if wearing open toed shoes:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

After the tour, the group returned to the tasting room for you guessed it, more free beer. More hanging out, relaxing, enjoying.

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

My visit finished early as I had to drive, and was looking forward to a long afternoon, and even longer evening in New Orleans. I jumped in my rental and made my way for the Ponchartrain causeway, which is 23.83 miles directly across Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans!

Next up Radosta’s for an excellent cup of Gumbo and a Roast Beef Po Boy.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured on Nola Cuisine!

Related Posts:

Baby Back Ribs with Turbo dog Barbecue Sauce Recipe

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Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant

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From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

Well I’m back. I know, I know…it’s been a long stretch between posts, but a recent visit to New Orleans and some out lying areas of Louisiana, has me re-inspired, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the daunting task of posting all of the terrific content I have compiled on that four day journey, I also have some new recipes to share as well. So here we go…it sincerely feels great to be back at this! I hope you enjoy!

Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant
30160 Highway 51
Akers, LA 70421
1-985-386-6666

Long on my Louisiana bucket list of places to dine has been Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant, about 45 miles away from New Orleans, Akers, Louisiana to be exact, on Highway 51, between Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain, and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It’s a scenic drive from the airport, I-10 provides great views of Bayou Piquant and Lake Pontchartrain, and elevated Highway 51 snakes through the Maurepas Swamp, providing visitors with excellent views of the Cypress swamps, complete with spanish moss. I’m a sap and I love Louisiana, so every time I see those picturesque views after I’ve been away for a spell, it gives me a nice warm glow.


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Josie and Louis Middendorf opened Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant on July 4, 1934 during the great depression. The restaurant was passed down through two generations of the family. The Lamonte family who owned the restaurant for 40 years, sold it and passed the torch to Horst & Karen Pfeifer in 2006 after the couple lost their New Orleans restaurant Bella Luna during Hurricane Katrina.

The original Middendorf’s restaurant is still standing across the parking lot from the new restaurant and deck where I enjoyed my meal.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

I only made it into the main restaurant to say hello to the hostess with the beautiful smile, and to tell her that I would like to go eat on the deck, she directed me and off I went!

It was dog hot on the day I visited, but the deck provided a shaded atmosphere with misters running along the openings to keep it cool…an awesome view to boot:

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

It was totally comfortable out there, perfect. In fact, I wish I was on that deck right now, ordering up some of the best fried seafood known to man and a cold beer. I would be on that deck all the time if I were a local. The deck is complete with boat parking:

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

On to the good stuff…

Middendorf’s is the Mecca of fried Catfish, specifically, thin fried catfish. Understand, I’ve been reading about this place for years and years, well before the current owners took the reins, so there is cause for concern about building a pyramid up in one’s mind.

At the deck at Middendorf’s you order at the bar and pickup at the bar (although everything was delivered to me, along with smiles and nice conversation.) The beers available are generic, miller lite, bud, corona, etc.., no Abita, no fancyfied beers, which tells me this place is all local, love it!

I ordered the thin fried catfish, which is the legendary house specialty, and I also read great things about Middendorf’s Barbecued Oysters, so I ordered them as an appetizer with a cup of Turtle Soup.

I expected the Barbecue Oysters to be along the lines of Barbecue Shrimp, but they were totally different, in a good way, more along the lines of an Oysters Roffignac. Cleanly shucked with a wonderful red topping, a great first taste for my first meal in Louisiana! To be quite honest, I didn’t take notes, I don’t remember what flavors were going on there, just that they were wonderful and like no other Oyster dish I’ve had previous! Delicious!

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

The Turtle Soup left me a little flat, not terrible by any means, just didn’t blow me away.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

On to the star of the show, Thin Fried Catfish, probably the most perfectly fried fish I’ve had. Crispy, clean flavor, not a bit greasy. The stuff dreams are made of.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant
From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

The hush puppies are very good, as well as the coleslaw.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant
From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

After making my taste buds happy at Middendorf’s I was back on the road to my next destination, with a brief stop off in Ponchatoula, the berry capital. Did a little exploring then moved on to Abita Springs for my next stop (as well as my next post), the Abita Brewery Tour!

