Crescent City Cooking : Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-10-23
  • Publisher: Knopf
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One of New Orleans's brightest culinary stars, Susan Spicer has been indulging Crescent City diners at her highly acclaimed restaurants, Bayona and Herbsaint, for years. Now, in her long-awaited cookbook, Spiceran expert at knocking cuisine off its pedestal with a healthy dash of hot sauce, and at elevating comfort food to the level of the sublimebrings her signature dishes to the home cook's table. Crescent City Cookingincludes all the recipes that have made Susan Spicer, and her restaurants, famous. Spicer marries traditional Southern cooking with culinary influences from around the world, and the result is New Orleans cooking with gusto and flair. Each of her familiar yet unique recipes is easy to make and wonderfully memorable. Inside you'll find : More than 170 recipes, ranging from traditional New Orleans dishes (Cornmeal-Crusted Crayfish Pies and Cajun-Spiced Pecans) to Susan's very own twists on down-home cuisine (Smoked Duck Hash in Puff Pastry with Apple Cider Sauce; Grilled Shrimp with Black Bean Cakes and Coriander Sauce) and, of course, a recipe for the best gumbo you've ever tasted Over 90 photographs byTimes-Picayunephotographer Chris Granger, which display the vibrant city of New Orleans as much as Spicer's wonderfully offbeat yet classy way of presenting her dishes Instructions that make Spicer's down-to-earth but extraordinarily creative recipes easy to prepare. Spicer, who cooks for two picky preteens and packs lunch every day for her husband, knows how precious time can be and understands just how much is enough There is something else of New Orleansits spiritthat imbues this book's every useful tip and anecdote. The strong culinary traditions of New Orleans are revived inCrescent City Cooking, with recipes that are guaranteed to comfort and surprise. This is some of the best food you'll ever taste, in what is certain to become the essential New Orleans cookbook.

Author Biography

Susan Spicer was born in Key West, Florida, and lived in Holland until the age of seven, when her family moved to New Orleans. She has lived there ever since, and is the owner of two restaurants, Bayona and Herbsaint. This is her first cookbook.

Paula Disbrowe was the former Cowgirl Chef at Hart & Hind Fitness Ranch in Rio Frio, Texas.  Prior to that, she spent ten years working as a food and travel writer.  Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Food & Wine, and Saveur, among other major publications.  


Sweet Potato Brioche

Makes about 20 rolls
Prep time: 30 minutes prep time, 6 hours rising time

This recipe was adapted from one I found in the Jackson, Mississippi, Junior League cookbook, Come on In! We have served them at Bayona forever, and they go fast. The sweet potato gives these rolls a beautiful color and rich, moist texture.

1 envelope active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup mashed baked sweet potato (approximately 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes)

5 eggs plus 1 beaten egg

1/4 cup whole milk

31/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 2 tablespoons warm water. Place the mashed sweet potato in the bowl of a mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat 1 minute at medium speed, then add the 5 eggs, milk, and yeast mixture and beat for 1 minute. Add the flour, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt and mix for about 5 minutes at medium speed. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, then beat in the cold butter, a third at a time. Remove the bowl, cover it lightly with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in size.

Close your hands into fists and gently punch down the dough to release air pockets and reduce its size. Cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator to rise overnight, or at least 6 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and scoop it into a buttered 6-cup brioche mold, 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, or individual molds (such as buttered muffin tins). Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Brush the surface of the dough with the beaten egg and prick it in several places with a toothpick. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325F and continue baking until golden brown, about 20 more minutes for a large mold, or about 10 minutes for individual rolls. Cool for 10 minutes in the molds, then invert and cool completely on a wire rack.


Makes one cocktail

5–6 fresh basil leaves, plus one for garnish

1 sugar cube

1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec

1 1/2 ounces Patron or other silver tequila

5 ounces orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed

Using a wooden spoon or "muddler," mash the basil with the sugar cube and Cointreau in a tall Collins glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the tequila and orange juice. Stir with a long spoon or straw and garnish with a basil leaf.

Excerpted from Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans by Susan Spicer, Paula Disbrowe
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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