May 302013

This is the time of the year for great Soft Shell Crabs. Here is a recipe that is a take on Trout Almondine. This recipe is from Tom Fitzmorris, New Orleans’ Mr. Food.

Soft-Shell Crab with Pecans

Pecans add a fascinating flavor dimension to any fried seafood. They’re used most commonly with fish, but I think they’re great with soft-shell crabs.

  • 4 large soft-shell crabs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. salt-free Creole seasoning
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt-free Creole seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks butter
  • 1 cup veal or chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice, strained
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Make the sauce first. With a fork, stir the Creole seasoning and salt into the flour.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to bubble, stir in the seasoned flour and make a roux, stirring constantly, until it’s medium brown. (Be careful not the let the roux burn; throw it away and start over if it does.)

3. When the right color is reached, whisk the roux into the stock until the roux is dissolved. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire, and vinegar and bring to a light boil. Cook until thick enough to coat a spoon (five minutes or so), then remove the pan from the heat. Keep the sauce warm while you prepare the crabs.

4. Wash the crabs and remove the dead man’s fingers (the gills) from underneath the shell, and cut off the eyes and mouthparts.

5. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy kettle to 375 degrees.

6. Blend salt and pepper into flour, and coat each crab lightly with flour.

7. Place a crab top side down on the end of a long-handled kitchen fork (do not skewer it), with the legs and claws hanging down.

8. Carefully lower all but the body into the hot oil. Hold that position for about fifteen seconds, and then carefully flip the crab backwards into the oil. Fry two at a time until golden brown, and drain. (Let the heat of the oil recover before frying the second batch.) Keep warm.

9. Reheat the sauce and add the pecans. Stir the pecans in and cook for about two minutes, then serve over the crabs.

Serves four.

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May 272013

Today is Memorial Day, the day we honor all Veterans who gave their live to serve our country. While my father survived WWII, I thought I would honor him along with our fallen Veterans with a dish named for his hometown, Boston Baked Beans.  This is also a great dish to serve for Memorial Day cookouts. They go great with BBQ. I have also included a little story as to what makes them Boston Baked Beans.

This signature dish of Boston, Massachusetts dates from the 17th century, when the Puritan sabbath – a day on which work was forbidden – was observed from sundown on Saturday until Sunday evening. The baked beans would be started on Saturday morning and then left to cook slowly until dinnertime so that the Puritan housewife did not have to break the Sabbath to cook a meal. Leftover beans would then be served for Sunday breakfast or lunch. Boston baked beans were often baked in communal ovens by the local baker, who would collect bean pots from the townspeople on Saturday morning and return the pots of baked beans in time for dinner that night.


1 lb dried Navy Beans or 1 lb dried Great Northern Beans, rinsed and picked over

2 medium Onions, 1 peeled and left whole and 1 chopped

1/4 lb Salt Pork, diced

2/3 cup Molasses

3 tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon Dry Mustard

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves

1 Bay Leaf

Soak the beans overnight in water to cover by 3 inches. Or, alternatively, place the beans in a saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches; bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes; remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan with 8 cups of water. Bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the whole onion, reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until beans are half tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the beans and discard the onion. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan of boiling water, blanch the salt pork for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, combine the chopped onion with the molasses, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and cloves. Stir in 2 cups of water. Place the beans and reserved salt pork in a 2 1/2-quart casserole or bean pot. Add the bay leaf. Pour the onion-molasses mixture over the beans. Cover tightly and bake for 3 1/2 hours. Remove the cover, stir the beans, and continue baking, uncovered, for 30 minutes longer, discard the bay leaf before serving.

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May 232013

One of my favorite desserts is Key Lime Pie. I know that key limes are not a native New Orleans fruit. However, it is a perfect pie for any occassion, especially barbeques. You can use regular lime juice if you can’t find key lime juice. Most stores carry Nelle & Joes Key Lime Juice. This recipe is taken from Emeril Lagasse. So I guess that makes it a New Orleans dish.

1 1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/2 cup granulated Sugar

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) Butter, melted

2 (14-ounce) cans Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 cup Key Lime Juice

2 whole large Eggs

1 cup Sour Cream

2 tablespoons Powdered Sugar

1 tablespoon Lime Zest


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and eggs. Whisk until well blended and place the filling in the cooled pie shell. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, combine the sour cream and powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie using a spatula. Sprinkle the lime zest as a garnish on top of the sour cream and serve chilled

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May 202013

Peanut Butter is onr of my favoite foods. Growing up, it was hard to keep in the house. Peanut Butter was eaten by the spoonfull. Here is a grownup recipe for Peanut Butter.

