Recipe of the Month

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Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter which includes links to new recipes, or get them all at once by purchasing the Café Reconcile cookbook next time YOU stop by for lunch!

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Café Reconcile is home to some of New Orleans’ best southern and soul food. Though your best bet is always to get it here in the Café, we thought you might like to try some of our recipes yourself at home. From time to time we’ll post a new recipe here. Cook a meal for your family, neighbors, or co-workers, tell them about our mission of reconciliation, and ask them to join our cause!

April 2014

Recipe of the Month: Sizzling Gambas al Pil Pil »

Try this surprisingly simple yet exotic sounding shrimp and pastry dish this April!

recipe shrimp


6 large puff pastry shells
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 pound large (16–20 count) Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
(approximately 15 shrimp)
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons sherry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
chopped chives, for garnish


Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake pastry shells until pale golden, about 12 minutes.

Add the olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and black pepper and sauté until they just pink, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and paprika and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add lemon juice and sherry. Add parsley. Divide the shrimp evenly into pastry shells. Serve at once. Garnish with chives.

March 2014

Recipe of the Month: Papa’s Fried Catfish »

Do Friday Fish Fries make you want to fry your own catfish this Lent?

Try Papa’s recipe and you’ll be glad you did!



3 pounds wild-caught Louisiana catfish filets
salt, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
flour, as needed
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced (separate into rings)
lemon wedges, for garnish
tartar sauce, to serve


Rinse the catfish in cool water and pat dry. Season the fish generously with salt and cayenne. Combine the flour and cornmeal in a shallow bowl and season with salt and cayenne. Pour the milk into another shallow dish.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet to about 360ºF. Dip the catfish, 2 to 3 at a time, into the milk, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture,tapping off any excess. Let sit for about 1 minute, then fry (2 to 3 pieces at a time) in the hot oil.

Cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Scatter several onion rings over the fish as they cook and squeeze lemon juice over them. Repeat the process until all the fish is cooked. Serve warm with tartar sauce.

February 2014

Recipe of the Month: Creole Cream Cheese Gnocchi with Crawfish »

Learn to make creole cream cheese gnocchi with crawfish this February!

Makes 4 servings.creole cream cheese gnocchi

Gnocchi Ingredients

1 1-pound Russet potato
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional
for work surface and dough
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Creole cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Crawfish Sauce Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
8 ounces cooked Louisiana crawfish tails
2 ounces tasso, minced
2 ounces chanterelle mushrooms,
coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Creole cream cheese
1 teaspoon truffle oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped


To prepare the gnocchi, cover the whole potato with salted cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat and cook until tender; drain. Hold the hot potato in your hand with a kitchen towel and peel away only the skin with a knife. Run the potato through a ricer or a food mill. Combine potato with 1 1/4 cups flour, butter, Creole cream cheese, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula for about 15 seconds until smooth and the flour is completely incorporated. Add the egg yolks and stir for 15 seconds more, being careful not to overwork the dough.
Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and cut it into eight portions.
Working with one portion at a time, and rolling your hands back and forth, outward from the center to the ends, roll the dough into a long thin strand, about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut each dough strand into 1/2-inch pieces and sprinkle the tops lightly with flour. (Add as little flour as possible to prevent sticking.) Lift gnocchi from the work surface using the edge of a large knife or bench scraper and transfer to a baking sheet.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add all the gnocchi to the water, stirring, and cook, undisturbed, for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, until the gnocchi start to float. Remove with a slotted spoon or strainer and place in an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain the gnocchi, transfer to a large bowl, and toss with oil. Gnocchi can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered, and chilled or frozen. Toss the gnocchi with extra vegetable oil to prevent sticking if you are making it ahead.

To prepare the Crawfish Sauce, heat a large skillet over medium high heat about 1 minute. Add the butter and shallots and cook about 30 seconds until shallots are wilted. Add the crawfish, tasso, mushrooms, and Creole seasoning and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Add the gnocchi and cook for 2 minutes, until gnocchi are hot and sauce is thickened slightly. Stir in the Creole cream cheese, truffle oil, and tarragon and cook for 30 seconds. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

Chef’s notes: If you can’t get Creole cream cheese, substitute sour cream or crème fraîche. When making gnocchi, you need to work fast because if the potato in the dough gets cold, it gets too starchy and sticky to work with and won’t bind with the other ingredients.

December 2013

Recipe of the Month: Cajun Pulled Pork Mini Tacos »

It’s a whole new year! How about a new recipe to start off the year right?

These delicious tacos will have hungry mouths asking for more!

