Last week I spent a fantastic week in New Orleans on vacation. My traveling companion was my oldest daughter Kaitlin. Kaitlin is a first year elementary music teacher and she had the luxury of a spring break. It was Kaitlin’s idea that we visit New Orleans because she had been spending quite a bit of time teaching the history of Jazz and wanted to see the birthplace. Some of the best musician’s can be found playing outdoors for free in Jackson square. Food is right behind Jazz as a New Orleans attraction. The seafood is plentiful, the Po’boy sandwiches are legendary and its home to some of the most famous restaurants and chefs in America.
One of highlights of our trip was a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking and Louisiana General Store. It felt just like we were on TV-there was a large dining room where we shared a table with fellow travelers. The exhibition kitchen was equipped with the huge, over-the-counter mirror so we could watch each step. Chef Michael DeVidts was not only entertaining but extremely knowledgeable about local history and cuisine. We learned so much about the history of Louisiana and the origins of the food that it really enhanced our whole vacation. There was a genuine sense that New Orleans is appreciative of the returning tourists 5 years after the devastation of Katrina.
Chef Michael made an assortment of local favorites: Crab and Corn Bisque, Shrimp Creole, Pralines and the piece d’ resistance- Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce. (I had to throw in a bit of French in honor of the New Orleans Creole Heritage). Chef Michael shared with us that bread pudding was just a way to use up leftovers-stale bread, sour milk etc. He is personally committed to fresh, local ingredients so he just casually mentioned that he likes to make a raspberry, white chocolate version in the summer. Well, as you can imagine, I was all over that! I spoke to him afterwards and concocted a preparation which includes canned Oregon Red Raspberries. He even suggested that I use the raspberry juice in the hard sauce as a substitute for the bourbon. Well, by doing so it is no longer “hard” sauce (I learned that referred to hard liquor-who knew??) Anyway, this recipe is nothing short of divine, true comfort food, easy to make, warm and delicious. Consider this recipe my souvenir gift to you.Tags: bread pudding, dessert, raspberry