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La Belle Cuisine - More Lagniappe * Recipes

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*Lagniappe (lan-yap)  - a little something extra,
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New Orleans Restaurants -
The Caribbean Room



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~ Mark Twain, 1884

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La Belle Cuisine


Most of the following background information and the recipes (unless other-
wise indicated) are excerpted from "The New Orleans Restaurant Cookbook" by
Deirdre Stanforth, published in 1967 by Doubleday & Co., Inc. This delightfully entertaining and informative cookbook is unfortunately out of print. Perhaps
luck will be with you and you can locate it...


If not, just contact us if you're looking for a particular New Orleans
restaurant recipe. Who knows, we just may have it!

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Among my many blessings I count the privilege of having spent a large part of my childhood in New Orleans. Because my mother was a woman of discriminating taste, I was introduced to some of the finer things in life at a very early age.
Fine cuisine was certainly included, which means that my love affair with New Orleans delicacies has endured over half a century!  I have very fond memories
of our dinners at the (then) immensely popular St. Charles Street restaurant
'The Caribbean Room', located in the Pontchartrain Hotel. To say that 'The Caribbean Room' exists no more wouldn't be quite accurate. The hotel now
offers this sumptuously elegant room for banquets and private parties only.
The Café Pontchartrain caters to hotel guests and the general public. Since
'The Caribbean Room' has played such a large part in the culinary history
of New Orleans, we offer you these recipes in tribute.

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Deirdre Stanforth writes, "Although the Caribbean Room was originally
conceived to enhance the Pontchartrain Hotel, according to owner Lysle
Aschaffenburg 'the tail is now wagging the dog'." No doubt this was indeed
the case in 1967, when The New Orleans Restaurant Cookbook was written.
The Pontchartrain began as an apartment hotel in 1927, barely survived the
depression years,  and began to flourish when Mr. Aschaffenburg made the
decision to convert it into a fine hotel catering to guests, rather than main-
taining it as a residential hotel. Once the hotel was again under his sole
ownership after the lean years, he began "to lavish his high standards and
fine tastes upon the rooms and suites."

Deirdre Stanforth describes how The Caribbean Room came into prominence:
"In 1947, Mr. Aschaffenburg had another of his 'visions', as he calls them.
Inspired by the example of Ernie Byfield, who made the Ambassador East in Chicago by creating the Pump Room, Lysle Aschaffenburg determined to do
the same for the Pontchartrain. Horrified, his friends and family did everything they could to discourage him. Hazardous, impossible, they called it. How could
he hope to compete with the famous French Quarter restaurants like Antoine's
and Galatoire's some twenty blocks away? Undaunted, he countered that he
was not building the restaurant for tourists. He felt the people of New Orleans would welcome a fine dining room with pleasant surroundings, without the
French Quarter tile floor and kitchen chairs, and without a dance band or
floor show..."

After some initial regrouping, The Caribbean Room became such a favorite of
New Orleanians that they made up about 90 percent of the capacity clientele.
This is not to say that it was ignored by visiting celebrities, however, not by
any means. In fact, Mr. Aschaffenburg delighted in planning meals for spe-
cial occasions and celebrity visitors, such as Walt Disney, Mary Martin, and
Charles Laughton. Following is the menu from the Charles Laughton Dinner:

Crabmeat Remick *
Shrimp Bisque *
Trout Véronique *
Parisienne Potatoes
Hot Rolls and Butter
Tossed Green Salad
Pot de Crème Vanille

But enough talk...on to the recipes! 

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Crabmeat Remick

1 pound lump crabmeat
6 strips crisp bacon
1 scant teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 teaspoon Tarragon vinegar
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Divide crabmeat into 6 portions and pile into individual ramekins. Heat in 400-degree F. oven and top with strips of bacon. Blend together mustard, paprika, celery salt, and Tabasco sauce. Add chili sauce and vinegar, mix well, blend with mayonnaise. Spread the warm crabmeat with this sauce
and glaze under the broiler flame. Serves 6.

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Shrimp Bisque

2 pounds shrimp
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 quarts water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper

Shrimp Balls:
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1/8 cup butter [2 tablespoons]
4 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
1 egg yolk

Peel and clean shrimp and run through a neat grinder. Sauté onion and
celery in butter, add flour, and cook about 2 minutes. Gradually add
water and, when blended, add shrimp. Cook 15 to 20 minutes. Add
bread crumbs, cook a few minutes, remove from fire, and strain to
separate liquid and shrimp mixture. Set aside half of shrimp mixture
for shrimp balls and put the other half back into the soup. Purée,
season, and set aside.

