Strolling and Eating our way through New Orleans and Louisiana

Finally my long promised post with clicks, stories and foods from my trip to New Orleans, Louisiana back in March 2014. Wow does life ever get in the way of goals. My friend Karen and I set off for on a 7-day vacation and a visit to our friend Raquel, who moved to New Orleans from Montreal this past summer.

This was my second time actually in the Big Easy but a good 10 years had elapsed since my first trip. I was really looking forward to my trip as the first one was a short blitz. I knew what foods I wanted to eat again…and try the ones I missed out the first time around. Still in 7 days on location I did not cover the whole list. So when is trip three going to be? Oh well not right away but let me reminisce a bit, this is but a sliver of all we did, ate, saw and experienced.

intro

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

The Sazerac: the official cocktail of New Orleans

I am back from holiday but I have gotten into the swing blogging yet. The vacation to New Orleans was fabulous but I did come back with a nasty cold too. I promise I will have pics soon and tell you all about it.

I did find the energy however to recreate a fabulous cocktail we enjoyed while there. One thing NOLA is know for, besides food and beads, it’s cocktails. From industrial daiquiri machines to a Vieux-Carré or a Hurricane, there is a drink that will fit your bill. The number one cocktail my friend and I wanted to try was the Sazerac, which just so happened to be proclaimed New Orleans’ official cocktail in 2008.

Sazerac 1

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Where y’at from New Orleans

“Where y’at” is what I would say to you today if we crossed paths on the street. This expression means “How are you?” in the Big Easy. That is right, I am on a well deserved little getaway in New Orleans as we speak.

A friend and I are here for a week to visit another dear friend who recently moved here for a job. We will feast and drink, seek out alligators in the bayous, stroll through plantations, practice voodoo ceremonies and dance to Zydeco music in Acadia while eating some boudin.

And we will gain many pounds even if we walk all day. Boiled crawfish, gumbo, jambalaya, bananas foster, muffalettas, oysters, snowballs, beignets, pralines, king cake, alligator, turtle soup (finally), okra and po’ boys are just a sampling of the local specialties we are planning on devouring.

And yes, there will be at least one post minimum showcasing my week of gluttony. “Awrite, den”.

French Quarter NOLA

The Liver Experiment Week 8: Stuffed Baby Eggplants in a Dirty Rice Pilaf

Here we are at the 8th installment of The Liver Experiment where I will try to acquire a taste for liver. Over a 10 week period I will cook, consume and post my experience once a week about trying to appreciate my food nemesis. I hope my experiment will inspire you to try the same with your own personal food nemesis. And even if you are determined to hate liver for life I hope you will follow along throughout the whole series.

And for a second time I am so happy to be able to combine Week 8 with this month’s Creative Cooking Crew. This month our theme was rice. I decided to combine the old and the new in this Moorish and Louisiana fusion dish named Stuffed Baby Eggplants in a Dirty Rice Pilaf.

Stuffed Baby Eggplants in a Dirty Rice Pilaf 02

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Verdie Mae’s Absinthe Frappe

 

Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday Season and Happy New Year.

May you be surrounded by loved ones and lots of fabulous food!

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Are you still looking for a great cocktail idea for your friends and family get togethers over the next few days?

Here is a winner with one of my favorite beverage treats: Absinthe. Think Mojito or Mint Julep but New Orleans style!

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This recipe comes from the Taste of Treme cookbook I recently received for review. You can read what I thought of the cookbook here. And it is a great town to party and have an awesome cocktail. Just stay away from the alcoholic fake slush machines, otherwise you will end up like me in a gift shop wrapping yourself with feather boas.

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Ξ Verdie Mae’s Absinthe Frappe Ξ

6–8 mint leaves
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 oz absinthe
sprig of fresh mint
soda water
Crushed ice

Muddle the mint leaves and sugar in a glass. Pour the absinthe and stir until the sugar dissolves, then fill the glass with crushed ice. Top with a splash of soda, and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Taste of Treme: Myesha’s Muffuletta Olive Salad

It’s been a while. How are you all? Sorry for my disappearance but I was sick with a very bad cold for over a week and I am still coughing now. I just finished a bronchitis a couple of weeks ago too. So I have not been commenting or anything lately but I am trying to get back to visiting everyone. To good health with the soon coming new year!

I am way overdue for a Vacation Eatz post, where I like to show you pictures from my photo albums (yes the printed kind) of past trips I have taken. And of course we’ll explore a dish local to that destination.

About 12 years ago I had one of the most wonderful trips of my life. Picture three ladies and rental mini van on a long road trip from Montreal to New Orleans and back. Now the trip was very focused on the journey, not just the destination. We had planned daily stops in Cleveland, Nashville, Memphis, the Smoky Mountains and New York City. But most of the trip was spent in the amazing city of New Orleans.

This road trip was definitely planned around food, even on our meager budget. Thankfully when in NOLA you will eat very well even if it is not fancy. We tried all the usual suspects: Gumbos, Jambalayas, Crocodile meat, Po Boys, Shrimp Etouffe and many other dishes. But a very special sandwich is one of my fondest epicurean moments: the Muffeletta.

Ah! the Muffeletta sandwich. I would never have thought a trip would have been so defined by a simple meal as a sandwich. We decided to give it a try after reading about the Muffeletta in our guidebook but we were not expecting much from the experience. When we saw the size…made from an entire round bread about 10 inches across…we were convinced we would be stuck with leftovers. The Muffeletta was served into 4 sliced portions. We had our quarter each and at the end we had a long discussion as to how we would divide the remaining piece equally in 3 and the next day we got another one for the road for our bayou and plantation expedition.

