Patience and Perseverance: Broccoli Pie ’70s Style

The ladies of a certain generation are very protective of their old family recipes and refuse to share their secrets even among their closest friends. If, heavens, a woman finds herself forced to reveal the recipe, she might…I’m saying might…accidentally, like totally by accident…leave out one crucial ingredient rendering the replication far inferior to the original.

Such ingredient omission could result in conversations like “Louise, I made your pecan bars last week and they just weren’t as good…’ To which Louise might just smile and say ‘bless your heart’. (see Southern lady’s translation of this sentiment)

I had been begging a friend’s mother for her Zucchini casserole recipe for exactly three years. Every time I saw her I asked again and she always found a way around giving it to me.

Denial of its existence:       ‘I’m not even sure I have it written down.’

No way to send it:  ‘Oh, I don’t have email.’

Fear of being replaced:    ‘I don’t want the casserole showing up at dinner parties all over town.’

But, I was persistent and about six months ago, she sat me down, went into a triple locked vault and simply said: ‘Do you have a pen?’

Listening intently…I took copious notes and asked only one question: ‘do you think adding toasted bread crumbs to the top would be good?’ Horrified, insulted and thinking about ripping the recipe out of my hands, she shook her head disapprovingly and said firmly, ‘NO.’

When it came time to make the casserole, (and please don’t tell) I did make a few changes: I subbed out zucchini for broccoli and divided the recipe by 4 – ‘Louise’ (that’s an alias, she who has no access to the internet or this blog prefers not to be named) makes a giant batch, divides in to several 9-inch bread pans before cooking and freezes – then she pulls out a pan, thaws and bakes off as needed.

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. Bisquick ExpiryThis recipe was translated from one that made enough Zucchini casserole for an army – there was math – but it worked out. Don’t be afraid to do some dividing in order to cook for fewer than 57 people
  2. Write expiry dates on the side of packages that face out in the cabinet – that way each time you look in there, you’ll know how many more days you have left to use your Bisquick – I had until today (no fear, I baked this over the weekend)
  3. Don’t keep your 8×8 Le Creuset baking dish on the very top shelf of your cabinets – the fact that mine was up there kept me from using it for a very long time. Thank goodness for my Gracious Home step ladder

Broccoli Pie (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • bisquick recipes

    70’s mix

    2 Cups Broccoli Florets

  • 1/2 Large Onion
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Bisquick Baking Mix
  • 1/4 Cup Grated or Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • Pepper – if you want

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees

1. Mise en place – always miss en place – cheese, eggs, vegetable oil, Bisquick mix, onion half, Italian Seasoning

mise en place anne burrell vegetarian

All important Mise En Place

2. Chop the stems off of your broccoli and rough chop – then wash

broccoli vegetarian dinner side dish recipe

Lots of Broccoli – fresh from Fairway Market NYC

3. Pretend you’re going to make vegetable stock and keep the broccoli stems in the freezer until you admit that you’re not going to ever make vegetable stock and then throw them out.

broccoli stems vegetarian pie side dish

Be honest, you’re not going to make veggie stock

4. Roast the broccoli – this adds a great, browned, smoky flavor to the casserole. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet. Toss with ‘really good’ olive oil and salt. Roast for 15 mins, tossing them around a bit about halfway through.

roasted broccoli dinner side dish vegetarian

Brown food is good food – roasted broccoli

5. Turn oven down to 350 degrees

6. Allow the broccoli to cool for about :10 mins then toss it into your Cuisinart

7. Chop the onion into chunks and toss into the Cuisinart with the broccoli

side dish recipe vegetarian casserole

Thank you Cuisinart

8. Pulse until the broccoli and onions are well minced, but still have a tiny bit of chunkiness to them

9. If you’re using shredded parmesan (not grated) – add to the Cuisinart and pulse a few more seconds

broccoli casserole recipe vegetarian

Slight chunks AOK

10. In a separate bowl combine the 2 eggs, Bisquick, Vegetable oil, Italian Seasoning and pepper if you like that kind of thing. You already salted the roasted broccoli, so no need to add more. (Also if you’re using grated parmesan, add it now)

recipe side dish vegetarian broccoli

Bisquick-y mix

11. Add the broccoli, cheese, onion mince to the Bisquick mix and stir to combine

broccoli casserole recipe

Add the broc onion cheese mix

12. It should look like this – just make sure you get all of the dry bisquick-y stuff well combined with the veggies and eggs

vegetarian casserole broccoli recipe

Well mixed

13. Spray an 8×8 Le Creuset dish with Pam or other nonstick cooking spray. Can you use other than Le Creuset? No, no you can not.

