Jan 302014

In 1918, a colorful, French wine salesman named Arnaud Cazenave opened the grand New Orleans restaurant that bears his name with a commitment to serving quality Creole cuisine. Arnaud believed, quite simply, that the pursuit of the pleasures of the table is as worthy as anything else one chooses to pursue in life. Here you will find the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum. Germaine was the daughter of Arnaud Cazenave. Wells reportedly reigned as queen of over twenty-two Mardi Gras balls from 1937 to 1968, more than any other women in the history of Carnival. Here is a wonderful dish that is perfect for this time of year. With New Orleans going thru one of their worst winter storms, I know many gumbos, soups & bisque were made and eaten.

Serves 6-8

1-1/2 pounds fresh, head-on Shrimp

2 large Tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped

½ cup unsalted Butter

1 large Onion, finely chopped

2 Leeks, white parts only, well washed and finely chopped

1 stalk Celery, finely chopped

2 Shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves Garlic, very finely chopped

½ teaspoon fresh Thyme Leaves

4 tablespoons Tomato Puree

¼ cup Brandy

1 cup long grain Rice

Kosher or Sea Salt and Ground White Pepper

1 long, fireplace Match

Rinse the shrimp well, then peel them, and devein if necessary (if the vein is large and dark.) Save all the head and shells for the stock and refrigerate the shrimp bodies until needed.

Make the shrimp stock: Place the shrimp heads and shells in a large pot and cover with 2-1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer gently until reduced to about 2 quarts chicken or other flavorful fish stock.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 quart of the stock with the chopped tomatoes and simmer gently, uncovered, for 30 minutes. While the stock is simmering, melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat and sauté the onions, leeks and celery until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and sauté for 5 minutes more. Add the tomato puree and cook, stirring often, until slightly browned. Do not let the tomato paste scorch.

Add the brandy and stir to deglaze for just a moment, and then ignite the brandy with a long match. When the flames die down, add the reserved shrimp, rice, tomato broth, and the remaining 1 quart of shrimp stock. Stir well and simmer the soup uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the rice is tender.

In batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender, returning the pureed bisque to a large, clean pan. Simmer gently over very low heat for 20 minutes more, then strain through a fine sieve, and serve in cream soup bowls (with handles, or in large shallow bowls).


Jan 272014

Southern Louisiana is bracing for possible snow for the second time in a week. In Arkansas, we are not expecting to get above freezing for a couple of days. So, here is a delicious soup from Mr. B’s Bistro. It is also a great dish to serve if you are expecting a visit from a vampire.

5 cups peeled Garlic Cloves ( about 1 1/2 pounds)

8 cups Chicken Stock or Chicken Broth

2 Celery Stalks, chopped

1 Carrot, chopped

Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

3 tablespoons unsalted Butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose Flour

1 cup Heavy Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place garlic in a 13×9-inch baking pan and cover with 2 cups chicken stock. Cover pan with aluminum foil and roast in oven one hour or until tender.

Transfer garlic to a large pot and add remaining 6 cups chicken stock, celery, carrot, salt, and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan melt butter over low heat. Gradually add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 6 minutes, or until roux is ivory in color and starts to give off a nutty aroma.

Puree soup in a food processor or blender and return to stove. Bring to a simmer. Stir 1 cup of hot pureed soup into roux until well combined. Pour mixture back into pot with rest of soup and cook 10 minutes. Add cream and simmer five minutes, or until hot. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Makes 9 cups.


Jan 232014

Today here in Arkansas, the temperature is not getting above freezing. So how does one warm up? This soup from Palace Cafe hits the spot. Using two Louisiana products, Sweet Potatoes and Andouille, this soup will keep you warm.

