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**February 2010 COTM: Louisiana Kitchen**

And the winner is: Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen!

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  1. Great chef, great book. Cajun meat loaf, paneed veal, shrimp and grits and so on.
    Yum.

    1. Got this out of the library today. I'm excited to start cooking from it. I'm going to start by making a stock this weekend, since almost every dish in the book involves a stock! I'm a little concerned about my ability to find/replace tasso, since I have never heard of it here in upstate NY until today! But it should be an interesting and tasty month:)

      17 Replies
      1. re: sunflwrsdh

        Canadian bacon and smoked ham can be substituted for Tasso... or so I'm told.

        1. re: Gio

          or you can try making your own. This is just a sample recipe, I haven't checked more than one.
          http://www.gumbopages.com/food/tasso....

          1. re: smtucker

            Thanks for the recipe. My husband does have a smoker, maybe I will be able to get him to try making tasso for me!

            1. re: sunflwrsdh

              Oh! Ruhlman's Charcuterie has a Tasso recipe. I suspect that if you can get your hands on his book, this would be both successful and delicious.

          2. re: Gio

            Covering my head preparing for things being thrown at me: how about a non-pork eater? I got some soy chorizo yesterday. Do you think that would work, or maybe spicy turkey sausages? Never having had tasso, I don't know which would be the better sub.

            1. re: LulusMom

              Oh LLM... no need to run for cover. I'd sub with the spicy trukey sausages. I think the main focus is the smoky flavor, tho. In rereading the recipes I'm committed to reducing the the salt drastically and the fat too. There are enough spices to compensate. We'll see.

              1. re: Gio

                Thanks a million Gio. Having never eaten andoille, I'm not really sure which flavor I'm trying to get. Your advice helps a lot.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  .... just as long as you get spicy turkey and not trukey you'll be fine. LOL

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Andouille sausage tastes of garlic, paprika, hot peppers and smoke. The casing is generally fairly firm, though when I had some in Shreveport, the casing was softer. I have seen Andouille sausage made with chicken and turkey. Perhaps one of your markets offers these variations?

                    1. re: smtucker

                      Most of those that I've seen have pork casings. I'm ok with pulling those off, but sometimes they still *taste* porky to me. I know it is hard for pork eaters to understand, but to me this is a big ewwwww. I live in absolutely the WORST place in the US (North Carolina - bbq pork country) for my situation.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Hmmmm..... well then. That does get complicated and as a former NC-resident, I know exactly what you mean. Let me look around. I just feel I have seen what you need somewhere. I love the flavor of Andouille, and it isn't due to the pork. I love that smokey garlic thing....

                  2. re: LulusMom

                    I've never tried the Chicken Andouille..Nor the Turkey Tasso but it is available here........http://www.cajunsausage.com/

                    Photo is pork tasso and andouille I picked up on Friday afternoon in LaPlace ~~~

                    1 Link of Andouille usually runs 1lb + ......

                    Enjoy!!

                     
                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                      For a while our local WFs carried the ones with lamb casings, and then they stopped. I'll go in and ask if I can special order them. Great idea and reminder - thanks.

                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                        Costco carries a Chicken Andouille that i've found to be quite good.

                  3. re: sunflwrsdh

                    I think Prudhomme himself recommends Hormel Cure 81 ham as a substitute for tasso.

                  4. Just got my copy in the mail today. I showed E some of the pictures, and he's already picked out BBQ shrimp (of course), Shrimp Diane, and Paneed Veal with Fettucini. The Cajun Meatloaf is already a favorite, so that will definitely be in the cooking line-up also next month.

                    Lost 8 pounds cooking from Sally Schneider's "New Way to Cook" last month, something tells me that I'll be gaining this month! Ah well, delicious food is always worth it.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Rubee

                      Wow. Now I suddenly want to take another crack at "New Way to Cook"

                      (P.S. I hope my work schedule eases up so I can participate in Lousiana Kitchen this month.)

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I've had "New Way To Cook" for a couple of months and haven't read it yet. Just got it off the shelf to delve into while I'm watching the playoffs. It won two awards and the New York Times calls it "'The Silver Palate for the new generation'". Wow. It looks really interesting!

                        But looking very forward to La. Kitchen - one of my fave and most used books.

                        1. re: bayoucook

                          "New Way To Cook" is such a huge book that I think it's a bit intimidating with its lack of pictures. It was a COTM for 2/09 but I was surprised by how many Chowhounds went through it and decided it didn't appeal to them without really trying anything. But if you get a chance to go through and read her tips and techniques, it's really a wonderful cookbook with so many great ideas.

                          February 2009 COTM with recipe reports:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/592560

                          I had ArizonaGirl and her husband over one night last week and made an impromptu appetizer platter with a bunch of recipes I had made for lunches during the week. In fact, she was so impressed with such a healthy but delicious veggie spread, she bought the book this week. All appetizers except for the zaalouk (Moroccan eggplant salad from Roden's "Arabesque") were from "New Way to Cook":

                          (picture) Peppers Roasted with Garlic and Anchovies; zaalouk; Slow Roasted Tomatoes with basil; Farro Salad with Green Apples, Toasted Spices and Pine Nuts; Hummus with ground cumin, coriander, and sesame seeds:
                          http://www.chow.com/photos/420950

                          Looking forward to Louisiana Kitchen too!

