Tag Archives: new orleans

Andouille Smoked Sausage

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Well it’s Fall again, and in my house that means it’s time to fire up the smoker and start bulking up the freezer with Andouille, Tasso, and other seasoning meats for Gumbo, soup and stew season. I love the smell of the crisp fall air, mixed with the smell of rich pecan smoke. It reminds me of campfires from my childhood, and unless you have fallen into one, I’m sure those are good memories for you as well.

I finished a fresh batch of Andouille on Sunday, and I’m thrilled with the results, so thrilled in fact that I had to whip up a batch of Chicken & Andouille Gumbo for dinner last night. Here is a pic of last night’s Gumbo.

For my last batch of Andouille I experimented with the smoking technique, doing a longer cold smoke which resulted in a denser more cured finished product. For this batch I hot smoked at a temperature of 160-180 degrees for about 3 1/2 hours with Pecan wood, which is in the Hickory family. Both techniques were successful, but I have to say I prefer the hot smoked product. I used the same recipe for both (My Andouille Recipe). Some details in the production of this batch that I think make it superior are the following:

* Instead of grinding the meat, I hand cut all of the meat into 1/4″ – 1/2″ cubes. I think this produces a much better texture.

* I poked the sausages all over with a toothpick. This allows for easy smoke absorption, and you can also get rid of any air pockets that are there from the stuffing process.

* I completely let the casings dry out before smoking. I cannot stress how important this step is. I wiped the casings dry with paper towel, then let the sausages hang in the refrigerator overnight. You will know that the sausages are ready for the smoker when you can see the meat clearly through the casing.

To see a real Louisiana professional make Andouille, check out Jason Perlow’s Wayne Jacob’s Andouille post at Off The Broiler. Jason is doing God’s work over there, or the Devil’s work if you happen to be on a diet. 🙂

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

Related Posts:

Andouille Sausage Recipe
Chaurice Sausage Recipe
Tasso Recipe
My post about Jacob’s Andouille
How to link Sausage Recipe

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Kitchen Witch Cook Books

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The French Quarter is filled with amazing little shops to suit anyone’s taste, I found mine on Toulouse Street between Chartres and Royal, just a couple of blocks from Jackson Square.

Anyone that knows me knows my love for cookbooks of all kinds, but especially Creole & Cajun Cookbooks. Imagine my joy when I stumbled upon a sign that simply read Cook Books when walking down Toulouse Street in the French Quarter during our recent trip to New Orleans.

A wonderful shop with vibrant art work on the walls, various kitchen related items lovingly placed around the store, and lots of used and new cook books seperated by category, a cook’s dream!

The proprietors Debbie Lindsey and Philipe LaMancusa are among the many friendly faces we encountered in the city on our trip, and Debbie was quick with some favorite dining suggestions when I asked for some recommendations.

The real treat for me was located in the back of the store, the Creole & Cajun section, as well as a large collection of vintage LPs.

They have a very nice selection of used and new Creole & Cajun cook books and a glass case that contains some more rare items, such as the Buster Holmes Restaurant Cookbook.

Another thing that really caught my eye was a Chez Helene t-shirt under glass, Chez Helene of course being the long lost restaurant of the late Austin Leslie who passed away shortly after being trapped in his attic during Katrina.

Debbie & Philipe also ship so give them a call at (504) 528-8382 or email at kwitchen1@aol.com if you’re looking for that hard to find cook book that you lost years back.

Kitchen Witch Cookbooks, Music, and Art is located on Toulouse Street between Royal & Chartres in the French Quarter (MAP):

Kitchen Witch
631 Toulouse Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
631 Toulouse

Kitchen Witch
kwitchen1@aol.com

Click here for information on visiting New Orleans and Louisiana!

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which lists all of the recipes featured on Nola Cuisine.

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Fried Soft-Shell Crabs with Creole Choron Sauce

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My favorite way to serve Soft-Shell Crabs is with Creole Choron Sauce. Actually, this sauce is wonderful with just about any fried seafood.

