New Orleans Pierogi

This is an older post from my days of cooking at PRAVDA! While I am no longer there, the TRUTH! Pierogi will always be near one of my menus.

Got some amazing produce in yesterday from the HollyGrove Market, which included some broccoli and goat cheese curds.  The curds are amazing from Ryal's Dairy.  The taste is something like a country version of American Feta, with a certain tang, chalk, salt. The flavor takes well to seasoning other dishes as a component, or simply served by itself with some honey, cilantro blossoms, toasted cumin seeds, it can be an amazing component to a harmonious orchestra of flavors for the palate.  So, this thinking lead me to the following Pierogi ideas.  Broccoli and cheese are amazingly classic components, and we happen to have both of them on hand, along with some fresh made Pierogi dough.  So today, Goat Cheese Curds w/ HollyGrove Broccoli Pierogis.

Yesterday, Linda brought me some amazing foraged parsley, cilantro blossoms, sage flowers, and mustard green blossoms.  They are pure ingredients, which make it easy for people like me to cook.

If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony.                                    

Fernand Point  

It is the unlikely story of a guy from New Orleans, trained in French Cuisine, making Pierogies at a Russian Absinthe bar in the French Quarter.  But like life, there is no formula, just make it happen.  So here is the recipe that I have been using at PRAVDA! If you have any questions, shoot me an email and will get to the answer for the both of us.

PRAVDA! Pierogie Recipe

    - 4.5C All Purpose Flour
    - 2C Sour Cream
    - 2T Melted Butter
    - 1T Oil
    - 2Each Eggs
    - 1Each Egg Yolk
    - Salt

Combine sour cream, butter, oil, and eggs in a bowl; whisk until mixture is smooth and lump-free; salt the flour; make a well in the center of the flour; pour sour cream mixture into center; incorporate into dough; let rest 15 minutes at room temperature; pinch off and roll out into desired size.  Place them into some berrling water until they float...done.  Pierogie!

If this is too much, the recipe conversion factor can be used to scale it up or down.  For instance, if you only have three cups of flour, divide three by four point five, then multiply the other quantities by that number to yield your new recipe amounts.  If you get stumped, convert all the measurements into the same category, i.e., 1C = 8oz; 1T = 0.5oz; 1 Large Egg = 2oz, etc.  Just use the intraweb and find the needed conversion.

    Once you conquer the dough, it becomes a blank canvas for flavors and imagination.  At the top is a quote from my Gastronomic Hero, Fernand Point, he shaped the way we eat.

For those of you about to cook, we salute you.

Riverbend Supper Club 5.24.2011

The Dinning Room Ceiling

Foraging For Berries
The day started off like any other day, with a dog walk, but the dog walk today ended with a bounty of fresh local produce from the Hollygrove Market.  Breaux and I decided to make the walk down to the market, a mere 2 miles, to retrieve my bicycle.  Upon reaching the Hollygrove, Breaux got a bowl of water, and I got to work with some of the vegetables in setting up for the Tuesday Market.  Once the volunteering was complete, and veggies in hand, we walked back to the house to plan for the evening's supper club.

It was a bright idea at the time for an adventure, foraging.  So we set out, map in hand, to find some of the resources of the neighborhood.  It seems my math is a bit off and most of the citrus trees had stopped bearing fruit a month or so ago.  So onto the levee for mullberries and blackberries.  But the river had swallowed up much of the green space between the levee, where the fruits are usually ready and willing to be cooked.

Mike's Seafood Market
So we foraged further, and this time it was a sure shot, the seafood market.  Ended up with fresh catfish, and some beautiful white shrimp.  So the meal was set, we have potatoes, tomatoes, squash, onion, garlic, herbs, and seafood.

Heirloom Tomato Chips, Basil Flowers
Port and Mint Roasted Potatoes
Local Shiitake Brown Rice
Shrimp, Squash, Kale Stirfry
Sherry Cured Steamed Catfish

Tomato, Basil Flowers, Salt
Potatoes, Port, Mint, Salt

The food was cooked, people ate, drank and conversated.  Keep your ear to the grindstone for the next Riverbend Supper Club.


Eat Local, or Else.

Starting June 1st the New Orleans Locavores are challenging New Orleanians to eat food from within a 200 mile radius.  It is a message which has taken over much of the rest of America, and now finally we start to seeds of healthy food being planted in New Orleans.  Eating from within two hundred miles is not that big of a challenge, as it is a commitment.  Before refrigeration, people ate what Mother Earth provided, and the confining mentality of "gotta have it now" did not exist.  So challenge yourself, to eat healthier for your community.  The only requirement is the ability to ask questions.  Next time you are in a restaurant, ask where the server where the butter comes from, or where the onions are grown.  Just think about it like wine, where local variations in temperature and geography affect the taste of the juice.  And next time you are in a "local" supermarket ask why 75% of the food is not from here.

Checkout the Website for Details

North African Tasting Menu

Introducing or being introduced as a "chef" usually leads to a fair amount of questions, with the number one being "What is your favorite thing to cook?"  And while this seems like a simple question, and it is, it litcherally renders me speechless half the time.  Trying to convey in a few sentences, what the feeling is like to make another person happy through food and wine ends up being a mumbled rant on whatever I just read.   My go to recipe, depends on the company and context of which I am currently with or employed by.  Any region, any cuisine, any time (with advance notice).

An example.  I am currently creating a seven course North African tasting menu to be held on Thursday June 9th on the shore of Bayou St.  John   Drumbeats, spit roasted lamb, wines, and amazing conversation seems to be my answer dujour (of the day) for the next few weeks.  Here is the menu, and we have six spaces available, chat me up for a space.

North Africa On The New Orleans Bayou

Amuse Bouche


Spiced Dumpling, Lamb, Bulgur, Herbs, Yogurt


Summer Vegetable, Red Bean Soup


Beta Carrots, Cucumber, Herbs


“Ghaliyeh Maygoo” Tagine 
(New Orleans/N. Africa)
Local Seafood, Local Vegetables, Cous Cous


Mechoui Lamb, Cous Cous
(N. Africa)
Spit Roasted Leg of Lamb, Raisins, Pine Nuts Herbs