Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

Well it's been a fast paced wonderful year. I have a new job (CLICK HERE) and many new opportunities in the new city I am living. I am no longer traveling to New Orleans on a regular basis but I am still cooking and seeking out new sources of good Cajun and Creole cooking. I have some upcoming posts about products I am trying out as well.

Dear friends, have a wonderful New YEar and I hope all are prosperous in 2012. Have fun but don't drink and drive tonight.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Buttermilk Pie for the Holidays

I love Pecan Pie for the Holidays but a lot of people seem more and more to have nut alergies, I thought I'd publish this recipe which is a favorite of mine, similar to Pecan Pie in flavor but no pecans.

2 cups sugar
1 stick butter, room temperature
4 tbs flour
3 whole eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ tbs vanilla
1 whole 9-inch pie shell, unbaked

In large bowl cream together sugar, butter and flour. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and serve.

Merry Christmas!

Turkey and Dressing Soup with Dumplins

This is my recipe for, I think, the best after-holiday turkey leftover soup. I don't usually measure out the turkey meat, I usually use most of the remaining breast meat. Around 3 lbs I would think. I use a lot because this recipe makes a lot of soup.

3 lbs turkey breast meat (roasted, shredded coarse in big chunks)
½ stick butter or margarine
1 large onion (diced)
4 ribs of celery (diced)
½ tsp garlic (minced)
8 cups water
4 cups milk
4 cups turkey or chicken stock (if using stock from your turkey be sure to skim the fat off)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 6 oz. box dressing mix (cornbread variety)
1 tsp cajun/creole spice mix
1 tbs kosher salt
½ tbs black pepper
2 sprigs thyme
½ tsp dried sage
2 bay leaves

In a large pot on MED/HI ( I use a 7 qt. dutch oven ) melt the butter and sauté the onion and celery until softened. Add garlic, spice mix, salt, pepper, thyme, sage, and bay leaves. Let this go for about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, after 5 minutes add the turkey. Let this cook for about 10 minutes then add the water and milk. Bring this to a boil and pour in the dressing mix and the cream of chicken soup. Bring back up to a boil for about 10 minutes, turn down to MED/LO and let cook for an hour to tenderize the turkey. Check the celery in the soup to see if it is soft before adding the dumplins with the recipe below. By the way, this soup is great by itself, but the dumplins really top it off.

Dumplin' mix

1 cup flour (self rising or use plain and add 2 tbs baking powder)
2 tbs oil (i don't recommend olive oil, use a flavorless vegetable or safflower oil)
1 pinch salt & pepper
milk or water

In a bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper, oil, and enough milk or water to make a mix about the consistency of cooked oatmeal. Turn soup down to MED/LO and drop half-spoonfuls into soup. The dumplins will puff up and float to the top of the soup.

Enjoy the food of the Holidays

Great Side Dish for Christmas

Alright friends this isn't Cajun or Creole, but I love it and you can serve it with your Christmas Dinner along with your turkey or ham. You can even use it with your leftover turkey afterwards. I is savory and creamy, if you are having it with turkey you can omit the meat from it. Here is my simple Chicken with Rice Casserole.

1 cup shredded cooked chicken (or turkey) breast
1 ½ cup water
1 ½ cup rice (uncooked)
2 10 oz. cans Cream of Chicken Soup
¼ cup diced onions
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced fresh mushrooms
2 tbs diced green onions
½ stick butter or margarine
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp Tony Cachere's
1 tsp dried sage flakes
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp dried garlic flakes
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

In an oven-proof pot with a lid, melt butter and saute the onions, mushrooms, celery, and green onions on MED/HI until onions soften. Add all spices and shredded chicken. stir and saute all together. Add the water and bring to a boil for 5 mins., add the rice and stir well to distribute to keep from lumping.

Cook for 5 mins. and then add the cans of soup. Slide off the stove eye and stir extremely well, making sure the soup and rice are thoroughly mixed. Cover with the lid and place in a pre-heated 300º oven for 1 hour. Let cool slightly before serving.

Stay tuned for my Great Turkey Leftover Soup!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Merry Christmas Friends!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, today is the 1st of December and I assume most of you are preparing for Christmas, or the holidays in general. We here at RouxBDoo's are going to try and ramp up our frequency on publishing posts and featuring restaurants and products.

I am no longer working out of New Orleans and it is more difficult to feature NOLA restaurants. We will be featuring other places that serve Cajun and Creole food around this area. I am also expanding the scope to include more Low Country and Appalachian Mountain foods. I grew up here in the mountains of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia and the food is much simpler than some of the others in this blog but no less wonderful.

If you click on the above banner, right under the RouxBDoo graphic, you can download some of the Harkleroad family Christmas favorites. My Dad's Peanut Butter candy, my Scottish Shortbread, and my wife's Sugar cookies and Icing recipes are listed there, I think you'll like them. I am also going to be featuring more holiday recipes this season, so strike the harp and join the chorus, Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pickled Green Tomatoes

This time of year everyone's gardens are about gone and I had friends give me some of their tomatoes that didn't make it in time.  Many were green or barely starting to ripen.  I used this recipe to make some wonderful Pickled Green Tomatoes that didn't require all the typical canning processes.  These should keep for several weeks or even a month or two.  The ones I made didn't last long enough to go bad!  Everyone loved them.  They are tart but tasty.


