The Late, Great Austin Leslie’s Cornbread Muffins!!
Wow, so much has happened since my last post I can hardly believe it…….time is really flying by…..so what have I been so busy with???? Two new grandbabies, of course. Being a grandmother is the most joyful part of my life these days and babies are just the best!!
Meet Vincent, 1 year old on the left and Giselle, 8 months! Grandbabies # 10 and # 11!!
Oyster, Leek and Artichoke Bisque
The official “Holidays” have ended but not so if you are from New Orleans…We are getting ready for Mardi Gras and Saint’s Football Playoffs!!..But since I didn’t post anything for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I decided to include this fabulous soup. Of course, everybody knows that Louisiana oysters are the BEST in the world and we have had an awesome Oyster season. This soup starred as the appetizer for my Christmas Dinner and everyone declared it the best they had ever eaten! I’ll take that!
Oyster, Leek and Artichoke Soup
1 Qt. Oysters, drained and liquid reserved
1 stick unsalted butter
8 oz. Baby Bellas or White Mushrooms, sliced
2 Large leeks, thinly sliced (white part only), well rinsed
2 Large Cloves Garlic, finely minced
6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (leaves only)
4 heaping tablespoons of all purpose flour
2 Bay Leaves
Seafood Magic to taste (I use about a teaspoon)
Lemon-pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons of Lea & Perrins
1 quart fresh Chicken Stock
2 Cups Heavy Cream or Half and Half
1 Cup Dry White Wine
2 cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
Melt the stick of butter in a 5qt. Pot. Saute’ mushrooms and leeks for 2 minutes until softened. Add garlic and fresh thyme. Cook 2 minutes more. Sprinkle flour evenly on softened vegetables. Season with Seafood Magic and lemon-pepper. Stir in the reserved oyster water, Bay Leaves. Lea & Perrins, artichoke hearts, white wine and chicken stock. Simmer 20 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer until heated thoroughly. Taste and correct seasoning. (Check for salt). If mixture is too thick, thin out with more cream or chicken stock if desired.
When ready to serve: Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Saute oysters just until the edges curl (about 2 minutes). Place an even amount of oysters in each soup bowl. Pour hot soup over each bowl and garnish with a thin slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley OR you can chop all the oysters before adding to the soup.
Serves 8 – 10 as a soup course
Love to serve this with toasted slices of French Bread.
……until next time, Bon Appetit
An old fashioned Cookie Swap was always on the agenda at my house immediately following Thanksgiving! I couldn’t wait to decorate my home for Christmas and send out invitations to friends and neighbors.
The invitation explained that each guest was asked to bake a double batch of their favorite cookies along with the recipe printed on index cards. Their cookies would be placed on a platter on the Dining Room table with the recipes close by. That way, guests could take the container they came with and walk around the table to sample each cookie and take a few to place into their container. They could also take a copy of the recipe. It was a way of trying something new and getting some great recipes! Continue reading
Sometimes a quick 5 minute donut is just right. And then there is the “special occasion” that calls for the N’Orleans Beignet.
When I was a little girl, sometimes on a Friday or Saturday night Daddy would pile us kids into the car around 11:00 P.M. and we would head out to the French Quarter. Of course we kids were in our pajamas with bare feet and we knew we were not getting out of the car. It really didn’t matter, we were just thrilled to see the sights, sounds and smells of the Quarter! Daddy would pull around to the back side of Café Du Monde and we got to order beignets and chocolate milk with curb service. Soon after placing our order, the waiter would return and hook our tray of goodies onto Daddy’s window and we would shriek with delight as he passed out plates of these soft little pillows of goodness. “Be careful not to spill too much powdered sugar on the seats\!” he would warn. But if you have ever eaten beignets you know that was just not possible. Not only was the back seat dusted with confectioner’s sugar, more often than not there were also spills from the cartons of chocolate milk. Continue reading
“Straw and Hay” Spinach and Egg Pasta
Once you have eaten freshly made pasta you can never go back! The delicate pasta practically melts in your mouth and does not leave you with a feeling of heaviness. It does, however, leave you feeling “Heavenly”.
The process is a bit time-consuming but I find it to be a very relaxing and comforting pastime that evokes such pleasant memories of my days working at Ristorante Pastore. In Italy it is customary for the “Nona” of the family to make Pasta on a daily basis to feed her family. The recipe for basic pasta in my cookbook comes from Nona Maria Pastore that I learned to make while cooking at our family’s restaurant, Ristorante Pastore. It was truly one of New Orleans’ finest Northern Italian restaurants. Pastore’s Pasta recipes start on page 90. Their famous sauces start on page 86.
I had the pleasure of teaching this yummy appetizer in my Cooking Class last night at The New Orleans Cooking Experience. It was such a big hit that I wanted to share it with you here!
CRAWFISH PIE or
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
- 1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup celery, minced
- 1/4 cup green bell pepper, minced
- 1 teaspoon Chef Paul’s Seafood Magic (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 pound cooked Louisiana crawfish tail meat, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Crystal hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- Two 9-inch pie crusts, buttered or puff pastry sheets
Heat oven to 375°F. Continue reading
Today (August 18, 2014) was my oldest son’s birthday. His sweet wife asked me to help her make his favorite dinner. She is new to cooking and really wanted to make his birthday dinner special. Since she is the mother to a fourteen month old and a five week old, I offered to do the shopping as well. So what is his favorite dinner? Breaded Veal Cutlets, Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce, and Garlic Bread. I added a salad and of course a dessert. My son is not fond of cake so I decided to make some Strawberry Tarts with a Cheesecake-like filling.
His oldest daughter, Vanessa helped!
The Breaded Veal is on page 67 but I used Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs instead of Saltine Crackers. Uncle Paolo’s Basic Tomato (Marinara) Sauce is on page 86. This recipe makes a lot of sauce but don’t let that stop you! It freezes beautifully. Salad is on page 132 Pompeian Salad. Garlic Bread page 38.
And for the Strawberry Tarts:
Start with a sheet of defrosted puff pastry that you have sitting on a sheet of parchment paper. (This makes it easy to transfer to a sheet pan for baking.) First brush the sheet with an egg wash=1 whole egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water. Using a very sharp paring knife, divide the sheet of pastry into 8 equal squares. Using the very tip of the knife, make two slits in the pastry in the shape of an L….DO NOT CUT IT ALL THE WAY AROUND THE SQUARE. It is important that the opposite corners of the L cut are still attached. Now place you fore finger on the inside corner of the L and lift the cut strip and fit it to the inside of the opposite corner, gently pressing it down. Now repeat with the other strip that is on the opposite corner. Repeat this method on all 8 squares.
It is best served within two hours of assembly. Keep chilled.
Happy Birthday, Jason……until next time…Bon Appetit, Chiqui