INTO THE LIGHT comes out 32 DAYS from now! It's time to kick off the four-part blog series for Into the Light! Part one brings you a guest post by everyone's favorite ghost chef from OUT OF DARKNESS, Maurice!
Cajun Cooking With Maurice
Bonjour! To introduce myself I am Maurice, the world famous ghost chef at Maurice's - New Orleans. I arrived in New Orleans in 1865 a young man of twenty-three and took a job at a restaurant in the Quarter. My delicious food and charismatic charm skyrocketed my reputation and in 1871 I opened my restaurant.
For the next twenty years, Maurice's was the place to be. People came from far and wide to enjoy my blend of french and cajun cooking. Then, in 1892 tragedy struck. I and my entire kitchen crew were brutally murdered by my ambitious sous chef who wanted Maurice's as his own. I won't dwell on that traitor, but I hear that he was executed by public hanging for his crimes.
Alas, his plan to overthrow me backfired. This is New Orleans after all and my crew and I lived on as ghosts. But nobody knew about us and for decades Maurice's lay empty, until one day a woman bought the building to use as a front for her Voodoo shop. This woman was the grandmother of our current owner, Claudette Barbeau. Being a Voodoo priestess she could easily pick up on us wasting our days away in the kitchen and she decided to monopolize on the idea. A restaurant entirely run by a ghostly kitchen crew? She was sitting on a gold mine! I, myself, was skeptical at first but soon people were once again flocking from all over the world to eat my cooking! We've hosted tourists, locals, paranormal investigators, and skeptics that soon become believers after seeing the "empty" kitchen putting out plate after plate of authentique French and Cajun delights.
But enough about me, I'm sure you want to hear about her - Miss Lizette Weatherly. Oh, what a delightful girl! The moment I saw her I knew she was a kindred spirit as Maman would say. And when she shared with me her love of the most scrumptious of all New Orleans desserts, the beignet? Bless my biscuits, this ghost felt as if he had died again and gone to heaven! I knew of course, that I had to teach her everything I knew of French and Cajun cooking. For so long I'd been waiting for a worthy pupil to impart my knowledge upon.
The magic of the restaurant has dimmed slightly since her visit, but I am pleased to hear she and her friends have made it through their struggle against the dark one. Miss Claudette says that if we hold out hope perhaps Miss Lizette will return to us. I will wait on baited breath until I see her again.
Until then I will share with you one of my new concoctions from my tutelage with Lizette...
Cajun Pasta Salad
This recipe started out as Lizette's famous Italian Pasta Salad, but after a little tinkering with the recipe together we created this Cajun Pasta Salad. Serve this pasta salad alongside Cajun burgers, po'boys, finger-licking fried chicken, and just about everything else.
1-2 lbs. Tri-Color Rotini Pasta, cooked and rinsed
1 can jumbo black olives, drained
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, finely chopped or sliced
1 package mozzarella string cheese, cubed
2 Andouille sausages, sliced into coin size bites
1 bottle zesty Italian dressing
Cajun spice, to taste
Grape tomatoes; left whole
Boil pasta according to the box’s directions. Meanwhile, chop veggies and sausage, cube the cheese, and drain the olives.
Once pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Next in a large bowl combine the olives, bell pepper, tomatoes, onions, cubed cheese, and andouille sausage.
Pour in half the bottle of the zesty Italian dressing, then add the pasta and stir.
Pour in the rest of the bottle of the zesty Italian dressing and season with Cajun spice to taste and stir to combine making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least two hours. Stir once more before serving.
For an added kick substitute pepper jack string cheese in place of mozzarella string cheese.
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Into the Light arrives December 13, 2016!