The most popular way Soft-Shells are prepared in Louisiana is fried, and for good reason, they’re damned good that way. Make sure that your batter is not too thick because the crabs will never get crispy, your batter should be like a thin pancake batter.

Here is the recipe:

Fried Soft-Shell Crabs with Creole Choron Sauce

Peanut Oil for frying
4 – Soft-Shell Crabs, cleaned
1 Recipe Creole Choron Sauce
Lemon wedges
Hot sauce

For the batter:

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Corn Flour
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
Buttermilk, enough to make a batter the consistency of a thin pancake batter.

Combine the dry ingredients, whisk in the buttermilk.

For the seasoned flour:

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Cayenne

Combine all ingredients.

To fry the Soft-Shells:

Heat the peanut oil to 360 degrees F in a Dutch oven. The Dutch oven should be large enough to have the oil about 3-4 inches deep and halfway up the sides of the pot.

When the oil is hot dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, then dipping into the batter. Be sure to completely coat the crabs and let any excess drip off.
Carefully place the crabs into the oil upside down (this will make the claws stand up a bit for presentation.). Fry only two at a time maximum until they are golden brown and they float to the surface.
Be sure to let the oil come back to temperature before frying the next batch.

Drain on paper towels and season with Kosher salt.

Caution – Soft-shells have a tendency to spit hot oil, or pop when the inside liquids heat up, so be careful.

Serve the crabs on a plate covered with the Creole Choron Sauce and with lemon wedges and hot sauce on the table.

Serves 2.

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

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Andouille Sausage

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This is my latest batch of Andouille, I’m very happy with it. I used my recipe for Andouille but I changed my smoking technique a bit. I recently bought a Bradley Smoker, which now gives me the option of cold smoking which I did here. I smoked this batch at 90-100 degrees F for 10 hours with Pecan wood smoke, then I let it hang in the refrigerator for 3 days, to continue to cure and dry out a bit.

I cut into one link so that you could see the coarse texture. I hand chopped half of the meat from a 5 pound Boston Butt into small cubes, and ground the other half. I also added additional fat which I cubed, as you can see in the cut link.

This is not a paid advertisement for Bradley smokers. I love this contraption. It has a mechanism that feeds the compressed woodchips, called bisquettes onto a small hotplate that makes a perfectly clean smoke for 20 minutes then dumps the spent bisquette into a bowl of water, while feeding a new one onto the plate. There is a heat element in the smoke tower, that allows you to control the temperature. You can fill the smoke generator up with bisquettes and let it run for 8 hours without even touching it. It works so well that it almost takes the fun out of it for me. 🙂 I’m so used to tending the fire.

The only downside that I’ve found with this smoker so far is that you’re locked in to buying their Bisquettes“>bisquettes, but you can get them relatively cheaply on the net, about $15 dollars for 48 bisquettes. I paid around $300 for the smoker, which I thought was a steal. I first read about it in, what is in my humble opinion, the best cookbook to come out in years, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Detroit area Chef Brian Polcyn. Their recommendation really paid off, I really love my new toy.

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

Related Posts:

Jacob’s Andouille

For more on Andouille see Jason Perlow’s All About Andouille post at Off the Broiler!

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Redfish Courtbouillon

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From Nola Cuisine

This is the city or Creole version of the great Louisiana Courtbouillons, the other being the Cajun Catfish Courtbouillon (COO-be-yahn). The major difference in my two versions is the absence of a Roux in this one and of course the type of fish. I actually used Red Snapper for this version. Although Redfish is preferred and classic, I went with what I could get freshest.

