Oct 312012

I will not be posting any recipes until November 12th. After work on Thursday, my wife and I will be heading to New Orleans for a short visit before we leave on a cruise on Sunday. I will be updating my meals in New Orleans daily. As I can, I will post about the food on the cruise. We are going on the Carnival Conquest. We will be the second cruise on which they have upgraded some of their food and beverage options. Guy Fieri has developed a burger restaurant that will replace the regular burgers around the pool. There will also be a fresh Mexican food bar in the pool area. I can’t wait to try them.

Oct 292012

This is the most popular dessery at Emeril’s restaurant.

There are a few secrets necessary to make this pie successfully. First, the bananas, while ripe, need to be firm so that they hold their shape when pushed into place. Second, the pastry cream needs to be very stiff so that when sliced, the pie will not crumble or slide. It’s also important to cover the bananas completely with the last layer of pastry cream to prevent them from discoloring. At Emeril’s, we pipe the whipped cream over each individual slice before serving, but feel free to spread your whipped cream over the whole pie (which, incidentally, has been on the menu at Emeril’s since day one, and continues to be one of our most requested desserts).

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • Graham Cracker Crust
  • 3 pounds (about 9) firm but ripe bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into 9 firm but ripe bananas (about 3 pounds), peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine 2 cups cream, the milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla bean and seeds in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.

Combine egg yolks, eggs, cornstarch, and 1 cup sugar in a medium bowl; whisk until pale yellow in color. Set aside.

Whisk 1 cup hot cream mixture into egg yolk mixture. Gradually add egg mixture to hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon to cook out cornstarch and thicken mixture, about 5 minutes. (The mixture may separate slightly; if so, remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer until thick and smooth.) Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in refrigerator for about 4 hours.

To assemble, spread 1/2 cup custard over the bottom of the prepared crust, smoothing with the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula. Arrange enough banana slices (not quite one-third) in a tight, tiled pattern over custard, pressing down with your hands to pack them firmly. Repeat to build a second layer, using 3/4 cup custard and enough bananas to cover, smoothing down the layer evenly. For the third layer, spread 3/4 cup of custard over bananas and top with remaining bananas, starting 1 inch from outer edge and working toward center. Spread 1 cup custard evenly over bananas to prevent discoloration. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

In a medium bowl, whip remaining 2 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Remove pie from refrigerator. With a sharp knife dipped in hot water, cut pie into 10 equal slices. Transfer slices to dessert plates. Fill a pastry bag with whipped cream and pipe onto each slice. (Alternately, spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie before cutting.)

They serve this with drizzles of Chocolate and Caramel sauce.


Oct 252012

This recipe is from LeRuth’s Front Door/Back Door cookbook. It is one of two cookbooks, the other is a small 20th anniversary cookbook that was given out at the restaurant, that LeRuth’s has published. This recipe was not served in the dining room. It was served as part of the staff meal, which was served to the kitchen staff and waiter on duty.

1/2 stick Butter
4 Eggs
2 1/2 c. Sugar
1 qt. Milk
1 tbsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Mace
3/4 c. raisins
1/2 loaf Poor Boy Bread, cut into 1 inch thick slice
1/2 c. Whipping Cream or Sour Cream
1/3 c. Sugar


Spread soft butter over 9 x 13 inch glass casserole dish. Mix eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla and mace. Stir in raisins. Add bread and let soak 10 minutes. Pour into baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees until pudding is almost firm. Remove from oven.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Carefully pour whipping cream (no substitute) over top. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar and remaining 1/2 stick butter. Return to oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes to let cream set. Serves 6 to 8.


Oct 222012

Here is a dessert that it very popular in New Orleans. Sweet Potatoes are often seen on tables around Louisiana.

The popular sweet potato is in all its glory when it is made into a

pie. This southern classic is very popular. There are a few companies

in New Orleans whose reputation is built on the sweet potato pie. The

most common used sweet potato is canned by Bruce Foods, out of

New Iberia, Louisiana. Every year Bruce Foods, in conjunction with

Louisiana Cookin magazine, has a sweet potato recipe contest.

3 tablespoons Flour

1 2/3 cup Sugar

1 cup mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 Eggs

¼ cup Light Corn Syrup

¼ teaspoon Nutmeg

Pinch Salt

½ cup Butter

¾ cup Evaporated Milk

1 9-inch unbaked 9-inch Pie Shell

Preheat over to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the

flour and sugar. Add potatoes, eggs, corn syrup, nutmeg, salt, butter,

and evaporated milk. Beat well. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 55-60




Oct 182012

This recipe is the closest to Antoine’s original recipe.

The most surprising request for a recipe I ever received came from Bernard Guste, the fifth-generation proprietor of Antoine’s. He wanted to use my recipe for oysters Rockefeller. His reason was that since Antoine’s own recipe (they invented the dish, I’m sure you know) is a secret, they needed something to give the many people who ask for it. He told me that my recipe is “embarrassingly close” to the real thing. I’m flattered. And if I say so myself, he’s right. It took me about fifty tries to create a match for the flavor of Antoine’s great specialty.

