Sunday, June 15, 2008

Creole Tomatoes and More

This is my favorite time of year: when the abundance of Louisiana's spring and summer crops is at its zenith. My daughter attends culinary school and hubby and I are foodies, so we absolutley enjoy soaking up all of the fresh produce and ideas on how to eat them every day.

Saturday was a day filled with celebration of the fruits of Southeast Louisiana's earth. We checked out both the newest and the oldest Farmers' Markets in the area.

First we hit the Slidell Farmers' Market and were not disappointed. The quantity and quality of the local vegetables is happily top knotch.

click on pictures for full-sized versions

[no, the beer didn't come from the farmers market :)]

There is also a variety of prepared foods, such as the Meditteranean offerings

The market's open every Saturday from 8 AM. Check it out.

Left to right: Tabolleh, marinated leeks, sundried tomato pesto and Meditteranean lima beans. Unbelievably fresh and delicious.

From Slidell to the nation's oldest city market, we headed for the 22nd annual Creole Tomato Festival

We ate our way from the Farmers' Market to the U.S. Mint and back: crab balls with remoulade sauce, fried catfish, gumbo, tacos, creole tomatoes over jasmine rice, mango freeze, and creole tomatoes with boiled shrimp in Cousins' Creole Tomato dressing Incredible food. We neglected to take pictures this year of everything we ate.

The 2nd annual New Orleans Seafood Festival was held at the U.S. Mint. We hit this venue early to avoid the crowds and the heat of the sun. We were lucky enough to catch Chef Randy Cheramie from the John Folse Culinary Institue at Nichols State University. He's one of my daughter's teachers so she was adamant about seeing him. I'm glad we did because he is a great chef and a wonderful presenter (I guess it helps that he majored in performing arts in college).

He demostrated shrimp creole which looked delicious. Unfortunately we didn't get a sample of this dish.

From there we wandered thru the French Market to catch Susan Spicer's demo. Unfortunately she couldn't show up, but her chef de cuisine at Bayona Restaurant, Jeremy Greshem did. He prepared and Italian Bread Salad with fresh Mozzarella. THAT we did taste and it was good.

Here he is demonstrating how to make fresh mozzerella

From there we caught two chefs from Dickie Brennan's Steak House,

Jack Martinez and his sous chef Alfred Singletary doing White Bean & Creole Tomato salad. Delectable!

The final chef demo we watched was Chef Dominique Maquet of Dominique's on Toulouse. He did the most sumptuous gazpacho with conch. I now have a new "gotta buy" cookbook on my list His food is fresh and delicious.

From there we got our five pounds of Becnel Creole tomatoes

and happily headed home with our heads filled with the many ways we will cook and eat them!!!


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