5-Star Back Issue 9/27/2018. Lunch At Desi Vega’s.

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Pizza From The Grill.

Grilled Pizza When we have a pizza party, we often make it an outdoor event and bake the pizzas on the open grill. This works better than you can possibly imagine. You don’t even have to put the top down on the grill, unless it’s a windy, cold day. Any pizza topping works, except one: pepperoni, which needs heat from above, just sits there getting flaccid and unpleasant. Spinach and other vegetable pizzas are particularly good done on the grill. The best way to make pizza dough is in a…

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Deviled Crab Cakes

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RecipeSquare-150x150 Make this recipe instead of moaning over the disappearance of the canned codfish New Orleanians like to make during Lent. Codfish is largely fished out, and not often found at all down here. Use crabmeat instead, and you’ll have something. If jumbo lump crabmeat seems not penitential enough, use claw crabmeat. Read entire article.

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April 23 In Eating

AlmanacSquare This is National Picnic Week. It’s a wonderful day for a picnic in South Louisiana, the only place in the world where a picnic might well include boiled crawfish. Perhaps even boiled there in the park, now that everybody seems to have one of those gas-fired rigs. The word “picnic” comes from the French expression “pique nique,” which roughly translates as “picking at little things.” That’s what you do, of course. The funny thing about picnics is that you wind up eating more than you would at a formal dinner, especially if ribs or burgers are in the offing. That potato salad will come and get you, too.
Read entire article. National Picnic Week. It’s a wonderful day for a picnic in South Louisiana, the only place in the world where a picnic might well include boiled crawfish. Perhaps even boiled there in the park, now that everybody seems to have one of those gas-fired rigs. The word “picnic” comes from the French expression “pique nique,” which roughly translates as “picking at little things.” That’s what you do, of course. The funny thing about picnics is that you wind up eating more than you would at a formal dinner, especially if ribs or burgers are in the offing. That potato salad will come and get you, too. Read More. . .

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Oysters Casino

RecipeSquare-150x150 In the Northeast, clams casino is a familiar dish on traditional menus. We rarely see the dish in New Orleans (in fact, we almost never eat clams). But I always loved the sauce, and find it spectacular baked on top of oysters on the half shell. It’s also not bad as a casserole with shrimp. Recipe details. . .

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Evaluating Curio

Thursday, March 15, 2018. Mary Ann has plans for us to head to City Park, where there is a musical event in the Botanical Gardens. MA thought it involved a program of standards and classical, free for the visiting. But that wasn’t the story at all. So she changed our plans to Curio. The block surrounded by Chartres, Conti, Royal and Bienville has not historically been a major vortex of fine dining, even though the next outer layer of restaurants is one of the best blockfulls of excellent restaurants in…

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Pear Clafoutis

RecipeSquare-150x150 A clafoutis uses a runny version of Belgian waffle batter as a matrix for fruit–classically, cherries. But you can make it with anything sweet, and few fruits would make this more appealing than ripe pears. When you make this recipe, use more pear than you think you’ll need. And although the pan will seem to contain too much batter, go with it–it won’t run over. Recipe details. . .

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Diary: Semolina For The First Time In Years.

Saturday, February 24, 2018. Semolina Revisited. My wife Mary Ann is headed back home after a week spent with our son Jude and grandson Jackson at their home in Los Angeles. MA and our daughter Mary Leigh devised a ridiculously complex program by which the three of us figure out how to bring us and out cars home. At one point, the strategy had me performing my radio show from the radio station instead of from my home studio. That was nixed when I discovered that I had no radio…

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Garlic And Potato Soup

RecipeSquare-150x150 Garlic soup is delicious. After the garlic has been roasted long enough to make it soft and nutty, the sharp flavor we associate with the savory vegetable is nearly gone, and new flavors appear. This version uses a lot of garlic, but spreads it out through the agency of potatoes. It’s a great soup in the wintertime, and in the summer it can be served cold. Recipe details. . .