5 pounds Sweet Potatoes

1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter

1 pound Andouille Sausage, sliced

1 cup finely chopped Celery

1 cup finely chopped Onion

3 quarts (12 cups) Chicken Stock or Chicken Broth

1/2 cup Molasses

Kosher Salt and White Pepper to taste

Place the whole unpeeled sweet potatoes in a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until easily pierced with a knife and the sugars begin to release. Cool, peel and chop the sweet potaatoes.

Melt the butter in a large saucepot and add the sausage. Cook until the sausage is brown. Add the celery and onion and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Add the sweet potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until the flavors blend.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender. Return to the sauce pot and stir in the molasses, kosher salt and white pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Serves 20 as an appetizer or 12 as an entree.


Jan 202014

Here is a recipe from the closed restaurant Stephen & Martin. In it’s place is now a location of the New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood chain. What connects me to this location  is my time there when it was Cannon’s Uptown. In 1976, the owners of Forty-One Forty-One bar bought Stephen & Martin. They redesigned the restaurant to include a large dining room with windows looking out on St Charles Ave. This was a very popular place to spend Mardi Gras Day. I found this recipe and thought I would share it. Carnival season is in full swing and my thoughts turn to that restaurant on St Charles.

3 1/2 cups Olive Oil

1 cup fresh Lemon Juice

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

2 tablespoons dried Oregano, crumbled

2 tablespoons dried Thyme, crumbled

2 tablespoons minced Garlic Cloves

2 tablespoons Salt

2 tablespoons fresh ground Pepper

1 tablespoon Hot Pepper Sauce

1 tablespoon Red Pepper

2 teaspoons dried Rosemary, crumbled

1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning

3 Bay Leaves

6 lbs large Shrimp, heads off, unshelled

1 1/2 cups Clarified Butter

1 cup Dry Vermouth

Fluted Lemon Slice ( garnish) (optional)

Parsley Sprig ( garnish) (optional)

Combine olive oil, lemon juice,brown sugar,Worcestershire and all seasonings in a large bowl, whisk well to blend, and let stand at room temperature several hours or overnight.( I like to let it stand overnight to allow the flavors to fully develop). Divide shrimp between 2 large deep skillets. Whisk oil mixture together to distribute seasonings evenly and pour oil mixture over shrimp, dividing evenly. Add 3/4 cup clarified butter to each skillet. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, just until shrimp are pink, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup vermouth to each skillet and cook 3 minutes. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with lemon and parsley sprigs, if desired. Serve immediately.


Jan 162014

I found this recipe on Facebook. It seems that there are many ways to enjoy the flavor of King Cake. Most people eat a filled King Cake with Cream Cheese being the top filling. The cream cheese allows popular dessert bars to be made with King Cake flavor. This is probably the easiest recipe for King Cake.

For the Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons milk

For the Filling:

2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoon milk
Colored sanding sugar or sprinkles (purple, green and gold)

For the Crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9- x 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flour and sugar. Drop in the butter cubes and beat on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and looks a bit like wet sand. Add the milk and beat until it starts to stick together. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared baking dish and press it in to form an even layer, making sure there are no holes or gaps.

For the Filling:

Wipe out the mixer bowl and rinse and dry the paddle. Beat the filling ingredients together until completely smooth. Spread the filling evenly over the prepared crust. Bake the bars for 20 – 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set.

For the Glaze:

While the bars are cooking, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and milk until completely smooth. As soon as you remove the bars from the oven, spread the glaze in an even layer across the top. Immediately decorate with sanding sugar. Leave the bars to cool completely, then slice.


Jan 132014

I try not to post 2 like recipes in a row. However, we are in the beginning of the Carnival season. Here is another take on the King Cake. As I have said before, you can find Bread Pudding on most menus in New Orleans. This twist is perfect for the Carnival Season. Enjoy King Cake season! No matter how you eat it.


