&Follow SJoin OnSugar
big, easy bites

in need of comfort: pan-fried catfish with black-eyed pea salsa

Email |
|
By Jen White · May 29, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

I have to be honest:  I'm a little down these days. It's normally a great time to be in this wonderful city--festivals, sno-balls, seafood everywhere you look--and of course, that's the reason for the blues.  The seafood.  No fried oyster po-boys, no raw oysters in some spots.  Fishing folk shuttling executives out to the rigs instead of pulling in hundreds of pounds of shrimp.  It's a crying shame.

I haven't even felt much like cooking lately, though I've been desperate to eat something homey and comforting.  I just couldn't think of what that was.  So yesterday I started scribbling, doodling, trying to get down to the basics of what would make me feel better, and I came up with one of my favorite childhood meals:  fish sticks, peas, and mac and cheese.  Have you ever had this, or something like it?  With a little ketchup on the plate, it looks beautiful, in a Crayola kind of way:  crunchy golden fish sticks, a big splotch of red ketchup, bright green peas (cooked from frozen in nothing more than salted water), and orangy-yellow mac and cheese from the blue box.  Every time my mom pulled the ingredients out for this feast, I got so excited.  It was happiness in one of its purest forms:  looking forward to something.  Plus, I liked the challenge of getting one of those straight macaroni on each of my four fork tines before I took a bite. 

continue reading...

You Are My Sunshine

Email |
|
By Jen White · May 19, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Last Sunday, we went to the Gulf Aid benefit concert with some dear friends. It was an enchanting, oh-so-New-Orleans kind of event: walking through Mardi Gras World, where hundreds of floats and float adornments are created and stored; sampling soundly delicious seafood creations by some of the city's best restaurants and caterers; watching the tugboats and barges troll along the Mississippi; listening to heartfelt, intensely dedicated performers like Tab Benoit call us to attention, lest we forget whom we need to help; chanting "Who Dat?!" spontaneously, like a family, because we are a family.

Singing "You Are My Sunshine"--our state song--a capella, at the tops of our voices.  You hardly ever hear the final Louisiana-specific verses, and we didn't sing them either, but here they are, in all their sweetness:

continue reading...

my green heaven

Email |
|
By Jen White · May 16, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Creole tomatoes are in their green state these days, which is fine with me.  For one thing, I know that the ripe red creoles are just weeks away; for another, I love fried green tomatoes.  Love them.

The use of green tomatoes on a BLT has been a bit of a lunch trend in the city--La Petite Grocery offered a BLT with green tomato jam last spring, for instance, which was outstanding.  The tarter, "greener" flavor of a green tomato plays well with smoky bacon, and just feels like spring, to me.  At last week's Saturday market, Paul found baby green creole tomatoes, about the size of limes.  They were so cute, and their slices so perfectly round, that they just seemed to be crying out for the starring role in a BLT.  So that's what we had--cocktail-sized fried-green-tomato BLTs.  Hooray!

for love of shrimp

Email |
|
By Jen White · May 10, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

The oil spill outlook has got us all worried these days.  How will our fishing families adapt?  How will the restaurant industry fare?  It's still too soon to tell.  But plenty of fresh, local seafood is still available right now, at the west bank wharf, in supermarkets, and at farmer's markets.  Paul went last Saturday to the Crescent City Farmer's Market downtown and bought several pounds of gorgeous, perfect shrimp from Clara Gerica of Gerica Seafood.  Her husband, Pete, shrimps in Lake Pontchartrain and sends his evening catch to market with Clara, who says their lake shrimping is unaffected at this point.  So to celebrate that fact, and to celebrate shrimp in general, I concocted a tapas-style menu of two iconic recipes (barbecued shrimp; shrimp and grits (pictured at left)) and one newcomer (the shrimp taco).

continue reading...

high standards, surpassed expectations, and getting a little awesome: Restaurant August

Email |
|
By Jen White · May 2, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

I was talking to my friend Chana the other day about dining in New Orleans, and we have the same philosophy:

  1. If you charge $5 for something, it doesn't have to be fantastic. Kudos to you if it is fantastic.
  2. If you charge $40 or $50 for something, it better be awesome. It better not be something that I can taste and say, "You know, I think I could make this better."

