By Ti Adelaide Martin & Chef Jamie Shannon
Commander's Palace, the world-renowned restaurant that is synonymous with New Orleans cooking and hospitality, is about to release its first cookbook in fifteen years: Commander's Kitchen. Written by Ti Adelaide Martin, daughter of Commander's co-owner Ella Brennan, and Executive Chef Jamie Shannon, Commander's Kitchen offers much more than classic Creole recipes; it treats the reader to a series of snapshots of New Orleans culture from someone with a unique vantage point, and evokes the special brand of hospitality practiced by the city's most beloved restaurant.
Along with recipes for such Commander's classics as Turtle Soup, Shrimp and Tasso Henican, Seafood Gumbo with Okra, Eggs Sardou, and Bread Pudding Soufflé with Whiskey Sauce, Commander's Kitchen includes Martin's memories of growing up in New Orleans' first family of food, the Brennans, as well as Shannon's insights into Creole cooking. A series of "Lagniappes" (Creole for "little something extra") offer anecdotes about New Orleans, Commander's history, and the Brennan family; and recipes are followed by Chef Jamie's Tips —useful pointers designed to help the home cook master each dish.
Commander's Kitchen is subtitled Take Home the True Tastes of New Orleans with More than 150 Recipes from Commander's Palace Restaurant. The recipes come in twelve logically organized chapters, beginning with a guide to the "Cocktails, Eye Openers, and Other Drinks" that every New Orleans native knows; moving on to essential "Gumbos, Soups, and Stews"; taking a detour for Martin's personal favorite, "Brunch" (which includes the evolution of Commander's famous Jazz Brunch and an account of Louis Armstrong's return to New Orleans); and exploring recipes for "Seafood," "Meat, Game, and Birds, "and "Desserts." Last but not least is a chapter called "Commander's Kitchen Pantry," which includes recipes for such Commander's "basic ingredients" as Creole Cream Cheese, Creole Seafood Seasoning, Dark Roux, Garden Hot Sauce, and Crab Boil.
In her charming introduction, Martin sums up the Brennan family view of their native cuisine:
"New Orleans cooking is like jazz. The world is fascinated by the possibilities that can result when good jazz musicians sit together and 'make music.' So it is with our cooking. When people who care deeply about food use the ingredients and techniques of the entire history of New Orleans cooking, the possibilities are endless." Commander's Kitchen provides a very personal account of that history, along with all the necessary information about ingredients and techniques for readers to "make music" in their own homes.
Ti Adelaide Martin is the daughter of Ella Brennan. She runs Commander's Palace with her family. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Jamie Shannon has been at Commander's Palace for sixteen years and executive chef for eleven.
Take Home the True Tastes of New Orleans
with 150 Recipes from Commander's Palace Restaurant
By Ti Adelaide Martin and Jamie Shannon
Broadway Books, October 2000
Information provided by the publisher.
This page created December 2000
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