1 qt. jar of small green tomatoes, cut into eights
8 sections of garlic sliced in half
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
2 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs pickling spices
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp celery seed
½ tsp dill seed
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper flakes

Place tomatoes tightly in a quart jar, arrange slivers of garlic throughout the tomato wedges. Combine the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, cook for 5 more minutes. Pour over the tomatoes in jar filling ¼ inch from top. Tighten lids and wipe off edges, and leave out on the counter for about 1 hour. Listen for the popping sound to make sure they seal. Place into refrigerator for 2 weeks before using to give the pickles time to develop flavor.

Make these wonderful pickles.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Savannah's Moon River Brewing Company

In 2003, the American Institute of Paranormal Psychology named Savannah the most haunted city in America. And what's widely regarded as the most haunted place in Savannah? The Moon River Brewing Company.

While in Savannah with my family, we went to Moon River for lunch and had a wonderful time. The burgers, most of us ordered burgers, were amazing. Everything we had there was wonderful, and I thought Halloween would be a good time to post about it.

Located on the historic Bay St. the only problem we had was parking, you're best to walk from your hotel if it's nearby, there's also a parking garage a few blocks away. Of course being haunted had peaked my interest to start with and was instrumental in our dining arrangements.

After lunch we made our way down to the cellar, which is the reported center of the haunting. Seems they have a ghost named Toby in the cellar and a lady ghost up on the third floor that has been seen by many. After roaming around and taking pictures, as well as recording some sound clips we determined the ghosts had taken the day off.

This doesn't mean it isn't haunted, it has been visited by suck paranormal television shows as Ghost Hunters, and the wacky boys of Ghost Adventures. As a matter of fact both caught valuable evidence in their investigations.

We had a wonderful day, a great meal, and top notch vacation in the historic city of Savannah Georgia. For more information you can find the Moon RIver Brewing Company at 21 W. Bay St., or call them at 912-447-0943. You can find them online at Moon RIver Brewing Company Pictured is the Savannah Georgia Customs House, which is on the other side of Bay Street from the Brewery.

Halloween Party Appetizers

Well, it's my favorite time of the year and many of you are having Halloween Parties and I thought I would give you some great little party recipes to use. These are easy but you can use your artistic side to dress them up as something nasty.

These recipes were published in my first book on building haunted attraction called "The Complete Haunted House Book". These were all recipes we used for years in our Halloween parties my wife and I used to put on. We would spend a week or more decorating the house to make it look spooky and haunted, and people would spend the whole party in the kitchen. You will find these are not only tasty but some look creepy and disgusting. The first one is one of my favorites.

Maggot Infested, Death Eatin' a Cracker

On a serving plate, place two 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, cover this with a ½ pound of boiled baby shrimp, and top with a bottle of red cocktail sauce. This is nasty looking, but tastes great. Serve with any type of wheat or vegetable cracker. This is my niece Kim Turner’s recipe.

Socket Poppers

2 lb. pkg. frozen meatballs
12oz. can cream of mushroom soup
12oz. carton sour cream
1 tsp. dill weed

In a bowl, combine equal parts of sour cream, cream of mushroom soup with a dash of dill weed. Pour this over ready-cooked meatballs in a casserole dish. Place this in an oven to bake at 300˚. Serve with toothpicks. Slice olives crosswise and garnish to look like an iris.

Sleaze Dip with Torture-tillas

Melt a 1 lb. brick of Velveeta cheese and stir in a can of Ro-Tel, (spicy tomatoes and peppers) or a jar of hot salsa and keep warm in a crock-pot. Serve with tortilla chips. You can also add a can of bean-less chili to the melted cheese instead of Ro-Tel. Use a double boiler to avoid burning. A microwave can also be used, but watch it closely.

Dead Man's Fingers

frozen, jointed, chicken wings
bar-b-que sauce
garlic powder & black pepper

Dip frozen wings in Bar-B-Que sauce and put them on a rack in a 300˚ degree oven. A dash of garlic powder and black pepper top it off. You might need to baste these occasionally. Bake really well done and keep them warm in the oven. Serve with Bleu Cheese dressing. Buy a packet of toy rings in the party section of a discount store and slip them onto a few of the wings to enhance the finger effect.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix

OK, I know I am gonna take some heat on this because most of you that really know me, and my somewhat snobbish ways, know that when it concerns food, and I should say authentic foods, that I am indeed... picky.

I have always been a Cajun "brown" Jambalaya lover/maker and have had some pretty atrocious versions of "red" in and around New Orleans. It takes me a couple of hours prepping, cooking, and finishing off my Jambalaya, so I only fix it once every other month or so. It is awesome though.

A girl at work brought in something the other day, I asked "what is that"? She said "Jambalaya, it's not as good as yours though" which flattered me, so I tried some. It was very good, even considering she had used Italian sausage in it. Now notice I am not going out on too long a limb.

