NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2020
New Orleans Kettle Style Chips made in
PHOTO BY CHANNING CANDIES
Unfortunately, we have a lot of practice with disasters here on the Gulf Coast. If one doesn’t come this year, it will likely come the next. But there is never a thought of living somewhere else. This is home. This is where we belong. For most of us, the holidays will look a little different this year. Maybe it’s your first time being away from home because of Hurricane Laura, Sally or Delta. Maybe it’s your first time seeing your cousins, siblings, grandparents or grandbabies since March. Maybe the whole family can’t be together, except on Zoom. But in spite of that, some of us will still be cooking. Some of us will be delivering food to loved ones. And some old traditions may be put in dry dock for a season, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be new ones to take their place — or that we won’t revive the old ones when it’s safe to do so. But the holidays are still the holidays. Even if the whole family can’t be together, even if you’re not in your house because of a hurricane, home’s still home. However you celebrate this year, thank you for letting us be a part of it. - Donny Rouse, CEO, 3rd Generation
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Cover photo by Romney Caruso / Cover recipe on page 50
Marketing & Advertising Director Tim Acosta
Creative Director & Editor Marcy Nathan
Art Director, Layout & Design Eliza Schulze
Illustrator Kacie Galtier
Production Manager McNally Sislo
IN EVERY ISSUE 1 Letter from Donny Rouse 7 Letter from the Editor 8 Letter from Ali Rouse Royster
Photographer Romney Caruso
Copy Editor Patti Stallard
Contributing Chef ash taylor
Advertising Amanda Kennedy Harley Breaux
Marketing Stephanie Hopkins Robert Barrilleaux Nancy Besson Taryn Clement
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 14 Rouse In-House: Tastes Like Home by David W. Brown 16 It Starts With the Wright Recipe by Sarah Baird 20 One in a Mirliton by Sarah Baird
45 Satsuma Rum Cake
39 Turkey 101
47 Cajun Meat 101
40 Baked Turkey
41 Leftover Turkey Pot Pie
HOME SWEET HOME
Green Bean Casserole
48 Better with Cheddar by Liz Thorpe
Corn Pudding Sweet Potato Casserole 42 Mr. Anthony Rouse’s Down Home Oyster Dressing Roasted Brussels Sprouts
26 Okra Dokie by David W. Brown
Coca-Cola Ham Glaze
28 The Pot Thickens by Ken Wells
43 Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
36 We’ve Got Thanksgiving Pre-Paired by David W. Brown
Seafood & Okra Gumbo
57 Spread the Word by Liz Thorpe
DOWN HOME COOKING
Cornbread & Andouille Dressing
49 Perfect Pie Crust Double Crust Apple Pie Praline Pumpkin Pie 50 Pecan Crunch Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie 58 Piece, Love & Happiness by Sarah Baird 59 Quiz: What Kind of Pie Am I? by Sarah Baird
44 Okra & Tomatoes Stuffed Mirlitons
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Â© General Mills
EW N E K A M
Contributors SARAH BAIRD
Sarah Baird is the author of multiple books including New Orleans Cocktails and Flask, which was released in summer 2019. A 2019 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, her work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Saveur, Eater, Food & Wine and The Guardian, among others. Previously, she served as restaurant critic for the New Orleans altweekly, Gambit Weekly, where she won Critic of the Year in 2015 for her dining reviews.
DAVID W. BROWN David W. Brown is a freelance writer whose work appears in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Scientific American and The New Yorker. His next book, The Mission: A True Story, is now available for preorder, and will be published by HarperCollins in January 2021. Brown lives in New Orleans.
SMELLS LIKE HOME I like this time of year (grinding season) because of the smell of burning sugarcane when you’re driving down the bayou. That smells like home. When you get to Raceland and smell the sugarcane, you know you’re almost home. And seeing the cane trucks going up and down the road — that looks like home. – Tim Acosta, Director of Advertising & Marketing
LIZ THORPE Liz Thorpe is a world-class cheese expert. A Yale graduate, she left a “normal” job in 2002 to work the counter at New York’s famed Murray’s Cheese. She is the founder of The People’s Cheese, and author of The Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You’ll Love and The Cheese Chronicles.
KEN WELLS Ken grew up on the banks of Bayou Black deep in South Louisiana’s Cajun belt. He got his first newspaper job as a 19-year-old college dropout, covering car wrecks and gator sightings for The Courier, a Houma, Louisiana weekly, while still helping out in his family’s snake-collecting business. Wells' journalism career includes positions as senior writer and features editor for The Wall Street Journal’s Page One. His latest book, Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou, is in stores now.
FEELS LIKE HOME My parents took my sister and me to Indian Creek Campground in Independence, Louisiana every other weekend. It was our “home away from home,” and many of my favorite memories were made there. The smell of the burning campfire, the taste of my dad’s “kitchen sink” jambalaya and the sound of swamp pop on the radio always feel like home to me. – Kacie Galtier, Designer & Illustrator
SOUNDS LIKE HOME NEW BOOK FROM OUR CONTRIBUTOR David W. Brown began contributing to Rouses Magazine in 2018. He has produced a masterful, genredefying narrative about modern space exploration, centered on the most ambitious science project ever conceived: NASA’s deep-space mission to Europa — the ocean moon of Jupiter, where the first known alien life in our solar system might swim. In the spirit of John McPhee and Tom Wolfe, The Mission follows a motley yet brilliant team of obsessives and eccentrics who are pushing the furthest frontiers of human exploration. The book comes out January 26, 2021. You can get it at your local independent bookseller or order it from Amazon.
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I was named after “Little Liza Jane,” sung by the Wild Tchoupitoulas at the first Festival International de Louisiane in 1987; I’ve missed maybe three Festivals since. To me, Festival sounds like home (the vibrant mix of music from around the world), feels like home (I know I’ll run into everyone I know), and tastes like home (we have a Rouses crawfish-eating tradition at Festival that’s been going strong for 10+ years). – Eliza Schulze, Art Director
FEELS LIKE HOME Home for me was coming back from college in New York — as soon as I stepped off the plane into the jetway a blanket of humidity wrapped itself around me, comforting me. Then I’d devour three different kinds of stuffed beignets in the airport while waiting for my ride. – McNally Sislo, Production Manager
PHOTO BY CHANNING CANDIES
Letter From the Editor By Marcy Nathan, Creative Director The issue of Rouses magazine you’re holding is the first one we’ve printed in eight months. We put out three must-read digital versions — The Essential Issue, Beach Eats and The Breakfast Issue — that we shared on our website and social media, and that still live online (www.rouses.com), but we know nothing can replace the feel of printed paper in your hands. Producing this issue felt, appropriately, like coming home, albeit after a long, strange trip. We’ve been talking a lot about home these days, and what it sounds like, looks like, tastes like — you know, all the feels. It’s clear no matter who you are, or where you’re from, there’s no place like it. It took me years after losing my house to Katrina before I found a new one in Uptown New Orleans that felt like home. It’s 114 years old, and lately it’s been showing its age. Pandemic home remodeling is apparently a thing, and I’m right there with everyone else who is sick of their old kitchen or bathroom — and in my case, leaks, and a fridge that sometimes thinks it’s a freezer. There’s been a steady stream of workers at the house, and my 92-year-old neighbor, Mr. Tommy, aka the Mayor, provides a running commentary on them, as well as everyone who lives on the street. Uptown is one of the largest historic neighborhoods in the United States. The house next door was once a meat market; the one across the street a barbershop. I can practically see the giraffes at Audubon Zoo from my way-too-expensive new porch. Audubon Zoo, by the way, dates back to 1916. I am lucky; I have two of the greatest neighborhood restaurants in the city, maybe the world, just up the block and around the corner: Patois and Clancy’s. When the longtime maître d’ at Clancy’s died from the virus, our neighborhood mourned. When the restaurant reopened, we celebrated. But it’s not all panéed veal with crabmeat and lemon icebox pie around here. We also have an all-night Circle K nearby, which is
perfect when I’m feeling real, real snacky. I once tried to buy Mike & Ike candy there, but the clerk told me, “Nah, baby girl, you need to go to a corner store for Mike & Ike’s; we’re in the middle of the block.” I love my sliver by the river. It feels like home. I do wish it still sounded like it. Music is New Orleans. But aside from the occasional driveway concert and visit from Piano on a Truck, and the murder of crows who have taken up residence on the power lines outside, it’s been too quiet. Even the high school marching bands — a familiar sound in my neighborhood this time of year — aren’t practicing much. I don’t know whether my favorite bars and music clubs like Tipitina’s will be back with bands this year. Or if we will have Mardi Gras parades with marching bands next year. Or even Jazz Fest. I’m hopeful we will. I’ll certainly be ready for all the music when it comes back. But until then, I can’t help but wonder: Is it strange to feel homesick, even when you’re home?
I’m supporting organizations like Feed the Second Line, which provides food and employment to the culture-bearers of New Orleans (www.feedthesecondline.org/#Send-Love); Tipitina’s (www. tipitinas.com/friend-indeed); and The Jazz & Heritage Music Relief Fund, which was created by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation to support Louisiana musicians who’ve been impacted by COVID-19 (www.jazzandheritage.org/contribute?donation). Contributing to funds that are important to you – even a small amount – will ensure that home still feels like home when things return to normal. #localshelpinglocals
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PHOTO BY CHANNING CANDIES
Letter from Ali Rouse Royster By Ali Rouse Royster, 3rd Generation My family tree is a majestic oak. My mom’s family is, well, ginormous. Both her parents came from large, close-knit, Catholic Thibodaux families. Papa was one of 13, and Granny one of eight, so I have more people I call cousins than I can count. On my dad’s side, there wasn’t as much extended family, but his family was large all by itself. My Rouse grandparents had six children and 17 grandchildren, and we all got together for holidays, spaghetti nights, backyard boils, barbecues…. This made for some very large, fun holidays growing up, but I can see now that it maybe wasn’t so fun for my parents! Naturally, these gatherings have evolved. I’ve sadly lost all my beloved grandparents, and my cousins and I have added so many babies to the family tree that we’ve started doing more “just us” family gatherings. Because honestly, the logistics of babies in non-baby-proofed spaces are exhausting. Then there’s timing everything around naptime, setting up a good space to change a diaper, etc. I spent one Christmas Day just rocking my fussy, 4-month-old firstborn. And toddlers are independent, but you can’t let them out of your sight! I loved Christmas Eve as a young adult, having festive cocktails by the firepit and attending Midnight Mass. But now we get ready for Santa, so we do Christmas Eve Mass and enjoy leisurely Christmas mornings at home watching the kiddos’ eyes light up at the goodies St. Nick brought. Then we head to my parents’ or my in-laws’ for a feast. This is the season of life I’m in, and while it is certainly different from years past, I am loving it. I will also love getting back to larger gatherings, making sure my children know their extended family like I knew mine growing up. I thought 2020 might be the year that we started doing that — but it will have to wait a while. For now, I am savoring the slower, smaller nature of these family holidays, and I hope you and yours will, as well. 8
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By David W. Brown
It was the first hurricane for Chad “The Beast” Seales. He had taken over as store director for the Moss Bluff location of Rouses Markets only two years earlier, and weather forecasters were converging on grim news: Hurricane Laura was headed straight for the Lake Charles area, which included Moss Bluff. All Seales knew, really, was what locals told him not long after he arrived — and he asked everyone. He learned that after Hurricane Rita in 2005, wind damage left people without power for almost a month. No grocery stores were able to provide them with ice, water or the necessities of survival. Seales was determined that if Laura hit, his Rouses would be ready. “If things went bad,” said Seales, “we were going to help this community by being stocked, being clean, and being organized every day — and we were going to open the day after the storm.” For the people of Moss Bluff and the surrounding area, things did indeed go bad. The storm hit like a freight train, and overnight, lives, fortunes, businesses and families were displaced, upended, ruined and lost. Seales’ wife, Jennifer, and his children left town the next day for safety. “Home to me is my family. We have a saying above our bed: ‘Home is where you lay your head." He was determined to help other homes and families get through this thing. Laura came through on a Thursday morning. That night, his Rouses crew cleaned up and sealed leaks as best they could. Friday morning, Rouses was selling ice and water in the parking lot. That evening, every register was back open.
“We are locals helping locals,” Seales said. “That’s what we do. It’s not just a gimmick and it’s not about making money. We want to help you. If there’s no power and you’re living out of an ice chest, you need ice, and we made sure we had it.” Though power was down for weeks, they never once ran out. Seales says he’s never seen a company as prepared for hurricanes as Rouses. Employees from across Louisiana joined the Moss Bluff team to help relieve the local workers who had their own problems to deal with. The company rented out entire floors of hotels to give displaced workers a safe place to sleep, and the company provided meals for the devastated team. “I’ve never seen another company do something like that for its workers,” said Seales, “and I’ll work at Rouses for the rest of my life because of that.” It’s just what families do. When Delta hit weeks later, Seales’ family was still out of town, and he decided to sleep in his store with a couple of volunteers. Rouses, again, was going to help the community find its legs after another devastating strike. “This is the longest I’ve been without my family, but our house had a lot of damage,” said Seales. It’s been hard, and he is looking forward to being reunited. The house can be fixed. And he’s looking forward to it being a home once more.
