Tag Archives: new orleans

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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Crawfish Boil Recipe

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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

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Live Louisiana Crawfish from Cajun Grocer

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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!

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Parasol’s Restaurant and Bar

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From Parasol's

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! The annual block party begins at Parasol’s on Constance & Third in the Irish Channel at 11:00 a.m.!! I wish I could be there.

Parasol’s Restaurant & Bar
2533 Constance Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Parasol’s Restaurant & Bar, like any respectable neighborhood restaurant in New Orleans doesn’t look like a place that you would consider eating. Drinking absolutely, eating no.

From Parasol's

And let me say that this is one of the great drinking establishments in New Orleans, a wonderful hole in the wall bar, almost always packed with locals and whomever else happens to walk or stumble through the door.

From Parasol's

The kind of Irish Pub with hand written signs that say things like “A 20% gratuity will be added to any credit cards left at the bar. You Drunks!!” This one made me laugh because in my past, I have to admit…guilty as charged. It’s always good to be in a town where you’re among friends.

From Parasol's

Running parallel with the bar, on the other side of the wall is a somewhat dingy little dining room (I say that with the utmost respect and actually as a compliment), where in my humble opinion, the BEST Roast Beef Po Boy (my Parasol’s style Roast Beef Po Boy Recipe) is served. Detractors can go nuts in the comments section if you like, this is a hot debate, but Parasol’s serves the kind that I like, Roast Beef that is just obliterated from long slow cooking in a rich gravy, smothered with mayonaise, some tomatoes, pickles and lettuce; dressed that is. And that bread! Light as can be, yet chewy, with a crust that is beyond imagine!

From Parasol's

Now the fun starts. This is also the messiest sandwich I have ever eaten, hats off. From my first bite I was awash in debris, mayo, gravy, up to my elbows. I actually ran out of napkins and had to clean myself by rolling around in a small patch of grass I found on Constance. I’m exaggerating of course, but you know what I mean, good sloppy eating in one of the most colorful little Irish bars I’ve ahd the pleasure of visiting.

Speaking of which, tomorrow being St Patrick’s Day, this is the place to be in the city, they annually host a block party that begins at 11:00 a.m. and runs all day long! Wish I was there! Here are some pics of the block party on their website.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!!

Gaston from The New Orleans Creole and Cajun Cuisine Blog sent us this video which shows the owner of Parasol’s making their famous Roast Beef. They should have given the host a Po Boy to keep him from talking so much through the video, that clown annoys me. (**Update – Upon my second viewing of this video, I’ve concluded that this guy from the Food Network, is THE biggest stooge on TV! Larry, Moe, Curly, Shemp, and even the elusive Curly Joe, have nothing on this guy.) Thanks for the link Gaston, and keep up the great blogging! Here is the video:

Related Posts:

Parasol’s Style Roast Beef Po Boy Recipe
Roast Beef Po Boy with Debris Gravy Recipe

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

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Cochon Butcher

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From Cochon Butcher

Cochon Butcher
930 Tchoupitoulas
New Orleans LA 70130
504-588-PORK

Upon entering Cochon Butcher, which is right around the corner from Cochon Restaurant and in the same building on Tchoupitoulis and Andrew Higgins, the first thing that I laid eyes on was their Andouille. Nicely laid out in the deli case, deep brown from hours of smoking, and as a true Andouille should be, huge as it’s stuffed into a beef middle casing.

From Cochon Butcher

The first thing that I thought of is that New Orleans locals, thanks to Chefs Donald Link, Stephen Stryjewski, and Warren Stephens, will no longer have to make the commute out to Laplace, Louisiana (read my Jacob’s Andouille post) to get Andouille if they don’t want to, the real article is right in the city now, along with scores of other wonderful products. All of the sausages, salamis, Mortadella, confits, terrines, rillettes, pickles, Creole Mustard, EVERYTHING is made in house! This place is a Mecca for all things swine, even more so than Cochon Restaurant. Feel like making a Cassoulet? Hell, stop into Cochon Butcher, get your Duck Confit, fresh sausages, cured sausages, whatever you want to include, they will probably have it.

On a related but somewhat side note, I just read that Donald Link has a cookbook coming out next month called
Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana. I already preordered mine, needless to say, that should be a keeper. (Read my review HERE!)

