Tag Archives: emeril lagasse

The Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

I’m proud to say that my photo made it on the cover of the new book The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Oysters
! I’m thrilled to be associated with such an informative book, the kind of cookbook I like, not just recipes, but loads of information as well.

From Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

The photo is from my post Drago’s Style Charbroiled Oysters Recipe. The art director of Pelican Publishing in Gretna saw my photo online and contacted me about possibly using it on the cover of an upcoming cookbook about Oysters. Being a Bona Fide Louisiana cookbook Junkie, I knew immediately that it was for the upcoming Oyster volume of The Louisiana Seafood Bible series by Jerald & Glenda Horst, because I already own the other three volumes. :)

The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Shrimp
The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Crabs
The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Crawfish

This is a great book, packed with information about the Louisiana Oyster, starting with the long history of the Louisiana Oyster industry, then continuing with every step of oyster production, from harvesting, to processing, to how to recognize quality.

The second half of the book is loaded with recipes from Louisiana home cooks as well from Chefs and restaurateurs, including the recipe for Drago’s Charbroiled Oysters. I haven’t had a chance to try out any of the recipes as of yet, but the ones that I’m looking forward to trying are Baked Oysters Bay Batiste which contains Mexican Chorizo and mushrooms, P&J’s Oyster Rockefeller Soup, Oyster Fricassee, Smoked Pork and Oyster Jambalaya, and Oyster Tasso Pasta. I will keep you posted on how they turn out!

This book is not just another addition to my extensive collection of Louisiana cookbooks, but the one that I’m the most proud of! Maybe one day I will have my own cookbook that will share the shelf with this one.

Here are some of my Oyster Recipes featured on this site:

Angels on Horseback Recipe
Chargrilled Oysters with Artichoke Garlic Cream Sauce
Drago’s Style Charbroiled Oysters recipe
Oysters Bienville
Oyster Dressing
Oyster Omelette
Oysters Roffignac

By the way check out this Bibliography of Louisiana Cookbooks that I put together! Let me know if any of your favorites are missing!

From Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

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!

Crawfish Boil Recipe

From Crawfish Boil

Any spring social event in Louisiana is most definitely going to be centered around a Crawfish Boil. This is a time to relax with family and friends, enjoy the outdoors, and enjoy the bounty of the season, live Louisiana Crawfish.

The magic behind your boil, in my humble opinion, remains in the hands of two details. Fresh, Lively Crawfish, and your cooking liquid.

Crawfish Boil Recipe

15 lbs Live Louisiana Crawfish
4 Large Spanish Onions, quartered
6 Lemons, halved
4 Heads garlic, halved widthwise
8 Fresh Bay Leaves
3 Bags Crab Boil
1 bunch fresh Thyme
1 Cup Creole Seasoning
1/2 Cup Cayenne, or to taste
1 1/2 lbs Kosher Salt
About 5 Gallons of water, or enough to fill a 30 Quart turkey fryer pot 3/4 full
3 lbs Small Redskin Potatoes
6 Ears of Fresh Corn, shucked, trimmed and cut in half

Bring the water to a boil in a 30 quart Turkey fryer pot with the onions, lemons, garlic, bay leaves, crab boil, cayenne and salt. When the mixture reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

From Crawfish Boil

Your crawfish should be picked through for dead ones and placed and washed by first hosing them down, then leaving them in the basket and placing it into a large pot, filling it with water, draining, filling with water, draining, until the remaining water is eventually clean, about 3-4 times. I’m not in the purging with salt camp, I don’t think it does anything more than what I described above.

From Crawfish Boil

While you’re waiting, and this is a very important part of this recipe, drink a few of your favorite ice cold beers and go visit with your company, this is a social event, relax enjoy! Have the washed Redskins waiting in the basket insert nearby and visit. Take advantage of the downtime!

Before adding anything to the pot, taste your cooking liquid! It should taste overly salty and overly spicy. Drink more cold beer, then add your basket insert to the pot with the potatoes. Let cook for 15-20 minutes. After said time has passed add the corn, and cook for about 10 minutes.

From Crawfish Boil

Bring the liquid to a boil and add the live Crawfish.

