Sunday, March 29, 2009

Big Easy Pork Terrine

I was home a few extra days this week and being back on my Low-Carb diet, (since the last post) I needed some protein. I first thought about meatloaf, but then I found I had some Brawnschweiger (liver spread) in the fridge, so I decided to make a terrine. Pretty much the same as a meatloaf, only fancier name.

It was very simple, dice up some onion, mix all the ingredients together, then let it cook forever. HERE is a link to the recipe. You can cut it in half if you'd like. I call it the "Big Easy Terrine" not for New Orleans (The Big Easy) necessairily, but because it's really easy and it's FRIGGIN' HUGE.



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Best Pralines at Southern Candymakers

Well, after a big lunch at Deanie's, in the French Quarter on Saturday, I was walking back to the Trolly stop at Bienville St., and I happened to walk by Southern Candymakers on the corner of North Peters where it runs into Decatur St. My senses were immediately assaulted by the mystical smell of sugars caramelizing in cream and butter. They were making Pralines!

Against my better judgment I walked into the store and saw the new batch of Pecan Pralines (pronounced prah-leens) being spooned out onto a marble slab to cool. A gentleman was scooping up the delicacies and offered me a sample bite. Now, I've eaten pralines before but never fresh from the kettle while still hot. These were the best pralines I have ever eaten. Honestly, they were the creamiest, with whole pecans, all warm and mellow… words cannot describe them. Even after they had cooled, they were still the best I'd eaten.

It turns out the friendly gentleman serving me was Peter Tompkins, one of the owners of Southern Candymakers. He told me their business, at 334 Decatur, had been in the French Quarter for 18 years making a vast array of delicious candies, in addition to the pralines. They have two locations, the second being further down in the French Market at 1010 Decatur.

This is a locally owned business, that also does mail order if you can't be in New Orleans to get them yourself. You can order them by calling 504-523-5544 or toll free at 800-344-9773. Their great website can be accessed by clicking Southern Candymakers. Oh yeah, here's also a short video about Southern Candymakers.

Meanwhile, I will give you my recipe for pralines. This is not the recipe from Southern Candymakers, but it is the best I've found. This might tide you over. Be sure to buy a candy thermometer to make it easier on yourself.

RouxBDoo's Pecan Pralines

1 1⁄2 cups white sugar
3⁄4 cups brown sugar
3⁄4 cup Half & Half
1⁄2 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1⁄2 cups pecan halves

Combine first four ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down a cook the mixture on MED until it reaches 240º with a candy thermometer, or forms a soft ball. As the mixture cooks, don’t stir it to death, this will make it grainy. Stir it only occasionally, while spooning the mixture up on the side of the saucepan, to wash the sugar crystals off the sides.

Remove from the heat and add the pecans and vanilla. Stir the mixture until it starts to cool and gets cloudy. It is then ready to spoon out onto wax paper or a Teflon pan. Don’t let it get too thick or it won’t drop properly. If it does, add some warm water to it, only about a tablespoon. Let them cool and serve.



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Owner of Rouse's Grocery Dies at 79

Anthony J. Rouse, owner of the Rouse's grocery chain, died Thursday, March 5th. He was 79. Rouse had opened his first store in Houma and the stores proliferated in the Houma and Thibodaux area. After Hurricane Katrina he bought all the Sav-A-Center and A&P stores. The chain now incloudes 35 stores and employs 4,700 people, and is the largest, local owned, grocery chain in South Louisiana. He did this in the face of many businesses leaving the New Orleans area.

Rouse was born in Marrero but later moved with his family to Thibodaux. In 1960, he opened a 7,000-square-foot grocery store in Houma with his cousin, Ciro DiMarco. DiMarco retired in 1975, and Rouse's son Donald became manager of the store, which was renamed Rouses.

I love the little French Quarter location (above), it is handy, small, and carries nearly everything. It's nice to see a local chain do well in this economy, or any economy.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Deanie's in the French Quarter

I finally made it over to Deanie's Seafood Restaurant, after watching Adam Richmond tackle the monstrous BBQ Shrimp on Man vs Food. Deanie's Bucktown originally opened in 1961. Their current location, at 1713 Lake Avenue in Metairie, has been serving folks great seafood for years. The good news is they also have a French Quarter location. It has been there for 8 years, according to our waiter, and is located on the corner of Iberville and Dauphine, just a block off Bourbon St.

I arrived with one of my shipmates. Our friendly waiter offered us a small plate of red potatoes that had been cooked in Old Bay seasoning, or at least tasted like it. They were wonderful! My friend ordered berl'd crawfish and I got the BBQ Shrimp appetizer. I also got "Busters" for my entrée. Busters are softshell crabs and they're my favorites. They were wonderful, lightly battered and fried, with a tasty slaw as well.

The shrimp were just amazing. Like the ones in the Man vs Food video clip below, they were HUGE! They looked like dolphin. They were served with a small individual baguette of french bread to sop up all that wonderful buttery sauce they're cooked in. Their prices are comparable to lower than most of their nearby competition. I heartily recommend them.

They have an informative website HERE. Make sure your trip to the French Quarter includes a trip to Deanie's. Great food and excellent service, at moderate prices.


Danno's Return to NOLA

My blogging buddy Danno, whom I've never met before, made it into town last week for a few days of trying out new restaurants and reconnecting with old ones. We tried to meet but we weren't in town on the same day. He did make it by one of my favorites, Cochon Butcher. He has some wonderful pictures of his trip on his blog NOLA Cuisine, be sure to check them out.

We see Danno in the above picture, standing in jackson Square, in front of the St. Louis Cathedral. He also made it to several other places, like Casamento’s Restaurant, to sample some of their fine cuisine. He makes it into town periodically and is a true connoisseur of Cajun and Creole food. His blog has been an inspiration to me. I hope someday we can meet and have a meal together. Be sure to check out his extensive recipe collection HERE!