When I think about home, I think of my family and friends spending time together, caring for each other. My parents instilled values in me and my sibling that I carry with me to this day; now I pass those values down to my kids, nieces and nephews. I loved celebrating the holidays, when all my friends were welcome to gather at my parents’ home. – Stanley Duplessis, Store Director, New Orleans, LA
When I think of home, I think about showing my family how much I love them through my cooking. I grew up in a family where my aunts and maw-maw would cook our family favorites for every event. We may not have had money or material things, but we always had love and good food to eat. What I wouldn’t give to walk in my maw-maw’s kitchen one more time and smell her famous gumbo simmering on the stove. – Donna Madere-Dickerson, Store Director, Baton Rouge, LA
When I think of home, many things come to mind. First and foremost, my family. The love my wife, our boys and I share makes our home complete. Home is where I can set my worries aside and relax. Then there are the daily chores around the house: mowing the lawn, minor house repairs and even “honey dos.” Things others view as an obligation, I view as accomplishments. Home is my happy place; it’s where I always look forward to being at the end of the day. – Gary Watts, Store Director, Saraland, AL
We have two kids: one’s in college and one’s married and gave us a grandchild. They all come over for the holidays, one of the few times of the year we’re all together. Home to me is family. My wife decorates for each season starting with fall; it’s nice to come home to. The best part is relaxing with the family and just us all spending time together, usually followed by a special meal. – Robert Strahan, Store Director, Gulfport, MS ROUSES
A house is only brick and mortar. A home is where families come together — that’s what brings that brick and mortar to life. Home is where families and friends share all the events of life, the smiles and laughter, the accomplishments. It’s where we usher in new generations with strong foundations. Family, friends, food, fun…some of the most important things. – Calvin Kramer, Store Director, Thibodaux, LA
A true home is one of the most sacred places in the midst of the world. Home is a kingdom of its own. It’s the place where you can be yourself, kick your shoes off, get away from world stress, to do the things that you really love doing and to spend time with your family. It’s the place where you find true peace. – Michael Cooper, Store Director, Daphne, AL
Home is a place where you create a paradise, say in your backyard. Whether it’s hot, cold or warm, it feels just right. Home is where you can sit back, enjoy a breath of fresh air and admire God’s creation. When I was growing up all the social events and family gatherings were at our house. It was great waking up to the holiday smell of turkey cooking each year — and my grandmother’s blackberry dumplings. Now I’ve started hosting some of the holiday gatherings; my sister is cooking my grandmother’s famous blackberry dumplings; my mother whips up the rice dressing — all keeping the family traditions alive. – Brian J. Naquin, Store Director, Houma, LA
Our house was clean when I was a kid but it always had toys on the living room floor. My daughter Sheena has two children. She keeps her three-year-old Rowan’s little slide and trampoline in the living room. She says after a long day at work, she enjoys watching Rowan jump and slide in the living room — just like I did with my kids. ( Her husband Bradley had to learn to accept toys in the living room — ha ha.) Life is too short not to enjoy the little things. Stop and play with the kids. The chores are not going anywhere, but your kids will grow up way too fast. – Belinda Long, Store Director, New Iberia, LA
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By David W. Brown
With Thanksgiving comes that usual Big November Argument, and this year it might be more heated than usual because of the two choices available. Everyone’s opinions are set firmly, which means persuasion is out the window, and all that’s left are acrimony and indignation. We’ve been apart for so long, our opinions on the thing have been solidified on social media, and add in the absurdly high levels of stress we’ve experienced this year…well, dinner conversation is going to be ugly. I’m talking, of course, about whether it’s called “dressing” or “stuffing.” Let the debate end before it begins. What is it called? The answer is: It depends — and not on what you expect. As it turns out (contrary to longtime thinking on the subject) a dressing that is stuffed and baked inside of a turkey is not called a stuffing. Similarly, a stuffing baked in a casserole dish is not a dressing. I’m not sure how to break this to you, but the words are interchangeable, and dependent entirely on where you are from. People in the North call it “stuffing.” People in the South call it “dressing.” It’s like soda versus pop versus Coke. Knowing the terminology, if your in-laws are from out of town and you want to keep the peace, just nod at their weird Northernism. If you like a little friction with your turkey, when they say, “Wow, this stuffing is great!” smile and nod and say, “Yes, this dressing certainly is,” and everyone can take a long sip of wine in silence. Here’s the good news: The dressing (I mean that’s what it should be called) can be neutral ground. Because unlike Karen’s green bean casserole, Rouses will prepare your dressing for you, making it one fewer item to manage in the chaos of a Thanksgiving kitchen. “We offer three basic varieties,” says Mike Westbrook, the deli director for Rouses Markets. “Cornbread dressing; a shrimp and mirliton dressing; and an oysters Bienville dressing. The latter two are classic New Orleans Thanksgiving dinner dishes. Rouses means local, and the dressings are no different. “For the shrimp and mirliton dressing, we use locally grown mirlitons and Gulf shrimp,” he says. It is tossed in Creole seasonings and prepared with French bread crumbs. The oysters Bienville, meanwhile, is made with Gulf oysters. It is simmered in sweet butter with the holy trinity — onion, celery and bell pepper — and with a kick of Creole seasoning. The cornbread dressing is made with the sautéed trinity, plus garlic and butter, all tossed with Cajun spices and mixed with sweet cornbread crumbles. The dressings are longtime staples of Rouses going back well over a decade. They only appear in Rouses delis during the holidays — November through New Year’s, and occasionally at Easter. (Mike says that during the Lenten season, Rouses also offers a crawfish dressing.) The dressings are part of a broader selection of Thanksgiving Dinner options. That’s right: Rouses can do everything except eat the food for you — unless you invite us over. (Please invite me over.) “You can buy a basic dinner and a larger, deluxe dinner,” says Mike. “Everything is also sold à la carte, for customers who might want to roast their own turkey, for example, but come to the deli to get the 14
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sides, taking some of the pressure off of the family.” The sides are sold by the pound, offered in individual sizes all the way up to two pounds. (Two pounds of oysters Bienville will feed a family of six, unless they are really hungry.) All of the dressings are old Rouse Family recipes — and the Rouse family takes food very seriously. Every year before the big rollout begins, Donny Rouse, the third-generation CEO of Rouses Markets, sits down with the store chefs and other family members, and they taste each recipe, and together in the kitchen they hone the flavors to meet the standards laid down by Anthony Rouse, the founder of Rouses Markets. “Every year we try them to make sure the flavor profiles of the dishes haven’t changed,” says Mike. Not every crop or creature of the sea tastes the same from year to year, and spices and ratios have to be altered to accommodate for such variations. “This is something where the family tries the product and everybody has to sign off, saying this is the holiday product that we are proud to serve to our customers.” The Rouses chain of supermarkets is more than 60 stores strong across the Gulf Coast, stretching from Orange Beach, Alabama all the way to Southwest Louisiana. That’s great news if you are traveling to see family one or two states over: Rouses delis strive to ensure that every order of dressing tastes exactly as it is supposed to, whether you order it in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Diamondhead, Mississippi; or West Mobile, Alabama. In other words, if you are in charge of the oysters Bienville dressing this year, don’t worry about it defrosting in the car. The dressings come refrigerated in the deli section, prepackaged as grab-and-go items. To make sure there’s still some left when you get to the store, you can order ahead and pick it up when you get there — wherever there is. The dressings come fully prepared but need to be reheated, which is a breeze. First, preheat your oven to 350°F. Transfer the dressing to an oven-safe dish and bake for 30 minutes. Then use an oven thermometer to check the internal temperature; the magic number is 155°F. If it’s still a little low, let the dressing bake for another 10 minutes, then check and repeat until you’re there. This will put a nice crust on top of each of the dressings. (You can also microwave them — they even come in a microwaveable container — but beware: no conventional oven, no crispy goodness.) Look, you need to be careful when doing all this, because when it’s ready and you pull the dish from the oven, it’s going to be hot. The
PHOTO BY ROMNEY CARUSO
most important step is to take the empty Rouses dressing container and throw it in the outside trash can, so that you can take full credit for preparing the dish without worrying about anyone discovering your clever ruse. “What I find interesting about the holiday dinner table in the southern part of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast is that there is a lot more seafood on the dinner menu than you would traditionally find elsewhere,” Mike says. The shrimp and mirliton and oysters Bienville dressings can intimidate home cooks who might otherwise prepare them from scratch. Ordering them premade by Rouses allows families the chance to try something a little more daring and a lot more local, with less fright from an already fraught kitchen holiday. Mike explains that the shrimp and mirliton, with its local ingredients from local farms and fisheries, is a wonderful side. Meanwhile, the oysters Bienville is a particular treat for out-of-towners who don’t necessarily know what Louisiana cuisine is all about. It is brimming with local oysters and flavored with lots of oyster liquor. In other words, if you want something a little bit different, and with a Louisiana flair, it’s the perfect item.
Prefer to make your own? Flip to our Holiday 101 Cooking Guide, starting on page 34, for these delicious holiday recipes! For even more recipes, head to www.rouses.com.
Mr. Anthony Rouse’s Down Home Oyster Dressing, page 42
“These dressings are holiday classics,” says Mike. “They are some of our best-selling products in the deli. We sell out of shrimp and mirliton and oysters Bienville every year — they are two of our most requested items.” Every year the deli prepares more and more dressing to keep up with demand, and every year, he says, they sell more than the year before. “We expect to double the sales of shrimp and mirliton this year. And you know, it just continues growing a bigger and bigger fan base.” Maybe this is the year your family becomes a fan. Even if some people insist on calling it “stuffing.” ROUSES
Stuffed Mirlitons, page 44
Cornbread & Andouille Dressing, page 43 W W W. R O U S E S . C O M
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PHOTO BY ROMNEY CARUSO
By Sarah Baird When it comes to dishes that were popular in the mid-20th century, it’s safe to say that most didn’t quite have the staying power to carry them through the ages. Crack open any community cookbook compiled in the 1950s or ’60s, and you’ll find some pretty oddball creations that were considered fairly normal at the time. “Mystery Salad” from the Junior League of Lafayette’s Talk About Good!, for instance, is a combination of raspberry gelatin, stewed tomatoes and hot sauce dolloped with a sour cream, sugar and horseradish mixture. A few pages later, we’re introduced to the “Carrot Ring,” which bakes eggs, mashed carrots and grated cheese in a bundt pan, then serves it up with creamed English peas in the center like a volcano. (Jiggly dishes were really a thing.) Even the restaurant favorites of the era never found their way back into popular taste despite the rise of interest in mid-century aesthetics a few years ago, thanks to a little show called Mad Men. Everyone might’ve been sipping Stinger cocktails next to their well-stocked bar carts and furiously searching for Eames chairs, but the likes of Chicken Kiev and Veal Cordon Bleu never reached revival-level status on menus. And even if some of us (myself included) have eaten a few of these headscratcher dips and casseroles from the past at our grandmothers’ tables, it takes a truly special and inviting dish created in this particular era to not just survive — but thrive — as the decades have passed on. For many families across the Gulf South, there’s no better example of a deeply beloved, mid-century community cookbook favorite than Spinach Madeleine. In many ways, Spinach Madeleine shares a lot of fundamental similarities with other creations of the day. Thanks to the post-World War II rise of “high-tech” shelf-stable and processed foods, flash freezing and then-novel kitchen gadgets, a whole lot of experimentation was going on in kitchens across America. “By the early 1960s, shelf-stable foods lined the colorful aisles of supermarkets. Widespread refrigeration was still only a few decades old, and there were plenty of home cooks who remembered the necessity of shopping daily for meat, vegetables, and dairy products in the 1920s and ’30s,” writes Sarah Archer in her 2019 book, The Midcentury Kitchen. “The food technology developed during World
War II changed the way Americans ate, and how they planned and shopped for food. In her 2015 book, Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the US Military Shapes the Way You Eat, Anastacia Marx de Salcedo sums it up this way: ‘In the universe of processed food, World War II was the Big Bang.’” Spinach Madeleine is, without a doubt, a shining star from that bang. A combination of spinach (frozen, then drained — with liquid reserved), sautéed onion and Kraft Jalapeño Cheese Roll (which was, at the time, newfangled) all creamed up with butter, flour, evaporated milk and spices, Spinach Madeleine was created by St. Francisville, Louisiana-native Madeline Wright in 1956. Gooey and ever versatile, the dish can be served warm as a sort of extravagant dip or topped with buttered bread crumbs and baked off in casserole form if you’re taking it to a friend’s house. (Either way, you’re going to end up eating many, many helpings.) And while the story goes that its creation was something of an accident, its immediate popularity — and wideranging influence — is the stuff of kitchen lore. “I didn’t know what I was doing really,” Wright explained to The Advocate in 2017. “I had bought this (Kraft) jalapeño cheese roll at the grocery store and put it in the freezer…I was in a two-table bridge club and it was my time to host. I was trying to figure out what to serve my friends. My mother-in-law had a really good creamed spinach recipe, and I decided to fix that. On a whim, I put the jalapeño cheese into the creamed spinach. I was so surprised the girls were so amazed by the dish. They really liked it.” Just like that, old methods met new ingredients, and a legacy was born. Then, in 1959, Spinach Madeleine was approved for inclusion in the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s River Road Recipes (after being properly tested by the cookbook committee, naturally), where it was given a little bit of extra-French flair when the creator’s name, Madeline, became “Madeleine” in the recipe’s name. (Why a recipe that prominently features jalapeños needed a Parisian touch is a mid-century mystery we may never fully unlock.) Almost overnight, Spinach Madeleine went from the local bridge club to just about everywhere in the region, as the spicy, cheesy creation quickly became a much-talked-about (and eaten) standout dish from the book, helping propel sales of River Road’s first edition to over 1.4 million copies since its original release date in September 1959. And while it is assuredly a dish defined by its mid-century roots in many ways (frozen spinach! cheese log!), the meteoric rise in popularity of Spinach Madeleine and its staying power have shown that there’s something deeper than just its delicious, comfort food appeal. Spinach Madeleine’s preparation is straightforward enough that even young kids can help in the cooking process, and plenty of families have spent the holidays in the kitchen introducing their next generation to the dish. It freezes easily and can be double — or triple! — batched without a second thought, meaning that feeding a
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bigger-than-anticipated Thanksgiving crowd comes easy. And it’s a dish that feels, well, personal: There’s a local woman behind the recipe who shared it with the world so that your family could share it together. It’s a heartfelt meal that turns the simple into the extraordinary. (Plus, it’s a great way to get youngsters to eat vegetables.) The beloved spinach creation is so entwined in Louisiana food culture that not even the discontinuation of a key ingredients in 1999 — Kraft’s Jalapeño Cheese Roll — could stop the recipe’s omnipresence at potlucks and celebratory dinners. Instead (after calling the Kraft helpline to lodge their complaints, of course) people just got creative with re-creating the flavor and texture of the beloved roll in other ways, tweaking different balances of heat and meltiness to try to reach the perfect formula. By 2000 — sensing that a low-grade panic had gripped Spinach Madeleine devotees — the folks behind River Road Recipes released an “officially” updated recipe that replaced the jalapeño cheese roll with regular Kraft Velveeta cheese and a couple of tablespoons of chopped jalapeños, allowing those less interested in recipe tinkering to have a go-to preparation method. Today, cooking Spinach Madeleine in novel, outside-the-box styles reflects how, as much as the dish is a staple in its classic form, like any good piece of culture, it’s also keeping up with the times. There are vegan versions that use coconut cream and nutritional yeast for thickening, and iterations that now err on the side of pepper jack for the cheese component. Even fine dining chefs have gotten in on the act, with John Folse suggesting that, for extra holiday festivity, chopped red bell peppers could be added in with the sautéed onions. And whether you’re eating it the traditional way or trying a new approach, there’s something uniquely fulfilling about understanding where a dish originated and how it’s impacted lives for over 70 years. Ms. Wright passed away just a few short months ago, and I’d like to think that the best way to honor her memory — and the memory of everyone who gives a little piece of themselves through sharing recipes — would be by whipping up a Spinach Madeleine this year.
