John Besh is a New Orleans-based chef and owner of six acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence, American Sector, and Domenica) which all celebrates the bounty and traditions of the region. His recently publish cookbook is My New Orleans: The CookBook, one that took him 5 years to write.
He also recently teamed up with Propane Education & Research Council to share his safe grilling tips and a recipe which features fresh, easily accessible ingredients that kids and adults will both love to make and eat. The recipe, Brick Grilled Chicken and Blackberry Barbeque Tortilla Wraps, as well as a safe grilling checklist and list of family cooking suggestions, can all be found at usepropane.com. He says it's a family favorite of his, so I've bookmarked it to make sometime! It looks and sounds great!
An Introduction to My New Orleans from John :
This book is the story of a dreamy, starry-eyed boy brought up in the shadows of New Orleans, surrounded by cypress knees and tupelo trees, good dinners and great friends. My life has been dramatically shaped by our multicultural heritage. Everything that I cook and eat, see and smell, reminds me of where I come from and more or less dictates where I’m going.
I grew up in Slidell, Louisiana, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. My childhood revolved around the lake, and I spent many hours shrimping in its waters and fishing along its shores. I learned to cook from my mom and my grandmother, and from the men I hunted with, who held that if you hunt it and kill it, a boy like me had better know how to clean it and cook it. Ours was a house of great food–we celebrated everything from births to deaths around great food. My ideas of New Orleans’s cooking come directly from the New Orleans table. My cooking draws on decades of learning and mastering cooking techniques that I felt certain would help me years down the road. I restlessly search my mind’s catalog of everything I’ve ever tasted or cooked, so that when I see a tomato at its ripest state, my mind runs through literally thousands of preparations that could work for this here tomato. Some people may look up in the sky and notice a mallard duck, but I see a slow-roasted duckling with lots of hearty herbs, cooked down in a gravy and served over rice.
My goal in launching Restaurant August in 2001 was to have a world-class place that could compete with the great restaurants of New Orleans. But Katrina, of course, changed everything. When the aftermath of that devastating storm threatened our fishermen and farmers, our shrimpers and oystermen, it seemed urgent to help preserve and protect our unique culinary heritage, its local ingredients, and its authentic culture.
After Katrina, being from New Orleans became the focus of my identity. The truth is I am from here and I cook from here–our ingredients and our traditions. I believe our city is a true national treasure: We have one of the few native urban cultures–and cuisines—that still thrives in this country. I cook New Orleans food my way, revering each ingredient as it reaches the ripeness of its season, which is how My New Orleans: The Cookbook unfolds, from Crawfish to Reveillon. No other place on earth is like New Orleans. Welcome to the flavors of my home.
(sorry video is cut off to the right, may open in a new window)
I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to review and receive an autographed copy of John Besh’s award-winning cookbook, My New Orleans: The Cookbook. This is one hefty book! It's huge and weighs like 6 lbs! It's a beautiful hardcover with 348 matte print pages and wonderful photographs. It's full of 200 of his favorite recipes and stories (16 chapters full!) from his hometown Louisiana. As I was flipping through his recipes trying to decide what to make (Hmm, red beans and rice? King Cake? and oohh but what? Beignets!!) Beignets have been on my to-make-bake list forever now, never had one before but I've heard about them! Now was my chance. Plus his beautiful photograph of the table setting next to the recipe enticed me even more.
This recipe is pretty easy, it just needs chill time (if you take the long way, as I did) and rise time. I planned it out to fry these after dinner for dessert when Mr. would be home to enjoy them as well. Well, from looking at my photos you can see how puffy mine grew once fried (maybe mine didn't need an hour to rise). That's ok, they tasted SO wonderful! Wow, I think I liked them even better than a doughnut! The light crispy outside and the inside this pillowy softness and just the right amount of sweetness. YUM! We all enjoyed them. Why did I wait so long to make Beignets? They were so easy to make (ok I cheated and used my Kitchen Aid mixer a little). I found the recipe online if you'd like to try these.
If you love Louisiana cooking or would love to try it at home, you will want to check this book out! Or better yet, enter to win a copy here!!
You may also find Chef John Besh on Twitter and Facebook.
by John Besh, My New Orleans: The Cookbook
•1 cup lukewarm milk, about 110°F
•1/2 cup granulated sugar
•1 package dry yeast
•4 cups all-purpose flour
•1/2 cup melted butter
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
•4–6 cups canola oil
•1 cup powdered sugar
1. Pour the warm milk into a large bowl. Mix 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar, the yeast, and a heaping tablespoon of the flour into the milk, mixing with a whisk, until both the sugar and the yeast have dissolved.
2. Once bubbles have developed on the surface of the milk and it begins to foam, whisk in the butter, salt, and vanilla. Add the remaining flour and sugar, folding them into the wet ingredients with a large rubber spatula. Knead the dough by hand in the bowl for about 5 minutes, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 6–8 hours.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into 2-inch squares, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow the beignets to rise for about an hour.
4. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over high heat until it reaches 350°F. Use a candy thermometer to check temperature. Fry the beignets in small batches in the hot oil, turning them every 30 seconds or so with tongs, until golden brown all over. Use tongs to remove beignets from the oil and drain on paper towels. Put the powdered sugar into a fine-mesh strainer and dust the warm beignets generously with the sugar.
These are ready to fry!
Do you see that light crispy outside, and the soft pillowy inside? Oooohh yum!
One "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" reader will win their own copy of My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh!
(This is a must before any extra entries will be accepted!)
1. All you have to do is tell me what you're favorite southern food is or something southern you've never had but want to try!
Earn up to 6 extra entries by showing some "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" bloggie ♥ with these rules*!
-Please post yourself a separate comment for each, letting me know which ones you do. Thanks!
2. (+2 bonus entries) Follow me on Twitter here and Tweet about this giveaway using my Tweet button above this post or use @MommyImHungry and this URL in your Tweet.
3. (+2 bonus entries) New here? Please tell me how you found my blog today!
4. (+2 bonus entries) Visit here often? Please tell me what you like most about my blog!
This Giveaway ends: 11:59 pm pst, Wednesday, August 11, 2010.
Please read the fine print:
- Open to USA
- Please leave your email!
- Winner(s) will be notified by email & announced on my Blog & Twitter soon after
- I will choose my winner(s) using Random.org
- Important! Please read about my giveaway rules HERE*
I wrote this review for "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" about My New Orleans: The Cookbook. I received free product to keep for this review. All opinions for this review are that of myself & family. Product info & stock images provided by PR.