Thursday, April 28, 2016


With crawfish season in full tilt the obsession with the crawfish boil is raging as fiercely as the boil water.  However, in the old days crawfish (while certainly available to those that wanted it) was not necessarily a springtime staple in the New Orleans diet and there are no recipes or directions in vintage cookbooks for what we now know as a crawfish boil until much later.  (In fact, until more recently, the crab boil was more typical in the New Orleans area than was crawfish.)

However, there are vintage crawfish recipes in older cookbooks - some of them are pretty creative.  I would encourage those who follow this blog to give other options a try.  Here are two from 1941.  (The Tomato Cheese Sauce is a tomato soup based shortcut - homemade cream of tomato soup or a basic Creole sauce with a cup of grated cheese added and melted in will work if one prefers.)

by Mrs. Geo. A. Chehardy (New Orleans)

   With Tomato Cheese Sauce

Filling for Dumplings:

2 cups boiled, minced crawfish mixed with 1 tablespoon each minced onion, parsley, green pepper and celery.  Season highly and moisten with melted butter.


Sift together 2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/8 tsp. salt.  Cut in 2 tablespoons shortening and 1 beaten egg.  Add enough milk (about 3/4 cup) to make a moderately firm dough.  Roll thin; cut in large rounds.  Place a generous amount of the crawfish mixture on each and fold the edges of the dough to the center.  Arrange in a buttered pan; bake in a hot oven.[1]  Delicious.

Tomato Cheese Sauce:

This is a quick method sauce that is excellent. and when hot  Heat 1 can of cream of tomato soup[2] and when hot stir in 1 cup of grated yello cheese.  Cook long enough to melt cheese.  Serve on the dumplings.


2 ½ tablespoons butter
½ onion
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups hot milk
2 hard boiled eggs
2 ½ tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup chopped celery
1 cup boiled, chopped crawfish
Steamed rice
1 teaspoon curry

Melt butter; add onion and cook until onion is tender.  Stir in the flour; add milk; cook 10 minutes.  Add all ingredients (except the rice).  Cook over hot water 15 minutes.  To serve arrange mounds or rice, then a border of the curried crawfish.  Surround with a border of panéed bananas.  To pané bananas dip in egg, then in crumbs and fry.[3]

[1] 350º for 15 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.
[2] 1 can tomato soup diluted with 1 can milk.
[3] Use fairly green bananas; quarter by cutting in half lengthwise then widthwise; deep fry in oil or in a skillet with a a generous layer of oil until golden brown.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Rice Pudding

When people think of pudding in New Orleans, most often bread pudding leaps to mind.  While it's true that bread pudding has been a Creole favorite for time immemorial, rice pudding was right up there on the top shelf.  Three things the Creole cook sought - 1.) no waste, 2.) economy and 3.) loads of flavor!  Here are two 19th century recipes for rice pudding - both from 1885 and both delicious!


from Creole Cookery, 1885

Rice Pudding

4 tablespoons of soft, boiled rice,[1]  ¼ lb. of butter, 1 quart of milk, 8 eggs;[2] Scald the milk; add a few sticks of cinnamon, and while warm, stir  into it the rice, butter, and eggs, which must be first beaten;[3]  sweeten to the taste, and bake in a dish.[4]


from La Cuisine Creole, 1885

Rice Meringue Pudding

Boil ½ cup of rice[5] in a quart of milk until it is thoroughly done. Sweeten to taste and let it cool.  Beat in the yolks of 4 eggs.  Flavor with lemon rind[6] or essence and nutmeg.[7]  Bake in a pudding dish.  When cool, pour over it the whites of your eggs beaten with a cup of white sifted sugar.[8]  Bake light brown.  Season to taste with lemon, rose or vanilla.

[1] A tablespoon meaning a serving spoon -  about ¾ to 1 cup of rice
[2] Eggs were smaller then – 4 large eggs will do
[3] Beat the butter and eggs together first, stir it into the rice, then fold in the other ingredients.
[4] Butter a baking dish – I’ve made this in a square 9x9x2 inch pan – bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
[5] Uncooked rice – you’re cooking it in the milk; also, a cup back then meant a teacup – about ¼ cup in today’s measure
[6] Lemon Zest
[7] Meaning vanilla extract and nutmeg
[8] about ½ cup powdered sugar, beaten into a stiff meringue.