1 18oz jar Creamy Peanut Butter

2 8oz packages Cream Cheese, room temperature

2 cups Powdered Sugar

2 tablespoons Vanilla Extract

2 cups chilled Whipping Cream

Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. Using an electric mixer, beat peanut butter and cream cheese in a large bowl to blend. Add powdered sugar and beat until well blended. Using cold beaters, beat whipping cream in a cold medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold (do not stir) into peanut butter mixture. Put into serving dishes and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

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May 162013

This is my favorite entree when I eat dinner at Brennan’s (I have actually eaten at Brennan’s more for dinner than breakfast). It is a simply sautéed redfish topped with shrimp, crabmeat and Hollandaise sauce. You can substitute other fish (Tilapia, drum, trout) for the redfish. If you are counting calories, you can substitute olive oil for the butter and eliminate the Hollandaise.

4 Redfish fillets, 6 ot 8 ounces each

All-purpose Flour for dredging

1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter

12 large Shrimp, peeled and deveined

12 ounces Lump Crabmeat, picked over to remove any shell and cartilage

Salt and Pepper or Creole Shake

2 cups Hollandaise Sauce (blog post 1/11/2011)

Season the redfish on both sides with salt and pepper or Creole Seasoning, then dredge in flour. Melt the butter in a large skillet and sauté the redfish for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a warm platter and add the shrimp and crabmeat to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

To serve, top the redfish with the shrimp and crabmeat, then cove with Hollandaise sauce.

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May 132013

In honor of Mother’s day, here is another of my mother’s recipes. This is a take on Cup custard, a one time favorite dessert in New Orleans restaurants. Instead of cooking the custard in a cup, you are cooking it in a pie shell. I remember it as being a great dessert

2/3 cups Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 cups hot Water


3 Eggs, slightly beaten

9-inch unbaked Pie Shell

Mixed condensed milk and hot water. While stirring, pour gradually over eggs. Add salt and vanilla. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake in hot oven (4oo degrees) for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate (350 degrees) and bake 35 minutes longer or until the custard is set and the crust is done ( a knife blade inserted will come out clean when the custard is done.)

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May 092013

I had some boneless chicken thighs and Andouille on hand. My wife is not a big fan of Jambalaya and it was too warm for Gumbo. I stumbled on this recipe that pleased us both. Instead of the salt and peppers, I used 2 tablespoons Creole Shake. Since Creole Shake is not on the market yet, I will share the original recipe.

3/4 cup Canola Oil
3/4 cup Flour
2 ribs Celery, finely chopped
1 small yellow Onion, finely chopped
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tsp. freshly ground White pepper
1 tsp. dried Basil
1/2 tsp. dried Thyme
3 cups Chicken Stock or Broth
4 tbsp. unsalted Butter, cubed
2 lbs. boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1″ pieces
1 lb. Andouille Sausage, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2″-thick pieces
6 large Scallions (Green Onions), white and green parts, thinly sliced
Cooked white Rice, for serving

1. Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Add flour, whisking constantly, and cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is the color of milk chocolate, about 12–15 minutes. Add celery, onions, and peppers, and cook, stirring constantly, until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt, cayenne, black and white peppers, basil, and thyme, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add 2 cups chicken stock, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, 4–6 minutes; transfer chicken and butter to Dutch oven. Pour remaining chicken stock into skillet, stir to scrape up any browned bits, and then pour into Dutch oven along with andouille; cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Remove pan from heat, stir in scallions, and serve étouffée with rice.


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May 062013

For some reason, I am not a big fan of baked potatoes. If I am cooking them in the oven, I perfer to roast them. One day, I stumbled upon this recipe. With it’s unique look, I had to give it a try. Since it is basically a whole roasted potato, I loved it. It makes a great presentation on a plate.


4 medium baking Potatoes (6oz each), peeled

1/3 cup Butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 tablespoon Breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice each potato crosswise at 1/8 inch intervals, cutting to within 1/4 inch of the bottom. Arrange the potatoes spoke-fashion in a buttered 10-inch pie dish. Drizzle 2 tablespoons melted butter evenly over potatoes & sprinkle the potatoes with salt. Bake potatoes at 425 degrees on middle oven rack for 30 minutes. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over potatoes, drizzle with remaining butter, and bake 20 more minutes. Sprinkle cheese over potatoes, baste with butter in pan, and bake 5 more minutes or until potatoes are golden.

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May 022013

May 1st would have been my mother’s 90th birthday. So to honor her, I thought I would share one of her recipes. One of my favorite recipes was her Salmon Croquettes. This is a dish that would often appear on Friday’s, especially during Lent. This is a great meal on a budget and a very tasty one. Happy Birthday Mom! Wish you were still here with us.


1 tablespoon Onions, minced

3 tablespoons Butter

1/3 cup Flour

1 cup Milk

1 Egg, well beaten

1 teaspoon Salt

1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

2 tablespoons Sherry

1 can Salmon, 14oz can

Coating for Croquettes

1 Egg Beaten

Seasoned Bread Crumbs

Fry onions in butter. Blend in flour. Add milk and egg. Cook until thicken. Add salt, lemon juice, Sherry, and salmon. Form Croquettes

Roll Croquettes in breadcrumbs. Roll in beaten egg mixed with a little water and roll again in bread crumbs. Deep Fry at 365 degrees until golden brown.

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