Check out my friend Tim’s post on Middendorf’s at his blog RouxBDoo’s Cajun and Creole Food Blog!

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes, which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

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Super Bowl Sunday – Go Saints!!

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Saints fever in New Orleans, I wish I was there to watch the game and get wild in the quarter before and after, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen, so the next best thing is to whip up some game time chow that will, in flavor at least, whisk me and my guests away to New Orleans as we hopefully watch the Saints go marching to victory.

Here are a few ideas for a great Super Bowl party with some New Orleans flavor.

Mix up a Sazerac to kick off your party, a New Orleans original and some say the originial cocktail at that:

Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

Instead of traditional Shrimp Cocktail, how about a platter of Shrimp Remoulade:

Shrimp Remoulade Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

The Mighty Muffuletta! I can’t wait to bite into this at game time tonight! Here are recipes for all that you need to make your own at home:

Muffuletta Bread Recipe
Muffuletta Olive Salad Recipe
Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

Good luck to the Saints!! Bring it home!!!

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole and Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

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Central Grocery

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From New Orleans Restaurants

No trip to New Orleans is complete for me without a trip to Central Grocery for a Muffuletta. Detractors can fill the comments section with why they dislike the Central Grocery Muffuletta and why their favorite is so much better, have at it, but for my money Central Grocery does everything right with the sandwich that is said to have been created here by Salvatore Lupo.

Salvatore Lupo, a Sicilian immigrant opened the store in 1906 and operated it until 1946 when he retired and passed the reins to his son-in law Salvatore Tusa. The Muffuletta is said to have been invented early on to feed the Sicilian and Italian truck drivers who were driving produce, etc. to The French Market. The store is still in the family and has changed little over the years, with the exception of increased tourist traffic. Salvatore Lupo’s daughter, Marie Lupo Tusa released a cookbook in 1980 called Marie’s Melting Pot
.

Central Grocery is an old style Italian market, with Italian imports, pasta, olive oil, meats, cheeses as well as local New Orleans Creole items.

From New Orleans Restaurants
From New Orleans Restaurants
From New Orleans Restaurants
From New Orleans Restaurants

The Central Grocery Muffuletta has everything that a great Muffuletta should, a great mix of Genoa Salami, Mortadella, Ham, Mozzarella, Provolone (my Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe), a wonderful chunky Olive Salad made with Sicilian Olives just crushed, not chopped, Gardiniera, oregano, lots of oil (my Muffuletta Olive Salad Recipe) , and the quintessential bread, the round muffuletta loaf, about 10-11″ across topped with sesame seeds, light in the center with a nice crust (my Muffuletta Bread Recipe).

From New Orleans Restaurants

I love this sandwich so much that on one trip, I had all of my other meals locked in except for breakfast, and alas, purchased and almost killed an entire Central Grocery Muffuletta while sitting on the banks of the Mississippi while watching the barges roll by, and listening to a street musician trumpet the most somber rendition of Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans that I have ever heard (and I mean that as the highest compliment). All this before 10 o’clock a.m. while my wife slept-in back at the hotel.

From New Orleans Restaurants

By the way, in my humble opinion, sitting on the riverwalk is definately the best way to enjoy the Central Grocery Muffuletta, maybe not for breakfast, but definately for lunch. Grab a cold Louisiana beer or Barq’s Root Beer from the liquor store a few doors down, find a nice spot on the river and enjoy a piece of New Orleans that you won’t soon forget. Don’t forget to tip the musician who will surely cement the experience in your memory.

From New Orleans Restaurants

If you don’t get to enjoy a Muffuletta during your visit to New Orleans, at least grab one to go for the plane or car ride home! There is nothing more soul satisfying than unwrapping an enormous Muffuletta on a plane or in an airport food court and releasing the vapor of garlic and cured pork, where the captive diners will undoubtedly administer the stink eye, or question you as to where you found that sandwich, as if you found such perfection at the airport. When asked from airports in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, wherever… ‘Where did you get that sandwich?’ it is always fun to give a half cocked smile and casually say ‘New Orleans’, then take a HUGE bite out of that sucker as if it was your last morsel on earth, then shake your head in amazement as to how wonderful it tastes. Trust me, you won’t have to act.

