Jul 302012

Today is National Cheese Cake Day. My favorite cheese cake will always be my mother’s. Since I have already posted that recipe, here is the recipe from LeRuth’s restaurant. Chef Warren made his own Vanilla Bean Marinade. It was the best vanilla you could buy. It is still available under the Ronald Reginald’s label.

Graham Cracker Crumbs

Butter to grease pan

2 cups Sugar

¼ cup Flour

3 pounds Cream Cheese at room temperature

6 Eggs

2 Egg Yolks

1 teaspoon LeRuth’s Vanilla Bean Marinade (Now under the Ronald Reginald’s Label)

1 grated Lemon Rind

1 grated Orange Rind

¼ cup Half and Half Cream

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Grease Springform pan generously with butter and line with Graham cracker crumbs. Sift flour and sugar into mixing bowl. With mixer running, add softened chunks of cheese. When all the cheese is mixed into sugar, begin to add eggs slowly. Scrape bowl often to keep batter smooth. Then add orange, lemon, vanilla and half and half cream.

Bake in 1 inch of water at 475 degrees for 15 minutes. Then reduce oven to 225 degrees for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Depan when cold and chill well before serving. Cheese cake is always greater when served with fresh raspberries, strawberries or blueberries.

Happy National Cheese Cake Day!


Jul 262012

Osso Buco is translated Bone with a hole, referring to the marrow

in the bone. This is the ultimate roasted veal dish. There are two

versions. The older version is seasoned with cinnamon and bay leaf.

The modern version is the one you will likely find. Here is that version.

½ cup Flour

Creole Seasoning Blend

4 pieces Veal Shank with bone, cut to 3 inches

3 tablespoons Olive Oil

3 tablespoons Butter

1 medium Onion chopped

½ cup Celery chopped

½ cup Carrots chopped

4 cloves Garlic chopped

2 Bay Leaves

3 tablespoons Fresh Parsley minced

1 cup Marsala Wine

2 cups Chicken Stock or Broth

2 Tomatoes peeled seeded and chopped

In a large shallow bowl, season flour with Creole seasoning. Dredge

the veal shanks in the flour, shaking off the excess. In a large skillet

or Dutch oven, over medium heat, heat the oil and butter. Sear the

shanks on all sides. Make sure the bones don’t touch the pan to keep

the marrow in the bones. Add more oil and butter, if needed. Remove

the browned shanks and set aside. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic,

bay leaves and parsley to the pan and cook until soft. Season with

Creole seasoning. Raise the heat to high. Add the wine and deglaze

the pan. Return the shanks to the pan. Add the stock and tomatoes and

drizzle with olive oil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about

1½ hours or until the meat is tender. Baste the meat a few times while

cooking. Remove the cover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes to

reduce the sauce.

Jul 232012

This is the marinade that was used at Cannon’s restaurant. It is a great marinade for white meat that is to be grilled. You want to marinade overnight for best results.

3 cups Vegetable Oil

1 ½ quarts Chablis Wine

1 tablespoon Granulated Garlic

3 cups Onion minced

2 tablespoons Celery Salt

2 tablespoons Salt

2 tablespoons Black Pepper

1 tablespoon Tarragon Leaves

3 tablespoon Rosemary

2 tablespoon Thyme

¼ cup Garlic chopped

¼ cup Paprika

¼ cup Creole Seasoning Blend

Mix oil, water, granulated garlic, onion, celery salt, salt and pepper

thoroughly until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Cover meat with marinade. Marinate a minimum of 12 hours.


Jul 192012

We are in the middle of summer. When I think of summer, I think of the grill or BBQ.  A perfect dish for the grill is Redfish on the Half Shell. For the hafl shell, you leave the skin and scales on the fish. This allows the fish to stay moist while cooking. This works well with other skin on fish.

6 (7-ounce) fillets of Redfish, skin and scales on, with pin bones removed

1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning

4 Garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

½ cup good quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 tablespoon Sea Salt

½ cup chopped fresh Parsley

2 large Lemons, halved


Rinse the fish fillets and pat them dry with paper towels. Place the fillets on a baking sheet, season with the Creole Seasoning. Top the fillets with the sliced garlic and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Use your fingers to distribute the oil and seasonings evenly over fish, then set the fish aside to marinate while you heat the grill.

