Slow-cooked goodness

The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes by Stephanie Pierson inspired me to cook a brisket as soon as I finished reading it. This book is delicious cold weather reading, as Pierson waxes poetic about the joys of a slow-cooked meaty brisket falling into tender shreds, in a rich aromatic sauce. According to Pierson, every culture has a version of this satisfying dish.  

Pierson went on a quest find the best brisket recipe. She interviewed and got recipes from top chefs such as Anita Lo and John Besh  as well as from Jewish grandmothers. All the recipes are as mouthwatering and inspiring as the photos.
 
This book would make a great gift for beginning chef or dedicated home cook.
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Sinking in to the Big Easy

Good friends at BayonnaDarlings, I have been fortunate; I have been able to travel a lot in my life. It is something I have always enjoyed and dreamed of doing even when I was very young. I remember developing an obsession with Siam as young girl. I think it came from watching the movie The King and I. It stuck, and it is still one of my favourite places today. I adore Thailand. Nothing about it disappointed me; it was every bit as delightful, beautiful, fascinating and delicious as I had envisioned it.

I have been lucky to visit a few times and really have been able to sink into the country and get to know it.
 
Sinking into a place is always my goal when I travel. My husband shares my obsession, so I’m lucky. We like to our take our time and really get the feel of the place, even if it means missing some so-called destinations, and leaving a few miles untrod. 
 
In 1969 there was a popular romantic comedy called If It’s Tuesday, This Must be Belgium. It depicts the adventures of a group of tourists as they race through seven countries in18 days. Even today, young tourists from all over the world dash through breakneck schedules on Kontiki tours. That’s not for me. I need to get to know a city and its people. I love to stroll and meander. I long to chat, absorb, and eat. I need to sink-in! 
 
Recently we returned to New Orleans; a city we adore. This is our first visit since before Katrina. Don’t let anyone tell you it has lost its charm or seduction. It may have been down, but the lady is not out.
 
My husband lives for the music that fills the streets. He has always hankered to attend the Jazz Festival. This year, the lure of Tony Bennett made it a must. I like music too, but can’t take the sun or crowds. I like my music in darker venues.
 
It is hard to say what makes me happier in the Big Easy: dear old friends, beautiful old buildings, truly fabulous food, or the joie de vie.
 
The buildings dressed in their pretty peeling pastels still stand in the French Quarter delighting the eye. The vegetation is lush in the heavy semi-tropical heat. Darlings, I adore the palms and scent of jasmine. For me the poetry of the Quarter is found in its denizens: writers and artists. Its Creole architecture helps to keep its secrets. I covet the lovely apartments and courtyards hidden behind heavy hurricane shutters.
 
If you love music and fun it is hard to think of city with more to do. New Orleans loves to party.
 
This is a city where food is taken seriously. Years ago, my fist trip to New Orleans coincided with the opening of Bayona. It was Chef Susan Spicer’s first restaurant. I went with my friend Rochelle. We declared it divine at first bite. It has reigned as one of the city’s best ever since. I cannot imagine visiting the city without stopping there, preferably with Rochelle and her husband Phil. Since it 1990, its global-style cuisine has made Bayona and Chef Spicer a star.
 
This trip, I anticipated dining in the restaurants of Chef John Besh. I was not disappointed. My husband and I dined at two of his restaurants. We ate at August, where the food is contemporary French and heavenly. The service is impeccable but relaxed. The wine list is fabulous; there is an exceptionable choice by the glass. I appreciated this as I want great wine, but not a lot of it. The restaurant is absolutely lovely with stunning floral arrangements. We also dined at Chef Besh’s bistro-style Luke, a lovely place with a lively downtown ambience. We savored moules et frites, a classic. The desserts in both restaurants are heavenly. Both are located in the central business district.
 
John Besh is a very charming local man. We met him at August, where he is known to make appearances frequently. Besh was named one of the Ten Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine Magazine 1999. He also won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef in the Southeast in 2006.
 
Katrina kicked the stuffing out the city. Parts of it will never come back and it’s shame. But those left send the message that they want everyone to visit. New Orleans is still the Big Easy and the city is still a fabulous place to be. It gives visitors a big welcome, and has something for everyone.
 
So darlings, if you like your getaways way elegant as I do, it is a perfect venue. If you like your fun bit more rowdy, it will work for you, too. But, if you haven’t, as the song goes, been Way down yonder in New Orleans, head there. Take time to sink-in. You’ll love it. Be sure to bring your appetite.
 
Katheleen Mars Commented: "The buildings dressed in their pretty peeling pastels still stand in the French Quarter delighting the eye. The vegetation is lush in the heavy semi-tropical heat. Darlings, I adore the palms and scent of jasmine. For me the poetry of the Quarter is found in its denizens: writers and artists. Its Creole architecture helps to keep its secrets. I covet the lovely apartments and courtyards hidden behind heavy hurricane shutters."

 
Gracey…
You simply must write a book… I felt as though I were walking and dining in New Orleans!

 
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