Friday, December 26, 2008

A post from my iPod Touch

I got a wonderful iPod for Christmas. It's the iPod Touch and allows me to post to my RouxBDoo Blog. It is time consuming with my big-ass fingers, but It's nice to know I can use it for that purpose.

I hope everyone had a great holiday


-- Post From My iPod Touch

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Here's a Justin Wilson Christmas Story

Away in a Manger - My Favorite Christmas Recording

Here is Jerry Douglas playing his amazing Dobro on Away in a Manger. This is a excerpt from Sugar Plums - Holiday Treats From Sugar Hill Records. Merry Christmas my friends.
Buy the Sugar Plums CD, CLICK HERE!

Sorry for not posting sooner!

Well, it's Christmas Eve and I haven't been able to post hardly anything. I have been swamped at work and have been out of the country for most of the month. I just returned home and am going to bed. I have to run out in the morning and do some last minute shopping, little bits and candy-making supplies.

I am making Pralines tomorrow for Christmas, it will be my first time, wish me luck. I will try and post something tomorrow before the big day. Love to all my friends reading this. Be back soon. Until I get a picture of this year's tree, here's last year's.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving onboard the MS Fantasy

What a great meal Chef Jorg Schneider and Sous Chef Martin Miles made for the Staff and Crew on the ship last week. Not to mention the 110 turkeys they made for the guests. They fixed about 12 for the staff and crew and they were the best I've eaten. Chef also made a HUGE pumpkin Pie for the crew. They measured out the oven and had a metal disk made to the specifications to create the largest pumpkin pie they could fit in it.

I helped in the staff dining room to carve the 4 turkeys we went through. These had been de-boned and expertly roasted by Chef Martin. Brown and crispy on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside. I even enjoyed the dark meat, which I usually avoid. It was a great Thanksgiving on the ship, and I truly have a lot to be thankful for. Having a job for starters! I am also thankful for my two friends Chef Jorg and Chef Martin, they are truly remarkable. I am pictured with Master Chef Jorg Schneider.

Getting ready for Christmas!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tim's Turkey Tips

Alright, while some folks are out nearly burning their houses down trying to deep-fry a turkey, I am using more civilized methods to prepare the Thanksgiving bird. Years ago, while I was a cruise director, I used to have my meals in the Officer's Mess on board. They used to fix incredible turkeys that were seasoned with fresh garlic and olive oil.

I experimented at home with cooking turkeys and finally came down to a great recipe that, not only makes a tasty turkey but, makes a moist and tender turkey as well. You'll need the following items.

Turkey (thawed, giblets removed)
2 onions
2 apples
2 oranges
1 whole bulb of garllic
1 cup olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
1 stick butter
¼ cup soy sauce (optional)
several sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

You might want to have a pair of disposable plastic server's gloves (like they use at Subway)

Make sure the turkey is thawed and the cavity is cleared out of the giblets and the neck. You can use the neck for stock, do not use the liver, etc. for stock. Rinse the turkey off, inside and out and pat dry.

Cut your onions, apples, and oranges in half and stuff them into the cavity of the turkey trying to position the cut side out against the inside of the cavity. You can peel a few cloves of garlic and add to the cavity, as well as lodge the stick of butter and fresh thyme up in there. Try to gather the skin around the turkey's backside, pull it together, and secure with a toothpick or skewer.

Now for the outside. If using soy sauce, give the turkey a rubdown all over with the soy sauce, (you can use low sodium). Smash and mince the remaining cloves of garlic, and mix them with the olive oil and rub this over the turkey's surface. You might want to tuck some garlic up under the wings and legs. Once you have covered and rubbed-in the garlic and olive oil, give the bird a light coat of salt and pepper. NEVER pierce the skin! This allows moisture to escape.

Place the turkey in the oven uncovered, and bake at 450º for the first hour. Then cover with foil, turn down the heat to 325º, and bake for approximately 15 - 20 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer and let it go to a 170º internal temperature. You can also check the turkey provider's chart for cooking time and add about an additional 10% in time.

Remove the foil for the last hour and baste every 15 mins. When the time is up, turn oven off and allow turkey to relax in the oven for about 15 mins. and outside the oven for 20 mins. before slicing. Although it is difficult lifting the foil and replacing it, it doesn't hurt to baste the turkey earlier in the baking process every half hour or so. Bottom line, don't be in a hurry. Better to let it cook longer at slower temp, and keep it moist. Some folks even braise it in a few inches of stock.

Either way, Happy Thanksgiving!


The Napolean House

Thursday Nov. 20 I was back in NOLA for the day. We actually didn't go to NOLA Grocery as we usually do. My friends couldn't make lunch today, so my friend from Mexico City, Eric and I went to a restaurant in one of the oldest buildings in town, The Napoleon House.

