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Hey Friend,

Here are the recipes you asked for.  I wish I could be there with you when you make them…but because you moved so far away 19 years ago, I can’t.  Maybe you could just come here so I could put these recipes right into your hand…

Not too realistic, huh?  Ok.  I’ll go ahead and send them your way because I love you so.

New Orleans Style Red Beans



You will need:

1 pound kidney beans and 1 pound small red beans (soak overnight)

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp minced garlic

Kosher salt

1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled

½ tsp thyme

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper (or more)

1/8 tsp freshly ground white pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp olive oil

10 oz smoked ham, cut into ½-inch dice (about 2 cups)

10 oz andouille sausages, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick (about 2 cups)

1 large sweet onion, finely chopped

5 large celery ribs, finely chopped

1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped

2–4 bay leaves

4 cups chicken stock

4 cups water

4 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Steamed white rice for serving

Combine the garlic, 4 tsp kosher salk, oregano, thyme, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, and chili powder in small bowl.

Heat the oil slightly over medium heat. Add the ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned (about 4 min). Add andouille and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned (about 5 more min). Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and bay leaves and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables soften (about 10 min). Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring until fragrant.

Add the stock, the water, and the beans and bring to a boil. Cover and cook the beans over low heat for 1 hour. Stir in 2 Tbsp of the parsley and cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the beans are tender and the liquid is thick (about 1 more hour). Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp parsley and season with salt and black pepper if needed. I love to add a couple of dashes of Chipotle Tobasco for a little something extra.

Serve over steamed white rice. This is best with garlic bread or corn bread.

Then you’ll need dessert:

White Chocolate Bread Pudding



You will need:

8 oz French bread, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 ½ cups whipping cream

1 cup whole milk

½ cup sugar

18 oz good quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped

7 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 275*. Arrange bread cubes on baking sheet and bake until light golden (about 10 min). Remove from oven and cool bread cubes completely. Increase oven temp to 350*.

Combine 3 cups whipping cream, 1 cup milk, and ½ cup sugar in large, heavy saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add 10 oz white chocolate (about 1 ¾ cups) and stir until melted and smooth. Whisk yolks and eggs in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the warm chocolate mixture.

Place bread cubes in 2-quart baking dish. Add half of chocolate mixture. Press bread cubes into chocolate mixture and let stand for 15 minutes. Gently mix in remaining chocolate mixture. Cover dish with foil and bake for about 45 min.

Uncover and bake until top is golden brown (about 10 min). Transfer to a cool spot and cool slightly.

Bring remaining ½ cup cream to simmer in heavy, medium saucepan. Remove pan from heat and add remaining 8 oz white chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.

Serve pudding warm with warm white chocolate sauce.

You can make this in advance and re-heat covered for 30 minutes, if necessary.

Don’t worry about the calories.  Just book a trip to New Orleans, walk your way around the Quarter, climb winding staircases, and participate in as many Second Lines as you can find.