Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Orleans: The Final Act

Allow me to introduce you to the LUCKY DOG. These hot dog vendors can be found on every corner in New Orleans and they taste oh so good after midnight. Mustard and relish please.

I do have a recipe to share with you, but let me first round out my trip to New Orleans for you. It rocked.
Jim and I had a delightful lunch at Cochon, located next to a butcher. Now THAT is fresh meat.

I had braised pork cheeks on top of a crusty radish cake with goat cheese and arugula. I ate every bit of this.

I really enjoyed this ginger ale, it was SPICY and carbonated and very refreshing.
Jim had a creative bacon and grilled oyster sandwich.

He said it was "different" and it must have been good because he ate it all.

At one of the events we attended, Jim was pulled onto the dance floor by a dance performance team.

I couldn't let him have all the fun. Here we are posing with some performers.

What is a trip to New Orleans without a trip to Cafe du Monde.

Jim and I sat out on the patio and shared an order of their famous beignets. Covered in powdered sugar, you have to be sure not to inhale as you take a bite.

One evening, Jim and I visited W.I.N.O. which stands for the Wine Institute of New Orleans. You get a card that when inserted into the wine machines, allows you to serve yourself an ounce, two ounce or full glass of any of the wines they have hooked up to the machine.

This state of the art wine bar was so much fun. Here is Jim sipping and swirling.
We had perfect seats at the House of Blues on the front row balcony to watch the Spazmatics. This 80's cover band from Austin, Texas is highly entertaining and had us laughing, dancing and singing along with their crazy act.

One afternoon Jim and I went to the Aquarium and he was stoked to actually PET A SHARK! Although he tried hard to get me to play too, I told him I was strictly the photographer to catch his special moment with Jaws.

Here is a self portrait of Jim and I in the French Quarter.

My favorite boys (minus brother Brad) outside Pat O'Brien's.

My mom and I waiting in line at Pat O's.

Mandy meet the Hurricane. Here Mandy had 2 hurricanes!

One of the highlights for me was dining at Nola, one of Emeril Lagasse's New Orleans restaurants. Nola is a funky and informal restaurant with a fresh menu of New Orleans Creole, done Lagasse's way.

The days we spent in New Orleans were great. We made some wonderful memories with each other, with my parents who surprised me there and were able to dine on some fabulous creole, hear amazing music and party non-stop.

Which is probably why I got sick as soon as we returned. I'm going on day four of something awful. Feels like a cold, dripping into my throat, clogging my head. I've been feeling terrible, but I wanted to share with you the rest of our trip to New Orleans and ALSO explain where I've been the last few bed...or on the couch... going through tissues and cold medicine like crazy.

I'll tell you what made me feel better, a hot steaming bowl of chunky and creamy chicken noodle soup.
Paula Deen's, The Lady's Chicken Noodle Soup, served as my inspiration. I also read through Tyler Florence's Chicken Noodle Soup recipe to help me get started.

I started by defrosting a couple chicken breasts. Then seasoned with salt and pepper, placed in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes or until the chickens were cooked through.

To start with the veggies I placed two tablespoons of butter into my favorite green dutch oven.

I added some olive oil and let it heat up over medium heat.

Next, I chopped one yellow onion and added it to the dutch oven and let it saute for at least five minutes so the onions get translucent before adding more veggies.

The recipes I read included fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary and parsley. I only had tarragon, a fresh herb that I rarely cook with. So tarragon it is!

When the onions are ready...or when I was ready chopping the rest of the veggies... I add about four chopped celery sticks.

And a about three carrots, diced.

In lieu of fresh thyme, I added one teaspoon of ground thyme.

1 full tablespoon of Italian seasoning. Lot's of flavor here!

And one bay leaf... for good measure.

You know I HAD to add some garlic! I only added 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic here.

I didn't measure, but gave the veggies a nice even sprinkling of black pepper.

Then I gave it a good stir and let the veggies sizzle.

Following Paula's lead, I added 1/3 cup of dry sherry to the veggies and stirred until most the liquid was evaporated.
Next, I got creative and added 64 ounces of chicken stock and one small can of cream of chicken soup.

Here the soup starts coming together.

Once my soup was boiling I added two cups of dried egg noodles.

Because Paula did it, I also did it. One cup of cream.

My chicken is done, so I shred the meat with a fork.

It is seasoned well and stayed really moist.

Into the soup it goes.

Now I add my touch of cream to make this soup truly decadent.

Then add the chopped fresh tarragon.

Oh look at this! This homemade chicken noodle soup didn't take the cold away, but it surely warmed me up and filled my tummy with chicken and veggie goodness.


  1. That looks devine!!!

    Than for sharing.

  2. I have never been to New Orleans but now you've made me want to go soooo bad! Looks like super fun! And that picture of you rocking it out...hilarious. And the wine bar where you dispense your own wine sounds really cool. Thanks for sharing. Oh, and the soup...looks delish!

  3. BTW, we missed you. My morning blog stalking with coffee in hand has just not been the same without you!

  4. Oh, that brings back some good memories of New Orleans! :) And some not so good, as in eating a Lucky Dog after too many hurricanes....NOT a good combo! grandparents got engaged at Pat O's, so it always has a special place in my heart. :)

  5. Mandy - I love this page. How creative!! Looks like you had a great time. I would like to meet a Hurricane or two. Ha ha ha! See you soon.

    Diane Freeman

  6. The soup looks amazing Mandy! I can't believe you actually made homemade chicken noodle soup while being so sick. I'm curled up in bed with a fever right now and you couldn't make me move unless absolutely necessary. Feel better soon!

  7. We were in New Orleans over New Years and had an awesome time (especially at Pat O's and NOLA as you did!) I am still getting over my cold that I got as soon as we returned! Feel better soon!


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