Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Marcelle Bienvenu’s new batch of recipes makes alfresco fantastic. By Anna Purdy
|Photo by Robin May|
Anybody who recommends “a splash of brandy to bring along” to pour over fruit is my kind of person. When it comes from Marcelle Bienvenu, author of Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? and co-author of several of Emeril Lagasse’s cookbooks, it sounds downright like a papal bull.
As it happens, Miss Marcelle does know my mama — they grew up together in St. Martinville. I got to talk to her about her newest book, No Baloney on My Boat, a celebration of casual, al fresco dining done with creativity and panache.
“I didn’t have any formal training. I just started cooking,” says Bienvenu, a testament to how learning by doing is the key. Her interest in cooking started in childhood, taking her to such gastronomic palaces as Brennan’s and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. She began writing her column, “Cooking Creole,” for The Times-Picayune in 1984. During the week she stays in Thibodaux to teach at Nicholls State University. “They asked me if I could teach. I said, ‘Well, I guess I can try that!’” Bienvenu has gone on to teach hundreds of students how to cook not just professionally but with heart. “I’ve learned how to give tests by text message,” she says. “The students think I’m real cool for that.”
The recipes in No Baloney on My Boat are truly easy. While this book is marketed for those who entertain outdoors, be it a boat, a patio or a camp, it is also ideal for the kitchen novice. The Bacon Cheese Bread is simple, and virtually every ingredient is something you already have on hand. You can substitute sausage or a veggie for bacon and change out the cheddar cheese with pepper jack. The recipes are neither crowded on the page nor would they be hard to make in a rocking boat. There are no photographs of the dishes, but frankly that often leads to disappointment — people spend so much time focusing on making sure the dish looks the same and not enough time focusing on the craft or its taste.
No Baloney on my Boat has a prologue broken into three sections: why Bienvenu wrote the book, including stories about dad taking her and her siblings fishing; how to surmise what meals you can make with the provisions and space you are provided; and food safety, which includes carrying as much ice as possible, among other tips. The recipes are then broken down into Breakfast, Appetizers & Snacks, Sandwiches, Soups/Sides/Salads, Main Courses and Desserts. Very easily contained in a small book — small enough to carry in a decently sized purse or to fit into the glove box of my car — while still easy enough to read on the page.
I happen to have a soft spot for gazpacho, having spent long hours with my mother canning it as a child after another garden haul. The gazpacho we know today is thought to have come from the Andalusian region in the south of Spain. There are as many variations as there are vegetables and fruits, and as such now the term gazpacho has almost become a synonym for a cold soup. Gazpacho is popular in the summer months and traditionally was the lunch peasants brought into the field. It’s astoundingly healthy for you as well.
Keep in mind that any of these vegetables can be eliminated if allergies or personal tastes are to be considered.
“I sometimes add a splash of ice cold vodka when serving and call it my Bloody Mary soup,” Bienvenu says.
1 (46 oz.) can tomato juice
4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 medium-size sweet onion (such as Vidalia or a Bermuda), chopped
3 T chopped green onions
1 medium-size cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 t minced garlic
1 T finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 T finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 t salt (more or less, to taste)
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper (more or less, to taste)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T fresh lime juice
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t Tabasco (more of less, to taste)
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix. Spices can be added or subtracted. Also bear in mind that if you do use a food processor to puree the mix, it will foam up a little and have a bit of a different texture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours before serving.
If you want to impress people, you can whip up the Italian classic linguine with clam sauce in minutes. Bienvenu’s is called Linguine with Peppery White Clam Sauce. “If your vessel has a butane cook-top, make this for a quick supper,” she recommends.
LINGUINE WITH PEPPERY WHITE CLAM SAUCE
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1/4 t crushed dried red pepper or a pinch of cayenne
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can chopped clams with juice
1 pound linguine
1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid [reserve that amount of water before you drain the pasta]
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 T chopped fresh parsley
Coarsely ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a skillet over low heat. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, over low heat for about two minutes (do not brown). Add the red pepper or cayenne and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the claims with their juice and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Cook the linguine until tender, then drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the linguine with the clam sauce, pasta cooking liquid, lemon juice and parsley. Sprinkle with black pepper. Serve immediately.
Newcomer to Top 50 among five companies selected for Naval contract
INDstyle 2014 brings down house
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes — were released by the U.S. Labor Department.
Texas declined by five rigs, West Virginia dropped three and Louisiana was down two.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
Three bedroom patio home or three bedroom traditional
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Ramsey Morein prepares an old Cajun classic also known as chaudin in this latest episode of filmmaker Stephen Meaux's culinary series.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
We’re in the second year of the second term of the first black president of the United States. And so it might seem that as Americans, as a nation, we have come a long way. And perhaps we have. But the recent killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., left me angry and sad. Here we go again, I thought.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
A federal appeals court in New Orleans has upheld a federal safety board's right to investigate the role of Transocean Deepwater Drilling Corp. in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
In what world does it make sense to balance the budget for a public school system by cutting schools from the poorest neighborhoods?
A supporter of a lawsuit against the oil industry has been re-nominated to a seat on a south Louisiana flood control board despite opposition from Gov. Bobby Jindal.
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
Two bedroom cottage or four bedroom traditional
D.A. Mike Harson gets a gift from a federal judge as he tries to hang onto his job.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The eclectic beauty of modern, prints, boho
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
The nominating committee for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East was set Thursday to nominate applicants for two people on the board whose terms have expired.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
Restaurant could see ‘a little facelift,’ Bobby Butcher tells Daily Report.