Friday, July 14, 2017

New Orleans Olive Salad

Kitchen Witch New Orleans Olive Salad
2 medium carrots
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 small red bell pepper
16 large green olives pitted
2 cups medium green olives pitted
1 cup brine-cured black olives pitted
1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup brining juice from olive jar
6 cloves fresh garlic minced
4 ribs celery
¼ cup (1 small jar) capers
10 sprigs flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 tsp dried leaf oregano
1 tsp dried basil leaf
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Reduce all pertinent ingredients to proper sandwich salad size (dice real small)
Mix well and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and enjoy!

P.S. Feel free to play around with ingredients i.e. use pimento stuffed olives and eliminate the small red pepper etc etc. 
Muffaletta Sandwich
Take your sesame seeded Italian loaf and layer in three meats and two cheeses alternately with a layer of cheese on the top. Toast in the oven open faced and when toasted but not colored take out of the oven, top the bottom (with the filling on it) layer with a healthy scoop of drained (use a slotted spoon) olive salad. Cut into sandwich size pieces and enjoy!

Seafood Boil Seasonings


Now this mix is for 30 lbs of crawfish, shrimp and/or crabs so adjust. The recipe comes from a caterer in Abbeyville, La. so I'm not sure if she toned it down OR NOT.
1/2 c. salt
1/2 c. cayenne
1/2 c. lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 c. garlic powder
1/2 c. whole black peppercorns
1/4 c. ground cloves
Bring to a boil, dump in seafood bring back to a boil, boil 5 min and turn off the fire (or remove from), let sit in water 20 min or until cooked to your liking (off the flame)
Potatoes, sausage, heads of garlic, bayleaves, corn etc upon your whim may be boiled with the feast