                          1. re: Rubee

                            That looks beautiful and delicious! Makes my mouth water - hey, isn't it lunchtime?

                            1. re: bayoucook

                              Rubee: That certainly DOES look gorgeous.

                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Please help a newbie get up to speed here. What is COTM? How do you "participate" in Louisiana Kitchen?

                          1. re: elegraph

                            Hi there! Welcome. COTM=Cookbook of the Month. Every month, a bunch of us (anyone who is interested) vote on a book we'd like to cook from for the month. For February, we've voted to cook from Louisiana Kitchen. On February 1, the COTM organizer will post the "Louisiana Kitchen" threads. Throughout February (and even beyond), whenever anyone cooks from Louisiana Kitchen, they can post about it in those threads.

                            I hope you'll join us! It's a lot of fun. Anyone can participate.

                            THere's a link to more detailed instructions that I'll go grab and post here. I'll be right back.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Whoops! I can see my edit to add in the link to the COTM archive with links to all of the previous COTM thread and the guidelines for participating didn't "take", so, here it is:

                              http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

                              I also wanted to say that there's no sign up or anything like that in order to participate. Just get a copy of the book (the library is great for this sort of thing if you don't own the book and don't know whether you want to buy it yet), pick a recipe that appeals to you, and starting cooking (and photographing if you wish) and posting. Participate as much or as little as you want. The more the merrier. I hope you join us!

                              If you're itching to get started right away, Patricia Wells Bistro Cooking and Trattoria are the current (January) COTMs (yeah, sometimes we choose two related books). Here's the "master" thread for Wells: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6777...

                              ~TDQ

                      2. Are any recipes available on line?

                        8 Replies
                          1. re: Gio

                            That link takes me to a site with recipes for all different kinds of food. Is there a place where I could find recipes from this particular book?

                              1. re: NYCkaren

                                Gosh... that's weird. I apologize. Try this one:
                                http://www.chef2chef.net/articles/fea...

                                On second thought try this one instead:
                                http://www.chefpaul.com/site300.php

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I too was searching for online recipes and found the chefpaul site but all recipes seem to feature (hawk?) his magic seasoning blends.

                                  1. re: bizkat

                                    Each recipe in the book lists the spices needed. You don't have to buy the jar. Perhaps you could look in a bookstore or library.

                                    1. re: bizkat

                                      Copy Cat Poultry Magic®

                                      Ingredients

                                      1 1/2 teaspoons salt
                                      1/4 teaspoon cayenne
                                      1/2 teaspoon onion powder
                                      1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
                                      1/2 teaspoon paprika
                                      1/4 teaspoon black pepper
                                      1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
                                      1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
                                      1/4 teaspoon oregano
                                      1/8 teaspoon cumin

                                      Directions

                                      1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container.
                                      2. Use as a seasoning for chicken, turkey, or any other poultry.

                                      1. re: speyerer

                                        Thanks for that; I always make the blends instead of buying them since I have the herbs and spices anyway.

                            1. I know it's not Februaray yet, but I got, "Louisiana Kitchen" from the library on Thursday or Friday, and decided to go ahead and start this weekend, with Chicken Etoufee, and Cajun rice today. ( I mostly only have time to cook on weekends, and we have other stuff going on a couple of weekends in Feb.) So....the chicken etoufee is awesome, as it the rice.. The flavor is amazing, and it's one of those dishes that makes you wonder just what happened to make those simple and inexpensive ingredients combine into such a "magic" dish. That being said, it is extremely labor intensive. My husband cut up the two whole chickens for me and started the stock with the necks and backs this morning. ( I guess if you are one of those people who "always" has home made stock on hand it would be easier.) So the stock simmered until around 3, and that's when I started the rest of the prep. I didn't leave the kitchen until we ate at a little after 7. The rice was really simple....chop up some peppers, onions and celery and mix some seasonings, stock and rice and put in a loaf pan for an hour and 10 minutes. Very good. The chicken had to be rubbed with salt and seasonings, and allowed to set at room temp for 30 minutes, then shaken with flour and more seasonings, (mostly cayenne, garlic powder and white and black pepper) and fried in a cast iron skillet in batches. I have a pretty large cast iron skillelt and still had to do about 4 batches...5-8 minutes per side to get all the chicken cooked. The Etoufee sauce was also very labor intensive, but worth it! Great flavor...I had never made a "red-brown to black roux" before, and was a little nervous about how it would come out, but I think I did it. The book says it should be like a thick dark gravy, and mine was. And it tasted amazing....spicy, with a good kick, but not overwhelmingly hot. I actually didn't smother the chicken with the sauce, although I know that's what was supposed to happen ( and is sort of the definition of etoufee) because my daughter is a very picky eater, and I wanted her to at least try the chicken and was afraid if I served it with the sauce on it, she wouldn't. As it turned out, she loved the chicken and dipped it in the sauce and liked that too! Served it with a tossed salad and warm French bread. Really good dinner.
                              Wednesday, I'm going to make the meatloaf.... with the Hot Cajun sauce. Did the beef stock and chopped the vegetables today in preparation. I'll post on how it turns out:)

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: sunflwrsdh

                                Wow! That's really impressive, sunflwrsdh. The roux alone is a semi-chore. You made a total "from scratch" meal right out of the starting box. Well, close to the starting box, at least. Brava!