From Crawfish Boil

Bring the pot back to a boil as quickly as possible, give a good healthy stir and boil for about 5-10 minutes depending on their size.

From Crawfish Boil

Turn off the heat, put a lid on the pot and allow the crawfish to steep in the liquid for 20-30 minutes. The longer they steep, the spicier and more flavorful they will become. When in doubt as to how long to let them steep, pull one out and have a taste! When you’re sure that they are ready, lift the basket and let them drain. When they are well drained dump the contents of the basket onto a picnic table or any outdoor table heavily lined with newspaper.

From Crawfish Boil

Everyone please note, I don’t have any feeling left in my hands from working in the kitchens all these years. The girls were laughing as I was holding the basket with steam blowing off of it, this isn’t a dummy shot, just a big dummy holding a hot pot with bare hands.

From Crawfish Boil

Let your guests belly up to the table and eat until their hearts are content!

Here are some pics from our small but wonderful boil!

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

The full spread, the potatoes and corn take on all of those wonderful flavors. The potatoes especially, the skins dry out and develop that salt crust and the insides take on the spice.

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

Here is my baby girl Anna with her portion.

From Crawfish Boil

Yeah, that was a gag shot, we can’t even get this little one to eat chicken fingers, don’t worry though, I will keep cracking away on her culinary darings.

Thanks again to Charlie and the fine folks from Cajun Grocer for the generous portion of their premium Live Louisiana Crawfish!

This is my brother Brad. We don’t get together as often as we should these days but this boil was the perfect opportunity to do so and we had a wonderful time. Brad actually helps me with all of the technical details on this site and even hosts it for me on his server! He is also responsible for the new layout, which I absolutely love and has inspired me to start posting more often. Thanks for everything Brad!

From Crawfish Boil

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

Related Posts:

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe
Live Louisiana Crawfish

Live Louisiana Crawfish from Cajun Grocer

Back when I did my review of Cajun Grocer’s Turducken in November, Charlie asked me if I would like to do a review of their Live Louisiana Crawfish when the season came around. Hmm…live Louisiana crawfish, for free? Let me think about it…..just kidding, of course!

Thanks a million to Charlie and the folks at Cajun Grocer for sending such a generous portion of a superior product, and all I had to do was just write about it, which I do for fun anyway!

I contacted Charlie from Cajun Grocer last week and he asked me when I planned on boiling them and I said Saturday, he suggested shipping them Thursday for Friday and keeping them someplace cool with a bag of ice on them until I was ready to boil on Saturday, this worked out perfectly. The crawfish arrived early Friday morning and I promptly did as he said, hosed them down in the sack, and placed them into a cooler with a bag of ice over them. I peeked around through the purple sack in awe of the size of some of the little devils, as their beady little eyes watched me as well.

From Crawfish Boil

When Saturday rolled around I hosed them down again and placed them back into the cooler, again covered with ice. I invited my brother Brad and his girlfriend Heather over for a boil, the 15 lbs would be more than enough for the four of us, you see, up in Michigan folks don’t crush the 5-8 pounds that can be standard in Louisiana.

From Crawfish Boil

I got my liquid boiling away (my crawfish boil recipe) in the afternoon in a 30 quart Turkey Fryer with a basket insert at the ready. I cut my onions, lemons, garlic, corn, washed the new potatoes and headed out to cut the sack open and sort through the critters to remove any casualties from travel and time, and I was pleased to find that there were very few dead ones, and in fact the majority were extremely feisty.

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

Even more impressive than than how feisty they were, was their size, varying from medium to gargantuan like this one.

From Crawfish Boil

I picked through them one by, sorting them in my 2 1/2 year old daughters wading pool, as she watched in horror. “In my poool!!! in my pool!!”

From Crawfish Boil

After I got them sorted I washed them several times by first hosing them down, then leaving them in the basket and placing it into a large pot, filling it with water, draining, filling with water, draining, until the remaining water was eventually clean, about 3-4 times. Clean and ready for the boil!

From Crawfish Boil

Coming next, the Crawfish Boil Recipe using Cajun Grocer’s Crawfish!

Related Posts:

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe

Preview Pic!