She told me it was Zatarain's. I was amazed since I have usually not placed much stock in boxed dinners, but I do know and love some of Zatarain's products. So I went to the store, got a pack of the "Reduced Sodium" Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix, and made some up. I sliced up half a pound of andouille (or smoked sausage), one plump, de-boned, shredded-up, chicken breast from the kitchen here at work, (dinner theater with fried chicken) a half-cup of diced onion and half-cup diced celery. So I had really very little invested in it.

In 1 tbs of margarine, I sweated the onions and celery in a 3 qt. saucepan, added the chicken meat, andouille, and let it go a bit, then added the 2 1/2 cups of water the box called for. I brought it to a boil, then added the mix. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

I turned the heat down a bit and simmered for about 20 mins., stirring occaisionally. Put the lid on the pot and popped it into the 300º oven for 15 minutes. Brought it out, fluffed it a bit, and tasted it. You know what? It was really, really tasty.

You dont have to add the onions or celery, and you can add diced ham, shrimp, or whatever for your meat. If a snob like me can enjoy this easy set-up anyone can. I knocked it together in about 10 mins. it cooked for about 40 mins. all together, and was cheap. Do I like it better than my scratch-made version? No, but in a hurry, this is fine... try it out.

BTW The Reduced Sodium version has 40% Less Sodium than regular Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix with NO MSG Added!

OK lemme have it!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rotisserie Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I was at WallyWorld the other day, (WalMart to the rest of you) and saw one of those delicious rotisserie chickens that I love so. Warm, dark crispy skin, savory, succulent, ooooozing with tasty juices, all wrapped in a plastic container for me to take home. After sampling the tastiest of morsels, (the top of the delicious breast with the wonderful skin attached) I decided I'd like to use the rest for some wonderful, dark, rich gumbo. Here is the recipe.

1 cup cooking oil
1 ½ cup plain flour
3 cup onion (diced)
2 cup celery (diced)
1 cup green bell pepper (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
4 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tbs tabasco sauce
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried)
½ tbs kosher salt
½ tbs black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups crushed tomatoes
½ cup green onion (sliced thin)
¼ cup parsley (minced)
1 Rotisserie Chicken
1 lbs Andouille sausage (sliced ½ inch)
10 cups water

To start with, remove all the usable meat from the chicken chop up to a medium dice and set aside. Place all skin, bones, scraps, and any leftover stock or brown gelatinous yummy stuff that is in the chicken carton, into a stock pot, along with any onion or celery scraps. Cover with 10 cups of water and bring to a boil. You can add your herbs at this point to include their intense flavor into the stock. Cook for 45 mins. to an hour on MED/HI. Strain the stock into a pot and keep warm on the stove. Should yield about 8 cups.

In a MED/HI cast iron Dutch Oven, make a dark brown roux from the oil and flour. When the roux is right, add the onions and cook, stirring for 10 minutes. Now add the celery, green pepper, garlic, ½ of the green onions, and cook for 10 minutes. Add all spices, tabasco, and worcestershire sauce.

Add 2 cups of the hot stock and stir well until it combines with the roux. Add the diced smoked sausage, chicken meat, and cook 10 mins. Now add remaining stock, tomatoes, and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Turn back down to MED/LO and cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add remaining parsley and chopped green onions, and let it simmer another half hour on LO. Serve over rice.

* If you like okra in your gumbo, heat ¼ cup of oil and sauté 2 cups of frozen or fresh okra in another skillet until it is no longer sticky and gooey, about 20 minutes on MED. Add to gumbo when you add the sausage and chicken.

* 1 tbs. of Filé powder can also be added during the last 15 mins. of cooking.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm Pickle Silly!!!

The season's change to summer used to not matter much to me since I worked on a cruise ship in the Caribbean for so long, and it was pretty much summer all year round. Now I'm in the mountains again, surrounded by folks who have gardens. Soon I was overrun with yellow crook neck squash, (or yeller squarsh as they's call back home) and need to figure out different things to do with it. For some reason, I thought pickles.

Mama always made pickles every summer, as did all women when I was growing up. Now it doesn't seem to be much of a priority since you can buy them for a third of what it cost to can some, not to mention the time and effort. My mother would make a few of my favorites every summer, lime pickles, bread and butter pickles, and chow-chow. For those of you unfamiliar with chow-chow, it is a relish we hillbillies eat with our pinto beans.

I had copied some recipes from Alton Brown on Good Eats, one of my favorite hosts and shows. They were both what you would call "Quick Pickles" that do not require all the elaborate canning processes. Basically put the vegetable in the jar, pour the "brine" over it, and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of weeks. These will not keep on the shelf in your cupboard through the year. Here is a picture of what he calls "Fire Crackers" the recipe is down below. I am also including his easy Bread and Butter Pickles. The two recipes are similar in the brine. Both take two weeks to set.

Speaking of which, I have discovered a wonderful resource for recipes... it's something called the internet. Invented by Al Gore to provide folks with recipes for cooking nearly anything, and to see pictures of naked ladies. I found nearly a million yellow squash recipes, and nearly all of them were the same. OK a few variations here and there, but basically the same. I figured I could pretty much cobble up my own version from these files... recipe files, not naked lady ones.