                                1. re: sunflwrsdh

                                  That sounds delicious! The meatloaf with very hot cajun sauce is a long-time favorite at our house. The hot sauce is really hot - we like it that way, but I cut down on the cayenne some when I have guests. Also serve the hot sauce with the Shepherd's pie (so so good). I've had the book since 4/84 and it is tattered and re-bound. Since I hadn't read through it since '84, I read every page yesterday and marked a LOT more pages for use.
                                  The bread pudding with lemon sauce and Chantilly cream is a family favorite, too.
                                  Happy cooking - can't wait for February!

                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                    I liked the sound of the bread pudding too, and may try that if I get some more time on an upcoming weekend. Thanks for the tip about the hot sauce; I may cut the cayenne a little bit for us as well. I agree, this is a great book,. I'm especially impressed with how wonderful and complex the layers of flavor were in the etoufee, based on the ingredients that went into it..When cooking other recipes, I've often gone the "extra mile" so to speak to get fresh herbs, and vegetables,, etc, and the indgredients that went into this were just so simple and humble....chicken, water, onions peppers, scallionscelery, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and butter (lots of butter, which I , , would reduce next time) the final product really amazed me.

                                  2. re: sunflwrsdh

                                    I'm starting to get very intimidated about this book. Are all of the recipes as labor intensive as the ones sunflwrsdh tried? Are their some good "newbie" type recipes?

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      No, but most call for stock. If you can pre-make this and have it on hand, it cuts down considerably on the recipe difficulty.

                                      Shrimp Diane is easy-peasy--and delicious. Yes, it calls for shrimp stock, but you could, in a pinch, sub a combination of bottled clam juice and canned chicken broth. But simply simmering the shells from the shrimp for 20-30 minutes will produce a stock that works well. Ditto for Garlic Shrimp and Oysters over Pasta. Paneed Veal (or sub chicken breast) is also very simple. So is Louisiana Roast Beef. Barbecue Shrimp requires just a few minutes if you have some stock on hand. Fish w/Pecan Butter Sauce and Meuniere Sauce is also not very difficult--and you don't really need both sauces (although they're delicious). Gumbo, if you pre-make stock, is really not that hard. (You chop vegetables. You make roux. ) If I'm making chicken or duck gumbo, I use leftover roast chicken or duck.
                                      Like recipes for Indian food, in lots of these recipes, you'll see what seems like a long list of ingredients, but usually it's just a bunch of spices for the "spice mix," requiring nothing more than measuring them and dumping into a mix.
                                      (Also, Chef Paul, imo, often over-complicates things like boiling pasta.)

                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        The stirring and holding up strands of spaghetti thing? Also struck me as weird (enough so that I remember it every time I cook spaghetti. haha).

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          Yes, I'm not sure what's up with that!

                                        2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                          Thanks for the tips on some of the less labor intensive recipes. The shrimp Diane is one I'm considering...I'll just make soemthing else for my picky eater daughter. I agree that some of his stuff did seem over-com[licated, like the pasta thing.

                                        3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          There were some that sounded less labor intensive, but I was looking at them from a perspective of what could I make from this book that my daughter would at least try, and she eats no seafood and no pork. I also wanted the experience of making the roux, which is not something I've done before. There were a couple of pasta type dishes that appeared less intimidating and labor intensive,and there was a roast beef recipe too that sounded good and easy. The meatloaf looks fairly simple too. I already made the stock for the hot sauce for the meat loaf I"m planning to make on Wednesday. I agree that making stock ahead of time (stockpiling, if you will...sorry for the terrible pun!) is the way to go with tPrudhomme's recipes. But making the stock is really not at all labor intensive.....basiclally simmering bones/meat/shells from whatever you will be making for several hours. I'm thinking I might do a large batch of several stocks the next weekend I have some spare time, and freeze them to have on hand.

                                      2. A friend has used Kielbasa instead of Andouille and IMO it was an abomination. A cured ham would do better. Check with your Sam's for Andouille; Emeril has an Andouille that has been sold through Sam's.

                                        Have you discovered the small jars of chicken stock concentrate at Sams and through Penzey's? I can't make chicken stock as good as theirs.

