Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ahhhh, New Orleans!

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go to New Orleans (for a college football championship bowl game). New Orleans is a charming and challenged city. It still suffers from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But I would say most people who visit come to revel.

It might be the only city that encourages walking around with an opened container. But that’s another subject. J

While in town, I visited a number of independent bookstores while in town. The owners/managers were delightful. Garden District Bookshop on Prytania and Octavia Books on Octavia. These stores all have events for their patrons. Both carried mysteries, but they also carried books about New Orleans' history and food. New Orleans is well-known for its food and its music. Both were prevalent.

I also checked out a fabulous cheese shop.

St. James Cheese Shop, on Prytania.

And I attended a women’s luncheon at K Paul’s restaurant, famous because Chef Paul Prudhomme is the owner.

We ate delicious food. A jazz trio played. What fun and spirit!

And Chef Paul was there to greet us and sign our gift copy of his cookbook.

Highlights of the restaurant included not only good music and good conversation, but the artwork on the walls. Beside my table was this charmer with a recipe scrawled all over it for Oyster Brie Champagne Soup. I had to jot it down and I'm including it below.

However, it is not what I'm making this week. The chef's recipe requires flour, and as many of you know, I am a celiac and need to eat flour-free. In addition, I'm not a big oyster fan, but I needed to know what this soup "might" taste like and whether the portions on the painting were correct.

SO...inspired by the recipe, I created my own cream and shrimp soup. Instead of Brie, I used Camembert.

Trivia: Camembert is a soft, luscious cow's milk cheese, first introduced in Normandy France during the 18th century. An engineer, M. Ridel, designed the wood box that helps carry the cheeses long distances.

Oyster Brie Champagne Soup – K Paul

(serves 8 - handsome portions)

1 ¼ cup unsalted butter

1 ¼ cup flour

2 quarts oyster or seafood stock

5 cups whipping cream

1 ½ teaspoons red pepper

2 cups brut champagne

3 dozen oysters, shucked

1 cup green onions (green tails only), diced

salt to taste

8 ounces Brie, rind removed, and sliced in 8 slices


In 3 quart saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and stir for 3 minutes.

Add seafood stock and stir for 3 minutes.

Add whipping cream and red pepper and stir for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Add brut champagne, oysters, salt, and green onions

Let stand 10 minutes and pour into 8 bowls.

Adorn with one slice Brie.


My recipe turned out satiny smooth and so delicious I couldn't stop eating. The addition of shrimp was brilliant, if I do say so myself. And adding slices of Camembert on top of the soup right before serving is luscious. A real texture treat.



(serves 6-8 - portions about 3/4 cup each)

½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup potato starch (potato flour)

4 cups vegetable stock (gluten-free; many are nowadays)

2 ½ cups whipping cream

1 teaspoon white pepper

2 teaspoons salt

½ cup green onions (green tails only, about 1 bunch), diced

1 cup dry champagne

1 pound bay shrimp

4 ounces Camembert, room temperature


In 3 quart saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter.

Add potato starch and stir. Heat 3 minutes.

Add vegetable stock and stir. Heat 3 minutes.

Add whipping cream and pepper and salt and stir. Heat 5 minutes. (Stir occasionally to prevent cream from boiling).

Remove from heat.

Add champagne (will bubble), shrimp and diced green onion tips.

Let stand 10 minutes and pour into 6 to 8 bowls.

Adorn with slivers of Camembert (rind removed).



Who knows? Maybe the chef will see this post and decide it’s a recipe he must include in his next presentation? LOL


A SNEAK PREVIEW of LOST AND FONDUE is now up on my website. Click here. If you'd like to know more about A Cheese Shop Mystery series and want to download a few other recipes from me (on recipe cards), click on this link to my website: Avery Aames. I've posted recipes in the "morsels" section. There's lots of other fun stuff, as well. And sign up for the mailing list to get in on the next contest...coming soon.

Say cheese!


  1. Oh, Avery, I am so jealous. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities. It sounds as if you had a wonderful time. I love that you got your recipe off of a wall! Deeelicious!