The first one I made was a Yellow Squash Relish. I had no idea how this would taste but I thought I'd give it a try. Keep in mind, in addition to the squash I also got zucchini, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, etc. so I would have a vast array of ingredients to choose from. Of course the only problem remaining would be the spices. Now I keep, on-hand, a fairly decent collection of spices, but I did not have turmeric, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and so-on. This was where it ran into money, also I needed jars, lids, and caps. I got all my spices for under $20 and they will do me for a while, (my mother had a bottle of garlic powder for around 17 years, she cooked very plain). Below is the recipe.

Yellow Squash Relish

4 cups squash and/or zucchini (diced)
1 cup onion (diced)
½ cup red bell pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1 ½ cup white sugar
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp hot pepper flakes
¼ cup kosher salt
1 cup water

Cut the yellow squash and zucchini, in quarters, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and dice them extremely small. I dice up 2 cups of squash and 2 cups of the zucchini. Chop one onion into small dice, it should be a cup, as well as a red or green bell pepper, use about half a cup. Red looks better.

Place in a large bowl and sprinkle ¼ cup salt and add 1 cup water. Stir well and let stand 1 hour in the refrigerator. Drain well and rinse with cold water twice. Transfer this into a couple of jars. Bring vinegar, sugar, and all remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Pour hot mixture over vegetables in the jars. Let cool then refrigerate, then use as needed. By the way, you can slice the squash and make these in a more traditional method.

Fire Cracker Carrots

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cider vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp mustard seed
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp chili flakes
2 dry chilis
1 lb baby carrots

Combine all ingredients, except the carrots and dry chilis, in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 mins. Place the dry chilis on top and pour the brine over the carrots already in the jar, seal and refrigerate for 2 weeks. I used split green serrano peppers instead of the dried red chilis.

Bread & Butter Pickles

1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1 ½ cup sugar
1 tbs salt
½ tsp mustard seed
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp celery seed
½ tsp pickling spice
2 med cucumbers
½ onion (sliced)

Slice the cucumbers and the onion into thin slices. Place in a jar. Combine all brine ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 mins. Pour over the cucumbers and onions already in the jar, seal and refrigerate for 2 weeks.

Last year I did a post about a great restaurant in Charleston called Jestines. I fell in love with her Icebox Pickles, so I had to make those too! You can see by the picture they're fairly light and require only 48 hrs. to set. Here is the amazingly easy recipe.

Jestine's Icebox Pickles

6 small cucumbers
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp dried dill
1 cup white or apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Slice cucumbers and place in a clean, heat proof container. Add sugar, salt, herbs and pepper flakes. Heat vinegar and water to a low boil; pour over cucumbers. Refrigerate for 48 hours.

Try these recipes out and let me know how they go. I like these because they do not require all the canning equipment, weather forecasts, witchcraft, and almanacs just to turn out a pickle or two. I had fun making these and will have even more fun enjoying these and giving some away. Alright now, get to picklin'.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bourbon House Seafood Restaurant

Sorry I have been remiss in my posting, but I am settling into my new job and finally getting around to covering some posts that have been forthcoming. I think you'll like this place, I sure did.

I had been walking around the French Quarter and trying to find a restaurant that I hadn't tried yet. Of course there are many, but I had noticed a nice looking restaurant on the corner of Iberville and Bourbon. Since I rarely go near Bourbon Street, except to have lunch at Galatoire's, I made a special trip over to Bourbon House for a nice meal.

Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House Seafood is one of several owned by different members of the Breannan family. It's a very well appointed place with a friendly staff who seated me in a nice comfy spot near the windew. After perusing the LUNCH MENU, I chose a combo Po-Boy of ersters (oysters to the hoi polloi) and shrimp. To start off I had to have some gumbo, after all, YOU KNOW I LOVE GUMBO!

I received a loaf of crusty bread with butter shortly before having my seafood gumbo. The young man who brought it from the kitchen (pictured) was a cook or chef of some sort and was really friendly. He poured it into the bowl from a classy stainless gravy-boat-type appliance, a nice touch I thought. We chatted for a bit, but I can't for the life of me remember his name... Robbie, Donnie, not sure.

It sure was tasty, but I really could have used a bit more of the soupy part. There was an oyster the size of a cows tongue in the middle of the bowl. Tasty but I had to cut it up to eat it. The gumbo overall was very nice though. The roux was nice and dark and the shrimp were done perfect, not mushy or dry. It had just the right amount of spice. Very enjoyable.

My sammich came and boy was it good. It came with spicy mayo (or remoulade) and it was served on the classic Leidenheimer French bread. The oysters were done perfect as were the shrimp. The fries were great as well, a nice platter all around. I believe it was around $12, but very filling. I skipped dessert since I am watching my girlish figure, but they had some tempting ones on the menu.

I finished up and said my thank-yous, and I seem to recollect the bill was about $25 with tip. I can heartily recommend Bourbon House while in the quarter. CLICK HERE for their website. Tell them RouxBDoo sent you.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where has RouxBDoo been, and what's his new job?

Hello friends, this is your old buddy RouxBDoo here apologizing about the tardiness of my posting. For starters, there has been a lot going on in my life and I have a NEW JOB! I have been hired by Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment of Pigeon Forge Tennessee, to be the lead in their brand new show, at their newly renovated Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Theater. The show is a comical look at the lighter side of the Hatfield and McCoy families' feud. I am co-writing the script and will also be playing banjo in the show.