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Stonebreaker’s Spinach-Artichoke Dip

RecipeSquare-150x150 This spinach and artichoke dip is the great one they made at Steve Stonebreaker’s restaurant in the late 1980s. Steve was one of the original football Saints. He operated a very good grilled-rib restaurant in Metairie Recipe details. . .

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Brabant Potatoes

RecipeSquare-150x150 Brabant Potatoes

In most restaurants, these are nothing more than cube-shaped French fries. But if you take the extra step outlined below–drizzling them with garlic butter and then running them through the oven for a few minutes–you’ll have a side dish so incredible that you’d better make a lot of them. Recipe details. . .

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Crawfish Cardinale

RecipeSquare-150x150 Crawfish Cardinale

The most famous and best crawfish dish at Antoine’s is, like many of their dishes, an adaptation of something else on the menu. In this case, it’s crawfish mariniere with a bit of what they call “tomato sauce,” but which I’m almost certain is actually ketchup. This recipe duplicates the dish closely, then adds a couple of other flavors I like with crawfish (the tarragon, chervil, and dill, all optional). Recipe details. . .

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Blackened Catfish Salad

RecipeSquare-150x150 To blacken fish properly requires a very hot skillet, which will throw off a lot of smoke and perhaps even a few flames when the butter-coated fish hits the pan. Be sure to have a good exhaust fan going. Or take the whole shooting match outside, and do it on an outdoor grill. Recipe details. . .

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Tex-Mex Chili Sauce
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Tex-Mex Chili Sauce

This is half a chili con carne recipe. It has the seasonings and the flavor, but not the meat. You use it as a sauce, not as a finished dish. It’s good on chicken, pork, and cheese-and-onion enchiladas. But triple all the ingredients, add three pounds of cubed or ground beef chuck at the end of Step 1. and you’re on your way to a good, heart-warming (and heart-stopping) bowl of red. Read More. . .

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February 2 In Eating
* Red Bean Edition

February 2 In Eating

AlmanacSquare Al Copeland, the creator of Popeyes Fried Chicken and the Copeland’s restaurants, was born today in 1944. Without having graduated from high school, he worked in his brother’s doughnut stand until he went out on his own in 1972 with the first Popeyes stand, in Arabi. It looked more or less the way Popeyes did for decades after. He had many other things right from the beginning, most notably the red-pepper-based seasoning that made Popeyes distinctive. Popeyes was a tremendous success, and Copeland used that success to get into many other activities–some successful. some disastrous. He opened the first Copeland’s in 1985, which was so good and so far ahead of its time that it established Copeland’s reputation as having had a golden palate. Ironically, he died from a rare cancer of the salivary glands in 2008. A fascinating man. Read entire article.

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Commander’s Palace’s Garlic Bread
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Commander’s Palace’s Garlic Bread

This is the garlic bread by which all others are measured in New Orleans. Or at least that’s what my wife says. I can’t disagree, and I always eat far too much of it every time I have dinner at Commander’s, where this seems low-rent for such a fabulous restaurant. So what? It’s great with cocktails. The essential trick to making great garlic bread is. . . Read More. . .

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February 1 In Eating
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February 1 In Eating

AlmanacSquare Don’t be frightened by this, but it’s Rutabaga Day. Rutabagas are among the most misunderstood and underrated vegetables in this country. It’s a cross between the turnip and a variety of wild cabbage. It has been raised for food since at least the 1600s. It’s always been popular in Scandinavia. For that reason, the name for the vegetable in Great Britain is “swede.” I encountered that word on a trip to England a couple of years ago, when I bought a Cornish pasty stuffed with swede/rutabagas.

Full article>/h6>

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Cataplana With Mussels And Shrimp
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Cataplana With Mussels And Shrimp

Cataplana is the Portuguese version of what in France is called bouillabaisse, in Spain zarzuela, and in Italy cioppino. With regional differences, of course. The only restaurant I’ve ever found it was at La Cote Brasserie in its early days. They took it off the menu, so I had to do some research to develop my own slightly Creolized recipe, which pleased me. (If only my family were more adventuresome.) I know this looks like a long, complicated recipe, but it’s not really as hard as it appears. You have the whole weekend to have fun. Read More. . .