 

We're just trying to get the best dollar-to-awesomeness ratio that we can, and in a city where the prices can be as high as diners' expectations of the food, that's important.

We went to August the other day for a celebratory family lunch (see #2, above). I've only been to one other John Besh restaurant, Luke, but I've been there a few times and enjoyed it. The food at Luke is not fine dining, but it's quality. August is in a different league of dining experiences, along with places like Stella!, Herbsaint, and Bayona, where you arrive expecting a fantastically prepared meal and usually leave shaking your head in disbelief of how good it truly was (see #2, above, again).

jazz fest '10

Email |
|
By Jen White · May 2, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

The day we chose to go (to see Van Morrison) was a wet one, but we still got in some good eats.  Plus some Juvenile and some awesome music in the gospel tent.  Here are some photos of folks enjoying the food--including some damp, dedicated crawfish peelers.

 

We got the combo on the sign below: potato salad, creole stuffed crab, and catfish almondine.

continue reading...

good southern girls

Email |
|
By Jen White · April 26, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

I've only lived in the South for ten years; before that I lived in Oklahoma. Even though Oklahoma technically isn't the South, my grandmother, Willie Ruth Abbott (or Mee-Mo, as my cousin Kitty dubbed her), was a true Southern cook, making fresh sausage gravy and biscuits every morning, pouring cornbread batter into hot bacon grease in her cast-iron mold. What I learned about Southern food early on in life was all due to spending time in the kitchen with Mee-Mo, crimping the edges of her fried pies. When I was growing up, we'd travel every few years to family reunions held at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Durant, Oklahoma--a densely green and hilly area in the southeastern corner of the state. Long tables would be set up in the covered pavillion of the cemetery, loaded with every cook's most-requested dishes:  fried chicken, dilly bread, peach cobbler, macaroni salad, angel biscuits, fried pies, baked beans, and several potato salads. Just writing this list makes my soul ache for those sweltering afternoons of paper plates weighted down with so much good food.

continue reading...

food orleans review: Hungry Town by Tom Fitzmorris

Email |
|
By Jen White · April 23, 2010 · 0 Comments ·


How did a city that celebrates the traditional offerings of French Creole landmarks such as Antoine’s and Galatoire’s become an industry trendsetter? How did the 1880s-built Commander’s Palace become the hottest “new” place to dine in New Orleans a hundred years later? Mostly, it’s a combination of timing and the chef/restaurateur relationship--and Tom Fitzmorris has stories to tell. He has covered the restaurant beat for various print publications since 1972, and has discussed the city’s restaurants over the radio waves almost daily since 1979. Hungry Town
includes a welcomingly brief explanation of the author’s apprenticeship and tenure writing about the city’s most important industry, and quickly gets to the good stuff--the food. But Fitzmorris’s friendships (and rejections) behind the scenes provide backstory vital to understanding the intensity of the most formative years of New Orleans restaurantism--like when Paul Prudhomme’s blackened redfish hit the scene and so many cast-iron skillets nationwide--or when Prudhomme asked onetime pal Fitzmorris to stay out of his restaurant because of “controversial” discussions held on his radio talk-show--whether K-Paul’s should, in fact, offer diners more selection than their usual two wines.

continue reading...

gone crawfishing

Email |
|
By Jen White · April 18, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Crawfish has two usages as a verb in Webster's: one is to catch crawfish, and another is to back out of something you've committed to. But I'm proposing a third definition: to crawfish is to celebrate the deliciousness of the little creatures by churning out as many recipes as you can in one weekend and stuffing yourself full of their glory. And with that definition in place, I can honestly say I have been doing a lot of crawfishing lately.

the stars of spring: strawberry bruschetta and strawberry caprese

Email |
|
By Jen White · April 3, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

One of the things I love about the Crescent City Farmers Market is their varied locations--and even more, that one of those locations, the Thursday evening market, is a short walk from our house. This past Thursday, we sauntered out with dozens of people from the neighborhood who were taking advantage of the brief period in New Orleans when days are sunny and bright, but not hot. For a month or so, the weather will be the star here, with sweet Louisiana produce running a close second.


archive

My Amazon Store

Grocery List

Tags

View my Tasty Kitchen Profile

shopify analytics tool