Fire up the grill to a medium-high setting. (If you are using charcoal, the coals should be mostly white.) Place the fillets scale side down on the hot grill. Cover the grill and cook the fish without moving for 7 to 10 minutes, until it is just cooked through; it will flake easily when tested with a paring knife. (You can also cook the fish “on the half shell” on an oiled baking sheet in a 475 degree F oven for 6 to 8 minutes.)

Using a metal spatula, transfer the fillets to serving plates and top with the sea salt and parsley, a little extra olive oil, and lemon juice.


Jul 162012

One of the more popular items on Cannon’s menu was their Baby Back Ribs. They were tender andhad a great smoke flavor. But Cannon’s did not have a smoker. So, how did they achieve this. They used Liquid Smoke. While Liquid Smoke would never replace a smoker, it is great to use if you don’t have one. I have been making my ribs this way lately. A great smoke smell fills the house as the ribs are slowly cooking. It is a great way to enjoy ribs.


Rib Rub

2 cups Sugar

2/3 cup White Pepper

½ cup Granulated Garlic

1 tablespoon Cayenne

Mix thoroughly and place in a shaker.

Cover each rib thoroughly with Rub

Place in a pan that has a screen in it.

To the bottom of the pan add ¼ cup Liquid Smoke and ¾ cup Water.

Place ribs on screen meat side up. Cover tightly with Aluminum Foil.

Cook for 4 ½ hours at 250 degrees. When done, allow to cool for 15 minutes.

To reheat, place them on a grill to rewarm them.  Add your favorite BBQ sauce and serve.



Jul 122012

Tuesday, I posted what I thought would be the best all crab seven course dinner from New Orleans restaurants. When I finished that list, I realized that a better dinner would be using seven crab dishes from restaurants no longer open. Here is the recipe for what I consider the ultimate crab dish, Crabmeat St. Francis from LeRuth’s restaurant. This wonderful appetizer is the perfect way to eat crabmeat. It became so popular, that a double portion could be had as an entree. This recipe is on of the few recipes of LeRuth’s menu that have ever been published.  The following is from my cookbook.

My first job was at the Five Star LeRuth’s Restaurant, now closed.

It was located across the river from Downtown New Orleans in the

city of Gretna. This is where my love of the restaurant business began.

I had lots of fun while watching chefs Warren, Larry and Lee Leruth

make their magic. This recipe was their most popular dish. Never

have I tasted a dish as good as this.

3 tablespoons Butter

1 small Green Onion, finely chopped

1 large clove Garlic, finely chopped

3/8 cup Yellow Onions, finely chopped

3/8 cup Celery Hearts, finely chopped

1 sprig fresh Thyme, finely chopped

½ teaspoon Salt

 Pinch of Celery Seed

 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

 1/8 teaspoon White Pepper

 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper

 2 Bay Leaves

 3/8 cup Flour

 1 pint Heavy Cream gently boiling

 1 cup Seafood Stock gently boiling

 1/8 cup Chablis wine

 1 tablespoon fresh Parsley chopped

 2 Egg Yolks

 1 pound Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, picked over for shell pieces

 Seasoned Bread Crumbs

 6 tablespoons melted Butter

 6 casserole dishes

In a deep sauté pan, heat the butter. Add the green onion, garlic,

onion, celery heart, and all spices. Stir in the flour and make a

vegetable roux, stirring continuously. Allow to cook over low heat

for 5 minutes. Add the boiling cream, seafood stock and wine. Bring

to a boil. Reduce and simmer 15 minutes, then add the parsley. On

low heat, stir in the yolks. Remove from direct heat and stir well.

Keep warm. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide the crabmeat into

the casserole dishes. Cover with approximately ½ cup of sauce

and bake until bubbly and browned, about 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle

breadcrumbs on top and spoon 1 tablespoon melted butter over each

dish. Serve immediately.


