One of the best ideas I have had in a long while was to check out a copy of Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes lost and found from the Times-Picayunne of New Orleans edited by Marcelle Bienvenu. Not only are the recipes wonderful, but the whole idea of a newspaper helping people devastated by Hurricane Katrina find something as simple as a favorite recipe still makes me tear up a bit. Having never been through something as traumatic as a hurricane, losing everything, I hadn’t even thought about how awful it would be to lose all of my family’s favorite recipes.
The Times-Picayunne started a project soon after Katrina called “Exchange Alley” where people searching for a recipe were paired with those who still had them. The feature was such a success that the newspaper eventually published the most requested recipes in book form; Cooking Up a Storm.
This book contains recipes for old favorites like gumbos, jambalayas, beignets and oyster po-boys. It also contains recipes that came from New Orleans restaurants that had been closed by the storm so people could enjoy the foods at home or where ever they had ended up after being relocated.
I am excited to try (I copied the recipes for my files) such recipes as Turkey Bone Gumbo, Lady Helen’s Cheese Straws, Calas, Nanny’s Dill Pot Roast with Sour Cream Gravy, Galette de Rois and Tartes a la Bouillie. This book is a treasure and if you can find it, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy.
I have made these Rosemary Spiced Walnuts a couple of times now. They are fantastic! My mom always made sweet spiced nuts when I was growing up. These are much more savory with the rosemary and cayenne, but there is a hint of sweetness because of the sugar. These make a great snack or addition to a game day or party spread.