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DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Diary | Sunday 5/13/2019. | Mother’s Day. | Another Round Of Duck-Filled Quesadillas. ||

The day begins with a unique round of coincidences. The Jesuit Reunion festivities are done. But today is the fifty-first anniversary of the Jesuit Junior-Senior Prom, the night I became a man–though not for the reason most readers will suppose. I didn’t even think about Prom Night until I wrote these words on the following Wednesday. By then the calendar had also become Mother’s Day. The choir loft at St. Jane’s was filled with young people, most of whom were regular singers at the ten o’clock service, but with more participation from the older members.

And then there was the Cool Water Ranch’s Mother’s Day, to celebrate the dual motherhoods of Mary Ann. She wanted to roast some prime ribs for the occasion. But sometime in the last few days, the wheel mounting of the Big Green Egg had given in to the forces of rain and gravity. It had not been damaged–the collapse must have been very slow. But now must get a replacement of the mounting. I must be careful in how I say all this: the Big Green Egg and Bassil’s Ace Hardware are sponsors of my weekend radio show. The fault was mine in allowing the Egg is to sit in the elements to rust since I got mine in 2004. (It even sat uncovered during Katrina.)

Back to Mother’s Day: The Marys decided that they will have Mother’s Day lunch at La Carreta. Nothing new there, but now the location has become the weekly planning site for the house that the Marys are renovating. Today they face some very high estimates on rebuilding the roof. Good luck to them in that!

I was so pleased by the dish I had last week at this time that I ordered it again today. La Carreta created what they call duck quesadilla. These look like square envelopes, filled with pato (“duck” in Spanish) and white cheese, and surrounded by a spicy, red-orange chilpotle sauce. This was wonderful last week, when I tried it the first time, and even better today. A great new item on La Carreta’s growing menu. Still absent: molĂ© poblano.

The Marys went back to work in their house. This job is something that gives MA a lot of pleasure, even though when it’s done the beneficiary will be ML. Although I will be very glad when ML’s dog Bauer moves out of the Cool Water Ranch.

It has been an incredibly hot past week. The air conditioner is in need of some $350 worth maintenance. But the original unit continues to perform reasonably well, even after the repairman said that it would only be around one more season. Sometimes we deserve to get a lucky break.

La Carreta. Covington: 812 Hyw 190. 985-400-5202.


Crawfish Pasta Alfredo

This is the simplest good recipe I know for making seafood pasta. It’s quick, good, and rich. You can use crabmeat or cooked shrimp to make this, too. For a rich appetizer variation, let the sauce get thick, use a lot of it with the pasta, then bake it like an au gratin dish in the oven for two or three minutes before serving.

  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 lbs. cooked crawfish tails
  • 1 Tbs. Creole seasoning
  • 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 lb. bowtie pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup of the water in which the pasta was cooked

1. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, bring the cream to a boil. Reduce by about one-third. Whisk in the Romano cheese until it disappears.

2. Add crawfish and Creole seasoning to cream sauce and cook another two minutes.

3. Turn off the heat and add the pasta. Toss with the sauce until coated. If the sauce is too thick–it should coat the pasta only lightly–add some of the reserved water from cooking the pasta. Serve with chopped parsley.

Serves four.

AlmanacSquare May 16, 2017

Upcoming Deliciousness
New Orleans Wine And Food Experience May 25-27
Greek Festival May 25, 26, 27
Today’s Flavor

It is National Coquilles St. Jacques Day. It is named for St. James the Greater, one of the twelve Apostles and a fisherman. He’s associated with scallops for some reason, and often depicted holding a scallop shell. Throughout Europe, scallops are named for James. So coquille St. Jacques are scallops, served in a thick cream sauce with leeks and fish stock. It once was a very popular dish in fancy, faux-French restaurants around the country, but we all got sick of the pasty sauces with the processed little scallops (Summing those were actually scallops.) I think the dish is due for a revival, but using dry-pack sea scallops, and mushrooms with a more pronounced flavor. A little Cognac, too. Click here for my recipe:

Gourmet Gazetteer

Snacks is an old crossroads in what was once an entirely agricultural area, but which has been almost completely absorbed into sprawling Indianapolis. In the 1800s and well into the 1900s, ranchers driving their cattle to market stopped here for the namesake refreshments. A school was built there in 1913, but closed in the Depression. The building was restored and became a school again in 2001. Some fields are still near snacks, but subdivisials ond shopping centers have eaten up most of the land. That makes it easy to find something to snack on. I like the sound of Formaggio, right on the main road the farmers once traveled when they stopped for snacks in Snacks.