Cajun Pulled Pork Tacos



1 2-pound pork shoulder (Boston butt)
2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
Cajun seasoning, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 rib celery, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
2 onions, small dice
1 whole garlic, bulb split
5 sprigs thyme
1 quart pork stock
10 large flour or corn tortillas
oil for frying
Guacamole (recipe follows)
Salsa Fresca (recipe follows)
lime wedges, for serving


Generously rub pork shoulder with Liquid Smoke, then Cajun seasoning. Let sit, refrigerated, overnight.
Add the olive oil to a sauté pan set over medium-high heat.
Add the celery, onions, and carrots and cook until lightly caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, thyme
sprigs, and pork stock. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil.
Add the pork shoulder, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 3 hours or until fork tender. When finished,
shred the pork into large chunks with two forks.
Preheat a deep fryer to 350°F.
Using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut 5-inch circles out of the large tortillas. Fry the rounds in oil until crisp
and light brown. Immediately invert each round and fit the tortillas between the grates of an oven rack to bend
them into taco shells. Allow to cool.
Layer ingredients in each shell in the following order: pork, guacamole, salsa fresca. To serve, alternate
tacos and lime wedges in a row. The lime wedges will keep the tacos upright.



2 Haas avocados
1/2 small red onion, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
juice of 1/2 a lime (about 1 tablespoon)

Mash the avocados until a puréed texture is achieved. Blend thoroughly with the onion, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Salsa Fresca:


kernels scraped from 2 ears fresh, raw
corn (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1/2 cup minced red onion
juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2 Haas avocados
1/2 small red onion, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
juice of 1/2 a lime (about 1 tablespoon)
Mash the avocados until a puréed texture is achieved.
Blend thoroughly with the onion, salt, pepper, and
lime juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.

December 2013

Recipe of the Month: Rosemary Orange Sugar Cookies »

Rosemary Orange
Sugar Cookies

Spice up your holidays with a new twist on an old favorite.

sugar cookies

Makes 3-4 dozen

Experiment with individual herbs and blends to find your favorites.


2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or
1/2 teaspoon dried*
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
coarse sugar, for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg
yolks, vanilla, orange zest, and rosemary. Sift flour,
baking powder, and salt; stir into butter mixture.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.
Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and
flatten; sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake until
light golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand on
cookie sheet 2 minutes before removing to cool
on wire racks.
*Variation: Replace rosemary with 1 tablespoon lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon basil,
cinnamon basil, anise, licorice, or Thai basil, all of which are less potent than rosemary.

November 2013

Recipe of the Month: Autumn Harvest Sweet Potato Spice Flan Cake »

Get ready for Thanksgiving with this interesting take on a classic cake.

spice flan cake


3/4 cup jarred caramel topping
1/2 teaspoon rum or brandy extract, optional
1 15-ounce can Louisiana brand cut sweet
potatoes in light syrup, drained, 1/2 cup
syrup reserved
1 18.25-ounce package spice cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons canola oil
7 eggs, divided
8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted


Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 15-cup capacity Bundt
pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour.
Place caramel topping into a small bowl. Stir in
rum or brandy extract, if using, and pour into bottom
of prepared pan. Place sweet potatoes and reserved
syrup into a food processor and process until
Place cake mix, 1/2 cup sweet potato purée, water, canola oil, and 3 eggs into large mixing bowl and blend
with electric mixer until moistened. Beat with mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour cake batter into cake
pan over caramel topping. Set aside.
Place softened cream cheese cubes into a food processor bowl and process until smooth. Add remainder
of sweet potato purée and pumpkin pie spice and process until combined, 15 to 20 seconds. Pour
condensed and evaporated milks into processor bowl and process carefully until mixture is smooth. Add
remaining eggs, 1 at a time, processing only until combined and mixture is smooth. Pour mixture atop cake
batter in pan.
Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover Bundt pan tightly with foil. This is very
important. Place covered Bundt pan into a larger pan with at least 2-inch sides and place on oven rack.
Pour very hot water (heated to just below boiling) around Bundt pan to about 1/2 inch from the top of
Bake for 2 hours. Remove Bundt pan from water and cool for 15 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and invert
cake onto a large platter. Cool completely at room temperature. Sprinkle pecans over top of cake. Refrigerate
until thoroughly chilled.

October 2013

Recipe of the Month: Sweet Potato, Swiss and Spinach Gratin »

Looking for an interesting, new sweet potato recipe?
Look no further than this delicious, cheesy, baked dish!

sweet potato, swiss and spinach gratin


1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups cooked spinach, squeezed to remove excess water

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400°F and butter a 9×13-inch casserole dish.

In a bowl, mix heavy cream with garlic. Set aside.

Layer sliced sweet potatoes on bottom of casserole pan. Top with some spinach. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, some thyme, and 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese. Repeat layers, reserving 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese. Pour cream and garlic mixture evenly over top of gratin. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

September 2013

Recipe of the Month: Classic Red Beans and Rice »

Simmer up a pot of this delicious Red Beans and Rice for your family and friends this September!

Simmer up a pot of delicious Red Beans and Rice for your family and friends this September!