Very reasonable, (as a matter of fact downright inexpensive, comparatively) and great service. We ate out in the courtyard of this building built in 1821 for Mayor Girod, by his brother. The mayor offered it as sanctuary for Napoleon Bonapart, if he had gone into exile. Evidently it survived both great fires, (I believe they were after this) and has been a thriving restaurant for some time.

Eric had a roast beast Po-Boy with gravy, I had gumbo and Jambalaya. Both were good, the gumbo being the better of the two, had a nice flavor, the jambo was the Creole Red variety, I prefer brown, and it was a little tomato-ey for my taste. It could've cooked more, but all in all, it was a nice meal. The waiter was attentive and the place was very relaxing. Everything else I saw looked great and as I said earlier, it was very reasonable, maybe the best meal deal in the French Quarter.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Grits… boilt', fried, and cherished!

I love grits. Always have, even before snooty people started eating them. I bought some coarse stone gound, grits from Parks Mill in Abingdon, VA. They make great corn meal, grits and other items. I am including their recipes for grits and cornbread here. It might not seem like alot of grits in the recipe, but it made a whole bowlful. I added a bit more water.

After you make your grits, try this… put them in the fridge overnight, dump them out and slice them about half and inch thick. Dredge each grit plank in seasoned flour (flour, Tony C's Cajun Mix, black pepper) and fry it in a skillet with, I use margarine when I fry mine. Let them get brown and crispy on the outside. Oh man are they good. Check out Parks Mill for great products.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sorry About Thanksgiving!

OK, OK, I am the one that fusses the most about early Christmas content, but I love Christmas and wanted to get my Christmas recipes on the ol' blog. I also changed my logo on top. The mansion in the picture is Kinnity Castle in Ireland, (I love this picture) I really hope you try and enjoy these Christmas Recipes.

The shortbread recipe is simply awesome, as well as my Dad's Peanut Butter recipe. My father W.J.Harkleroad Jr. was an wonderful father and a really good cook. He left me this recipe for his candy. It is similar to a fudge, but so much better. The last is my sweet wife's sugar cookies with buttercream icing. Enjoy these and look in the future for more fun during Christmas.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Joe the NOLA Cat

Well, Thursday lunch was at our current favorite NOLA Grocery with Murray, and then a stop off to see Joe the Cat. Joe is a fixture at "The Foundry," a catering facility a few blocks over. Joe can be found sleeping most of the time. His friend Robin informed us that, amazingly, he HAD BEEN SLEEPING before we got there. Whew, that's a relief!

Joe and I took to being friends immediately, I guess since I am a confirmed cat-person and Joe smelled the smokiness on my boudin-stained fingers. At the NOLA Grocery I had a Ferdi special Po-Boy, this is roast beef debris with Chisesi ham. MMMmm, I loved it. Can't wait to go back for it and that lovely boudin. Oh, Murray is the only person I know that has Mexican imported Fresca to drink. It is a grapefruit flavored drink. I know there is an American version but it is awful in comparison.

Seeya next week!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chicken Fricassée

Well, I delved into the dish Chicken Fricassée this weekend. I got it a bit confused with something else and added tomatoes. Now it wasn't bad, but it did over cook a bit, and all those little bones in the wing-tips, etc. became a real nuisance. I got a recipe from fellow blogger Arthur Hebert at The Bear Growls. He reviews restaurants around the Lake Charles, LA area.

Hopefully with this truly Cajun version it will turn out better next time. I also mede some great cornbread and pinto beans this weekend. Cornbread is one of my favorites, but DO NOT PUT SUGAR IN IT!!!! It's a bread not a cake.

Here is the Chicken Fricassée recipe…

4 to 5 lb hen cut into serving pieces
salt and cayenne to taste
6 tbs oil
6 tbs flour
2 large onions
4 cups hot water.

Season meat and brown in oil. Remove and add flour stirring to make a dark roux ( some recipes call for flouring the chicken pieces and going from there)

Add onions and cook until transparent. return hen to pot add water and cook on low for about 2 hours or until tender. (some recipes call for the trinity and garlic and sauteing them in oil then adding the flour) Serve over rice. Slow cooking is the key!

Mmmmmm Good! Thanks Arthur!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Season, new posts

I am getting ready for the Thanksgiving season, and hope you are too! I don't know about the Cajun craze of TurDuckEn. I just don't know about foods that begin with the word Turd. Anyway, we will feature some new recipes and possibly some restaurant suggestions for those of you spending the holiday in New Orleans or SoLa. (that's South Louisiana)

I hope all have a great season, it's a beautiful time of the year. Get out and see the pretty colors, and if your area doesn't have them, go somewhere that does.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween Everyone!

This is just a post to remind everyone to make sure you got candy for the kiddies. Go out and find a haunted attraction to get a good scare this Halloween. Many haunted houses donate to a charity, our raised over $5,000.00 for Make A Wish over the past few years. Next week we start on our Cajun Thanksgiving! Until then, stay spooky!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are one of my absoloute favorite things in the world to eat, and make. I thought I'd give you an easy recipe. You can substitute Tony C's for the salt.

1. Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings.
2. Dry and place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet, coat the seeds and baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Sprinkle with salt, or season salt, and bake at 325º until toasted, about 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.
4. Enjoy! BTW, you could experiment with different flavors, garlic powder, dill, etc.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

NOLA Grocery again!

Here is Murray, the owner of NOLA Grocery back in their small but effective kitchen. He is working on an awesome beef debris Po-Boy for me. I met MrsFury and Henry (yes I'm not sure if I can use her real name or not) for lunch there on Thursday. The boudin was also incredible as usual. If you are in the area, go by there, we are still after Murray about doing gumbo. Hope he starts soon. Just thought I'd post the pics Beth made. (Ooops I used her name)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Halloween Food Special - "Boo - dan"

I love boudin (pronounced boo-dan), it is one of my favorite foods in the Cajun/Creole cuisine. I had some great boudin at NOLA Grocery, (previous post) and also had some at Leo's Cajun Corner in Galveston. I hope they are back up and running. Boudin is a sausage made with spiced pork, pork liver (just a wee bit), and rice. Stuffed into a natural casing and sometimes smoked, (my favorite) it is a staple in Cajun fare. I hope you get to try some soon. If you are in Lafayette Louisiana on October 25th you can attend the Boudin Cookoff. This sounds like awful fun. I hate I can't be there to declare the winner. They're all winners. Go to The Boudin Link for more info on BOUDIN. Here's a recipe. (Boudin pictured from LeBlanc's Cajun Boudin located in St. Amant, LA.)

Here is a link to a video of Dwayne and Shannon fron Bourques Boudin and Cajun Specialities making their world famous Boudin.

RouxBDoo returns to NOLA

Well friends, my triumphal return to the Crescent City was marked by a wonderful lunch with my pals Beth, Henry, and Kelly from the NOLA food forum. I finally got over to NOLA Grocery to have a wonderful roast beef debris Po-Boy and some tasty smoked Boudin. What looks like a tiny garage where someone has built a convenience store, actually contains a small kitchen that puts out some great food. It's impossible to try to calculate how those guys all maneuver in that kitchen.

We ordered and sat down at one of the two tables provided. Our "sammiches" were soon delivered and mine was great. The Boudin was smoked and spectacular. I love Boudin, as you guys might well know, and this was spiced just right and the smoky flavor was perfect. The owner came out bringing a pumpkin bundt cake with a butter cream icing. This was a nice complimentary dessert or "Lagniappe" as the owner called it. Lagniappe, loosely translated, is "a little something extra" and is a common local expression.

They just got a new snowball machine, and will be adding gumbo to their fall and winter menu. The owner told me it was just too hot to make it in the summer, back in that tiny kitchen. They have most kinds of Po-Boys, fried shrimp, oysters, andouille, etc. and several other great items on the menu. Local favorite like Zapps Chips, Hubig's Pies, and all type of soft drinks round out the inventory, along with the usual convenience store items. NOLA Grocery is handy and serves tasty food, so when in New Orleans be sure to pay them a visit. It's located on Andrew Higgins about a block and a half off of Convention Boulevard, right behind the restaurant Cochon.

New Orleans Restaurant Recommendations

OK friends, I have to admit there are a lot of places I haven't eaten in New Orleans, but I do have my favorites, and some are my least favorites. Rather than hurt someone's business because they might have had a bad day, I will restrict this post to those eateries I do really like, rather than those I don't.

For starters, I will give you my top three.

!. Galatoire's (French Quarter)
2. Commander's Palace (Garden District)
3. Cochon (Warehouse District)

Here are some of my other favorites to check out while in New Orleans or surrounding area. These are not in any sort of order.

Coop's Place (Decatur St.) Lil' Dizzy's (Esplanade) Grand Isle (Convention Blvd.) The Dry Dock (Algier's Point) Mother's (Poydras) The Old Coffee Pot (714 St. Peter St.) Creole Skillet (Julia St.) Brennan's (French Quarter) Don's Seafood (Metairie) Gumbo Shop (St. Peter's) Copelands (Various Locations) Café Du Monde (Various Locations) Central Grocery (Decatur) Bud's Broiler (Various Locations) NOLA Grocery (Andrew Higgins Dr.) Hana Sushi (Hampson) Desire Oyster Bar (in Royal Sonesta Hotel)

There are many more I have eaten there, like the pizza place on Decatur, the seafood place in Riverwalk, etc. Some of them had good food but I can't remember their names. I also spent many meals at the Cajun Cookin' store in Riverwalk, and had some of the best food ever in New Orleans. Unfortunately they are gone from that location. Their other location is in the Quarter, but they don't serve food. One place that I loved was the Diplomat on Tchopotulous, again it has now closed, I guess due to low tourist numbers.