From Crawfish Boil

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes whick links to every recipe featured on Nola Cuisine!

Shrimp and Eggplant Dressing Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

Shrimp and Eggplant are a perfect flavor match in this traditional Creole Italian dish, neither trying to overpower the other, just existing in perfect harmony, kind of like Oysters and artichokes, and Okra and Tomatoes.

Besides the Muffuletta, you don’t hear as much about the Italian and Sicilian immigrant contribution to Creole Cuisine as you do the French influence, this is just one.

By the way, there is a great little book from Pelican Publishing in Gretna called The New Orleans Italian Cookbook, a compilation of recipes from the Italian American Society of Jefferson Auxillary. It was first published in 1979, it features recipes from a lot of different people, from Chefs to homecooks, a great little book.

Back to the dish, it’s important to use small eggplant, because they have very few seeds, it’s just less headache. Also, you could alternately boil the eggplants whole, scoop out the pulp and save the shells to bake your dressing in, if you’re into that sort of thing.

As far as the shrimp, I only use wild caught American shrimp these days, if I can’t get American, I don’t eat Shrimp. True, they are more expensive than the flavorless Southeast Asian farm raised stuff out there, and harder to find for that matter, but they taste a whole lot better; and more importantly, purchasing them supports our own Shrimp fisherman who are absolutely suffering these days.

Anyway, back to the recipe, it’s hard to cook when you’re standing on top of a soapbox. 😉

I served this as a side to a big plate of Fried Chicken, Green Onion mashed Potatoes, and Cornbread.

Shrimp and Eggplant Dressing Recipe

1 lb Wild Caught American Gulf Shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (Reserve the shells)
1 Bay leaf
1 bundle Fresh Thyme, tied with butchers twine
Water, enough to cover the eggplant by 1 inch
1 splash Liquid Crab Boil
4-5 small Eggplant, peeled, enough to yield about 2 1/2-3 Cups Cooked
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Large Spanish Onion, finely diced
1 Medium Green Bell Pepper, finely diced
4 Toes Garlic, minced
2 Green Onions, sliced thin, keep the green and white parts seperate
1 Egg, beaten
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Cup Bread Crumbs (preferably homemade from leftover French bread)

For the topping:

1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup grated Parmeggiano, and Pecorino Romano
3 Tbsp Melted Butter
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped
A pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring the water to boil in a Dutch Oven. Add the Bay Leaf, bundled Thyme, reserved Shrimp shells, crab boil, any trim from the diced onion, and a handful of Kosher salt. Boil for about 15-20 minutes, skim off the scum from the shrimp shells. Add the Eggplant and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, melt the 3 Tbsp butter in a saute pan. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and a pinch of salt, saute until the onions are translucent, add the chopped Thyme and the chopped shrimp, cook until the shrimp are just cooked through; set aside to cool.

When the eggplant is very tender remove with tongs to a colainder to cool. When cool, squeeze some of the liquid from it and chop.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, onion & pepper mixture, egg, fresh basil, and parsley, mix ingredients together well. Add the bread crumbs a little at a time until the right consistency is achieved; it should be not too wet, not too dry. Check the seasoning; season to taste with Kosher salt, Cayenne, and black pepper.

Add the mixture to a buttered gratin or baking dish. Mix together the topping ingredients, top the shrimp and eggplant dressing with it. Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and the topping is a nice golden brown.

Makes enough for a side dish for 4.

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

Related Posts:

Muffuletta Recipe
Shrimp Stuffed Mirlitons
Creole Stuffed Peppers
Creole Smothered Okra & Tomatoes Recipe

Bread Pudding Recipe

If you’re ever in the neighborhood of Commander’s Palace in the Garden District, you can almost follow your nose to the front door by the aroma of bread pudding which wafts across the neighborhood. I always picture a looney tunes character, closing their eyes, nose to the air, flapping their hands and floating along the scent trail to the source. I always think of that when I make this recipe and my kitchen smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

Bread Pudding is a combination of two things that I hold dear, great cooking spawned from frugality, and comfort food. What is more comforting than a plate of warm bread pudding covered in spiked and sweet Whiskey sauce?