1 pound red kidney beans

2 quarts, plus 1 cup water

1 large onion, chopped

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 pound smoked ham, cut in 1/2-inch cubes

1 pound smoked sausage, cut in 1/2-inch slices

1 cup water

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons salt


Pick through the beans, removing all unwanted particles. Wash beans well and place beans in a 5-quart Dutch oven with the water. Set the Dutch oven over high heat. Add onions and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and let beans boil slowly for 1 hour. When the beans are soft, stir well, mashing some against the side of the pot.

Heat the oil in frying pan set over medium-high heat. Add the ham and sausage and sauté for 5 minutes or until the fat starts to render.

Add the sausage, ham, and oil to beans. Deglaze the pan with the remaining cup of water, then pour the liquid into the beans. Add the garlic, bay leaf, pepper, parsley, thyme, and salt. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Beans should be nice and creamy. Serve over rice.

August 2013

Recipe of the Month: Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque with Wild Mushrooms and Jumbo Lump Crabmeat »

Summer is winding down for most of the country, so let’s make use of the season’s fresh vegetables while we can!


Ingredients (makes 12 servings) :

2 large butternut squash

1/2 cup olive oil

2 medium onions, diced small

3 ribs celery, diced small

1 red bell pepper, diced small

9 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 gallon seafood stock (recipe follows)

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon basil

6 ounces button mushrooms, thickly sliced

6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thickly sliced

3 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed, thickly sliced

1 quart heavy cream

kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne to taste

Blonde Roux (recipe follows), as needed

1 pound jumbo lump Louisiana crabmeat, picked through for shells and cartilage


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut butternut squash in half and place flesh-side down on a baking sheet. Roast in oven until fork tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Once cooked, remove flesh and purée in food processor. Set aside.

Add oil to a medium sauce pot set over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and red bell pepper and sauté until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, butternut squash purée, and seafood stock. Bring to a simmer. Add bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and basil. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add cream and return to a simmer. Add salt, peppers, and cayenne. Add Blonde Roux, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking to incorporate until desired thickness is achieved. Fold in crabmeat and cook until heated through, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve.

Seafood Stock Ingredients:

1/2 pound Louisiana shrimp shells

2 Louisiana gumbo crabs

1 gallon water

Seafood Stock Procedure:

Add all ingredients to a stock pot set over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain. Discard Solids.

Blonde Roux Ingredients:

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Blonde Roux Procedure:

Melt butter in a skillet, preferably cast iron, set over medium heat. Whisk in flour, blending thoroughly to incorporate.

July 2013

Recipe of the Month: First Place Pulled Pork Sandwiches »

We’re feeling the summer heat here in NOLA, and the time for picnics and barbecues is upon us! Celebrate the season with these delicious pulled pork sandwiches, and enjoy the sun while you can!


Ingredients (makes 24 sandwiches) :

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1 8- to 10 pound bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed of excess fat

3/4 cup Butt Blast Rub (recipe follows)

1/2 cup premium apple juice

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar


Use a basting brush to spread the yellow mustard on the trimmed pork. Rub pork evenly with 1/2 cup of rub. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

Two hours prior to smoking, remove pork from refrigerator and rub evenly with remaining 1/4 cup rub. Bring to room temperature.

Set up and preheat an outdoor smoker for cooking in a temperature range between 200° and 250°F. Select a smoking wood.* The Swine Krewe cooks with a combination of equal parts pecan, apple, and hickory woods.

Fill a clean spray bottle with apple juice and apple cider vinegar.

Monitor smoker during cooking process to ensure smoker maintains a temperature within the proper range. The Swine Krewe uses digital thermometers to monitor the temperature of smoker and internal temperature of pork.

Spray the pork every 2 hours with the juice and vinegar mixture, and any time the smoker is opened.

Smoke meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 190°F (8 to 12 hours and as long as 16). Remove from smoker and wrap in heavy aluminum foil. Place in a clean, dry cooler to rest for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

Wearing rubber gloves, shred pork into long strands.

Assemble sandwiches on Kaiser-style rolls and dress with Krewe Coleslaw (recipe follows).

*The recipe can be modified to prepare the pork with a grill or a stove!

Butt Blast Rub Ingredients (makes about 3 cups):

1/2 cup cane sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated garlic

1/3 cup granulated onion

3/4 cup paprika

1/3 cup black pepper

2 tablespoons chili powder

3 tablespoons dry mustard powder

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teapsoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Butt Blast Rub Procedure:

Place the ingredients in an airtight container and shake until well mixed.

Krewe Coleslaw Ingredients (makes about 8 cups):

1 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons honey

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 medium head green cabbage, grated

1/2 medium head purple cabbage, grated

5 carrots, grated

Krewe Coleslaw Procedure:

Put all ingredients except cabbage and carrots in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Put cabbage and carrots in a large bowl, pour the dressing mixture onto the coleslaw, and toss to mix. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Recipe courtesy of The Swine Krewe, New Orleans.

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Emeril Lagasse Foundation Baptist Community Ministries Shell
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