To make shrimp balls:
Sauté shallots in butter and add reserved shrimp mixture and bread
crumbs. Moisten with 4 tablespoons soup. Remove from fire and beat
in egg yolk. Let cool and roll into balls about the size of walnuts. Heat
in oven at 350 degrees F. about 5 to 6 minutes. Put at least 2 shrimp
balls in each serving. Yield: About 2 quarts soup.

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Trout Veronique

1 trout fillet (from a 1 1/2-pound trout)
1/2 pint [1 cup] white wine
1/2 cup rich Hollandaise sauce
8 seedless grapes

Poach trout in wine in a pan small enough so that wine covers trout.
After poaching about 7 minutes, remove trout, draining well, and place
on an ovenproof serving plate. Reduce remaining liquid over a fast fire
to 2 cooking spoons of liquid. Add Hollandaise sauce and stir briskly.
Place grapes on trout, cover with sauce, and glaze quickly in broiler.
Serves 1.

Rich Hollandaise Sauce
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup wine tarragon vinegar
Dash Tabasco sauce
4 sticks [1 pound] butter, melted
Salt to taste
1/8 cup tepid water

Combine in a stainless steel mixing bowl the egg yolks, vinegar, and
Tabasco sauce. Whip until very frothy, and while continuing to whip, gradually add melted butter (heated to 200 degrees F.) in the manner of making mayonnaise. When butter has been blended, season and add
water to rectify consistency. Makes approximately 3 cups.

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Red Snapper Caribbean

2 sticks [1 cup] butter
1 pound peeled raw shrimp
12 large mushroom caps
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1 pound crawfish tails
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten lightly
2/3 cup milk
1 cup flour
Six 6-ounce red snapper fillets
Shortening for frying

To make the sauce, in a large saucepan melt the butter. Add the shrimp
and the mushroom caps, and cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat.
Add the green onions, crawfish tails, wine, lemon juice, Worcestershire
sauce, bay leaves, thyme, pepper, and salt, and simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
As the sauce is cooking, in a shallow bowl mix the beaten egg with the
milk to create an egg wash. Place the flour in a bowl or small baking
pan. Dip each fillet in the egg wash and then dredge in the flour.
In a large skillet, pan-fry the fillets in shortening until they are a light
golden brown, turning once. Place the fillets on serving plates and
top each with approximately 1 cup of the sauce. Serves 6.

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 "Many of the Pontchartrain's menu favorites have been contributed
over the years by various members of the staff... the famous Mile
High Ice Cream Pie was the bequest of a short-lived pastry chef.
Feeling they must have a really top-notch pâtissier.
The Aschaffenburgs hired this man from one of the hotels. After
a short while he left - but not before his successors... learned
to make the Ice Cream Pie!"

Mile-High Ice Cream Pie
The Restaurants of New Orleans, Roy F, Guste, Jr.,
1982, W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.


1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
4-5 tablespoons cold water

1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 pint chocolate ice cream
1 pint peppermint ice cream
8 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar

Chocolate Sauce:
6 squares (6 ounces) German sweet chocolate
6 squares (6 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

To make the crust, sift together the flour and salt. Cut the shortening into the flour-salt mixture until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cold water over the flour mixture, and gently toss with a fork. Repeat until the dough is moistened, Form the dough into a ball, and roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Fit the crust loosely into a 9-inch pie pan, pricking well. Bake 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees F. Cool.
Layer the slightly softened ice cream in the pie shell. Beat the egg whites
with the vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add
1/2 cup of sugar, beating until the egg whites are stiff and glossy and the sugar has dissolved. Spread the meringue over the ice cream to the edges
of the pastry.
Broil 30 seconds to 1 minute to brown the meringue.
Freeze the pie for at least several hours.
To prepare the hot chocolate sauce
, put the chocolates, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and 3/4 cup of heavy cream in the top of a double boiler. Cook until the sauce is thick and melted. Add the balance of the cream to achieve a pouring consistency. Drizzle hot chocolate sauce over each serving.
Serves 6-8.

More New Orleans Restaurant Recipes:
Commander's Palace
Corinne Dunbar's
Mr. B's Bistro

More Lagniappe Recipes
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to miss New Orleans?

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