I based this recipe loosely on the Commander’s Palace recipe from one of my absolute favorite books Commander’s Kitchen by Jamie Shannon and Ti Adelaide Martin, by one of my absolute favorite restaurants. I will also be featuring the Commander’s style Bread Pudding Souffle in the next few days, which is, in my humble opinion, one of the best desserts around. Anywhere.

The recipe:

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce Recipe

For the Bread Pudding:

1 Cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Freshly grated Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
pinch of salt
6 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
6 Cups French Bread, cut inot 1 inch cubes (be sure it’s a light bread, meaning not too dense)
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Butter a square cake pan with the butter.

Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl.
In a large Mixing bowl whisk the eggs, add the sugar mixture, then whisk in the cream and vanilla extract. Fold in the bread cubes being sure to not break them up too much. The trick to this recipe is to make sure all of the bread soaks up the custard, and that you don’t overcook it.

Place the prepared mixture into the cake pan, cover with foil and place the cake pan into a larger pan, sufficient enough to allow for a water bath which will cover the smaller pan by half way.

Place the pans into the oven and bake for 2 hours. Remove the foil and raise the temperature to 300 degrees for 1 hour more or until the top of the pudding is golden brown.

The finished pudding should be slightly firm, while moist, but not runny.

Serve warm with Whiskey sauce, recipe below.

Makes 4 servings.

Whiskey Sauce Recipe

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 tsp Cornstarch
2 Tbsp Water
a few drop of Vanilla extract
1/3 Cup Bourbon
1/3 Cup Sugar

Mix together the water and cornstarch. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. While boiling slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry, when the sauce is thickened remove from the heat and add the vanilla, bourbon and sugar. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Be sure to visit my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes! It provides a link to all recipes featured on Nola Cuisine.

Natchitoches Meat Pies Recipe

From Nola Cuisine Images – (reedited)

These tasty turnovers, along with the Festival of Lights, are native to Natchitoches (pronounced NACK-uh-dish), Louisiana and are traditionally served on Christmas Eve. They’re usually made bigger, more of a hand pie, but I like them as an Hors d’oeurve for holiday parties. I served these tonight with a Creole Mustard Aioli for dipping. The recipe:

Natchitoches Meat Pies Recipe

For the Filling

2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 lb Ground Beef
1/2 lb Ground Pork
1/2 Cup Spanish Onion, finely diced
1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper, finely diced
1/4 Cup Celery, finely diced
1/2 Cup Green Onions
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tbsp Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Crystal Hot Sauce
Kosher salt, black pepper, and Cayenne to taste.
1/2 Cup Beef Stock
1/8 Cup All Purpose Flour

Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat, when hot add the ground meats, cook until browned and cooked through. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, and green onions, cook until the vegetables are wilted. Add the garlic, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and seasonings, cook for 2 minutes more. Make a slurry of the stock and flour, add to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

For the dough:

4 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Iodized Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Lard
1 Egg
1 Cup Milk

Combine the dry ingredients in the mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, with the speed on low add the lard to the dry ingredients and let the mixer cut it in until the fat is broken up into pea sized pieces. Beat the egg and combine with the milk. Add the wet to the dry with the mixer on low, in a slow steady stream. Mix until the dough just comes together. The key is to not overwork the dough.
Cut the dough in half then roll it out to 1/8 inch thickness on a floured counter. Cut into either the more traditional 5 inch circles or as I did about 3 circles, I used an empty French Market Coffee can.

To assemble and cook:

Place 1 heaping Tablespoon (doubled for the larger size) of the cooled mixture to each circle. With your finger wet the edge with a little water, fold over and crimp with a fork. Set aside on a floured surface until ready to fry.

Heat 4 inches of oil in a dutch oven to 360 degrees. Fry the meat pies in small batches until golden brown on each side.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes!

Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make A Roux by Marcelle Bienvenu

I’m a collector of Creole & Cajun cookbooks, and I’ve been looking for a resonably priced copy of Marcelle Bienvenu’s
Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make A Roux?
for sometime. There are some used copies out there, but good lord, they’re going for a pretty penny.