                                        The one place I don't do short cuts when I'm following a Prudhomme recipe, seomthing he told us in a cooking class, is that you get very different flavors from the holy trinity based on the cooking treatment they get, so you can get, for example, different flavors from onion that goes into the roux, from onion that's added after the stock goes into the roux, and a further and later onion addition will add additional layers of flavor.

                                        It this is the cookbook that has a curry in it...be careful....a half cup of finely chopped jalapenos was too much for my angle tastebuds.

                                        I do love his cookbooks and need to dig this one out.

                                        38 Replies
                                        1. re: shallots

                                          The andouille I'm familiar with is the French one, which is made from intestines and stomach and is rather pale in colour. From my limited knowledge, I don't think Cajun andouille is the same and as there's not a cat's chance in hell of finding it in London, I'm wondering what I could substitute. We do have a lot of great sausage in the UK, but finding smoked, spiced sausage might be a challenge. Any ideas?

                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                            What about Matteson's Hot and Spicy Smoked Pork Sausage? IIRC, the texture is more like a hot dog (more finely ground) than andouille, but it may come closest in flavor. At the very least, it's a spicy, smoked, pork sausage and that's what Andouille is.

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              I'm not a fan of Matteson's (processed and poor quality) but I will have to see what I can find. I suppose I could get some spicy sausages and smoke them myself, or maybe add a bit of smoked paprika to the mix.

                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                If you're able to smoke ready-made sausages, why not go whole hog :-) and make your own andouille from scratch? This recipe sure looks like the real thing and seems quite accessible, except for the optional Prague powder.

                                                http://www.nolacuisine.com/2005/11/14...

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  I did google "smoking sausage" and got a lot of dire warnings about the need to use a cure and the dangers of botulism! Not sure I'm brave enough, tbh...

                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                              Having loved andouille in New Orleans (nine years of eating well), I ordered the Andouille appetizer at a major restaurant in Nice. Mistake. Never mind what it resembled (think stallion), smelled horrific, was mostly gristle and the mustard sauce that was served with it added nothing but worse aroma.
                                              You want a smoked sausage that is not greasy, but could be used for subtle bean flavoring. It should have some heat and have concentrated flavour. No anise or caraway flavours... but subtlety with smoke...if that suggests something to you.

                                              1. re: shallots

                                                My problem is that I have NO instincts at all when it comes to sausage, not having eaten any in almost 30 years. So chorizo (soy) would *not* be smokey? is that the idea I'm getting? I used it in a paella and loved it. Sorry to be so hopeless.

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  You know what? If you've used it before and loved it, use it again. So what if it doesn't exactly replicate what's called for? That you know what it tastes like and you know that you like it is far more important than whether or not it tastes exactly like what's called for in the recipe. I say go for it, and don't look back.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    Thanks Joan. Sometimes I need a push like that! Will do.

                                                2. re: shallots

                                                  Yeah, the French andouille really is nasty. With that in mind, I avoided it on a trip to NOLA a few yers ago, which was obviously a mistake.

                                                  I don't recall seeing spicy, smoked sausage over here. You can normally get one or the other. And smoked sausage is usually cooked. Will have to see what I can find.

                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                    gg: I don't know if you want to go to the trouble of ordering stuff from Bruce Aidells here in the states. He has an andouille sausage but don't know what the rules are concerning U.S. to U.K. sales

                                                    I've never tried his andouille, but he has several other sausages which are quite good. His wife is Nancy Oakes, owner of Boulevard, a famous restaurant in SF, and he's been making sausages for years.

                                                    Here's the link just in case.

                                                    https://www4954.ssldomain.com/aidells...

                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                      FWIW, Aidells sold the sausage company that bears his name some time ago.

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        Caitlin: Do you think the sausages changed after he was no longer associated with the company? I don't eat them regularly (except as samples at COSTCO in Richmond) so I don't really know. I usually buy Saags at Berk Bowl.

                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                          You girls and your Berk Bowl...sigh...killing me...we lived blocks from Aidell's when it was Aidells. Ah, Berkeley...

                                                      2. re: oakjoan

                                                        FWIW, I much prefer d'Artagnan's andouille to Aidells'. More interesting texture; better flavor. Also more expensive.

                                                        @gg: Just called d'Artagnan to see if any shops in London carry their products and they told me they don't have an export license.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Yes, I agree. Though the Aidells sausages are good, the andouille isn't much like good cajun andouille--it's too finely ground. I've tried using it when in other parts of the country, and it really was a poor substitute.
                                                          A true cajun andouille consists of a filling of small chunks of lean pork and some fat, but it is not fatty. It is garlicky and smoky and usually has red pepper. It is probably more akin to German/Alsatian sausages than other French sausages (and is nothing, as many have pointed out, like the French andouille(tte).

                                                          Prudhomme often suggests subbing Polish kielbasa, but I have found that this varies wildly, in the States at least, and when I've tried them in other parts of the country, I've never been satisfied. (My problem, of course, is that I live near what is arguably the "andouille capital," Laplace, LA, so nothing ever compares favorably).

