Sunday, March 29, 2009

First Crawfish Boil of the Season! OhYeah!

We had a great time at our first crawfish boil of the season yesterday. It was so great having our friends and family over to enjoy this wonderful crustacean.

You can do it too!
Here's what you'll need for about 10 people...
  • 35-40 pounds of crawfish
  • a big pot with a basket inside
  • an outdoor propane burner
  • 4 1/2-pound bag of Louisiana Crawfish, Crab, and Shrimp Boil Seasoning Blend
  • 3/4 box of table salt
  • 6 large onions (quartered)
  • 6 lemons cut in half (squeeze the juice and put it in there too)
  • 5 pounds small red potaotes
  • 12 shortie ears of corn
  • 4 pounds of the largest mushrooms you can find
  • 8 heads of fresh garlic sliced in half horizontally, divided
The method...
  • Fill the pot about half full of water
  • Add 3/4 box of table salt
  • Add entire 4 1/2 lb-bag of Louisiana Crawfish, Crab, and Shrimp Boil Seasoning Blend
Let this brew come to a boil.
Then add the following and bring to a boil (do not put basket in pot yet):
  • 6 large onions (quartered)
  • 4 heads of fresh garlic sliced in half horizontally for seasoning the water
  • 6 lemons cut in half (squeeze the juice and put it in there too)
Insert basket in water and add:
  • 5 pounds small red potaotes
Let this come back to a boil and cook potatoes about ten minutes.

Then add the following in the basket:
  • 12 shortie ears of corn
  • 4 heads of fresh garlic sliced in half horizontally for eating
Continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Leaving everything in the basket, then add:
  • 4 pounds of the largest mushrooms you can find
Turn the flame off immediately and let everything soak for 10-15 minutes.
After soak time, remove all from the water and set aside in an ice chest to keep warm.

Return water to a boil. Now add all the crawfish into the basket in the same water. Cook for 15 minutes, turn off flame and soak for 15 minutes.

Ray is giving you a peak inside the pot!

For all of you folks that do not have all the fixins available to you, stay tuned. We will be launching a new website soon with everything you need.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The History of New Orleans Oldest and Most Famous Restaurant...Antoines in the Vieux Carre

Antoine Alciatore was born in Marseilles, France in 1824. At a very young age, he apprenticed to the owner of the Hotel de Noailles and began working in the kitchen. During his time there, he became a qualified chef and learned the secret of Pommes de Terre Soufflees from the great chef Collinet. As a lot of young men of his time, he became restless in Marseilles. At the tender age of 16, alone he boarded a ship and headed off to the the United States and landed in New York. Aboard the ship, Antoine met and fell in love with Julie Freyss, who was coming to the United States with her parents to settle in New York. He told her that he was going to New Orleans to find his fortune, and that as soon as he had established himself he would send for her and they would be married.

Once in New Orleans, Antoine thrived in the new era of opportunity. As a bonus, the citizens of New Orleans spoke French. Antoine rented a building at 50 Rue Louis and opened a small pension or boarding house. This is now the 600 block of St. Louis Street and is occupied by the Old Civil Court House. For the next five years, Antoine dazzled travelers and New Orleans locals with his knowledge of La Cuisine Francaise, La Cuisine Provencal and his own ability to create and adapt the rich local products...his reputation grew. It was then that he sent for Julie. She traveled to New Orleans and they were married as promised. Together they worked in the small pension, which was now becoming more restaurant than boarding house, and soon outgrew this location. In 1860 they moved the business to a larger building, the Lacoul residence, located at what is now 714 St. Peter Street.

By 1868 Julie and Antoine had seven children; both family and business had outgrown their St. Peter Street residence. Antoine had for some time been planning to build his own place and had acquired a piece of land from the Miltenberger family. Antoine and Julie built themselves a building grand enough for a larger restaurant, for the family residence, and for some guest rooms for friends and discerning travelers.

In 1877 Antoine was diagnosed with tuberculosis and told he had but a few months to live. He put his affairs in order and told his loving wife and their children that he wanted to be buried in Marseilles. "I do not wish you to accompany me, for it would only prolong any sorrow you might feel, were you to watch me fail, day by day, as I neared the grave. Just think of me as though I had already died, for when we part, as I take the boat for Marseilles, we will not meet again on earth." Within three months of his arrival in Marseilles, Antoine died in his mother's home at the age of 52.

Julie Freyss Alciatore (Mme Antoine) carried on the operation after her husband's death. It was her son Jules, who was only eleven years old, who began to show the most intense interest in the restaurant. For the next six years Mme Antoine took young Jules as an apprentice and taught him all she had to teach. At seventeen Jules was sent abroad to France to work in some of the greatest kitchens in Strasbourg, Paris, and Marseilles. He even went to London for awhile.