Spinach Madeleine Serves 5-6 This spicy spinach dish is one of the most famous recipes in the River Road Recipes cookbook series. It was invented by St. Francisville, Louisiana, native Madeline Wright in 1956 and published three years later in the first edition of the cookbook. After Kraft’s jalapeño cheese roll — the key ingredient of the dish — was discontinued — the Junior League’s River Road Recipes committee came up with a feasible substitution: Kraft Velveeta® cheese and chopped jalapeño peppers. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 packages frozen chopped spinach 4 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons chopped onion ½ cup evaporated milk ½ cup vegetable liquor (the water from the spinach) 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon black pepper ¾ teaspoon celery salt ¾ teaspoon garlic salt Salt to taste 6 ounces Kraft Velveeta cheese, cut into small pieces 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño peppers Red pepper to taste HOW TO PREP: Cook spinach according to directions on package. Drain and reserve liquor. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring until blended and smooth, but not brown. Add onion and cook until soft but not brown. Add all liquids slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until smooth and thick; continue stirring. Add seasonings and pieces of cheese. Add jalapeños. Stir until cheese is melted. Combine with cooked spinach. This may be served immediately or put into a casserole and topped with buttered bread crumbs. The flavor is improved if the latter is done and it’s kept in the refrigerator overnight. This may also be frozen.
“Spinach Madeleine is a new item that Rouses is offering this year. It is a classical, traditional South Louisiana dish that people make at holiday times. It’s a sautéed spinach with sweet onions, similar to creamed spinach. Locally, we usually add a lot of garlic and pepper jack cheese to it, and hit it with a touch of seafood seasoning. When we prepare it at Rouses, we even garnish it with extra shredded mozzarella on top, so that when customers get home it’s melted down and even creamier. This is our first time offering it as a holiday side, and we will start selling it in mid-November through New Year’s.” — Mike Westbrook, deli director for Rouses Markets
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By Sarah Baird
With its rigid-to-knobby, fluorescent-green skin and thick, pear-shaped body, the mirliton has wrapped itself around the hearts of South Louisianians for generations as deftly as it wraps its vines along chainlink fencerows and backyard arbors, becoming the de facto favorite local squash simply by, well, always hanging around on the vine. “Mirliton is a pedestrian vegetable,” laughs Dr. Lance Hill, founder of the Mirliton.org project, which supports education and research about Louisiana’s heirloom mirlitons as well as (among other things) the “mirliton classifieds,” where growers can swap mirliton seeds, seedlings and full-grown plants. It’s more commonly known as “chayote” across Mexico and Central America; using the term “mirliton” is unique to mostly South Louisiana and Haiti. Spotting mirliton hanging willy-nilly everywhere around town has become significantly less common over the past couple of decades, due in large part to environmental challenges (Hurricane Katrina practically wiped out New Orleans’ crop in 2005) and the drum of development (mirlitons don’t grow as well in fill dirt). But with major efforts to bring back local varietals, neighborhood festivals that have the vegetable as their theme (like the over 25-year run of the Bywater Mirliton Festival), and chefs, including John Folse, embracing the ingredient with open arms, the mirliton is now poised to be revered as the kind of ingredient that’s versatile, considerate of other ingredients, and equally adept in high-end cuisine or home cooking. “Mirliton has had a kind of hapless life up until now,” says Hill. “In France, there’s actually a cartoon figure from 40 or 50 years ago called Mr. Mirliton, who’s a real doofus. In Brazil, to call someone a “chocho” [shu-shu], which is their word for mirliton, means you’re insipid, flavorless. That’s a bad rap for the mirliton, because it’s not true. First of all, it’s not flavorless. If it’s flavorless, then you’re going to have to say, ‘Cucumbers have no flavor.’ Mirlitons have plenty of flavor; most dishes just don’t tap into it.”
Hill notes that, both inside and outside of traditional Creole and Cajun preparations, mirliton is often treated as an extender ingredient thanks to its inherent starchiness: meant to make a dish heartier, thicker or meatier (without, obviously, adding the meat). But it doesn’t have to only be that way. Finding fresh ways to cook with unique, local-favorite ingredients provides an avenue toward greater kitchen exploration and — maybe through a little trial and error — some really delicious discoveries. Using the funky, underrated mirliton as an example, here are a few ways to approach cooking with a fruit or vegetable you might not be all that familiar with or one you’d like to know more about — just in time for your discoveries to hit the holiday table.
GET BASIC In order to really cook intuitively with a piece of produce, you have to know the nitty-gritty about it: how to choose a quality version, how to clean it, how to peel it (or if you even need to peel it), how to slice it, what parts are edible and what parts aren’t (never discount roots or leaves!) and, of course, how it tastes. In her book Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table, Sara Roahen describes the flavor of the mirliton elegantly: “A raw mirliton crunches like a potato; it tastes like very green cucumber, and a little like zucchini. Sautéed, it tastes like starchy apples; boiled and fried, its translucent green flesh suggests what a honeydew melon would look, feel, and taste like if honeydew melon were a vegetable.” Intimacy with the foundational details of how to treat a fruit or vegetable will go a long way towards inspiring confidence and will, hopefully, produce better dishes. When it comes to mirlitons, they’re not very fussy. When selecting your produce, look for firm, small mirlitons that have no discoloration or residue on them, and if they have a spiny layer, peel that off prior to cooking if possible. They can be prepared pretty much every which way — baked, fried, sautéed, pickled, puréed, diced up raw in salads like jicama, you name it — either with the tough skin on or off. If you’re peeling it raw, do so under running water, or wash your hands immediately after: They secrete a sticky substance that might aggravate your skin. And if you’re thinking about cooking with your own freshly grown crop of backyard mirlitons, Hill advises to wait a little while and use store-bought ones until the plants are better established. “I have to say right now, with every mirliton we grow, I tell people don’t eat them because they’re babies. You need to plant them and get them growing, but most
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people don’t have enough patience to wait and grow more,” he explains, understanding that his advice might not be taken to heart by many. “People want to eat the mirlitons that their grandma made, though, so I think most of them get consumed.”
LEARN ITS COMPATIBILITIES
Speaking of grandmothers, the next step in learning how to really work with a piece of produce in the most creative number of ways is by starting with the classics. For mirliton, that means two things: stuffed mirliton and mirliton dressing.
Every piece of produce has a wide variety of spices, herbs, grains — and even other types of produce — that help to make it shine. Satsumas, for example, balance beautifully against vanilla in sweeter creations like shortbreads and parfaits, but can just as easily team up with a little bit of coriander and ginger as the perfect glaze to cut through the richness of duck. Treating an ingredient as a one-trick (or one-flavor) pony is a surefire way to miss out on its exquisite range. Pretty much any piece of produce has the ability to play nicely with dozens of other unexpected ingredients and build flavorful complexity — if you only give it a chance.
Ask 100 people in South Louisiana how to make stuffed mirlitons and mirliton dressing and you’re going to get 100 different answers — every family has their own, quasi-secret recipes passed down throughout the generations that they’ll swear by. There’s stuffed mirliton with sausage that’s the standard-to-beat for some, then it’s a trio of seafood stuffing ingredients — crabmeat, shrimp and crawfish — that’s the gold standard for others. You include a garden’s worth of vegetables in your stuffed mirliton, or you think that the meat-meetsmirliton flavor should shine through. You’re a spice-it-up devotee, or you believe salt and pepper (and maybe a little bit of hot sauce) can make it sing. Whatever your chosen path, mirliton is a vegetable simply begging to be stuffed, baked and devoured thanks to its naturally hollowed-out middle (once the seed is removed).
“An essential aspect of great cooking is harnessing compatible flavors, which involves knowing which...flavorings best accentuate particular ingredients,” writes Karen Page in the kitchen must-have, The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs, which offers some of the strongest charts, explainers and reference points out there for how to pair ingredients and flavors based on all of the senses. “A process of trial-and-error over the centuries resulted in…timeless combinations of beloved flavor pairings — for example, basil with tomatoes [and] rosemary with lamb. However, today it’s possible to use scientific techniques to analyze similar molecular structures to come up with new, compatible pairing possibilities, as odd as some might sound — jasmine with pork liver [or] parsley with banana.”
With mirliton dressing, there’s the same ability to play around with family preference and personal taste until you find just the right combination to hit that delicious-meets-nostalgia sweet spot. Shrimp and mirliton with day-old French bread remains the classic, but adding crabmeat or sausage, or replacing the French bread with cornbread, are also stellar moves.
When it comes to mirliton — with its apple-meets-cucumber clean taste — Hill discovered that cornmeal is (somewhat surprisingly) an ideal counterpart for the squash, and mirliton corn muffins soon became a hit at his house.
START WITH THE CLASSICS
“My introduction to mirlitons was backyard growing and traditional New Orleans recipes decades ago. My neighbor shows up one day with this Schwegmann’s bag full of these things, and said, ‘Do you want mirlitons?’ And I go, ‘Yeah, what do you do with them?’” Hill chuckles. “He goes, ‘I’ll send Gladys over with some recipes.’ I got stuffed mirlitons, mirliton casserole and mirliton pie. Mirliton pie has kind of fallen out of favor, but my sons request that for their birthday. It’s not at all a pie, it’s more like a banana bread. It has a such a unique flavor.” ROUSES
“When I was initially trying to make my mirliton muffins, there were recipes that used mirlitons and wheat flour, and it always turned out horribly, because mirlitons have a lot of moisture and they discharge it while baking, so you get a soggy product,” Hill explains. “I discovered that cornmeal absorbs moisture, and that any moisture mirlitons can put out is absorbed into the muffin, so the resulting muffin is not only light and moist, but it’s this wonderful flavor that’s the essence of Mexican cuisine.” (If you’d like to try your hand at a batch of these for Thanksgiving, the recipe is on mirliton.org.) Mirlitons also have the unique ability to serve as the star of a sweet dish as much as a savory creation. Hill has been working for a while W W W. R O U S E S . C O M
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PHOTO BY ROMNEY CARUSO
on a marmalade recipe with mirliton featuring Jamaican-inspired flavors like lime, allspice and clove. “I’m not a chef, but I do know from my own experiments that mirlitons not only blend well with other foods, they complement other foods,” explains Hill. “People don’t generally think of that.”
SWAP IT IN
Mirliton is part of the gourd family (pumpkins, cantaloupe, butternut squash — the list goes on and on) which means if there’s a squash recipe you love, go ahead and try it out with mirliton.
Understanding what sort of family tree a vegetable has — its direct relatives, its weirdo cousins, its texture equivalent — will lead to a lot of chances to use familiar preparations with a new ingredient. You might not love potatoes, but mashed turnips will give you the same beautiful consistency and starch with just a little bit more earthy bite. Not an eggplant person or allergic to nightshades? Zucchini can act in a lot of the same ways as eggplant without sacrificing taste or mouthfeel. Mirliton is part of the gourd family (pumpkins, cantaloupe, butternut squash — the list goes on and on) which means if there’s a squash recipe you love, go ahead and try it out with mirliton. The results might surprise you — and might be even tastier than the original version.
GO ABROAD Mirliton is — if nothing else — a completely global vegetable. Around the world it’s called everything from Iskush in Nepal, to Choko in Australia, to Fo shou gua in China, ensuring that there’s 2 2 S E P T E M B E R O C TO B E R 20 20
an extremely rich range of options to search through while exploring mirliton’s range. (The mirliton.org website alone offers links to over 500 global recipes.) And if you’re thinking of mixing up the Thanksgiving menu this year, a Honduran preparation of mirliton might make the perfect morning-after breakfast.
“[Mirlitons] grow very big in Honduras. There’s a dish where they put locally made queso in the center, then dip it in an egg batter and fry it in a pan with a tomato sauce to cook it down. So, it’s basically a kind of overgrown omelet,” says Hill. “It’s wonderful because that’s actually three fairly milder flavors — mirliton, cheese, egg — with a sauce that just pulls it all together.” On the boozier side of things, if anyone’s wondering: Yes, you can make a wine out of it. “Mirliton wine is a traditional alcoholic drink in Jamaica, and I talked to a vintner about that one time. They said, ‘Yeah, we would make some, but we need about 40 gallons of mirliton juice,’” laughs Hill. “But then I talked to a woman who said that her husband used to make [mirliton wine] out in Metairie. Well, then I finally found a recipe for it. It was innovation.” When it comes to an unfamiliar piece of produce, the inspiration is there to start experimenting if your ideas are bold enough. And mirliton is there, waiting with bated breath, for you to show it a little bit of innovation.