According to the The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook of 1901:

Those kings of the New Orleans French Market the Red Snapper and the Redfish, are used in the pride and glory of the New Orleans cuisines, a good Courtbouillon. More generally and with finer results the Redfish or Poisson Rouge is used. This Fish may always be known by the single spot on the tail. The old Creoles have a tradition that this was the fish that the Apostles brought to the Savior when he performed the great miracle of the loaves and the fishes. They hand down the quaint legend that the Savior took up this fish between his fingers and blessed it, and it was ever after a marked fish in the waters, the imprint of the Lord’s fingers having remained on the spot where He held up the fish and blessed it and offered it up to His Father. They hold the Redfish in reverent veneration, and never fail to tell the children when cooking it: ‘Those are the marks of the Lord’s hand.’

More on Redfish Courtbouillon from what I’ve said before is one of my absolute favorite reads on the subject of Creole & Cajun cooking, the long out of print 1971 Time-Life publication
American cooking: Creole and Acadian (Foods of the world) by Peter S. Feibleman:

Stop and have a bowl of redfish courtbouillon, a dish that is to the bayous and marshes and Gulf coast what a hamburger is to the Midwest. A rich brown roux has been made and combined with tomato puree, onions, shallots, garlic, celery and bell pepper. Bay leaves and allspice and red pepper and other spices have been added, and a dash of Tabasco. Redfish meat and a bit of claret have been put in and simmered gently for an hour, and the courtbouillon is served in a gumbo bowl with rice. It is red and thick and searing, and just one taste of it makes you imagine that you can stand up even to the weather.

When making your Creole Sauce for this recipe be sure to make it extra thick, otherwise the liquid the fish lets out while cooking will make your sauce watery.

Here is my recipe:

From Nola Cuisine

Redfish Courtbouillon Recipe

2 Whole Redfish, Red Snapper, or other firm fleshed fish (scaled, gutted and trimmed of all fins)
1 Cup Flour, liberally seasoned with salt, pepper and cayenne
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter
1/4 Cup dry white wine
1 Recipe Creole Sauce, made with fish stock, and made extra thick
1 Lemon, thinly sliced
2 bunches fresh Thyme, 1/2 of which tied tightly with butcher’s twine
1 Bay Leaf
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice as an accompaniment

Season the fish all over including in the cavity with kosher salt, black pepper and a little cayenne. Place some of the sliced lemon and 1/2 of the Thyme into the cavity of each fish.
Dredge the fish in the seasoned flour and warm the unsalted butter in a large cast iron skillet.
When the butter just starts to brown place the fish in the pan, cook until golden brown on both sides.
Remove the fish to a plate and deglaze the pan with the white wine. When the wine reduces slightly, add the fish back to the pan and ladle enough Creole Sauce to come up the sides of the fish by half, plus ladle a little on top of the fish.
Add the Thyme and bay leaf to the pan and place some of the lemon slices on top of the fish. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and place into a 350 degree over for 30 minutes.

When plating, carefully remove the fish and filet gently being careful to get rid of all of the bones. An alternate method would be to filet the fish raw and use the head and bones to make your fish stock.

Serve with Creole Boiled Rice and garnish with chopped parsley, lemon slices, and a genourous helping of the Creole Sauce from the pan.

Serves 2-4 depending on the size of your fish.

From Nola Cuisine

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

Related Posts:

Cajun Catfish Courtbouillon Recipe

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Turbo Dog Barbecue Sauce Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

Barbecue Sauce is just one of those things that American outdoor cooks just love to tweak and experiment with, I’m no exception. I like my sauce to be balanced with sweetness and acidity with the appropriate amount of heat, and I never use liquid smoke because it tastes like liquid smoke. I do however throw a handful of well washed wood chips into the sauce while it’s simmering for a woodsy flavor, the chips are later strained out. I achieve the smoky flavor during the cooking process.

Abita Turbo Dog is a dark beer from Abita Springs, Louisiana with flavors of chocolate, coffee and carmel, which adds a nice depth to this sauce.

