Christmas gift predicament

November 9, 2010

What to make for Christmas presents? 

For now I only have one very small oven, and not a lot of kitchen equipment (no Cuisinart, no Kitchenaid mixer, minimal bowls, spoons, etc., the pots are non-stick, sigh), so my usual multiple batches of cookies and fruitcakes seems not such a good idea this year. 

I’m pondering various possibilities…..

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

June 21, 2010

Mirza Trist LaBiche Berg

This recipe from my grandmother is the quintessential “Mamie” recipe, to me.  There may be other Mamie favorites to other people in the family:  Pork Chops and Lima Beans, Blue Cheese Dip spread on a celery stick, Stuffed Artichokes (hmmm, that’s a pretty good one, too).  I even have Mamie on video giving this recipe.  Of course, it MUST be served with Whiskey Sauce.

This recipe can be increased for any number, always using these proportions.

1 egg

1 heaping tablespoon sugar

1 cup milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 slice stale French bread (crusts removed if desired)

¼ to ⅓ cup raisins

Beat egg and sugar together.  Add milk and vanilla and mix.  Put in a casserole dish.  Put in a slice of bread and the raisins.  Bake at 250° for 30 minutes, mix it up to break up the bread and distribute the raisins, and cook for about another 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and knife comes out clean when inserted in the center.

2 servings

Whiskey Sauce

1 stick butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

bourbon

Cream together butter and sugar, and add enough bourbon to make a pourable sauce.

Grandma D’s Banana Bread

April 17, 2010

Tina Daugherty Cole

We’ve made Tina’s former mother-in-law’s recipe many, many times.  If you don’t have 6 or 7 bananas, don’t worry, it’s fine even if you only have 2 or 3.

1 stick butter

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2½ cups plain sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

dash salt

6 or 7 bananas

lemon juice

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter and sugar. Add one egg at a time, mixing between additions. Mix flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add to batter. Mash bananas and sprinkle with a little lemon juice. Add bananas and nuts to batter. Pour into loaf pans and bake 1 hour or until done.

Makes 2 loaves

Even more photos of Jack

February 2, 2010

More photos of Jack Sassone

February 2, 2010

Red Beans & Rice

February 2, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

I was reading over this recipe, and to tell you the truth, I can’t remember the last time I saw a rock in my beans, but I’ll leave that in there for old times’ sake. I do throw away the ugly and broken up beans.

1 pound red beans (preferably Camellia brand)

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons oil or bacon grease

pickle meat, or a ham bone, or ham hocks

2 bay leaves

2 to 3 quarts water

salt

Rinse the beans and pick out any rocks. Soak for a few hours or preferably overnight. Drain and rinse. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes. Add the meat, rinsed beans, and bay leaves, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 2 hours, or until the beans are soft enough, but not yet falling apart. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning (depending on how salty the meat is). Remove about a half cup of beans and mash them with a little of the liquid. Stir back into the pot and continue to cook for about 20 more minutes. Serve over rice.

Jack Sassone

February 2, 2010

We lost my father-in-law, Jack Sassone, last week. Jack always had a good time wherever he was, and everybody loved him. He was such a funny guy.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he and my mother-in-law were with us in Vicksburg, Mississippi, along with a number of other family members and friends, waiting to hear the status of their homes and businesses. Rather than sit around and obsess about what was going on in New Orleans, Jack and Edith volunteered at the Vicksburg Convention Center, where an impromptu refugee center had been set up, with volunteer doctors, nurses, counselors, etc., and a lot of donated medicine. The doctors didn’t know what was available to give to evacuees, because the meds were not in any order. Jack and Edith arranged for shelves to be set up and got the “pharmacy” in order — talk about being in the right place at the right time!

During that time, most of Vicksburg was without power due to power lines being down from trees and wind. Thankfully I have a gas stove with 6 burners. Everyone from New Orleans had brought whatever was in their refrigerators, and we were running across the Mississippi River to Louisiana for ice every day for the ice chests lined up in the kitchen, until our power came back on. We were making meals for somewhere between a dozen and two dozen people daily. There was no place to eat out, and the stores were running out of supplies. Edith had arranged for them to stay in a bed and breakfast, but the b&b had no food to offer. Others were temporarily renting apartments, my children located friends outside of town who had air conditioning, and Randy and I were “holding down the fort” on Cherry Street.

