In this mouthwatering debut cookbook, Spicer, noted chef and proprietor of New Orleans's Bayona and Herb-saint, offers a vibrant look at the diversity and breadth of her local cuisine. With more than 170 recipes ranging from Cajun-spiced Pecans and Classic N'Awlins Shrimp Boil to Spicy Thai Salad with Shrimp, Pork, and Crispy Rice Noodles, Spicer highlights the range of the region's cuisine. Shellfish appear in several recipes such as Poached Oysters with Leeks and Bacon, and Shrimp and Tomato Bisque. Sandwiches, gumbos and desserts are also given ample attention. Throughout, Spicer provides brief but helpful descriptions of unusual ingredients such as filé powder and less common techniques like cold smoking. The must-try "Killer Cocktails" section (to-go cup not included) and "Spicer Pantry" list of important tools and ingredients will make any cook happy. This comprehensive guide to New Orleans cuisine will whet the appetite and please the palate. 86 color photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleansby Susan Spicer, Paula Disbrowe
One of New Orleans’s brightest culinary stars, Susan Spicer has been indulging Crescent City diners at her highly acclaimed restaurants, Bayona and Herbsaint, for years. Now, in her long-awaited cookbook, Spicer—an expert at knocking cuisine off its pedestal with a healthy dash of hot sauce, and at elevating comfort food to the level of the sublime—brings her signature dishes to the home cook’s table.
Crescent City Cooking includes all the recipes that have made Susan Spicer, and her restaurants, famous. Spicer marries traditional Southern cooking with culinary influences from around the world, and the result is New Orleans cooking with gusto and flair. Each of her familiar yet unique recipes is easy to make and wonderfully memorable.
Inside you’ll find :
• More than 170 recipes, ranging from traditional New Orleans dishes (Cornmeal-Crusted Crayfish Pies and Cajun-Spiced Pecans) to Susan’s very own twists on down-home cuisine (Smoked Duck Hash in Puff Pastry with Apple Cider Sauce; Grilled Shrimp with Black Bean Cakes and Coriander Sauce) and, of course, a recipe for the best gumbo you’ve ever tasted
• Over 90 photographs by Times-Picayune photographer Chris Granger, which display the vibrant city of New Orleans as much as Spicer’s wonderfully offbeat yet classy way of presenting her dishes
• Instructions that make Spicer’s down-to-earth but extraordinarily creative recipes easy to prepare. Spicer, who cooks for two picky preteens and packs lunch every day for her husband, knows how precious time can be and understands just how much is enough
There is something else of New Orleans—its spirit—that imbues this book’s every useful tip and anecdote. The strong culinary traditions of New Orleans are revived in Crescent City Cooking, with recipes that are guaranteed to comfort and surprise. This is some of the best food you’ll ever taste, in what is certain to become the essential New Orleans cookbook.
From the Hardcover edition.
Readers should not approach this book thinking that its recipes will adhere strictly to traditional New Orleans cooking. Spicer, the noted chef and proprietor of two New Orleans restaurants, offers much more than regional favorites. Organized cooks will especially savor the "Spicer's Pantry" section, featuring her favorite pantry items, often with the brand she feels most confident using frequently. Many of the recipes are complicated and for adventuresome cooks. However, the Turkish Stuffed Eggplant with Spicy Lamb and Rice, for example, can be made more simply and quickly with some easy fine-tuning; the original recipe isn't difficult, but it involves separate items to be made and then assembled. The photographs present a clean and appetizing look at the outcome of the recipes. On the whole, this collection of complex and delicious recipes based on the culinary traditions of the famed Louisiana city will be a welcome addition to any public library cookbook collection.
Claire A. Schaper
“Susan Spicer is a chef who dazzles the palate with flavors rooted in her beloved New Orleans. Her long-awaited debut, Crescent City Cooking, is full of mouth-watering recipes and show-stealing sides, and her chapter on killer cocktails from Bourbon Street is simply not to be missed. This book is one big party. Congratulations, Susan.”
“Susan Spicer is one of my favorite chefs in my favorite dining city in the world. Her sense of place and tradition is as romantic as it is alluring, and her recipes, basted with an incredible depth of flavor, are disarmingly simple to prepare. Susan's cooking celebrates the vibrant key of the French quarter, and the food in this book is tasty, delicious and exciting to make.”
"Susan's cuisine is a true journey around the world, blending soulful ingredients into exciting and original recipes. Her love for New Orleans' tradition shines through her innovative cooking."
–Daniel Boulud, Chef/Restaurateur
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Read an Excerpt
Sweet Potato Brioche
Makes about 20 rolls
Prep time: 30 minutes prep time, 6 hours rising time
This recipe was adapted from one I found in the Jackson, Mississippi, Junior League cookbook, Come on In! We have served them at Bayona forever, and they go fast. The sweet potato gives these rolls a beautiful color and rich, moist texture.