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FARMER BURTON WHITFIELD HOUMA, LOUISIANA When it’s sliced, okra releases a gooey, slippery, slimy juice, which Gulf Coast chefs and home cooks have used for centuries to thicken gumbo, soups and stews. But what if you want to use okra in a dish that doesn't require any thickening? Some cooks swear that soaking okra in vinegar for at least 30 minutes can reduce the sliminess. But if you’re pairing okra with tomatoes, there's no need for vinegar; the acidity in tomatoes takes on the task of reducing the slime level. You can also add lemon juice to okra for the same effect. And if you’re grilling or frying, you’re good, because quick, high-heat cooking helps reduce the gumminess. 2 6 S E P T E M B E R O C TO B E R 20 20
Recipe on page
PHOTOS BY ROMNEY CARUSO
By David W. Brown
My editor asked me to write about my opinion of okra, as I’ve done previously in these pages for pineapple on pizza (favorable), waffles versus pancakes (pancakes — I mean come on), and ranch-dressing-as-dipping-sauce (the headline for that one was: “Not to Judge, but People Who Put Ranch Dressing on Their Pizza Are a Disgrace to Humanity”; I disapprove of the practice.) Reader, I have no problem sharing my (accurate) opinions about food. Still, picking on okra seemed…well, it just seemed wrong. Those first bites of okra are like chewing on a caterpillar. It’s blandly bitter if you’re lucky. It’s slimy, and by that I don’t mean “vaguely unpleasant to the touch,” but, rather, “slimy” as in: Slime literally oozes from the things. Every good recipe for okra is a fanciful guide to helping you make okra taste and feel like something that isn’t okra. When somebody tells me they like okra, I smile wanly and wonder what else is wrong with them. So rather than beat up an already pitiable, repulsive fruit, I’ve decided instead to be okra’s advocate. Surely it is more than the foul fluid flowing from it. Did you know, for example, that one reason okra is so popular around the world is that at the mid-latitudes, it’s basically impossible to kill? All it needs is warm dirt and time. It’s a (hungry) people pleaser! Here is something else you might not know about okra: No one knows where it came from. In the South, we know it locally as a thickening agent used when preparing
Smothered, stewed, fried, roasted, even pickled, there are many ways to eat okra, but it always tastes like home in a good bowl of gumbo.
gumbo (indeed, the word gumbo is likely a derivative of the word for okra in various African dialects), and it certainly arrived on American shores by way of the transatlantic slave trade. But whether it was first cultivated in West Africa, East Africa or South Asia is unclear. What we do know is that, over the centuries, it has crossed the Sahara, leapt across the Atlantic and Pacific, and been enjoyed by sultans, presidents and grand viziers alike. Okra is present in the etchings on Egyptian tombs and in the writings of Thomas Jefferson. During the Middle Ages in the Arab world, okra was believed to hold therapeutic powers as an aphrodisiac. (Its chemistry backs this up, as it is rich in magnesium, zinc, iron, folic acid and vitamin B.) It was also used internally to prevent pregnancies, making its role in reproduction oddly thorough. During the Civil War, the coffee trade with South America was badly disrupted, leaving Confederate soldiers hurting for a fix of morning sludge. Not to worry, though, because okra, which thrives in warm Southern climes, could be grown, dried, ground and brewed for an adequate coffee substitute. Is there nothing it can’t do? In case you are wondering, here is how to make okra coffee in one sentence: Strip enough seeds from dried okra until you have an amount comparable to the coffee beans you would otherwise use, and after roasting them in a pan over medium heat until they are aromatic, grind them to a fine powder and prepare them in a French press as you would any old cup of coffee. It won’t taste exactly like coffee and it won’t contain caffeine, but it will look the part, and I mean, come on. Does okra have to do everything around here? I don’t see rice dressing making you any coffee. But wait, there’s more! Since okra made its way back and forth across the map centuries before the discovery of America, the pointy
green fruit has slimed its way across every kind of cuisine you can think of. Ready for a simple, one-sentence Indian-style okra recipe? Here goes! Add a teaspoon of cumin seeds to a sauté pan with avocado oil over medium-high heat, cook until they begin to pop, then add a diced onion and choppedup serrano pepper, letting them brown for 10 minutes while you slice 12 ounces of okra into one-inch rounds and mince two cloves of garlic and a nice chunk of ginger, adding the latter two as you reduce the heat and splash in a bit more avocado oil to keep things alive, finally adding the okra and stirfrying the whole batch for 10 minutes further, until the okra is dry. When it’s finished, it’ll look like stir-fry, and you eat it with naan. (That last sentence doesn’t count.) I’d give you a gumbo recipe, but even I know better than to offer an opinion about that to a Southern audience; one wrong ingredient and you’d set my car on fire. Speaking of fire, there’s one more thing to know about okra: It’s future-proof. If you haven’t heard, the planet is getting warmer. Wheat, coffee, corn and peaches hate it when mercury creeps up the thermometer. But you know which crop doesn’t flinch in the face of a little climate change? The one that thrives in warm dirt. Okra is one of those crops grown easily even with small acreage (you can get about four tons per acre of okra), so if you don’t like it now, you probably ought to try those recipes above. Your grandkids are going to love Indian okra and coffee — because they won’t have any choice. Aphrodisiacs, coffee, gumbo and climatecatastrophe-resistant? It’s like okra has been biding its time. Pretty good for a revolting caterpillar fruit. So keep going, little mucus plant. Keep going as far as the dirt road will take you. And if someone says you’re bad, remind them that you’re not pizza-andranch-dressing bad. W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 2 7
He knew all about okra and offered fatherly advice to us boy pickers — use a sharp knife to sever the pods, wear gloves and a long-sleeve shirt. And oh, since it’s beastly hot and humid, wear a hat or a ball cap to keep the sun off your head, and maybe a bandana to protect your neck from sunburn. Well, fine. But you try wearing that outfit when it’s 92 degrees with 99 percent humidity as it often is in June in South Louisiana. It’s like working in a steam room fully clothed. So — of course! — on our inaugural okra-picking trip we go out to the okra patch in cut-off jeans, T-shirts and sneakers. No gloves, hats or neck protection. Well, between the biting bugs, the sweltering heat and the okra itch, we returned to the house demoralized as wounded soldiers and scratching like flea-bit hound dogs.
By Ken Wells
It’s perfectly fine to serve gumbo without okra. It’s still gumbo. Really. There, I’ve said it. Let the ranting begin! First, a backstory. I have a love-hate relationship with okra. I love to eat it, but I hate to pick it. The aversion stems from my childhood on the pastoral ramparts of Bayou Black west of Houma. We lived on a small farm of about six acres, where we planted ambitious annual gardens that always included two long rows of okra. My mother, Bonnie Wells, a Cajun French-speaking Toups by birth, insisted on the okra because she cooked it with flair and zeal, and loved to eat what she cooked. So did we. Memories of her smothered okra — sautéed in a cast-iron skillet with tomatoes, onions, garlic and various spices, including a dash or two of hot sauce — still make my mouth water. And of course she could not possibly conceive of her seafood gumbo without okra. Cook okra though she did, my mother declined to pick it or go anywhere near the okra patch. Okra is trouble. It does not care to be picked, and its stems and pods have rows of tiny hairy spines to defend it. If you brush up against these spines with your bare skin, you’ll learn that okra isn’t messing around. You’ll itch like you have poison ivy. Some people break out in full okra rashes. There are those, in fact, who insist that the 1960s dance craze, “The Twist,” was inspired by the movements of an itchy okra picker. It’s probably true since I learned of okra’s prickly side the hard way. My dad, Rex Wells, didn’t like to pick okra, either, but he didn’t have to. He had six rambunctious sons of suitable age (I being the second eldest) that he could deploy to the okra rows when ample amounts of pods had ripened and/or when Bonnie had an okra-cooking envie.
Recipe on page
We went back suitably attired but still considered okra-picking the most miserable form of work. My father — a U.S. Marine during the Big War and by nature a disciplinarian — took his cues from this. If the Wells boys had indulged in more than the allowable amount of mischief — that is, if we aggravated our mother enough for her to report us to our father — we would be lined up on the front porch, lectured and then given our punishment. “You’re gonna pick both rows of okra today — but not until noon, when it’s really nice and hot,” Dad would say sternly. “Maybe that way you’ll think twice about making your momma mad.” It’s no coincidence that Wells boy misbehavior went way down during okra-picking season. Okra was forgiven in my mother’s kitchen. But when it came to gumbo and okra, Bonnie had her rules: “I always put okra in my seafood gumbo but I would never put okra in my chicken-andsausage gumbo.” Her explanation for this seemed perfectly logical and I assumed — before I had a wider understanding of gumbo customs and methods — universal. Both of her gumbos were made with a roux. But with seafood, “You don’t want to overpower your seafood with a heavy roux,” she would tell us. “Still, you want your gumbo to have body, so that’s where the okra comes in — you use it not just for the flavor but as a thickener.” With chicken-and-sausage, she explained, “I like a dark roux. That already gives your gumbo a lot of body so you don’t need okra. To me, putting okra in a dark roux chicken gumbo is overkill.” (Plus, she would add, if you’re worried about body, you can add filé to both styles of gumbo at the table.) Well, since the only proper way to cook gumbo is the way Momma cooks it, the issue was settled in my mind. Gumbo doesn’t need okra to be considered proper gumbo. As I would learn much later, while researching my 2019 book, Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou, people have other opinions. Some people will have no truck with okraless gumbos. One of them was the late-great New Orleans Creole chef, Leah Chase, who for decades presided over the kitchen of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant (until she passed away last year). Gumbo without okra was blasphemy to her. Her attitude seems historically defendable. For starters, there’s about a 98 percent certainty that gumbo takes its name from the West Africa Bantu dialect term for okra — ki ngombo, or simply gombo or gombeau as it is referred to in the earliest written reference, back in 1764, to our beloved soup. Worth noting: A tiny subset of historians think gumbo derived its name from another gumbo staple, filé, or dried ground sassafras leaves. Native Americans, who were processing filé long before the Europeans and Africans arrived, called it kombo
Left: Ken Wells in the yard of the Bayou Black farm after returning from a fishing trip at Grand Isle. Right: Ken Wells’ photoshop rendition of his Bayou Black farm around 1960, during his okra-picking days. “At the Jeep, standing, my mom, Bonnie Wells. Rex Wells, my dad, in the driver’s seat. Youngest brother Bob Wells in the back seat. In the boat, Jerry and Chris Wells. Standing holding the fish, Bill Wells and me; foreground, Pershing Wells. On the porch are my Wells grandparents, Willie and Lora Wells, who lived with us at the time.”
bear little resemblance to the roux as the Cajuns reimagined it in the swampy Louisiana frontier into which most of them settled. (Poutine — basically a light-brown gravy poured over fried potatoes and cheese curds — apparently didn’t survive the New World Cajun taste test. Nobody I know in contemporary Louisiana makes it.)
— sort of rhymes with gumbo. And filé figures prominently in many 19th-century gumbo recipes, often as a substitute for okra. As for okra, it isn’t indigenous to the Gumbo Belt or anyplace in America. It was brought from Africa with the slave ships that, by the early 1720s, had been arriving in steady streams to the French colony of Louisiana from coastal West Africa. One fanciful telling has it that Louisiana-bound slaves hid okra seeds in their hair braids, so desperate were they to retain the ability to cook the okra stews, usually served over rice, that were a treasured dietary staple. More likely, the slave traders filled up their cargo holds with enough quantities of okra to feed their captives on the long voyage to America, as well as to cultivate and sustain them in their involuntary new homes. Both okra and that other gumbo staple — rice, also an African import — would thrive in Louisiana’s sultry subtropical climate. And it’s not much of a leap to see how African okra or gombeau stews over rice mutated into the dish we know as gumbo today. One persuasive body of evidence: When, in 1901, The Picayune newspaper — the forerunner of New Orleans’ The Times-Picayune — published its Creole Cook Book of recipes going back 200 years to the very founding of Louisiana, it contained nine gumbo recipes — all containing okra. Then, something happened to okra. It began falling out of favor for certain kinds of gumbo, specifically when the protein was meat or poultry, or some combination of both. That’s where the Cajuns, and the evolution of the dark roux, come in.
Fast-forward to 1803, a time when we know the Cajuns were cooking a dish they called gumbo. That’s because a French journalist traveling the Louisiana coast attended a Cajun house party, where he noted in his journal (later published) that gumbo was served — for breakfast, after a night of hard drinking. No recipe for this gumbo survives, but as we slide down gumbo’s evolutionary timeline it’s impossible not to note the total ascension of the roux — at okra’s expense — in the gumbo pot as well as the Cajun hand in the roux. I was able to trace gumbo recipes in several Cajun families back to the early 1800s — and they were all made with a roux. Yet, in that 1901 cookbook, only two of those nine Creole gumbos had rouxs. And these days, go try to find a gumbo made without a roux. (You can, but you have to look pretty hard to do so.) In fact, while researching my book I dined in 60 separate restaurants spread across 15 South Louisiana cities. I ate gumbo in at least another 20 private homes, consuming more than 100 separate gumbos along the way. Of those 100 gumbos, maybe five were made without a roux. And as for okra, sure, it remains a gumbo staple. But my mother’s method seems vindicated, since the vast majority of those 100 gumbos I consumed followed Bonnie’s rule: okra in seafood gumbo, no okra in chicken-and-sausage gumbo. That said, purists should feel free to hew to their notion — antiquated though it is — that gumbo must have okra to be gumbo. I’d still come to dinner. Just don’t ask me to pick the okra.
The Africans, whose descendants came to be called Creoles, didn’t have the roux, but the Acadians, who began arriving in the Louisiana colony in 1764 from Canada’s Maritime Provinces, did. Back home, they cooked with a roux, deploying it in a popular dish called poutine. However, that roux — a pale concoction with very little body — would ROUSES
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By David W. Brown
With many states just beginning to slowly open back up, there’s a good chance that Thanksgiving will be the first time you’ve seen extended family in quite a while. It is going to be an extra-special holiday and, for that reason, it’s worth putting in a little extra effort. Who brings what casserole is probably already decided. Wine is an area, though, where a little care can go a long way. If you are new to wine — if your customary Thanksgiving involves a countertop of two-liter bottles of Coke and Sprite — the wine section can be a little intimidating. Maybe you’ve never reached further than bottles with bare feet or kangaroos on them (and if you like those bottles, there is nothing wrong with that). Still, nothing says “occasion” like wine a little off the beaten path. Here is some advice to help you stroll the wine aisles with swagger. With regard to seasonality, as summer fades to fall, what we drink moves from fruity frozen things to the more fireplace-friendly bottles of Pinot Noir or heavier Chardonnays. Don’t feel bound by this, though — a sparkling Rosé uncorked while watching a November sunset is as enjoyable in the fall as it is at a July lunch with friends. “Summer water” indeed.
“I feel like everyone in the whole world should always start off with a little sparkling wine. Any meal, any party — it has to be a sparkler.”
Not every wine is sculpted to last a hundred years, though. Some are bottled to be bought and opened right then and there. (Well, wait until you get home.) That’s why some have screw tops; it isn’t a sign of inferiority, but rather, an unambiguous marker of something that’s ready for pouring, so get on with it. There’s a lot more to wine, of course, which is why there are simultaneously a couple of millennia of wine writing, and also the feeling that we are just getting started. But that should get you going for a while and set you up for a successful Thanksgiving wine shopping experience.
PAIRING YOUR TURKEY To learn how to select bottles based on what you are serving as your holiday centerpiece meal, I asked Julie Joy, the director of beer, wine and spirits for Rouses Markets, and a 20-year veteran of the trade. She says if you want to make a proper show of it, there’s an ideal order when uncorking wines at Friendsgivings, Thanksgivings, parties and gatherings.