Antoine's Menu from 1910-1940

After four years abroad, Jules returned to New Orleans, but his mother was still not ready to give him full control of the restaurant. She wanted him to work for awhile as manager of another restaurant, to prove he was ready. Jules became the chef of the famous Pickwick Club in New Orleans. In 1887 his mother asked him to take over the operation of Antoine's.
Some time later, Pierre Bienvenu Roy, a planter from Youngsville in the Parish of Lafayette, Louisiana who used to stay at the pension in earlier days, came into the city to do some business and to stay with his dear friend, Mme Antoine. He brought with him his daughter Althea, who won the attention of Jules. Some weeks later Jules was off to Lafayette, to the plantation of the Roys, to meet Althea's entire family and woo her into becoming his wife. Jules was successful in his mission and soon they were married.

It was not long before Althea gave birth to a daughter Marie Louise, then a son, Jules, and then another son, Roy.

Jules was a master of his art and brought the name of Antoine's to international fame. He was responsible for a major part in the growth of the restaurant. He created many dishes, the most famous being Oysters Rockefeller.

The third Jules found his passion not in cuisine, but rather in romance languages and became a distinguished professor of language. It was Roy who was to carry on the house of Antoine, and he set to work learning the business under his father's careful tutelage.

In 1923, father Jules took Roy to France and to the great kitchens there, so that Roy might observe and remember all that he saw and tasted. Jules gradually handed over the responsibilities of the operation to Roy, so that in 1934, when Jules died, there was an easy transition of proprietorship from father to son.

Roy Alciatore, 1902-1972

Roy continued the operation, expanding and improving through the years. He added the 1840 Room, a small private room designed to honor the year Antoine's was founded, and the Rex Room, decorated to honor the society and past kings of the Krewe of Rex of Mardi Gras.
Roy also created and added many dishes to the menu such as Pigeonneaux Royaux Sauce Paradis.

Pigeonneaux Paradis (Squabs with Paradise Sauce)
Serves 6

6 squabs
salt and ground white pepper
1/2 tick butter
3 cups Paradise Sauce (recipe below)

Wash and dry the squabs. Rub inside and out with salt, pepper, and butter. Place in a shallow baking pan and cook in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until done. Place the squabs in a deep casserole with 3 cups Paradise Sauce and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Paradise Sauce
Yield: 3 cups

1/3 pound bacon cut in julienne strips
3/4 cup green onions cut in julienne strips
3/4 cup celery in julienne strips
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons currant jelly
1 cup canned seedless white grapes
1/2 cup of juice in which grapes are packed
1 cup thick Chicken Veloute Sauce (recipe below)

Fry the bacon, discard the grease and set aside. Sauté the celery and onions in the butter until limp. Add the bacon, currant jelly and the juice from the grapes. Bring to a boil, add the Veloute Sauce and the grapes. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Chicken Veloute Sauce
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
salt and ground white pepper
1 1/2 cups warm Chicken Stock (recipe below)

Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Stir and cook until the mixture becomes foamy. Add the warm stock and bring to a boil. Turn fire down to a simmer and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the fire and dot top of sauce with a few pieces of butter to prevent a film from forming.

Chicken Stock
Yield: 2 quarts

10 pounds chicken scraps and bones
3 onions, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery
1 bell pepper, quartered
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs parsley
2 Tablespoons salt
3 quarts water

Add all ingredients including the water to a large soup pot. Simmer for 4 hours skimming the fat off the top from time to time. Strain.

This is an excerpt from Antoine's Restaurant Since 1840 Cookbook. It is available on Amazon.

Stay tuned....many more recipes from the infamous Antoine's Restaurant to come

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jalapeno Popper Cups


Tracy Schuhmacher Penfield, NY
Bake-Off® Contest 43, 2008

Three simple steps, and you're ready to serve sassy appetizers with a real kick.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes
Yeild: 20 appetizers

  • 1 can (12 oz) Pillsbury® Golden Layers® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 biscuits)
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, drained
  • ½ cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons cooked real bacon pieces (from 3- to 4.3-oz jar or package)
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 20 Old El Paso® pickled jalapeño slices (from 12-oz jar), drained

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Separate each biscuit into 2 rounds. Press 1 round in bottom and up side of each of 20 ungreased mini muffin cups.
  2. In small bowl, mix remaining ingredients except jalapeño slices. Spoon heaping 1 teaspoon mixture into each cup; top each with 1 jalapeño slice.
  3. Bake 13 to 19 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from pan to serving platter; let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake 16 to 22 minutes.

