New Orleans Menu

SAMSUNG(Originally Posted 4/8/2015) New Orleans. I don’t know. Do I need to say anything more? I thought “Oh, people get so excited about food in New Orleans, but how great can it possibly be?” Then I went there. It is that great. Probably Paris is as great as everyone says, too.

This New Orleans menu would be better if central Vermont had a generous crawfish supply. But it’s still pretty darn good.

Beignets – Internet research has determined that 1. The People prefer the mix from Cafe Du Monde & 2. there’s a lot of debate over yeast, baking powder, baking soda, rising times. . . Oh boy. Here’s the recipe I used, from Galley Gourmet. Based on other recipes I read, I did modify it to have 2 hours rising time for the dough, since it was easier for me to prep it early, I also fried it just shy of 350-degrees and it worked fine.
Oyster / Shrimp Po’Boys – We used the Cooks Country Cookbook recipe. And I apologize for using recipes that are behind a pay wall in their online version, but really, buy this cookbook. I use it for parties all the time. It deserves to be purchased.
Olive Salad
Muffulettas – I combined a bunch of recipes for this one. I used this Saveur recipe for bread (it’s worth it, I think – Lawrence disagrees, use your judgment on bake vs. buy), this recipe for filling, and this recipe for olive salad (sort of, we have a batch of refrigerator pickles that we refresh with random vegetables until the brine loses its zip, so those replaced some of the listed ingredients). Do wrap the sandwiches tightly and let them sit in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.
gumbo z'herbes

Greens

Gumbo Z’Herbes – Gumbo is very confusing to me. I’m a Yankee. I didn’t realize until I was thirty years old and in New Orleans that gumbo doesn’t always have shrimp. So, I read this article “What Makes Gumbo, Gumbo?” Short answer: Roux. This recipe from Chowhound for a vegetarian gumbo (you could add tasso to be more authentic and less vegetarian) is awesome. Really, really delicious. It’s not the simplest greens soup you’ve ever made, but it’s worth every moment of effort (I used collards and mustard greens, and the pureed greens were bok choy to take some edge off the spicy mustard greens)

Baked Sweet Potatoes 
Jambalaya – I loved jambalaya. Then there was an unfortunate incident involving cigars, a hangover, and me having promised a breakfast jambalaya (ie with eggs) for a New Year’s Day brunch. I don’t love it so much any more. That being said, here’s a recipe from The Amateur Gourmet that I would modify only in a few ways (hey for me that’s not much) – brown 2 Tb tomato paste with the vegetables before adding liquid, pause before adding the rice and let the concoction sit in the fridge overnight (this point in the recipe is when I ran into trouble on New Year’s Eve), use a parboiled rice like Uncle Ben’s.
Red Beans and Rice Food Network recipe, I have no additional comments. It’s easy.
King Cake filled with Bourbon Pastry Cream – From Gesine Bullock-Prado. I added a bourbon glaze on top (using bourbon instead of lemon juice with the confectioner’s sugar)
Spicy Pralines from Liddabit Sweets – I made a half batch because this yields a huge amount. My half batch disappeared in minutes. Maybe seconds. I won’t make that mistake again.
Sazeracs – There is an Official Sazerac Cocktail recipe. We didn’t use that one. We went with Esquire’s recipe instead. Except that we had a whole lot of guests and did not heed their advice to “go with the good stuff” for the rye.
I recognize that this menu is missing a lot of delicious dishes; there’s only so much a dinner party can eat in one sitting. It could have just as easily included crawfish etouffe, creole catfish, rice and gravy, bread pudding, and bananas foster, in addition to many different varieties of gumbo and jambalaya, and chicory coffee. For example. That’s why there’s next time.
King Cake
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