14th Dinner Club – New Orleans Summary
Friday night we convened at K’s house for our 14th Dinner Club meeting. It’s amazing that we are part way through our third year! We talked about how it seems both like we’ve been together forever yet like we have barely started our meetings.
Meeting time was 6:30 and I tried to get there a little early to do final assembly on the appetizers and then get going on the Ramos Gin Fizzes. However, I guess everyone was anxious as nearly everyone was there prior to 6:30! M2 arrived about mid-way through and we did introductions all around. She seemed to fit right in and I’m sure that by next time it will be like she’s been part of the group forever!
We started with the Profiteroles and Fizzes. A couple of notes about the Profiterole recipe: the batter for the profiteroles themselves would probably make about 30 golf-ball size puffs – maybe more; the filling was the right amount for 20 (as the recipe states); I made 1/2 the butter sauce recipe and it was enough to drizzle over 20 and probably would have been enough for 30, too. Also, I did not use Emeril’s Essence as the recipe calls for. Instead I just tossed in some of each of the ingredients used to make his Essence and that worked just fine.
At first I thought the Butter Sauce was just over the top for the Profiteroles but I really liked the buttery and citrusy elements it added to the spicy crawfish filling. These were really good and actually fairly easy to prepare, even though they are rated as Expert for proficiency – don’t let that scare you at all. I was really happy with the Fizzes. As you may know, I took some time to get these right! And I really want to thank Danno for his perfect timing! Everyone seemed to enjoy them (even M wanted to and she really doesn’t like gin). They are just such a fun drink with their frothy texture and refreshing citrus tang. I think you should try them out this summer!
Then we moved on to salad. R’s Italian Salad had everything but the kitchen sink in it! She had arranged them beautifully, so they were a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. She also mentioned that her recipe made way more than needed – especially of the muffaletta olive salad. We all got some to take home!
Next up was our catfish, dirty rice and maquechoux. The sauce on the catfish was very similar to the filling in the profiteroles – in fact if you choose to make this recipe I think you could make a batch of either and use it in both – did that make sense? :-) If you are in the Seattle area and are looking for crawfish and catfish, both K and I found our supplies at Central Market in Shoreline. The catfish was fried to crispy perfection and the spicy crawfish sauce added the superlative New Orleans’ bite of spice! Yum! The two sides were wonderful accompaniments – M did a great job in selecting these. The maquechoux was a happy combination of crispy sweet corn, onions and tomatoes with just a hint of green pepper and spice. It was the yin to the catfish’s yang. The dirty rice creamy and smooth with a bit of spice also but just enough to make it interesting not hot. The combination of the three took me right back to Bourbon Street! (Actually probably somewhere off Bourbon where the "real" people go to eat…).
Although we were all pretty stuffed at this point we weren’t going to miss an opportunity to indulge in bread pudding – especially one with bourbon sauce! We all rested a little as M2 made the sauce and plated up the dessert, with M assisting. (Although her recipe says it’s for 8 – 10, it was really about enough for 6 servings.)
Heaven. Soft and cinnamony with a buttery bite of whiskey. That’s all I can say.
At this point we were all in a bit of a food coma! Our meeting broke up earlier than normal because we just had nothing left to give – that meal was so good that we just needed to leave K with all the dishes and head home to our comfy beds.