How to make hummus like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK  

HUMMUS 

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Don’t laugh if my food processor looks like it came from a “Golden Girls” episode. If you look closely while the girls are eating cheesecake in their kitchen, you’ll see this one’s twin on the counter near the sink. Mine is inherited from my mother, Betty. She never envisioned it would be used to make hummus, which I’m almost sure she never tasted.

Most of us have come to love this Mediterranean/Middle Eastern condiment, which is readily available already prepared. But I prefer to make it myself to add whatever flavors I’ve got a mood for – garlic or dried oregano or fresh parsley or whatever else suits you. I suspect pineapple might even be good in it. That’s a weird idea.

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How to make chicken salad like a New Orleans native

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Chicken salad has got to be one of summer’s great treats because it’s so light, cool and tasty. It’s good year-round, too, but I get the yen for it especially when the weather heats up. Old-fashioned chicken salad recipes included bits of boiled eggs and pickle relish. Go ahead, if you like that.

I prefer the more “modern” version popular today, with a little twist – fresh dill, a little Dijon mustard and red grapes. Spoon it into a warmed half-pita and you’re in business!

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How to make chicken and dumplings like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK  

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

My grandmother, the beautiful and willful Rosalie Dial, made chicken and dumplings with her usual cooking-from-the-hip style. I laughed when I read her recipe that says, “Dump some boiling broth into a cup of flour and mix until stiff.” Not bad advice, after I’d tried it.

Most recipes I’ve checked recommend boiling a whole hen to start things off. I have other things to do, rather than take a hen apart after it’s falling to pieces, so I’m taking an easier route. This concoction is ridiculously easy and Food Network Alton Brown’s way of dropping the dumplings is foolproof. That works for me. Enjoy!

Header image via flickr user atxryan and used in accordance with a Creative Commons license.

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How to cook fried chicken like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK  

FRIED CHICKEN 

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Surely, there’s nothing more Southern than fried chicken, and it’s been my pleasure to enjoy some really good examples. My grandmother, the beautiful and willful Rosalie Dial, was one great fried-chicken cooker and taught me how.

Over the years, I’ve watched a few other good friers, including Food Network’s Alton Brown, who knows a thing or two.

I often serve this chicken with white rice or smashed potatoes and what my Mama called “milk gravy.” I think this was the first thing I ever cooked. My mother would ask me to stir the roux until it was time to add the milk. Man, it’s good.

This recipe is a little Rosalie, Betty and Alton, and a lot Patsy. Enjoy!

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How to boil shrimp like a New Orleans native

This boiled shrimp recipe is from my Pensacola, Fla., brother-in-law, Tommy Ratchford, and he knows a few things about cooking shrimp. Bar none, this is the best result I have ever tasted.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

It’s just right: firm but not overcooked, and very flavorful like shrimp, not a bunch of overt spices. Don’t forget the secret ingredient in the boil: apple cider vinegar. It makes the shrimp easier to peel.

Tommy insists you shouldn’t cook more than 2 pounds of shrimp at a time. If you have more, just start over. I suppose this prevents you from under-cooking some and over-cooking others.

I’ve never tasted a batch from Tommy that wasn’t great. Enjoy!

Header image via flickr user mymoustache and used in accordance with a Creative Commons license.

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How to make ratatouille

Patsy R. BrumfieldThe Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

RATATOUILLE (pronounced RAT-tuh-TOO-ee)

For you Gen Xers or Yers, this is not a recipe about a rat, who directs a clueless chef in a French restaurant. Actually, I didn’t even see that movie, but I’ve seen trailers.

Ratatouille is a veggie melange or medley that makes a great side for almost any main dish. It also keeps well in the fridge to microwave for lunch or a snack.

I like it because it’s tasty and fun to make. This approach comes from “Ten Dollar Dinners” cook Melissa D’Arabian, who married a Frenchman and advises it’s made in a special order required by her mother-in-law: Remember EZPOT.

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How to make bourbon bread pudding like a New Orleans native

Patsy R. BrumfieldThe Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Bread pudding with bourbon sauce is a great weekend dessert. Prepare on Saturday, then bake on Sunday. This recipe is a twist on my Creole bread pudding.

Easy and delicious. And the bourbon sauce will impress all of your guests.

Header image is by David Monniaux and used via a Creative Commons license.

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How to make tabbouleh like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

Patsy R. BrumfieldThe Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

TABBOULEH (pronounced “tuh-BOOL-ee”)

Who says New Orleanians don’t make tabbouleh? Can’t get much better on a Greek gyro, am I right?

This is a bit different from my usual Southern or “frenchified” offerings, but this past weekend I cut a whole lot of gorgeous, fragrant, flat-leaf parsley from my garden and knew I had to make tabbouleh.

Tabbouleh is great as a side dish or on romaine leaves with cucumber slices as a salad. It’s also outstanding with hummus and roasted chicken kebabs, on baked salmon or in wrap sandwiches. Use it to suit your tastes. It’s so fresh and wonderful.

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How to cook crawfish pie like a New Orleans native

 

Patsy R. BrumfieldThe Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

CRAWFISH PIE

Everybody “down on the Bayou” sings about crawfish pie, but what does it really taste like? Here is a simple recipe, which is a hybrid from Emeril and John Besh.

I also think the pie crust should be pre-cooked slightly before this goes back into the oven.

New Orleans folks have easy access to fresh crawfish, but the rest of us must settled for the frozen variety. The latter is not as gorgeous as fresh, but it easy and accessible. ‘Nuff said.

Crawfish pie makes a great entree with salad or other less spicy side dishes like roasted veggies. I also think it can be converted into impressive appetizers by spraying your muffin tins, shaping pie crust into each and adding the pie filling then browning in the oven 30 minutes or so (the cooking time is less than the full pie, for obvious reasons.) I’d remove the muffin-pies as soon as you can handle them to prevent the crust from steaming and getting too soft.

If you want to make your own pie crust, go for it. I’m buying the dough or prepared pie shells at the grocery store.

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How to cook crawfish etouffee like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK  

Patsy R. BrumfieldThe Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

CRAWFISH ETOUFFEE

If you’re gonna live in NOLA, crawfish etouffee is a must. For one thing, it’s easy and I’m pretty sure it will freeze for even better results later on.

This recipe is an adaptation of famed John Besh’s but without his supreme skill and courage for making an intensely dark roux. Frankly, we had a dark-rouxed gumbo recently out in NOLA and it wasn’t as good as mine (I hate to brag).

Anyway, this is a perfect recipe when you’ve got guests and want to act like you really know your way around the kitchen. Enjoy!

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