Comments: These little guys are good, but for added flavor try using a mix of cream cheese and sour cream seasoned with taco seasoning and Tabasco instead of mayo or salad dressing.

Original Recipe Source:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Andouille Rice Cakes

  • 3 ¼ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 4 ounces andouille, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 1 ¼ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups cooked long-grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Seasoned flour for dredging
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and celery and cook, stirring, until they are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the andouille and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will become brown. Add the chicken stock, salt and hot sauce and bring to a boil.

In a small skillet, combine the remaining 1¼ tablespoons of vegetable oil and the unseasoned flour over medium heat and make a blond roux. Add this roux to the andouille mixture and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring until the mixture thickens.

Remove from heat. Cool, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Once the mixture has cooled down, add the rice, green onions and parsley. Mix well.

Cover and refrigerate until the mixture has cooled completely. Form the rice mixture into 2-inch patties (about l4 patties). Lightly dredge or sprinkle lightly with the seasoned flour.

In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat and pan-fry 2 to 3 patties at a time, for several minutes on each side until lightly browned. Repeat the process until all of the patties are cooked.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Any Time Brisket

The brisket is sliced and then put back together in its original shape, piled high with onions cooked in the barbecue sauce that coats the meat. The recipe freezes well and can be thawed, then reheated at the last minute, and cooking it ahead also allows the cook to skim fat from the chilled gravy's surface.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1 (5-to-6 pound) well-trimmed brisket

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1 (1-ounce) envelope dried onion soup mix

½ cup dark brown sugar, packed

½ cup tomato ketchup

½ cup chili sauce

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray a large roasting pan with vegetable spray. Rinse the brisket well under cool running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Position brisket in baking pan, fatty side up, and scatter the onions over the top.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the soup mix, sugar, ketchup and chili sauce. Drizzle mixture evenly over the brisket and onions. Bake uncovered for 1 hour, basting once or twice. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and continue cooking until tender, 2 to 2 ½ hours more, basting occasionally.

Remove brisket from pan and let sit about 20 minutes before slicing. Use as a main course with the slices repositioned into a roast shape and the onions on top; or use for making warm sandwiches. Serve the pan gravy on the side, defatted if desired.

Getcha Goin' Grits

Recipe Source: FoodTV Aaron McCargo, Jr.
Prep Time:10 min
Inactive Prep Time:hr min
Cook Time:15 min
Level: Easy
Serves:4 to 6 servings
  • 1/2 cup bacon, diced
  • 1/4 cup onions, diced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups quick grits
  • 6 ounces American cheese
  • 1/4 cup scallions

In a large skillet over high heat, add bacon, onion and a pinch of pepper. Cook until bacon is crispy, about 5 minutes.

In a medium pot, add water, milk and a pinch of salt. Place lid on top and allow to come to a full boil. Add grits. Stir. When grits have almost absorbed all the water add cheese. Mix to allow cheese to melt and become creamy. Add bacon and onions and top with half of the scallions. Mix thoroughly.

Serve in a bowl and garnish with remaining scallions.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Steak Diane

This recipe for two is perfect for an intimate dinner.
Makes 2 servings

2 strip steaks, each about 6 ounces pounded to ¼-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons demi-glace*
¼ cup Cognac or brandy*
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon minced parsley

Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and ½ teaspoon of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sear one steak for 30 to 45 seconds per side (for medium rare), and transfer to a platter. Tent with foil and keep warm. Add the remaining butter and oil, and repeat the process with the remaining steak.

Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and demi-glace. Tilt the pan toward you and add the Cognac or brandy, then tilt the pan away from you and ignite with a match (be careful!). When the flame has burned out, add the cream and parsley and whisk to blend. Spoon the sauce over the steaks and serve immediately.
Demi glace -
Cognac -
Brandy -

Stabilized Whipped Cream (substitute for Cool Whip)

For an unsweetened version of this whipped cream, just omit the sugar.
Makes 12 to 16 servings
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a ¼-ounce envelope)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar, or to taste

Off heat, in the top of a double boiler or a bowl that can fit on top of a saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over water and let sit for 5 minutes. Place over a pot of simmering water and stir until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool briefly.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream until foamy. Add sugar a tablespoon at a time until cream is of desired sweetness and soft peaks just begin to form. Add the gelatin mixture and continue beating until cream is of desired consistency.

