Here are the winners of James Beard awards 2010.
Does anyone own any of the winners? I'm tempted by "The country cooking of Ireland"...
Well I own Baking by James Peterson and can say I love it and have tried numerous recipes from it. I recommend it for anyone looking at making or enchancing skills while making some nice pastries at home.
I should probably buy that! I have most of Peterson's books and the thing I love about them is he tends to not give recipes so much as philosophy and alternatives. His book on French cooking is awesome and highly recommended!
I just got it. haven't made anything from it just yet, but at first glance, it's exactly what I expected: great results, but a lot of work. Even though it's "dumbed down" for home cooking.
I cook from the Bouchon and Ad Hoc books weekly. Both are superb. Yes Keller is detail oriented but the details pay off in spectacularly good food. (I even buy legs of lamb and break them down into individual muscles as he describes in Bouchon - getting about three 1 pound roasts and about a pound of stew meat from each short leg. More trouble - definitely - but the cooking and texture perfection are worth it to me! I think both books are great!
I noticed that there was an award for Leah Chase for the Dooky Chase Restaurant. Since I have a friend who is into all things New Orleans, I sent that to her and she sent me back the link to a Salon article on Leah Chase. Thought it might be of interest. I need to find the recipe for the dish mentioned in the article.
There is a recipe for Ms. Chase's gumbo z'herbes in another article on Salon.
I found it through a search or a linked page, one of the two - search for "green gumbo" - that is in the title. The article was written by Francis Lam.
The article mentions that the Dookie Chase restaurant was a meeting place for civil rights activists. I worked as a civil right lawyer for a number of years and attended several meetings there - though not those in the early days of the Civil Rights movement - I'm not that old yet.
The food was great, and I've eaten a lot of Cajun / Creole / NOLA food in my life. (NOLA = New Orleans Louisiana (LA)) My family lived there when I was very young (18 mos old or so) then moved to Jackson, MS. But we went back frequently and my mother could cook a few Cajun/Creole dishes. Her gumbo rivals any you'll ever have and I learned how to do a real roux from her - to me the key secret for good gumbo.
Everything I ate there had extras in flavor, subtle layers or nuances that were usually missing when you ate the same dish elsewhere. The memories pop up every time I cook one of the dishes I ate there. I'll often be less than completely happy with my result and those eating the dish will be wondering what I think is wrong with it because it is good to them. But I know that is just isn't up to the Dookie Chase standards.
I've never had gumbo z'herbes though and had never heard of it until reading a book about New Orleans / Cajun gumbos, soups, etc. a couple of months ago. That book, New Orleans Classic Gumbos & Soups by Kit Wohl also has a recipe from Ms. Chase.
I need to cook some gumbo soon. I've been saying that for months - even before I learned about gumbo z'herbes.
When I visited, the restaurant had a wonderful collection of art by a great variety of African American artists - almost like a mini-gallery. I don't know, but I would guess that much of that was also damaged or lost due to Katrina.
I live in the Baltimore area now and haven't been back to New Orleans since Katrina. Maybe I'll get back soon.