I might also mention that Whole Foods Gourmet Stores have cooking stations, and it was there I had some of the best scallops I've ever eaten. The buffet at Harrah's is a great bargain, and the food is better than most buffets. You can find great food all over town, if you just look.

There are some other restaurants in New Orleans where I've eaten but some were disappointing, this is very rare though. Some other places are no longer open, as some of the previous ones I've listed. I hope you try some of these on your visit, and maybe try something new you can tell me about.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Robert Guthrie: New Orleans Artist

Although this blog is primarily about food from New Orleans and South Louisiana. I also like to feature people and items that are unique to the area. Here is a post about Robert Guthrie. Robert is a New Orleans artist with a fresh look at its historic architecture. In 1992 Robert was selected as the artist for the Official New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Poster.

He finds the fluid radiance of watercolor well suited to the charismatic wash of lines and light intrinsic to the French Quarter. His creations appear throughout New Orleans on canvases, posters, walls, banners, and murals. Click HERE to see his website and view all his wonderful paintings of the French Quarter and New Orleans.

I really appreciate Robert giving me permission to display a few of his pieces. The uppermost painting is of one of my favorite restaurants Galatoire's. If you love New Orleans, Robert's work will take you back there, right to the heart of the French Quarter! Be sure to go to this site and buy something original for your home, and if you own a restaurant you could feature these beautiful works in your dining area.



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Haunted New Orleans Restaurants

I found a really neat website of not only fine restaurants in New Orleans, but the ones that are haunted. I have the list here, but you need to go HERE to read the stories. This is the site for Haunted New Orleans Tours. Check the site out, or when in New Orleans you can take one of the great tours.

Here's the list...

1. Arnaud's Restaurant
The spirit of Germaine Cazenave is said to haunt the museum.

2. Brennan’s Restaurant
It is said to the be ghost of the late Chel Paul Blange, among others. The Red Room is an active spot.

3. Antoine's Restaurant
Make sure to tell the Ghost of Antoine hello.

4. La Louisiane Restaurant
Louis Bézaudun and his wife Ann's ghosts are said to be seen walking in and out of the building.

5. Muriel’s Restaurant
There are at least three known actual ghosts at Muriel’s, and maybe more.

6. Cafe Du Monde
Many of the locals swear of a ghost waiter that takes your order and dissapears.

7. Pat O'Brien's
The two most haunted areas of Pat's are the Piano Bar and the upstairs Ladies Room.

8. The Bombay Club Restaurant and Martini Bistro
The ghost of a Storyville Madame is sighted often.

9. Louis XVI Restaurant
Many of the ghost ofen are sighted in ghost photos taken at wedding receptions and around the Mardi Gras Season.

10. Court of Two Sisters
Many locals tell haunted Tales of the Two Sisters ghosts watching over them as they enjoy their wonderful meals.

Many other Haunted Restaurant in New Orleans have had reported ghostly encounters. Next time in New Orleans and you are thinking of having spirits while dining, you might better specify.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Halloween Season is Creeping up!

Well, you might have noticed a slight change in the appearance of my blog. You might or might not know, I am a big Halloween fan and haunted attraction aficionado. So what can I write about in this post? Well, two of my good friends Ross Karpleman and Steve Jay, own and operate the House of Shock in New Orleans. The House of Shock is a gigantic haunted house/horror show located in Clearview.

Ross and Jay started the attraction years ago in Jay Gracionette's grandfather's back yard. Jay is a also a business partner. Their 4th partner in the venture was Phil Anselmo of the band Pantera. The attraction grew, achieving massive success after several years, becoming one of the largest and most prolific dark attractions in the country. The show draws up to and sometimes over 40,000 attendees.

They have been featured in several network and cable Halloween specials, as well as articles in various media including Playboy and USAToday. I have visited the House of Shock several times and have jumped into costume and character in for some of the fun, scaring the patrons that line up by the thousands to experience one of the most intensely terrifying horror shows anywhere.

On a culinary point, (since this is a foodie blog) Phil Anselmo's family owns Anselmo's, a fine Italian restaurant in Metairie. My son Martin is a heavy metal guitarist, as well as a big fan of Phil's newest band, Down. My pal Ross plays keyboards and also appeared on Down's last CD. Ross is a longtime friend who was nearly washed out by Katrina. He is restoring his house in Lakeview with plans to move back in soon. I am sure though, the House of Shock has his full attention these days.

