Saturday, February 9, 2013

Boudin Blanc Recipe from New Orleans

here's a recipe that I don't want to lose
Boudin Blanc with Brown Beer and Juniper Sauce
Makes 10 sausage links (about 12” in length)
Spice Mix
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp herbs de Provence
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp rubbed sage
1 Tbsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground bay leaves
For the Boudin
1 lb lean ground pork
1 lb fatty ground pork
1 c. crème fraiche or heavy cream
3/4 c. water
1 onion finely chopped
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 whole green onions or the equivalent of leeks, chopped
4 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 lb leftover cooked chicken, finely chopped or the equivalent of ground turkey.
3 c. cooled cooked rice (1½ c. rice and 1½ c. water, cooked 18 minutes on a low flame covered.
Mix spices & set aside. Mix chicken (turkey) and rice & set aside. In a 6 qt. pot with a heavy bottom, cook everything else for 15 minutes on the stove over medium heat. Stir in chicken (turkey) rice mixture and spices, mix well and let sit off the heat for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time to cool and incorporate flavors.
If you’re stuffing the meat into sausage link, do it now. If you want to create boudin patties, let the mixture sit in the refrigerator until cold before forming patties; in either case, let it rest in the refrigerator a few hours to a couple of days before cooking/serving.
To Serve
Brown boudin links or patties on both sides in a little lard in a cast iron skillet on medium heat. We recommend that you serve this with sauce (see recipe) and mashed potatoes.
1 qt  warmed chicken stock, set aside
½ c. chicken fat, vegetable oil or a mix of the two
½ c. all purpose flour
4 whole bay leaves1/2 bottle ale or brown beer2 Tbsp juniper berries
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaf or 2 tsp dry leaf thyme
Make a chocolate colored roux (see note), slowly and carefully, for it may spatter and you don’t want the ‘Cajun Napalm’ getting on you, mix in the warmed chicken stock, add the bay leaves and cook 10 minutes longer. Add beer, juniper berries, salt, white pepper and thyme: cook 15-20 minutes longer on low heat. The sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream. If too thick thin with water. If it is too thin, cook a little longer, being careful not to burn anything.
Making the Roux
In a 4 Qt heavy bottom sauce pan, on a medium to almost high heat, heat the chicken fat (oil) until it is hot enough to ‘shimmer’ (remember: this is where you are being VERY careful) with a wire whisk, slowly add the flour until it is all incorporated; lower the flame to almost medium and switch to a long handled wooden spoon to stir the mixture (roux) until it begins to turn color from opaque white to light brown to pale tan and finally to milk chocolate color adjusting the flame downward to avoid scorching, burning or even cooking unevenly or too quickly. This should take you 10-20 minutes. When the roux is the color of chocolate add the warmed chicken stock and continue adding the other ingredients as instructed above.

On Writing in New Orleans

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Brother Love’s Literary Salvation Show
So, Ya Wannabe A Whyta
I think that inside anyone who reads for pleasure is a nascent writer and critic. Now, stop me if you think that I’m talking through my hat; but, if you’re the kind of person that notices mis-spilled words, a dangling participial phrase or wrong;? punctuation (let alone an imprecise gerund), you are basically a critic. Don’t deny it, that’s what you are. And any criticizer knows that they can do better than the criticizee, ergo, you must write. Bam!
A man enters stage left. He comes in the door of: a saloon, coffee shop, business office, palatial estate. He’s greeted by: a waitress, his wife, his boss, a prostitute who hands him a piece of paper. He reads it quickly and puts his head: on the bar, in his hands, in a spin, in the oven. “Take that you son of a bitch!” she says “you thought you could get away with: sleeping with my sister, stealing tips from me, not paying your bill, leaving your underwear on the door handle!” She reaches into: the pocket of her apron, the desk drawer, the cash register, the top of her garter belt, and pulls out: a cigarette, a frying pan, a bottle of Jack Daniels, a  gun and……and… and that’s what writers do. Paint pictures with words. Some do it better than others. Some can even make a living at it. Some make a butt load of money while others can never quit their day jobs. Some may even become famous while others go by the moniker of “good old whatshisname” as in: “whatever happened to?”
My advice on becoming a writer (that someone else criticizes) is: try it. It’s fun! Pen a poem, jot in a journal, think thoughts for theater, articulate an article, take a stab at a short story or make notes for your novel. A song. A sonnet. Punctuate a paragraph, accumulate some alliterations or better yet find your way to a writer friendly confabulation (exempi gracia: The 2013 Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival). Now, every year I tug on your coat tail to get your butt to a panel or two, a writers workshop, a reading,  a performance and/or have Tea With Tennessee on his birthday. Every year I ask you, nay, implore you to go to this festival/conference/thing and get yourself some culcha. Do you think that I do this year after bloody year just for the free Press Pass? I’ll have you know that I am a sensitive, delicate, caring writer and I’m also a passionate, fanatical and devoted admirer of the writer’s art and craft. As well, I am a biach for all things Tennessee.
This month (in this issue), as usual, I have a separate article on the TWNOLF and of course you can rely on me to follow that in upcoming columns with: French Quarter Festival, Jazz Festival, The Faulkner Literary Celebration, Lucky Dog Eating Contest, Hurricane Drinking Contest, Lucky Dog/Hurricane Regurgitation Contest and Bungee Gras: all the news that’s fit to print but not necessarily fit to read.
Naturally, I’ve had folks tell me, about writing, that they “have nothing to write about”. I tell them that having nothing to write about shouldn’t stop them; perhaps they could get Vanna White to sell them a life. I tell them that “it hasn’t stopped me, it’s ups and downs…I just thinks stuff up and writes it down!”
“Listen”, I say “if Joyce Kilmer can get away with a piece of writing that starts with ‘I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree’ you can certainly get out your crayon and compose something!  I recommend getting out of the house and following your nose to adventure, mystery, romance and a little harmless mischief. Because listen, from Seinfeld to Steinbeck; Hemmingway to Hallmark; Cole Porter to Carl Perkins; Julia (Child) to Jesus (you know who) it’s all about the communication of ideas, experiences and entertainments given to a world that thirsts for sensory input. From social discourse to simple ditties; discerning literature and dirty limericks to Dear John letters. I say, if you write it, someone will read it. If it’s set to music, someone will sing it. If you pen a poem someone will praise it. Consider it artistry.
But, as an artist, you owe it to yourself, and the world at large, to practice your art and to support the arts. I know, I know, there aren’t enough hours in the day; there is so very much to do already. Gotta get up, get dressed, go to work, eat, pray, love and have a couple of cocktails with the gang. Dance to the music. Rotate the tires. Pay them bills. Feed them kids. Worm the dog and how the hell did I accumulate so much frigging laundry? Tote that barge, lift that bale (get a little drunk and you land in jail). Who do you think you’re talking to: Old Man River? No, you’d be preaching to the choir to try to explain to me how hectic a life can be. I’m busier than a set of jumper cables at a family reunion; busier than a one legged chorus dancer; hell, I’m busier than a busy person! But, (here comes the big butt) BUT, I make time-- time to keep my life going forward in at least third gear instead of idling in neutral. Naturally, I read. From the classics to the comics, and I keep my senses, my mind and my heart open.
So, what you may get from reading this far, what you can take to the bank, what you have to remind yourself of (often) is: live and learn or live and don’t learn.  


Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival
March 20th – 24th 2013
Phil LaMancusa & Debbie Lindsey
Over the years that we have been doing the annual TWNOLF aide memoire, we’ve wondered, what would be the perfect edition of Where Y’at to place this important information. Should we put it in the March issue where you would have to make plans a month in advance and quite probably forget, or put in April where it’s “pack up the babies and grab the old ladies”? Guess which one that we’ve been choosing? Yep, you’re reading it! And if you’re reading this after the 24th you’ve missed it again if you weren’t prepared.
This literary festival will feature talks with prolific fiction and nonfiction authors along with Pulitzer Prize winners and remarkable actors highlighting literary panel discussions and theater performances. Illustrious participants all. There are Master Classes for individuals that desire more of an intensive opportunity to meet with notable experts on writing or the arts. Also, a variety of other events including a Scholars’ Conference, the ‘Drummer and Smoke’ music program, Literary Late Night Series as well as walking tours, a book fair, celebrity interviews and food events. And every year there are the winners of short fiction, poetry and one act play competitions that are performed and discussed.
Such notables as Leonard Pitts, Michael Cunningham, Bryan Batt, Don Murray, Emily Mann, Ayana Mathis and John Patrick Shanley will be on hand in a myriad of venues that include The Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Palm Court  Jazz Café, The Pelican Club, Hotel Monteleone and the  ever popular Muriel’s at Jackson Square. That’s the meat and bones of the thing.
Now to the rhetoric and the reasoning. Why, you may well ask, would a person want to go to this or any other literary festival or conference? Well, (you may consider) conferences such as these and this one in particular, are part of the fabric of our collective American experience; an iconic example of a worthwhile event that is organized by a few paid staff members and an army of dedicated volunteers to bring together readers, writers, artists and the admirers of the written word (Shout out to Ellen Johnson). Also, it is a venue for furthering an education in those areas that are such a large part of our inquiring lives and psyches. At these events you will find serious students and seasoned seniors. Neophytes and know-it-alls rubbing shoulders with the unpretentious and the influential; all on common ground with the same hunger-- to learn more about the words, and theater, and food, and all that goes with it. As the good Tennessee once cracked: “It’s a documentary”.
The weather is traditionally fine and there’s only one problem with TWNOLF: how to take in as much of it as you can in the short while that we have it here. I mean it, I literally have my lunch, my water bottle and my program in my pocket and for me it’s a ‘hurry up and relax’ event.  I go from informative pillar to entertaining post trying to get everywhere at once, be everywhere at once. There is so much to do, see, discover and experience that I take time off from work so that I can start early and go the distance.   
Every year we write about this event and strongly urge our readers to participate. Unfortunately not everyone gets the message in time and many folks have a ‘shoulda woulda coulda - whoops missed it again!’ déjà vu.  On the other hand there is a very high percentage of the participants that make it every year, us included.  As the Executive Director has been quoted saying: “It’s like a good habit they don’t want to break”.  
The culmination of the festival is the Stella! And Stanley!  yelling contests; where right there by Jackson Square, under the balcony of the Pontalba Apartments, grown men and women will scream the names of the protagonists of Streetcar Named Desire Tearing their hair, rending their clothing, and falling to their knees in anguish and high camp.
And, as ever, throughout the four days of frantic literary enlightenment searching -- right there at center stage, at all center stages-- is the visage of Tennessee Williams, who called New Orleans his spiritual home, looking upon it all, upon us all  from posters, portraits and prints, and you know -- wherever he is-- he’s laughing his butt off.
 For more than enough information go to