I am really excited about this opportunity and look forward to having fun with this part. The only bad side to this job is I will no longer be traveling to New Orleans on a weekly basis, as I did with my last job with the cruise line. So it might be a while between New Orleans' restaurant posts. I still have a few I have not posted yet, and am rounding up the pics for those. I will continue to post to this blog and my focus will remain Cajun and Creole food.

In my new situation I am able to cook more often so I will be posting recipes and even trying out restaurants in the area purporting to be serving Cajun and Creole. (We'll just see about that.)

I am posting a picture of the unfinished facade on the theater. If you are going to be in the area please drop me a line. I promise to get a new blog posting up soon, I am busy learning the script.



Monday, February 7, 2011

Bayou Eatery on Magazine Street

I had debarked the Carnival Triumph in New Orleans at 6:30am and wanted to spend the day in town. My flight wasn't until 4:30pm, I didn't want to sit at the airport all day, and I couldn't confirm an earlier flight. What to do with my bags? I rolled over to my New Orleans' Foodie Friend Beth, or Buffy as I call her, and she allowed me to drop me bags at her office and off I went.

I made my way all around the French Quarter and first had breakfast at Mena's Palace (see previous post, click HERE). I walked some more over to my favorite bookstore, then up to Royale to gaze at the pretty antiques. I then crossed back over Canal and went down St. Charles, Camp, and Magazine streets. I made a discovery while walking along. On one of my first visits to New Orleans, maybe my VERY first visit, I dined at a wonderful old restaurant named Kolbs. As I crossed Canal, there it was closed, darkened, and somehow lonely looking.

It was nestled next to a seafood restaurant and oyster bar called "The Pearl." I even remember my first meal at Kolbs was Red Beans and Rice, with a Hot Sausage. Man was it ever good. I don't have many memories of Kolbs other than that, but I seem to recollect a big place with lots of tile and Art Deco furnishings. Maybe that is my imagination conjuring that. I sure hope someone someday open another restaurant in that location.

OK, I am wandering and about to forget why I started this post. I see this little place located on the corner of Magazine and Lafayette streets. It is about 3 blocks from my friend's workplace, and about 2 blocks from one of my favorite, now closed, downtown restaurants the Diplomat. Don't worry Bayou Eatery, I will soon quit talking about other restaurants and focus squarely on you... as a matter of fact it's Bayou Eatery.

Owned by a very friendly couple named Nanette and Ron Huddleston, they told me they had been there several years, and judging from the lunch crowd, they're doing good business. It is a "serve-yourself" affair, well technically you place your order, get your drink, and bus your own tray. Most everything comes already in a to-go type carton. Pleasant, clean atmosphere without all the screaming music you sometimes have to contend with. This was a comfortable place to have lunch, but how was the food?

I ordered the "Specials" of the day which was a Jambalaya with chicken, andouille, and shrimp. I have potato salad for a side and a piece of French Bread. I also had a large cup of their Crawfish, Corn and Potato Soup. This was the highlight of my day. The Jambalaya was good, sort of a cross between a red and a brown Jambalaya. Just the right heat and smokiness. The potato salad was good, like to try that with Seafood Gumbo sometime. The Crawfish & Corn soup however was awesome.

This was very similar in consistency to a clam chowder, only with crawfish tails and yellow corn kernels. It also contained potato, a little celery and maybe some very thin minced onion. This nice creamy base really made this tasty for "Yours Truly." I took my time and luxuriated over this bowl of creamy goodness for nearly an hour. Nice plump crawfish tails swimming around attempting to leap onto my spoon, wheeeeee-doggies.

Soups, salads, and sandwhiches, along with killer daily lunch specials make this place very popular with the locals in that area. Again, they are located on the corner of Magazine and Lafayette. I am not sure about their hours, but I sure know they are open at lunch, and how. You can call for their hours at 504-299-8600. Give this nice place a try and I think you'll enjoy it, especially when so many restaurants are getting $20+ dollars for lunch these days.

Tell em' RouxBDoo sent you!

Mena's Palace Cafe in the French Quarter

OK in the last few weeks I have gone into the Quarter and overdone it in terms of walking. I have a heel spur, as well as having to deal with the "pristine" condition of the sidewalks, I have left myself in a very painful condition on a few occasions. So I was try to go easy, like the BIG EASY. So I strolled up Canal trying to figure out what to have for breakfast.

I know, I had seen this place that was obviously very popular on Iberville, down a few blocks from Deanie's. I remembered it was on the corner somewhere. After a bit of a look 'round, I saw it... Mena's Palace Cafe. It's not a flashy place, a little dark looking from the outside, but inside it has an old fashioned, homey feel to it, a nice little place to go read the paper and have a bit of breakfast. That's just what I did.

I was greeted by a lovely waitress name Anne Marie, who turns out to be from Northern Ireland (don't know how I picked up on that accent), she was very friendly and helpful. We talked about Irish music, which is one of my other passions, specifically the Uilleann Pipes. We also talked about "the Troubles" as well as Ireland being overrun by illegal immigrants very much as we are here in the States. The first part getting better and the last part getting worse.