Free People of Color in New Orleans

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Free People of Color
New Orleans’ Third Society
            It might be important to note, as we reach our three hundredth birthday, that New Orleans’ is not, what can be considered, an old settlement/colony and that for over two hundred years before us the societies that fashioned our world here were in full swing long before Sieur de Bienville brought the first two slaves (George and Mary) into the French outpost that was in the crescent of the river that the Ojibwa Indians called misi zibi or Father of Waters.
            The period of exploration and land grabbing was pretty much a white man’s undertaking and the subjugation of ‘primitive’ peoples (indigenous American, African) for pleasure and profit was part of the modus operandi of the male Anglo explorers and exploiters. It goes without saying also, that a shortage of European women did not deter the conquering heroes from exercising their sexual impulses with whatever female happened to be on hand; Indigenous Americans were harder to handle and soon were either displaced or destroyed; however, the slave trade was well established and provided ample opportunity and supply of feminine companionship. As a result, Africans, as time went on, were subjected to a genetic melding with Europeans, these mixed blooded Africans multiplied in numbers and became a new culture and class of citizenry; and they needed to be reckoned with, much for very practical purposes.
            Exploring and evidencing was part and parcel for this third race of peoples to fit into Anglo/Afro society, and the complexities of this racial bridge had astounding consequences. From the beginning of our French and Spanish occupation-- with the occurrence of manumission and the outright ability of an enslaved person to purchase their freedom-- a class of peoples did arise throughout our colonies and was labeled Les Gens de Couleur Libres--- Free People of Color (FPC). As time went on, classes within this class gave rise to definitions and labeling concerning the degree of proportion of blood—Black compared with White-- that these Creoles of Color had running through their veins. Mulatto (50% African); Quadroon (25% African); Octoroon (1/8 or less); ‘not all Free People of Color were Creole and not all Creoles were free people of color but over time there has been some tendency to conflate the two, or use the word to refer to people of mixed race, which many but not all free people of color were’ (LSU libraries)
Generation after generation, through, the systems of outright taking of concubines and the more formal Placage arrangement placed women of color into the arms of European men; perpetuating the systems themselves. And, with the rearing and educating of the resulting offspring and subsequent societal mobility as a side effect, not only was eventual freedom a likelihood but, the ensuing possibility of economic security and solidarity from this closely knit society (FPC), as well, was practically guaranteed.  Against all odds the FPC actually thrived and prospered. ‘On the eve of the Civil War (1862), in New Orleans alone, there were 18,000 FPC owning and paying taxes on $15,000,000.00 worth of property.’ (Le Musee de F.P.C.) That’s literally between ten and fifteen percent of the population working in professional capacities, as artists and artisans, opening businesses, owning land and in some cases purchasing slaves for personal use.
            As first generation American and a northerner to boot, the scope and importance that FPC had that influenced not just the United States in general, but New Orleans in particular is somewhat beyond my ken (and possibly yours); however, I can tell you from what I have read and can understand, if you are going to understand this city to any degree, you need to know how FPC formed the foundation of our world here; the very fabric of our Joie de Vive.
            That being said, me expounding what I know about the FPC would be like you listening to a child trying to explain what’s inside a book by looking at the cover; however, I can tell you how to find out the whole story of the FPC from the people who study and live this historical American phenomenon; they are here in New Orleans and hold the pieces of the puzzle that make up who we are, where we came from and where we’re going.
            For sure you could just go to Professor Google and that would end up with inaccuracies, confusion and besides it would keep you from discovering the real deal. There’s a place that you can physically go to and have an immersion that will leave you wiser in spirit and intelligence while opening up your heart and your mind. It’s Le Musee de f. p. c. at 2336 Esplanade Ave. New Orleans, La. open Wednesday through Sunday; call for times and to book a tour 504-323-5074
            Book a tour? Yes. Situated in a wonderful Greek revival (I call it a) mansion are documents and photographs and art work and a knowledgeable staff that gave me more information in forty-five minutes than I could digest in weeks. From the French Quarter it’s about a twenty minute walk or bus ride or whatever, past stately large homes and shading oak trees where at one time many FPC had homes. The neighborhood is called upper Treme, where also, FYI was an enclave of Greek, Lebanese and Syrian peoples; but that’s another story. Heck there are more stories here than you can shake a stick at.
            So, there you have it (or as much as I have room to spill out to you) for those of you that want to know more about this city than red beans and rice on Monday and where to find a decent happy hour; know this: unless you learn about our heritage (s) here, you will never fully understand New Orleans.

Friday, July 7, 2017

D. H. Holmes Recipes

-----Original Message-----
From: Jean
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2013 12:31 PM
Subject: D H Holmes Bread Pudding and Lemon Pie

Uncle Phaedrus -
I would be so appreciative if you could help me find two recipes, both from
the DH Holmes Potpourri Restaurant.  The first is their Bread Pudding with
Whiskey (or Bourbon) Sauce.  It was absolutely the best!
The second is their "Lemon Pie" which was a baked meringue shell topped with
a lemony custard sauce.  It was very unique!
Thank you for your help -
Hello Jean,
I had no success locating any mention at all of these recipes other than your own request from last year on a blog. Sorry.
There was a cookbook published called "Bayou Banquet: Recipes from a Potpourri of Cultures" by: D. H. Holmes. I don't know that those recipes are in it, but they might be. It's out of print, and I could not find a used copy for sale anywhere at all. You might check with your local library and see if they can locate a copy.
These three recipes are from that cookbook:
The only other advice that I can give you is that you might write to Judy Walker, the Times Picayune Food Editor and ask for her help. See:
I saw your post regarding the d.h. holmes/New Orleans bread pudding and "lemon pie" requests. I have the Bayou Banquet book and here's the deal:

The bread pudding is called Memere's Bread Pudding  and there is a Bourbon Sauce recipe that is separate.
The Lemon Pie isn't a pie, it is Oeufs A La Neige -- Eggs in Snow.

