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Use this New Orleans seasoning blend to add a Creole flavor to eggs, rice, casseroles and vegetables. Recipe Source: Emeril Lagasse

 Creole Seasoning
(Makes about 1-1/3 cups (325 mL)

5 tbsp (75 mL) paprika
1/4 cup (60 mL) garlic powder
4 tbsp (50 mL) salt
2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) onion powder
2 tbsp (30 mL) cayenne
2 tbsp (30 mL) dried oregano
2 tbsp (30 mL) dried thyme

Combine ingredients, blending well.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Shake or stir well before use.

For more information about New Orleans food, including a glossary of Creole and Cajun food specialties, check out our RoomPlanners June 2010 issue! This special issue profiles New Orleans style food, architecture, culture and interior design.

Click on the magazine cover to the left, or on the link below.
http://roomplanners.com/pdfs/06-2010.pdf

Art Smith, one of Oprah’s favorite chefs and author of “Back to the Family, and Jaclyn Smith, one of Charlie’s Angel’s and taste maven for some fashionable, well-price apparel and home collections at KMart…. were recently in New York to cook up some jambalya.

istock_000005210471xsmall-jpg-4-leaf-cloverAs a faithful Survivor fan, in nearly every episode of every season I have a recurring thought as close-up shots of slithering snakes fill my television screen. The Survivors could probably use Ireland’s patron saint! Said to have rid the country of snakes, St. Patrick is commemorated annually on March 17, the date of his death in 460 A. D.

How St. Paddy is single-handedly supposed to have created a snake-free Ireland is the stuff of legends. One explanation is that he made a box and invited the leader of the snakes to enter. But the snake took one look at the box, deemed it too small and a heated discussion ensued. Then to prove he was right about the box being too small, the snake crawled into it. The quick-thinking St. P slammed the lid shut and threw the box into the sea.

To this day, Ireland is apparently snake-free. Some people insist the rough waters of the Irish Sea are caused by the boisterous attempts of the snake to free himself from the box.

On March 17, whether you wish to celebrate a snake-free Ireland or perhaps just the pleasure of swilling green beer, take the opportunity to also indulge in some hearty Irish cuisine. Vegetables such as potatoes, onions, leeks, carrots and rutabagas figure prominently in Irish cooking, as do lamb stews, and braised meat and corned beef dishes. Whatever your main dish of choice, accompany it with an Irish soda bread or potato bread, then finish the meal with apple cake or a sweetened custard, and an Irish coffee.

Irish Stew
(Makes 8 servings)

If lamb shanks are not available, thick shoulder chops can be substituted.

8 lamb shanks
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (30 mL) oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each (5 mL) dried thyme and rosemary (or 1 tbsp/15 mL) chopped fresh each thyme and rosemary)
2 bottles (341 mL each) stout beer
3 cups (750 mL) beef stock or broth
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
3 tbsp (45 mL) packed brown sugar
3 onions, cut in wedges
3 carrots, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
3 parsnips, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
Half rutabaga, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley

Sprinkle shanks lightly with salt and pepper; coat all over with flour. In a large ovenproof casserole or Dutch oven, heat half the oil over medium-high heat. In batches, brown shanks all over, adding more oil as needed and removing browned shanks to a plate.

Stir in any remaining flour, garlic, thyme and rosemary; cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring. Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in beer; return to heat and bring to boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Cover pan and boil mixture, stirring often, until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups (500 mL) stock. Return shanks and any juices to the pan. Bring to boil, then cover tightly.

Bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven until lamb is very tender, about 2-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, melt butter and sugar over medium heat; stir in onions, carrots, parsnips and rutabaga until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add remaining stock and bring to boil.

Bake, uncovered and stirring occasionally, at 350°F (180°C) until vegetables are tender but not mushy, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir into cooked shanks. (Stew can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. To serve, remove any fat from top, bring to room temperature for 30 minutes and reheat slowly on stovetop, stirring often; or place in a 350°F (180°C) oven, covered, for about 30 minutes or until bubbly.)

Reheat if necessary, after you remove fat from top. Just before serving, sprinkle with parsley.

Potato Bread
(Makes 8 servings)

2 cups (500 mL) warm mashed cooked potatoes (about 3 potatoes)
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) salt, preferably Kosher or sea
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour

Place potatoes in a large bowl and mix in melted butter and salt; mix in enough flour to make pliable dough, lightly kneading in remaining. (The less flour you use, the lighter the bread.) Divide dough into 4 portions. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and roll into four 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick circles. Cut each into 4 triangles.

Bake on hot lightly greased griddle or skillet until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes, turning once.

Curragh Custard
(Makes 6 servings)

8 egg yolks
3 tablespoons (45 mL) sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) sweet sherry or Marsala

In top of a double boiler, place egg yolks. Add sugar. Beat with a whisk until light lemon-colored and well blended. Add sherry and whisk again until blended.

Cook egg yolk mixture over boiling water until it begins to thicken, whisking constantly. Do not allow to boil; remove from heat if mixture starts to bubble.

Cool, then cover and refrigerate.

Serve chilled in pretty sherbet or parfait glasses.

Irish Coffee
(Makes 6 servings)

2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar
6 tbsp (90 mL) Irish whiskey
Strong hot black coffee
Whipped cream

Into each of 6 tall warmed mugs, place 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sugar and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) Irish whiskey. Add coffee to almost fill mugs. Stir to dissolve sugar. Top with whipped cream.