Monday, July 27, 2009

You have to see this...

One of my fellow Cajun and Creole bloggers, Gaston from Mandeville LA, posted this recipe for a Bacon Wrapped Pork Loaf with a Boudin Stuffing Monstrosity, and you have to see this thing. High Cholesterol? Steer clear!

Click Here! to see the BBQ Bacon Bomb Explosion Dun by a Coon Ass!!! complete with recipe and video. Mercy!


August Recipe of the Month: Cajun Pork Roast

This pork roast recipe is wonderful. I cook this roast in a roux-based braising liquid. The roast I use is a 4 lb. sirloin roast. I sometimes use a 6 - 7 lb. shoulder or butt roast but the smaller size was all I needed. This is a great roast for Po-Boys as it just falls apart. You can also substitute a beef chuck roast if you prefer it. This makes a nice gravy and is great with rice. I hope you enjoy it, here's the recipe.

Pork Roast with Brown Roux Gravy

½ cup oil
½ cups plain flour
2 lg onions (sliced)
5 ribs celery (¼ in. sliced)
1 bulb garlic (whole head peeled & diced)
4 - 5 lb sirloin pork roast
1 tbs black pepper
1 tbs salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 sprigs thyme (fresh
1 tbs parsley (chopped)
3 bay leaves
2 tbs worcestershire
6 cups water (hot)

Preheat oven to 250º. Rub roast with half the salt and pepper. In a 7 to 8 qt. Dutch Oven, or similar kettle, heat oil on MED. When hot, add flour and stir continuously until the roux reaches a dark brown color. Add onions, garlic, and celery, cook 5 mins., stir in the cayenne, the remaining salt and pepper, worcestershire, and cook 5 more mins. stirring continuously.

Add half the water, whisk it into the roux, and bring it up to a boil. Carefully lower the pork roast (fat side up) into the roux mixture. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Add enough water to reach just halfway up the roast. Bring back up to a boil for 5 mins. and turn down to MED. for a while with the lid on.

After cooking for 15 mins. on MED, turn down to LO for 2 hours. After two hours, spoon some of the braising liquid onto the roast, cover it, and place it onto middle rack of your 250º oven. Leave roast in oven for at least 2 more hours, I let mine go for a combined 5 hours in all. After turning the oven off, let relax for about another half hour. You can baste it if you like.

Using a giant spoon or spatula, lift roast out of the pot and rest it on a plate. Skim the grease off the top of the roux gravy and serve over the pork roast. Best served with rice or on a sandwich.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lee's Inlet Kitchen

I know this blog is normally about food from New Orleans and South Louisiana, but I love seafood and recently I walked down "Memory Lane" for an unbelievable seafood dinner. Growing up, every year I went to Myrtle Beach South Carolina with my family. We always had a wonderful meal in the nearby community of Murrel's Inlet, specifically at one of the Inlet's most prolific, and oldest restaurant, Lee's Inlet Kitchen.

Established in 1948, the restaurant was opened by Eford and Pearl Lee of Cool Springs South Carolina. The restaurant grew in popularity, being located in a favorite seafood destination for many Grand Strand vacation goers. Absolutely fresh local shrimp, flounder, oysters, and scallops, to name a few, made up their returning customer's favorite menu items.

Their Lowcountry-Murrells Inlet style seafood is lightly breaded for frying, or broiled to perfection, and always consistent. So many times you have a great meal at a restaurant and the next time you return it is totally different. That's why I always loved going back to Lee's Kitchen.

Years passed before I returned to Lee's Kitchen. We had kids of our own now and I guess it just was too much trouble to drive all the way down to Murrel's Inlet. Whatever the reason, it had been way too long since I had eaten at my favorite seafood restaurant.

We planned to get there a little early to avoid the long lines. My family and I entered and were seated almost immediately. The air was fragrant with the all-too-familiar smells that I remember so fondly. The place hadn't really changed in all the years since. Oh, it was a little fancier in terms of decor, otherwise the place was pretty much the same.

My daughter asked about the She Crab Soup, which she was promptly brought a sample of some of the best soup ever. Smooth and creamy with fresh lump crabmeat, this was so luxurious it's sinful.