Oeufs A La Neige - Eggs in Snow
From the D.H. Holmes Bayou Banquet Cookbook

2 eggs, separated
2 egg yolks
1-1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups half and half, scaled
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Beat the 4 egg yolks well, place in the top of double boiler with 1/4 cup of the sugar and salt. Slowly stir in the scaled cream.
Cook over boiling water - water should not touch top of double boiler - until custard coats a wooden spoon.
Cool immediately in a bowl of ice water. Stir and stir in vanilla. Pour into oven=proof soufflé dish or individual bowls.
Beat egg whites with a dash of salt to soft peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Heap the egg whites on the custard.
Place soufflé dish or bowls in a pan of ice water and put the whole into the hot oven just long enough to brown the tips of the meringue.
Meanwhile, caramelize remaining 1 cup sugar by stirring over low heat in a heavy pot until sugar melts and forms a syrup.
Immediately drizzle over meringue puffs and custard.
Serves 8
Flavor custard with one tablespoon grated lemon or orange rind or a little rum or brandy.
Flavor egg whites or custard with almond extract. We prefer the caramel, but it may be omitted, if you wish.
Memere's Bread Pudding
From the D.H. Holmes cookbook - Bayou Banquet

3 cups diced stale French Bread
5 eggs, beaten
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp grated lemon or orange rind
1/2  tsp vanilla
1/2  cup raisins, optional
Butter and sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread in buttered 3 quart casserole. Heat, but do not boil, the milk and cream together and slowly pour over the eggs, beating well.
Add sugar and vanilla to egg mixture. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Pour over  bread. Dot with butter, sprinkle sugar , nutmeg and rind and raisins on top.
Place in pan of hot watter. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve hot or cold with the following sauce -
or Whiskey Sauce.

Memere's Bread Pudding Sauce
Boil one cup orange juice and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir in 1 tsp grated orange rind.

Bourbon Sauce for Bread Pudding
1/2  cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2  cup bourbon, or Grand Marnier

Cream butter and sugar over low heat, stirring constantly. Blend in egg yolk. Gradualy add bourbon - continuing to stir over low heat. Bourbon whiskey is our pick,
but try a little grand Marier for a slight orange flavor. Serve of hot bread pudding.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Taste Of Southern