14. Spread the mixture into the baking dish evenly – should be about 1 inch thick

vegetarian casserole dinner broccoli

Spread into modern Corningware = Le Creuset

15. Bake at 350 – did you remember to turn down the oven? – for :35 mins or until lovingly browned

broccoli pie casserole recipe

Perfectly browned edges

16. Slice into wedges and serve

vegetarian side dish recipe broccoli

Sumptuous Slice

The Broccoli Pie nee Zucchini casserole recipe was worth waiting, begging and ultimately fighting for. It’s a ’70s throwback to the time when most vegetables were over boiled or minced and most side dishes included Bisquick.

To those of you who are courting women of a certain generation for a secret family recipe, let me say just this – patience and perseverance pay off. And, if this dish starts popping up at dinner parties all over town – please don’t tell ‘Louise’ about this blog.

Soup-Er Bowl: White Bean, Sausage and Cauliflower Soup

superbowl football soup cauliflower

Soup-Er Superbowl Soup

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner. If I read the Roman Numerals correctly, it’s Super Bowl 48..Not 49-er. And while, we, as New Yorkers, lament that our (or Jersey’s depending upon how you look at it) hometown team won’t be playing, we rejoice in the fact that at least one Manning will be there….Hopefully leading the Broncos to victory.

And, let’s be honest, we’re just happy it’s not the Patriots.

superbowl soup dinner recipe budweiser horses

Boozy Budweiser Clydesdales – not Colts

I know it’s almost Super Bowl Sunday because I saw the Budweiser Clydesdale horses outside of my apartment the other day. That’s right, a team of boozy Broncos led by some Cowboy towing a ton of beer. Right here on 67th St. Only in New York, Kids.

And, then there are all of the cooking tips on TV. Seem that no one eats like a Saint on SBS. Most chow down more like Cardinals – twice their weight in one day – and view Super Bowl Sunday as an excellent opportunity to consume 8million tons of guacamole – always seemed odd to me. Maybe those Texans started this tradition of guac. Americans pride themselves on creating 7-layer dips in the shapes of football stadiums, wrapping billions of cocktail weenies in crescent dough and consuming copious amounts of …beer.

I, on the other hand, prefer to provide my guests with Giant Soup-er Super Bowl soups. Last year, I made the Soup-Er simple Taco Soup…..this year, I’ll be mesmerizing Manning fans with a not as simple, but equally delicious, White Bean, Cauliflower, Chicken Sausage Soup. A soup that may even entice my Seahawk friends Jet-ing in from the west.

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. If you don’t have a hand held blender – get one. They don’t take up a lot of space, aren’t that expensive, come in pretty colors (mine is pink) are dishwasher safe and make an easy job of pureeing your soup.
  2. Timing is everything – since you’re having people over, clean as you go – you don’t have counter space for all of those dirty pots & pans anyway and your kitchen probably doubles as your bar, coat rack, convening space for friends and Titans of Industry.
  3. If you don’t have a Viking range, no worries, yours will be just fine.

Soup-Er Super Bowl Soup (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • rachael ray sausage oscars smoke house super bowl soup

    Super Sausage from Somewhere Upstate – Well East of Buffalo, home of the Bills

    4 Chicken-Cheddar-Spinach Sausage links Sliced –  mine were from Oscar’s Smoke House upstate –  because Rachael Ray says so…PS, they ship to NYC

