Saturday, February 11, 2012

Taste of New Orleans

After watching John Michael, my nephew, getting recognized as a Duke in his Day Care's Mardi Gras Ball, my sister, mom, and I ventured to a new place for lunch in New Orleans.

                                                    BBQ Shrimp (view my recipe below)
I looked up Freret Street because my mom remembered seeing a story about it having good restaurants.  High Hat restaurant, described as a mix of Mississippi Delta and New Orleans cuisine, received a lot of good reviews so we made a decision to go there. We started off with one of the dishes recommended, the bbq shrimp. The rich sauce was flavorful and the shrimp cooked perfectly. The best part is dipping the toasted bread into the sauce to "sop it up." We also tried their tamales (very popular in the delta) for appetizer. I am usually not a tamale fan but they were good.
Southern Burger with pimiento cheese (my recipe below)
Like the old sports song that was played at many of my dad's basketball games sang, this is the Main Event! Their pimiento cheese and burger is raved about in many online reviews. We knew that we had to try it. The burger was cooked just how I ordered, medium well (slight pink center).  The ooey gooey pimiento cheese was perfectly melted on top of the patty and sandwiched between a buttery toasted bun. The fries that accompanied it were good too.

My mom, sister, and I also shared the vegetable plate of braised greens, sweet potato salad, okra and tomatoes, and cornbread.  The sweet potato salad was the first I have ever tried. All the vegetables were seasoned well.
On our way back to my sister's house, we saw the sign for Haydel's bakery. My sister mentioned one of her friends gets her king cakes there. The line out the door intrigued us to stop and go in. We didn't want to pay $13 for a medium king cake if we didn't know how it tasted so we ordered some desserts from the case. I went straight for the chocolate eclair and cannoli. My sister chose the mini red velvet cake and heath bar cookie. We grabbed a chocolate milk to share and we were on our way. When I was little my mom would take my sisters and I to get donut holes and chocolate milk as a treat. It is a memory I treasure.
When we got home I sampled the treats.
 The chocolate eclair was my favorite! I didn't care too much for the cajun cream cheese filling in the cannoli. It was too heavy. I also sampled the slice of king cake that we were given before we left. It was soft and had a slight cinnamon flavor. I imagine it would be really good with a filling.
Today was a fun day with my mom and sister. I cherish the times we get to spend together.

BBQ Shrimp
BBQ shrimp are commonly served in New Orleans restaurants with their heads and tails still on. I have made the eating easier and more “dignified” by using peeled shrimp. However, you may still catch me sopping up the sauce with French bread (in the most elegant way, of course!)

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter      
¾ cup chicken broth                    
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce   
1 Tablespoon soy sauce                                
1 ½ Tablespoons fresh lemon juice                   
1 garlic clove, minced
3/8 teaspoon onion powder      
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper            
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled & deveined
Combine all the ingredients except the shrimp in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened slightly, 4 to 6 minutes
Add the shrimp and cook until just barely opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.
Serves 4

“Spicy” Pimiento Cheese                                Plain Pimiento Cheese
¼ cup cream cheese, softened                                   4 oz. ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese                         ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese                               ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise                                                     2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. chopped pimientos                                        1 Tbsp. chopped pimientos
1/8 tsp. salt                                                                    pinch salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper                                     1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper
Pinch cayenne                                                                      

Depending on which cheese you are making, first process the cream or ricotta cheese until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients until combined.

Makes about 1 ½ cups


  1. Greetings from South Africa Whitney, where we've just seen you crowned as the first Masterchef US. We were thrilled that you won and wish you all the very best in your new career. hugs and blessings, Sharon

  2. It sounds great. There are way too many great places to try in New Orleans. I always enjoy the BBQ shrimp. If I remember right, it was a bit of a hassle (at least the recipe I used was) to make for a home cook, which is why I have not made it for years. It is always great to have of somebody else cook that dish for me. :P

    You have to have a king cake this time of year. It is a New Orleans tradition.

  3. Sounds like a great, family time. Keep smiling......

  4. Eric view my bbq shrimp recipe I just included in this blog.

  5. I tried your BBQ shrimp yesterday for the, I'm such a newbie.
    I'd to cry out, "Do Over, please!" Do you know that feeling after you've lost a competitive sports game? That's how I felt after cooking it:

    Nevertheless, my 8-year old daughter STILL loved it! Better luck next time for Honorius. :(