A Taste of Southern
By Debbie Lindsey
Blues, BBQ and Buddy—that was the theme of our Memphis road trip.  Our guide book was Smokestack Lighting by Lolis Elie, the compass was set to Elvis, and the airwaves provided the Blues.   A pilgrimage to Graceland, paying homage to every barbeque shack, joint and diner along the way were the high points of Boyfriend’s vacation. I was pretty much on the same page of that menu too but with one added quest—to visit Buddy’s Mississippi hometown of Itta Bena.  Who the heck is Buddy?  Well I am glad you asked.
Some years back, attending my first Tennessee Williams Literary Festival I happened upon a panel discussion moderated by Rex Reed: Southern Wit and Wisdom.  There was the usual mix of questions and answers but with these guys there is always the promise of crazy-anything-goes-free-fall conversations and of course Mr. Reed knew how to steer it in that direction.  One of the panelists was a writer by the name of Lewis “Buddy” Nordan.  “Buddy”—does it get any more Southern?  Well yeah, “Bubba” maybe.  Anyway, despite my lifetime of living in the South, I felt like a visitor, and these drawling, eccentric bunch of writers were jaw-dropping funny and well…nuts.  I felt like the straight-laced cousin away for a long time in the “big city” and coming home to face a culture and people I had totally forgotten.  I loved them.  And from then on found that my own writing would shift in a more southerly direction.
For several New Orleans Tennessee Williams Literary Festivals to come I would hear these writers and others of similar lineage speak and spin tales about their dysfunctional and larger-than-life childhoods that lead them to fictionalize those experiences onto paper.  Some wrote memoirs proving the old adage that truth is indeed stranger than fiction.  Mr. Nordan’s books would find a home on my bookshelves rather quickly along with others of this genre of audacious story telling.  But it would be Buddy’s stories that got under my skin the most, the deepest.
Nordan’s Wolf Whistle should be considered required reading.  It is a fictional telling of the Emmett Till murder (a black boy’s death that would shock and burden a nation—Mrs. Till insisted that her son’s casket be open for viewing and with that Ebony Magazine used their cover page to document this atrocity with a photograph of Emmett’s battered face laid to rest).  Effortlessly this lyrical novel shifts from the hideous to hilarious, albeit a nervous laughter since the dark humor was threaded awfully close to the tragic and deeply disturbing violence of racism.
I remember one morning at CC’s Coffee Shop my girlfriend and I were talking about books and writing when I showed her the novel I was not going to finish reading—Wolf Whistle.  “It’s just too disturbing, but wait let me read this one passage.”  And there I sat reading aloud one paragraph after another.  The sheer magic Nordan could invoke from deep in the Delta and along the muddy roads where his characters struggled and salvaged through life was utterly compelling.  After reading my highlighted passages to her I realized I had to finish this book, no matter how perturbing it might be. 
“When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy”—were the first words I remember hearing from Kaye Gibbons.  She too was one of the Festival’s repeat guest panelists.  I believe it was a panel titled Southern Gothic—Is it Real?  Well with an opening line like hers I’d say hell yeah.  Those thoughts were from Ellen Foster the heroine of the novel bearing her name.  We learn quickly that this child is no more a murderer than you –except Kaye Gibbons speaks it with such a matter-of-fact complicity that you stare open-mouthed for a second.  Her dry dark humor told me that I had to read everything she’d ever written.  Her Ellen Foster would become my contemporary To Kill a Mockingbird and this child would win my heart just as Scout, Jem and Atticus did. 
Southern stories, like those of Gibbons and Nordan, are flavored with the elements of gothic—a darkness that permeates much southern literature.  Is this the South or simply the human condition?  I am reminded of a dark bitter chocolate ice cream infused with hot peppers.  First you taste sweetness but then the darkness brings on the bite and from behind you are hit--half expecting, half lost in the sweet--with pure heat.  You are a bit put off at first but then you realize the elements are mixed and there is no separating them.
I hope to be in the audience of Ms. Gibbons again and to thank her for her work.  And I am glad to have walked barefoot in Buddy’s hometown—well worth the drive.
Lewis Nordan, Writer Who Spun Lyrical Tales, Dies at 72—The New York Times 2012.  