  • 1 (1-pound) brioche loaf, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup amaretto liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Almond Glaze, recipe follows
  • Mardi Gras Sugars, recipe follows

1. Divide bread between 12 (4-ounce) ramekins.
2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cream, milk, sugar, amaretto, and vanilla. Whisk until blended. Spoon custard equally over bread, and let stand 30 minutes, occasionally pressing bread into milk mixture. Prepare bread pudding up to 2 hours ahead, if desired, then cover, and refrigerate.
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet, and cook until custard is set in center, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool slightly, then top with Almond Glaze and Mardi Gras Sugars.

Almond Glaze

  • 2½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract

1. In a medium bowl, add sugar, milk, and extract; whisk until combined. To thicken, add additional confectioners’ sugar; whisk to combine.

Mardi Gras Sugars

  • 3 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • Yellow food coloring
  • Green food coloring
  • Purple food coloring

1. Place 1 cup of sugar into 3 quart-size resealable plastic bags. Add 5 drops yellow food coloring into one; seal, and shake to combine. Add 5 drops green food coloring into the second; seal, and shake to combine. Add 5 drops purple food coloring into remaining bag; seal, and shake to combine.



Jan 092014

Here is  the recipe for the dessert that my wife had at Pascal’s Manale. Bread Pudding is found on most dessert menus in New Orleans. The main difference between most is the sauce that is served over the bread pudding. I have never met a bread pudding that I did not love.

3 Loaves French Bread

15 ozs. Raisins

1/2 Gallon Whole Milk

1/2 lb. Sugar

10 Eggs

1/2 Pound of Melted Butter

3 ozs. Vanilla Extract


Cut French bread into cubes. Pour milk on French bread. Let milk soak into bread. Add the remaining ingredients to French bread mixture. Mix with hand until blended evenly. Pour mixture into ungreased pan. Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Makes 15 or more servings.


3 ozs. Brandy

1 lb. butter

8 ozs. sugar

2 ozs. vanilla extract


Let butter sit at room temperature until very soft. Add the remaining ingredients and blend with mixer until smooth. Pour over bread pudding



Jan 062014

While on vacation in New Orleans, my wife wanted to eat somewhere we have not eaten at before. I suggested Pascal’s Manale, Originator of BBQ Shrimp. So I contacted my friend Wendy Gruntz, a server there, to make us a reservation. While my wife was looking forward to the BBQ Shrimp, one of her favorite dishes, I was interested in the Combination Pan Roast. This dish is one of the best in the house. It was described as like an oyster and crabmeat dressing. It was everything I hoped for and more. The recipe below is from Tom Fitzmorris. I know I will be using it as a starting point for my own dish.

Pan Roast

  • 2 cups oyster water (if available)
  • 4 dozen fresh oysters
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 6 green onions, finely snipped, tender green parts only
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat (can substitute shrimp or crawfish      tails)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

1. If you have oyster water, pour it into a large skillet and bring it to a light simmer. (If not, use two cups of tap water.) Add the oysters and let them cook until they just begin to plump up and you see the first curling of the edges. Remove the oysters to a bowl and let them cool.

2. Add the milk to the oyster water in the pan and return to a simmer.

3. While that’s going on, melt the butter over medium heat in another saucepan and add the flour. Stir to make a blond roux. Don’t allow the mixture to brown.

4. Strain the oyster water-milk combination to the roux. Whisk the mixture until it takes on the texture of light mashed potatoes. This is bechamel.

5. Remove the bechamel from the heat and stir in the parsley, green onions, salt, lemon juice, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Drain the water from the bowl holding the oysters into the bechamel, and whisk in.

6. Add the crabmeat to the bowl of oysters. Toss gently to combine. Divide the oysters among eight gratin dishes or four small casseroles.

7. Spoon the bechamel over the oysters and crabmeat, and smooth it out. Top with bread crumbs.

8. Place the gratin dishes or casseroles on the top rack of the oven. Turn the oven on broil and raise the heat to 500 degrees. Broil until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs are browning–15-20 minutes. Serve hat with hot French bread on the side.

Serves eight.