We all pretty much ordered different, fried seafood dishes and waited while I prattled on and on to the kids about how Lee's hadn't changed since I was a kid. Our food soon came and honestly it was some of the best shrimp, oysters, and scallops we had eaten. The scallops were sweet and tender, the shrimp barely dusted and expertly fried, and the oysters were crunchy and plump. All served with some of the best tartar sauce ever made. In a word... wonderful.

I highly recommend Lee's Inlet Kitchen for when you visit Myrtle Beach and advise you to take the time to drive down to Murrel's Inlet and experience Lee's, as well as some of the other great old restaurants there like Nance's Crab Bar or Oliver's Lodge. Be sure to post a comment to let me know about your visit and the food you had. I'm sure it will be memorable.

Photo by Todd Evans


Monday, July 20, 2009

Kitchen Witch Cook Books

While walking in the French Quarter last week, I came upon a curious little book shop that seemed very inviting called the Kitchen Witch. Specializing in cookbooks was what drew me inside where I met the owner Philipe LaMancusa.

Very friendly, with a pair of very cool glasses, Philipe helped me in searching for a few titles among the biggest collection of Cajun and Creole cookbooks I have found anywhere. As a matter of fact the quantity of all-around Southern cookbooks was quite impressive.

We talked about cookbooks, publishing, and his dealings with New Orleans building codes and those that enforce them. He also gave me some great advice about cookbook marketing and where to track down some great fried chicken using Austin Leslie's famous techniques.

There are so many great cookbooks, including out of print books, and specialty marketed volumes of recipes. In addition to books they also carry collector's LPs. Racks of old vinyl records contain many treasures to the right buyer.

If you are looking for specific Lousiana cookbooks, or any cookbook for that matter, contact these nice folks. Philipe LaMancusa and his lovely partner Debbie Lindsey operate the Kitchen Witch at 631 Toulouse Street, just off Royale St. in the French Quarter, and can be e-mailed at


Mother's Restaurant for Breakfast

Long a New Orleans institution, I had eaten lunch at Mother's Restaurant when I managed to beat the long lines and crowds, but I had never eaten breakfast there. I was advised by my good friend, and fellow New Orleans foodie, Tim McCormack to go there and try the morning fare.

My buddy Tim was working on the Carnival cruise ship that was moored in New Orleans during Katrina. He spent a lot of time downtown and in the French Quarter, and got to know some of the best places to go, along with many of the local downtown merchants themselves.

Back to Mother's, I walked in with no long line to contend with. Ordered at the counter, and found a table in the back dining room. The restaurant was nearly full and the back room was pleasant and a bit cooler than the rest of the building.

I ordered a biscuit with debris gravy and an order of Mother's "World's Best Baked Ham." The pleasant waitress brought my meal to me and there was a big, pretty, "cat-head" biscuit piled high with the shredded beef debris gravy.

The side dish of smoked had a hefty portion of, honestly some of the best ham I have eaten. Nice big, thick chunks of ham, so tender you could actually cut it with one of those dull, non-serated, restaurant knives.

The beef debris was generous and was tasty on that biscuit, especially when I added a bit of ham to make an improvised "Ferdi Special" biscuit. The "au jus" from the debris made the biscuit nice and moist. (The "Ferdi Special" is a ham and debris roast beef Po-Boy that Mother's made famous.)

On the way out I met Joe Amato, the owner of Mother's and found him to be friendly and welcoming. He is the man that makes the hams and beef roasts everyday. Recently on "Man -vs- Food" Joe revealed his secret glaze for the ham. Very inventive indeed. He's quite a familiar character in New Orleans.

So, when in New Orleans, be sure to get by and try Mother's for breakfast. They have eggs, grits, waffles, and all the other items I have mentioned here, to name just a few. Lunch starts at 11:00 am. It's located on the corner of Poydras and Tchoupitoulas, just look for the sign that says "World's Best Baked Ham", and say Hello to Joe for me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July Recipe of the Month: Cajun Brown Shrimp Stew

I made this wonderful shrimp dish yesterday and LOVED it. I recommend you do too! Here is the recipe. It's the Recipe-of-the-Month.