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

I was greeted at the deli case by Chef partner Warren Stephens holding out a sample plate of the house made Bacon Praline, which, as my friend Tim at Roux-B-Doo’s says, is like sugary crack. Seriously, it is. This isn’t the Praline Bacon at Elizabeth’s, awesome in it’s own right, rather it’s an actual Praline with chunks of the house made Kurobuta Bacon inside of it in place of the traditional Pecans. Awesome flavors.

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

After coming off of the rush of the Bacon Praline, I asked Chef Warren if it would be alright to take some pics around the store/sWine bar. He said sure and asked if I would like to go upstairs to see the curing room. I said hell yes, of course. He led me upstairs through the upstairs kitchen to the temperature controlled curing room, one of them actually, there is another one at Herbsaint, as well as the ones in the downstairs display cases.

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

Inside of the upstairs room was a treasure trove of Salamis, blood sausages, you name it, in various states of cure.

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

A new batch of Duck Pastrami was recently hung.

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

Chef Warren told me that when the cured products reach their maturity, they are Vacuum sealed to stop the curing process, and also package for sale or storage.

From Cochon Butcher

While we were upstairs he also gave me a tour of Calcasieu the also newly opened catering facility for private events (I will do a separate post on Calcascieu).

The Sandwich board:

From Cochon Butcher

The Wine board:

From Cochon Butcher

We headed back downstairs so that I could order something for lunch, looking at all of that great food was killing me. I decided to order the Muffuletta, with all house made meats no less. Any loyal reader of my site knows that I would HAVE to order the Muffuletta on my first visit knowing that I am a Muffuletta junkie, and let me tell you, this one did not disappoint.

From Cochon Butcher

Cochon Butcher’s Muffuletta has an olive salad that is very finally chopped which I didn’t know if I would care for, as I usually prefer the olives pretty much just crushed a la Central Grocery, but it actually was a perfect accent to the finely cured meats and the cheeses without being overpowering. The olive salad was on the top and bottom of the sandwich. The bread was also perfect, light and crumbly as it should be. The Muffuletta could easily feed 2, in some cases 4, and at $12, especially considering everything is made in house, it’s a steal.

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

While I was gorging myself on the above awesome Muffuletta, Chef Warren brought me over a Lagniappe to try out, his Tartiflette that he was featuring as a small plate item. It was a lovely pairing of fingerling Potatoes, housemade Kurobuta Bacon, sweet onions, and a touch of heat, baked in a Gratin with of course the wonderfully stinky Reblochon cheese. Phenomenal flavors; the smokiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the onion, tender gold and buttery fingerlings, woodsy Thyme, and the spice of the peppers all tied together with the Robust creamy flavor of the Reblochon. Awesome job.

From Cochon Butcher

I can’t thank Chef Warren Stephens enough for the gracious tour, I will always remember it!

I will let the pictures do the talking for all of the wonderful items Cochon Butcher has to offer!

From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher
From Cochon Butcher

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

Related Posts:

My new friend Su-Jit’s Post on her trip to Cochon Butcher
Cochon Restaurant
Central Gorcery
Andouille Sausage Recipe
Tasso Recipe

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Casamento’s Restaurant

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From New Orleans Restaurants

Casamento’s Restaurant
4330 Magazine St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115
504-895-9761

Well, I finally made it to Casamento’s. After several attempts over the last few years, for one reason or another, every time I’ve showed up to their door on Magazine Street with an empty stomach just moaning and groaning for Oysters, I would inevitably be met with a sign to crush my hopes and dreams for that meal period. CLOSED. Granted, it would have helped if I had checked their website or bothered to call, but honestly, I’m not that bright.

On the other hand though, sometimes New Orleans takes you where she wants to take you, or just gives you a nudge in the direction that you want to go. In my experience, this is not a town for itineraries, not if you want to do it right. Go with the wind, come back often, and eventually you will see everything that you want to see. Yesterday the wind finally took me to Casamento’s, and I have to say that it was well worth the wait. I now rank Casamento’s among the best places that I have eaten Oysters in the city, raw or cooked.

From
From New Orleans Restaurants

Casamento’s was opened in 1919 by Joseph Casamento an immigrant of Ustica, Italy, who decided to tile the whole restaurant for easy cleaning, the restaurant is often likened to an empty swimming pool. Here is a pic of the front of the restaurant section of the restaurant and Oyster bar (sorry for the blurry pic):

From New Orleans Restaurants

The floor tiles:

From New Orleans Restaurants

The back section of the restaurant where I had lunch (I wanted to sit near the kitchen):

From New Orleans Restaurants

CJ cooking in the kitchen, you can see the Pan Bread in the oven:

From New Orleans Restaurants

The restaurant has long been loved by locals and when Joseph Sr. died the restaurant was passed on to his son Joseph Casamento Jr. Sadly after years in the restaurant (which he lived above) Joseph Jr. passed away the night Hurricane Katrina hit. Here is a pic from one of my favorite books, the long out of print Time-Life book American Cooking: Creole and Acadian which shows both Joeseph Casamento Jr. and Sr. shucking Oysters for their hungry customers back in the seventies. (I didn’t know who to contact for permission for this pic, as the book is so long out of print. If the owner has any problem with me posting this image, email me and I will take it down immediately!)