                                                          But GG, in London, you may have access to a really good Polish kielbasa or a German sausage that would work. Ultimately, if you can find something with similar flavors that you like, it doesn't matter if it's the real thing.

                                                          For stateside COTMers, if you want to order the real thing, the following link will take you to Jacob's, considered one of the--if not THE--best.

                                                          http://www.cajunsausage.com/

                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                            Ooooh! Great link! I'd never heard of them. Can't wait to try it. And tasso, too! Thanks so much, nomadchowwoman.

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              See my post up thread for a "look see" of some of the good stuff!!!!

                                                              Enjoy!

                                                              1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                Sorry, Uncle Bob. Obviously missed that first time around. I don't have much difficulty finding andouille here in NYC so I never bothered to look for an online source. But next time I make gumbo I'm definitely giving this a try.

                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                  Smoked Duck and Andouille is one of my favorite Gumbos...
                                                                  The Andouille and the Tasso are a must when I make Red beans & Rice as well as Jambalaya...

                                                                  No apology necessary Miss Joan... Just thought you (and others) might like to see (photo) of some of the product that comes from the Andouille Capital Of The Whole Wide World..:))

                                                                  The people at Poche's make great products too...and they are one of a very few produces who ship...There are many many more who do not ship.

                                                                  http://www.pochesmarket.com/

                                                                  Have Fun & Enjoy!

                                                                  1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                    I just read that Calivn Trillin favors Nook's in New Iberia.

                                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                                      I could be wrong, but as I recall, it was Nook's boudin that Trillin loved. Whatever the case, I believe Nook, who was famed for his boudin, died a few years ago.

                                                            2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                              I'm really lucky to live near a local independent European market famous for their in-house fresh and smoked sausages. They make Andouille and that's what I'm going to use.
                                                              http://www.karlssausage.com/meats.php

                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                Thanks for that advice, nomadchowwoman. There are lots of good Polish delis in London now due to the recent influx of Poles since they became members of the EU so I'll give kielbasa a go. One of my local butchers sells Colombian chorizo which sounds quite similar to the andouille you describe, minus the smoking.

                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  Well, my SIL, who lives near Chicago, tells me she always uses chorizo as a substitute (but I'm thinking it may be smoked), but I've never had it in gumbo. I'll be interested to read your results.

                                                                2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                  I think a note to the master, Calvin Trillin might be in order here... although once I wrote him asking him if he'd had (and could report on) Trapper's Torrido Sauce (sp?) and saying that, if he did, I'd give him the names of really good taco trucks in L.A.

                                                                  He wrote back: "Never heard of Trapper's Torrido Sauce but give me the names of the taco trucks anyway!"

                                                                3. re: JoanN

                                                                  Thanks for that info. I have some of d'Artagnan's andouille in the freezer, but can't remember if I've had it before. I plan on using it in the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo for Superbowl.

                                                                  I also have some "bulk andouille sausage" that I haven't tried from Whole Foods that I think I'll use for the Cajun Meat Pies (p. 128) as an appetizer.

                                                                  If I need more, I'll be sure to order from Jacob's since I need tasso too.

                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                    I dodn't know Aidelle had sold the company. Rarely use his sausages anyway, but have tried the free samples at Costco and found some to be quite good.

                                                              2. re: shallots

                                                                Reading these references to French andouille, I knew I had to resurrect the ghosts of Chowhounds past, namely the inimitable Burke and Wells, and their Excremental Encounter: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/261442

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                  Ha - Their 'experience' is the first thing I think of whenever anyone mentions French andouille/andouillette. That's a classic.

                                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                                    It ranks right up there with Heidiepie's description of her meal at the French Laundry.

                                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                                      Link, please, oakjoan. :).

                                                                      Caitlin, that post was hilarious, and very informative! I consider myself duly warned/educated.

                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          Oh, I laughed so hard I was crying. That was truly entertaining and enlightening report. After reading about heidipie's TFL dining experience, I might as well just get rid of my TFL cookbook. What is the point? It's not like I can achieve THAT at home. Or would want to. Must bookmark for future reading and inspiration and email a link to 100 friends, even though it's almost 5 years old.

                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            This is a great report - have not been to FL but have been to Per Se and can say the service at the latter is impeccable. I enjoyed her "was it worth it" mental back and forth - know exactly what she means, my feelings are as equivocal. But my bday meal last year was one of the best meals of my life (my "life...so far!" to quote the almighty Homer).

                                                                  2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                    Fantastic! Thanks so much for adding that link. Gave me a good laugh.

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                      Yeah, I've loved Heidipie's FL report for years. . . especially the part where she talks about kicking each other under the table.

                                                            3. jumping the gun again on February...my husband made the Cajun meatloaf with cajun hot sauce for beef tonight, and it was absolutely wonderful! I am looking forward to more cooking from this book. Has anybody done any of the breads? I'm thinking about the shrimp Diane and a bread and the strawberry pie with chantilly cream this weekend. i have actually made a strawberry pie that is similar to this. I'm going to take another look through the book in the next couple of days and try to decide a few more things to make. I really love the outcomes...even though the methods can be a little demanding:)

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: sunflwrsdh

                                                                I earmarked the Jalapeno and Cheese Bread or Rolls on page 46 to try this week. Love that strawberry pie, too.

