Acadian Bread Pudding
As one of Lafayette’s first Cajun-themed restaurants, Prejean’s is known throughout Acadiana for its authentic cuisine and nightly Cajun music. This week’s Dish of the Week is Prejean’s Acadian Bread Pudding, a traditional Louisiana dessert made with French bread, eggs, milk and spices. Go ahead and give its famous recipe a try, or enjoy this flavorful dessert free with the purchase of any entrée until Aug. 15. Prejean’s Restaurant is located on 3480 NE Evangeline Thruway and is open Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. — Katie Macdonald
3-4 French breads, torn or cut into small pieces
6 eggs, beaten
4 cups milk
2 cups evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
2 t brown sugar
2 t ground cinnamon
2 t vanilla extract
½ cup melted butter
½ cup cold butter
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Place bread pieces in a large mixing bowl
3. In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, evaporated milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and blend well. Stir in melted butter.
4. Add egg mixture to bread in bowl and stir until mixed. Let stand until liquid is absorbed and bread is saturated. Pour into greased 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle chopped butter on top.
5. Bake 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45 to 60 minutes or until center is firm. Remove from heat and serve warm.
Jack Daniel’s Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
½ cup butter
2-4 ounces Jack Daniel’s whiskey
In a saucepan over high heat, combine sugar and water to make a simple syrup. Add butter and stir until completely blended. Just prior to serving, add whiskey.
Recipe makes 2 ¾ cups of sauce.
|Ken Veron Jr.
Photo by Robin May
“At Café Vermilionville, we’re more like tour guides,” owner Ken Veron Jr. says as he describes pairing the restaurant’s Abita Strawberry and white balsamic veal cheek with a 2009 Mondavi Fumé Blanc ($32 by the bottle). The veal cheek, accompanied with a blue cheese flan, charred tomato and spicy walnut salad with braising sauce, is sous chef Patrick Waters’ play on a classic summer salad.
|The restaurant's veal cheek dish. Photo by Robin May
“The dish is fruity, light and clean. The bright blue cheese helps all of the flavors blend together and bring out the smoky flavor of the wine,” Waters says. “It complements the lighter meat.”
The entrée is part of a larger EatLafayette special, available until Aug. 15. For $25, diners can enjoy a four-course meal, with options of each course, including turtle soup, crawfish and tasso crêpes, Louisiana crab cakes and Key Lime pie.
Located on 1304 W. Pinhook Road, Café Vermilionville is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner Monday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. — Katie Macdonald
The Science of Sipping
Newly opened in River Ranch, The Lab is a coffee connoisseur’s paradise.
By Katie Macdonald
Photo by Elizabeth Rose
Not many new eateries would dare to open in the midst of the Fourth of July holiday — notoriously the slowest week of the year in the culinary world. But for Thomas Peters, his nearly 20-year dream couldn’t wait. On June 28, The Lab Handcrafted Coffees and Comforts opened to an enthusiastic Lafayette in what Thomas could only describe as a “mad rush.”
Lafayette’s newest café was born out of Thomas and his wife Pam Peters’ joint desire to create a unique “hang-out” destination that reflected the duo’s love for flavor and experimentation.
“Everything we do is based on science, chemistry and experimentation,” Thomas says.
At The Lab, the menu is simple — crafted by a combination of fresh and local ingredients.
“Ingredients first, local second,” Thomas says in a firm tone. “If you don’t start with good ingredients, you will get a bad product.”
Thomas and Pam took months to select the bold-tasting coffees and teas that form the heart of the menu. They looked for both quality products and distributors that emphasize a direct relationship between farms and roasters. The fruits of their labor are a unique combination of six micro-roasters and one tea manufacturer. Cuveé Coffee Roasters from Austin, Handsome Coffee Roasters from Los Angeles and Populace Coffee of Bay City, Mich., are three of The Lab’s most popular roasters, while all 25 teas come from New York-based SerendipiTea. Since Louisiana’s climate does not support coffee or tea, the Peters use local providers for fruit, honey and produce.
In order to serve the freshest products, Peters follows the unwritten “rule of 15.”
“Roast 15 months from harvest, grind 15 days from roasting and serve 15 minutes from grinding,” he says. “[The flavors of] older coffee will start to break down. You learn this kind of thing along the way.”
This emphasis on flavor plays a key part in Thomas’ vision. He expresses a desire to create an “ah-ha moment,” where “people realize coffee doesn’t need to be weighed down by sugar or cream.” The best example of this is The Lab’s unique hand-poured coffee, which Thomas recommends drinking black. The process is detailed, as Thomas rattles off the exact measurements and temperatures, but combined with a two-and-a-half minute pour time, the product is a coffee devoid of the traditional bitter taste.
“It extracts the most beautiful flavors,” Thomas says as he places a fragrant mug on the table. “And the filter removes all of the bitterness from the grounds.”
While coffee and tea are an essential part of The Lab, Thomas continues to perfect his own “experiment in imagination” — cold sweet cream. It’s a hybrid between ice cream and gelato, as Thomas manipulates the three definitive components of frozen dairy — milk, temperature and air — to create a unique dessert. He describes the icy treat as having the density and body of ice cream and the flavor profile found in gelato.
Thomas’ cold sweet creams come in a variety of flavors, including café au lait, salted bourbon and caramel, pear and Riesling, and Abita root beer.
“We think of desserts or pairings and then make them into cold sweet cream. Sometimes it will take two or three batches to get just right,” Thomas says.
But flavors aren’t limited to sophisticated desserts; Thomas says the six-flavor rotation will always include two kid-centered tastes, like Skittles, Red Hots and the cereal-inspired Charmed of the Lucky.
In addition to coffees, teas and cold sweet cream, The Lab offers homemade pastries, fresh juices and artisan chocolate bars. While he currently buys chocolate from companies like Dandelion, Ritual and Askinosie, Thomas plans on embracing the “bean to bar” mentality whereby he’ll manufacture his own artisan chocolate in the future.
At 1042 Camellia Blvd., The Lab’s location in the heart of River Ranch makes it ideal for walkers and bikers, and convenient for drivers across Lafayette. Thomas made the decision to occupy the former CC’s coffee spot primarily because of its large windows and the ability to tailor the atmosphere to fit his vision. “I wanted to create an environment that wasn’t centered on the area, but on the experience,” he says. “I want you to forget where you are.”
Despite an open and airy environment, The Lab retains a scientific feel with its window overlooking the starkly-lit kitchen and walls covered in chalkboard paint. However, while the majority of the science takes place behind the counter, The Lab’s atmosphere is its own social experiment. Long community tables and bars foster conversation between friends and strangers, while quality customer service encourages customers to interact with employees.
“The people are my favorite part of the business,” Thomas says. “A lot of what we do is educate [our customers]. I enjoy witnessing them try a new coffee bean they’ve never tried before, and getting to know somebody and their story.”
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
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Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
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The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
The recently established Downtown Lafayette Restaurant & Bar Association will host a special viewing of the upcoming New Orleans Saints taking on the Carolina Panthers in the open air of Parc Sans Souci on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Belief in a national outbreak of the Ebola zombie virus is becoming more of a threat every day, and The Hayride — Louisiana’s one true bastion for unrelentingly conservative political commentaries — thought it wise to share a certain special someone's “important message” with readers Tuesday on what to do when, not if, it comes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative