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Crescent City Farmers Market

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On our most recent trip to New Orleans in February, I stopped by the uptown Crescent City Farmer’s Market on a Tuesday morning. It felt wonderful to casually stroll the market with just a light jacket, basking in the sunlight, knowing that back in Michigan folks were still weathering the worst winter I can remember to date.

I love Farmer’s Markets and this winter has made me long for mornings like the one that I had in New Orleans. Alas, here in Michigan spring has finally sprung, and I can finally go check out some of our own local goodies without 4 layers of clothing and snow shoes. Here are some pics from my visit to the Crescent City Farmers Market in New Orleans.

Crescent City Farmer’s Market

Ponchatoula Strawberries, blood red straight to the center, and sweet as can be, probably the best strawberries I can remember.


Nola Bean! was there with a menu of dishes created from some of the local ingredients.

After getting a look at those delicious strawberries, I couldn’t pass up a chance at the Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcake on a Satsuma drop biscuit with Vanilla Bean whipped cream. Wow, I can still taste it. It tasted even better than it sounds, pure heaven.

Fresh fish and shrimp.


Local smoked meats, sausages, tasso.


Fresh flowers, herbs, plants, and trees.


Louisiana citrus, Satsumas, kumquats, navel oranges.

Louisiana Tomatoes and Cucumbers.

The Crescent City Farmers Market is open on Tuesday in Uptown New Orleans from 9 am to 1 pm River Road at Uptown Square. Directions

The Saturday market is located in Downtown New Orleans from 8 am to 12 noon on the corner of Magazine and Girod Street. Directions

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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Calas Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

At the turn of the last century, the “Calas Woman” was still a fixture in the French Quarter marketplace in the early morning, crying Belle Cala! Tout Chaud! and carrying a covered basket or bowl on her head filled with the Rice fritters to sell to the Creole cooks who would serve them with coffee or Cafe au Lait. The name is said to be derived from an African word for rice.

The Calas women are long gone, and for the most part, so are Calas (KAH-luhs). These lovely rice fritters have taken a back seat to Beignets over the years, but they’re second to none in flavor and texture in my kitchen. The slight tang of the souring step in this recipe, the nutmeg, and light as a cloud texture, will make you wish you had made more of these, so you may want to double this recipe.

This is a terrific way to utilize leftover white rice, and taste something that is part of the history of New Orleans cuisine. Hey, if you have a quart container of rice leftover from the chinese you had for dinner last night?? Make Calas for breakfast! Here is the recipe:

Calas Recipe – Creole Rice Fritters

1/2 Cup warm water
1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Cooked White Rice
2 Large Eggs, beaten slightly
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 pinch Kosher salt
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg
Peanut Oil for frying
Powdered Sugar for a heavy dusting

The day before you want to make your Calas, combine the water and sugar in a small bowl. Add the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight. This step will really give your Calas a distinctive flavor; think sourdough.

The next day, stir the rice mixture and kind of mash the rice against the side of the bowl with a wooden spoon. Don’t go too crazy though, I like to have a bit of that rice texture in the finished product.

Add the remaining ingredients to the rice mixture, mix well with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be a fairly loose batter, a little thicker than pancake batter. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. This step will make your Calas as light as air when fried!

Heat 3 inches of peanut oil in a large saucepan to 365 degrees. Drop spoonfuls of the Calas batter into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, turning once. Serve with lots and lots of powdered sugar, like Beignets, or drizzle with Cane Syrup. Recipe makes about 6 good sized Calas.

Related Recipes:

Beignets

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

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Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

I made a fresh batch of Creole Cream Cheese yesterday that I finished today. I just ate what you see in the picture, sprinkled heavily with sugar, and I can tell you honestly, you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t try this recipe. This is the easiest cheese in the world to make, and you will learn more on its versatility, when I post further with recipes for Creole Cream Cheese Cheescake, and Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream (a.k.a Frozen Creole Cream Cheese, my fave, which I will make in the next few days.

By the way, what I used for a cheese mold this time was an inexpensive silicone muffin tin, which I punched drainage holes into with a hole puncher, traditionally used for paper (but not here on Nola Cuisine).

The way I have presented Creole Cream Cheese here is at its simplest, the way it was meant to be served; sweetened with fresh fruit and cream as a breakfast treat. Give it a shot, it is extremely cheap and easy to make.

I wrote an extensive post on this subject with the recipe just over a year ago, which I am including below because:

a.) I didn’t have this wonderful camera to show the fruits (no pun intended) of my labor a year ago, and a picture is, as they say, worth a thousand words.

b.) I worked hard reasearching this post, so it bears repeating, at least for my sake (or your sake if you plan on making this recipe.)

Here is the post and recipe from July 29, 2005, about a month before Hurricane She Who Shall Not Be Named reared her ugly head on the wonderful city of New Orleans. I hope you enjoy and learn as much from this post as I did researching and making the dish:

Creole Cream Cheese used to be widely available in New Orleans, over time however it became harder to find, and never outside of Louisiana. It’s a soft cheese eaten as a breakfast treat, sprinkled with sugar, covered with cream or half & half, and usually fresh fruit. This is what “>The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook of 1901 had to say about the subject:

Cream Cheese is always made from clabbered milk. The ‘Cream Cheese Woman’ is still as common a sight on our New Orleans streets as the Cala Woman was in the days gone by. She carries a covered basket in which are a number of small perforated tins in which the Cheeses are. In her other hand she carries a can of fresh Cream. She sells her wares to her regular customers, for the old Creoles who do not make their own Cream Cheese are very particular as to whom they buy from, and when once a good careful, clean woman gets a ‘customer’ she keeps her during her period of business, coming every fast day and Friday with her Cheese and Cream, for this is a great fast-day breakfast and luncheon dish.

