Results for category "Food"

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Food For Thought

-New Orleans School of Cooking-

On saturday March 18th we attendend the New Orleans School of Cooking, this place is family owned and was established in 1980. Our instructor and chef was Michael who started our class with a walk around the French Quarter. Michael gave us the historty to the ninth ward and is an exceptional story teller and guide! All the information spoken by Michael was tied back to food and the histoty and impact it has had on New Orleans. Once at the school we got into different groups to prepare New Orlean dishes. The experience was more than amazing, learning the history while learning the food of this area is a great hands on experience that I recomned everyone have. We cooked the corn and crab bisque, cajun sweet and spicy coleslaw, muffaletta sandwich, BBQ shrimp and grits, and bread pudding. All the food was fantastic and such a fun time! 🙂

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Another year, another great class with the indomitable Chef Michael Devedts!


Great lunch today of Po’ Boys at the epic Parkway Bakery & Tavern in the Bayou St. John/City Park neighborhood.

We had a nice variety of fried pickles, all manner of po’ boys, and a desert of fantastic bread pudding (thanks to our new friend Mark Herman).

Now Playing: “When You Get Back” – Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen

I still feel New Orleans in me with a weight similar to a very full belly, a heavy presence that leaves me wondering if it might be embedded in my belly forever. At no other point in my life have 10 days gone by so quickly. Never before have I felt so fulfilled from an amount of work that felt so small, in context. There is a part of me that is New Orleans, an itch I can’t ignore, but can’t yet scratch. I find myself wishing I’d brought more home. The voodoo doll from the French Quarter, cajun seasoning and sliced garlic from the cooking school (the vanilla bean extract was confiscated at the airport), bottle-cap framed ouija board from Dr. Bob’s, the “past cards” I’ll be sending away to parents and grandparents, the 3 CDs I acquired from musicians that inspired us all, the magnets on my fridge, the mud on the bottom of my suitcase, the crumpled up boarding pass in the front pocket of my backpack… I can put all these things in a pile in the living room but I can’t bring New Orleans home with me, at least not physically. I mean it honestly, though, when I say it’s a part of me forever.

New Orleans made me want to be a better musician. It made me want to forget the stupid little day-to-day things and focus on the important stuff. It made the “hard work” at home seem insignificant. I wanted to stay for a year and keep working, keep asking the locals to tell me their stories, keep learning about the history. I wanted to contribute. I learned things about gardening that I convinced myself I would re-create at home. I learned more about a history of a town with more stories than I could probably ever hear in one lifetime.


I did things I never thought I’d be able to do in less time than I would have ever imagined, like, for instance, when I was able to identify tree species by day 2, or hack through 100 meters of blackberry in an hour and a half. I got a taste of what strength really looks and feels like, and it was gone too fast. Does anyone know of any place around Ventura County where you can chop wood or hack at something with a machete, for recreation? Does anyone have anything invasive they need help tearing down? You have my number.



One of my favorite dishes to make on special occasions is crab stuffed mushrooms, so I thought maybe we could re-create it here in New Orleans Cooking School. The Crescent City Farmers Market didn’t have mushrooms quite big enough for stuffing, so we improvised, which turned out to be a lot more fun than sticking to the normal recipe. We picked from what was available and ended up with something totally different! Michael had some Louisiana blue crab claw meat already available for us, so all that was left was mixing together some extra ingredients.

We pulled “heart of the ox” tomatoes and sweet bell peppers to scoop out and make serving boats, added a lemon spiced pesto, shitake mushrooms for extra meatiness, onions, cajun seasoning, lemon, and topped it with bread crumbs and mozzarella cheese. We pressed the bottoms of the boats into some extra cajun seasoning and, per request, experimented with a little paline oil drizzle. The stuffed vegetables baked at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until the veggies were nice and tender with gooey cheese on top.

Because we had gooey fingers, we avoided using our phones, but were lucky enough to have Kev on the job! We re-payed him with a stuffed red bell pepper. Bon apetit!


How Yesterday Made Today…

As the stories of our beautiful dishes and recipes continue to expand online, we are invited to acknowledge how we brought farm to table for today’s Cooking School. It’s called the Crescent City Farmer’s Market, and it’s where Michael takes our NOLA crew each and every year right before our class gets together and cooks, in order to buy fresh, local food for a budget of $20 per dish – to feed 17 people. Michael’s greatest emphasis – aside from taking advantage of his position in order to discuss history and culture – is that we can feed the masses honest, healthy meals on a reasonable budget, and the cooking school provides an outlet for that.

On our walk over to the market, Michael shared a lot about the rich history and current state of the New Orleans lifestyle. “Local” to New Orleans means a 250 mile radius. The point of the Farmer’s Market was originally to bring the central business district back to the French quarter. Michael spoke a lot about the economic climate, the complicated nature of taxes and law changes, property ownership, etc. For instance, traditionally there are two floors to each building – the store on the first, and the residents on the second. Taxing and maintenance issues are moving businesses out of the city, however, and it is consequently becoming more residential. There seemed to be an obvious connection between the significance of the farmer’s market in relation to placement, business, and bringing that sense of welcoming and personality back to the home streets of the French Quarter and the American District.

Our trip to the market was fast, busy and exciting. We were encouraged to ask each vendor for their stories and origins, and after about 20 minutes of running around, blindly and frantically meal planning, we were ushered past the last few booths and on our way back to the cooking school. Memorable moments included a surprise from the cinnamon roll saleslady – a full time water quality professional! Exposure to an informative walk through of interesting cultural histories was a treat in itself, and the avocado popsicles weren’t bad either. In fact, they were kind of life changing.

Follow these links to learn about some of the ingredients for our recipes, and their origins!

– Aryana and Lauren 🙂

Creole Vinaigrette Salad – Brought to you by John and Hayden (… and Sean)

Today started out really great, because we went to The New Orleans School of Cooking. The day before (3/18/17) we went grocery shopping for today (3/19/17) and we split up into 4 teams of three. There was a soup team, salad team, entree team and a dessert team. I was part of the salad team, the day before I bought cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, cucumber, and Arugula plants. The first thing that John did was that he cut up the cabbage, while I cut up the carrots and cucumbers. After that we finished up the carrots and we cut the tomatoes in half I also cut up the Strawberries. We were waiting for a little Sean, John and I took the flowers off the stems and then we also took the leaves off and put them into the salad. The spinach that I had gotten had come pre cut so we just put the spinach into the salad. Then our teacher who’s name was Michael helped (as in just made it). He put Creole muster in, Pecan oil, vinegar, salt and pepper into a bowl and just whisked all up. After the salad was tossed and the dressing was put in, John, Sean and I planted the salad and put the Arugula flowers on the salads to make them look good.

When we were just starting

Dan is helping us cut up everything

Look at all of the work that Dan did

The finished salad