When it comes to what you’re “supposed” to drink, the first rule is this: Drink what you - Julie Joy, director of beer, wine like! Everyone has a different palate, so don’t and spirits for Rouses Markets worry about what some label says, or what this article says, or what wine gets however many points by this wine critic or that. (Can any human being really detect the difference in a wine that gets a 92, versus another that gets “I feel like everyone in the whole world should always start off with a 93? I mean, come on.) a little sparkling wine,” says Joy. “Any meal, any party — it has to be a sparkler.” The second rule, if there’s going to be one, is this: Explore the wine aisles. You’ll notice little tags on the shelves that offer advice, things For most of us, sparkling wines mean celebration. They are the like: “notes of blackberry” or “cherry and tobacco.” The wine won’t perfect way to elevate the mood and infuse joviality into a gathering. taste like cherry juice with cigars in it; they’re just that: notes. It’s no Joy recommends a sparkling Brut Rosé from the McBride Sisters. A different than taking a bite of pizza. I bet if you try, you can “find” the sparkling wine is what you might think of as a Champagne (though tomato sauce flavor, or the cheese, or the bread. It’s all chewed up in true Champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France). your mouth, but your tongue can work things out all the same. Brut — pronounced brute — is a dry, crisp sparkling wine. A Rosé is a pink wine. Though different wineries make Rosé wines with different The idea when enjoying wine as its own creature is to tease out those processes, the most common way is the “skin contact method.” When oenological fingerprints, to find what makes the wine unique. The soil black grapes are crushed, the skin remains in contact with the grape of some vineyards has been carefully cultivated for centuries, and sun juice for only a short period of time (less than a day). The skin is then and rain and air quality vary from year to year. Every wine’s “terroir” removed rather than fermenting with the wine, but this brief contact (or natural environment and farming practices) is a little different, gives this variety of wine its blushing color. which makes the grapes grown from that ground equally different. Moreover, wine changes in the bottle over time. That doesn’t mean a When it’s time to sit down for dinner, the best wine to drink depends wine must be kept for 20 years before being “good.” As author Matt on what meat is on the big silver platter. If you’re going for a tradiKramer has written, that’s like saying your child cannot be apprecitional Thanksgiving turkey cooked in the oven, look no further than a ated until he or she is an adult. Rather, there are different things to love bottle of Pinot Noir. (In casual usage, when you hear someone talk and admire about your child — and your wine — at every age. about a “Burgundy,” or a “red Burgundy,” they are usually talking
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about Pinot Noir from the Burgundy region of France. A “white Burgundy” is invariably a Chardonnay from that region, which produces the finest bottles of that variety in the world.) “Pinot Noir is a lighter style wine that pairs perfectly with a lighter meat,” Joy says, noting that for the holiday season, Rouses Markets will sell an exclusive line of Pinot Noir from A to Z Wineworks called Engraved. “What I like about Engraved is that it hits you with just a little bit of spice,” she says, “It has a really balanced quality to it.” (Balance in wine refers to the tension of fruitiness versus acidity. Too little fruit, and a wine is “thin.” Too much fruit, and it is “flabby.”) If you decide to smoke your turkey this year, you have options. When it comes to pairing wine and food in general, there are two ways to go. In the case of any spicy food, you can run in the opposite direction and grab a wine with a slight sweetness to it to balance things out, or you can run in the same direction and drink a “spice booster.” In the case of a smoked turkey, a Shiraz would really up the intensity level. On the other hand, a good “opposite” wine would be, again, that McBride Sisters Brut Rosé, which would be a refreshing counterbalance to the turkey’s smokiness. Fried turkeys present an interesting opportunity. First, you can burn your house down while preparing them, in which case I suggest you go for any wine in reach, and lots of it. But if your house remains standing and there are no fatalities, the key to pairing fried turkey with wine is to consider that delicious, crispy fat on the bird. To really make it sing, you’ll want to uncork a bottle packing a little acidity — something like a Sauvignon Blanc. Rouses has just started carrying a label called Sun Goddess, which is a collaboration between Fantinel Winery in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, and Mary J. Blige, the singer. “She’s getting a lot of really good press from it,” says Joy. “What I like about Sun Goddess is that it’s got some tropical notes to it, and a really nice acidity and smoothness at the end. That would balance the fried part of the meal.” Let’s say for Thanksgiving dinner, though, eating one animal at a time just isn’t your thing, or isn’t enough, or you are just really bad at making decisions in general and have chosen: D. All of the above. Turducken it is! (Did you know that in England, where geese are more prevalent than turkeys, Gooducken is the 3 8 S E P T E M B E R O C TO B E R 20 20
local favorite? Now you do!) In terms of flavor, turducken is…all over the place, to put it mildly. “I would go with a big bad cab for turducken,” says Joy, referring to those loud, full-bodied bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon for which California is famous. “You’re going to want something that cuts through every single one of those meats, and especially the game part of it.” She recommends a label from DAOU Vineyards, which is located on the Central Coast of California. Their 2018 bottle, which is very affordable, is getting major press right now, including a score of 92 points in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate magazine, the industry magazine that rates wines on a scale from 50 to 100. (You get 50 points for just being a wine!) The DAOU 2018, Joy says, “is a very consistently well-done cab that, if people aren’t drinking it, they should.” As winter finally makes an appearance in the South (it’s going to snow in New Orleans for Christmas this year — you read it here first) there is, lastly, the best option for Thanksgiving dinner — the option everyone really wants, no matter how hard they pretend to like your ovenroasted turkey. That option is turkey gumbo. And since everyone will be celebrating your choice of cuisine anyway, what better wine to pair it with than a sparkler? If gumbo is on the menu, put a few bottles of Prosecco in your shopping cart. It’s not a super-sweet sparkling wine and has a crisp, clean finish. “We have some really great Proseccos in the store right now,” says Joy. “One is called Standard Issue Prosecco Cuvée No. 6. It’s perfect for something like turkey gumbo. The wine could be an aperitif, but in this case, it’s a fantastic palate cleanser. You want to taste your gumbo, you want to taste those spices — and a Prosecco is the way to go.” There’s no need to settle for a single type of wine, though. Another good option for turkey gumbo would be a Riesling, which is a white, flowery wine. In particular, Chateau Ste Michelle has a lovely line of Rieslings on Rouses store shelves, and each would make its presence known while still allowing the gumbo to shine. Thanksgiving this year is going to be a renewal and, with any luck, a turning of the page. It’s been a hard 2020, and we could all use a drink. But if you’re going to do it, do it right. Set out a few bottles of wine for the holiday, and let them elevate your meal and mood and usher in a new, hard-won year.
Turkey 101 WHAT SIZE TURKEY SHOULD I BUY?
How to Carve a Turkey
For turkeys that weigh less than 16 pounds, estimate about 1 pound of raw turkey per person, which delivers around a half-pound of edible meat. Bigger birds are meatier, so with those, figure 1½ pounds per person. Note: Bigger turkeys take longer to thaw and longer to cook, and can cook less evenly. If you’re serving a large group, or want more leftovers, we suggest you cook two smaller birds.
CHEF’S TIP: If you remove the wishbone from a cooked turkey before you carve it, the breast meat will come off in one whole piece when you carve it.
HOW DO I THAW MY TURKEY?
Feel for the wishbone between the neck and the breast where the meat joins the bones. Using a sharp chef’s knife, make a small cut behind the bone, then use your fingers to loosen the wishbone from the cooked turkey.
You want to buy your turkey at least four days before Thanksgiving, because it will take a while for the bird to thaw in the refrigerator. Thaw it breast side up, in the unopened manufacturer’s wrapper, on a tray in the refrigerator. Plan on about 24 hours per every four pounds of the bird’s weight. A thawed whole turkey will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days before cooking.
Believe it or not, it’s actually safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state — but be aware that the cooking time will be at least 50 percent longer than what’s recommended for a fully thawed turkey, so make sure you put it in the oven in enough time.
IS THERE A FASTER WAY?
Yes, you can use a cold-water thaw, but it still takes 30 minutes per pound. Thaw breast side down, in the unopened wrapper, with enough cold water to completely cover the turkey. You will need to change the water every 30 minutes.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY TURKEY IS DONE?
The most important thing you need when preparing a turkey dinner is a meat thermometer. If your turkey did not come with a pop-up timer, you will need to check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. Your turkey is ready to come out of the oven when the breast temperature reaches 165 degrees and the thickest part of the thighs reaches between 170 and 175 degrees. The thermometer should be inserted into the joint of the leg and thigh. Don’t push it in so far that it touches bone; the thermometer makes its reading within the first inch of the probe.
Place the turkey, breast side up, on a clean cutting board, and cut any twine that’s still holding the legs together. (If the chicken is still hot, let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving.)
Run your knife along the backbone and under the breast meat to remove the breast in one piece. Gently pull one leg outwards from the body until the skin is stretched taut. Cut where the leg joins the turkey. Repeat with the other leg. Separate the thigh and the drumstick by cutting through the joint between the two parts. Remove the skin if desired. Holding the wing tip with one hand, gently pull it away from the body with the other until you can fit the knife easily between the wing and the breast. Cut where the two join. Once you have portioned the turkey, use your fingers or two forks to shred or pull the meat apart.
How to Spatchcock a Turkey Spatchcocking, or butterflying, can drastically reduce the amount of time you spend roasting your turkey. Because a flat turkey cooks more evenly, it can handle higher heat. You will want first to brine it, just as you would a bird for a traditional roast. With a large knife or shears, cut the bird open along the backbone on both sides, through the ribs, then remove the backbone. Once the bird is open, split the breastbone to spread the bird flat; this will allow it to roast evenly. When ready to roast, preheat your oven to 350°, brush the turkey with oil and, depending on its weight, cook for 70 to 90 minutes. (A 12-pound turkey will take approximately 70 minutes.)
WILL MY TURKEY GET COLD IF I LET IT REST?
Because your turkey is splayed open with no center cavity, a safe internal temperature is 165°. Once the roasting is complete, you’ll discover a very even cooking of the legs, thighs and breast. (The breast is typically the part of the bird that suffers most during a traditional roast, drying slowly over time. By opening the turkey with this technique, the breast will be far juicier and have more flavor.)
WHAT IF I UNDERCOOK THE TURKEY?
The turkey needs to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving, which gives it time to reabsorb the juices. Don’t tent the turkey with foil to keep it warm while it’s resting; it’s unnecessary and will make the skin soggy. And don’t worry about temperature. As long as the turkey is intact, it will cool pretty slowly. Carve the breasts and legs off the carcass (keeping the pieces whole), place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and pop them back in the oven at 350° until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°.
WHAT IF IT’S OVERCOOKED?
Although there’s no real going back from an overcooked or dry turkey, you can add gravy to moisten it a bit.
CAN I REFREEZE MY THAWED TURKEY?
Yes, but ... from a quality and safety standpoint, thawed meat should only be refrozen once.
DOES TURKEY REALLY MAKE YOU TIRED?
Nope, turkey doesn’t actually contain any more tryptophan than many other foods.
Our brine bucket kits take the guesswork out of brining your turkey; the bucket includes a recipe card that tells you everything you need to know. You can also use a dry brine, which works the same way as the traditional wet brine, but does not use any water. You’ll need two days and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt per pound of turkey to dry brine. Just follow the simple instructions below to dry brine your turkey. Rinse turkey and pat dry. Rub turkey all over with kosher salt, slipping salt under skin where possible and rubbing some into cavities. Wrap bird in a large plastic bag and place in refrigerator for 24 hours. After 24 hours, turn the turkey over. A few hours before you are ready to cook, remove turkey from bag and pat dry, but do not rinse. Place turkey in roasting pan. Set on counter and allow to come to room temperature before baking.
6 CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: 1. Cornbread Dressing 2. Cranberry Orange Relish 3. Sweet Potato Casserole 4. Turkey Gravy 5. Green Bean Casserole 6. Shrimp and Mirliton Dressing
Baked Turkey Serves 8 WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 10- to 12-pound turkey 2 sticks unsalted room-temperature butter, softened ¼ bunch fresh parsley, chopped 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped 3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped 3 sprigs of oregano, chopped 3 sprigs of sage, chopped Combine to make a compound butter.
LEAVE THE FUSS TO US!
We offer complete holiday meals (turkey or ham) with traditional fixings, as well as dressings and side dishes available à la carte. Our chefs can also prepared large
HOW TO PREP: Preheat oven to 325°F.
and push it under the skin and work back toward you. Flatten to spread it out evenly.
Choose a 10- to 12-pound turkey and remove it from its packaging. Remove the giblets from inside the turkey. Discard them unless you plan to make giblet gravy, in which case, set them aside.
Liberally season the outside of the turkey with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Combine the softened butter with all the herbs to make a compound herb butter. Pat the turkey dry inside and out with paper towels, making sure to absorb any liquid behind the wings and legs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine, and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey. (This is so that the small, delicate wings don’t overcook.) With your fingers, separate the skin from the breast. Tuck the butter under the skin into the nooks of the breasts, wings and legs. Scoop some of the butter
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pans of your favorite comfort foods, local favorites or any of our signature items. All you have to do is heat and eat. For locations, phone numbers and a copy of our holiday menu, go to www.rouses.com.
Place the turkey breast side up in the center of an ovenproof skillet or pan. Place in the preheated oven. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°, up to 2 hours. The wings and legs should wiggle loosely, and the juices should run clear. Turn off the oven and let turkey rest, uncovered, in the oven for 20 minutes. This allows the turkey to continue to cook, redistribute its juices, and cool down enough for you to carve it. Transfer to a cutting board and carve.
PHOTO BY ROMNEY CARUSO
Leftover Turkey Pot Pie
HOW TO PREP: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Makes 1 large pot pie WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 yellow onion, diced ½ cup carrots, cut into half moons ½ cup celery, diced 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, picked from stems and chopped 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups turkey broth/stock (or low-sodium chicken broth) 1½ cups half & half 2 cups leftover cooked turkey, chopped 1½ cups leftover cooked potatoes, diced Kosher salt, to taste Black pepper, to taste 1 sheet of puff pastry, frozen 1 large egg, lightly beaten with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash HOW TO PREP: Melt the butter and olive oil together in a castiron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery, and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Once the vegetables are tender, add the chopped thyme and cook 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring until it’s absorbed, then cook for 1 more minute. Continue to stir while pouring in the turkey broth and half & half. Increase the heat under the pan to medium, and stir until thickened. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to cook out the flour taste. You can add a little more turkey stock if it thickens too much. Add the chopped turkey and diced potatoes; stir and season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Pour the pot pie filling into a 10-inch skillet, and let cool for 35 to 40 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove puff pastry sheet from freezer and let it thaw while the filling continues to cool. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Once the puff pastry is thawed — it should be cold and not sticky — place it on a lightly floured surface and gently roll it out, pinching any split ends back together. Place on top of the cooled filling in the skillet, stretching gently to cover the surface. Brush the top of the puff pastry with the egg wash. Place the skillet on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills. Slide the pan on the middle rack of your preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let stand for a few minutes to allow it to cool slightly before serving. ROUSES
Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-high heat until translucent. In a large bowl, whisk the following ingredients together: eggs, milk and heavy cream. Next, slowly add the cornmeal and sour cream until just combined. Gently mix in the sugar, salt, pepper and cheddar cheese, reserving a little cheese to sprinkle on top. Gently mix in the corn.
