Make your own Creole Seasoning

You’ve probably noticed by now that a lot of the recipes here call for Creole seasoning. Outside of Louisiana and many urban areas across the US, you might have a hard time finding it so here is a recipe to make your own. the following is loosely based off Rex brand Creole seasoning.

Creole Seasoning

2 tablespoon Kosher salt (you may use less salt, folks in south-east Louisiana are notorious salt fiends)
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons dried onion
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar. Will keep for upwards of a year if you use fresh spices.

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Creole Style Red Beans and Rice

It’s Monday… you know what that means.

Creole Style Red Beans and Rice

1 lb. red kidney beans (the best brand IMHO is Camellia, but you can use whatever local brand you can get. Mexican or Latin groceries might be a good place to look as well.)
1 quart water
1 quart vegetable stock/broth
3 tablespoons olive oil (2 tablespoons if using meat)
1 large yellow onion
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 stalks celery, diced (I don’t like celery in mine, it imparts a “too sweet” flavor that I don’t like much… you may opt out of using celery)
3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme)
2 toes garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
Kosher salt to taste
1 tablespoon creole seasoning
1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
Hot sauce (Crystal is best) to taste
Optional: 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (leave out if using meat)

Soak beans overnight in a large pot and use enough water to ensure the beans remain covered in water, otherwise they will harden and never “cream up”. Rinse beans and pick through them for rocks and dirt. Put beans back into pot along with liquids. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for one hour. While the beans are simmering, sauté onion, bell pepper and celery in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until onion is translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. After the beans have simmered for one hour, add sautéed vegetables, bay leaves, remaining olive oil and seasonings. Bring back up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2 more hours or until beans have become tender and made their own thick sauce. Stir occasionally to prevent bottom from scorching. Adjust seasoning as you go. You may want to smash about a cup of the beans along the side of the pot and stir that in to make a thicker sauce, the consistency should be close to refried beans at the end but that (along with this recipe) is a matter of taste.

Serve over hot white rice, use at least one cup cooked rice per serving.

Variation: Traditional red beans and rice recipes call for meat, typically ham or pickled meat. Add 1 lb. of meat of choice along with vegetables and reduce amount of olive oil to 2 tablespoons. Meats that work well are: chopped smoked ham, a ham bone, chopped pickled meat, sliced andouille sausage, smoked sausage or Louisiana hot links. In the past, I have found that Turkey meat replacements (i.e. turkey ham, turkey sausage) do not give off enough oil, you will want to add your extra olive oil to compensate.

Another variation: add 1 can of tomato paste. Add this when you are sautéing the onion and caramelize the paste until it is a mahogany color. This is my favorite version… the acid of the tomato brightens the beans nicely. You may also want to try 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar instead.

Serves 6

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Lemon Doberge Cake

Last Sunday, we made a Chocolate Doberge Cake, the gold standard by which all New Orleans Doberge cakes are held. You could also combine to make a half/half Doberge Cake like Gambino’s Bakery. Follow the same recipe for the cake as Chocolate Doberge Cake. the filling is essentially a lemon curd recipe, I would bet that a straight lemon curd would be very good in this cake. The first frosting is a simple flavored decorator’s icing.

However, the traditional Doberge Cake uses a poured fondant frosting, the kind that “snaps” under the knife, I am also including that recipe for purists. I highly suggest that you make the frosting 24 hours before you are ready to assemble your cake. It is also wise to make the filling the day before so that it is nice and chilled when you go to spread it on your cake layers. EDIT: to get the fondant frosting to stick well, many bakers will frost with another kind of frosting first. Use the first frosting recipe as a first layer and then use the poured fondant for better coverage and a more professional looking cake. No one said we didn’t like sugar in New Orleans!

Lemon Filling

1 1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup water
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons lemon peel
2/3 cup lemon juice

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan and slowly add water. Bring to a boil while stirring, boil mixture for 1 minute. Add half of hot mixture to egg to temper, then blend in rest of mixture. Bring back to a boil and boil for another minute. Remove from heat and add butter, lemon peel and juice. Refrigerate before filling cake layers.

Lemon Frosting

1 box (1 lb.) confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 cup shortening
2 egg whites
pinch of salt
yellow food dye

Sift sugar and cornstarch over shortening and mix thoroughly. Blend in egg whites, salt and flavoring. You may need to add a little water to thin this out, weather and humidity can affect this frosting. Add dye at the end, add as many drops to achieve desired hue of yellow.

