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Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer

Biscuit's picture

Well, let me say first that I obviously have very, VERY fond feelings toward this book (G).  So, that may color my judgement somewhat.


But - although I have only read it now, twice, and haven't actually cooked anything (yet - stay tuned for that), I am very excited to have the book in my collection and I intend to make several things over the holiday season.


One of the things she has in the book is a classic and something I have not made in YEARS and I've decided to put it in my Christmas brunch menu, is a Layered Crepe Gateau with Prosciutto, Ham and Cheese.  I mean - so simple, so good, and a classic, as I said.  Why don't I make these more often?  I'm not sure.  But she reminded me of them and I'm definitely putting it on the menu.


Another thing I can't wait to try is her Smoked Duck and Andouille Gumbo.  I've actually eaten this at her restaurant and I can not WAIT to try it for myself.  I think Christmas Eve or New Years Eve is the perfect time for this.


Then there is the Prosciutto Wrapped Tuna Muffuletta - Oh, I can't WAIT to try this! 


I'm definitely making the Herb-roasted Lamb Loin with Goat Cheese and Zinfandel Sauce, a spoon bread recipe that sounds divine, and her Creole Cream Cheese Spaetzle, and most definitely - Sweet Potato Brioche.


And then there are cookies - Mudslides, old-fashioned glazed pumpkin cookies, and double-ginger gingersnaps. 


And then - oh, be still my heart! - butterscotch banana cream pie!!! 


I love Susan Spicer.  I really do.  Everything in this book is just fresh and easy and simple and lovely and I can't wait to start.  Maybe this week.  She has this great recipe for Crispy Turkey Piccata that I want to do for dinner one night.



"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"  - The Grinch

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

Lee's picture

(post #62901, reply #1 of 36)

Layered crepe gateau -- gosh, I haven't made one in years and years!  I used to make Julia's version with mushroom and spinach fillings and slice and serve it in the living room as a first course.  I once brought one to the office as my contribution to a holiday lunch (sauced and reheated it there).  What was I thinking?  Given the array of chips n' dips, nachos, cheese concoctions, sloppy joe from a can, raw veggies with bottled dressing and other such stuff, they must have thought I was from another planet!

Marie Louise's picture

(post #62901, reply #4 of 36)

I used to make this when I was a college student. I had a French teacher in high school that gave us (optional) cooking classes after school, using the home-ec classroom. He taught me how to make that, souffles, boeuf bourgignon, fresh strawberry tarts w/ currant glaze, and more. This would have been about 1970. I bet he was using Julia's cookbook!

butterscotch's picture

(post #62901, reply #7 of 36)

You are from another planet, Lee--planet food! And so are the rest of us here.  I used to make that gateau with my college roomates. We taught each other how to flip crepes with that recipe. I'll have to make it again sometime soon.

Jean's picture

(post #62901, reply #2 of 36)

Geez, it must be nice to have access to ingredients like duck and Andouille sausage.  I doubt that I could even find pig hock or pork jowls without checking in with a local farmer. We now have 2 options in town--Walmart Superstore or Stop and Get Robbed where things are twice as expensive--which is why we eat so much venison.


The book sounds lovely. $23 at Amazon.


 Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans




Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Wolvie's picture

(post #62901, reply #3 of 36)

Stop and get robbed? Would that be Stop and Shop? They used to be pretty cheap in MA. I don't even know if they are still in MA.

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."


- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

 

Marcia's picture

(post #62901, reply #5 of 36)

We used to have Stop & Shop in NJ when they were wonderful stores and very customer friendly. They were bought out by someone and have gone downhill since.

Jean's picture

(post #62901, reply #6 of 36)

No--It's not the same. It's a locally owned store, (name changed to protect the guilty) -- nice, but criminally over-priced. We do buy perishables from them--meat & produce--name brand packaged goods can run a dollar or more per item over Wallyworld.  We can't afford that luxury.



Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Wolvie's picture

(post #62901, reply #8 of 36)

every dollar adds up. Soooo - your area of Michigan is still considered a bit out? I have been wondering what the growth has been like. we are planning a few trips into the great lake state next season. I want to look around incase this water situation here doesn't improve. Not just for business - but the idea of running OUT of water is downright scary.

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."


- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

 

Jean's picture

(post #62901, reply #9 of 36)

Water is a concern here too.  Lake levels are way down I think they said L. MI is down a foot. That's a lot of water. In the meantime, right over in the next county, they're bottling our ground water. How the politicians allowed that to happen is beyond me! Does the state get any revenue from this?????




Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Wolvie's picture

(post #62901, reply #10 of 36)

yes, that's a lot of water. However, you have a bit more to draw from aquifer wise than this area.


As for the bottling of said - the state most likely issued a permit, or some such, and they pay taxes on that. That's the way it worked in WV anyhow. Did you know that WV is the most water rich state in the nation? Tis true. I shoulda stuck there.


A local man/official around here said that such operations don't effect water supply. I weep for my species. ;-)


The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."


- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

 

MadMom's picture

(post #62901, reply #11 of 36)

How can anyone say that draining the aquifer doesn't affect the water supply?  As you well know, we are in an extreme drought with less than four months water left in our lakes.  We have our own well here, but that surely doesn't mean that we can use water with abandon.  We've tried hard to conserve, because we figure that we're all in this together.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Wolvie's picture

(post #62901, reply #15 of 36)

that's what was making me weep - such a dumb bunny that official was/is.


I worked in the industry of delivering and cleaning water in one way shape or form for years. I cringe at all the development going on here now, and think of No Va - man oh man.  Or the overdeveloped west. Water wars nearing.


The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."


- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

 

Jean's picture

(post #62901, reply #12 of 36)

I must admit I've lived long enough to have witnessed several cycles of high/low great lake water level fluctuations, from ships getting stuck in shallows to cottages falling off eroded cliffs.
This may be part of a normal pattern.



Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
thecooktoo's picture

(post #62901, reply #13 of 36)

I attended a personal chef convention in NO a couple of months before Katrina hit.  Susan Spicer was one of our guests.  She made one of the best sandwiches I have ever had for our lunch that day.  It was on that wonderful NO muffuletta bread.  Was smoked duck, cashew butter and hot pepper jelly.  It was out of this world.


Jim

bunnycook's picture

(post #62901, reply #14 of 36)

Can I beg for the layered crepe gateau recipe?
I pulled out my Julia Child "Mastering"--it's a 2nd edition, so it doesn't say "volume 1"--and looked up the gateau de crepe recipe. It sounds wonderful. But Spicer's proscuitto /ham/ cheese version sounds even better than carrots / mushrooms. The sad part is that I bought the volume in college, planning (as only 20 year olds do) that when I "grew up", graduated and had a job, I would work my way through it. Life intervened, and now I'm 44 (and Julie Powell beat me to it). OOPS. Although to be fair I also must have another 500 cookbooks to work from now, not just Julia and "Joy".
--Bunny

Biscuit's picture

(post #62901, reply #16 of 36)

Sure, if you don't mind if I do it this afternoon.  I have a bunch of school-related things to get through this a.m.! (G)


"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"  - The Grinch

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

bunnycook's picture

(post #62901, reply #17 of 36)

I'll take the crepe pan off the burner now. *snicker*
I googled "layered crepe gateau" and got the inevitable "Julie /Julia" link. She was gnashing about it taking 3 hours to make crepe batter in a Cuisinart?!? Back in high school, I went on a crepe kick. (No, I took Spanish, not French. French class got to go to Cincinnati's Maisonette 5-star restaurant. We went to a former stripper's taqueria in Newport.) As this was 1979 in rural Ohio, I settled for a non-stick pan instead of a steel French crepe pan, and as I recall, they turned out pretty well. I made sweet as well as savory ones over the course of a month, then moved on to sourbread doughs. And haven't made them since. Legwarmers are back too, I hear. . . .<g>
--Bunny

Biscuit's picture

(post #62901, reply #21 of 36)

Bunny - here ya go.  I'm going to make this tonight just to test it (G).  The recipe is in several parts, but reading through it I believe it is a simple process.


Layered Crepe Gateau with Prosciutto, Ham and Cheese


Source:  Crescent City Cooking, Susan Spicer


4 servings, prep time:  1 hour 30 minutes


Crepes



  • 3/4 c. milk

  • 2 tbl. unsalted butter plus extra for frying

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 c. flour

  • 1/8 tsp. salt

  • 2 tbl. chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as any combo of tarragon, thyme, chives and parsley (optional)

Scald the milk and add the 2 tbl. butter, then cool to lukewarm.  Place the eggs, flour, salt and cooled milk in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add the herbs and pulse a time or two to mix.  Let the batter sit for 15 minutes (or overnight in the refrigerator) to relax and release air bubbles.  (If you chill it overnight, thin it with a tablespoon or two of water before using.).  Melt a small amount of butter in a small nonstick skillet or crepe pan and when hot, pour in about 2 tbl. of batter, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan.  Cook for about 30 seconds, then flip and cook for about 5 seconds.  Remove from the pan and repeat.  Should make 12 - 16 crepes.  Wrap extra crepes in plastic and refrigerate or freeze for another time.


Bechamel Sauce



  • 3 tbl. butter plus 1 tsp. softened butter

  • 3 tbl. flour

  • 1 - 1 1/2 c. milk

  • salt and pepper

  • freshly ground nutmeg

In a small saucepan, melt 3 tbl. butter, whisk in the flour, and cook over low heat for 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure to cook for a minute or two after each addition.  The sauce should be as thick as thin mayo, but will thicken a bit more when it is brought to a boil.


Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a pinch of nutmeg.  Simmer the sauce, whisking, over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the raw flour taste is gone.  Pour it into a container and place the 1 tsp. softened butter on top to allow it to melt.  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the bechamel to keep it warm, and set it aside until ready to use.


