Monday, June 25, 2012

Lundi: Recipes

Last week, the ubiquitous Times-Picayune laid off half their staff and announced that they would be publishing only three times per week.  This despite having the largest readership, judging by paid subscriptions, of an daily newspaper in the United States, including the New York Times.  The Times-Picayune has officially been in business for 175 years but, prior to being a Times subsidiary, was a local southeastern Louisiana paper dating back to the days of Jean and Pierre Laffite.  If that isn't a sad comment on the state of journalism in the modern U.S. I don't know what is.

In honor of the great Picayune whose name came from how much it once cost, a wonderful old Creole recipe which has been featured in the Times-Picayune on more than one occasion: spinach Madeleine.

This recipe was probably first published in the now famous River Road Recipes cookbook from the Junior League of Baton Rouge.  It's a casserole that many Louisianans wouldn't dream of leaving off the Thanksgiving or Reveillon sideboard and it has, these days, one curiously modern ingredient: Mexican Velveeta.

2 10 ounce packages of frozen, chopped spinach
4 tbsps butter
2 tbsps all purpose flour
2 tbsps finely chopped onions
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp celery salt
3/4 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
Cayenne pepper
6 ounces Velveeta Mexican Mild, cut into small pieces
Bread crumbs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9 inch square casserole dish with butter or non-stick spray.

Cook the spinach according to the package directions. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid from the pot.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the flour, stirring to blend; continue to stir for about 1 minute, making a very light roux.  Add the onions and cook until soft, not brown.  Add the milk and reserved spinach liquid, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.  Cook until liquid thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes.  Add pepper, celery and garlic salts, Worchestershire sauce, salt and cayenne to taste.  Add the cheese and stir until it is melted completely.

Place cooked spinach in an even layer in the prepared casserole dish.  Pour the cheese sauce over the spinach and top with bread crumbs if you like.  Bake until golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes, and serve warm.

This recipe has another little connection to old New Orleans and Jean Laffite, at least to my mind.  One of the ladies he was linked with at times was named Madeleine Rigaud.  That's all we know of her, just her name and her connection to Laffite the pirate.  You can make up the rest over the spinach dish that shares her name.

Header: Andrew "Action" Jackson salutes the Times-Picayune


Timmy! said...

That sounds really yummy, Pauline...

And I got a chuckle out of Andrew "Action" Jackson saluting the Times-Picayune, too...

Sad, but that's a good one!

Blue Lou Logan said...

I was aware of the downfall of the Times-Picayune, and this is among the saddest symptoms of of post-K NOLA. Mad and sad all at once.

So, Lafitte's on Bourbon is almost as far from Seattle as it is from Anchorage. So why hasn't this happened yet? ;-)

Pauline said...

Yeah, the whole Times~Picayune issue is very disappointing. I remember my aunt getting it daily; I always liked the crossword puzzles.

Remember: January 2015 is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans and we plan to be there. Maybe you and Zane can come too :)

Pauline said...

Timmy: I was wearing my "Action Jackson" tee shirt yesterday so that pretty much had to happen.