From New Orleans Restaurants

The restaurant is now owned and run by Joseph Sr’s grandson, and Joseph Jr’s nephew CJ and his wife Linda Gerdes, he runs the kitchen and she runs the front, carrying on the traditions of the restaurant and fine cooking that locals and travelers have come to rely on from Casamento’s.

I started my lunch, with a half dozen on the half shell, beautifully shucked, plump, and delicious Louisiana Oysters. Casamento’s has ketchup, horseradish, and Louisiana hot sauce on the tables for mixing your own sauce.

From New Orleans Restaurants

Detail of one of my Oysters:

From New Orleans Restaurants

My favorite part of the meal, or my first favorite that is, is the Oyster Stew, simply done with the best Oysters, perfectly poached in the milky broth, succulent with onions, green onions, with a hint of celery and thyme, and glistening pearls of butter of floating on top of the stew as it arrives.

From New Orleans Restaurants

This is a simple soup, perfectly executed, one of the best things I have eaten in the city. By the way, I’m a Gourmand if you haven’t noticed, not a gourmet.

From New Orleans Restaurants

By the way, Cassamento’s Oyster Stew Recipe is contained in Kit Wohl’s book
New Orleans Classic Seafood, page 42. I ate a similar Oyster Stew at Grand Central Terminal Oyster Bar in New York when I was a younger lad and didn’t really appreciate it’s simplicity, although Casamento’s version immediately reminded me of that day. I actually ate that Oyster Stew while sitting next to the now late Al Lewis a.k.a Grandpa Munster who was celebrating his birthday at his favorite restaurant. I remember quietly whispering to my friend in between slurps of soup, ‘is that Grandpa Munster??’ (quietly), as he slurped his Oyster stew and casually glanced over and nodded in affirmative, ‘M’hmm, THAT’s Grandpa Munster.’

Anyway, back to the meal at Casamento’s, last stop was the famous Oyster Loaf, perfectly fried Velvety Oysters served, not on the New Orleans French Bread, but rather on Casamento’s signature pan bread, thick slices of toasted bread which serves as a cradle for the perfectly fried Oysters. You can order it dressed or not. Casamento’s Oyster Loaf is dressed with Iceberg lettuce, tomato, and Mayonnaise, quartered sweet pickle on the side. I’m patting myself on the back for this picture, if you would like to do so also, please return my arm to it’s regular forward position to do so. 🙂

From New Orleans Restaurants

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

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New Orleans Getaway

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I am on the road back to New Orleans for a very brief stay with an obscenely aggressive dining schedule! I am absolutely fired up!! First on my list is Cochon Butcher, then Mandina’s, Parasol’s, Cassamento’s (my third attempt, always closed for one reason or another when I get there), and even if I have to use the Vomatorium, I will make sure that I get an order of Drago’s Charbroiled Oysters before I go. I also have a few other culinary attractions that I aim to make it to on my short trip, more to come. I’m arriving on March 08, with an empty stomach as well as an emtpy digital camera card, and I’m leaving March 10 in the evening with both full to the gills. I really can’t wait. Here are some of my favorite pics from my last two trips, culinary and non.

Lafayette Cemetery, across the wall from Commander’s Palace.

From New Orleans

Blue Dog window shopping with reflection of Royal Street and St. Ann.

From New Orleans

Statue of Andrew Jackson with St. Louis Cathedral in the background.

From New Orleans

Central Grocery Muffuletta on the banks of the Mississippi.

From Nola Cuisine

The Central Grocery Muffuletta after a bit of air travel. I felt the same way, a little battered, but still good to go.

From New Orleans

Camellia Grill!

From New Orleans
From New Orleans

…and the best damned Pecan Pie!

From New Orleans
From New Orleans

Ferdi Special at Mother’s.

From New Orleans

Slave Quarters Evergreen Plantation. An eye opening and haunting experience, not in the “this place is haunted” sense, but the “this is how our country was built, and it should be haunted” sense. Pictures do not do this place justice.