Katrina Twelve Years Later

Twelve Years Later
 Debbie Lindsey

            Every day I pass her signature, stubborn and indelible, an autograph deeply imprinted from the added force of incompetence and malfeasance.  Katrina the hurricane, not The Flood, seemed to be saving her brute force for others and would have made her debut in New Orleans somewhat unremarkable if only the levees had done their job.  But they didn’t and I am reminded of this when I walk next to the three foot plus water line that remains on the glass door and its curtain that has hung stained since that August day.
            Every year, the anniversary of Katrina and the levee failures is met with diametrically opposing emotions and attitudes.  There are those who choose not to dwell on it and those (like me) who have trouble letting it go.  Some lives were damaged beyond repair and others whose lives were lifted up.  “Survivor guilt” is felt, to varying degrees, by those who lived on the sliver by the river and escaped the waters.  But no one, absolutely no one, was spared the pain.  And there is the collateral damage to families and friends who sat helplessly watching it unfold on televisions across the world.  Sometimes I think my sister, high and dry in Birmingham, was more frightened than we were here in the midst of it all.
            You learn quickly who simply can’t talk about it and respectfully change conversational course; but, most folks seem inclined to swap “war stories”.  Yes, it can be equated to having gone through combat and surviving in a war zone. As with war veterans, there is often that bonding, the camaraderie of commiseration that comes from shared dangers and the experiences of living through something historical.   And historical it was.
Katrina most certainly is something for the history books, and I say “is” as it cannot be placed in the past tense of “was”.  Much of this saga belongs to yesterday, however, we live in a landscape—organic, political, economic, and societal—that is forever changed and/or evolving as a result of Katrina and the levee malfunctions.  There were fifty-three breaches to our various canals and levees.  To date this is the largest residential disaster in U.S. history.  A major American city had its population reduced by half.  This natural and man-made catastrophe stands as this country’s costliest hurricane costing 135 billion just for NOLA.  And to this day these stats differ with a multitude of other sources yet all are shocking and admit to be record breaking.  The death toll will never be certain.
Much has been reported, rumored, and recounted about what took place during those days after the flood waters filled our city.  A great deal has been discredited, such as alligators and sharks swimming about.  Why the media wanted to dismiss this as urban myth is beyond me.  Certainly there were alligators—did they think that the gator was going to stay in Bayou St. John as its waters mingled with lake waters and not crawl or swim beyond some invisible boundary?  Heck a gentleman I knew was hospitalized at Lindy Boggs hospital at the edge of Bayou St. John and told of a rather large alligator in the building’s flooded lobby. As for sharks—well I know a very credible source in Gentilly who watched a fin gliding past his flooded home (just a bull shark perhaps).  When simple over-lapping of nature in otherwise urban environments becomes a “tall tale” you can see how easy it was for people to discount the truly shocking—things that folks simply could not wrap their heads around.
It truly was the wild, wild, west.  Anything could and did happen.  Heinous crimes and heroic deeds.  There was no precedent for the days and weeks that’s followed and certainly nothing was even remotely normal for the next year; and even as a rhythm reminiscent of life before Katrina slowly began to take root it would be years before significant reparations and restorations would outnumber the look and feel of a war zone.
            Lessons were taught and lessons were learned.  We know now to assume the worse from a storm and from our man-made protections.  But, and this is serious, we can never become complacent.  Have a plan, whether it is to stay or to go.  If evacuation is not possible then have every possible safety plan in place along with provisions. Stock non-perishable foods, a can opener, first-aid, pet supplies, solar or battery lighting (never candles—we nearly torched our house during Katrina), have prescriptions filled and zip-locked, and know that those cell phones will not be reliable for extended power outages.  Consider keeping or getting a land-line touch tone phone.  If totally dependent upon a cell then have an external back-up battery, a car adapter to plug in and charge from your car’s cigarette lighter.  Before a possible power loss charge phones, reduce to the cell phone’s lowest power mode, and then back away from that device until truly needed for life-saving communications.
            Also stock-up on lots of water, Pedialyte for hydration (my nerves and tainted foods wrought serious diarrhea), moist-toilettes, bleach, and heavy-gage garbage bags. And remember, that toilet ain’t gonna flush after several days (this is when those garbage bags in addition to cleaning out your refrigerator will be needed).  If you stay for the next flood you must remember what it was like twelve years ago.  And for the many new residents too young to have the Katrina Debacle in their memory’s reference--read about it now. I suggest: Chris Rose’s Pulitzer prize nominated “One Dead in Attic”, Douglas Brinkly’s “The Great Deluge”, and Google “17 of the Best Things Ever Written About Katrina” (HuffPost), for more informative reads. 
I often wonder how many folks I crossed paths with during those couple of days leading up to Katrina’s landfall that are no longer with us.  We were the lucky ones, the fools who rode it out.  And, for no good reason other than sheer luck am I able to sit and write about it today—twelve years later.  Consider this a cautionary tale.