Central Grocery
(504) 620-0174
923 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116

If you can’t make it to New Orleans I have recipes for all of the components of the Mighty Muffuletta here:

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe
Muffuletta Olice Salad Recipe
Muffuletta Bread Recipe

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole and Cajun Recipes, which links to all of the recipe featured on this site!!

Related Posts:

Napoleon House

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Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana

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From Cochon Butcher

My copy of Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana arrived last Thursday, and I was like a kid opening his first gift on Christmas morning, shuffling for something to open the box with, flinging aside the bubble wrap to stare into a beautifully photographed crock of Gumbo. The title is in big bold white letters REAL CAJUN, as if to say, ok, enough with the blackening already, enough with the notion that everything Cajun is super spicy, enough with the Bourbon Chicken in the food courts; let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Real Cajun, rustic, simple, home cooked meals.

It seems only fitting that the Chef owner of Cochon, and Cochon Butcher (no, I’m not forgetting Herbsaint), would have homemade Bacon as the first recipe in his cookbook, with the first “chapter” bearing the title La Vie Cochon, with recipes including Tasso, Boudin, Pork Belly Cracklins, and more. The most mouthwatering recipe in this chapter, in my humble opinion, is Smothered Pork Roast over Rice, a simple recipe based on his Granny’s preparation, with a photo so beautiful that I swear you will try to lick the wooden spoon before the sauce drips back into the pot.

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that he didn’t include more Charcuterie than he did, but I totally understand why he didn’t, keeping it practical for the home cook I guess. (I have my fingers crossed for a follow up book surrounding Louisiana Charcuterie, or a Cochon cookbook.) Don’t get me wrong though, the Charcuterie recipes that are included, Bacon, Boudin, Tasso, Deer Sausage, etc.. are top notch, I can’t wait to try Chef Link’s Boudin recipe, the photo is outstanding as are all of the photos in this book all by Chris Granger. I was looking for Chef Link’s Andouille, Hog’s Head Cheese, and Creole Mustard, but the recipes that filled these spaces totally made up for it and more.

The book’s recipes are wonderful in their simplicity (this is not a restaurant cookbook, although some of the dishes from his restaurants appear) with beautiful photographs that make me long to be in the stifling heat of Louisiana everytime I look at them. Some of the photographs from the book are hanging on the walls of Chef Link’s private dining facility Calcasieu, which is next store and upstairs from Cochon Butcher.

From Cochon Butcher

Real Cajun is mostly cookbook and part memoir, which all builds wonderfully around the recipes, just the kind of cookbook that I love, and reminiscent of another favorite of mine, Marcelle Bienvenu’s Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make A Roux? What comes through in both books is a love of Louisiana, real Cajun cuisine, family, and tradition.

This book is loaded with great recipes, I’ve tried out a few of them now, all were absolutely outstanding. Including Catfish Fried in Bacon Fat. The bacon fat adds an incredible richness to the crisp and moist catfish without taking over the flavor. I also made my own Tartar sauce as an accompaniment with crumbled Bacon added to it; what the hell right, the cholesterol meter is already broken. This is probably the best Catfish that I’ve made:

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

I also made the Chicken & Dumplings, a lot of great technique in this recipe, the best I thought was putting the pan into a 450 degree F oven to finish the dumplings. The stew is very similar to my recent Chicken Fricassee recipe, but the real magic happens when the dumpling batter is added and the whole pan is popped into the 450 oven. By the way, I made this for my wife and my Mom & Dad last night and they said the dumplings reminded them of Thanksgiving Stuffing, I agree. Awesome flavor with the addition of dried Oregano and raw minced onion.

From Nola Cuisine

I also used the Buckle recipe, but used Blueberries as they were the best fruit that I could find, his is made with fresh Peaches which aren’t in season right now. The Blueberry Buckle was dessert last night with good strong French Market Coffee, following the Chicken & Dumplings.

