Category: Culinary Classics

Culinary Classics: Gumbo and Jambalaya

“Jambalaya, and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo … son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou.” Hank Williams’ early 1950s smash hit—an ode to Louisiana living—was about the closest thing most anyone outside the Deep South knew or heard of Cajun culture and food at that time. This song introduced us to some dishes with strange, new names and simple pleasures characteristic of life on the bayou.

Jump ahead 35 years and Louisiana Chef Paul Prudhomme blows the doors off Cajun-Creole cuisine to international attention with the publication of his first cookbook, Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen.

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Culinary Classic: Beef Wellington

If homemade soup is comfort in a cup, Beef Wellington is indulgence on a platter.

It starts with luxurious ingredients and comes to table in elegant golden glory.
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Culinary Classics: Steak Diane

Steak Diane is the classic sauté with pan sauce for carnivores who prefer flair in their meal presentation—and enjoy a bit of flare with their tableside preparation.

On the U.S.front in post-WWII days, casseroles, croquettes, creamed vegetables, chiffon pies, TV dinners, anything you could wrap in bacon, drive-ins, and an expanding range of modern boxed, canned, and frozen convenience foods prevailed in the marketplace and on home dinner tables. GIs returning from European and Asian war fronts brought with them a new-found appetite for ethnic foods, albeit considerably dumbed-down in many cases so as not to offend previously cloistered, yet newly experimental, American palates.

And beef was king!

Steak Diane

 

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Barbecued Chicken: High in the Pecking Order of Summer Favorites

Is there anything better on a hot summer day than driving in your car with the windows open and getting hit with the stop-you-in-your-tracks aroma of chicken being barbecued somewhere?

Whether in someone’s backyard, in a church parking lot, at the local firehouse, in a park, or on the beach, every one of them aspires to golden-charred finish. Yet the recipes and methods used to get there burst into myriad variations—hardly two alike. (more…)

Culinary Classics: Eggs Benedict

You’d be hard pressed to find a breakfast dish more decadent than Eggs Benedict.

It’s the kind of dish that is food for the psyche and soul. It is the elegant pinnacle of comfort food, an ode to excess. If you’re looking for a healthy blast of protein and carbs to get your day started, make a beeline for yogurt and an egg-white sandwich. Eggs Benedict, and its infinite variations, is all about indulgence—throwing caution to the wind for an almost divine interaction with your food. It’s petit déjeuner for a lazy day.

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Coq au Vin: From Humble Origins to Haute Cuisine

Born of frugality, Coq au Vin is a slow-cooked classic French recipe that combines poultry and wine into a braised dish of delectable proportions. Traditionally, the recipe is highlighted by its inclusion of button mushrooms, pearl onions, and lardons—matchstick-sized pieces of bacon.

Coq au Vin is the second cousin to Boeuf Bourguignon, which is essentially the same recipe, except that cubes of beef are used instead of pieces of poultry.

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Culinary Classics: Surf and Turf

It’s a holiday that only comes around every four years: National Surf and Turf Day is February 29! Surf and turf, surf ‘n turf, beef and reef, pier ‘n steer, or whatever variation you might call it, this center-of-the-plate combination of beef raised on land and treasures from the sea is a fairly recent classic. It’s also a culinary playground for the curious epicurean.

Variations abound, but the most frequently found components are lobster and filet mignon.

No clear origin of the term surf and turf is commonly accepted, but at least two contenders are in the running. And, although attributions differ, the one thing they are close in agreement about is the approximate timing of the term’s coinage.

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