Poured Fondant Frosting

2-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup corn syrup

Heat sugar, water and corn syrup to the soft-ball stage (238°F; 114°C). Pour into a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Wash the candy thermometer well and reinsert into the syrup. Let the syrup cool undisturbed in the workbowl to 140°F (60°C), about 30 minutes. Remove the thermometer.

Add any coloring or flavoring (1 to 2 teaspoons lemon oil and/or 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel, 2 to 4 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate, etc.) and process 2 to 3 minutes, until the syrup completely converts from a glassy syrup to an opaque paste. When thoroughly cooled. store sealed at room temperature for 24 hours. Use or refrigerate for later use.

Here is a picture of a cake I made recently. I used the fondant recipe for frosting and it was only 7 layers but tasted so good! I wasn’t going for looks, mainly just testing out the recipe.

Lemon Doberge Cake

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We have to move…

To keep a long story short, our internet provider will be changing in the next few days and during that transition I want to be sure that everyone’s bookmarks stay up-to-date.

I have moved all of the blogs over to wordpress.com. The new address for this one will be:

https://herbsaint.wordpress.com

All of the posts should have moved over alright and as far as I can tell all the comments and such should be OK too. If you registered at the old site, you’ll need to update your registration information over here.

Please update your bookmarks.

Thanks!

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Chocolate Doberge Cake

Better known simply as birthday cake to those of us from New Orleans. I grew up hearing this pronounced alternately as “DOUGH-bash”, “Doh-BAREzh” and as “Dow-BAWHzh”. Doberge cakes are closely related to Boston Cream Pies (which aren’t pies!) and they are the closest approximation to a Doberge cake you will find outside of the Greater New Orleans area. These come as chocolate (this recipe), lemon, caramel or any two of those flavors together. Not the easiest of recipes, but if you are a good baker, this should come out excellently for you as it is a fairly standard layer cake recipe. EDIT: to get a fondant frosting to stick well, many bakers will frost with another kind of frosting first. Use this frosting recipe as a first layer and then use the poured fondant (see Lemon Doberge recipe) for better coverage and a more professional looking cake.

Chocolate Doberge Cake

Cake:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling:

2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons salt
1 quart milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 whole eggs and 4 yolks, slightly beaten

Frosting:

1/2 cup butter
8 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup boiling water
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

Cake: Cream butter, shortening, sugar and salt together until smooth. Add egg yolks and blend mixture until smooth. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk and water and beat until well blended. Be careful not to overbeat, you don’t want to overactivate the gluten and make a tough cake. Add vanilla and fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Grease 9-inch cake pans and line with wax paper. Pour 3/4 cup batter into each pan, spreading evenly over bottom. Bake in preheated 375 degree; oven for 12-15 minutes. Repeat process until all of batter is used. The result will be 8 layers. When cool, put layers together with filling, reserving the top layer for the frosting. Chill cake before frosting.

Filling: Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk and chocolate. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour a small amount of mixture over the eggs to temper them. Blend into mixture and cook over very low heat, add vanilla. Chill until set.

Frosting: Melt butter and chocolate over very low heat, use a double boiler if you have one. Blend in sugar and water, beat until smooth. Frost top and sides of cake.

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Cherries Jubilee

A perfect dessert for a celebration. This dessert has an old world charm to it that makes New Orleans so unique.

Cherries Jubilee

1 quart good vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 cups brandy
1/2 cup sugar
2 pints of fresh cherries, pitted

Scoop the ice cream into dessert cups and put into freezer. Remove bowls from freezer just before adding cherries.

Heat the brandy and sugar together in a heavy saucepan until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the pitted cherries and light the liquid with a match. Stir the cherries around in the flaming brandy (be careful!) until the fire burns itself out. Spoon mixture over ice cream and serve. Serves 6.

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Creole Bread Pudding

New Orleans is famous for its bread pudding and nothing can be said about this dish that hasn't been said already. Very easy to prepare and quite elegant, in an old school New Orleans sort of way.

Creole Bread Pudding

1 loaf stale French bread, cubed
1 quart whole milk
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons melted butter

Bourbon Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
2 ounces bourbon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak bread in milk then use your hands to make sure milk is soaked through. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla, raisins and stir well. Pour butter in bottom of heavy 9 x 14 baking pan. Add bread mixture, and bake till very firm, approximately 40 minutes. Cool the pudding, cube it and put in individual dessert dishes. When ready to serve, add bourbon sauce and heat under broiler for a few minutes.

Bourbon Sauce:
Cream sugar and butter and cook in a double boiler until very hot and well dissolved. Add well-beaten egg and whip very fast so egg doesn't curdle. Cool and add bourbon. Serves 8.

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