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Meatless Monday: Baked Risotto

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Advocate-Tested Recipe
Baked Risotto
Serves 4-6. Recipe is from Heather Vetter Schaefer.
1 tbl. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups rinsed and chopped fresh spinach
1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
11/2 tsps. zest and juice from a lemon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
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Crawfish, beer fest on tap

The fourth annual Bugs & Brew for Drew Crawfish Cook-off and Beer Festival will start at 11 a.m. April 20 at River City Plaza at Mardi Gras World.

More than 50 teams will compete in a crawfish- cooking competition, local music and a cask-aged beer garden hosted by the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild. Admission is free, but advance VIP tickets can be purchased for $50 until April 15 and $60 after that will allow attendees to eat and drink all day. Separate food and drink tickets will be available at the event.

The family- friendly festival benefits the Drew Rodrigue Foundation, a non-profit organization that celebrates heroes in the face of adversity in honor of local football coach Drew Rodrigue, a news release says. More info.

Slow Food slates classes

Slow Food Baton Rouge will hold a series of urban agriculture classes at the Burden Center, 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge.

The schedule includes Basic Organic Gardenging, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 6; Gardening in Small Spaces, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 9; Citrus Tree Pruning, 10 a.m. to noon April 13; Beginner Backyard Chickens, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. April 20; Composting, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 23; and Fermentation, 10 a.m. April 27.

All classes are taught by local experts. There is a suggested $5 donation per class, except for the April 6 class, which will be $25. Register online.

Gourmet crawfish festival set April 18

The Baton Rouge Epicurean Society and Mockler Beverage will host CrawFête, a gourmet crawfish festival on , April 18. The event at , held at Mockler Beverage, 11811 Reiger Road, Baton Rouge, will feature crawfish dishes prepared by chefs from Baton Rouge restaurants served with craft beers, wines and spirits from Mockler Beverage.

Participating restaurants include Bin 77, Blend Wine Bar, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Culinary Productions, Galatoire’s Bistro, Hot Tails Restaurant, Juban’s, Latil’s Landing, Mansurs on the Boulevard, Ruffino’s, Sammy’s, Stroube’s Seafood and Steakhouse and Sullivan’s. Tickets are $50 and proceeds benefit local childhood health and nutrition programs. Visit http://www.crawfetebr.com or call (225) 773-4889.

Meatless Monday: Spinach Soufflé

Spinach Souffle

Spinach Soufflé
Serves 6-8. Recipe is from the Viking Cooking School. A soufflé will always impress your guests. If you have the ingredients and soufflé dishes ready before you begin, the technique is easy to master. For this recipe, make sure the blanched spinach is squeezed as dry as possible so that excess liquid doesn’t affect the texture of the soufflé base.
1/2 stick unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 (10-oz.) bag prewashed spinach, tough stems removed
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
3 tbls. all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk, heated to a simmer
2 tsps. Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grated Gruyère, Cheddar or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, about 4 to 5 ozs.
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
7 large egg whites, brought to room temperature

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Besh Foundation sets fundraiser

The John Besh Foundation and the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience will host the “Funkin’ It Up” fundraiser 7 p.m. May 25 at the Hyatt Regency, 601 Loyola Ave., New Orleans.

Chefs Danny Bowien, Mission Chinese Food; John Currence, City Grocery; Donald Link, Link Restaurant Group; Michelle Bernstein, Michy’s; Aaron Sanchez, Food Network, Mestizo Restaurant; David Slater, Emeril’s; Jacques Torres and Besh will present the evening’s food.

As part of the fundraiser, chef Leah Chase will be awarded the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award. The Ella Brennan award recognizes one person annually that has made a “lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments and philanthropic contributions to the community,” a news release says.

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Galatoire’s opens new bar, sets happy hour

Galatoire’s opened a new bar at 215 Bourbon St., New Orleans, and is offering a weekly happy hour on Wednesday nights. Hand-crafted cocktails, including classic martinis, Sazeracs, Buffalo Trace bourbon Manhattans and the Galatoire’s Old Fashioned will be $4 on Wednesdays between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. The bar also offers other beers, wines and spirits. Galatoire’s bar is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight and features live entertainment from Jep Epstein from 9 p.m. to midnight Thursdays through Saturdays.

Thibodaux distillery takes gold

Donner-Peltier Distillersof Thibodaux won gold medals for each of the three spirits the company entered in the World Spirits Association convention in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Donner-Peltier takes gold at Austrian spirits convention.

Oryza Vodka scored a 91, Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum scored 92 and Sugarshine, a clear rum, earned a 94 and won the clear rum category outright.

“We were only in business for a month or two when the submission deadline rolled around,” Beth Donner, company president, said. “Our hope was that we might receive a medal, maybe two, but to win three medals with three products, and have them be all gold, well, that was really the best suprise I’ve had in quite a while.”

The distillery plans two new products in coming months, Rougaroux 13 Pennies Praline Rum and Oryza Gin, and is planning to release a new whiskey, LA1, later this year.

Saveur features Commander’s Palace on cover

Saveur magazine’s April 2013 edition is featuring several classic New Orleans restaurants, including Commander’s Palace, 1403 Washington Ave., New Orleans.

The restaurant’s shrimp and tasso Henican is featured on the cover of the magazine, which also tells the story of Commander’s Palace’s famous jazz brunch and gives an inside look at the Brennan family. “It’s such an honor to be featured in this issue with so many New Orleans establishments that are the heartbeat of this great city,” co-proprietor Ti Martin said in a news release. “At Commander’s, our goal has always been to represent what New Orleans is all about — not just the food, but the way of life, the soul and the atitude that is New Orleans.”

SoFAB sets martini seminar

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum in The Riverwalk Marketplace, New Orleans, is hosting a martini seminar.

At 5:30 p.m. April 1, mixologist Blake Kaiser will discuss the history of martinis at SoBou, 310 Chartres St., in the program “Martini: Olives Not Allowed.” Cost is $35, or $28 for SoFAB or Museum of the American Cocktail members.

Click here for tickets.