  • 2 Cans White Northern or Cannolini beans – the big white ones not the Redskin-ed ones – rinsed
  • 2 Cups Cut Cauliflower – don’t be an over Packer – just 2 loose cups will do
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion Diced
  • ½ Small Shallot diced
  • 2 Cups of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh Thyme – ok, mine are frozen – not in the refrig-e-Raider, but in the freezer
  • 4 Cups of Good Chicken Stock – like you’d ever use ‘bad’ chicken stock?
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • EVOO
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Spread the cauliflower on a lined baking sheet (Reynolds Wrap pan-lining paper is my fave), sprinkle with EVOO and salt and gently mix

vegetable roasting cauliflower

Cauliflower Ready to Roast

3. Put Cauliflower in to oven and roast for :30mins

cauliflower roasted vegetarian

Brown(s) Food Is Good Food

4. Meanwhile…..In a large stock pot – Le Creuset, s’il vous plait – over medium heat, sauté the diced onion and shallot in about 2 tbsp of EVOO until well softened and sorta translucent – about :10 mins

soup onion shallot super bowl sunday dinner

The onion makes it onion-y the shallot makes it sweet…and it’s pretty

5. Toss in a Bay Leaf for flavoring….

soup recipe super bowl

Bay Leaf for seasoning

6. Add 4 Cups of Chicken Stock and 1 Cup of water

7. Add in the roasted cauliflower and the Thyme leaves

cauliflower soup dinner recipe

Stirring in roasted cauliflower goodness

8. BTB / RTS – bring to boil, return to simmer….but, you knew what I meant

9. Simmer for :25 minutes until the cauliflower is well softened. Keep an Eagle’s eye on your simmer – it’s an art, simmering.

While that’s simmering….

9. In a frying pan over medium/high heat, add 1 tbsp of EVOO and sauté the sausage slices until browned.

dinner sausage soup with white beans

Chicken Sausage with Cheddar and Spinach – Oscar’s Smoke House NY

10. Remove the sausage and set aside

oscars smoke house chicken sausage

Browned and Beautiful

——————————WAIT—————————————

ABOUT :10mins – read a book, call your mom, watch an episode of ‘That’s So Raven(s)’, whatever….

11. In the sausage-y pan, add the spinach and wilt – :04 mins ish

fresh spinach soup cauliflower recipe

Wonderfully Wilted Spinach

12. Remove the sautéed spinach and set aside

13. Back to the large stock pot….After :25 minutes Turn off heat on Stock Pot…….Remove the bay leaf

14. Stir in 1 15oz can of White Beans and simmer another :05 minutes

soup dinner recipe

Simmering Simmering Simmering

15. Add pepper to taste – about 4-5 turns of a mill

16. Puree mixture with pretty pink hand held blender until smooth – you may have to chase the chunks of cauliflower…Like a Lion, Panther or a Bengal Tiger might chase down its prey.

soup puree cauliflower

Pretty Pink Pureeing – chasing chunks of Cauliflower

dinner soup recipe cauliflower spinach sausag

Smooth, Sleek and Silky…Like a Jaguar

17. Stir in 1 Cup of Cannolini / Northern White beans and the cooked sausage and the spinach. I like a soup that eats like a meal…so, I add no more stock… you do what you want, you know what I’m doing…If your guests are hungry as Bears, Ram in another can of beans to make it more stew-ish. You can also stir in some cream, don’t need to, but can – whatever you want. You’re the Chief Chef here.

soup super bowl recipe find the teams

Do you have to add spinach? No, but it’s pretty and delish

Gindo's Spice of Life fresh and spicy pepper sauce

That’s Hot!

18. Have some spice-loving Buccaneers coming over? You can, at this point, stir in a few dashes of Gindo’s Fresh and Spicy Spice of Life…for an extra point or an onside kick!

19. Heat Through

20. Serve warm (just in a simple soup bowl, no need for the formality of fine china on gilded Chargers).

Add some yummy, crusty bread  – I paid just $1.19 for a baguette at Fairway today! At that price, I felt like a Steeler of breads!

dinner soup recipe super bowl

The Spinach Swims in the Soup like a Graceful Pod of Dolphins

So….the Giants didn’t make it to the big game. It’s fine. Truth be told, I’m more in to the commercials anyway…And the cooking. And, with this chicken sausage, white bean and cauliflower soup – it’s sure to be a Soup-er Super Bowl Sunday!

Go Peyton!

PS – Maybe you’d rather watch reruns of Falcon(s) Crest instead of the Big Game. Listen, if you need to be entertained, find the 32 NFL teams mentioned in this post.