                                                                1. re: bayoucook

                                                                  I've made the jalapeno cheese rolls for years. We even like them as a snack, thusly:

                                                                  Take a roll; microwave it for half a minute or so (because of the high cheese content [5:7 cheese to flour] they nuke well). Pull / cut open. Add a pat of cream cheese and a dollop of hot pepper jelly. Devour.

                                                                  1. re: jmckee

                                                                    OMG...I want that....Will try the rolls; I am not a very good baker. Will let you know.

                                                              2. I live and am from Southwest Louisiana,so this is gonna be a lot of fun for me. My family makes gumbo and whatnot, so now it will be my turn to learn and make it!

                                                                1. OK, so tell me now about tasso. I'm thinking that smoked back bacon might work, or thickly cut prosciutto. I can also get Black Forest smoked ham in a piece which might also work.

                                                                  And what is converted rice?

                                                                  35 Replies
                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                    Hi greedygirl, I can't answer re tasso since have never seen it in the flesh, but converted rice (also known in our family as perverted rice) is rice that has been steamed and then dried again. Uncle Ben's is the most common brand here, has it filtered over to your side? It cooks up with each grain separate, looking a bit like orzo. Prudhomme's recipes are really all I use it in.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      We do have Uncle Ben's here. I think that what I am looking for is commonly called "easy cook" rice in the UK. I never buy it but it's widely available. Thanks!

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        Uncle Ben's is the brand I buy. If your "easy cook" cooks up firmish and grains separate, it must be the same thing. (Make the sausage and ham jambalaya, we are very fond of it.)

                                                                    2. re: greedygirl

                                                                      I think the Black Forest or prosciutto would be closer as tasso is all lean; they'll just lack the spiciness, but Prudhomme's recipes are usually already quite spicy. And FWIW, I never use converted rice (but love Buttertart's characterization--"perverted rice").

                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                        Good to hear that you don't use Uncle Ben's, nomadcw. Now I won't either. Which rice do you use? Just the regular white stuff?

                                                                        I've gotten so smitten with brown basmathi rice (with a few grains of black rice in among the brow) that I use it in most rice dishes I make. Somehow I don't think it'd be right for Prudhomme's recipes.

                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                          I think basmati grains are too delicate, but hey, whatever does it for you.

                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                            If I were making jambalaya, which I'm not particularly fond of usually, I would use just plain white. Buttertart's right, I think, basmati would be too delicate.
                                                                            But we love brown rice so for gumbo, etouffee, red beans, or anything with which rice is served, I use it. I find the nuttiness really complements these spicy dishes. I think brown basmati would be great in those preparations. I may try it myself during this coming month.

                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                              Speaking of rice... I'm leaning in the direction of white Carolina rice. Any thoughts?

                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                Carolina rice is going to be somewhat stickier, have somewhat less flavor, and take a bit longer to cook than Uncle Ben's. The flavor really isn't an issue if you're making one of his rice recipes since all of them have a lot of added flavor anyway. Side-by-side, you might notice a difference in texture, but so what? And I'd just make sure to go a bit longer on the timing and check to be certain it's done how you want it. I know I made his Basic Cooked Rice once with Carolina when I had run out of converted. Too long ago now for me to remember the details, but I noted that I did prefer it with converted rice and was sure my guests would never have known the difference.

                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                  Any rice will work, and all kinds and types are used...That being said..Medium grain rice is very popular across the region..Cooked to just a hint of stickiness.....

                                                                                  Fun!

                                                                                  1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                    When you say "any rice will work," I'm sure that's true if all you're talking about is plain white rice. But there's a difference in cooking times and the amount of liquid needed among short-, medium-, long grain-, brown, and converted rice. Since the recipes in Louisiana Kitchen specify the amount of liquid and the cooking time and since both of those are based on the use of converted rice (which is specified as preferred), both will have to be adjusted if one is using a rice other than the kind with which the recipes were tested. Nothing wrong with that. Just pointing it out.

                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                      My comments were directed to Gio who posed the question of using Carolina white rice...IMO the answer to her question was/is absolutely Yes! The point being use what you have...Use what you like..Use what you want..even "perverted" rice who probably paid handsomely for a 'preferred' status......

                                                                                      Fun & Bon Appetit!!

                                                                                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                        Oh Uncle Bob, hadn't figured you for a cynic! (and hadn't thought about product placement in cookbooks).

                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                          You figured correctly!! Wonder what it cost Hormel? LOL! :)

                                                                                          Cheers!

                                                                                        2. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                          First of all, although he recommends converted rice, no brand is mentioned. Companies don't pay for product placement, handsomely or otherwise, if the brand they are selling is not named. Anyway, I happen to know for a fact that that is simply not true.

