New Orleans

Jun
20
2011

The Commander’s Palace Dining Experience

One of the highlights of my time in New Orleans was going to Commander’s Palace for Brunch Sunday morning. It’s hard to explain the ambiance of the restaurant, it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before, or at least that I have ever seen. A long line of waiters lined the halls and greeted us as we walked through the door and balloons were centerpieces at every table. You also get a live band that plays at your own table. The food was…..unforgettable. Scroll down, you’ll see what I mean.

So, here we are just walking off the bus, snapping photos like crazy as we did at everything :) To the right is Adam, Matt and Brooke looking great!

Here are those waiters that greeted us at the door and the balloons at each table. So fun and festive. It was also a treat to see some of the local women in their fancy Sunday hats as well. So different from what I am used to.

We got to walk through the giant kitchen to see all the kitchen staff hard at work.

More table shots

Tables were placed by big windows with gorgeous views of lush green trees.

Alright onto the food we enjoyed at Commander’s. We started with a single fried Oyster with Caviar and the Brandy Milk Punch (minus the Brandy) Both were a dream, especially that milk. It tasted like melted vanilla ice cream, yum!

Marla had that gorgeous salad and I ordered trio of soups that included a turtle soup. That was another first for me :)

Here were the guys from the band. Loved them!

Here were some of the brunch entrees that came out. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Amanda ordered this shrimp that was probably the best shrimp I have tasted. Want it again!

I ordered the White Chocolate Blueberry Pancakes…..they were as good as they look.

Photo via Marla Meridith

Amanda, Marla and me at our table, love these gals!

Dessert was a dream. Here is the Cookie Dough Bread Pudding.

The Pralines dessert and the Strawberry Shortcake. Both delicious.

The cheesecake was so photogenic and tasted even better.

This Bread Pudding Souffle was my favorite and I have the recipe for you from the restaurant! Enjoy friends!

Bread Pudding Souffle With Whiskey Sauce

Recipe by Commander’s Palace, New Orleans

Butter, for greasing pan and ramekins

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch nutmeg

3 medium eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups New Orleans French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (see *Cook’s Note)

1/3 cup raisins

Whisky Sauce

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

Meringue

9 medium egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

Directions

*Cook’s Note: New Orleans French bread is very light and tender. If another bread is used that is too dense, it will soak up all the custard and the recipe won’t work.

Make the bread pudding: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs until smooth, and then work in the heavy cream. Add the vanilla, stir to combine, and then the bread cubes. Let stand so that bread soaks up custard.

Place the raisins in the greased pan. Top with the bread mixture, which prevents the raisins from burning. Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until the pudding has a golden brown color and is firm to the touch. If a toothpick inserted in the pudding comes out clean, it is done. The mixture should be moist, not runny or dry. Cool to room temperature.

Make the whiskey sauce: Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Whisk cornstarch and water together, and add to cream while whisking. Bring to a boil. Whisk and let for a few seconds, taking care not to burn the mixture on the bottom. Remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and the bourbon. Taste to make sure the sauce has a thick consistency, a sufficiently sweet taste, and a good bourbon flavor. Cool to room temperature.

Make the meringue: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter 6 (6-ounce) ramekins and set aside. Make certain that the bowl and whisk are completely clean. The egg whites should be completely free of yolk, and they will better if they are at room temperature. This dish needs a good, stiff meringue. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), whip egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add the sugar gradually, and continue whipping until shiny and thick. Test with a clean spoon. If the whites stand up stiff, like shaving cream when you pull out the spoon, the meringue is ready. Do not over-whip, or the whites will break down and the souffle will not work.

In a large bowl, break half of the bread pudding into pieces using your hands or a spoon. Gently fold in 1/4 of the meringue, being careful not to lose the air in the whites. Add a portion of this base to each of the ramekins. Place the remaining bread pudding in the bowl, break into pieces, and carefully fold in the rest of the meringue. Top off the souffles with this lighter mixture. Smooth and shape tops with a spoon into a dome over the ramekin rim.

Bake immediately for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately. Using a spoon, at the table, poke a hole in the top of each souffle, and pour the room temperature whiskey sauce inside the souffle.

