New Orleans is celebrated for many things. A special culture and community and feeling. Unique food. Unique music. Unique experiences. But it is also celebrated for celebrating! Right now there isn’t much time for that but you bet there will be as the water goes back down and rebuilding gets under way. And it is important not to forget what New Orleans was so that in the serious rebuilding ahead those special things also get rebuilt. So in the spirit of a unique place with unique food and its own unique style, it is time for Paper Chef to give a little back and given that New Orleans is one of the three cities most celebrated for food and cooking in the US, I am going to ask you all to please participate in the Paper Chef this weekend specifically INSTEAD of going out to dinner one night (or even two nights). Invite the special someone you’d go out with over for a Paper Chef dinner instead. And then donate the money you would have spent on dinner to the red cross for hurricane disaster relief. If you don’t live in the US, why not donate it for famine relief in Niger instead?
Since we are also celebrating the relaunch of Is My Blog Burning with a virtual party, we are keeping one of the ingredients as beer – and there’s nothing New Orleans likes better than a good party! But I am suspending our usual methodology and am going to pick and choose from the current nominated ingredients list to allow as much as possible for a New Orleans inspired dish. And I will give everyone a little more time to spread the news about this and get a recipe ready.
The current list is: Sausage, dried fruit, berries, eggplant, summer squash, star anise, shrimp, scallops, cherries, wasabi, tomatoes, pears, fresh coconut, something you get from a neighbour’s garden, walnuts, lavender, nut butter, tofu, parsnips, sweetcorn, duck and little fishes.

So we are going to have the following four required ingredients this time around…

Ingredient 1: Beer – for Is My Blog Burning and for New Orleans – Cheers! (if you are allergic or don’t drink alcohol, substitute any other celebratory liquid you like)

Ingredient 2: Sausage – nothing more Louisianan than that! (vegetarians – think of a sausage substitute!)

Ingredient 3: Shrimp – ok there IS something more Louisianan  than sausage! (vegetarians – again – substitute…)

Ingredient 4: Tomatoes.