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Red Snapper Cal-Italian Style
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Red Snapper Cal-Italian Style

This is a fish dish in the style one sees widely in the restaurants of San Francisco and the wine country. I just got back from the Los Angeles area, and saw other vesions on those menus. Our fish is better than anything in California, however, and this recipe works beautifully for firm fillets of snapper, redfish, amberjack, sheepshead, or drum. It’s excellent with. . . The full recipe is here. . .

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Tres Leches Cake

500BestSquare Tres leches cake will come to you for the first time in some kind of Hispanic restaurant. With luck, it will be in a Central American or Cuban place. For some reason, they seem to understand the concept better. It consists of a layer or two of very moist (almost wet) yellow cake. Between the layers is a fluffy filling made with three kinds of milk: fresh, condensed and evaporated. Read entire article.

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Crawfish Pie
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Crawfish Pie

I don’t really like crawfish pie the way it’s usually made–as a thickened crawfish etouffee baked in a little pie shell. This version is a bit richer, more herbal (with an up-front garlic tinge), and less red-peppery. It’s also folded into a triangle of phyllo pastry, and comes out looking like a Middle Eastern spinach pie. That eliminates the worst part of the standard crawfish pie. . . Read More. . .

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Apple Chutney

RecipeSquare-150x150 Apple Chutney

Somebody asked me once for a chutney recipe. She was surprised that I have one. Chutney is an Indian-style relish, but I’ll bet they eat more of it per capita in England than anywhere else. Our consumption of it is rising, too. This recipe calls for pickling salt, which is made without anti-caking agents or iodine, both of which can affect the color of anything that’s pickled (as chutney is). Recipe details. . .

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Veal Chop Valdostana
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Veal Chop Valdostana

This is a classic veal dish from Northern Italy, where the “Val d’Aosta” of the name is located. It’s a distinctly Italian version of a dish that’s also found else where in Europe, although the Val d’Aosta folks claim it’s original to them. What we have here is a veal chop stuffed with ham and cheese–specifically prosciutto and Fontina. This dish is universal in the Italian restaurants of New York, but you see it only in the most advanced Italian restaurants here. It is a signature dish at Andrea’s. This recipe comes from the cookbook he and I collaborated upon in the late 1980s, at the restaurant’s peak. Read More. . .

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Chicken Grandee

This dish was made famous at Mosca’s, but it spread to many other restaurants around New Orleans. Each of them cooks it a little differently. (Mosca’s doesn’t use the sausage or bell pepper in theirs.) Feel free to add a few items of your own into the broiling pan. (If this sounds like chicken Vesuvio, then welcome to New Orleans from the Northeast!) Read More. . .

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Hot Shrimp With Jalapeno, Bacon & Mozzarella.
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Hot Shrimp With Jalapeno, Bacon & Mozzarella.

When Louisiana brown shrimp or white shrimp are in season (spring and late summer respectively), New Orleans people think of a new way to cook them every day. This one is a great party dish: big shrimp butterflied and stuffed with mozzarella cheese, wrapped in Cajun hot sausage (pre-fried bacon also works), and broiled till the sausage is crispy. Make a million of these: once people start eating them, they won’t be able to stop. Read More. . .

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Cherry Bounce
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Cherry Bounce

RecipeSquare-150x150In South Louisiana, cherry trees don’t get enough days of freezing weather in the winter to grow cherries of any particular merit. However, wild cherry trees are everywhere. (I have several growing in the woods around the Cool Water Ranch.) The cherries they produce are small and extremely tart. And the birds have a way of getting them all. But some people have enough good trees to get quite a few cherries, and they make this liqueur with them. You might be tempted to make this with good fresh cherries from the store, but it doesn’t work: the cherries have to be sour. While different makers of this use different liquors for the marinade, it seems to me that vodka is the way to go. Recipe details. . .