DIY Second Line in New Orleans

How to Host Your Own New Orleans Second Line
Phil LaMancusa
            You’ve seen them in the streets of the French Quarter; anywhere from two to two hundred; they’ve got a band, stilt walkers, jugglers, clowns, drinks, smiles, they’re dancing, throwing beads and waving handkerchiefs to the astonished onlookers who wonder at the banner that reads “Welcome Home Sonny!” or whatever you can imagine as something that a person would want to have a parade for: birth, graduation, Patsy’s divorce or (in many cases) just for the hell of it. Did you know that you can DIY? You can, and I’m going to walk you through the process of giving/having your very own customized Second Line procession, or as we commonly call it: ‘Takin’ It To The Streets!’
            First of all, you could call a service that can provide you with all the bells and whistles including a restaurant destination for an après marche celebratory banquet, they will handle any permits, escorts and accoutrements for your event. Or you can continue to plow ahead on your own; and, by now we’ve all seen the Hannibal Buress stand up routine about having a parade in the streets of the French Quarter and how easy it is to organize and pull off. Well, surprise, it’s a little more complicated than the three minutes or so of humor that he uses and although it isn’t rocket surgery, it’s not like me, cheap and easy; more like a full time job for whoever chooses to take on this challenge.  I did try to follow his directions: “First you go down to the police station and get a permit” he said; to which the answer is: no, you need to get a permit from City Hall (1300 Perdido St. 7th floor) in person or online at The permit is $100.25 for non profits and $200.25 for everyone else (why the .25? Who knows?).
            Next you’ll need to choose the date, time and route for your procession (at least 15 days in advance of the occasion) because you’ll, obviously, need a police escort to assist you in impeding traffic while you parade worry free (drinks and all). The cost for the police starts at $384.97 for the first (minimum) two and a half hours and goes up; you pay that $384.97 whether you use them 2 ½ hours or not. Your route and size determines the amount of police necessary and for this you will consult with a Special Event Commander. They will have you fill out two forms with your intentions including who you have hired to clean up after you. You can find out more about police pricing at:
About that marching band (remember them?); if you go to you will find that there is a plethora of street savvy brass bands ready to take on your group’s event. They will range from $400.00 to $1,200.00 (and up) for an hour and a half (plus tip) depending on size, experience and date of the adventure; again, more time means higher fees.
            Okay, so here’s the scene: say you and your entourage of twenty want to meet at Pat O’Brien’s on St. Peter St. (for drinks) and dance down Royal St. to Toulouse St. over to Chartres and across Jackson Square and end up at Muriel’s for burgers and more booze or a little further to Harry’s Corner for just a throwdown. Swell, that’s a twenty minute walk at most. Figure it will take at least an hour and a half. It’s gonna be like herding cats to get from there to there; alcohol, which many people want for this occasion ( while making most of y’all more jovial) will slow things down more than a tad.             You also need to consider whether you want to have all those accoutrements mentioned above, where and how to get them; did I mention that this will be a full time gig to get your ship off the ground? It will be. You’ll need two people, one who does all the running around grunt work (get Cousin Vinnie) and the other who will hand over their AmEx card and look the other way (Uncle Vito).
            So now, face it, this is not something you want to subject yourself to; I mean, yeah, get Vinnie to do it and Vinnie will have a great story to tell and you’ll have someone that you know that you can blame for any of the components that go awry, of which there will be many possibilities.  Orrrrr… call a company that handles these, and other functions, on an everyday basis. There are a few and I randomly picked (855-353-6634) from the Destination Kitchen site and queried them.
            I was told that because of the myriad of details that need the attention that will avoid mishaps, and the need to eliminate any level of stress, inconvenience or confusion that may occur, PLUS the absolute necessity to have this occasion not only go off without a hitch BUT keep things as light hearted and above all FUN for all involved, you NEED professionals who have knowledge and understanding of what it takes, how to do it and how to be virtually invisible to all but the hosts of any event that they’re involved in.  These people offer to take care of every detail of any celebration from greeting your people at the airport (with a band) to sending your guests out to the swamps on tours or to dump a body (just kidding) and in our case, organizing a second line parade through the streets of the French Quarter. They advise me that not only do they know how to spend a person’s hard earned, but also where they can save money and/or get the most bang for the buck.
So, my advice is: get the AmEx from Uncle Vito, give it to Cousin Vinnie and have Vinnie decide to either schlep it himself or “call some people”; relax, come on down to The Big easy, have a few drinks at Pat O’s, and act surprised and thrilled when all of a sudden twenty of your closest friends show up with a band to take you to lunch, ya know what I mean? Who doesn’t love a parade?