Secret Mushrooms: Thanksgiving Stuffing with Morels

stuffing thanksgiving morel mushroom

Perfect Thanksgiving Plate

Everyone has a food or two that they just won’t eat. I, for example, do not eat raisins (yes, I eat grapes) or chopped coconut. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy an occasional Pina Colada and am happy to drink coconut milk. I just can’t stand the texture of raisins or raw coconut – no macaroons for me.

Some time ago, I was dating someone who refused to eat mushrooms of any kind. Seriously? We were on the verge of spending Thanksgiving together and his aversion to mushrooms put me in quite a conundrum. I mean, I had been making the Turkey and Stuffing for Friends-Giving since I was in college and had really perfected it.

And part of that perfection is morel mushrooms, the bacon of the mushroom family, and a key ingredient in my Thanksgiving stuffing. I had a difficult decision to make….Eliminate the mushrooms? Make two separate batches of stuffing? Or, just don’t tell him and hope for the best.

Hmmmmm….This particular boyfriend had a career where knowing things and figuring things out were sort of important. Like part of his job and such.

Bacon Mushroom

Bacon Mushroom

What he might not have known is that Morels are prized by gourmet chefs around the world. In the US, they are known by many names including Hickory Chickens, Molly Moochers, Merkels and even Miracles. In our house growing up, we called them Bacon Mushrooms because of their smoky, rich flavor.

So, I couldn’t imagine Thanksgiving without morel mushrooms…I took the risk and I put them in and didn’t say anything. What? Like you’ve never done that?

Old School Stuffing with a Bacon-y Twist (serves 8)

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. You can make this the night before to save counter space and pots and pans on day of
  2. Dried morel mushrooms are tricky to find…But, Eve’s Garden on West 23rd St usually has them
  3. You can never have enough chicken stock on Thanksgiving

Ingredients:

  • pepperidge farm stuffing thanksgiving morel mushrooms

    Stuff It

    2 Medium Onions – diced

  • 4 – 6 Celery Stalks, peeled and diced
  • 2 Sticks of Butter
  • 1/4 Cup of Rosemary – chopped small
  • 4 Slices Wheat Bread – cubed
  • 4 Slices Portugese or White Bread – cubed
  • 1 Bag Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing
  • 1 oz Dried Morel Mushrooms
  • 1 Box of Chicken Stock
  • Salt and Pepper

1. The night or two nights before, cube the white and wheat bread. Put into a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap. Poke some holes in the wrap and set aside. This will stale up the bread a bit. You can also just toast the cubed bread in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes to crust it up a bit.

stuffing bread thanksgiving

Staling Up the Bread

2. Put the dried morel mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with chicken stock to rehydrate – this takes about an hour or less. I usually buy Whole Foods 365 brand Chicken Stock – it’s not any more expensive and very good.

3. Preparation – so important. Dice the onions and celery and finely chop the rosemary leaves.

4. Remove the morels from the chicken stock and rinse gently to remove any residual dirt

morel mushrooms thanksgiving stuffing

Rehydrated and Gently Rinsed Morels

5. Chop the morels into small pieces

dinner stuffing mise en place

Mise En Place – critical to a successful Thanksgiving

6. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt two sticks of butter – I use salted and then I don’t need to add more salt later

thanksgiving stuffing butter

Butter makes it Better

7. Add the onions, stir for about 2 mins and then add celery and cook until softened – about :10 minutes. You want the celery to maintain some of its crunch.

stuffing celery onions butter

Add onions about a minute or two before celery

8. Add the chopped rosemary and morel mushrooms and stir to combine

stuffing recipe thanksgiving

Add the rosemary and stir until fragrant

stuffing dinner recipe thanksgiving

Gently stir in the Magic Morels – Tastes Like Bacon

9. Add salt and pepper to taste – if you use salted butter and/or chicken stock with sodium, be sparing in any addition of salt

10. Pour in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and stir to combine and warm through

11. In a large bowl, combine 1 bag of Pepperidge Farms Herbed Stuffing and the cubed, staled bread

12. In stages…like 1/2 cup at a time…pour the buttery, oniony, celery, morel-y, rosemary, chicken stock-y mixture over the stuffing/cubed bread mixture.