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Red Beans and Rice
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Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice is the official Monday dish in New Orleans, found on that day in restaurants of almost every kind all over town. Although most people agree on the recipe, the trend in recent years–especially in restaurants–has been to make the sauce matrix much thicker than I remember growing up with. This version is the old (and, I think, better) style, with a looser sauce. Read More. . .

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Too, Too Many Eaters And Drinkers In The Quarter.
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Too, Too Many Eaters And Drinkers In The Quarter.

Friday, December 29, 2017. Wild Day In The Cold. Too much going on. The day began with an extra-early crossing of the bridge and an interview with Newell Normand, the former sheriff of Jefferson Parish. He is now the morning talk show host on WWL radio. He must have done some studying, because he sounds like he had it down. For a change, I was the interviewee, with Newell asking me where I’d recommend dining out on New Year’s Eve, three days hence. I didn’t bring up the matter that,…

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Pasta Fagioli Soup (Pasta And White Bean Soup)

RecipeSquare-150x150 This is the famous bean soup of Southern Italy. It is what’s meant by the slang Italian expression “pasta fazool.” It’s a hearty, delicious, very healthful potage, great in the wintertime in particular but light enough that it can be eaten throughout the year. What makes it particularly good is the use of fresh herbs, especially basil. Or even pesto, if you made a bunch of that before your basil plants froze last winter. Recipe details. . .

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Cauliflower (Or Broccoli) Au Gratin
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Cauliflower (Or Broccoli) Au Gratin

The idea of broccoli or spinach or something else au gratin, baked to bubbly and crusty with lots of cheese , the way our steakhouses do, sounded great to me–even though I’m no big fan of those dishes. I had a cauliflower in the refrigerator, fresh from the farm of a friend. Next thing I knew, I had cauliflower au gratin. Read More. . .

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Diary: Eat Club Revival @ Brennan’s.
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Diary: Eat Club Revival @ Brennan’s.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017. The Eat Club Gala. 2017 has been a fallow year for the New Orleans Eat Club. After more than twenty years of programming our wine dinners as often as weekly, we shifted to doing them weakly. Some of this owed to our hitting a number of restaurants too often. That effect was its own demise. It has been months since our last dinner. The venue for this one was the new Brennan’s on Royal Street. That has long been the most popular of all our dinners,…

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Diary: Manresa’s Grandeur and Massiveness.
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Diary: Manresa’s Grandeur and Massiveness.

Monday, November 27, 2017. Hacking Through Hundreds of Words To Be Written. In a less than mellow mood, I tell you that I don’t really like going on vacations. The worst part of them is getting from the bedroom where the luggage is packed at home to the arrival at the hotel. This always happens to me: the TSA guys always find two or three oddities in my clothes and bags. Meanwhile, those traveling with me disappear into the concourse, leaving me to lose my way among the crowds. But…

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Public Service
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Public Service

Public Service CBD: 311 Baronne St. 504-962-6527. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC V Website ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS Among the many restaurants that have populated the CBD in recent years, Public Service is one of the most interesting. Not yet for its food, really, but for its possibilities. The building is the former headquarters of New Orleans Public Service, Inc. which for a long time supplied electricity, gas, and transit to everybody in New Orleans. When Entergy acquired the premises years ago, the place was left behind. In recent times, its sturdiness…

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Bolognese Sauce
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Bolognese Sauce

RecipeSquare-150x150 The great meat sauces of Italy are made in the area of Bologna, where every family says that its meat sauce is the best. An authentic Bolognese meat sauce is so different from the standard American meat sauce for spaghetti that I hesitate to even mention them in the same sentence. Here is what the spaghetti with meat sauce you’ve been subjecting yourself to all your life in cafeterias was really trying to be. More to come. . .

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Turkey Giblet Gravy

RecipeSquare-150x150 The first year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my extended family, I got more compliments than I thought I would for my sugar-cane-smoked turkey, cooked on the outdoor grill. Then my balloon was burst when my wife looked at me and said, “Where’s the gravy?” Well. . . I got right to work with the few resources at hand and made a bad one that I caught grief for for the next year. After that, I was ready with this.//// Recipe details. . .

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