Profile

pearl

Tulane alum and marketing professional who loves swimming, running, cooking, writing, and living the good life in New Orleans.

  • Website
  • Location: New Orleans
  • Favorite foods: Sweets (I don't discriminate), hearty baked goods, soups and stews, authentic Sonoran-style Mexican food.
  • Last bite on earth: ... would be a big one. It would probably include carbs, chocolate, fruit, butter, and perhaps even steak. I'd want to get it all in, you know?

Father's Day Giveaway: Win a Baking Steel!

My dad would be a pepperoni pizza. Traditional, old-school, reliable.

Holiday Giveaway: The Amazing Thermapen Thermometer

Myself (sick). But also chicken breast!

Is Louisiana Seafood Safe?

As a resident of New Orleans, I feel the need to chime in here. (In the interest of full disclosure, I'm just a resident and am not affiliated with any tourism or seafood industry organizations. I work in legal marketing.) The spill was really heartbreaking for us. Not only was it another disaster affecting our local economy, but it directly affected the Gulf, the lifeblood of our communities in so many ways. In New Orleans, we could actually smell the oil spill shortly after it happened and winds carried the stench of hydrocarbons our way, and it was clear that this would be a serious event. We are no strangers to disasters, and we were devastated once again.

Initially, all anyone here could talk about was whether or not Louisiana seafood was safe. Seafood plays a starring role in the many types of cuisine New Orleans and South Louisiana is known for, so it's safe to say that everyone kind of freaked out about the viability of our cuisine and traditions. But we're resilient, and in cases where certain foods weren't available for a while, like oysters, restaurants found a way to manage (Drago's served chargrilled mussels at an event I attended in May 2010, as an example) or took items off their menus (Parkway Bakery ceased to offer fried oyster poboys for a while due to supplier issues).

Since the spill, we have been assured and reassured that the seafood we eat is safe to consume. And we've continued to consume seafood as long as it has been deemed safe. To answer your questions, numerous reports have cited the safety of our local seafood. We've been eating oysters since last fall, and they have been great. Most have been larger than expected. It's amazing how things have bounced back.

That being said, there's still a long road for many in the greater seafood industry to get back on their feet, and I'm pleased to see that more efforts are being made to educate the rest of America about Louisiana seafood. Lately it seems like we've had more visitors than ever, which is especially odd during our oppressively hot and humid summer, and I guarantee that they are enjoying our seafood as much as we have been for the past several months. Individual restaurants go above and beyond the required inspections to make sure the product they're getting is safe and delicious, and in cases when I've dined with people who asked about the safety of Gulf seafood (which is proudly displayed as local on menus here), the answer is the same: If it weren't safe to eat, we wouldn't serve it.

Thank you for this article, and thank you for visiting Louisiana. I hope you'll continue to cover how we're doing and how restaurants in tourist-heavy parts of our state have dealt with the challenges brought on by the spill.

Cook the Book: 'Super Natural Every Day'

I'm a big fan of roasting vegetables and putting them over grits with a little bit of goat cheese. Roasted vegetables with goat cheese on ciabatta is another favorite of mine. Both are comforting, easy to make, and delicious.

Final Four, Where to Go - Houston Edition

I'm not a Houstonian, but used to visit frequently. I really miss Goode Co. and Mexican food in general. I guess that's what you get for living in New Orleans!

Immersion blender electrical issues

Thanks for the advice, you guys. I ended up calling Cuisinart for a replacement, and they're sending one this week. I've had the same results using multiple outlets, and I'm starting to think something is going on inside where it's generating too much power and is about to explode. The unit does get pretty warm.

Bleu, I'm not sure where the product was made, but I think it should work regardless! I have a Cuisinart food processor that I couldn't be happier with, so this was quite a surprise. I'm, really bummed, too, because I had a lot of soups and sauces planned that will have to be put in the regular blender (ours is slightly special due to a replacement part that fits like 98%, so boo to that) or the food processor, until the replacement comes.