Thanksgiving stuffing morel mushrooms

Add moisture in stages – you don’t want it soggy

13. Gently fold together the ingredients until moistened and combined. You don’t want the mixture to be soggy…especially if you are going to stuff your bird. The stuffing will absorb the juices from the turkey during the roasting process

14. Allow to cool entirely before stuffing in the bird. You can choose not to stuff the bird…but will miss out on the flavorization that the turkey juices provides to the stuffing

thanksgiving stuffing recipe

I stuff the top and bottom of the bird

15. Depending upon size of your bird, you will have extra stuffing. Put this extra in a baking dish and reheat prior to serving. You may need to add a little extra chicken stock to keep it moist and delicious. Remember anything not stuffed in the bird won’t benefit from the turkey juices.

Thanksgiving that year was a big success. The boyfriend ate the stuffing and never caught on to the secret mushrooms. I’m not saying lying is a good thing – it’s not. But, I just couldn’t give up my bacon-y morel mushrooms. Some secrets are worth keeping.

For other Thanksgiving Day tips see Talkin’ Turkey….

Care to Prepare For Those Who Don’t Share: Individual Potatoes Au Gratin

potatoes au gratin recipe melissa d'arabian

Farmer’s Market Russet Potatoes

A wise five year-old once told me that ‘sharing is caring.’ OK, maybe he heard that somewhere, but it was wise nonetheless. Seems like a pretty good and simple message.

When it comes to food, however, we’re not always great sharers. My loyal reader(s) know that I have an irrational fear of starving to death. No reason I should feel this way, but I get nervous when food is presented and meant to be shared that I won’t get enough…and that I will immediately starve and die.

Shun Lee West NYC

Shun Lee West Love

My friends and I were all out at Shun Lee a while ago – ok, it was in the ’90’s – and even though the old school waiters at Shun Lee plate each diner’s portion, two of our dinner group refused to share. Actually, and you know who you are, they announced what they would like from the menu followed by ‘and we’re not sharing‘. OK, good to know this up front. And, to be honest, I respected it.

Growing up, it wasn’t unusual to see someone else’s fork wander over to my plate and steal a piece of whatever it was that we were eating. Coming up with clever ways to distract a family member while grabbing food from his/her plate became yet another family competition. So…maybe my fear isn’t totally irrational.

So, as a matter of survival, I love to serve individual portions of traditionally casserole created meals. And, apparently, so does Melissa D’Arabian.

Individual Potatoes Au Gratin adapted from Melissa D’Arabian (Serves 6)

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  • If your space provides for either cupcake OR Texas tins…opt for cupcake tins. Popovers and these individual potatoes au gratin will be fine in the smaller tins
  • While slicing your potatoes on a Mandolin will, indeed, make each potato slice uniformly thick…you might not have room for this kitchen equipment…plus, having personally lost the tip of a finger, I can tell you that the mandolin is just too risky. Use a sharp knife, you’ll be fine.
  • MA’s recipe calls for heavy cream…but, really, you can use anywhere from 2% to whole milk and it’ll work out. This way you don’t need to overstock on dairy

Ingredients:

  • melissa d'arabian potatoes au gratin

    She knows not to share

    3 large Russet Potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

  • 1/2 cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup of Shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 12 TBSPs whole milk or 2% or cream
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh Chives
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Tons of non-stick cooking spray

Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees

1. Wash and Peel the potatoes and slice as thinly as possible. Put the slices in a bowl of water with ice cubes to keep them from browning. You can do this hours ahead of time and store in the fridge to save counter space needed to prepare the rest of your feast.

potatoes au gratin individual

Immersing the slices in water to keep from browning

2. Spray your non-stick cupcake OR Texas tins with a ton, like a ton, of non-stick cooking spray. Yes, I’ve used butter…but, the spray works better here