Good news! The book is back in print by Acadian House, repackaged into a nice hardcover, with all of the great photographs, recipes and memoirs contained in the original 1991 version, and going for $22.95.

I’m a person who wants more than just recipes when I buy a cookbook. Anyone can throw together some recipes in a book. I like some background, some history, in my cookbooks. I want to be taken away. Marcelle Bienvenu’s book doesn’t just give recipes, it tells a story, broken down into seasons, and the recipes, like the photographs, seem to capture a moment in time, which contributes to the story. Not to say that her recipes aren’t wonderful as well, because they are, I just appreciate the story behind them as much as the recipes. I really love the story of her first experience as a child, eating Soft-Shell crabs at a waterfront restaurant with her father. Being a new father, those kind of stories really put a smile on my face, and make me dream about sharing these kinds of moments with my little Anna. Good books evoke these kinds of emotions.

When I was reading this book last night, I experienced South Louisiana, and felt like part of the family. That is what good books do, and that is why this book is still in demand.

Marcelle Bienvenu is also the author of Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine, and Cajun Cooking For Beginners, as well as co-authoring 4 of Emeril Lagasse’s books, including the best one, in my humble opinion: Louisiana Real & Rustic.
In addition, she also put together the Picayune’s Creole Cookbook (which I’ve referenced so many times on this site) and provided the side notes, which keep all of the fun historical recipe measurements and techniques in focus for the modern cook. Here is a link to her column at the Times-Picayune!

She also contributed to another of my absolute favorites, the Time-Life book American Cooking: Creole and Acadian which is out of print, and one of the best used books you can buy on Louisiana cooking.

…Needless to say, I’m a fan of her work, especially my new purchase. Highly recommended!

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

Yesterday was bitter cold here in the Detroit area, perfect Gumbo weather, so I whipped up a small batch to warm our souls.

When it comes to chicken for soups, I’m a leg & thigh man. For my money you can’t beat that moist, flavorful dark meat just melting away in the pot.

I don’t like my Gumbos too thick or too thin, but just in the middle, like velvet on your tongue.

It’s hard to believe that this is the first Gumbo that I’ve featured on this site, I don’t know how that happened, being that Gumbo is pretty much one of the cornerstones of New Orleans Cuisine, as well as one of my favorite things in the world to cook (and eat, for that matter). Better late than never I always say, here is the recipe:

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo Recipe

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
4 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
1 Cup Onions, diced
1/2 Cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Cup Celery, Diced
1 1/2 Cups Andouille, sliced
3 Tbsp Garlic, chopped
6 Cups cold Chicken Stock
3 Fresh Bay Leaves
4 Chicken Thighs, seasoned liberally with Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce to taste
Kosher Salt to taste, if necessary
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chiffonade
1/4 Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions
Creole Boiled Rice
Fresh French Bread

Bake the chicken thighs in a 350-400 degree oven until brown.
Mix your onion, celery, and bell pepper together: The Holy Trinity.
Heat the oil in a cast iron dutch oven over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to make a milk chocolate Roux (making a Roux). Add the Andouille, 1 Tbsp of Seasoning, and 3/4 of the Holy Trinity, cook, stirring often, for about ten minutes or until the vegetables soften. Add the cold stock, the remaining 1/4 trinity, remaining seasoning, and Garlic. Bring to a Boil. Bring this down to a simmer, add the baked thighs and let it go for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. About 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, remove the Chicken from the bone and add the meat back to the pot. Add the Worcestershire, Hot Sauce, and 1/2 of the Green Onions. Serve with Creole Boiled Rice, crusty French Bread, and a good cold beer (I like Dixie or Abita Amber).
Garnish with green onions, and the parsley.

* I prefer Chicken Thighs for my soups and Gumbos. It’s the misunderstood portion of the bird, which is fine by me because it keeps the price down. I get them bone in, then Cartel wrap the bones and stick them in the freezer for stock. I’m like a Vulture when it comes to bones for stocks, my freezer looks like the Catacombs (animals only of course).

This makes about 3-4 Main Course Servings

Related Recipes:

Turtle Soup Recipe
Red Bean Soup Recipe

Check out my Creole & Cajun Recipe Page, an index of all of the recipes (so far) on this site!