The muffeletta consists of a focaccia like bread sandwiching layers of marinated olive salad, capicola, mortadella, salami, pepperoni, ham, Swiss cheese and provolone. Often it is slightly heated to soften the cheese. The sandwich was created by the local Italian immigrants as a quick lunch while working in the market. The real signature element is the Olive Salad.  I was so taken by surprise by the intense flavors of this olive salad that it has embedded itself deeply in my memory. I actually found a photo with my friend Marie of the actual Muffeletta we ate.

As I was flipping through the pages of a copy the Taste of Treme cookbook, I came across an Olive Salad recipe and the memories came rushing back in. This fabulous cookbook is filled really fun stories, history notes, pictures and of course recipes from NOLA. The cookbook focuses on the gritty and racially mixed neighborhood of Treme, now famous from the television series of the same name which takes place in three months after Hurricane Katrina as the residents of New Orleans try to rebuild their lives and their homes. In Treme you will find the heart and soul of true Soul Food.

I am really a fan of NOLA Soul Food so I was thrilled to be sent a copy of this cookbook for review from Ulysses Press. All the classic NOLA dishes are here and many unexpected more. You will learn how to prepare Crawfish, Roux, Andouille sausage stews, exotic drinks like the Hurricane, and fabulous sweets like the Beignets from Cafe du Monde.

Above is a picture of Marie and I enjoying these beignets. Again when we each ordered a plate at first we thought the portion was to big and we would not finish or plates. Wrong! We devoured our dessert greedily. And we went back every day for more. Next to us a lovely building from the French Quarter.

I am sure this is not the last recipe you will read here about from this cookbook but choosing to make the Myesha’s Muffuletta Olive Salad for this post was a no brainer for me. Everyone one should have a jar of this salad at home at all times in their fridge. The only thing I changed was the quantity of olive oil. This recipe (and all version of) use a massive amount of olive oil in my opinion, I cut it by a third and it was perfect for me.

 

Yields 3

Myesha's Muffuletta Olive Salad

The olive salad for the New Orleans classic sandwich, the Muffuletta

15 minPrep Time

15 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 cup Kalamata or black olives
  • 1 Cup fine cut gardiniera
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp thinly sliced celery
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 4-oz jar pimientos peppers
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (recipe calls for 1 cup)
  • Salt & black pepper

Instructions

  1. Finely chop the green olives and the Kalamata or black olives. In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Cover with the olive oil.
  2. Transfer the salad to a large jar with a lid. Refrigerate for at least 4 days, so the flavors have a chance to fully mingle, or up to 3 months.
Cuisine: American | Recipe Type: Sauces & Condiments
6.8
http://cultureatz.com/taste-of-treme-myeshas-muffuletta-olive-salad/

 

I served my Olive Salad in a lighter fashion: a half slice of a French Bagette and a lovely French cheese called Saint-Nectaire (hints of hazelnut and mushrooms) which I popped in the oven for a few minutes. And stay tuned for an upcoming post soon for a really fantastic cocktail recipe made with Absinthe. I love that stuff.

Boozy Scotch Bread Pudding, Weston and Glymm

About 10 days ago I was fortunate enough to attend an media event for a product launch by Weston Bakeries Canada. The new lined entitled Première Fournée is made of 4 different breads made the old fashion way. The breads are made with unbleached wheat flour, pure water, yeast and salt, and contain zero preservatives, color or artificial flavor. Then each bread has additional quality ingredients added to achieve the fours breads varieties: Stonemilled Wheat, Hearty Grains, Rustic White and Light Rye.

weston première fournée

These breads qualify by the food norms as Artisanal Breads. Although the breads are kneaded by mechanical equipment, each bread is hand shaped – by a human being – and then baked in a stone hearth oven without a mold. Each bread takes 17 hours to make and taste like the bread your grandmother use to make. These breads just hit the shelves this week in supermarkets in Canada.

A fun event and we all got to take home a full loaf of each bread, like close to 5 pounds of bread without preservatives. I live alone! The hearty grains I kept but I divided 3 of the breads in 3 and made a loaf all  flavors and repackaged them. One loaf went in the freezer, one I gave away and the last one I used for an awesome bread pudding recipe. This recipe claims to have its roots in the South, New Orleans more precisely. The original recipe calls for Bourbon but I only had Scotch on hand as a close substitute.


Ξ Boozy Scotch Bread Pudding Ξ

Bourbon Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey (or Scotch)

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
  • 1 qt milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins, soaked in 1/4 cup bourbon for a few hours (or Scotch)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture with the raisins.
  3. Butter generously bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Pour in the bread mix and bake for 35-45 minutes or until set and the edges start getting a bit brown.
  4. While bread pudding is cooking, melt butter in a saucepan; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens a little bit. Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat. Whisk before serving.

scotch bread pudding

Serve with the bourbon sauce on the side or just slather it on top and let it soak like I did. BEST BREAD PUDDING EVER, hands down!

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Totally unrelated to food but I am so impressed I just had to mention it, plus we stay in the Canada only theme: have you heard of Glymm? It’s a high end beauty product club where you receive your Glymm Box once a month for only 10$ plus tax, shipping included. And you can cancel your subscription at any time, no strings attached.

Every month, your Glymm Box will contain 3-5 luxury samples that span over several beauty categories including cosmetics, fragrance, skincare, tools, spa and body, nails and lifestyle. Month-to-month, the products you receive will be different, and curated according to your beauty profile. I got my first Glymm Box yesterday!

Is that not the cutest pink box? Open it and pull the bow to see the detailed card telling you what sample beauty products are included.

This month I got a a blood orange and vanilla body wash and body milk from John Master, a blush from Vasanti, an Oscar de la Renta perfume, a pretty make up bag and some jelly beans! Of course if you fall in love with a product you can then purchase a full size version on the Glymm website. There is a point reward program too. A small price to pay for a monthly gift in the mail.