Cajun Brown Shrimp Stew

2 lbs med shrimp (cleaned/deveined)
2 cups onion
1 cup celery
4 - 6 green onions (sliced thin)
½ cup oil
1 cup plain flour
2 tbs butter
1 tbs salt
½ tbs black pepper
½ tsp cayenne
2 tbs worcestershire
2 tbs garlic (minced
1 spring thyme
2 bay leafs
3 cups shrimp stock

Make a dark roux with the flour and oil on MED, add onions cook for 5 mins., add celery, green onions, garlic, and everything but the stock, butter, and shrimp. Cook for 10 mins. stirring making sure it doesn't stick. Add one cup of stock, blend well. Add other 2 cups of stock then the shrimp. You add the shrimp after adding the stock, when the mixture is cooler, This way the shrimp wont harden up. Let cook and reduce for about an hour.

Serve over rice with garlic bread.


Café Du Monde, Classic New Orleans

I got to thinking last week, as I sipped my Cafe Au Lait, and dusted the powdered sugar off my moustache, that I had never done a post about Café Du Monde. A trip to New Orleans, especially for the first-timer, is not complete without a trip to this wonderful little cafe. Its green and white striped awnings seem to call you off the street to rest your weary feet and have a wonderful confection that is exclusive to New Orleans in its origin.

The Original Café Du Monde was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. Their menu has not changed much since then. The very simple fare consists of Beignets, a square donut-like fried dough goodie, covered by a mound of powdered sugar. The aforementioned Café Au Lait, which is a mug of dark coffee with a touch of roasted chicory. This is normally mixed half and half with hot milk. That's about it menu-wise.

Whenever I get to New Orleans and the Café is calling me, I usually jump the Riverfront streetcar and ride down to about Dumaine. I get off and walk around to be greeted by the smell of those beignets frying in the hot oil. Get there early enough and you'll usually never have a problem being seated. The beignets come 3 to a plate, piled high with confectioner's sugar. OK, don't ask for Splenda with your beignets, you usually go there once a trip, live it up.

The Café Au Lait is just so rich and decadent, you might stay for another cup. The second can be decaf. Although the service has changed a bit in the years, you can still get fixed up and out within 30 - 45 minutes. I recommend though, you relax, read the Times-Picayune, and plan your day in New Orleans. This is a great way to start it out though. A bit of history in the French Market. By the way, don't worry about spilling powdered sugar on your shirt, you'll see many a "dusted" warrier around the French Quarter from eating at the Café of even having "Sugar Wars" for which Du Monde is famous.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Court of Two Sisters

I recently made it over to the Court of Two Sisters Restaurant for their much acclaimed Jazz Brunch. For starters, what a wonderful place, whether you eat in the courtyard or choose to remain inside (where it's air-conditioned) you cannot go wrong. The wait service is extremely friendly as well as informative. My waiter, Paul Tarto (below), led me over to the buffet and showed me every item and described them as if he was describing any menu item. He was very patient and very attentive.

As I am not a huge salad fan, I can only tell you about a few of the cold items. The Crawfish Pasta was really good and fresh, both the Sweet Potato Salad with diced Andouille, and the Curried Chicken Salad were unique and tasty, as was the Country Paté. There were cold shrimp and crawfish on the cold bar too. If they're not in season, I'd avoid the crawfish. They won't make you sick, but they are not at their peak.

On the hot bar you see the carving station with turkey and roast beef. Right next to that was their famous Turtle Soup, accompanied with a bit of sherry vinegar. The main bar had many traditional Creole and Cajun dishes. Cajun Jambalaya, Shrimp Etouffée, Catfish Roulades stuffed with a Crabmeat Stuffing and topped with a Creole Mustard Creamé Sauce, (my favorite), Duck l'Orange, and Crawfish Marian just to name a few.

Candied yams, very luxurious mashed potatoes, Oysters Bienville, Grillades and Grits, and several breakfast items round out the hot selections among others. You can order omelets, I didn't, but they were recommended, their Shrimp and Crabmeat Omelet (pictured above) is a favorite. Now then... on to the desserts.

Desserts included Bread Pudding with a Bourbon Sauce, Bananas Foster, Ice Cream with Praline sauce, and many assorted cakes, pies, and confections. I really enjoyed this buffet, it really beats Harrah's by a long shot in my humble opinion. The price is $28.00 and includes your tea or coffee.

I recommend it if for nothing else but enjoying the ambience. The food is good, the old place is wonderful, and legend has it you might meet up with the ghosts of Emma and Bertha Camors, the two sisters. The restaurant has been featured on many Haunted Location television shows. The Jazz Brunch is served everyday.

Photos by Sara Essex