Green Bean Casserole Serves 6-8 At its vegetable-filled heart, green bean casserole embodies the best of what casseroles can provide: a serving of nostalgia-tinged comfort during a time of year when thoughts — and stomachs — turn towards memories of home. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 pounds fresh green beans, snipped 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 can cream of onion soup ¼ cup milk ½ tablespoon black pepper 1 container crispy fried onions HOW TO PREP: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Clean the green beans and set them aside. Combine the cream of mushroom and cream of onion soups with the milk and pepper. Toss the green beans with the soup mixture, and pour into an 8x8 baking dish. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the green beans are tender and the sauce has reduced.
Pour the mixture into a greased 9” x 9” pan, and cover with foil. Place the 9” x 9” pan inside of a 11” x 13” dish, and add water to the dish until it is filled halfway up the side of the 9” x 9” pan. Carefully place the pan in the preheated oven. Close the door, then lower the heat to 350°F. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top begins to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly before serving.
Sweet Potato Casserole Serves 12-15 WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 8 large sweet potatoes ¾ cup brown sugar ¼ pound butter, melted 3 large eggs, separated 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 tablespoon salt 2 cups mini marshmallows HOW TO PREP: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Remove from the oven and top with the fried onions. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the onions are lightly browned.
Bake the sweet potatoes until they are soft in the center.
Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool slightly.
Corn Pudding Serves 8-10 WHAT YOU WILL NEED: ¼ pound butter 1 cup onion, chopped 4 eggs, whisked 1½ cups milk ½ cup heavy cream ½ cup yellow cornmeal 1 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon black pepper ½ pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 5 cups corn
Peel the sweet potatoes, and place in a mixer bowl with the whip attachment. Whip until smooth. Add the brown sugar, butter, egg yolks, vanilla and salt; mix until thoroughly combined. Transfer the sweet potato mixture to another bowl, and wash the mixer bowl and whip attachment. Place the bowl back on the mixer and add the egg whites. Using the whip attachment, whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the sweet potato mixture, being careful not to overmix and “deflate” the egg whites. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” casserole dish, and W W W. R O U S E S . C O M
Mr. Anthony Rouse’s Down Home Oyster Dressing Serves 8-10 WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 cups cooked long-grain rice, covered and kept warm 1 pound lean ground beef ½ pound ground pork 1 16-ounce container Guidry’s Fresh Cut Creole Seasoning Blend, or 1 large onion and 2 large green bell peppers, finely chopped 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning mix 1 tablespoon dried basil 1 tablespoon granulated garlic ½ tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning 1½ quarts Louisiana oysters, cut in half if large 1 bunch green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped 1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet HOW TO PREP: Cook rice and keep warm, covered. In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, brown beef and pork. Add Guidry’s Seasoning Blend (or onions and bell peppers). Mix well and cook until onions are translucent. Add Cajun seasoning, basil, garlic and Old Bay, and mix well. Add oysters. Mix in green onions and Kitchen Bouquet. Remove from heat and mix in the rice. Serve.
PHOTO BY ROMNEY CARUSO
add the sweet potato-egg white mixture to the dish. Top the casserole with the mini marshmallows. Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sweet potatoes have set and are no longer “loose” looking. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Serves 12 WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 4½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved 6 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons water Salt and pepper, to taste HOW TO PREP: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, water, salt and pepper in large bowl, completely coating the vegetables. Transfer sprouts to a rimmed baking sheet and arrange so cut sides are facing down.
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Tightly cover baking sheet with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until Brussels sprouts are browned and tender, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Transfer to serving platter, season with additional salt and pepper if desired, and serve.
Coca-Cola Ham Glaze You can use Coke, Pepsi, Barq’s or your favorite soft drink for this recipe. It makes 1¹/₃ cups, which is enough for a 5-pound ham. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 cup soft drink, at room temperature ½ cup brown sugar ¼ cup ketchup 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard HOW TO PREP: In medium saucepan, whisk ingredients together over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half (about 15 to 20 minutes). Glaze ham before baking and again when it comes out of the oven.
Mashed Potatoes Serves 8 WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 4 large Idaho potatoes 1 tablespoon Rouses Salt, for boiling 1 cup half and half 4 ounces salted butter 4 teaspoons salt Rouses Salt and black pepper, to taste HOW TO PREP: Scrub, peel and cut potatoes into 2-inch chunks. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water up to one inch above potatoes. Season water with 1 tablespoon of Rouses Salt. Cover saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Cook until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Remove pot from stove, drain water, replace lid, and let potatoes steam for another 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, warm half and half and butter. Mash potatoes with a hand masher or two forks, mix in warm half and half and butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Chicken & Sausage Gumbo Serves 10-12 If you want to use leftover turkey instead of chicken, use a mix of pre-shredded light and dark meat, and add the meat after your liquid comes to a boil. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 cups canola oil 2 cups all-purpose flour 3 cloves garlic, minced 3 stalks celery, diced 1 small green bell pepper, diced 1 small red bell pepper, diced 2 medium yellow onions, diced Kosher salt, to taste 2½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning 4 quarts chicken stock 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs 2 bone-in chicken breasts 1 pound andouille, halved and sliced 2 teaspoons gumbo filé powder 1 bunch green onions, chopped, tops only, for garnish 1 bunch parsley, chopped, for garnish Cooked white rice, for serving HOW TO PREP: Heat canola oil in 8-quart Dutch oven until it begins to shimmer. Gradually stir in the flour. Reduce heat to medium-low to make roux. Cook, stirring constantly, until roux is chocolate in color, about 35-40 minutes. Add garlic, celery, green and red bell peppers, and onion; cook, stirring constantly and scraping the pan bottom well, until vegetables are soft, 10-12 minutes. Add salt, black pepper and Creole seasoning. Add stock. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Add chicken; cook until chicken is falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Add andouille to the pot, stirring well to incorporate. Return to a boil briefly.
3 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1¾ cups whole milk 3 large eggs 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning Salt and pepper, to taste 4 quarts seafood stock 1 pint shucked Gulf oysters and their oyster liquor 1 pound wild-caught Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 pound peeled Louisiana crawfish tails, with fat 4 gumbo crabs, halved 1 bunch green onions, chopped, tops only, for garnish 1 bunch parsley, chopped, for garnish Cooked white rice, for serving HOW TO PREP: Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over low heat. Add flour a little bit at a time, stirring constantly, and cook 30 minutes to make a medium-brown roux. Add celery, onion and bell pepper and continue stirring until vegetables are wilted, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper, and continue cooking until garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Slowly add stock and oyster liquor, one ladleful at a time, stirring after each. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using tongs, transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool slightly; pull meat apart with a fork, discarding skin and bones, and return to pot. Stir in filé powder; cook 15 minutes. Add chopped green onions and parsley at the very end. Serve with rice or potato salad.
Add oysters, shrimp, crawfish tails and gumbo crabs. Return to a boil and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Seafood & Okra Gumbo
Cornbread & Andouille Dressing
Serves 10-12 WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 cup vegetable oil 1 cup all-purpose flour 6 celery stalks, diced 2 large onions, diced 2 bell peppers, diced
For the Dressing: 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 12 ounces andouille sausage, cut into ¼-inch pieces 2 onions, chopped 2 green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped 2 celery ribs, chopped 1 tablespoon Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 cups turkey or chicken broth 1 cup whole milk 3 large eggs, lightly beaten ¾ cup chopped fresh parsley ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper HOW TO PREP: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease or spray a 13" x 9" baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in large bowl. Whisk milk, eggs and melted butter together in second bowl. Then add milk mixture into flour mixture, stirring gently until just combined. Transfer batter to prepared dish. Bake until cornbread is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. While the cornbread bakes, melt 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add andouille and cook until browned. Transfer andouille to a large bowl, leaving any renderings in the skillet. Melt second tablespoon
Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve over rice and top with parsley and green onions.
Serves 10-12 WHAT YOU WILL NEED: For the Cornbread: Vegetable oil spray, for greasing baking dish 1½ cups cornmeal 1½ cups all-purpose flour
One of the more distinguishing features of green onions is their crunchy texture.
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Okra & Tomatoes
PHOTO BY ROMNEY CARUSO
of butter in the skillet. Add onions, bell peppers and celery to skillet and cook until vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add Creole seasoning and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to bowl of andouille mixture, and stir to combine. When cornbread is done baking, remove from oven and turn out hot cornbread onto rimmed baking sheet. Break into small pieces with two forks. Transfer crumbled, warm cornbread to bowl with andouille mixture. Add turkey or chicken broth, milk, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper, and gently mix to combine. Transfer dressing to now-empty baking dish, and lightly spread into even layer without packing down. Using a wooden spoon, create ridges about ½ inch apart on top of dressing. Drizzle top of dressing with remaining 4 tablespoons melted butter. Bake until golden brown, crisp on top and heated through, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.
Okra & Tomatoes Serves 10 WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 pounds fresh okra 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 cups chopped onions 2 cups chopped celery 3 cups chopped, peeled and seeded ripe tomatoes, or 3 cups chopped canned tomatoes, including their liquid 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt ½ teaspoon cayenne ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon dried thyme 3 cloves garlic, chopped HOW TO PREP: Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse the okra under cool water. Cut off the stems and slice each pod crosswise into ½-inch rounds.
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Coat the edges of a large ovenproof pot with the vegetable oil. Add the okra and all other ingredients to the pot. Mix well. Cover the pot with an ovenproof lid. Place covered pot in the preheated oven and bake, stirring occasionally, for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the slime has disappeared. Remove lid and bake uncovered for the last 15 minutes of the cooking time, until okra is tender Remove the bay leaves and serve immediately.
Stuffed Mirlitons Serves 12 This cooks just as well in a lightly greased casserole dish, but stuffed mirlitons make a prettier presentation. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 6 large mirlitons ½ cup butter ½ pound ground pork
1 pound 40/50 medium wild-caught Gulf Shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped ½ cup chopped green onions 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1¼ cups plain bread crumbs ¼ pound 21/35 wild-caught Gulf Shrimp, peeled and deveined ¼ teaspoon paprika HOW TO PREP: Peel and halve mirlitons; simmer in a large pot of lightly salted water, covered, over medium heat until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove mirlitons from water and rest cut side down on paper towels to cool and drain. Once cool enough to handle, place the mirlitons on a cutting board or other flat surface. With a spoon, gently scoop out seeds in the middle of each mirliton half to create a pocket for stuffing, keeping shells intact. Set aside. Melt butter in pot. Add ground pork and onions and sauté for 2 minutes, or until onions are soft. Mix in chopped shrimp. Add mirliton flesh, mashing as needed. Add green onions, garlic and parsley, and season stuffing with salt and pepper. Cook the mixture for 20-30 minutes, or until mirliton flesh is soft. Stir in bread crumbs and whole shrimp. Mix well. Cook the mixture over low heat until it is noticeably dryer but still moist, about 3 minutes, stirring as needed. Remove skillet from heat.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Pack a spoonful of stuffing into center of each mirliton half; place in a roasting pan or baking dish. Add remaining stuffing to mirlitons once they are in the dish. Cover with remaining bread crumbs and sprinkle with paprika. Bake stuffed mirlitons until stuffing is warmed through and golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.
Satsuma Rum Cake Makes 10-12 servings WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 cup sugar 2 eggs, lightly beaten Zest (grated rind) of 1 lemon Zest (grated rind) of 2 satsumas 21/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup buttermilk Satsuma Rum Glaze (recipe follows)
Black-eyed Peas & Cabbage
HOW TO PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan or Bundt pan well. In a mixing bowl, beat butter until light. Add sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs and zest of lemon and satsumas. Beat until the mixture is very light. In a medium mixing bowl, sift or mix together well the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. When the batter is well-blended, spoon it into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. While cake is still hot and still in the pan, pour on the glaze. Cake can be left in the pan for several days before serving.
Growing conditions affect the flavor of fruits and vegetables. It’s why authentic Creole tomatoes, grown in Louisiana’s rich alluvial soil, have such a sweet earthy flavor. Acid in Alabama’s fertile soil gives Sand Mountain and Slocomb tomatoes their delicious flavors. There’s magic in our soil.
GO TO WWW.ROUSES.COM FOR MORE DELICIOUS RECIPES!
Smoked Sausage & Tasso Dressing
Satsuma Rum Glaze Makes 10-12 servings WHAT YOU WILL NEED: Juice of 2 large satsumas Juice of 1 lemon 1 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons rum HOW TO PREP: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. When mixture boils and sugar is dissolved, pour evenly over the hot cake.
Uncle Tim’s Stuffed Mirlitons
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Can you really taste local? Few foods reflect a taste of place more than seafood. The unique waters of the Gulf of Mexico impart an unmistakable flavor into our shrimp and oysters. Pictured: Local Fishers David & Kim Chauvin of Dulac, LA
Blue crabs are found up and down the Atlantic coast, throughout the Gulf of Mexico and even further south. But they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t all taste the same. The Gulf of Mexico and nearby marshes, lakes and bays pass on an unmistakable flavor to our local crabs. Pictured: Crabber Nolan Exsterstein of Mandeville, LA
We can all agree that the best seafood in the world comes from right here on the Gulf Coast. We buy our Gulf fish, shrimp, crabs, crawfish and oysters from dedicated, local fishermen who have worked our waterways for generations. Pictured: Local Fisherman David Maginnis of Houma, LA
PHOTOS BY ROMNEY CARUSO
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Cajun Meat 101
Andouille — pronounced ahn-doo-wee — is a dense, highly seasoned, heavily smoked sausage combining pork chunks or pieces — or coarsely ground pork (usually from the shoulder), garlic, onion and pepper. Despite its French ancestry and name, andouille actually owes its spicy flavor and peppery heat to the sausage traditions of another South Louisiana immigrant group — the Germans, who brought their boucherie and distinctive sausage-making traditions with them. Use it in your leftover turkey gumbo on Thanksgiving, cornbread dressing and smothered cabbage on New Year’s.