Everyone would come over for lunch, and lunch was whatever we had in the ice chests — cold cuts, salads, fruit. I cooked a big pot of something for dinner, on top of the stove, by shining my flashlight into the large pot to watch what was going on in there — red beans and rice, gumbo, jambalaya, things like that. When the power came back on, I remember lasagne, quiches, and blueberry cobbler and muffins (my Vicksburg friend Leah still didn’t have power, and she had gallons of blueberries in her freezer).

When Jack arrived at the house each day, he asked “What’s for dinner at Cafe Sassone?” Hence, the name of the book.

I have a number of photos of Jack in Cafe Sassone, and as I get time, I’m going to try to upload them here, along with the recipe for Red Beans and Rice.

This is the photo from the title page of the Beverages section.

Article in the Times of Acadiana

December 26, 2009

I am thrilled to see the article in the Times of Acadiana from December 23, 2009, and I hope that my Broussard relatives have all seen it. If not, here’s the link (well, sorry, I can’t get the “link” button to work, but you can copy and paste this url to see the article):

http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20091223/ACADIANA06/91221033

She has even included Mamie’s recipe for Bread Pudding and Whiskey Sauce.

With book signings, tastings, travel, making Saints ornaments for my Saints Playoff Tree, and then Christmas, I’m afraid I haven’t been keeping up to date with the blog. I’ll try to do better!

Food reference: For Christmas breakfast, we had Rachel’s request of Monkey Bread, with the standard bacon, coffee, and orange juice. Christmas dinner was very un-traditional for us — Prime ribeye steaks and brussels sprouts, both grilled by Randy outside, great Crash Hot Potatoes, and a pretty salad of Boston lettuce and fresh asparagus with a light vinaigrette. We were going to have Chocolate Volcanoes for dessert, but nobody wanted dessert.

Crab and Corn Soup

November 17, 2009

Crab & Corn Soup

6 gumbo crabs, or shells from 6 medium hard-shelled crabs,
or even crab legs if that’s what you can get
6 corn cobs, kernels removed and reserved, scraped
2 medium onions, quartered
2 quarts water
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon liquid crab boil
1½ cups half & half
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, shells carefully removed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1½ cups finely chopped green onions

Bring crabs, corn cobs, and quartered onions to a boil in the water, and simmer over low heat until liquid is reduced to 1 quart. Strain and set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan and add flour. Cook, stirring, until flour turns beige. Whisk in stock and crab boil. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add corn and simmer for 15 minutes more. Stir in half & half. Gently add crabmeat. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste and green onions.

Note: To hold for serving or to reheat, use a double boiler.

Makes 8 servings

See cookbook photos, a list of all of the recipes or to order the Cafe Sassone cookbook at http://www.cafesassone.com

Pictures of Papa – Charles Franck LaBiche Sr.

November 17, 2009


Charles Franck LaBiche, Sr., and Marcus Crescentius LaBiche, Sr.


Armand Anthony Legendre & Ruth LaBiche Legendre, Charles Franck LaBiche, Sr., & Mirza Trist LaBiche


Charles Franck LaBiche, Sr., sitting under umbrella. Mirza Trist LaBiche right background with hat. Everybody else unidentified.


Armand Anthony Legendre, Sr., at left. Charles Franck LaBiche, Sr., at right. Mirza Trist LaBiche to right of steering wheel, seated. Ruth LaBiche Legendre to left of Charles LaBiche, standing. The rest unidentified.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

My Papa died when I was 7 years old, so all of the photos of him are from quite a while ago.

One of my favorites is him with Uncle Marcus (his brother – actually my Great Uncle) holding boiled crawfish, and a glass of beer. Mama said that this photos was taken in the ’40s.

Papa was a golfer, and I am happy to have some of his golf trophies. I had even more, but my car was broken into on Port Street in the ’80s, and a whole box full was stolen. I’m sure they didn’t mean as much to the thief as they did to me.

Aunt Ruth was Papa’s sister. Papa was the Men’s Department buyer and Aunt Ruth was the Ladies Department buyer for the family clothing store, LaBiche’s. I believe that Aunt Ruth’s husband, Armand Legendre, was the Shoe Department buyer. The whole bunch of them would go to New York a couple of times a year on buying trips.

