I will admit that my recipe headline is a bit redundant. When I think of Pralines I only think of New Orleans. I can imagine no other city evoked by these confections. It may, of course, be my own bias, having grown up in New Orleans, and having passed Aunt Sally’s Praline Shop in the French Quarter countless times.
A few weeks ago, Caitlin and some of her fellow bridesmaids hosted a bridal shower. The bride-to-be was one of Caitlin’s childhood friends and the groom-to-be was another New Orleans boy (we make such good husbands). With that in mind, the food and drinks for the evening were to have a Maryland (for her) and New Orleans (for him) theme.
Among other items, I volunteered to make pralines for our guests. At first, we had thought about ordering the pralines, but that seemed expensive, not to mention the threat of breakage. So we transitioned to the plan that had me making several dozen pralines.
And several dozen I made. My first batch was a complete and total failure. I Continue reading
As I noted last month, Caitlin painstakingly prepared a beautiful array of signs, favors, and gifts for the guests of our wedding. Among the items, she created over twenty-five welcome bags, each adorned with a hand-painted welcome tag and boasting a sixteen-page booklet of our favorite recipes.
The booklet featured line drawings of several photos from this blog, and guided our guests through meaningful recipes that the two of us had shared. Among the recipes, there was one for Gooey Butter Cake, a St. Louis original, and an ode to the city where we first met; Lemon Yogurt Cake, a recipe that featured that lemon flavor I love; Sea Salt Caramels, a reminder of our trip to San Francisco together; White Peach Italian Ice, a summer treat that capped the end to a barbeque Caitlin and I hosted, and a tribute to an ice served by one of my favorite dessert shops growing up; and this recipe Continue reading
In many ways, a recipe is like a fingerprint. While the basic curves and contours are always the same, each has an identity of its own. From the portions and ingredients down to the size of the dice and the speed of the whisk, there is always some level of inherent uniqueness to any one recipe. This individuality may not always be apparent at first-glance – a finger-tip is, after all, a finger-tip – but look close enough and you will find it.
Jambalaya, a New Orleans classic, is particularly well-suited to this individuality. The basic structure of jambalaya centers around the “trinity” — celery, onion, and peppers. Rice is almost essential, Continue reading
Popovers are one of my favorite things to make – and eat. The only problem is that, right now, I’m usually cooking for one. And it’s just not safe to leave me alone with warm popovers. Indeed, the last time that happened, I wolfed down five vanilla eggnog popovers before noon. I think I was able to save one for Caitlin, but I may be wrong.
This past Friday, I attended a pot-luck “dinner.” Only instead of the usual dinner items, everyone was charged with bringing a brunch item. There were donuts, scrambled eggs, french toast, more french toast, smoked salmon, bagels, and the like.
My contribution, naturally, was popovers. Herb and cheese popovers to be exact. I had been meaning Continue reading
Of all the foods characteristic of New Orleans – from pralines to muffalettas – my all-time favorite remains the King Cake (la galette des Rois).
I can remember gathering around the large loaf in grade school, eagerly holding out my plate, and wondering if my piece would be the lucky piece. If the teacher was feeling generous that day, she might indulge our personal choices, and allow us to select that prized piece ourselves. There were those that favored the edge pieces. Others favored a particular color of icing – be it green, yellow, or purple – certain that good luck lay beneath it. And others still allowed simple chance to play its part.
I don’t remember what my particular stratagem may have been, but given the importance of the situation, I certainly had one. You see, hidden in the dough was a small plastic baby. And whoever pulled the baby from his or piece was king or queen for the day.
In grade school, this was no mere sinecure. Continue reading
This is not a food post. Just this once, I’ve decided to stray from the general theme of the blog.
This past Sunday marked the Fifth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall near the city of New Orleans. A few days before the anniversary, I sat down at my computer, and wrote out my thoughts on the subject. On a whim, I decided to submit the essay to several newspapers and magazines around the country. This past Sunday, the essay appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer. You can also read it in my alumni magazine.
I was so excited about its publication, that I wanted to share the article with my readers. You can click here for a link to the article as it appeared in the Enquirer, or simply read it below. Continue reading
Memories are a funny thing. I look back at certain events or times, and wonder what it was that made a certain scene memorable, that gave it such staying power.
With childhood memories, the question evokes a stronger response – owing, perhaps, to the idea that a memory resonates with more emotion the more distant it seems. There’s something inspiring and captivating about looking back in your subconscious and finding a picture of yourself at a younger, more exciting age.
There I am, 20 years old, turning a corner outside of a Paris cafe, and bumping into the Prime Minister. There I am, 18 years old, sweating under the bright lights of my high-school Continue reading