New Tastes, New Goals

I’ve had a great start to the year, spending a week in Louisiana, eating everything in sight and taking notes.  I carried a red moleskin notebook on our trip to visit family and friends. Calling it my “food diary,” I documented each meal and new flavor we tried. New to me, that is. G, along with his friends Zach and Amanda, guided me through the best food that Acadiana has to offer.

Louisiana Food Diary

my food diary

We did stop briefly in New Orleans, though we unfortunately arrived the day of the Sugar Bowl, and entered a French Quarter awash in red team shirts (Ohio vs Arkansas). I had only an inkling of what the natives must feel of this constant rowdy tourist barrage to their home town.

After New Orleans, we stayed with friends outside Lafayette, LA and this is where I was shown a beyond-the-tourist, this place ain’t on yelp, Louisiana. I tried boudin balls (pork, liver and rice stuffing, breaded then deep fried) at numerous venues, had crawfish boil from a small-town dive beside their own crawfish ponds, ate alligator, had the most amazing rum bread pudding in the world, and tried to learn all I could about etouffee, gumbo and jambalaya. I hope I’ll be able to share more of my experiences when I have more time to write.

dwyers cafe, lafayette

dwyer's cafe, lafayette

Cooking into the New Year

G got me the best holiday present – an ice cream maker. I returned the favor with a waffle maker/griddle, so we’ll be testing out lots of new ice cream and waffle recipes.

Amy has tried and tested methods for her ginger beer, and I’ll be giving this recipe a whirl asap. After that- homemade rootbeer. I’d love to hear on anyone’s successes (or missteps) in this matter.

Over the last year, I got pretty comfortable with breads, working from no-knead recipes to more complex stuff. Beard on Bread is great if there are any folks wondering what to try after you’re bored with those no-knead recipes. But, I’d like to work more with starters and make a decent sourdough.

Lots of food blogger types have signed up for Charcutepalooza, and I think this is a great idea. I’ve just picked up duck breast for January’s Duck Prosciutto challenge. Still, there are some very specific things I’m putting on my own charcuterie to-do list:

Some cajun-specific things I’d like to create, if only because they are hard to locate around Boston:

  • Boudin (and Boudin Balls)
  • Andouille
  • Tasso

For those last three, I will probably start with Donald Link’s recipes and experiment from there. Oh, and here’s my list of cookbook I hope to break in during the new year.

John Besh: My New Orelans came courtesy of my big sis for Christmas, and I’ve already made one of the gumbo recipes this week. It’s gumbo weather, as they say.

We visited Donald Link’s Cochon Butcher with Amy and Paul, where we had boudin links, duck pastrami sliders and drank Abita. I should have picked up his book Real Cajun then. Still, it’s on order and should be arriving in a few days.

Joanne Chang’s Flour Bakery Cookbook is stillllllll on backorder. Nevertheless, I made her homemade pop tart recipe Thanksgiving morning (with pepper jelly! it was genius) and I look forward to trying more recipes once the book comes in.

Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman is the official guide for those signing up for the Charcutepalooza challenge.

Now that I’ve written that all down, it seems like quite a lot to get done over the next year. I guess we’ll wait and see, and have lots of beignets ready when I need a break.

beignets at cafe du monde

beignets and cafe au lait at cafe du monde

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