Today I’m going to shamelessly recommend to you one of the best cookbooks I own: Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen.*
I mean, look at this guy! You can just tell he loves food.
This cookbook has been a dream for me because I’ve always loved Cajun and Creole cuisines, but never really had the courage to try to make either in my own kitchen.
I never guessed what an exceptional teaching tool this book would turn out to be. It gave me the confidence to make my own vegetable and seafood stock (silly me--that turned out to be way easier than I expected). It clearly explains how to make roux with really useful color pictures (you’ll have to buy the book to see what I’m talking about), and it gave me an unbelievable meatloaf recipe that would literally burn June Cleaver’s tongue off.
And of course it contains the glorious chocolate mousse recipe I posted the other day.
I’ll caution you that the recipes in here aren’t all that easy. We’re not talking about 365 Ways to Cook Pasta here. Some of them are easy, but many are quite complex and time consuming. For example, the Shrimp Etouffe recipe in this cookbook involves multiple steps, a long list of ingredients--and a disturbingly large amount of butter. It may take you a few hours to make, but the finished product is well worth the effort.
Every one of our friends has literally laughed out loud when we’ve shown them this cookbook. It’s just that the picture of Paul on the cover says so much. Sure, it’s obvious that the guy loves to eat, but what’s so wonderful is the look of pure joy he has on his face while he’s surrounded by all those pies and sausages and meat!
How I came to own this cookbook is kind of amusing. My mother bought it when my parents and I went on a vacation to New Orleans back in 1989.
Now let’s just say that my parents’ palates are tuned for mild food. So when they innocently (and scrupulously) fixed a couple of recipes from Chef Paul’s book, they simply could NOT eat them because they were so spicy.
Thus, this cookbook pretty much disappeared into my parents’ basement bookshelf, where I happened to find it one day. When I asked my mother if I could borrow it, she told me I could keep it!
Try out this cookbook and let it expand your cooking horizons. And stock up on the Tabasco!
* Full Disclosure: if you purchase this book using any of the links provided, I get paid a miniscule affiliate fee. :)