The “Cream Cheese Woman” has long ago gone the way of the “Cala Woman”, but fortunately for me, I enjoy making it myself. It’s a fairly long but very simple process; combined, about 10 minutes of actual work. Rennet is a coagulating enzyme which comes from a young animal’s stomach, but there are also vegetable varieties. It comes in liquid or tablet form, I use the liquid animal variety. Although I had a hard time finding it in my area, you may find it in tablet form in the baking aisle at your grocer. If not, do what I did and order it from Cheese Supply(dot)com. The shipping is a little steep for just a small item, so I ordered some Manchego, Cheesecloth, and a few other items to pad the bill. The recipe:

Creole Cream Cheese Recipe

2 Quarts Skim Milk
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
8 drops Liquid Rennet or 2 tablets
Cheesecloth

Combine the skim and buttermilk in a good sized saucepan. Over medium heat bring the mixture to 110 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Pour the heated mixture into a large, non-metal bowl. Add the rennet, stir and cover with cheesecloth. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. After a few hours there should be chunks (Curds) and liquid (Whey), try to keep Miss Muffet at bay. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, then spoon the curds into the colander, try to keep them intact. Let this drain for 1 hour or until it is one solid piece. Discard the Whey, or make Ricotta, which is made from cooked Whey. I haven’t tried it yet, but next time I will. Place gently into a bowl and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve with sugar, half & half, and fresh fruit.

*New* I have another recipe for Creole Cream Cheese that says you cannot use Homogenized milk. I’ll have to locate some to see if there is any difference in the finished product. The same recipe states you can substitute reconstituted dry skim milk. Another variation in this recipe is the use of Plain Yogurt as the culture, in place of the buttermilk. I will post when I try this.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes! It’s an index with links to all of the recipes featured on this site. Also check out my new sister site to Nola Cuisine called American Gourmand!

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Beignet Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

If you haven’t been to New Orleans you’ve probably never eaten a Beignet, but you’ve probably had something similar. Cafe au Lait and Beignets, is New Orleans for Coffee & Donuts. If you are unfamiliar, Beignet (ben-YAY) is French for Fritter, in New Orleans they’re square and topped with a firestorm of powdered sugar and usually served with a steaming cup of Cafe au Lait. Cafe au Lait is equal parts piping hot milk and good, strong Cafe Noir with Chicory (New Orleans Coffee will be another post).
The most famous place in New Orleans for Beignets and Cafe au Lait is Cafe Du Monde on Decatur on the riverside of Jackson Square, which is legendary, you have to go once. The Beignets and Cafe au Lait are great, but I’m not into tourist traps; even when I’m a tourist. Most locals that I’ve talked with prefer Morning Call Coffee Stand which is no longer in the quarter, but has two locations in Metarie.

Cafe du Monde sells a Beignet batter mix that is widely available, but I made mine from scratch. What else did you expect? 🙂

Here is the recipe:

From Nola Cuisine

New Orleans Style Beignet Recipe

1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Water (110 degrees F)
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Beaten Egg
1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk
3 1/2 – 3 3/4 Cups A.P. Flour
1/8 Cup Shortening
Vegetable Oil for Frying
Powdered Sugar in a shaker or sifter

Combine the Yeast, Water, and Sugar in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (You could also make this in a food processor, or the old fashioned way, by hand). Let this sit until frothy, about 5 minutes, then add the Salt, Egg, and Evaporated Milk. Mix on low speed, then add half of the flour until it starts to come together, then add the shortening. When the shortening is incorporated start adding the remaining flour, a little at a time until most of it is incorporated. At this time I always turn the dough onto a floured bench to finish by hand, just like when I make bread; it’s a touch thing. Knead the dough adding just enough flour as necessary to make a non-sticky, smooth dough. Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, loosely cover and let rise (I made mine last night and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator).
After the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and turn it onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle that is about 1/2″ thick. With a very sharp knife working at a diagonal to the rectangle, cut into 2″ wide strips. Now cut into diamond shapes by making diagonal cuts in the opposite direction. Place the Beignets on a floured baking sheet to let rise about 40 minutes in a warm place (I place them in a barely warm oven).
When the Beignets have risen, heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 350-360 degrees. Place 2-3 Beignets into the hot oil at a time, being careful not to smash or deflate them. When they are golden brown, flip them over until golden brown on the other side (They go pretty quickly so start checking them right after they go into the oil). Remove to paper towel lined plates to drain. Serve hot topped with plenty of powdered sugar (because the dough doesn’t contain much sugar, you will want a lot!). Best served with Cafe au Lait. Enjoy!

Makes about 2 dozen.

Related posts:

Calas Recipe

Check out my Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes

From Nola Cuisine
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