If you'd like to know more about the House of Shock you can click HERE. For information about my Halloween activities go HERE. To locate a Halloween Haunted Attraction in your area, go HERE or HERE. Check back by during October for more fun seasonal posts.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Brian Landry Cookin' Busters @ Galatoire's

Here's Chef Brian Landry of Galatoire's frying up some soft shell crabs. This looks so good you can smell them!
You can find more incredible videos of the great New Orleans chefs at…

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Zapp's Chips

In my never ending effort to bring you great products of New Orleans and South Louisiana, I bring you Zapps Chips.   A truly unique and wonderful potato chip selection that includes PLAIN, CAJUN CRAWTATOR, MESQUITE BBQ, NO SALT, HOTTER 'N HOT JALAPENO, CAJUN DILL, CREOLE TOMATO, SOUR CREAM & CREOLE ONION, SALT & VINEGAR.  Check out these great potato chips when  in New Orleans or order them from their website.

Poor Galveston

My beautiful Galveston was shattered last weekend by Hurricane Ike.  I had prayed it would veer off, but no it went in with full force and did millions maybe billions in damage.  I have called friends that evacuated and they're OK.  Galveston will return, but it will be a while.  Houston will also need much repair.

I have worked in and out of Galveston for many years now, I hope Sharon and Paul at the bookstore are OK, as well as my friends at Galveston Limo.  I look forward to seeing the gang at Leo's Cajun Corner and hope their new dining room was spared.  I will be back soon for some boudin.  Good luck friends in Texas, God bless you!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Galatoire's Cookbook Bargain

Well, I was in a Book Warehouse and got a real bargain.  I got the Galatoire's Cookbook by Leon Galatoire.  It was published in 1994, and I guess some of them have found their way to the close-out racks, or book "Big Lots."

Either way I got one and am really enjoying it so far.  Galatoire's was my first fancy restaurant to eat in my first trip to New Orleans, and I still remember the Trout Muniere Almondine with a Crabmeat Cocktail for starters.  If you can't find yours from the discount tables, you have to…

When in New Orleans be sure to visit Galatoire's Restaurant for a once in a lifetime meal and dining experience. I recommend the trout.  So tasy you'll not want to eat it, you'll want to kiss it square on the mouth.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NOLA spared by Gustav

It seems that New Orleans eased by fairly unscathed form Hurricane Gustav on Monday. The storm made landfall 72 miles southwest of the city Monday morning. The levees held and the repairs, made in the last 3 years, seem to have been fairly effective. I, along with millions, had prayed and held our breath for days. I am so relieved and happy for all my friends in the area. I do worry about friends in Houma, hopefully everyone there is alright.

I also admire the Republicans for delaying their convention in concern for the Gulf Coast and Hurricane Gustav. I am sick of everyone blaming everything but the weather on George Bush. Ray Nagin is a moron, I cannot believe he was re-elected. Gov. Bobby Jindal however, did an amazing job during the crisis. Good on you RNC, great job Governor.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hurricane Gustav heads toward New Orleans

Impending storm Gustav, a dangerous category 4 hurricane with maximum winds near 140 mph., is steaming it way toward New Orleans, or at least toward the region. I hope and pray it veers off and misses the city altogether. It is unknown if the city is ready for another Katrina-type storm. Although work has been ongoing with the levees in New Orleans and in the surrounding areas, there are still areas which might still be vulnerable.

I am supposed to fly to Houston and continue on to Galveston, to head right out into the gulf. I have no idea if I will still be going, and then returning to Mobile on Saturday. Everything is all up in the air.

As for New Orleans, I pray that all my friends and favorite places are safe, as well as the entire city of course, and we will be able to return to the beautiful Crescent City by the river. Stay safe and secure everyone, I hope to see you in October, all in one piece.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Steen's Pure Cane Syrup

I love Steen's Pure Cane Syrup.  I just recently discovered it in the last year, and I pick it up occaisionally and keep it on board.  I use it in my barbecue sauce recipe, on bread, biscuits, etc.  I even mixed a bit with some Creole Mustard to make a really tasty condiment.  

It is great to cook with, and not as dark as molasses.  Although I love molasses, they can be bitter sometimes.  Steen's is smooth, dark, and almost buttery.  You know, I don't make anything from these recommendations on this blog, I just want to pass these things along.  It is products like these that make New Orleans and Louisiana unique.  Enjoy Steen's and visit their WEBSITE.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My friends the Fergusons

One of my best friends anywhere is Doug Ferguson, born and raised in Metairie Louisiana, where he lived with his wife Barbara.  For at least 6 or 7 years, Doug would pick me up at the ship and we would have breakfast or lunch somewhere, (usually at Tiffin Inn).  I cherish all the times we would sit and talk about our shared passion, haunted houses and attractions.  Doug has worked for several of them in the New Orleans area, House of Shock for one.

Doug and his lovely wife Barb became my good friends over the years.  He introduced me to Commander's Palace.  We went there about 3 times, once when my wife was travelling with me.  Most times we'd cook at Doug's house, where I created my Metairie Crab and Shrimp Bisque.  We'd go by Whole Foods and buy seafood, or sometimes we'd fix steaks on his grill, and just relax and enjoy hanging around.