From New Orleans
From New Orleans

The battered Dixie Brewery. I never posted on this, it was too damned depressing. I will post a few now.

From New Orleans

Who was the biggest Vandal? Katrina or THE vandals?

From New Orleans
From New Orleans
From New Orleans

Napoleon House, love this place.

From New Orleans
From New Orleans
From New Orleans

I imagine I would disappoint just a few if I didn’t mention these!

From New Orleans

Much more to come!!! See you soon New Orleans!

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Oma’s Beef Croquettes

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From Nola Cuisine Images – (reedited)

For some time now I’ve been making my Oma’s Beef Croquettes for an appetizer on Christmas Day. They’re a bit of a process to make, but they’re well worth it, and it is a cathartic process for me. I don’t have her actual recipe, but I put this one together from an old Dutch cookbook that she had and from tips from my Mom and Aunt Paula (very soon to be Oma) who both learned to make them from her. Not to mention my Dad’s approval of authentic flavor (Dad’s an Opa now too).

When Oma was alive we went to her house every year on Christmas Day, and although I don’t ever remember her making these for Christmas, it is the dish I most remember her for so it has become a small way for me to keep her with us on Christmas day, along with my treasured artifacts from her Christmas decoration collection (you can see the candy canes hanging in one of the family pictures below).

From Family
From Family

When the croquettes go into the fryer the whole house takes on the smell that hers did when she used to make these, and it instantly takes me back, and every time I bite into one for the first time on a Christmas afternoon with my family, I have to admit, I get a little choked up thinking about her.

Merry Christmas Oma. We miss you. We love you.

From Family
From Family

Oma’s Beef Croquette Recipe Biefkroketten

4 Cups Shredded Beef (an inexpensive cut of beef simmered slowly in beef stock or broth until falling apart tender, then shredded using two forks)
3 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Flour
2 Cups Beef Broth (reserved from cooking the beef)
1 Bay leaf
Nutmeg To Taste
Kosher salt to taste
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
6 Egg whites
Fine Bread Crumbs

Melt the butter in a sauce pan, whisk in the flour and cook on medium to make a blond roux 5-7 minutes. Whisk in the stock or broth slowly until fully incorporated. Cook for about 7-10 minutes more to cook out the flour taste, remove from the heat. Remove the bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and freshly grated nutmeg. Add the shredded Beef. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Place the misture in the refrigerator until cold.

Shape into oblongs about 3″ long by 1 1/2″ wide.

Dip in the egg whites, then the bread Crumbs, then the egg whites then the bread crumbs.

Fry in 350 degree F Oil in batches, for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

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Praline Sweet Potato Recipe

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This is my play on Candied Yams for the rapidly approaching Thanksgiving Holiday. It’s kind of like Candied Yams on PCP, and could easily play as a side dish or a dessert on the holiday table. I gave this one a test run a few weeks back when I cooked the Turducken feast when trying out the Cajun Grocer Turducken.

Praline Sweet Potatoes Recipe

5 Large Sweet Potatoes
1 Cup Pecan pieces, toasted until fragrant

For the sauce:

1/2 Cup Bourbon
1/4 Cup Water
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup
1 Tbsp Orange Zest
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1 tsp Kosher Salt
A few turns of freshly ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Pecan pieces, toasted until fragrant

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the Sweet Potatoes in their Jackets until fork tender, about 45 minutes to one hour. Peel while still warm and let cool. When cool slice into 1/2″ rounds.
Layer the sweet potatoes in a large buttered casserole dish. One layer of sweet potatoes, then sprinkle with some of the pecans, another layer of sweet potatoes, then pecans, etc… until the sweet potatoes are all used up, top with the remaining Pecans.

To make the sauce:

Warm the Bourbon in a saucepan over medium heat and ignite to burn off most of the alcohol. When the flames subside add the water, brown sugar, cane syrup, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, and sesame oil. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat to medium low and whisk in the butter, until all is incorporated and melted. Pour over the sweet potatoes in the prepared casserole.

Bake in the 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

Thanksgiving Related Posts:

Turducken
Oyster Dressing Recipe
Turkey Bone Gumbo Recipe

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

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Turducken

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From Nola Cuisine

Despite what you have seen in stores since 30 seconds after Halloween ended (and early September in some stores), there is still a holiday between Halloween and Christmas called Thanksgiving, and it is my favorite kind because it is based entirely around eating. All of the parades are just leading up to eating, and football games are just something to kick the tryptophan into high gear with the end result being a much needed mid day nap.

