We had friends over for dinner Friday night, and since they had just returned from a jazz cruise down the Mississippi River, we thought it would be fun to serve them a New Orleans meal. We visited there in 1985, and the recipes we brought home have been family favorites ever since. I'll share some of those recipes, plus a few I found that fit in with the theme.
Cajun Pecans from party nuts! by Sally Sampson - Fancied up nuts are one of my favorite party snacks, and I have used this book over and over again. I didn't find these overly spicy, and they proved a good nibble.
Artichoke Bits from La Bonne Cuisine: Cooking New Orleans Style - This was a new recipe to me, and our guests asked me to send it to them - that's always a good sign. I thought they needed a little sauce, so I mixed up a bit of sour cream and Dijon mustard . . . nothing fancy but a good compliment.
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Quarter the artichoke hearts and squeeze the lemon joice over them. Dip them in the olive oil and roll them in the bread crumbs. Bake at 400-degrees on a greased cookie sheet for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 32.
King Cake Martini - Our guests actually brought the makings for this treat, including the purple, green, and yellow rimming sugar (Mardi Gras colors). This is definitely a sweet drink and would be just as good "after dinner."
2 oz. King Cake liqueur (We used Devil's Food Cupcake brand flavored vodka.)
1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
1/2 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
Shake in shaker with ice till very cold.
Commander's Garlic Bread from The Commander's Palace New Orleans Cookbook - Though I make this with fresh dill when I have it, it's almost as good with dried.
Commander's Salad from The Commander's Palace New Orleans Cookbook - The dressing is as legendary as the salad. This is simple but delicious.
Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya from my friend Linda Beth, who showed us around New Orleans back in the day - OK, this is a dish we've made over and over again. No need for us to experiment with new recipes. We like this one.
12 oz. bacon, cut in 1/2" pieces
1 link (3/4 to 1#) Polish sausage
1 link (3/4 to 1#) andouille
3/4 to 1# boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise in strips
1 large onion, chopped
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups long-grain white rice
2 - 16 oz. cans chopped tomatoes
1 - 10 oz. can Ro-tel tomatoes (with peppers)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. Tony Chachere's creole seasoning
In large pot over medium heat, fry bacon; add sausages and chicken and fry. Add vegetables and cook until wilted. Add rice, stirring well. Drain tomatoes, saving liquid. Add tomatoes to pot and stir. Add 3 cups liquid (reserved tomato liquid + water). Stir well. Add seasonings and bring to boil. Turn to low, cover and cook 30-40 minutes, or until rice is done and all liquid has cooked off.
Bananas Foster from The Commander's Palace New Orleans Cookbook - This is a really easy-to-execute flaming dessert - fun and tasty!