Upon the passing of Doug's Mother, a lovely woman and true Southern lady, Doug inherited his family home about a year or so before Katrina.  I remember worrying Doug might not evacuate before the storm.  He had mentioned before his resistance to leaving in previous storms, and would probably never leave for any, because the warnings were always dire and most times turned into nothing.  I called him on Friday before Katrina and spoke to Barb and she told me they were reluctantly leaving, travelling to Texas.

During the storm, Doug and Barb were in Fort Worth with some of her family.  After the storm, I had trouble reaching Doug and was a bit worried.  Finally after a few weeks I heard from him. They were OK and he was heading back to New Orleans soon to see the damage.  He later told me they were going to repair the damage and move.  They eventually sold their house and moved to Fort Worth where they have a beautiful new home.

Although Doug doesn't seem to miss New Orleans, I know I miss Doug when I am there.  I associate him with it so closely, it feels strange.  This post is just a note to tell you about my friends and how I miss them.  I know Halloween It'll be doubly so.  I can never thank Doug for all the hours he spent driving me around, not to mention the gas.  I do hope to see him again, either in Texas, or my home in Tennessee.  Fix something good to eat.

Doug and Barbara Ferguson - displaced by Katrina, but come out on top.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Farewell Ralph Fountain

My second time I ever went to New Orleans, I was on a tour with a show that included a clown (yawn), World class juggler, Tommy Curtin, and myself doing ventriloquism and magic.  We did shows all through Cajun country, New Iberia, Houma, Alexandria, Thibodeaux, Slidell, Baton Rouge, etc. and finally New Orleans.

While in New Orleans we stayed at Magician Ralph Fountain's house with his lovely wife Laura, and their banjo playing poodle, Frankie was his name I believe. If the name sounds familiar, he was the cousin of Pete Fountain the legendary New Orleans jazz clarinettist.  From what I gathered, they were raised as brothers by one of their mothers.  I am not sure of the exact relationship.  

Ralph was the consummate host, feeding us on crabs, crawfish, and shrimp, piled high on newspaper layered tables.  Ralph taught me about Cajun and Creole cooking.  Of my favorites, he made white beans in the same spirit as red beans.  His white beans were phenomenal.   I still make them from time to time.

I stayed in touch with Ralph over the years and saw him last about 10 yrs. ago when I first came to NOLA to work on a ship, the Celebration.  He picked me up at the airport and we went and had soft-shelled crabs, somewhere in Metairie.  He took me to his home in Arabi and gave me a huge bag of fresh figs from the trees in his back yard.  We sat for a few hours and talked about magic a passion we both shared.

After Katrina, I could not find where he had been moved to.  All the area magicians I asked knew nothing as to how to contact him.  I did read online that he was OK, but had been declining in health in years even before Katrina.  He and area magicians had a falling out years before and none of them had much to do with him anyway.  He had become a bit reclusive, all the while his health was failing.  I still loved him and missed him.  I even attempted to contact Pete Fountain to no avail.

I heard recently Ralph had passed away while living in Florida.  I was very saddened, not so much about his passing, he was after all in his late 80's and I have a feeling he went somewhere glorious. What made me sad was the fact I had never located nor spoke to him again.  Ralph would always get all teary-eyed whenever you'd be leaving after staying at his home.  He was a sweet man who I really miss.  I will try to contact Laura, and send my condolences.  For now though, here's a little goodbye to Ralphie-Boy.

He was a magician, entertainer, great cook, and good friend.  I will miss him and think about him whenever I cook white beans or eat crawfish over a newspaper draped table.  Farewell and adieu old pal.

Click here for his obituary.

If you want to know about his career, click here!

Ralph Fountain - In Memorium - September 14, 1924 - March 02, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Jambalaya King!!!

Emile Stiffle is the Jambalaya King. Now he didn't just coronate himself the King, he earned it by winning many competitions and cook-offs, most notably beating Chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network show "Throwdown." Emile is a caterer and chef, his son Laurent (pictured on left) is an upcoming but accomplished chef in his own right.

I recently had lunch with Emile and Laurent and we had a great time. He is a wealth of information and a heck of a nice guy. You can visit his website with LOADS of Cajun recipes on it just click HERE! Chef Stiffle's recipes were a valuable study when I was preparing to cook on my ship for the staff. Although I had my own recipes, his recipes were a valuable study in proportions. That was a lot of gumbo and jambalaya to make, and his recipes helped me immensely.

Here's to the Jambalaya King, long live the King!

Lodge Cast Iron

If you are serious about cooking Cajun or Creole Food, you need some serious cookware.  Serious doesn't mean expensive necessarily, I mean well made cast iron is what I recommend for your cooking.  Lodge, I understand, is the only American made cast iron you can buy now.  I own their 7 qt. Dutch Oven and it is marvelous.  Nothing makes a roux like cast iron.