Crawfish Bisque

Photo Courtesy of Chef Brad Peters
Serves 8


12 pounds boiled crawfish OR 2 pounds tail meat and 35 cleaned heads*
If purchasing tail meat, buy at least 3 pounds boiled crawfish; peel, reserve shells and heads

  • ¼ cup flour for roux
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • ½ large bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 cup chopped crawfish tails*
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 stick butter
  • ½ cup flour for rolling heads

Make a dark roux with the flour and oil.* Add onions, then bell pepper and celery and cook until tender. Add tomato paste and chopped tails. Add seasonings and simmer on low flame 10 to 15 minutes. Add bread crumbs, crawfish, parsley and butter. Fill each head with stuffing. Roll in flour and bake for 15 minutes in a 300-degree oven. Set aside.

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • ½ bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ quarts crawfish stock*
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups crawfish tails*
  • 1 ½ tablespoon parsley, chopped
Make a dark roux with the oil and flour.* Add onion, the bell pepper and celery and cook until tender. Add stock, seasonings, tomato sauce and garlic and simmer for 40 minutes. Add crawfish tails and stuffed heads and simmer another 20 minutes. Add parsley.

NOTE: To make stock, boil shells from at least 3 pounds crawfish, plus trimmings from onions and other vegetables. Cover with water 2 inches over the shells and boil for 15 to 20 minutes.


Crawfish Stock –

Crawfish Tails –

Crawfish Heads -
Pre-made Roux -

Mushroom Quesadillas

Recipe Source: FoodTV Tyler Florence
Prep Time:20 min
Cook Time:25 min
Serves: 4 servings
  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus more as needed
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 8 ounces grated Monterey jack cheese, about 2 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese, about 1/2 cup
  • Optional garnishes: Sour cream, cilantro sprigs, salsa

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, shake the pan to distribute them evenly in the pan, and then cook without moving until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Do not salt. Add the remaining tablespoon butter along the sides of the pan if the pan seems very dry. Toss the mushrooms, and continue to cook until nicely browned, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Season mushrooms with the chili powder and salt and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the cilantro and set aside.

Toast the tortillas directly on a medium gas burner, turning occasionally until slightly blistered on each side. (If you have an electric burner, do this in a dry cast iron skillet.) Place the tortillas on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the jack cheese on one half of each tortilla, top with some of the mushrooms, and then sprinkle with the feta. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling, to make a half moon shape. Lay another sheet of foil over the quesadillas. Bake until the cheese melts, about 12 minutes. Serve whole or sliced into wedges, with optional garnishes.

Baked Brie with Mushrooms and Thyme

Serves 6-8
  • 4 ounces dried wild mushrooms*
  • 2/3 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1 large)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 13- to 14-ounce Brie (about 5 inches in diameter; preferably in wooden box)*
  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Rinse dried mushrooms to remove any grit. Place mushrooms and wine in small saucepan. Bring to simmer over low heat; remove from heat. Let soak until soft, about 20 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to work surface and coarsely chop. Line strainer with damp paper towel; strain wine into small bowl and reserve.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and stir until soft, about 1 minute. Add chopped mushrooms and strained wine. Boil until almost dry, about 1 minute. Stir in thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool.

Remove Brie from box, discarding lid and paper. Using sharp knife, cut top rind from Brie; discard. Return Brie to box. (Alternatively, stack two 12-inch rounds of foil and fold up around bottom and sides of Brie, crimping foil at edges, leaving top exposed.) Mound mushroom mixture atop Brie.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place Brie with mushrooms on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until cheese begins to melt and mushrooms are warmed through, about 15 minutes. Transfer Brie in box to plate. Serve hot with baguette slices.

Kitchen Tip: To cut the top off the round of Brie more easily, first place the cheese in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up slightly.


Dried Wild Mushrooms –

Brie in Box –

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shrimp and Andouille Pot Pie

Recipe Source: Bon Appetit March 2009
Photo Source: Bon Appetit March 2009

Shrimp and andouille sausage give these pot pies a Cajun flair. To keep the pastry crisp, the dough is baked separately from the filling.
Serves 4
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 16-ounce packag e all-butter puff pastry or half of 17.3-ounce package regular puff pastry), thawed
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 1/2 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; from 3 large)
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into scant 1/2-inch cubes*
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1.5-ounces concentrated classic seafood stock *
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 8-ounce red-skinned potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 pounds deveined, peeled shrimp

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out pastry on floured surface to 12-inch square. Cut out four 5 1/2-inch rounds. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet; bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheet.

DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk cream and flour in small bowl. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add andouille and garlic and sauté 4 minutes. Add vermouth; simmer until liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add seafood stock mixture and thyme. Bring to simmer. Add potato and cook uncovered until tender, about 6 minutes.

Add cream mixture to skillet; stir. Simmer until sauce thickens and boils, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat. Add shrimp; simmer until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide hot filling among four 1 1/4-cup baking dishes. Top each with pastry round. Bake until filling bubbles, about 5 minutes.


Andouille Sausage -

Seafood Stock -