Back to breakfast. I got the andouille omelette with grits and toast. Everything was great, I do like my grits to be salted and buttered, but some place don't do that. I hear some locales around the South where people actually put SUGAR in them. OK, butter, salt, pepper, cheese, possible andouille or other type of sausage, but SUGAR??? Save that for your oatmeal. I really enjoyed the omelette though, everything was tasty and served hot.

Between the ambiance, food, friendly service, and it's location, it is a great place for breakfast. They are also open for lunch, no dinner(or supper). I don't know about their lunch, but the guy down the street at the bookstore said they had great lunch. He was ordering a Po-Boy from Mena's as I was browsing his bookstore. I looked at the menu and it is full of great New Orleans specialties. I scanned it so you can see it HERE!

Mena's is located at 200 Chartres St. I am pretty sure it is the corner of Chartres and Iberville, just a block off Canal Street. If you want to call it is (504) 525-0217. If you are staying in the French Quarter is it an ideal place to order delivery to your hotel. Enjoy Mena's while visiting New Orleans.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's Different at a New Orleans' WalMart

I was doing some shopping last week at the WalMart in the Warehouse District, not too far from my ship, and I began noticing all the great items I wish my WalMarts back home had. So here is a little N'Awlins' shoppin' list that might make you hungry or envious bacause the WalMart where 'yat aint gottem... most likely!

Poor Boy French Bread by Reising Bakery. Traditionally used by many for New Orleans' native sammich the Po' Boy. (Notice their spelling)

King Cake, The season for king cake extends from the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, through to Mardi Gras day. Unfortunately the baby is in a awkward position. Poor baby, must've wriggled out of the cake on the way to the store.

Community Coffee, next to CDM is the most popular I would guess. Not sure which is the favorite, I suspect this one.

Richard's Andouille Sausage. Pronounced "ree-shards" it is one of the better standard grocery store brands. Can't beat Jacob's in La Place though.

Next is Richard's Boudin. I love boudin and they do a pretty good job with this one!

Creole Cream Cheese an old New Orleans favorite. Only a handful of places make it, Chef John Folse produces this one.

A bag of Zapp's Cajun Craw Tater potato chips. We've covered Zapp's before. They are truly wonderful.

Louisiana Fish Fry Products Brand of Crawfish, Shrimp, and Crab Boil. No mixing just dump it into the water and let'er rip.

Here we have a freezer section full of traditional Cajun and Creole meals, froze harder than Chinese Arithmetic. Never tried them, probably never will.

Here we have an assortment of spices and rubs by our favorite spice mixes like Tony Chachere's, Zatarain's, and Chef Paul Prudhomme to name a few.

I hope you enjoyed this little trip around the New Orleans WalMart. I sure wish we had some of these products. BTW, the Gumbo Crabs and Crawfish Tails by Bernard's are imported from China, I do not endorse nor really recommend them. I can occaisionally get the Crawfish Tails at home, so if I want any at the spur of the moment, it is usually these.

Always try and buy US caught Seafood, specifically Louisiana Seafood. OK, ALabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South and North Carolina, and all the other gulf states, I'm sure have great seafood too! Nothing against the Chinese, as you have heard earlier, they have great Arithmetic!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Li'l Dizzy's on Esplanade

It was a beautiful day in New Orleans, the type of day you want to walk around town or go into the French Quarter and enjoy all the sights. I had been to a little restaurant called Li'l Dizzy's before but only for breakfast. When I was there I did enjoy the food, as I remember. I even seem to recall meeting the owner Wayne Baquet, and I always wondered what the food was like the rest of the day. For some reason I hadn't been back... yet.

After I had read their name on a list of someone's favorite gumbos in New Orleans, I decided to find out more about Li'l Dizzy's and see what they're about for lunch. For starters, I found out that they have a buffet on most days. I like this idea. I have always been a fan of buffets since I was a kid. The only problem with buffets is that they are one of two things, they either have a MILLION items on the bar and nothing is good, like it's just emptied out of a can, or they are small and the food is the same as they offer on the menu. With Li'l Dizzy's I found it was the latter. Small buffet, a dozen or so items, and great food. Just like off the menu.

First, let's look at their reviews. I checked them out on several and they got great marks on them especially on their chicken and gumbo. OK, I have been meaning to try out several of the fried chicken places in New Orleans but I haven't gotten around to it. I knew that Dizzy's had good marks on it and luckily they had chicken on the buffet. The chicken coating, (this is how many chickens are compared) was the lighter colored, almost like a Popeye's as opposed to a darker KFC. It also was lighter tasting, pleasant and not at all greasy. The flavor was good, and although it was thoroughly cooked, I will have to say that I like my chicken REALLY, REALLY well done, I did enjoy the piece that I ate.

I thought one of the highlights of the meal was the Creole style White Beans. Seasoned with what looked like bacon and other bits of pork, they were cooked down wonderfully. Reminded me of the white beans my N'Awlins buddy Ralph Fountain used to fix me at his house in Arabi. In addition to the beans, I got some nice red-skinned potatoes with just enough garlic and butter to make me happy. I grabbed a hot sausage off the breakfast end of the buffet to accompany my beans.