I use it for everything I cook nearly, gumbos, jambalayas, red beans, etouffée, and it's great for deep frying.  Lodge skillets and kettles come pre-seasoned and are ready to go, right out of the box.  The have factory outlet stores here and there, I found the best bargain, if you'd like the dutch oven, is buy it on-line from Walmart, pick it up at the store and pay no shipping.

WalMart Lodge Dutch Oven

Lodge Manufactruring

Their chicken fryer is a great product as well.  It's like an extra deep skillet with a lid.  They still make corn bread molds and all sorts of skillets and griddles.  This cast iron will last you a lifetime and can be passed on to your children or other family when you kick off.



Well, I had to make some Jambalaya today for the band.  We played the Highlands Festival in Abingdon Virginia, and I took it up for us to snack on.  I love Cajun brown Jambalaya about as good as anything.  I use a sausage called Conecuh since I really do have a source for Andouille close-by.  It is great sausage.

I was telling my friend Robin Cross about my Jambalaya recipe, and ended giving her the rest of my batch.  If you're getting hungry, you can download the recipe HERE.  Enjoy this wonderful dish.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

New Orleans Closed to Traffic

Well we, the MS Fantasy,  missed New Orleans again on this port day because of the additional clean-up where they moved the barge still containing oil.  They had to close the river again around Algiers' Point across from where the ship docks.  So we are heading into Mobile Alabama again tomorrow.  I don't mind Moblie, as a matter of fact it is quite nice, but I did hope to go by Cookin' Cajun in Riverwalk on their last day.  I think they said they have to move tomorrow.  (I am writing this on 2:00 am Thursday morning)

I was hoping to buy some rice before they move.  I know you can buy rice anywhere, but they had some nice pecan rice as well as the popcorn rice, which is my favorite.  This rice is so tasty on its own.  I find plain rice boring usually, but  the speciality rices they carry, are nutty and mellow tasting.  I believe most of these rices they sell come from Louisiana.  

An enormous amount of rice comes out of Louisiana, 520,000 acres, generating about 200 million dollars.  The rice is grown in some areas in cooperation with growing crawfish.  The crawfish are raised in the same rice fields, or patties, along with the rice, but at different times of the year.  Part of the year rice is grown, then in June the fields are drained for the rice harvest.  While the fields are drained, the "mudbugs" burrow down into the mud and grow fat and happy eating the bits of rice the harvesters miss.

The crawfish reproduce in the spring, then the crawfish season is around February I believe.  Y'see, grains and crustaceans working hand in claw for a better world.  Now wasn't that informative!  I just hope I got it all right.  That's about all I know about it, except the part when it comes to eating them, which I really enjoy any time of year.  My dear wife, who loves lobster and shrimp, considers crawfish to be insects.  For some reason she will not eat one at all.  I think it is the "mudbug" reference.  Oh well, more left over for me.

Well, I got off topic there, but any conversation you can steer toward crawfish logically, is worth having.  Let's hope they get the river open and the oil is cleaned up soon.  New Orleans has had more than her share of misfortune, and as I said in a post a few days back, it needs to properly recover from Katrina first, and the only way that will happen is when the tourist come back and their numbers are back at pre-Katrina levels.  Let's hope that day is soon.

Here is a news story

See you later!



Monday, July 28, 2008

Lee Benoit and the Bayou Stompers

I went into Mulate's in New Orleans last July with my family, Melanie, Martin and Sarah.  When I saw they had a band I said to myself... "oh, great... a band to try to talk over while I am eating."  We ordered and the band started, and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this band.

The band was Lee Benoit and the Bayou Stompers.  Now, I am a bluegrass and Irish music guy.  I do appreciate other types of music, but it has to be good!  This guy is awesome.  His wife. family and others make up this band and they are equally tremendous.

In the left hand column of this page, toward the bottom, I have linked a pic of his new CD "Ma Petite Femme" to his website.  Don't take my word for it, go over there and hear his music.  Buy something and tell him I sent you.  I get nothing in return but satisfaction I have promoted a man and his band that work really hard and produce great music.

Wish I could say the same about the food that night at Mulate's... oh well, hope it's better in Breaux Bridge.



Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hubig's Pie for Breakfast

These are my favorite junk food snack.  Coconut is my absolute favorite.  My buddy Eric, the backstage manager on the ship, brought me this one from WalMart.  I am ashamedly having it for breakfast.  These pies are as uniquely New Orleans as the muffuletta. Make sure you get one next time you're in town.  For more information go to... Hubig's Pies.

Have a nice morning!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

NOLA Needs Tourists

Worried about going to New Orleans?  Don't listen to Anderson Cooper on CNN, to hear him New Orleans was completely destroyed.  Not so.  The downtown areas, especially the French Quarter and surrounding areas like the Garden District, Warehouse District, etc. are fine.  But they desperately need tourism in New Orleans.  