Jul 102012

While making crab cakes, I started to think of all of the great crabmeat dishes in New Orleans restaurants. I wondered how fun it would be to do a seven course crab dinner by visiting various restaurants in the city and eat the ultimate crab dinner. My first stop would be at Galatoire’s for their Crabmeat Canape Lorenzo. This often overlooked appetizer is a combination of crabmeat and Hollandaise sauce on top of toast. To me, it is the best way to start a meal at Galatoire’s. Next stop is down the street to the Bourbon House. The dish here is the Crab Fingers Bordelaise. They fry crab claws and top them with a great New Orleans Bordelaise sauce, which is a combination of butter, garlic and lemon juice. Staying in the neighborhood, the next stop would be at the Palace Café for their Crabmeat Cheesecake. The cheesecake is topped with a Meuniere sauce with Mushrooms and sautéed Crab Claws. This dish was my first experience with a savory cheesecake. I have not eaten a better cheesecake than this one. The next dish requires a little travel. On the Westbank in Avondale, you will find Mosca’s restaurant. The first time you see the white shack, no way will you believe that a great restaurant is inside. The next dish on our menu is the marinated Crab Salad. On a bed of mixed greens, you will find a great amount of crabmeat marinated in a Creole Italian sauce. Our next stop brings us back to the French Quarter to Brennen’s. The dish to get here is the Buster Crabs Béarnaise. A Buster Crab is a crab on the verge of molting, but taken from the water before it does. The shell is removed by hand, usually resulting in the loss of the legs and claws. At Brennen’s, they sauté the crabs then top them with their classic Béarnaise sauce. Our final two dishes are from the entrée section of the menus and they both have a similar element. The first dish is the Crabmeat au Gratin from the Bon Ton restaurant. This dish is so good; it was featured on an episode of Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate. Chef John Besh presented this creamy and cheesy dish to foodies everywhere. Our final dish is from the menu of Drago’s. Their Crab Cake Platter features a Crab and Shrimp cake topped with a Crabmeat au Gratin sauce. They serve this with Linguini so you can eat all of the sauce. While this would be a great meal, I don’t think anyone could eat all of this in the course of a dinner.

While these dishes are, in my opinion, the best crabmeat dishes available, they would not be on the best New Orleans Crabmeat dishes of all time. My all time 7 course crab dinner would start with Crabmeat Ravioli from La Riviera. Chef Goffredo Fraccaro created this dish for the Crab Olympics in San Francisco in 1980. Of course, he took first prize. His reasoning was that his momma put everything in ravioli; so why not crabmeat. It is sad that the restaurant never reopened after Katrina.  Our next dish is from the closed restaurant the Andrew Jackson. Located down the street from Mr B’s Bistro, the Andrew Jackson’s best appetizer was the Crabmeat Lafitte. This dish is a lot like the Crabmeat Canape Lorenzo, consisting of crabmeat and Hollandaise sauce. From there, we move to Bella Luna. A beautiful restaurant with a spectacular view of the river, Bella Luna never reopened after Katrina. Their Crab cakes with Ancho Remoulade sauce was a great appetizer. You will be able to find a version of our next dish at the restaurant that opened in its place. Christian’s restaurant was a Mid City landmark. The restaurant in a converted church was known for their Smoked Soft Shell Crabs. After being smoked, the crab was fried and topped with brown butter. The restaurant Redemption has reopened in Christian’s church and is offering an almost exact copy of the Smoked Soft Shell Crab. For the next three dishes, we head to the area of town I grew up in, the Westbank. Our first stop would be at Berdou’s restaurant for Crabmeat Berdou. The best dish here was a crabmeat casserole made with a good amount of garlic. This great little restaurant was one of the first great restaurants I remember eating at. To no surprise, my last two dishes are from the best restaurant I ever ate at, LeRuth’s.  If you have followed my blog, you know that my first job was at LeRuth’s. While there may be a little bias on my part, most people who have eaten there agree that it was one of the best, if not the best, restaurants in New Orleans. The two final dishes of this fantasy crab meat dinner are the Soft Shell Crabs with Crabmeat menuiere sauce and the Crabmeat St. Francis. The soft shell crabs have been copied at other restaurants but never perfected. After frying the soft shell crab, an enormous amount of crabmeat was placed on top, then covered with menuiere sauce. The first time I had this dish; it was topped with a pound of Lump Crabmeat. The last dish is, in my opinion, the best crab dish I have ever eaten, Crabmeat St. Francis. The crabmeat was topped with a rich peppery sauce. To make it even richer, a tablespoon of melted butter was added on top before it was served. I have never eaten a better crabmeat dish.

