January 1, 2009
The requisite ingesting session at Café du Monde:
Above, a community art project adds more colour and character to the French Quarter with miniature trolley car artworks.
More of Vieux Carré, the oldest neighbourhood in New Orleans. En route to New Orleans I read Walker Percy's "The Moviegoer", set in the French Quarter, so our sauntering added extra life to the story.
Filigree wrought iron ornaments stairways, porches, doors and windows. Below, the common shutters and ceiling fans.
We always take advantage of the trolley.
Lloyd stands before Faulker House Bookstore in Pirate's Alley. It was the first time we missed it - timing.
A view from the Mississippi River side of Decatur Street, which used to be known as "Levee Street".
Below: Horse drawn carriages for hire by Jackson Square. A pedestrian mall, restaurants, and an iron fence surround the square. Artist peg their works on the fence, next to psychics and other vendors.
Below: My favourite pic of the bunch - a rift in the fog for the busker and his alto sax.
The infamous Creole Queen paddle boat:
Our way out of New Orleans, that deceptively high train bridge (See! It's almost touching that cloud! Well, more or less...):
We leave you with some (adapted) New Orleans flavour:
There is an alternating viewpoint on whether file powder should be added if okra is used as a thickener. I like both, so I’ve included both. Always add file powder to gumbo after it’s cooked.
1/2 cup cooking oil (see note)
1/2 cup flour
2 onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 qts vegetable stock, or chicken-flavored vegetable stock
1 lb fresh okra, chopped, or use frozen if fresh is not available
1 15 oz can tomatoes, chopped
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
cayenne, to taste
1 lb. vegetarian kielbasa-style sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices, or tempeh, cubed
salt, to taste
Gumbo file powder
(which, I learned, is just ground sassafras)
Hot cooked rice
Make Roux: Combine oil and flour in heavy frying pan (preferably cast iron) or stock pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon or wire whisk, until it reaches a nut brown color. BE CAREFUL NOT TO LET IT BURN! If black flecks appear, the roux is burned, and you must start over. It should take about 20 to 25 minutes to achieve the desired color.
Just before roux is desired color, add chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, and continue stirring until vegetables have been coated with the roux and are beginning to soften. If using the same pot to make gumbo, add stock directly to the pan. Otherwise, let roux cool until it is safe to handle, and add to large stock pot with the stock. Add the okra, the tomatoes, the bay leaves, and the dried spices, except for the salt. Let simmer for 30 minutes, then add vegetarian sausage. Let simmer another 10 minutes, and add salt. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary. Remove from heat, and serve over hot rice. Sprinkle with file powder if desired and Tabasco sauce.
NOTE: Peanut oil works best at high temperatures but other oils can be used. Lower the heat and extend the cooking time for the roux if using canola oil.