Turbo Dog Barbecue Sauce recipe

1 Bottle Abita Turbo Dog
2 cups Ketchup
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (see note here for homemade)
2 Tbsp Creole Mustard
1 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
1 Tbsp Crystal Hot Sauce
1 Tbsp Basic Barbecue Rub
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
1 Jalapeno, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 handful Pecan wood chips (well washed)

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thickly coats the back of a spoon, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Try it with my Baby Back Ribs with Turbo Dog Barbecue Sauce!

From Nola Cuisine

Related Posts:

Baby Back Ribs with Turbo Dog Barbecue Sauce Recipe
Basic Barbecue Rub

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Shrimp Etouffee Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine Images – (reedited)

The smell of Etouffee, be it Crawfish (my Crawfish Etouffee Recipe) or Shrimp, is one of the most heavenly aromas that I know, along with the smell of Shrimp a la Creole. The word Etouffee (Ay-2-FAY) translates roughly to smothered , stewed, or braised. To me it simply translates to happy taste buds. Shrimp Etouffee is always my favorite to cook for family and friends.

From Nola Cuisine Images – (reedited)

I always buy shell on shrimp, why? For the same reason I buy bone in cuts of meat. Stock. The amount of shrimp you’re using for this recipe will produce just enough Shrimp Stock, plus a little extra (recipe below). Shrimp stock only needs to cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

From Nola Cuisine

Shrimp Stock Recipe

The Shells and tails from 2 lb. of Shrimp
1/2 Cup chopped Onion
1/4 Cup chopped Celery
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Lemon sliced
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 tsp. Black Peppercorns

Add all ingredients to a 2 qt. saucepan. Cover this with cold water, it should be about 6-8 Cups Cups. You’ll need 1 1/2 Cups for the Etouffee. Bring almost to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Strain.

Tip: When adding fresh Thyme to a simmered dish like this, I always bundle the Thyme tightly with butchers twine. The leaves will remove themselves while cooking, and you will get all of the flavor from the stems. When ready to serve just remove the bundle of stems along with your bay leaves.

The recipe:

Shrimp Etouffee Recipe

2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Onion, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Celery, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Flour
3/4 Cup fresh Tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 Cups Shrimp Stock
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
I bundle of Fresh Thyme
2 tsp Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Hot Sauce (I like Crystal or Louisiana Gold)
1/2 Cup Green Onions, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp minced Italian Parsley
2 lb Good Quality Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined, Save shells for the stock
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice

Season the shrimp with 1 Tbsp of the Creole Seasoning.
Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet, add the onions, bell pepper, and celery, saute until translucent. Whisk in the flour to make a blonde roux, stirring constantly, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the remaining Creole Seasoning. Add a small amount of the shrimp stock, stir well to form a paste, add the remaining stock gradually, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. You may need a little more stock, but the end result should be the consistency of a gravy, not too thick, not too thin.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, Thyme, Worcestershire, and hot sauce, a little salt, black pepper, and Cayenne. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Add the shrimp, green onions, and parsley, simmer for 10 minutes more or until the shrimp are cooked through. Stir in the 3 Tbsp butter, and adjust the seasonings to taste.

Serve over Creole Boiled Rice.

Serves 4 as an Appetizer or 2 as a Large Entree.

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:

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe
Shrimp Creole Recipe
Creole Stuffed Peppers (Austin Leslie Style)
Redfish Courtbouillon Recipe
Shrimp Stock Recipe
Shrimp Stuffed Mirlitons
Shrimp Stuffed Savory Crepes with Tasso Cream Sauce


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Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

I had a taste for Southern Fried Chicken last night, so that is what I made. Sometimes you need to scratch your own itch, and boy did I do some scratchin’ last night, this was the best batch of Fried Chicken that I’ve made to date. Perfectly seasoned, crispy as heck, tender and juicy on the inside. Hey sometimes we need to pat ourselves on the back too. 🙂

This recipe is a combination of Austin Leslie’s Fried Chicken recipe and my Mom’s. My Mom really taught me how to fry chicken well, she showed me how to turn it often to prevent over browning, and how to know when it’s done. She makes it so well that I often get cravings for it, like the one I had last night, and Dad says that it would be his last meal request if ever facing the firing squad.