Elliot from Cajun Grocer emailed me to ask if I would like to review their Turducken before the Thanksgiving rush, I had to think about it, as I don’t usually do any advertisement on this site, and then I said why not, as long as I can do an unbiased review. So he shipped it out, and I made plans to have a group of friends over for a Turducken feast.

The origins of Turducken are a bit foggy, as two claim to have invented it, Paul Prudhomme, and Hebert’s Specialty Meats in Maurice, Louisiana. I don’t know who invented it, in fact, nesting birds together can be traced back to medieval times. All that I know is that a chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a Turkey just has to make for good eating. It can also make for a labor intensive day of prep if you’re not familar with deboning poultry. If you want to try it at home, John Folse actually has some nice illustrations on the deboning process in his book The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine, and Paul Prudhomme has an insanely detailed recipe, along with extremely detailed instructions on the deboning process of each bird, along with three different stuffings in the wonderful book The Prudhomme Family Cookbook.

Cajun Grocer also has a recipe with instructions here.

If you are a regular reader of this site you know that this is a recipe I would love to cover in great detail on this site in the future.

The Turducken arrived promptly when Elliot said it would, nicely packaged and in great condition.

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

Cajun Grocer’s Turduckens are 15 pounds, I thawed mine for about 4 days in the refrigerator for a complete thaw.

From Nola Cuisine

The Turducken comes raw so it is basically yours to mess up or make great depending on how you cook it.

From Nola Cuisine

The only really negative reviews I’ve read about Cajun Grocer’s Turduckens are in regards to shipping, and it is usually because of poor planning. If planning on ordering a Turducken from Cajun Grocer or anywhere you should leave plenty of time for not just delivery, but also about 4-5 days of thaw time, preferably with a little breathing room in between the two. Would you trust your holiday meal to the efficiency of Fed Ex? I sure wouldn’t. Plan ahead.

How I cooked the Turducken

Preheated oven set to 325 F.

I placed the thawed Turducken in a large roasting pan and brushed it all over with heated Duck Fat (a.k.a. nectar of the gods). I then seasoned it liberally with my Creole Seasoning.

I roasted the Turducken for about 4 1/2 hours to an internal temperature of 155-160 degrees, allowing for some carry over cooking when it came out. I let the bird(s) rest for about a half an hour before slicing.

In the meantime I made a gravy from the pan juices, which I have to say was hands down, the absolute best gravy I have ever made, seen, smelled or tasted. Not because of anything I did, I just tightened it up with a roux. It was the culmination of flavor of all the birds, pork and stuffings woven together in perfect harmony. I could have drunk it from a glass, it was that good. (Actually, I did a shot of it when no one was looking…don’t tell anyone.)

Make sure that you slice the bird(s) at the table, there is nothing better than slicing into what appears to be a bone in Turkey and having the knife go clear through with ease, your guests will love it.

The Flavor

The flavor of Cajun Grocer’s Turducken was wonderful, nicely seasoned with good stuffings (a cornbread stuffing and a creole pork stuffing). The only downfall I felt was that they only use the duck breast and not the rest of the bird, because as I’ve said in the past, I’m a leg and thigh man, but that’s just my personal taste. Another thing that the Cajun Grocer does is skin the chicken and duck, which I do agree with as I don’t think that the fat would ever render out enough, leaving behind chewy undercooked globs of skin, especially in regards to the duck.

I served the Turducken with my Maque Choux:

From Nola Cuisine

and Praline Sweet Potatoes:

From Nola Cuisine

The main problem with making a Turducken from scratch is time. Ordering a Turducken online from Cajun Grocer will definately save you a lot of time, especially for a novice, and you will have a terrific product that will definitely impress your guests, as long as you cook it properly. They really do a nice job and they have a lot of great Louisiana sausages, Tasso, and other products as well.

But for me, the reason for this site, and cooking in general, is making things from scratch, for the sheer reason of knowing how to do it, and enjoying that labor in the kitchen, no matter how long it takes. In doing so you also have complete control over everything, making Turducken stock from all of the bones, making your own stuffings from the stocks, etc. But not everyone wants that kind of control. Very few actually, I believe want that kind of control. Thank God then for companies like Cajun Grocer that will do all of the leg work for you.

Related Thanksgiving Posts:

Turkey Bone Gumbo Recipe
Oyster Dressing Recipe
Praline Sweet Potatoes Recipe

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

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