Annals Of Meat

Today is the birthday, in 1832, of Charles Philip Armour, the founder of the meat packing company that bears his name. His breakthrough was using refrigeration and canning to keep meat fresh long enough that it could be sold in a widespread distribution system.

Wine And The Law

Today in 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state cannot prohibit the shipment of wine directly to a consumer from out of state, if the state allows wine shipments from within its borders. Louisiana was one of the states in which it was difficult to order wines by mail or on the Web; that has eased a good deal. The wholesalers and retailers are still fighting it, though. Personally, I think it’s better to buy wines in a store, because they’ll probably be cheaper than they are online, and you have the advantage of being able to talk to someone not connected to the winery. On the other hand, the great thing about mail-ordered wines is being able to get wines not distributed locally.

The Royal Menu

Today in 1770, the future French King Louis XVI married Marie Antoinette. She was fourteen; he was an older man of fifteen. Their time was the last gasp of the excesses of the ancien regime, and ended with the guillotine in the French Revolution. After that, the unemployed chefs of the aristocracy started opening restaurants in hotels, and the restaurant business began. But let’s think some more about two people in their mid-teens being married.

Annals Of Popular Cuisine

Today in 1965, Spaghetti-O’s were introduced to a waiting world. Canned pasta already in sauce. How hard is it to boil pasta? To make a fresh tomato sauce, even with canned tomatoes? For goodness sake, is it really too much to open a jar of one of the many more-than-decent bottled pasta sauces out there? (Locally, we like Sal & Judy’s) It’s hard to imagine that anyone eats canned pasta except at the extremes of survival. We think we’d dig for edible roots first.

Edible Dictionary

Raisin City is in the southwestern outskirts of Fresno, California, in that state’s central valley. It’s a triangular residential area surrounded by vineyards and orange groves, among other crops. The overripe grapes that give the place its name are Raisin City’s raison d’etre. About 165 people–mostly Hispanic–live there. The nearest restaurant is three miles away: Hog Heaven.

Deft Dining Rule #525

Ordering the following dishes marks you as not being seriously interested in Chinese food: chop suey, egg foo yung, fried rice, egg drop soup, and chow mein. Unless the restaurant is making some sort of ironic statement with those dishes, in which case at least one of them must be ordered.

Deft Dining Rule #526

Ordering lo mein in a Chinese restaurant is like ordering spaghetti and meatballs in an Italian restaurant, and bound by the same considerations.

Twice As Much For A Nickel

The five-cent coin that became known as the nickel was introduced today in 1866. It replaced the silver half-dime, which was irritatingly tiny. It’s hard to imagine, but many people still alive (I am one of them) can remember a time when a nickel would actually buy the parts of a hamburger lunch. Those little square hamburgers made by a number of superannuated chains started out as a nickel, and I remember the Krystal selling them for that for a week in 1966. (They were regularly ten cents then.) An order of fries and a soft drink were each a nickel, too. If I ever become too wealthy for my wife and kids to spend it all, I will open a hamburger stand with nickel hamburgers. Everything else would be expensive, especially the T-shirts and caps.

The Saints

This is the feast day of St. Honorius of Amiens, France, who lived in the seventh century. He is one of the many patron saints of bakers and patissiers. Always depicted in full bishop’s attire, he is shown carrying a paddle with bread on it.

Food Namesakes

Darrel Sweet, the drummer for the 1970s rock group Nazareth, got the Big Beat today in 1947. . . Fox News reporterTucker Carlson went live today in 1969 (“tucker” is Australian slang for food).

Words To Eat By

“Good manners is the noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.”–Bennett Cerf.

Words To Drink By

“A man who doesn’t drink is not, in my opinion, fully a man.”–Anton Chekhov.

Something We Think About Every Time We Get A Glass Of Wine.

“Why can’t a person get a whole glass of wine, not a half-glass? And aren’t wine glasses getting smaller all the time?
Click here for the cartoon.

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