3. Place a slice of potato (cut to fit if necessary) in the base of each pan well

4. Layer some cheddar cheese on top – about a tsp or so

5. Place another slice of potato on top of the cheddar

6. Layer on some Swiss cheese

7. Place another slice of potato on top of the Swiss

8. Repeat until each cupcake or muffin well is well-filled and end with a potato slice. Don’t be afraid to slightly overfill, the potatoes will shrink and the cheese will melt during cooking

individual potatoes au gratin melissa d'arabian

Oven Ready Sides for One

9. Drizzle about 1 TBSP of milk or cream over each potato-cheese-filled well

10. Throw some chives onto each

11. Add salt and pepper

12. Tent with tin foil and bake for :20mins

13. Remove tin foil and bake an additional :20mins

14. Remove from oven and use a spoon to flip the potatoes au gratin over and on to a serving tray. You’ll know the gratins are done when the edges are well browned.

au gratin potatoes in cupcake tins recipe

Not so Rotten Au Gratin

15. Don’t share

Sharing might be caring…But caring might be preparing for those who aren’t sharing.

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler: 3 Days in The Big Easy

emeril's new orleans chicken restaurants

Chili Glazed Farm Chicken: Emeril’s New Orleans

I spent this past weekend in New Orleans. Yeah, that’s right – in the Big Easy. I learned a lot over the course of just three days. And, thought maybe a photo essay of the journey (I use ‘journey’ a lot now because of ABC’s The Bachelor) would be the best way to share.

Where it all began: A rough start

nyc snow delta to new orleans

I woke to this view from my apartment..Not promising for travel…

And the snow was only getting worse. Still, those nice people at the delta.com flight status board assured me that my 11am flight would be ‘on time’. And, I headed to the airport. Only to find that my flight had been canceled. And, I was rescheduled on a much later flight. Much much later….

lga delta direct to msy flying new orleans

My original flight posting

lga to msy direct delta airport dining

Posting the delay…upon delay…upon delay

But I made some friends which helped to pass the time….I mean we were all in the same situation….

dining at LaGuardia

Bob the Brit, NBFF at LGA

chef lga to msy flight delay delta

Young chef and all day LGA pal

And, we ate some food, and maybe drank a little – which helped:

delta to msy from lga dining

Cool way to keep busy and order food at LGA – Order on iPad…

And, we met all kinds of people during our long long wait…

bachelorette party new orleans lga to msy direct delta

Yes, the ‘bride’ is wearing a penis head band.

After about 12 hours at LGA (with a detour to JFK and back), my flight finally took off and I was on my way…

Upon arrival just shy of midnight, a friend and I took a stroll – read elbow to elbow walk through very happy (read drunk) people on Bourbon St. We stopped just once to have a quick drink at a piano bar…nothing notable – then back to the hotel and to bed.

Saturday Brunch with Friends at Brennan’s in the French Quarter

mimosa's brennan's new orleans brunch

Began as it should – Mimosas in the Garden at Brennan’s

There are a few things one must try in New Orleans…many of these are alcohol based:

milk punch New Orleans brennan's brunch

Milk Punch – Like a Grown Up Milkshake

brunch brennan's new orleans dining

Mel not loving her first Bloody Mary

For brunch, I had Eggs Sardou: an amazing plate of poached eggs on artichoke hearts and a bed of creamed spinach…Hollandaise sauce on the side:

poached eggs at Brennan's new orleans

Paprika on One, Chives on the Other

And….Of course, we ordered cheese grits for the table. YUM.

cheese grits brunch brennan's new orleans

Cheesy Cheese Grits

For dessert…The Bananas Foster Flambe is a MUST:

brennan's new orleans bananas foster

The Bananas Foster is a MUST order: This is the Before shot

brennan's bananas foster new orleans

Drama! Flambe-ing of Bananas Foster – During the Flambe Process

bananas foster flambe brennan's new orleans

And…Plated

That night, we all attended a wedding at The Foundry in the Warehouse District. A couple of things I didn’t know about New Orleans weddings.

1. After the ceremony, all guests join the bride and groom in what’s called ‘Second Line;’ – a brass band lead parade around the block. Really fun and a great way to get the party started.