Rice, pork, spices and usually liver stuffed into a natural pork sausage casing. Remove it from the casing, and use as a stuffing for mirlitons or bell peppers.
Pure ground pork or poultry is mixed with seasonings such as red, black and white peppers; onions; and usually a bit of fresh green onion tops. Our Rouses butchers make several kinds, including a fresh Italian sausage spiced up with peppers and anise seed or fennel — it’s perfect for our Christmas meatball and Italian sausage spaghetti recipe (get the recipe at www.rouses.com). Our fresh green onion sausage flavored with green onion tops and Cajun seasonings is a must for your rice dressing, or get our fresh dressing mix ready-tocook in our Butcher Shop.
You can’t fake Cajun. Our authentic Cajun Specialties go back to the boucheries — that’s French for “butchery” — a Cajun tradition stretching back centuries. Their flavors have stood the test of time.
Jumbo lump crabmeat is the largest and most expensive crabmeat we sell, but there’s just nothing else like it. Use these whole lumps of bright white meat in dishes where crabmeat is the star. Lump crabmeat is a mix of smaller or broken pieces of jumbo lump and large chunks of body meat. It’s a great choice for seafood stuffings and dressing. Claw crabmeat is pinkish-brown rather than white; it has a much stronger crab flavor, so it’s great for bisques and seafood gumbos.
SALT MEAT AND PICKLED PORK
Salt meat comes from the belly of the pig, while pickled pork comes from the front leg or picnic (lower part of the shoulder). But both meats are salt cured, meaning they’re preserved with a mixture of salt, sugar and nitrates, and both are a great flavoring for lima beans, white beans, red beans and mustard greens. These go with your fresh green beans, and cabbage on New Year’s Day.
Ground beef, pork or chicken are mixed with our own brand of Rouses seasonings and green onions, then stuffed in a casing and smoked. Smoked sausage, with its distinctive smoky flavor and smell, is a must for several Cajun dishes — gumbo, jambalaya, and white or red beans and rice. Or cut grilled sausage into bite size pieces, and serve with mustard or barbecue sauce as a holiday appetizer.
Tasso is not a true ham, because it’s made from the front shoulder, rather than the rear leg, of a pig. Brined for preservation and smoked until flavors are highly concentrated, tasso is used to flavor jambalaya, as well as just about any slow-cooked stew or vegetable dish — this is another one for your greens and cabbage casserole. Get the recipe for our own Tim Acosta’s cabbage casserole at www.rouses.com. It’s perfect for New Year’s.
WHAT ARE GUMBO CRABS? Gumbo crabs are hard-shell crabs with the top half removed, the claws and legs attached.
Better with Cheddar? By Liz Thorpe I have some cheese secrets, and this is one: Despite it being a “classic” dessert in the Northeast where I grew up, I’d never had cheddar and apple pie. This is unlikely to surprise all you Southerners because cheese and pie isn’t a thing here. But up North and in the Midwest, it’s the thing that says, “Welcome, autumn.” You buy a pumpkin and a pot of chrysanthemums, you bake a pie (ideally with handpicked apples from a nearby orchard), and you top the pie with either a grating or a thin slice of cheddar cheese. Some people even bake the cheese right into, or just beneath, the top crust. I love the history and lore behind weird regional food-isms. The best I can find, the cheddar and apple pie connection is tentatively tied to 18th-century English customs of topping apple pie with dairy sauces. But custards, or even cream, are not a hunk of cheese. 19th-century memoirs from Dairy Country regularly mention warm apple pie and cheddar, and New York, Pennsylvania and the upper Midwest — still the major cheddar-producing regions today — are where this tradition holds firmest. Let’s say you’re feeling adventurous and want to experience a little Yankee fall. How best to do it? I figured it was time to right the oversights of my culinary life. I love cheddar and apple slices and I love cheese biscuits, so there had to be a love connection in there somewhere. Inspired by some proselytizers on my cheese-heavy Instagram feed, I prepared apple pie blanketed in a finely grated shower of sharp white cheddar. Alongside the picture was a recipe from The Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood that involved crumbling cheese on top of apple filling just before baking. In either case the essential flavor combination is there: the sweet-tart apple filling (I use lots of lemon juice) alongside the salty, lactic pop! of a well-aged cheddar. That said, I much preferred the baked-in approach. Each bite captured the fruity and the savory, nestled up together. The grated cheese felt accidental, and the texture was all wrong. My conclusion: If you’re going to eat cheese with your pie, then make it a real chunk. And additionally: If you’re baking cheddar into your pie, reach for a bright, lemony, rindless cheddar like Old Croc; if nibbling alongside your pie try a more traditional clothbound cheddar, like New Bridge Cheddar, with flavors that are less about sharpness and more about nuttiness, with a caramel finish. 4 8 S E P T E M B E R O C TO B E R 20 20
Perfect Pie Crust Makes 1 9-inch pie crust If you plan to make a pie with a top crust, like our Apple Pie, or you are making a lattice crust, double the recipe. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1¼ cups all-purpose flour ¼ teaspoon sea salt ½ cup cold unsalted butter, straight out of the fridge, cut into ½-inch cubes 3-4 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed HOW TO PREP: Gently combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter, and process until it resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in 1 tablespoon of ice water, and pulse a few times. Continue to add ice water and pulse 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough begins to come together. When it is done, the dough should hold together without noticeable cracks. Place the dough on a silicone baking mat or floured surface. Form the dough into a round about 1-inch thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using, and up to 2 days. (Dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling it out.) Turn the dough out onto a silicone baking mat or floured surface. Lightly dust the surface with flour as you work, but don’t use too much; you want the dough to stay moist. Using a floured rolling pin, roll away from you, applying pressure evenly. This helps prevent cracks. Rotate the dough clockwise as you go so it is an even thickness all the way around. If cracks start to form, gently pinch them together to mend.
While the crust is chilling, heat the oven to 375°F. For a partially baked pie crust, bake until pie dough looks dry and is light in color, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pie plate to wire rack and remove weights and paper. For a fully baked pie crust — perfect for no-bake pies — bake until pie dough looks dry and is light in color, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove weights and paper, and continue to bake crust until deep golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes longer. You do not need to cool your crust after blind baking. Adding the filling to the still-warm pie shell will help it set more quickly, though still gently, so less of its moisture can soak into the crust.
Double Crust Apple Pie We use two kinds of apples in our pie: Granny Smith and Pink Lady. Granny Smith apples are extremely firm, hold up under heat, and give the pie a sweet-tart flavor; they are the go-to for apple pie. Pink Lady is another sweet-tart apple that holds together well and adds flavor. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 unbaked pie dough rounds (see recipe above) ¾ cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon lemon zest from 1 medium lemon ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¹/₈ teaspoon ground allspice 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced ¼-inch thick 1½ pounds Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored and sliced ¼-inch thick 1 egg white, beaten lightly 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for topping
Continue to roll the dough in all directions until you have a 12-inch circle about ¼-inch thick.
HOW TO PREP: Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 425°F.
Loosely roll dough circle around your rolling pin and gently unroll it onto ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Press firmly against sides and bottom.
Turn out cold round of dough onto silicone baking mat or work surface that’s been dusted with flour.
If you are baking the pie crust unfilled, use pie weights, which are small ceramic or metal balls to weigh down the dough so that it holds its shape and stays firmly pressed against the pie plate. If you don’t have pie weights, you can use dried beans or uncooked rice.
How to Blind Bake a Pie You can prevent soggy-bottomed pie by blind baking, or prebaking, the pie shell before filling it. Lay your dough in the pan, gently pressing it into the pie plate. Tuck the overhang in around the edges, and crimp or use the tines of a fork to decorate the edges. Line pie shell with foil. Add pie weights. Chill the pie crust in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. ROUSES
Use a floured rolling pin to roll cold dough into a circle about ¼-inch thick. Loosely roll dough circle around your rolling pin and gently unroll it onto ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Press firmly against sides and bottom. Roll a second disk of dough for your top crust; set aside. Mix sugar, flour, lemon zest, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice together in large bowl. Add lemon juice and Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples, and toss until apples are coated. Spread apples with their juices into dough-lined pie plate, mounding them slightly in middle. Loosely roll remaining dough circle around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto filling. Lay the overhang flat around the pie rim, then fold it under or trim to ½
inch beyond lip of pie plate. Pinch edges of top and bottom crusts firmly together. Tuck overhang under itself. Crimp dough evenly around edge of pie using your fingers. This will help the filling stay in place when cooking. Cut four 2-inch slits in top of dough. Brush surface with beaten egg white to add shine, and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Place pie on heated baking sheet and bake until crust is light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F, rotate baking sheet, and continue to bake until juices are bubbling and crust is a deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Let pie cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 4 hours. Serve with cheddar cheese slices or Rouses Vanilla Ice Cream.
Praline Pumpkin Pie Makes 1 9-inch pie WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked (recipe above) For the Pumpkin Filling: 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (or fresh puréed pumpkin) ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon ground allspice Pinch ground cloves ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup evaporated milk 3 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract For the Praline Topping: 1 cup finely chopped pecans ½ cup packed dark brown sugar Pinch salt 2 teaspoons dark corn syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 teaspoons granulated sugar HOW TO PREP: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Roll out the pie crust and place in the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Partially bake (see directions above in How to Blind Bake a Pie). Place pumpkin, brown sugar, spices and salt in food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Move mixture to a large saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until sputtering (popping) and thickened, about 4 minutes, then remove from heat. Put partially baked pie shell back in oven to warm briefly. Whisk evaporated milk into pumpkin mixture, then whisk in eggs and vanilla extract. Pour filling into warmed pie shell and bake until filling is puffed and W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 4 9
Honeyed Browned-Butter Pecan Pie Visit rouses.com for this recipe! PHOTO BY ROMNEY CARUSO cracked around edges and center slightly jiggles when pie is shaken, about 35 minutes. While pie is baking, toss pecans, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add corn syrup and vanilla extract and, using fingers, mix. Scatter praline topping evenly over pie, then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until pecans are fragrant and topping is bubbling around edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely until firm, at least 2 hours, before slicing and serving.
Cover Pecan Crunch Bourbon recipe! Sweet Potato Pie Makes 1 9-inch pie Bourbon, especially wheated bourbon, pairs particularly well with brown sugar and pecans. Save the Pappy Van Winkle for drinking; for cooking and baking, use Maker’s Mark, Redemption Wheated Bourbon or Heaven Hill Larceny. If you don’t want to use bourbon, you can substitute one part vanilla extract plus two parts water for each tablespoon of bourbon in this recipe. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 small to medium sweet potatoes) 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 3 large eggs 2 egg yolks 1 cup granulated sugar ½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg ¼ teaspoon table salt
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2-3 tablespoons bourbon 1 tablespoon molasses 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ²/₃ cup whole milk ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar 1½ cups chopped pecans 3 tablespoons cane syrup 1 9-inch pie crust, partially baked
Meanwhile, toss chopped pecans with cane syrup until evenly coated; set aside.
HOW TO PREP: Preheat oven to 375°F.
Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, and serve.
Lower temperature to 350°F, spread the pecan and cane syrup topping over the top of the pie, then return pie to the oven and continue baking until filling is set around edges but center jiggles slightly when shaken, about 40 minutes.
Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake them until completely cooked through. (Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the sweet potatoes, but it will take from 30 to 60 minutes.) Remove cooked sweet potatoes from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Halve each potato crosswise, then insert small spoon between skin and flesh, and scoop flesh into medium bowl; discard skin. Repeat with remaining sweet potatoes; you should have about 2 cups of flesh after removing skin. While potatoes are still hot, add butter and mash with fork or wooden spoon; small lumps of potato should remain. Whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl; stir in bourbon, molasses and vanilla, then whisk in milk. Gradually add egg mixture to sweet potatoes, whisking gently to combine. Heat partially baked pie crust in oven until warm, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle bottom of pie shell evenly with brown sugar. Pour sweet potato mixture into pie shell over brown sugar layer. Bake for 15 minutes more.
Our recipe for our sweetdough custard pie known as Tarte à la Bouille — pronounced “tot a la booee” — has been passed down from generation to generation. This classic Cajun dessert, sometimes called Bouille, is made with milk, eggs and sugar. It has been a customer favorite for 60 years.
Green Bean Casserole with Libby’s Vegetables
3 Tbs butter 2 Tbs flour 1 tsp salt 1⁄4 tsp pepper 1⁄2 Tbs onion powder 1 cup sour cream 5 slices thick bacon (cooked and crumbled) 3 cans (14.5 oz.) Libby’s® Cut Green Beans (drained) 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1⁄2 cup crumbled butter crackers 1 Tbs butter (melted) In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, salt, pepper and onion powder. Cook for 1 minute or until blended. Add sour cream, bacon and green beans. Stir to coat then transfer to 2½ quart casserole dish. Top with cheese. In small bowl, mix together crushed crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees on middle rack for 30 minutes or until top is golden-brown. Makes 10 servings. Find this recipe and more using Libby’s Vegetables at www.getbacktothetable.com
©2020 Smithﬁeld Foods
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Pepper jelly is a mix of peppers, sugar and vinegar, which are combined with pectin to form a sweet and spicy preserve in jelly form. Classic red and green pepper jellies taste like home, but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re also fans of hotter blends like Citrus & Spice, Strawberry & Cayenne and Fig & Habanero from Farmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Daughters out of Lafayette, Louisiana. Most people serve pepper jelly with a brick of cream cheese and Wheat Thins or crunchy crackers, but it works as a topping for everything from pork to chicken to biscuits and deep-fried turkey necks.