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup mashed baked sweet potato (approximately 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes)
5 eggs plus 1 beaten egg
1/4 cup whole milk
31/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 2 tablespoons warm water. Place the mashed sweet potato in the bowl of a mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat 1 minute at medium speed, then add the 5 eggs, milk, and yeast mixture and beat for 1 minute. Add the flour, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt and mix for about 5 minutes at medium speed. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, then beat in the cold butter, a third at a time. Remove the bowl, cover it lightly with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in size.
Close your hands into fists and gently punch down the dough to release air pockets and reduce its size. Cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator to rise overnight, or at least 6 hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and scoop it into a buttered 6-cup brioche mold, 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, or individual molds (such as buttered muffin tins). Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Brush the surface of the dough with the beaten egg and prick it in several places with a toothpick. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325F and continue baking until golden brown, about 20 more minutes for a large mold, or about 10 minutes for individual rolls. Cool for 10 minutes in the molds, then invert and cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes one cocktail
5–6 fresh basil leaves, plus one for garnish
1 sugar cube
1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec
1 1/2 ounces Patron or other silver tequila
5 ounces orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
Using a wooden spoon or "muddler," mash the basil with the sugar cube and Cointreau in a tall Collins glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the tequila and orange juice. Stir with a long spoon or straw and garnish with a basil leaf.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
This slow-roasted pork dish came to me from my Bayona partner, Regina Keever.The succulent meat lends itself to two fantastic preparations. For a Latin-inspired meal, serve it with Green Rice (p. 309). Or make ciabatta sandwiches with Pickled Cabbage and Creole Mustard (p. 154), from the leftovers.
1 boneless pork shoulder (about 6 pounds)
Juice and zest of 2 oranges (about 2/3 cup)
2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Using a paring knife, make several 1/2-inch-deep incisions on both sides of the meat. Mix the juice, jalapeños, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and oil, either by hand or by pulsing in a food processor until just mixed. Rub the meat with the mixture, being sure to massage some down into the incisions.
Place the meat in a roasting pan fat side up, cover with foil, and roast for 3-4 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender. Cool, remove it from the pan, then shred or slice the pork as desired. After the meat has been removed, add a little water or broth to the roasting pan and stir to dissolve any brown bits, then strain the juices and pour them back over the sliced or shredded meat.
Molasses Gingerbread with Lime Cream
Moist, spicy gingerbread is one of those simple desserts that people tend to associate fondly with childhood holidays. For me, it harks back to the Christmas seasons that I spent as a kid in Europe where gingerbread is particularly popular. Blending a mixture of baking soda and boiling water into molasses has a magical transforming effect in the oven. The light brown batter becomes very dark, rich, and deeply flavored when baked. Fragrant with warm, fresh ginger, this gingerbread is very moist, simple to make, and irresistible. Lime Cream is an unexpected—but perfect—partner. The recipe makes enough cream for one gingerbread cake. Any leftover cream is delicious slathered over toasted pound cake, buttermilk biscuits, or brioche. Don't reserve this recipe just for holiday baking—it will make your family sublimely happy all year long.
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, plus more for buttering the pan
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 cup unsulfured molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and butter an 8-inch square pan.
Melt the stick of butter, pour into a large bowl, and allow it to cool slightly. Beat the sugar and eggs into the butter. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and grated ginger.
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a samll saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, stir the molasses and soda solution into the water. Whisk the dry ingredients into the sugar and eggs, then stir in the molasses mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, testing for doneness with a wodden toothpick in the center of the cake (it should pull out clean and free of batter). Another indicator is that the cake will pull away from the sides of the pan when it's done. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake, and invert it onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Cut into squares and serve with Lime Cream (see below).
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
Zest of 1 lime, grated (about 1 tablespoon)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
In the bowl of an electric mixer, use the whisk attachment to whip the eggs and sugar at high speed until double in volume and light in color. Lower the speed and blend in the lime juice and zest.
Pour the egg mixture into a medium metal bowl placed over a pot of simmering water (or a double boiler). Cook over high heat, whisking often, until smooth, very thick, and custardlike (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat and use a wooden spoon to stir in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is fully incorporated. If the final mixture is lumpy, strain through a fine sieve. Otherwise, cool to room temperature.
Using an electric mixer or a wire whisk, whip the heavy cream into soft peaks. Gently fold a fourth of the whipped cream into the lime curd. Then fold in the remaining whipped cream.
From the Hardcover edition.
Meet the Author
Susan Spicer was born in Key West, Florida, and lived in Holland until the age of seven, when her family moved to New Orleans. She has lived there ever since, and is the owner of two restaurants, Bayona and Herbsaint. This is her first cookbook.
Paula Disbrowe was the former Cowgirl Chef at Hart & Hind Fitness Ranch in Rio Frio, Texas. Prior to that, she spent ten years working as a food and travel writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Food & Wine, and Saveur, among other major publications.
From the Hardcover edition.
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I purchased Susan Spicer's cookbook right after it came out and have given several as gifts. The Duck and Andouille Gumbo is the best I've ever eaten!
Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer is an entertaining and helpful cookbook...One that I enjoyed very much! This woman is such a talent! Order order your copy today!