Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chef Rosenthal's book one of many events for week of Dec. 11, 2011

Chef Donald Link will host a special tasting and booksigning for Chef Mitchell Rosenthal from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Link’s restaurant, Butcher, in New Orleans. Rosenthal has published “Cooking My Way Back Home: Recipes from San Francisco’s Town Hall, Anchor and Hope, and Salt House” and the book features recipes from those establishments, with clear evidence of Rosenthal’s influences, much of which is from Louisiana.

The chef started out in a New Jersey deli, impressed with the heady flavors of Chef Paul Prudhomme, which he incorporated into the menu.

“The disconnect is apparent now, but at the time, nothing seemed strange about putting kishke, kniches, and corned beef sandwiches alongside jambalaya, blackened chicken and gumbo,” he writes in the introduction.

Rosenthal later worked with Chef Paul and received invaluable experience, he writes, then headed back to Manhattan where he worked at the Four Seasons and later San Francisco. But readers “need only look at the contents of this book to see how Prudhomme’s influence carried me forward,” Rosenthal writes.

Indeed, readers will find the “Peacemaker” or fried oyster poboy, Bienville stuffed mushrooms, corn macque choux and other local favorites, but a wide variety of interesting dishes that make me want to grab the next flight to San Francisco.

On Friday in New Orleans, Rosenthal will serve three tastes from his cookbook along with locally brewed beers. The cookbook will be available for purchase for $35, and a sample recipe is below. RSVP by Dec. 16 to Elizabeth Goliwas Bodet,

More book events this week are:
Kelli Foret signs “The Acadiana Art Trail” at 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12, at The Depot in Abbeville. Foret, a Lafayette artist, has compiled “trails” where readers can spend time in Acadiana hoping from one great artistic experience to another. If you haven’t traveled to Lafayette and environs, you’re missing out on great art, and Foret’s book will clearly show you why.

Warren Perrin will sign copies of his historic book, “Images of America: Vermilion Parish” Monday in Abbeville as well. The book explains the history of the settlement of Vermilion Parish, its culture, music and people told through photographs.

Speaking of great artists from Lafayette! George Rodrigue will sign copies of his books from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Blue Dog Café in Lafayette, a restaurant choked full of his artwork. The Cafe will sell all of his books in stock, from children’s books to coffee table books, and Rodrigue will sign books already purchased that are brought to the café by patrons.

Casa Azul Gifts in Grand Coteau will host a poetry reading by Nellie Harrington and a musical performance by Byron Knott at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15. An open mic follows. This free event is appropriate for teens and adults. For more information contact Patrice Melnick at (337) 662-1032 or

Chef John Folse signs copies of his cookbooks at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, at Barnes and Noble Corporate Woods in Baton Rouge and with Rick Tramonto (“Scars of a Chef” and “Steak with Friends”) at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. at Barnes and Noble Mandeville, 1 p.m. Saturday at Barnes and Noble Metairie and 4 p.m. Saturday at Barnes and Noble Harvey.

Iron Chef champion and James Beard award-winner John Besh signs copies of his cookbooks at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Barnes and& Noble Lafayette and visits The Accidental Chef at 1:30 p.m. to sign his new book, “My Family Table,” and to demonstrate a dish for guests. The Accidental Chef is located at 
608 Garfield St. in downtown Lafayette.

I (your humble blogger Cheré Coen) will be selling copies of my books, including “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Acadian Village’s Noel Acadien du Village. It’s a great holiday event with thousand of lights, live music, Santa and much more. And did I mention my book makes a great Christmas gift?

Peanut and Tasso Crusted Pork Chop with Hot Mustard
From “Cooking My Way Back Home”
2/3 cup kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup peppercorns
1/2 bunch thyme
4 quarts water

4 pork chops
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces tasso or ham, finely diced (about 1/2 cup), mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons Town Hall Spice Mixture (from the book)
1 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon maple syrup
4 tablespoons whole grain mustard

Directions: To make the brine, in a container mix together all of the ingredients and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the pork chops to the brine, cover, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to three days. When you are ready to cook the pork chops prepare a hot fire for direct-heat grilling in a charcoal or gas grill.In a heavy bottom frying pan melt one tablespoon of the butter over medium high heat. Add the tasso and sauté until crispy. Remove from the heat and let cool. In a food processor combine the cool tasso, peanuts, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup and the remaining one tablespoon butter. Pulse a few times to blend. Set aside. Take the pork chops out of the brine and rinse them off under cold running water. Pat dry with a kitchen towel. Place the chops on a grill rack directly over the fire and grill, turning once for 5-6 minutes on each side or until pale pink in the center when tested with a knife. The timing will depend on the thickness. Two minutes before the chops are ready to come off the fire, smear one tablespoon of the mustard on each chop, then cover each chop with 1/4 of the tasso mixture and continue to grill just until the tasso topping is warm. Serve at once.