Book Signing

November 10, 2009

Alice Hebler has invited Denise to sit at her store, Paper Plus, on Washington Street in Vicksburg, Mississippi, this Thursday, November 12, between the hours of 5:00 and 8:00, to sell signed/personalized copies of the cookbook, and keep all the proceeds for my two designated charities. So come by, buy a book, and buy something from Alice too. If you already have a book, still come say hi and buy something from Alice! Order invitations or cards or stationery, or buy some of the cute ones she has in stock.

I’m so appreciative of her offer. I would like to post her business card, but my scanner is not cooperating. So here’s the info:

Paper Plus
Party Supplies, Stationery, Gifts
1318 Washington St.
Vicksburg MS 39180
601-638-3442
Alice Hebler, Owner
paperplusvicksburg@yahoo.com

AND Barbara Willingham wants to donate all of the profits from the sales of the book in her shop to the charities too. Aren’t these wonderful ladies?

Willingham’s has gifts galore, neat decorating items, Christmas decorations, so many different things. She has such a wide selection, I can’t even describe it. You’ll have to go in and see for yourself.
1308 Washington St.
Vicksburg MS 39180
601-631-0081

Edited 11/11/09
My scanner is cooperating today. Here’s Alice’s card:
Paper Plus card

See more cookbook photos, a list of all of the recipes or order the Cafe Sassone cookbook at http://www.CafeSassone.com

More photos of Mamie ….

November 6, 2009

Papa & Mamie
papa mamie boat
Mamie chair
Mamie Nick Juanita
These are photos of my maternal grandparents, Charles (Papa) & Mirza (Mamie) LaBiche. The last one is Mamie with her brother Nick Trist and her sister Juanita Valadie.

I’ve chosen these photos to share because all of these people are no longer with us, so I can’t get their permission!

See more cookbook photos, a list of all of the recipes or order the Cafe Sassone cookbook at http://www.CafeSassone.com

So, about those photos….

November 5, 2009
mamie me bone

Mamie & Denise

I’ve been asked repeatedly why I didn’t identify all the people in the photographs. I decided that it was easier to get photo releases from everybody if I didn’t put names in the book. I was afraid some people would be uncomfortable with their names in the book, but wouldn’t mind an unidentified photo.

Since you asked, I guess I’ll identify some. I’ll start with myself.

This is a photo I found in my baby book, identified as “Things Denise likes at 1 year — chewing on bones.” I think I liked sitting in Mamie’s lap chewing on bones. Mamie was my grandmother, Mirza Trist LaBiche. She lived from 1907 until 1998. She was a great cook, and people remember her for her Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce (in the book) and her Stuffed Artichokes (also in the book), among many other things. She loved Fruit Cake (yes, that too is in the book) and she and I would get together each year and bake them for ourselves and for other People Who Love Fruit Cake. I still make fruit cakes every year, and think of her when I’m doing so. The list of People Who Love Fruit Cake has grown a lot over the years.

See more cookbook photos, a list of all of the recipes or order the Cafe Sassone cookbook at http://www.CafeSassone.com

Pizza

November 4, 2009

Pepperoni & Mushroom Pizza

Pizza

Makes 2 12-inch pizzas or 8 mini pizzas

1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
1 cup boiling water
1½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
3 cups flour
oil
cornmeal
various pizza toppings
tomato gravy

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small bowl. Place the salt, butter, and boiling water in the food processor and process until the butter is melted. Add 1½ cups of the flour and process until blended. Add the dissolved yeast and process until blended. Add the remaining flour and process until blended, and then for 20 seconds to knead the dough.

If you wish to freeze the dough, place in a freezer bag and remove the air. Allow to defrost at room temperature for about 5 hours. Knead the dough by hand for a few strokes and proceed.

Oil a bowl, and place the dough in the bowl, covering with a clean dish towel. Let rise until doubled.

Oil the pizza pans and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Press the dough into the pan, and oil the dough slightly. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rest at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400°. Add toppings to dough and bake for 20 minutes or until done.

I always sauté any mushrooms or onions that I’m going to put on my pizza, because they won’t cook enough during the baking time.