New Orleans: Head to Coop's Place for Po' Boy Burgers

The po-boy burger is not unique to Coop's, but I have yet to try it. I'm a fan of the jambalaya, although it's on the smokier, spicier side (think less tomato and more spicy meat). And for what it's worth, we love our Abita Amber—have yet to meet anyone in NOLA who'd drink Purple Haze in public.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Two Peter Luger Steaks

NY strip with Peter Luger sauce, obviously. Hard to find it here.

One to Watch: Pizza Delicious, New Orleans

Ohhhh, how we LOVE our Pizza Delicious. It is truly the best pizza in NOLA.

Cook the Book: 'My New Orleans'

Creole tomatoes! Love summertime in Louisiana. And love John Besh!

Foodie gifts gone right/wrong. What did you get for the holidays?

Finally got a Misto olive oil sprayer. Very excited about that! Brother got me a GIANT, lovely bamboo cutting board. Turned a Macy's gift card into a 7-cup Cuisinart food processor, which I've been wanting for some time. It was $70 off, sale price $89.99. Also got The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, which I've really wanted because I adore Back to Basics (which I won here on SE!!!) and wanted to try out the original book that has lots of recipes from the store. Boyfriend grew up eating food from the store in East Hampton, and I'm hoping I can bust out a surprise dish from the book that he hasn't had in years.

Advice as a new blogger on the scene

Great start. I'd give some attention to the way you write recipes. Instructions should be clear, and I (personally) prefer steps separated by bullets, paragraphs, or numbers, so that I know what to expect while making a dish, and so that I can glance back at a recipe while I'm in the middle of chopping/boiling/straining/preheating/smashing/separating and pick up right where I left off without having to read an entire paragraph.

This post from The Kitchn is a great reference. Good luck!

Are You a Night Baker?

Wow, did this strike a chord with me. Night baking is my LIFE. I can't remember the last time I baked something during the day (or early evening hours, even) unless it was over a weekend.

Beer: A medical miracle tonic?

@janaatwg Also, be sure to try NOLA Brown and NOLA Blonde ales if you are in the city. Only on tap, but both are delicious.

Beer: A medical miracle tonic?

@janaatwg Abita is our gem! Glad to hear you will be visiting.

Using Apple Sauce In Muffins?

I do this often. You can use applesauce as a substitute for butter in muffin recipes, up to 1 cup. Add 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to compensate for the fat. I think this method came from one of my Cook's Illustrated cookbooks, but I can't remember. I just estimate the amount of oil to add back in based on how much butter I'm replacing. This works well with banana bread/muffins. I've never tried it as a sugar replacement, but in general, I've found that you can cut sugar by a couple tbsp without any ill effects in muffins/quick breads.

The Naughty Chef

I just have to add that, as I read this, every single ad on this page is advertising this show. It's kind of hilarious. And judging by the comments above, I must be lucky that my cable provider doesn't include Oxygen in my package.

Macarons should be the new cupcakes

Weren't cupcakes the new macarons just a couple months ago? There was a bit of macaron madness throughout the blogosphere and I feel like there's been much more of a focus on cupcakes lately, which has also been increasing for a couple years now.

making stiffer brownies/bars

Actually, I notice the same issues with my brownies/blondies when they're undermixed. Usually a little extra time in the mixer will help develop a little more gluten, so maybe that will help. I think adding fat will just mess with the texture and will cause your brownies to become oily or even more crumbly. I could be totally wrong here, though.

and speaking of onions .....

Put some caramelized onions on top of focaccia or on pizza with roasted red peppers, artichokes, and fresh mozzarella. Not too unusual, but absolutely delicious.

Dear Food Network, Please Stop

And why is it that I've come across ads for Serious Eats on foodnetwork.com? I don't remember the last time I saw one, but it made me think.

Blogwatch: Gazpacho

Might want to edit link in story to The Pioneer WomAn.

Suggestions for Eating out in New Orleans?

I've lived in NOLA for six years now and have to say, first and foremost,
THANK YOU for coming to visit our wonderful city!