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PHOTO BY ROMNEY CARUSO
By Liz Thorpe
When I’m fielding questions about cheese — what to pair them with, how to put together a great cheese board, which ones melt best — I always try to remind people about the fresh cheeses. Fresh cheese is the simplest style of cheese with the least amount of age (hence the name). They are the bright white cheeses with no rind, and they’re the highest in moisture, which makes them the most perishable. Mozzarella is probably the most famous. I make a plea for fresh cheeses because, while they’re unlikely contenders for your pre-dinner cheese plate, they’re missioncritical for simple, delicious recipes. Fresh cheeses are found in nearly every cuisine around the world, from queso fresco in Mexico and Central and South America, to paneer in India and Southeast Asia. Here at home we have an international buffet of fresh cheese choices: Italian-inspired burrata, Greek feta (a fresh cheese that is pickled in salt water), French-looking chèvre (aka fresh goat cheese). We also have what I think of as the American fresh cheese choice: good old-fashioned cream cheese. You’d be hard-pressed to find a ladies’ auxiliary or church picnic cookbook that doesn’t lean heavily on cream cheese to produce crowd-pleasing dips, spreads and desserts. One of my first “grown-up” appetizers, proudly served from the toaster oven, was dried, pitted dates stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. Cream cheese is spreadable comfort: mild, milky and meltable, with a chameleon-like flavor that manages to be sweet alongside spicy or smoky pairings and tangy when used as a frosting base. Cream cheese was accidentally invented in New York in 1872, a failed attempt
to reproduce the fresh French cheese Neufchâtel. While Neufchâtel is made only with milk, American dairyman William Lawrence used a combination of milk and cream, and his Philadelphia Cream Cheese remains the gold standard today. Cream cheese is one of a few regulated cheese recipes in the U.S., meaning the USDA enforces fat and moisture standards for cheeses calling themselves “cream cheese.” Cream cheese must have at least 33% milk fat and not more than 55% moisture. Modern innovation has enabled cream cheese manufacturers to take what was once an extraordinarily perishable product and extend shelf life through the addition of gums that stabilize the cheese. These stabilizers also deliver cream cheese’s signature smooth, thick, spreadable texture, which is not characteristic of most fresh cheese. Hence my delight in moving to New Orleans and discovering Creole cream cheese. Another fresh cheese local to this area, Creole cream cheese is much less like what we know cream cheese to be and much more like 19th-century cream cheese and traditional fresh cheese known as “farmer’s cheese.” Made of milk (without cream), Creole cream cheese relies on buttermilk to acidify (or curdle) fresh, whole
milk, helping to transform it into a fluffy, tart, tangy fresh cheese. Creole cream cheese is typically packed with cream (meaning cream is poured over the top of the cheese once it’s packed into a container), precisely because the texture is drier and curdier than what most folks expect “cream cheese” to be. As lifelong consumers of Creole cream cheese know, fresh cheese can go sweet or savory. This style’s malleability is what makes it essential-ingredient cheese — you can drizzle it with olive oil, black pepper and herbs, or sprinkle it with honey or sugar and serve it with fruit. I always talk about using spice, acidity and sweetness to cut the fat and protein of cheese, regardless of style. But this interplay is especially successful with soothing, milky, mild cream cheese. It’s why I’ll use it to stuff a jalapeño rather than make artichoke cream cheese dip, and likely why it’s commonly paired with spicy-sweet condiments like pepper jelly and Pickapeppa. Don’t get me wrong — the comfort calorie bomb of hot cream cheese spreads shouldn’t be dismissed, but the introduction of heat lets you enjoy the cooling relief of pure dairy sweetness.
since 1960 ROUSES
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Piece, Love & Happiness By Sarah Baird
For 10 months out of the year, the battle between cake lovers and pie diehards rages as a sugar-fueled tit for tat over which dessert is more beloved by the public. Birthdays have long been cake territory — whether you’re talking heirloom recipe carrot cake or from-thebox rainbow sprinkle — but pie has been making some serious moves into these celebrations. (Peach pie with candles in it, anyone?) Pie typically finds itself center stage at summertime potlucks and family reunions, particularly in situations where frosting might become a buttercream puddle in the sun. But the needle has been moving toward cake recently, as (typically icingfree) bundt and pound cakes are having a moment of potluck-dining glory. The two months out of the year, though, that remain firmly and undeniably pie territory — no questions asked — are November and December, the holiday season. Pie’s stranglehold during these colder months dates all the way back to 14th-century England, where it was a celebratory dish that began as a gussied-up porridge. “In the beginning, there was frumenty — a plain wheat porridge that was the staple food of peasants,” writes Janet Clarkson in 2009’s Pie: A Global History. “It was
enriched for special occasions (such as Christmas) with sugar and spice and all other things nice, such as eggs, dried fruit (‘plums’), wine and finely chopped meat. This Christmas porridge…eventually evolved into Christmas (mincemeat) pie.” As for Thanksgiving, sweet-tooth-approved pies have become as critical to that beloved November meal as any turkey and stuffing. (Just try to imagine your family’s reaction if someone forgot the pies one year. A nightmare, right?) “America has developed a pie tradition unequivocally and unapologetically at the sweet end of the scale, and at no time is this better demonstrated than at Thanksgiving in November,” Clarkson writes. “It seems that the country goes pie-mad at this time…” And after a particularly trying year for many, who isn’t anticipating that first slice of pie and its ability to melt away troubles — at least momentarily — with its sweetness? Maybe you’ll eat the pie before the meal itself, or maybe you’ll have multiple servings back to back. Maybe you stack one slice atop the other to make a double-decker pie slice! Whatever your approach, we’re all afforded a little extra room to indulge as wackily as we please this holiday season. After all, as David Mamet wrote in his 1999 play, Boston Marriage, “We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” If you’ve ever been curious which pie reflects your personality best (and which one you might consider hitting up first on the dessert table), the following quiz will help reveal your baked-to-perfection doppelgänger.
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a: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams.
What Kind of Pie Am I?
Keep the party rolling! Which holiday song gets you in a festive spirit the most?
b: Anyone singing “Frosty the Snowman” is fine by me! c: The entirety of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Vince Guaraldi. d: “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues.
First things first: What’s your favorite holiday side dish?
e: “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love.
a: Sweet potato casserole — I like to keep things unfussy and traditional.
f: “The 12 Yats of Christmas” by Benny Grunch & The Bunch.
b: Collard greens, and I always take a big helping. c: Cornbread dressing, particularly if it’s packed with plenty of unexpected ingredients. (Bacon, anyone?) d: Stuffed mirliton for me, please.
a: Eggnog, what else?
e: I’ll eat just about anything as long as it’s smothered in hot sauce.
b: A frothy, boozy Irish Coffee always does the trick for me.
f: Whatever dish has been grilled over an open flame, like charbroiled oysters.
c: Hot toddies made with unique teas from my collection (and plenty of bourbon). d: Sharing a Tom & Jerry with some new friends out of the vintage serving vessel I bought on eBay.
Sounds delicious! Ideally, where would you be eating this snack?
e: Hot buttered rum! Why pass up a chance to add butter to a cocktail?
a: Surrounded by my super-tight extended family. One year, we all even bought matching pajamas!
f: Warm plum brandy — I’ve been infusing the liquor for months in preparation for this very season.
b: While moving between different “Friendsgiving” events and holiday parties. My social network is wide. c: Leftovers from the refrigerator. I couldn’t make it to the party because of a research deadline, but my best friend brought me a plate to-go.
b: Something from my vintage sweatshirt collection that’s widely envied by my pals. (Plus, they’re super soft.)
e: I’m hosting pop-up picnics around town the whole holiday season. Why go with tradition when you can break it?
c: I’ve been teaching myself how to cook yakitori on a traditional charcoal grill. d: Creating a steamy at-home sauna in my bathroom.
f: Out in nature among the flora and fauna, alone with my thoughts.
e: Finally settling down with a significant other for the foreseeable future (at least until the weather improves). f: My ultra-thermal sleeping bag.
That sounds cheery. Do you have any beloved pets coming along? a: My rescue dog, of course. I found him at a shelter five years ago and we do everything together.
That’ll warm you right up! How else do you plan on staying cozy? a: An infinity scarf I hand-knitted earlier this year.
d: At a restaurant, cocktail in hand. I love to see and be seen!
Speaking of holiday spirits, what’s your go-to cold weather cocktail?
How many times are you going back to the dessert table for seconds?
b: No, but I keep an elaborate fish tank in my house and love adding new, colorful fish to my collection.
a: A few, but not until I’m completely sure everyone else has had their fill.
c: My two cats and I will be staying home, but just because that’s where we like to be, anyway.
b: A couple, probably, but mostly to chat with different people I’ve missed.
d: I take my pot-bellied pig with me to most big events. He loves people and I love the attention.
c: One trip is typically fine for me (so I can go back to reading my book).
e: My Chihuahua, Rosie, often rides in my purse. Don’t worry — her bark is bigger than her bite!
d: Multiple trips? Oh no! I stuffed at least three extra helpings into my purse on the first trip.
f: I don’t have any pets, but I’ve been known to rescue injured wild animals and nurse them back to health.
e: As many as I want — I’m not afraid to take the last piece of anything. f: I’m typically only eating half a plate to begin with.
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Mostly As in the quiz?
You’re Chess Pie
Just like chess pie is a classic saccharine delight with its super-simple, buttermeets-sugar filling, you’re an understated favorite among family and friends, always working in the background to help make someone’s day a little easier. Whether at an animal shelter or a food pantry, you love to volunteer, and community service is an important part of your DNA. Some might interpret your reserved nature as shyness, but that’s just a reflection of how considerate and deliberate you are about your actions. You’re far more concerned about deep connections — like what’s in your heart and the hearts of others — than first impressions.
MAKE THE PIE FUNKY:
A chocolate chess pie with a kick of cayenne or Thai chili is a sweet-meetsheat treat that might make you break a (delicious) sweat.
HAVE A DRINK WITH YOUR PIE:
Cabernet Sauvignon is the ideal dry red wine to help cut through some of chess pie’s sugar rush while standing up to its richness.
You’re Sweet Potato Pie
A smooth operator who can easily move from one friend group to another, as a sweet potato pie you’re a jill-of-all-trades who knows how to please people. One day you might be hitting the open mic to show off your stand-up set, then the next, you’re impressing the crowd with yet another perfectly executed pass during touch football. In anyone else’s hands, your chameleon-like nature might seem off-putting, but you’re so down-to-earth that no one can resist wanting to be your friend.
MAKE THE PIE FUNKY:
Adding a praline crumble to sweet potato pie creates a craggy, delicious topping that even the biggest holiday humbugs can’t resist.
HAVE A DRINK WITH YOUR PIE:
A simple cup of coffee with a splash of orange liqueur is all this dessert needs.
You’re Pecan Pie
There’s a lot going on with you, pecan pie, and that’s a good thing. A little bit nerdy, a little bit nutty and with a whole lot of brain power, you’re the type of intellectual pie that can easily synthesize different concepts and ideas into something entirely new. (Pecan pie is believed by many to have originated in New Orleans in the 17th century, bringing together a French baking tradition and the pecan nut after it was introduced by the Quinipissa or Tangipahoa tribe.) Sure, some might not be able to keep up with your inner complexity, but for those who get what you’re all about, there’s no one more fun.
MAKE THE PIE FUNKY:
Consider throwing some crushed-up pretzels into the mix — or baking the pie with a pretzel crust — for an unexpected salty crunch. (Or investing in a griddle to give it the Camellia Grill treatment.)
HAVE A DRINK WITH YOUR PIE:
Sip on a glass of the finest bourbon in your collection, neat. Bonus points if you add some of it into the pie when you’re making it. 6 0 S E P T E M B E R O C TO B E R 20 20
You’re Fruit Hand Pies
Bubbly, outgoing and decidedly quirky, you’re always the first in line at karaoke to sing your favorite song, and don’t mind at all if you’re a little off-key. Just like fruit hand pies take a “get up and go!” attitude toward snacking, you might have started a dancing flash mob once or twice in your life, always pulling people in from the sidelines to get involved. Generosity is your middle name, which means that you’re never caught without something to share with others — and maybe a few extra homemade coconut hand pies in your purse.
MAKE THE PIE FUNKY:
When it comes to filling, if you can dream it, you can hand-pie it. Looking for inspiration? Start by mixing and matching with some unexpected herbal additions: blueberries and lavender, for instance, or cherries and thyme.
HAVE A DRINK WITH YOUR PIE:
A classic pilsner or dark lager is a strong choice so you can move freely with pie in one hand and beer in the other.
You’re Lemon Ice Box Pie
A little bit sour and a little bit sweet, sass and brass are your calling cards. You might come off as somewhat icy when you first meet people — and some say you’re an acquired taste when compared to your more famous frozen pie cousin, key lime — but those you let into your inner circle know you’re fiercely loyal and support them no matter the situation. A natural rule breaker, you’re always the first to speak your mind around the holiday dinner table (no matter how much drama it causes) and don’t mind standing out in a sea of more traditional cold-weather pies.
MAKE THE PIE FUNKY:
Try mixing up your fruit choice (strawberry is always a hit) or grilling your citrus — lemons, oranges, you name it — for extra caramelization and depth of flavor.
HAVE A DRINK WITH YOUR PIE:
A glass of bubbly Prosecco is a perfect match, or if you’re ready to doubledown on the lemon, a French 75.
You’re Crawfish Pie
When it comes to pie — and life — savory (and savoring it) is the name of the game for you; you’ll take a crawfish pie over the sugary stuff any day of the week. Outdoorsy, health-focused and always ready to head out into nature, grabbing a Yeti cooler for a camping adventure or long, leisurely afternoon of fishing constitutes a dream weekend for you. When it comes to the holidays, you’ll be just as happy whipping up something for a solo cool-weather meal over an open flame than gathering around a table with a gaggle of cousins. Because for you, there’s nothing quite like reconnecting with yourself and the hum of plants and animals in the fresh air.
MAKE THE PIE FUNKY:
Miniature, single-serving crawfish pies are ideal for group settings and, let’s face it, look downright adorable.
HAVE A DRINK WITH YOUR PIE:
A Vieux Carré (cognac, Benedictine, sweet vermouth, rye and aromatic bitters) is a potent, smooth cocktail that can handle the savory, flaky-meets-creamy complexity of a crawfish pie. ROUSES
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Taste the Goodness of Plant Based
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Pictured: Rouses Pepper Jack Pork Boudin; Pickled Onions; Tabasco Spicy Brown Mustard, Avery Island, LA; Rouses Smoked Green Onion Sausage; Chef Paul Prudhomme Seasoned & Smoked Tasso; Cajun Chef Pickled Okra, St. Martinville, LA; Rouses French Bread; The Farmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Daughter Citrus and Spice Hot Pepper Jelly, Lafayette, LA; Rouses Andouille Sausage; Rouses Hogs Head Cheese
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