They next had a braised pork loin in a spicy au jus, (or debris) right next to some nice savory rice to spoon it over. This plate was getting heavy. I hauled it over to my table next to the window. My waitress brought me some iced tea and some french bread to sop up all the juicy goodnessson my plate. She did this with a smile and a light in her heart. Everyone there seemed happy to work there. I took my time and savored all the food I had gotten, but I had to save room for the next course... GUMMMMBO!

I made my way back over to the bar and using the ladle, swirled the swampy goodness I had observed on my first trip to the steam table. There it was. Reddish crab claws and tiny legs intertwined with several different meats like andouille, ham (or tasso possibly) and some other type of sausage I could not identify, chaurice or chorizo maybe? Maybe not traditional but really good. Then the little shrimp swam up to my ladle and tried their best to jockey up to my bowl. You can see by the picture this gumbo was loaded and nearly perfect.

The flavor was spot on. A nice seafood-ey taste but not overpowering. Not as dark as I make mine, but ideal for this gumbo, somehow. Spice was right on, not too salty or not too hot. As I told Kathy, the lady at the cash register, it was perfect. Possibly the best I'd had in New Orleans, and that's quite a feat. Well, at least you'd think so. With so many of the downtown restaurants serving institutional gumbo, this Li'l Dizzy's gumbo stood out so it's not even fair. I know that many good restaurants downtown, in the Quarter, etc. do make their own, and many are very good. This one is one of the best I've eaten.

I couldn't leave without at least a taste of their bread pudding. Man-oh-man, is it good. The Bourbon sauce or whatever it is sure is awesome. I'm not big on alcohol based sauce or foods, but this one is tasty. I was told it's not alcoholic but like Foster Brooks, it sure does a great imitation. This bread pudding is also some of the best I have had down there. I was truly impressed. I told my delight to Kathy and how much I loved the gumbo. She introduced me to Rosalind, the chef that makes the gumbo, and probably most the rest of the food. Rosalind was a friendly lady who posed for a picture with Kathy, and seemed proud of my compliments on her creation.

I look forward to going back to Li'l Dizzy's someday. If you want to go while in New Orleans, take the Riverfront Trolley up to the end of the French Quarter and get off at the last stop. This is Esplanade, now walk up this interesting, tree-lined, street about seven blocks, cross Rampart, (the top of the Quarter) and go about five to six more streets. On the left you will find Li'l Dizzy's at 1500 Esplanade. Tell them you read about them here at RouxBDoo's Blog.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jon Dee's Christmas Soup and Jambalaya

I am always deeply gratified when my readers and friends actually try my recipes and send me reports and pictures of what they fix. Some of the best food photos have come from these associations. As is the case with the two lovely dishes, which, BTW, come from my friend, hypnotist, and previous contributor Jon Dee of Gatlinburg Tennessee. OK, I don't think he lives there but his AMAZING HYPNOTISM SHOW is there and should not be missed. CLICK HERE for more information.

The first picture is that of a bowl of my Metairie Shrimp and Crab Soup. This recipe was developed in the New Orleans suburb or Metairie, at my friend Doug Ferguson's house. We would go over to Whole Foods, get a second mortgage on our houses, and spend it on seafood for this wonderful soup. I think John called it his $50.00 Crab and Shrimp Christmas soup, implying he made the soup instead of buying toys for his children at Yuletide. The other item is my World Famous (in my little world) Cajun Brown Jambalaya. This make a wonderful compliment to each other,

This is Jon, isn't he cute? And evidently frustrated about something, the grocery bill probably. Really, he's a nice guy, loving husband and father, and a good friend. I just like this picture of him. He's come so far from that apple-cheeked lad in his teens that used to come visit me. We've both come a long way. Jon, I am honored you have, once again, chosen my recipes to celebrate Christmas with. You have good taste, and from the looks of your pictures, your food does too! To get both recipes, along with a dozen more of my best, CLICK HERE and get them all.

Thanks Buddy for sharing, and to all a good night.



Here is a little video clip that I just love. It came from the movie "King Creole" starring Elvis Presley. The move starts out with street venders calling out their wares, and the gumbo man was my favorite. Of course as most of you know, Gumbo is my favorite as well. I was surprised there were no Calas ladies out calling. You might think it's goofy, but I get a smile every time I play it. Enjoy


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

40 Blogs for the Cajun Enthusiast

Friend of our RouxBDoo Blog, Katie Tellefson, has just published an article on her blog entitled “40 Blogs for the Cajun Enthusiast”. I am happy to let you know that our site has been included on that list, and we're in the top slot, not sure if that means we're Number 1 or not. I figured I’d bring it to your attention. Click on the above title and check this great list out for more on Cajun cooking and culture. Thanks so much Katie, we love you and your hard work listing all these sites and blogs.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Louisiana Dried Shrimp

I found out about these little fellows years ago. I was dating a girl in Houma, and when I went down to visit her the first time there in Houma, she ran into a gas station and grabbed a pack. She ate them like you would eat peanuts. I actually developed a taste for them and would pick up a pack from time to time. They are primarily used to make shrimp stocks and add to a gumbo. As for a snack, you REALLY have to like the flavor of shrimp. They are tiny and a bit chewy but after the first few, they're like... jerky, in a way.

