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the theology and geometry of Greek lasagna

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By foodorleans · August 23, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

If you're back in school, back to work, back in stressland of any sort, you might be craving some sort of soul-fortifying food hug right about now.  One of my personal favorite food hugs is a big ol' pan of lasagna--and not a thin, dainty one, either. It's got to be tall and stacked through with vegetables, meats, and a ton of cheese.  Lasagna is such a childhood classic for many of us who grew up with moms who liked to cook both ground beef and casseroles, yet it's still adaptable to current tastes, or to current needs to clean out the pantry.  It's also just a beautiful, big pan of goodness, a culinary specimen of theology and geometry.  If you like to build things that taste good and heal your soul, you'll like this.

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Tagged with: lasagna, baked, beef, Sausage, Greek, pasta, cheese

what's creole, what's cajun, and what's jambalaya?

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By foodorleans · September 8, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

Because New Orleans (and all of Louisiana) is such a melting pot, and because Cajun and Creole dishes often have similar roots, including French, Spanish, Italian, African, Haitian, Cuban, German, and Native American, some of the distinctions between what's Creole food and what's Cajun food can be hard to make. In his book My New Orleans, chef John Besh explains that Creole gumbo pays tribute to a "rich variety of cultures and ingredients, whereas Cajun gumbo evolved as the essence of peasant food, a way to feed a large number of people making the very best of whatever meager ingredients were at hand," and John Folse's Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine extolls Creole cuisine as a "more sophisticated cousin" to Cajun cooking. Explanations like these work perfectly when comparing elegant Creole dishes to rustic cast-iron Cajun stews, but the waters grow murkier near a pot of jambalaya.

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on sustainability, part 3: local traditions, simple rewards

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By foodorleans · August 31, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

I'd like to introduce you to my treasured friend Meredith Martin-Moats.  If you've ever known a woman who rescued animals, built community resources, and sang high lonesome harmony with a twin at each hip, then you might know someone a bit like her.   She's a superwoman, but she's also one of the most down-to-earth people you'll find.  I asked her recently to share some thoughts on reducing waste in the kitchen and cooking mindfully (see Meredith's post on a great muffin recipe that uses overripe fruit).  In typical Meredith fashion, her words took me back to a simpler time, yet revived my interest in learning something new:

Because wastefulness is such a part of our culture it can take lots of time and baby steps to rethink the way we function in our kitchens, and I've come to be a big believer in moving at a slow and steady pace. Taking on too much just becomes overwhelming and leads to burn out. Now, this might not work for lots of folks but for me it really does. And that's to find rewards in less. For me, reducing waste and living simply is a spiritual practice. I know that might sound weird to some people, but that holds true for me. My point here is that I think learning to reduce waste should include some deep thinking about why it matters to you in the first place. Yes it's cheaper and yes it makes sense, but it's also not the easiest way to live in our modern society and if those changes are going to really take root in your life it seems to me that a person should consider really looking at why they want to make those changes. When you find the answers to those questions then it becomes much more like a fun challenge and less like hard work.

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turn away, tomato: winter white lasagna with italian sausage

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By foodorleans · February 4, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

Problem:  Winter.  Boredom.  Hunger.

Solution:  Two hours spent puttering in the kitchen, which totally counts as a workout.  A mess of of dirty dishes to wash.  Lasagna in the oven.  Naps.

I love lasagna of any sort, and this one is rich and full of wintery vegetable flavor. Not using tomatoes just seemed right this time, but I've got nothing against them. Basically, I wanted the flavor of kale to be featured, so I gave tomatoes the boot till next time.

I used freshly made Italian sausage from my favorite corner store of all time, Terranova's.  If you don't have any in the house and you're snowed in, though, no big deal.  Lasagna is basically a layering of pasta, some sort of sauce/stew, and cheese.  So for the stew, I can see a melange of onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms--basically any good veggies you have in the fridge, or even in cans.  Use any kind of cheese.  If you don't have lasagna noodles, cook any shape of pasta and use a third of it to make the pasta layer...or use rice, polenta, or bread.  You really can't go wrong.
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3 B's and a C: Butcher, Bud's Broiler, B Side, and Charlie's

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By foodorleans · August 14, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Note: The title of this post is not a report card.  It's just my attempt at being clever. The report card would be all A's, for real.

It's been a little busy around the Food Orleans household this month, but that doesn't mean we haven't been eating.  Here are some photos and brief reviews of places we've checked out over the summer.

B #1:  Butcher.  Donald Link's Butcher is located next door to his Cajun-oriented Cochon, in the warehouse district.  It's a true butcher shop, where you can buy delectable pork cuts, poultry, lamb, beef, foie gras, and housemade sausages of all kinds, but it also has a bar and little tables and fantastic food.  Butcher has become one of our must-try places we like to take out-of-town guests to, and everyone loves it.  They have a full sandwich board (and the best muffaletta in town--you heard me), but my favorite thing to do is order three or four of their small plates--usually $6 each--and a plate of their boudin with mustard and pickles--only $3.  The menu changes constantly, but always includes a couple of options for those who don't eat pig and is always seasonal.

Butcher: boudin-stuffed quail atop braised greens and creamy mustard.

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riz jaune to the riz-scue

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By foodorleans · February 6, 2010 · 0 Comments ·


Riz jaune has appeared in my life right when I really needed a new "dinner magic" kind of recipe--something cheap, on-hand, and easy to adapt to all sorts of quick dinner fixes. Riz jaune (say "ree zhahn") is basically a Cajun version of fried rice. You make a sort of trinity-plus-Pope concoction (that's onion/celery/bell pepper + garlic), add veggie bits or leftovers you have around the kitchen, ditto with meats (sausage is especially nice), and then you stir in cold cooked rice and eggs. Mix everything up, cook till the egg is firm and scattered all throughout, then eat it as-is or in dozens of other ways that I haven't even thought of yet. Here's what we have had: Riz-jaune-and-red-bean burrito, and gumbo served over riz jaune instead of plain rice. Good stuff. I can also see this being a great stuffing for vegetables or an interesting bed for some gravied chicken or pork.


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