To Assemble: 



  • 8 herb crepes

  • bechamel sauce (about 1 cup)

  • 3 oz. thinly sliced baked ham (smoked or unsmoked

  • 4 oz. grated Comte or Gruyere cheese

  • 3 oz. thinly sliced proscuitto

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and lightly oil or butter a baking pan.  Place one crepe on the baking pan and spread with a thin layer of bechamel.  Cover with a layer of ham, and top with another crepe.  Spread this crepe lightly with bechamel and sprinkle with cheese.  Cover with another crepe, spread with bechamel, then cover with a thin layer of prosciutto.  Repeat the process, then top with the last crepe.  Spread with more bechamel and sprinkle with cheese.  For the best results, refrigerate for at least 15 minutes - the goal her is to firm the gateau.  Cut it into quarters, keeping it intact, and bake for 10 - 12 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown and the gateau is warm all the way through.  Divide the wedges among 4 plates and ladel Smoked-Tomato Butter alongside.


Smoked Tomato Butter smoked tomatoes make this divine, but fresh tomatoes will do as well.



  • 1/2 c. chopped onion

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 2 med. or 4 roma tomatoes, seeded and smoked and finely chopped

  • 1/2 c. white wine

  • 1 sprig basil, thyme, rosemary or tarragon

  • 1 tbl. EVOO

  • 2 tbl. softened butter

  • salt and pepper

Place the onion, garlic, tomatoes, wine and herbs in a small saucepan an bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, until the tomatoes break down and the mixture starts to dry up, about 10 - 15 minutes.  Remove it from the heat, take out the herb sprig, and cool it about 5 minutes.  Pour the mixture into a blender or FP, and, with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil and softened butter.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  The sauce should be thick enough to hold its shape on a plate.  Return it to the pan and keep warm until ready to serve.



"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"  - The Grinch

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

bunnycook's picture

(post #62901, reply #22 of 36)

Wow--that looks brilliant.
Now that I've put you through all that, I think I'll buy the book for hubby for Xmas. Not because he's such a great cook but because he was born in NOLA and has a thing about it.
It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, and this sounds like a perfect project. Thanks so much!
--Bunny

Biscuit's picture

(post #62901, reply #26 of 36)

We're supposed to get rain & snow tomorrow, and I WILL be making it tomorrow - I didn't tonight because it was one of those things.  I THOUGHT I had proscuitto and when I went to get it - it was gone. 


Will get some tomorrow and be on my way (g).



"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"  - The Grinch

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

Biscuit's picture

(post #62901, reply #30 of 36)

O- m - goodness.  The gateau was WONDERFUL.  Wonderful.  And the tomato butter?  Oh, you MUST make it.  MUST.  It was absolutely out of this world.  I didn't use the smoked tomatoes after all - I just used regular.  And it was just TDF.  I'm thinking I should just make this and keep it on hand for other things - would be fabulous with fish, chicken, you name it.


The gateau itself was lovely and creamy and delicious, and I'd forgotten how much I love these.  The bechamel came together like a dream - I ended up using the full 1 1/2 c. milk she calls for .


For the record - I changed nothing and made no substitutions.


Tonight I'm making the pork tenderloin with stir-fried rice.  Will let you know if it works out.



"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"  - The Grinch

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

Sondra's picture

(post #62901, reply #31 of 36)

Sigh, I keep trying not to buy this cookbook.  But you're gonna make me do it, aren't you??? 

Biscuit's picture

(post #62901, reply #32 of 36)

I've made 3 things from it so far, and they've all been hits and definite re-makes: the Turkey Piccata, the Asian Pork with Quick Fried Rice and the gateau.


I cannot WAIT to try the Sweet Potato brioche.



"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"  - The Grinch

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

chiquiNO's picture

(post #62901, reply #34 of 36)

Isn't she just WONDERFUL!!!???

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans

 

SallyBR1's picture

(post #62901, reply #33 of 36)

I strongly advise you not to go to amazon.com and read the reviews. There are only three, but added to Biscuit's enthusiasm, it becomes V-E-R-Y hard to resist

I am still reasonably strong and will now move away from the computer.

 


 


It is not gremolita, it is GREMOLATA!!!!

(October 2007)

Sondra's picture

(post #62901, reply #35 of 36)

Good idea to move away from the computer.  I went to the bookstore yesterday, and oh my, the pic of that gateau just grabbedd me.  Still resisting, but weakening fast....

SallyBR1's picture

(post #62901, reply #36 of 36)

Let me make sure I got that right - you actually held the book in your hand and left it there??????

you are my hero!

 


 


It is not gremolita, it is GREMOLATA!!!!

(October 2007)

Marie Louise's picture

(post #62901, reply #23 of 36)

What a beautiful update of a classic. Thanks for taking the time to type this. I may have to make it for a holiday meal.

Biscuit's picture

(post #62901, reply #27 of 36)

It is a lovely update, isn't it?  I love when someone takes an old, tired classic and makes it snappy again (g).  Wish I could post the picture - it looks delicious.


"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"  - The Grinch

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

MadMom's picture

(post #62901, reply #24 of 36)

Do let us know how it comes out.  I've printed out the recipe to try.  Tell me, do you plan on using smoked tomatoes or just roasted ones or what?  I think I have a can of smoked tomatoes, do you think that would work for the sauce?



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!