From Nola Cuisine

All in all, I haven’t been this inspired by a Louisiana cookbook since first reading the year 2000 publication of Commander’s Kitchen by Ti Adelaide Martin and the late great Jamie Shannon.

I don’t recommend just anything, but I really think that this a great book, loaded with not only great recipes, but stories to go with each one. My copy is already getting a little worn, the page with the buckle recipe has some dried egg white on it, the back cover has a sticky substance from my kitchen counter. All signs of a good cookbook I guess.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipe featured on this site!

Also take a look at my Bibliography of Creole & Cajun Cookbooks!

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Jacob’s Andouille

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From Jacob's Andouille

On my last day in Louisiana last month I decided to drive out to Laplace before going to the airport, to visit the self proclaimed “Andouille Capital of the World.” I originally meant to go to all three big one’s, those being Jacob’s, Bailey’s, and Wayne Jacob’s, but I only made it to Jacob’s, I decided I would rather chill out and explore some back roads in the area before a miserable day of air travel.

I did make it to Jacob’s and brought back some Andouille and Tasso to take home with me.

Jacob’s Andouille
505 West Airline Highway LaPlace, LA 70068
1-985-652-9080
Toll Free: 1-877-215-7589

The drive to Laplace from New Orleans is beautiful, driving over the wetlands and on the fringe of Lake Pontchartrain, I really enjoyed the fresh spring air and the sunshine.

Jacob’s is a short drive from I-10 at 505 W. Airline Drive, about a 40 minute drive from New Orleans and about 20 minutes doubling back to the airport.

Another option, like I said in an earlier post, if you don’t have time to make the commute to Laplace before returning home, head to Cochon Butcher in the warehouse district, they’re producing awesome Andouille, Tasso, Boudin, you name it.

From Jacob's Andouille

Jacob’s is a small storefront off of the often busy Airline dr., and if you’re not hungry for Andouille….there is a Taco Bell and Burger King across the street, kind of a buzz kill but I managed to block it out. No corporate swine please, just swine.

From Jacob's Andouille

Here is the pig on their front porch.

From Jacob's Andouille

By the way, my new ride was waiting for me in the parking lot.

From Jacob's Andouille

Upon entering Jacob’s you are of course slapped with a wonderful smoke aroma as should be expected. Here is the menu of their smoked items.

From Jacob's Andouille

I went for the Andouille and Tasso, pork of course, although they offer more health conscious versions of both, using Turkey and Chicken. Here is the beautiful pork Andouille in the case.

From Jacob's Andouille

Here is one of the cases of miscellaneous smoked items, check out the smoked pig tails.

From Jacob's Andouille

I paid for my Andouille & Tasso and packed them into my suitcase for the flight home. (By the way, that suitcase will smell like Louisiana smoked meats for the entire length of it’s use!)

I also drove around back to check out their trailers filled with Pecan wood which Jacob’s uses exclusively.

From Jacob's Andouille
From Jacob's Andouille

When I arrived home I had to pull out the Andouille and Tasso to sample and take some pics. Jacob’s Andouille is slow smoked with Pecan for 10-12 hours until it is a deep Mahogany color. Jacob’s has been family owned and operated since 1928.

From Jacob's Andouille

The Andouille’s flavor is very good, a wonderful level of heat, not too much, not too little, and a phenomenal level of smoke flavor. The pork is coarsely chopped and stuffed into fresh beef casings and is almost 2 inches in diameter. (Here is my homemade Andouille sausage recipe)

From Jacob's Andouille

I was less impressed with the Tasso.

From Jacob's Andouille

Although it had a profound Pecan smoke flavor, as well as a great texture, I thought that it really lacked seasoning. It just tasted like smoked pork, which would still be great for throwing into a pot of beans, but I actually much prefer my homemade Tasso recipe. I was kind of proud of myself with that conclusion.

I made a great pot of Red Beans the next day with these ingredients, recipe and photos coming soon!

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Tasso Recipe
Cochon Butcher
Cochon Restaurant

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