You can find some of the recipes for these no longer available dishes on previous blog post. I have enjoyed these dishes almost as much as I remember eating them in the restaurants. Since crabmeat is available throughout the country, anyone can recreate many of these dishes. Give them a try and eat a little piece of New Orleans culinary history.

Jul 092012

July 6th was National Fried Chicken Day. Since I have already posted my take on Popeye’s Fried Chicken, here is a recipe from my first place of employment, LeRuth’s. Since LeRuth’s only opened for dinner, every day the kitchen staff, along with the waiter on duty taking reservations, would sit down for lunch. It was never fancy food but it was great food. Here is the fried chicken recipe they used.

3  2 1/2 lbs Chickens cut into 8 pieces

3 tablespoons Salt

1 tablespoon Cayenne

1 teaspoon Celery Salt

1 teaspoon Accent


Oil for frying

Wash chicken well and drain. Mix spices together and sprinkle over chicken and toss thoroughly. Mix and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours to marinate. Stir chicken well, dredge in flour and fry at 340 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes depending on size of pieces.


Jul 052012

Doberge cake is a layered dessert originating in New Orleans. Still popular in the area, the cake is made of multiple thin layers of cake alternating with dessert pudding. Very often the cakes are made with half chocolate pudding and half lemon pudding. They are covered in a thin layer of butter cream and a fondant shell or, alternately, a poured glaze on the outside. They are normally made with six or more layers, but many amateurs make versions with fewer. Traditional flavors are chocolate, lemon and caramel. This is the original recipe from Beulah Ledner.

Doberge torte

1 ½ sticks butter

2 cups sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

4 eggs, separated, whites stiffly beaten

1 cup milk

3 teaspoons baking powder

3 ½ cups cake flour (measured after sifting)

Scant teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter, sugar and salt until smooth. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and blend until smooth. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk. Beat until blended. Add vanilla and lemon juice.

With a spatula, fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Grease 9-inch cake pans. Pour ¾ cup batter into each pan, spreading evenly over bottom. Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Repeat process until batter is completely used, to make eight thin layers.

When cool, put layers together with chocolate custard filling and spread chocolate butter cream icing on top and sides. Chill. Then ice with Always Delicious Chocolate Icing.


2 cups granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons cornstarch

2 heaping kitchen spoons cocoa

4 tablespoons bitter chocolate

4 whole eggs

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

4 cups (1 quart) milk

Stir all dry ingredients together in a saucepan, then add the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from fire to cool.


2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

½ pound oleo (margarine), softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup cocoa

1 ounce square bitter chocolate, melted

Cream sugar and oleo, then add cocoa, then the melted chocolate and vanilla. If too thick, add a little hot water, very slowly, until the consistency is right.


1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup white granulated sugar

4 squares melted semi-sweet chocolate

½ stick butter

¾ cup cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and let it come slowly to a boil, then boil about 10 minutes until it thickens. Beat until thick enough to spread.



Jul 022012

This is a lighter way to enjoy a Muffuletta. By taking the insides

of a Muffuletta and putting them on a bed of lettuce, you have made

the ultimate Creole Italian Salad. With the olive oil mixture from the

olive salad, there is no need for another dressing.

2 heads Iceberg Lettuce cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

1 head Romaine Lettuce cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

¼ cup Carrot shredded

¼ cup Red Cabbage shredded

8 ounces Genoa Salami, thinly sliced and diced

8 ounces Ham, thinly sliced and diced

4 ounces Provolone cheese, shredded

4 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Olive Salad

2/3 cup large Green Olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

2/3 cup medium Green Olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 16oz jar Giardiniera

½ cup chopped Pimentos

4 cloves Garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Capers, drained and rinsed

½ cup fresh Parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh Oregano, finely chopped

1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar


¾ cup Extra-virgin Olive Oil

 In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and then allow the

flavors to blend for at least 2 hours prior to serving. Store, covered, in

the refrigerator until ready to use.


Mix together lettuce, carrot and cabbage. Put the lettuce mixture

into chilled bowls. On top of each salad, put 2 ounces of salami, 2

ounces ham, 1 ounce provolone, 1 ounce mozzarella, and ¾ cup olive