2. Apparently….you can include a drag queen performance. This was our late night wedding entertainment:

wedding drag queen new orleans

You could see her giant panties through the dress

After the wedding we not so wisely braved the crowds of people on Bourbon St. I mean, we just had to get giant drinks in collectible cups. A couple of notes about life on Bourbon Street:

1. There is no ban on open containers of alcohol…except that booze must be in a ‘go-cup’ which any bar will gladly give you as you walk out the door. In New Orleans, creating the most sugary, insanely boozed up cocktail and then crafting a desireable keep sake container, is a sport

grenade drinks Bourbon St new orleans

The Grenade: Fruity Boozy and in a Keepsake Container

2. While the drinking age is 21, New Orleans differentiates between the age of purchase and the age of consumption. SO….if you are 18, your mommy or daddy or guardian or creepy older boyfriend can buy you a drink and you are then allowed to drink it. This came in handy as we had an 18 year old with us.

boozy cocktails on bourbon street new orleans

And… We also had these…Shark Attack!

We were back to the hotel after a quick dance at Oz – which made our gay friends happy as it’s a gay bar – and tucked in bed by the crack of 4am.

Sunday…We classed it up and went to one of the most historic and notable restaurants in town.

Galatoire’s Brunch (note the big meal at Galatoire’s is Friday lunch…but since we didn’t make it to New Orleans in time for that, Sunday brunch would have to do)

Galatoire's New Orleans restaurant

Galatoire’s Lovely Logo’d Glass

A few tips to fitting in at Galatoire’s:

1. Everyone has his/her own waiter…I mean like the regulars go back and request a specific waiter. Some of the waiters have been there for years…like 35 years. As we didn’t have such history, we were assigned a great waiter named Murphy – I highly recommend him!

2. Don’t ask to see a menu – no one who is anyone does that! Your waiter will guide you to the most amazing dishes – trust him.

3. Get the Oysters En Brochette. It’s oysters and bacon deep fried and delicious

galatoire's brunch sunday menu

Fried, Salty, Briny and Amazing Oysters En Brochette

4. Try the turtle soup. You can’t do that at Brennan’s because Brennan’s back yard has a pond with turtles basking in the sun…It would just be rude to order turtle soup there. Our waiter at Galatoire’s, Murphy, brought us a sample as he knows it’s a New Orleans must have

turtle soup new orleans galatoire's

Yes, there are real turtles in there

5. Go with someone who is willing to share. My dining date and I split the lamb chops with mushroom sauce and the redfish…Well, Murphy split it for us….And, a side of the creamiest most amazing potatoes au gratin:

galatoire's lamb chops and redfish

So So good…And, love the sauce soaked white toast

amazing potatoes au gratin galatoire's new orleans

Potatoes Au Gratin, Not So Rotten

6. And….Have a martini. It’s the right thing to do in such a cool, old school venue.

After brunch, we took a walk – read: tried to walk it off. We popped into Carousel Bar to visit with the newly married couple and have a vodka soda. Then took a food coma nap before preparing for dinner.

Emeril’s New Orleans: Sunday Dinner

Emerils logo

This is Emeril’s original restaurant. It’s located in the warehouse district, so if you’re staying in the French Quarter…It’s a bit of a walk. Though, really, after all you’ve eaten, you should walk. We took a cab.

Because we were hungry – go with it, you’re in New Orleans – we ate:

Emeril's New orleans appetizer

Angel Hair with Mushrooms in a Taso Cream Sauce

And we also had….

Emeril's new orleans menu dinner

Roasted Filet Mignon…And, more potatoes

emeril's new orleans chicken restaurants

Chili Glazed Farm Chicken

Emeril's new orleans souffle

Oozing Chocolate Goodness Inside

Luckily, we also saved room for dessert. After all, we didn’t have dessert at Galatoire’s. At Emeril’s they have an amazing chocolate souffle…but, order it when you order your meal as it takes :30mins to prepare. Well worth the calories!

We paired it with a lovely Schramsberg rose.

Amazing dinner…and a great farewell meal. Definitely better than the eggs and grits I had at the airport Monday morning.

After our three day dining, drinking and wedding dancing extravaganza, I’m in love with New Orleans. And, while the good times certainly rolled this past weekend, the only thing rolling now is the fat on my satisfied stomach.

But the temporary weight gain is totally worth it. And, all I can say is: Get to New Orleans and laissez les bons temps rouler!