Here is my version of what I’ve learned so far about Fried Chicken:

Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

3-4 lbs Chicken parts, I like legs because that’s what Mom always made, plus it’s hard to dislike food with it’s own handle.
Water, enough to cover the chicken
Kosher salt, enough to make the water taste salty (obviously tasted before adding the raw chicken.)

Peanut Oil for frying, enough to fill a large cast iron skillet about half way

3/4 Cup Flour
4 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne

Combine the water with the salt, submerge the chicken and let sit in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. This will help make the chicken more tender and add flavor.

After the time has passed drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.

Place the flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a paper lunch bag. Mix well. Add the chicken two pieces at a time, shaking to coat well with the seasoned flour, shake off the excess. When all chicken is floured, set aside for twenty minutes before frying. This step will help make the finished product more crisp.

Heat the peanut oil to 360 degrees F. Fry the chicken in batches, turning often (about every ten minutes) so that it cooks evenly, and doesn’t get too brown too fast. Try to fry equal sized pieces in the same batch. When the chicken looks close to being done hold it with tongs and pierce (be careful; the oil will sputter) with a carving fork, then squeeze to let the blood out (a la Austin Leslie). Cook until done. If you’re not sure if it’s done, dig into one piece with your tongs, down to the bone to see if it is cooked through. It should take about 15-20 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels or a wire rack.

More info on Fried Chicken:

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe at American Gourmand
Austin Leslie Bio
Austin Leslie’s Fried Chicken Recipe

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes! Visit my other blog American Gourmand!

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

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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!

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New Orleans Style Bordelaise Sauce Recipe

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For my wife’s first home cooked meal since coming home from the hospital with our little Anna (new pic added). I made Grilled Marinated Pork Chops with New Orleans Style Bordelaise sauce, green onion mashed potatoes, and asparagus. Just good old home cooking. It really hit the spot for both of us since we spent the last five days eating inedible hospital food and a lot of take out.

New Orleans Style Bordelaise is very different than the classic french wine sauce; actually it bears absolutely no resemblance and it has as many variations as there are cooks in New Orleans. Probably the best use for this sauce is tossed into pasta, preferably spaghetti, but I like it very much over a grilled Ribeye or any grilled meat. I made sure to also pour some over the asparagus. The recipe:

New Orleans Style Bordelaise Sauce Recipe

3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped
1 Sprig of Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 Spritz of fresh lemon juice
1/2 stick of Unsalted Butter
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, minced
Salt & Pepper to taste

Add the oil to a heated saute pan. Add the garlic, Thyme, and Bay leaf. Saute the garlic until it just starts to slightly brown then add the lemon juice, and the cold butter, incorporating by shaking the pan back and forth until melted. When the butter is totally melted strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, then add back to the pan. Add the parsley and season to taste with Kosher salt and pepper.

Makes around 1/3 of a cup.

For the Pork:

I marinated the pork in garlic, Rosemary, lemon juice, a little creole mustard, extra virgin olive oil, and red pepper flakes for about 2 hours. I grilled it to a little over medium.

For the Asparagus:

First blanch the asparagus until al dente, then shock in an ice bath. Remove from the water and set aside until just ready to eat.
To serve heat 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil & 2 Tbsp Unsalted butter in a saute pan. Add a crushed clove of garlic to the pan with the asparagus. Heat through and season well with salt & pepper.

For the Green Onion Mashed Potatoes

Peel and boil 3 Russet Potatoes, drain and mash with a potato masher. In a mixing bowl add the potatoes, 2 Tbsp Green Onions, 4 Tbsp Unsalted butter and enough cream or half & half to make them nice and creamy. Season well with salt and pepper.

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