                                                                                          Second, you seem to have taken buttertart's family joke and turned it into a product judgment. Converted rice is simply brown rice that has been processed in such a way as to retain more nutrients than white rice. There's nothing "perverted" about it.

                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                            LOL.....Converted Rice, Instant rice, Parboiled Rice (IMO) ranks right up there with Instant Grits, Wall Paper Paste, and School glue!! ~~ Product opinion? Yes!! ~~ When I hear or see the words Converted Rice a little voice in my head says "Uncle Ben's" ... I've enjoyed the chat, and I hope you enjoy the month of February and the COTM

                                                                                            Have Fun!!!

                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                              Converted rice may not be "perverted," but it's an odd recommendation from a South Louisiana cook. That stuff only shows up in school lunch programs and cheap restaurants.
                                                                                              I don't know anyone who has ever figured out why Prudhomme would have used it in his recipes except that when this cookbook was published, some editor might have thought that it was what most Americans used - outside of Louisiana that is - and figured it would sell more books more easily. Uncle Ben's was and still is the most widely available and best selling version of converted rice in the US.

                                                                                              People in Louisiana would use standard white, long or medium grain rice, depending on whether they lived in the city or country, what they were using it for, and local or family custom

                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                Okay, okay. I get it. No self-respecting NOLA cook would ever allow converted rice to cross his or her threshold. It’s rather humorous, though, how you’re tying yourselves into knots of speculation and blame trying to explain why, if it so bad, it’s recommended by one of the most famous chefs in town. He got paid to do it; his editor forced it on him. It’s simply not true.

                                                                                                As I’ve mentioned enough times here before so I’m sure some of the people reading this are beginning to yawn, Chef Paul’s editor was a good friend and professional colleague. I had the pleasure of testing some of the recipes from the original proposal for the book before it was accepted for publication. In that proposal, when Chef Paul called for rice; in every instance the word "rice" was modified with the words "preferably converted." You might not like it. He obviously did. And if it was good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.

                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                  Frankly, I was trying to cut him a pass. Just because he wrote it in a proposal for a book that he hoped to publish nationally doesn't mean it was his own personal preference or his mama's. But it might be. Who knows or cares?
                                                                                                  We don't get "tied in knots" about such crap. We just ignore quirks like this, use the good stuff, cook it the right way, and eat better than most people ever dream of.

                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                    Usually the best ingredients yield the most delicious results, but I'm willing to keep an open mind about converted rice, just in case it turns out to be the most delicious.

                                                                                                    Also, at least for the first time out cooking these recipes, since this style of cooking is pretty unfamiliar to me, I'd rather not be guessing on cooking times and liquid ratios. I know if I blow one of those calculations, the results could be disastrous. If I try the recipe Chef Paul's way and decide the converted rice is not for me, then I'll switch out the rice on the next go-round.

                                                                                                    Question: we have a lot of wonderful homemade chicken stock on hand (that we've canned). The recipe is very similar to Chef Paul's Basic Stock recipe, except that our stock has carrots in it. Would it be an abomination to use our stock that has the carrots? Or should I really make some stock without?

                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                      Use your stock. I can't imagine a tiny bit of carrot is going to be noticable above all the spicing.

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        Thank you, LLM. I think it's going to be tough enough to find time to do these recipes without having to do extra stock, too. I'll do the seafood stock, for sure, but I think I'll just use what I have for "basic stock."

                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                        TDQ, your stock should be fine. Carrot is added to meat stocks in South Louisiana, particularly in New Orleans, perhaps because of the French roots of the cooking that involves stocks. Carrot is not usually added to seafood stocks.
                                                                                                        Other than that basic guideline, most home cooks would make stock much as you probably do - with carcasses, trimmings, scraps, etc. The only caveat being that they wouldn't add things that don't complement the style of cooking that they usually depend on, e.g. they likely wouldn't add ginger. There's nothing particularly sacred about basic stocks.
                                                                                                        This is reflected in the recipes from the classic restaurants of New Orleans and South Louisiana, such as Galatoire's, Antoine's, Commander's, Tujaque's, the recipes of John Folse, etc.

                                                                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                      Well, after all this I think I'll just go ahead and use Uncle Ben's. "if it was good enough for him, it's good enough for me." Thanks Joan!

                                                                                                      In our house in the pantry we have Basmati, Jasmine, Brown Basmati, and wild rice at any given time. I was under the impression that Carolina rice was more nutritious than converted rice.

                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                        "I was under the impression that Carolina rice was more nutritious than converted rice."

                                                                                                        Not as I understand it. To paraphrase from Harold McGee re: "Parboiled or Converted Rice":

                                                                                                        In India and Pakistan they have parboiled nonaromtic rice before hulling and milling for more than 2000 years. The procedure has a number of advantages. It improves the nutritional quality of the rice by forcing vitamins in the germ and bran to adhere to the grain, making the surface less sticky and imparting a nutty flavor.

                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                          Once again, thank you Joan. See how little I know....

