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Avery Island, Part 2

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Now that I’ve talked about the Tabasco, I wanted to get back to the food and more importantly the people, because both were pretty great.  Waking up that first morning at the Marsh House, I opened the door and followed a cloud of bacon upstairs to large family style dining room just off the kitchen where Stanley Dry, Louisiana chef and food writer, was making breakfast.  Aside from the bacon that woke me up, there was chicory coffee, eggs, boudin sausage, fig preserves spiced with fennel and bay leaves, fried pies filled with persimmon jam or peaches sweetened with Avery Island honey, pain perdu dripping Steen’s cane syrup and trees dripping in Spanish moss on view from every window.  That was how we started every day and it couldn’t have been lovelier.

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Over the next few days, there were po’boys at the Tabasco Deli, bowfin cavier at Bon Creole (and more po’boys plus gumbo with potato salad), and boudin and crackling pork rinds at Legnon’s Boucherie.  At Café des Amis in Breaux Bridge, we had crawfish and alligator cheesecake, BBQ shrimp, and stuffed gulf fish.  Basically, if we weren’t talking, we were eating.IMG_8176 Page 1

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At the Marsh House, chef Sue Zemanick of Gautreu’s Restaurant showed us how to make a roux for the gumbo des herbes with deviled quail eggs we’d have that night and mixologist Kirk Estiponal how to make a Kate Chopin inspired chartreuse cocktail he called The Awakening.

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Breaking it all up, we headed to the docks to take air boat rides, explored the island’s bird preserves – and perhaps most surprising – a Buddhist temple.  Having only been to New Orleans before, it was an incredible feeling to race through the bayous, if only because it it was somewhere I’d only ever heard sung about before.

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From the people hosting us, to the people we met at the local spots we visited, to the other writer on the trip, it was a much needed break from the deadline isolation I’d been living.  It was also a wonderful introduction to new sites like Biscuits and Such, Nibbles and Feasts, For the Love of the South, Running with Tweezers, Shutterbean, The Liquid Muse, Flanboyan Eats, and Love & Olive Oil.  All of which I’ve spent a lot time on since and can’t recommend enough. As everyone prepares to gather for the holidays, I wanted to include one last recipe – for a chocolate raspberry soufflé – partly inspired by the Tabasco spiked chocolate pot de créme made by chef Sue and partly inspired by the fun of lingering over dessert with new friends and talking about nothing and everything.

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Chocolate Raspberry Soufflé
Makes 6 servings

For the raspberry sauce:
10 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the soufflé:
3½ ounces bittersweet chocolate (71% cacao), finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
1-2 teaspoons Tabasco Original Red Sauce
4 large whole eggs, separated
½ cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch cream of tartar

Special Equipment: 6 10-ounce ramekins or 1 large 5-cup ramekin

Combine the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer until the raspberries fall apart, 3 to 5 minutes. Pass the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, discard the solids, and set aside to cool. (see note)

Preheat the oven to 425ºF and place a rack in the middle of the oven.  Generously butter the ramekins and sprinkle with sugar, shaking out the excess.

Place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Combine the cream and ¼ cup of the raspberry sauce and in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the chocolate, allow to rest one minute. Gently stir the chocolate until it is completely melted.

In large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate and mix until well blended.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar then increase speed to medium until soft peaks form.  Increase the speed to medium-high until firm peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Blend in ⅓ of beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten. Gently fold in the rest. Pour into the prepared molds and set on a baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven. Bake until set, about 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve immediately with additional raspberry sauce on the side.

Cooking Notes: The raspberry sauce can be prepared up to 2 days until ready to use.

I’m grateful to the McIlhenny Co. and the team at Hunter PR for inviting me to be part of the TABASCO® Tastemakers program which involved travel to Avery Island and recipe development though the opinions expresses are my own.

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