Which does not and never did include either spinach or Mornay sauce, as most recipes call for. It does have green food coloring–an atrocity now, but very common in the cooking of a century ago, when this dish was created. (Feel free to leave it out.)

Oysters Rockefeller have always been among my favorite Creole-French dishes, and one that creates its own special occasion when you make it.

  • Four dozen oysters
  • Water from oysters, plus enough more water to make two cups
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green onion tops
  • 2 cups chopped parsley, stems removed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh fennel
  • 1 cup chopped watercress
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh garlic
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 drops green food coloring (optional but authentic)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups very fine fresh bread crumbs

1. Combine the vegetables and the anchovies in small batches and chop to a near-puree in a food processor, using the oyster water to help things along.

2. Combine this green slurry and the rest of the oyster water in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring every now and then, until the excess water is gone but the greens remain very moist. Add sugar, catsup, salt, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, bitters and food coloring.

3. Make a blond roux with the butter and flour. Blend well into the greens, until the sauce takes on a different, lighter texture. Then mix in the bread crumbs.

4. Place large, fresh oysters into oyster shells, small ovenproof ramekins, or small au gratin dishes. Top each oyster with a generous tablespoon of sauce (or more, if you like). Bake 15 minutes in a preheated 450-degree oven, or until the top of the sauce has barely begun to brown. Serve immediately.

If you’d like to bake this using oyster shells, serve on a bed of rock salt or on a napkin to keep the shells from rocking.

Serves eight


Oct 152012

Bouilabassie is a traditional Provencal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille. This stew is traditionally made with 3 different fish. In New Orleans, we replace some of the fish with local seafood; Shrimp, Oysters and Crabmeat. This dish shows up as the soup of the day at Commander’s Palace. It is a great light soup that is usually served in the summertime.

3 stalks Celery, in medium dice

1 medium Onion, in medium dice

2 medium Green Bell Peppers, in medium dice

16 cloves Garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon Olive Oil (you may not need it)

Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

1 medium head Fennel, in medium dice

2 Bay Leaves

2 quarts Seafood Stock or Chicken Stock

½ pound New Potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick

2 large Tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded, and cut in medium dice (use canned chopped tomatoes if fresh ones are out of season)

½ pound Fish Fillets, in large dice (use any saltwater fish, such as Flounder, Sea Trout, Redfish, or Snapper)

½ pound medium Shrimp, peeled

1 pint shucked Oysters

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Tarragon or Basil

½ pound Crabmeat, any variety, picked clean of shell

1 bunch Green Onions, thinly sliced


Place the celery, diced onion, peppers, and garlic in a large stockpot. Turn the heat to high, stir, and cook until the vegetables give up their liquid and are tender, about 8 to 9 minutes. If the vegetables start to stick, add the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the fennel and bay leaves, sauté for 1 minute, add the stock and potatoes, and bring to a boil. Skim and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are about half-cooked (test by removing a slice and cutting it). Add the tomatoes, stir, and simmer for about 7 minutes.

Add fish fillets and shrimp, stir, and simmer for about 1½ minutes, or until the seafood looks halfway cooked. Stir in the oysters and herbs. Cook for about 1 minute, until the edges of the oysters curl. Add the crabmeat, stir, simmer, and adjust seasoning. Turn off heat.

Serve in large bowls, and sprinkle with green onions.


Oct 112012

One of the world’s best known meal is Breakfast at Brennan’s. This French Quarter restaurant probably serves the most breakfast meals of any independent restaurant. But Brennan’s is also a great dinner destination. The Oyster Soup is found on both menus. Since oyster season has started, this is a great dish for any meal.

1 cup Butter

2 cups Celery, finely chopped

1 cup Green Onions, finely chopped

1 1/4 cups Flour

2 tablespoons Garlic, finely chopped

4 dozen large Oysters with liquor reserved

12 cups Oyster Water (the oyster liquor plus enough water to make 12 cups)

4 Bay Leaves

2 teaspoons Salt

1 teaspoon White Pepper

Melt butter over medium heat in a 6 quart heavy saucepan, then saute the celery and green onions until tender but not browned, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in the flour and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring constantly, over low heat. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and scoop out the bay leaves with a slotted spoon or a long fork; discard. Serve immediately.


Oct 082012

This soup was created by Susan Spicer, owner of Bayonna and Mondo restaurants. Susan has been cooking since 1970. Her cookbook, Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer’s New Orleans, was one of the top 25 cookbooks of 2008. This soup is her signature dish. My connection to this recipe is the restaurant Bayonna. Before Bayonna, Lee LeRuth has opened Torey’s. It was his attempt to open his own restaurant. Unfortunately, it did not last.

Cream Of Garlic Soup

2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
6 cups peeled and sliced Onions
2 cups peeled but not chopped Garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
7 cups Chicken Stock
1 Bouquet Garni (Parsley stems, Thyme sprigs and Bay Leaf)
3 cups stale Bread, torn into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1 cup Half-and-Half or Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until they turn a deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Add the thyme, 6 cups of the chicken stock, and the bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Stir in the bread cubes and let simmer for 10 minutes, until the bread is soft. Remove the soup from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.
Remove the bouquet garni and puree the soup in a blender (in batches) until completely smooth. Return the soup to the pot and heat to the desired temperature. Whisk in more chicken stock if the mixture is too thick. Add half-and-half or cream until the soup reaches the texture of a classic cream soup. Season with salt and pepper.