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Have a great day, I’ll be dreaming of Commander’s Palace :)


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Jun
16
2011

Loving New Orleans

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Photo via Marla Meridith

What a great weekend I had in New Orleans last week.  I was fortunate to spend 4 days with a group of bloggers and the LA Seafood Board.  We ate our way through the best restaurants and met with seafood fisherman to get a hands on look at how much love and work goes into their jobs.  A real eye opening experience, I have so much respect for all of them.

Let me take you through a peek at the adventures we went on day 1.

We were so lucky to stay at The Bourbon Orleans Hotel, right in the middle of the French Quarter.

Photo via Marla Meridith

We had a lovely gift bag of sweets from Sucre’ Bakery Boutique and a giant arrangement of Zatarains products waiting in our rooms.  How gorgeous is this?

Last Thursday evening we dined at the Bistro at Maison De Ville.  The  food was delicious, I tried my first set of frog legs.  So cliche, but yes tasted like chicken :)

I am not sure what I will do without Camillia’s Grill. Amanda and I enjoyed their charming diner 3 times in 4 days.  No kidding, they had the best breakfast Western Omelet I have ever had.  See photos below.  We spotted their secret ingredient.  Finely chopped ham and peppers sauteed in LOTS of butter before the eggs get poured over.  Worth every single calorie.

Here is the inside diner.  Love Love Loved it :)

Here are the guys hard at work, they were as sweet as the food was delicious.  It’s a must do if you are in New Orleans.

The photos don’t even do these dishes justice.  We split a side of pancakes and some grits too.  Love!

After breakfast on Friday, we headed to the Louisiana Seafood Festival, lots to see and even more to eat.  I got a kick out of the gator offerings.  You don’t see this in Orange County :)  Matt and Adam tried the gator sausage and everyone raved about it, guess Mr. Gator is mighty tasty.

We also had front row seats to chef demo’s at the festival.  Talented local Chef’s prepared beautiful seafood dishes and shared.  How good does that shrimp and coconut look that Chef John Folse is holding?

Here we are getting interviewed by the LA Seafood camera man.  Not sure where our faces will show up.  Matt and Amanda doing a fine job on camera :)

Photo Via Matt Amaranderiz

Marla, Me and Gaby taking pics of the gorgeous chef dishes.  Always snapping photos aren’t we?!

Ahhh, the ever so famous Cafe Du Monde.  Before I went to New Orleans, EVERYONE said you must get beignets from Cafe Du Monde.  I don’t drink coffee, but I hear their coffee is a must order as well.  It’s a small outside coffee shop with powdered sugar all over the floor.  You can see why by the looks of those beignets.  Very charming indeed and how can you go wrong with a fried piece of goodness covered in powdered sugar?

Happy girl with my beignets :)

We also had the pleasure of watching cooking demo’s from Chef Ann at the New Orleans School of Cooking.  The food was outstanding!

On the left is Ann the cooking instructor who was the cutest sweetest grandma you’ll ever meet.  On the right is Dan serving up the grub.  We could come up and help ourselves….and even have seconds :)

Photo via Amanda

Maggy and I snapping some serious photos, lol!

Photo via Amanda

Me, Maggy and Amanda at the cooking school :) We enjoyed Corn and Crab Bisque, Crawfish Etouffee, Banana’s Foster and Homemade Pralines….which I have the recipe for you!!

Homemade Pralines

Recipe by The New Orleans School of Cooking

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup milk

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Combine all ingredients and bring to a “softball stage” (238-240 degrees F), stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

2. Stir until mixture thickens (again stirring constantly), becomes creamy and cloudy, and pecans stay suspended in mixture. Spoon out on buttered waxed paper, aluminum foil or parchment paper. When using waxed paper, be sure to buffer with newspaper underneath, as hot wax will transfer to whatever is beneath.

Note: To roast pecans, bake them on a sheet pan at 275 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant.

Options: Praline sauce (add 1/2 cup corn syrup to mixture). Chocolate covered praline candy. Flavored pralines (chocolate, coffee, brandy, etc.)

Makes 1-50 pralines depending on size

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Stay tuned for more New Orleans Adventures and more recipes!

To see the full list of bloggers who I was with click HERE


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