Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cajun/Asian Fusion Recipe

I love rice; given a choice of rice or potatoes, I will always choose the rice.  Maybe that's why I'm such a fan of Cajun/Creole and Asian cuisines.  Since we last went to a Cajun restaurant and next are going to an Asian one, I thought I would share a recipe that I created a few years ago that combines the two cuisines:


1 egg
1 t Canola oil
1 C cold cooked white rice made with chicken stock instead of water

1 T Canola oil                                                               
1 shallot, thinly sliced                                                        
1/3 pkg. frozen peas, defrosted                                    
2-3 oz Tasso, diced to the size of the peas (or other spicy cooked sausage such as Andouille)                       
1 small carrot, diced to the size of the peas                    
1/4 red pepper, diced to the size of the peas
2-3 dashes (or more) of Tabasco sauce


1.     Heat a wok over high heat. Add the 1 teaspoon of Canola oil. Slightly beat the egg, then add it to the wok. Stir-fry till done, then set aside.
2.     Add the 1 T of Canola oil to the hot wok, then add the shallot.  Cook briefly, then add the Tasso and cook briefly.
3.     Add the peas, carrot and red pepper. Stir-fry about 5 minutes, then add the rice.
4.     Stir-fry all ingredients until heated through. Return egg to wok and heat briefly. If mixture is too dry, add a little water.
5.     When finished, stir in Tabasco to taste.
Serves 2.

Monday, February 22, 2010

We will try again to get to Kooma....

We are working on getting together next week for our now long-delayed meal at Kooma, the Asian-fusion restaurant at the Wilmington Riverfront.  We'll keep you posted......

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another disappointment

Once again our plans were canceled. The weather is just not cooperating...25 inches of snow over the weekend and another 15 inches Tuesday and Wednesday shut down the state of Delaware and the other surrounding states. We were suppose to go out for dinner Friday night to Koomas down on the riverfront and take in a movie at Theater N in Wilmington. The streets are just too slippery. We attempted to contact Theater N to see if they will be running the show at another time. It would be nice if they did because I really wanted to see Broken Embraces with Penelope Cruz. The show is getting good reviews.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Divas Do New Orleans (Well Sorta)

Blue Parrot Bar and Grill
January 31, 2010
We Divas seem to like the ethnic cuisine offered in our fair city and surroundings. Our outings so far have included Malaysian and Spanish, and for meal number 4, reviewed here, the Cajun-Creole French mélange of New Orleans. Next week we are off on a culinary trip to Japan as interpreted by Kooma Asian Fusion Sushi Bar on the Wilmington Riverfront.
We decided to do Sunday Brunch for a second time after enjoying the sunny Sunday at Krazy Kats back in November. When we discovered the city had a New Orleans themed restaurant with brunch, visions of Beignets and café au lait with lots of chicory danced in our heads - well - in my head anyway. Visions of the elegant Commander’s Palace and memories of its scrumptious food were also called up.
A huge winter snowstorm delayed our visit till after New Year’s and another snow forecast made us postpone it a second time. However, on Sunday January 31, we finally arrived at the Blue Parrot Bar and Grill, 6th and Union St. in Wilmington’s Little Italy.
My concern about finding street parking quickly vanished - Sunday Brunch, especially after a winter snowstorm is not a high priority activity in this neighborhood. In fact we found ourselves the only patrons in the restaurant.
The décor was cozy and comfortable with warm colors, lots of posters, paintings and large-scale photomontages of The Big Easy. Colorful bejeweled and feathered masks hung from the walls and dripped with love beads. Lots of dried flowers and plants added to the charm. Recorded jazz played softly in the background.
Our waitress was friendly and knowledgeable and provided good service, except for one minor item (see Lorraine’s comments on jambalaya). We had our choice of menus: Brunch, Lunch, Specials or the regular menu. We all ordered drinks: Three ordered Bloody Marys: one each of fiery, moderately spicy, and just a bit spicy. They were done perfectly! The fourth diva ordered a Mimosa, which she pronounced, “fine- it’s a Mimosa, but small.”
Two of the divas had actually breakfasted earlier at home and chose the lunch menu. One decided she was a “wus” about trying Cajun or Creole first thing in the morning. She decided on the traditional bacon and eggs-over- easy with home fries. The eggs were fine, the bacon limp and the home fries wonderful.
Our second breakfast eater (me), who is timid about spice, was assured that the Bayou omelet would not be fiery. This large perfectly cooked omelet was filled with shrimp, crayfish tails, crabmeat, onions, tomatoes, jack and cheddar cheese. The Creole sauce, which I ordered on the side, complimented it perfectly and wasn’t spicy. The home fries were sprinkled with diced green and red peppers and were crisp, crusty and not greasy.
Of the nine offerings on the Brunch Menu only two omelets carried out the Louisiana theme. Besides mine, the Delta omelet included andouille sausage, and tasso ham along with onions, peppers and two cheeses. The other brunch items were standard American breakfast fare like blueberry pancakes, Belgium (sic) waffles, steak and eggs, and of course, that all American favorite, eggs benedict.
Diva number three settled on the Mississippi Crab Fries from the “Specials” menu. The huge pile of fries were cooked perfectly and covered with a mess of andouille sausage, crabmeat, jack and cheddar cheeses and brown gravy. Nanzie said she “almost licked the plate.”
Our forth diva, Lorraine, is the one of us who is truly a foodie and the most traveled and adventurous of the group, She has been to The Big Easy several times. She plunged right in and ordered the Jambalaya. An aside here - the restaurant offered half portions of many of its dishes- a feature we really appreciated and wish more restaurants would do. The half portion of jambalaya was huge and Lorraine didn’t finish it. Jambalaya is a traditional Louisiana dish with several meats, usually including sausage, ham, chicken, and shrimp cooked in a fiery sauce and served over rice. Lorraine mentioned that the Okra was a nice touch. She expounded on the jambalaya later by e-mail. In her own words,
It used to be hard to get andouille outside of Louisiana, so people substituted kielbasa. But now you can get good andouille everywhere. Although the kielbasa was tasty, it wasn’t as good as the andouille. Leave out the kielbasa and amp up the andouille!! Another thing that I like in jambalaya is tasso, the traditional smoked, spiced ham of Louisiana (and “jambalaya” does supposedly come from the French word for ham, “jambon”, plus the African for rice, “ya”). Tasso is not required (remember, jambalaya doesn’t have a fixed recipe), but it sure adds a nice kick and would have made the Blue Parrot’s jambalaya seem even more authentic. The rice which forms the base of the jambalaya was properly cooked, a definite plus. Didn’t love the sauce, which was tomato-based, but that is an authentic type of sauce in jambalaya… I only ate half of it, but was not offered a doggie bag for the rest, a surprising oversight from an otherwise competent and pleasant server.”
So what’s the bottom line on the Blue Parrot Bar and Grill? Two of us might go back, but wouldn’t go out of our way to go back. Two of us gave it a complete Thumbs Down. Surprised?
The failure that doomed this restaurant to perdition is truly lousy coffee. At first we thought we had been given an old pot. We requested a new pot and the coffee that came was bland, weak, still awful, and - mortal sin for a New Orleans themed restaurant - the chicory was “MIA.”
Posted by Linda

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Brunch at the Blue Parrot in Wilmington

The Dining Divas finally got together this past Sunday for brunch at the the Blue Parrot Restaurant on Union Street in Wilmington. How well did this New Orleans style restaurant provide a tasty meal that carried out its overall theme? Would we go back?

Full review will appear soon.