If I had to pick a couple of my favorite restaurants to suggest, I'd go with Brigtsen's, K-Paul's (they also do lunch now Thurs–Sun, I believe), Cochon, Bacco, Crabby Jack's, Il Posto, Drago's, Domilise's, Baru, Coop's, Mr. B's, the Marigny Brasserie, and perhaps Boucherie or Jacques-Imo's if you're in for a little bit of a ride. I'll second Le Bon Ton—very classic, unassuming New Orleans. Their bread pudding recipe is in the original Silver Palate cookbook. I've never been to August, but would like to go. I've also had good food at Bayona, though I went with my bf in college and we had terrible service, with dinner lasting 3+ hours as parties came and went around us.

Places to avoid: Mother's is highly overrated, and you'd have to be insane to stand outside in long lines with temps currently in the 90s, plus high humidity and ZERO wind. Upperline, in my experience, is just okay, as are Dick & Jenny's and Clancy's, though these places tend to get high marks from visitors. Trust me—you can do better. Also, avoid the Praline Connection in both the Marigny and the airport.

I'll also give a thumbs up to Tom Fitzmorris (my friends and I refer to him simply as Tom at this point, haha) as the authority on New Orleans restaurants. He's been dining in and around New Orleans his entire life and is dedicated to the pursuit of deliciousness. I trust his taste and opinions, as well as his recipes. I'm pretty sure The Food Show is now on 1350 AM... it's changed a couple times in the past couple years. Check out nomenu.com or sign up for his e-mail newsletter. Good stuff.

WF: Why are the meat guys on a pedestal?

I thought you meant on a pedestal on a pedestal. Like, who do they think they are? Haha. There is one guy in the meat section at my WF and he's a total jerk. Always grills me (no pun intended) on what I'm doing with the meat, and gives me a snotty look whenever I order anything. ANYTHING! Even filet! So anyway, he's on some kind of pedestal...

Cook the Book: 'Rustic Fruit Desserts'

Apple pie all the way, from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. This is the recipe from which I learned to make apple pie, and my mom shared her amazing crust-making skills that she'd learned in 4H in the '60s.

Immersion blender electrical issues

I received a Cuisinart SmartStick hand blender for my birthday last month, and I've used it twice to make smoothies. I've experienced quite a bit of difficulty getting it to work, since the socket it's plugged into repeatedly trips, and the reset button has to be pushed back in. I'm guessing this isn't a wiring issue, since I have several other more powerful appliances, including a KitchenAid pro mixer that does just fine when plugged in for several minutes. Has anyone ever experienced a similar issue? Any suggestions? I'm worried that when I go to puree a soup or sauce, the same thing will happen, and I'll be back to using my food processor for these tasks.

Food processor capacity

I'm thinking of buying my mom a food processor for Mother's Day. She has never owned one, but I know she would love it (she's super-jealous of mine!). Problem is, she has a very small kitchen, which means highly limited counter and storage space. I don't anticipate her using one too much... it'd be used more for the small things and smaller batches of food—my hungry hungry brothers are grown-ups now.

Is a 3-cup processor too small to get the job done? Or do you think a 7-cup is the minimum size? How big is your food processor, and what would you recommend for someone in her situation?

Stranded in an airport.

I've been sitting here for some time waiting for an update on my flight, and I've just started craving something really, really... bad. Like a Cinnabon. I don't know. Something... airporty. What's your favorite airport food? Fast food? Is there somewhere you must eat while traveling? Or do you simply have a go-to travel food (I usually go for Mentos or Skittles)?

KitchenAid help, please!

My parents informed me last night that I'm getting a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas, and apparently I need to decide what I want RIGHTNOW! because I think they're going to take advantage of some Black Friday sales. I haven't thought about it too much, and now I'm left scrambling to figure out what I actually want/need.

Here's the scoop: I bake, but not too often (mostly breads, but also a fair amount of cookies and cakes), and I don't think I want something huge. I'm thinking the Artisan, and we also looked at the Classic. I also saw this Ultra Power model show up in a search. What would you pick? What do you recommend? Is there a particular model you'd stay away from?

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