See more cookbook photos, a list of all of the recipes or order the Cafe Sassone cookbook at http://www.CafeSassone.com

Cinnamon Twists & Parmesan Twists

November 3, 2009

Cinnamon Twists

Parmesan Twists
A sample recipe from Cafe Sassone Cookbook. Two recipes for the price of one.

Cinnamon Twists

I worked on these “Twist” recipes for Moore Groceries, the cookbook I did with Martha Whitaker to benefit the Old Court House Museum. We didn’t have room to use them, so here they are for posterity. The Cinnamon Twists are great for a breakfast buffet, the Parmesan ones for a cocktail party or picnic.

¼ cup sugar
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine sugar, pecans, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Unfold puff pastry sheet on a large cutting board. Brush with beaten egg and spread pecan mixture evenly over the sheet. Using a pizza wheel, cut the sheet into ½-inch wide strips. Twist each strip and place on parchment, not touching. Bake 12 to 16 minutes, or until golden. Let cool on racks.

Parmesan Twists

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
dash cayenne
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine Parmesan, paprika, and cayenne in a small bowl. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Unfold puff pastry sheet on a large cutting board. Brush with beaten egg and spread cheese mixture evenly over the sheet. Using a pizza wheel, cut the sheet into ½ inch wide strips. Twist each strip and place on parchment, not touching. Bake 12 to 16 minutes, or until golden. Let cool on racks.

See more cookbook photos, a list of all of the recipes or order the Cafe Sassone cookbook at http://www.CafeSassone.com

Crawfish Bisque Recipe

November 2, 2009

 

Crawfish Bisque

a sample recipe from Cafe Sassone Cookbook
Crawfish Bisque

Crawfish Bisque photo captured during recipe kitchen testing.
My all-time favorite thing. I never order this in a restaurant because I will be disappointed, so if I want some, I have to make it myself. Way back when, Mama and Mamie used to order wonderful Crawfish Bisque from a man named Mr. Clade. It came in interestingly-printed round cardboard cartons. Something happened to Mr. Clade, and we no longer had Crawfish Bisque. Terrible dilemma! So one day in the early ’70s at Queenie Regina camp in Little Woods, Mama and I decided to make Crawfish Bisque ourselves. Queenie Regina is gone, but I still have the scribbled and stained recipe card with my notes of what went into that ultimately perfect batch. And here it is for posterity.

Oh, and don’t let anybody try to tell you to skip the step of stuffing the heads and frying them, and the bisque will be the same with just balls of stuffing, and bla bla bla. It’s not the same. I fell for this work-saving suggestion and tried it one year, and the bisque suffered for it. If you’re going to do this much work, and only once a year, you might as well go all the way. (The stuffing is excellent made into balls and fried as an hors d’oeuvre, though, if you aren’t up to making bisque.)

 

For heads:

1 clove garlic
parsley
2 small onions
½ bell pepper
2 green onions
1 stalk celery
salt
cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons stick margarine
½ pound crawfish tails (or 4 to 5 pounds crawfish in shell, peeled)
1 cup French bread crumbs
60 crawfish “heads”, cleaned (pick out the largest ones)
flour for dredging
oil for frying

Grind everything except heads, flour, and oil. (Back then we used a meat grinder that clamped onto the counter or table. Mama and Mamie each had one but they went away in Katrina. Now you can just use the Cuisinart, but don’t overprocess.) Mix it all together and stuff into the heads. Dredge the stuffed heads in flour and fry in hot oil. Drain on paper towels.

For bisque:

½ cup bacon grease or oil
½ cup flour
3 medium onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ bunch green onions, sliced
2 quarts stock made from crawfish claws
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 bay leaves
salt
cayenne
tarragon
thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 pound crawfish tails (or 8 to 10 pounds crawfish in shell, peeled)
3 cups rice, cooked

Make roux with bacon grease or oil and flour. When roux is somewhat darker than the color of peanut butter, add the vegetables to the roux. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Add the stock, parsley, and seasonings, and cook a couple of hours, adding more stock or water as needed. Check for seasonings. Add heads and tails, heat through, and serve over rice.

Makes 10 servings

See more cookbook photos, a list of all of the recipes or order the Cafe Sassone cookbook at http://www.CafeSassone.com


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