                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                            I always use Uncle Ben's in these recipes - tried regular long-grain rice once and because there's a fair amount of stirring involved in the preparations, the dish was a bit gummy. I'm a perverted rice convert (for these dishes, anyway.)

                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              At the risk of being flamed again, I will "speculate" once more that the reason these recipes call for converted rice is because much of the audience for this cookbook might also have the same reaction as you do to rice that they would characterize as "gummy."

                                                                                                              Rice that sticks together is preferred by much of South Louisiana for traditional recipes. Many use short or medium grain rice because it is more starchy or "gummier" as you call it. Plain brown rice works very well.
                                                                                                              This type of rice holds together when scooped into gumbo. Sauces and gravies adhere better to it.
                                                                                                              Call it a regional preference. Some Asians also prefer stickier rices. That's no reason why you have to do it the same way.

                                                                                                        2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                          Oh, I don't think you'd find any hard fast rules among south Louisiana cooks about rice. Rice is grown here and therefore a staple; most folks will use what's most readily available but some will surely have other preferences. Some boil it, some steam it, some use a rice cooker; some like long-grained, some short; some use UB's or Minute Rice, etc.
                                                                                                          Chef Paul obviously prefers converted rice, and for recipes in which rice is a key ingredient, like jambalaya or dirty rice, the converted must yield a particular result that he prefers, one that you may not get w/other rices. But when rice is just getting scooped into gumbo or having beans or stew ladled over it, it is a minor player--so I'd go with personal preference. For me, that's brown rice--and that, I guarantee, would most certainly not be the choice of most self-respecting cajun cooks. (If I'm serving guests, in most cases, I'll use white because so many think brown doesn't "go" with cajun food.)
                                                                                                          Like Bayoucook, I've never heard people make a fuss about the rice (or the stock). Cajun cooking, like a lot of country cooking, is all about making do with what's available, transforming humble ingredients, improvising, etc.

                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                            I think that most people use white rice now out of habit and because it's what's in the stores.
                                                                                                            But some years ago, I was visiting home and Daddy always loved to invite his brothers and sisters over for a big lunch when I was there. He had me cook Cajun food which Mama had never conquered. At the last minute, we realized that there wasn't enough white rice so we used brown.
                                                                                                            The oldest aunt stopped eating and asked me in Cajun French where I had gotten the rice. Gulp. I admitted that it was just brown rice from the Winn-Dixie. She smiled and said that it tasted just like the rice when they were growing up in the country - and how much she had missed that flavor.
                                                                                                            There was a long conversation about how they had bartered sugar from the mill for rice from another mill during the Depression when no one had money to buy anything.
                                                                                                            They all loved the brown rice. When I thought about it, it seems reasonable that less-refined rice must have been standard for them and might be closer to the heritage foods of Louisiana.
                                                                                                            I've been using it ever since, and have adapted most of my recipes to it. And mill sugar too - what you'd call turbinado now.

                                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                              Good point, not something I'd ever thought about, but it makes good sense. To me, its nuttier taste complements the strong flavors in cajun food. I don't, however, like it in jambalaya, but jambalaya's not my favorite thing anyway. (Having said that, I had a taste of really delicious jambalaya, store made, at Whole Foods, of all places, this past weekend.)

                                                                                                    3. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                                      Agreed. Never saw anyone make a big fuss about rice. Just make the rice.
                                                                                                      My cajun MIL boiled her (regular, everyday) rice like pasta and drained it.
                                                                                                      I use a medium-grain or whatever's on sale and cook it the regular way.

                                                                                          2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                            I think I'll go with Black Forest ham as it's smoked. Thanks for the input.

                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                              In case you're interested:

                                                                                              I was going through some of my other New-Orlean's inspired books and in Emeril's Primetime cookbook, he has a recipe for "Homemade Tasso" with cured pork (p. 17):

                                                                                              Slice a pound of lean pork butt into three or four 1-inch slices, dredge in spice mixture, wrap in plastic and cure in the refrigerator for at least three days and up to one week.

                                                                                              Spice mixture:
                                                                                              2 -1/2 Tb paprika
                                                                                              1 Tb salt
                                                                                              2-/14 tsp freshly ground black pepper
                                                                                              2-1/4 tsp granulated onions
                                                                                              2 tsp cayenne
                                                                                              1-1/2 tsp garlic powder
                                                                                              1-1/2 onion powder

                                                                                              I may try this myself.

                                                                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                I may try that too, even tho' tasso is readily available here. Looks so good.

                                                                                        3. The threads are up:
                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/684591

                                                                                          Post away, you weekend early birds!

                                                                                          1. I have not looked at the bbok, but thanks to the link in this thread, I did find the sweet potato/eggplant gravy that was part of the turducken show run on PBS over the holiday season. I thought that sounded wonderful - looking it over, I think i will make a batch of the roasted and mashed sweet potato/eggplant/onion/garlic, to keep in the freezer so that it can be incorporated whenever I am making gravy for a variety of roast meats.
                                                                                            http://www.chefpaul.com/site.php?page...