Yes, the devastation was great, I saw some of the results of it today coming in from Mobile.  For some reason though, the news media seem to want to misrepresent where it took place, and that has frightened off tourists.  I am there every week and the city seems to be waiting.  Things are getting better, conventions are coming and there are some great hotel deals to be had as well, but it hasn't bounced back yet.

The tourist areas are in great shape, (except 6 Flags) all the restaurants are open and hotels are welcoming.  If you've never been, you are missing a truly original American icon.  The music, food, and culture are really unique.  

So, go to New Orleans and have a beignet, or some Etouffée and "Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler” or Let the Good Times Roll!


Poppy Tooker Making Gumbo

Poppy's one of my favorites and her gumbo looks incredible, almost as good as mine!  She seems like she'd be a hoot to get to know.

Oil Spill in NOLA

Well, I was on the Cruise Ship MS Fantasy this week and there was a big oil spill, or "Erl" spill in NOLA on Wednesday.  The ship will not be calling in New Orleans for a few weeks.  I hope its not long,  I miss New Orleans, plus I have to take a bus from Mobile, Alabama (we're docking there for the tim being) to New Orleans.  About 2+ hours, then fly home.  I did have a bowl of gumbo in the airport today, fair at best.

The clean-up is steadily going on in New ORleans, but it was all up and down the Mississippi.  Might take a while.  BTW let me know if you like my blog, it is my first.

Sitting in the NOLA airport, Delta, CrownRoom, needing sleep!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Adam Weber, Cajun Cook

While on vacation, at home with his family,  my little buddy Adam Weber cooked a full Cajun meal for a little family get-together.  He used a copy of my recipe book, made gumbo, jambalaya, and not sure what all else.  He said it went over huge with his family. 

Adam and I worked together on the MS Fantasy where he was a videographer.  He will be a great director someday. Maybe he'll be reassigned to our ship again, and we can cook together.  Hopefully Chef Jorg will let me cook Cajun food again.  It was a big hit last time, and I had a blast.

It turned out really well,  I was so relieved that everything turned out well, I am not used to cooking 6 gallons of anything! 

See you after your much deserved vacation, Buddy!

Photo by Mrs. Fury


This is a great old Cajun Song about a girl named Colinda, named after the dance, or vice-versa.

COLINDA ( Zachary Richard ) 

Colinda était la plus belle La plus belle du village 
Et tout ceux qui en la voyant La trouvait si belle 
Sa maman qui la chaperonne du matin jusqu'au soir 
Mais aussitôt qu'elle tourne la tête, On entend son ami dire 

Allons danser Colinda, danser collés Colinda 
Allons danser Colinda, pendant que ta mère est pas là 
C'est pas tout l'monde qui connaît 
Danser les danses du vieux temps. 

Allons danser Colinda, pour faire facher les vieilles femmes 
Allons danser Colinda, à l'arc en ciel Colinda, 
Allons danser coler pour faire de beaux étincelles. 
C'est pas tout l'monde qui connait 
Danser colé comme toi, 

C'est pas tout l'monde qui connait ho ho la la. 
Allons tomber en amour Colinda, doucement 
Tomber en amour avant que c'est trop tard.

Here's the Mamou Cajun Band performing it.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Justin Wilson Old Fashioned Gumbo

Here is one of my favorite justin Wilson videos, he's making Gumbo! Click HERE to download a .pdf file transcription of this recipe. I transcribed it from this video. Enjoy Justin in his element.

Cookin' Cajun / Creole Delicacies closing in Riverwalk

My friends at Cookin' Cajun are closing their Riverwalk store on July 31st, and this makes me very sad.  Ever since I first set foot in their restaurant area, I was treated like family.  The entire Verlander Family… Ken, Lisette, Mama Lisette, Corinne, Saundra, Marylin, and all the rest are wonderful people and I will miss them.  Their food was superior to most all the food downtown.  I loved their gumbo, red beans, jambalaya, and their lunch specials were incredible.  I think Riverwalk is losing a truly authentic business, and they should be ashamed the way they have treated them.

They are still open in their French Quarter store and you can order from… Creole Delicacies OnLine

Good Bye and God Bless


How Y'all are? My first post.

Well, this is the first of my blogs about one of my passions… Cajun and Creole foods.  I imagined eating it ever since seeing Justin Wilson cook on television, then my first time in Louisiana, I really experienced it and fell in love.  I returned to Louisiana,  dating a Cajun girl, while in my 20s.  Her Mom gave me a few tips about cookin' Cajun, and I have enjoyed fixing gumbo,  jambalaya, etc., for years now.

Now, once I figure out everything about this blog set-up, I will include some, or all, of my recipes.  Come by every once in a while and check it out.  I will probably only update it every weekend, because of my job and travels, it will not be every day, for sure.  

Thanks for checking us out!