These are available all over Louisiana in grocery stores, convenience stores, etc. You can also order them from places like Simply Cajun or from Pure Cajun Products. They also make dried shrimp powder that you can toss right into a pot of boiling water and SHAZAAM... great shrimp stock. This and the dried shrimp pictured are from Rouse's Supermarket. Whether you use them for stock or gumbo, or decide to eat them as a snack, this is TRUE Louisiana.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Ferdi Special Po' Boy

If you've never been to New Orleans you might be asking, or "Ax-ing" as the locals say, "what is a Po' Boy?" Well a Po' Boy is a large sandwich on a foot long piece of French bread. It can contain meats, fried seafoods, grilled sausage, or even french fries with brown gravy on them. Basically it is their name for a sub. One of my favorites is the Ferdi Special. It is a combination of baked ham, roast beef, and beef debris gravy. Now debris gravy is a thick broth containing some of the shredded-up bits of roast beef that fall into the pan while baking and slicing. It keeps the sandwich nice and moist.

The Ferdi special was invented at Mother's Restaurant, on Poydras St., only a few blocks from the French Quarter. We have covered Mother's Restaurant before on this site, you can see it by clicking HERE. To tell you story of the Ferdi, it was actually easier to quote their own words... "Mr. Ferdi, a local merchant and regular Mother’s patron, probably had nothing more than a meaty sandwich in mind when he asked that some ham be added to his roast beef po’ boy (or vice versa, the legend is hazy). But word got out and the combo was soon a hit. Voila! – the Ferdi Special was born."

Ferdi's are available at many restaurants in town, one of my favorites being at NOLA Grocery. Pictured is my one from Mother's that I had on my last trip to town. It was great, really tasty and with loads of meat. The Ferdi Special is definitely one of my favorite types of Po' Boys.


NOLA Restaurants

I was in my favorite town yesterday and thought I'd snap some pictures of some of New Orleans' great eateries. First is the K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. As most of you know Chef Paul Prudhomme is an institution of himself. One of his early credits was Commander's Palace in the Garden District. This restaurant pictured is his wonderful reastaurant on on Chartres Street in the French Quarter.

Next is one of the oldest restaurants in one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans, The Napoleon House. The Chartres Street building is 200 years old and was built by the then-mayor of New Orleans Nicholas Girod. He made an offer to Napoleon to hang out there during his exile. Good food, and be sure to try one of the Pimm's Cup cocktails while you relax in the city's quaintest courtyard.

Our final is Restaurant August. This is Chef John Besh's wonderful restaurant locaed in the Central Business Districton on Tchoupitoulas Street between Poydras and Canal. Chef Besh's August has won tons of awards and acclaim. Located in a beautiful, old, four story, brick building. He opened Restaurant August in 2001. Definitely worth your time when visiting New Orleans.

I love walking in New Orleans, and again I apologize for the picture quality but they are made with my cell phone's camera. All the more reason to go to New Orleans and see them for yourself.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Green Ham??? Sam I am?

Well, you heard about it in the writings of Dr. Seuss, but you probably never thought you'd see one. As it turns out, a green ham is an un-cured ham that still has the skin and fat on it. This is also the ham my mother has been fixing for Christmas for years now. We have always, as far as I can remember, have had what Dad used to call a "fresh ham." Last year the butcher told us the term "green ham" referred to a fresh ham with the skin and fat remaining attached.

Why should you keep the skin on? We've found out the ham stays moist and remains that way even after refrigeration. It really improves the taste too. Most chefs will tell you that meat derives a lot of flavor from the fat. Plus the skin retains the moisture during the lengthy baking process. Mom bakes hers' around 30 minutes per pound. This year she got a 23 pounder!!! Believe me, that's one BIG ASS HAM! Bake it until the bone feels loose enough to shake out of it. She scores the top, (as pictured), salts and peppers it good, and slings it in a 350º oven for a long while. Bring it out and let it sit for about an half hour before slicing it. It will practically fall apart.

Try this type of ham on your next holiday, we sometimes do one of these at Easter too. The flavor is cross between a pork loin and roast beef. Actually it's much better than either one of those meats. I taste's like Christmas to me and our family. One of those family traditions that my 87 year old Mother still handles. I glad she does.


Happy New Year 2011

Whether you are starting out your new year with black-eyed peas and cabbage, or pigs feet and collards, I hope this year find you busy and prosperous. I am traveling today so I won't have any traditional foods except for pork tacos, maybe. I do have something this new year to celebrate, I got an incredible book for Christmas from my niece Kim. It's a book I have been longing for since it came out. It is "My New Orleans" by Chef John Besh.

I have barely looked through it but I know I love it already. Chef Besh, who should have been named the new Iron Chef two years ago, is one of New Orleans' finest and most innovative chefs. A Gulf War veteran and owner of restaurants August, Besh Steak House, Lüke, La Provence, and recently The American Sector, Besh was also named in 1999, one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America” by Food and Wine magazine.

So start your year off right and spend some of that Christmas gift money on a wonderful cookbook, by a world class chef. Chef John Besh's "My New Orleans" can be ordered by clicking HERE!