Oct 042012

When most people think of cheesecake, they think of dessert. Crabmeat Cheesecake is one of the signature dishes at Palace Cafe on Canal Street next to the French Quarter. Palace Cafe is owned by Dickie Brennan, a member of the Brennan family that owns Commander’s Palace. Dickie is the only member of the Brennan family that has trained to be a chef. When Palace Cafe first opened, he was the executive chef. The Crabmeat Cheesecake is an excellent way to start a meal at Palace Cafe. It is the perfect appetizer to share at a table.

Crabmeat Cheesecake

Serves 8

Pecan Crust
¾ C – Pecans
1 C – All-purpose flour
¼ T – Salt
5 T – Butter, cold
3 T – Ice water

½ C – Onion, small diced
1 T – Butter
4 oz – Crabmeat
8 oz – Cream cheese, room temperature
⅓ C – Creole cream cheese or sour cream
2 ea – Eggs
1 T – Hot pepper sauce (we use Crystal hot sauce in this recipe)
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Meunière Sauce
1 ea – Lemon, peeled and quartered
½ C – Worcestershire sauce
½ C – Hot pepper sauce
¼ C – Heavy whipping cream
1 lb – Butter, cold, cut into small cubes
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

2 C – Sliced, mixed wild mushrooms
3 T – Butter, softened
24 ea – Crab claw fingers
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Preparing the Pecan Crust
Preheat oven to 350°. Finely grind pecans in a food processor. Add flour and salt. Mix well. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and cut in butter, working butter into flour with two knives until dough is in crumbs the size of small peas. Add ice water and evenly incorporate into the mixture, which should remain fairly crumbly. Roll out dough to an 1/8″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Press dough into a lightly greased 9″ tart pan, starting with the sides and then the bottom. Bake crust for 20 minutes, or until golden. Note: Dough can be made ahead of time. If doing so, wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Allow dough to come to room temperature before rolling out.

Preparing the Filling
Sauté onion in butter until translucent. Add crabmeat and cook just until heated through, then remove from heat. Blend cream cheese until smooth in a mixer fitted with a paddle, or by hand using a wooden spoon. Add Creole cream cheese and mix well. Mix in eggs one at a time. Gently fold in crabmeat mixture. Stir in hot sauce and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Spoon filling into prepared crust. Bake at 300° for 30-40 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

Preparing the Meunière Sauce and Garnish
Combine lemon, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a heavy saucepot. Reduce over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until mixture becomes thick and syrupy. Whisk in heavy whipping cream. Reduce heat to low and slowly blend in butter one cube at a time, adding additional butter only after previously added butter has completely incorporated into the sauce. This process is called “mounting the butter.” Remove from heat and continue to stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Strain through a fine strainer and keep warm. Sauté mushrooms in 2T butter until tender and all moisture has cooked off. Excess water from the mushrooms may break your sauce if it isn’t cooked off. Stir mushrooms into meunière sauce. Melt 1T butter in a sauté pan and warm crab claws over low heat.

To serve
Slice cheesecake and top each piece with warm meunière sauce and three crab claws.


Oct 012012

Today, we are getting the first feel of Fall in the air. This gets me thinking about making soup. Today, I have a gumbo recipe from Mr. B’s Bistro in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Gumbo Ya Ya is very different from a Seafood Gumbo. The roux is darker for Gumbo Ya Ya. The meat in the gumbo is Chicken and Andouille. This is a great gumbo when fresh seafood is not available.

This recipe makes a lot of gumbo, 6 quarts, so you’ll have enough for a big party or you can freeze some for later.

1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted Butter

3 cups all-purpose Flour

2 Red Bell Peppers, in medium dice

2 Green Bell Peppers, in medium dice

2 medium Onions, in medium dice

2 Celery stalks, in medium dice

1 1/4 gallon (20 cups) Chicken Stock or Broth

2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning

1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper

1 teaspoon dried hot Red Pepper Flakes

1 teaspoon Chili Powder

1 teaspoon dried Thyme

1 tablespoon chopped Garlic

2 Bay Leaves

2 tablespoons Kosher Salt

1 lb. Andouille Sausage, cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices

3 1/2 lb. Chicken, roasted and boned

Hot Sauce to taste

Boiled Rice as accompaniment

In a 12-quart stockpot melt butter over moderately low heat. Gradually add a third of the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add a third more flour and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add remaining third of flour and stir constantly 30 seconds. Continue to cook roux, stirring constantly, until it is the color of dark mahogany, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add bell peppers and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add onions and celery and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add the stock to roux, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add all remaining ingredients except chicken, rice, and hot sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer gumbo, uncovered, 45 minutes, skimming off any fat and stirring occasionally. Add chicken and simmer 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning with hot sauce. Serve over rice.