  2. What a fantastic trip, Avery! I love your much fun! Camembert is one of my favorite cheeses and this recipe sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing it. :)

  3. New Orleans really is a special town. (Café Du Monde is one of my favorite places on planet Earth.) I love the pic of you and the famous Chef Paul, and the soup looks amazing. Champagne and French cheese in soup, with a crusty baguette on the side, OMG – what could be better?!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. When I was in college, I was lucky to have a friend whose parents lived in New Orleans. Just before school began one year, she invited a batch of us pals to stay with her for a few days, and we did all the touristy stuff. What was most memorable was that we ate EIGHT times in one day (I counted). Cafe du Monde, Antoine's, Brennan's, dinner at an old plantation on the river, Preservation Hall (no food, and it was hot!). A memorable event!

    I also remember going out somewhere and buying paper bags of boiled shrimp, and eating them with homemade remoulade sauce.

  5. What a fabulous trip, Avery! Oysters and Brie are an intriguing combination that never would have occurred to me. Your soups sound delicious!

    ~ Krista

  6. I'm in the minority here because I've never been to New Orleans. A couple of friends' daughters are now down there at Tulane and from their parents' reports back about the food and the ambiance, I am definitely wishing we could take a trip down there. Up here, at Taste of Chicago, I've sampled beignets and they're so fabulous I know I'll have to make it down to New Orleans some day.

    Love the soup recipes, Avery. Such an "off the wall" way to acquire one! LOL

  7. Thank you all for chiming in so early. Our "group" must be up early on the east coast! Hope the weather isn't as bad as expected. At least your Internet is working. Sheila, you made me laugh with the eating 8 times in a day. It does seem that when people aren't drinking in NO, they're eating. It's going to be what keeps the city vital...the food!


  8. Holy cow, Avery -- I think we were in New Orleans at the same time! I was there for a conference, but we saw all the football fans wandering the city in their colors.

    NO is a tough city for vegetarians, but we did have fantastic black beans at the Gumbo Shop, and we had AMAZING west African food at a French Quarter restaurant called Benachin. Service was slow as molasses, but the food was heavenly.

  9. I love NO, and K Paul's is on my list of favorite restaurants anywhere!!! I always ask for the table near the window that looks in on the kitchen. His stuffed 4 cheese blackened pork chops is my wife's favorite meal in the world (and he gives the recipe on his website)!

    And JULIE... The City of New Orleans (The train from the song) takes off from Chicago. Riding the train and a three night stay in NO was my first overnight "Date" with Jackie. Forget the plane, when you do go to NO (and everyone should at one time in their life), take the train... very romantic.

    Night time on The City of New Orleans
    Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee
    Half way home, and we'll be there by morning
    Through the Mississippi darkness
    Rolling down to the sea

  10. The soup sounds, yummy, Avery. And you met Chef Paul! Double treat, not to mention visiting New Orleans.

  11. I was just thinking about NO yesterday and reviewing the yummy things I ate when I was there 2 years ago! I agree with Cleo, the Cafe Du Monde is an absolute must for me when I'm there, gotta have my beignets! I'm going to have to try the shrimp soup, but I don't like champagne. Do you think Chef Paul will send me a nasty email if I make it without ;-)! Nurse JudyMac

  12. Dave - you've convinced me!! When we go, we'll take The City of New Orleans train, for sure, and make sure our iPods play it during the trip. I've been thinking about taking a train trip, but never had a destination in mind. Thanks!

  13. Wendy, we must have been there at the same time. Kismet if we'd met. Soon.

    Dave thanks for the serenade. What a lovely trip that must have been! And I'll absolutely have to try the four cheese pork chops. Yum.

    Marilyn, Chef Paul was definitely in a quieter place. Thinner, subdued, but lovely.

    JudyMAc, I think you could make it without the champagne. Do you like white wine? Or perhaps a tablespoon of lemon juice might give the little "ping" to the flavor.

    Julie - I want to know all about your train trip. Journal it.

    Killer Characters

  14. I love the Garden District Bookshop. We spent a lot of time perusing while waiting for the Garden District Tour.

  15. Ann, isn't it a lovely place? I didn't take the tour (I have friends who live there and have driven me around), but next time I think I might...


  16. Sorry I'm late to the party, had minor household disasters yesterday and didn't get online all day.

    Avery, your post made me homesick for my former hometown! I haven't been back to visit since Katrina, but my favorite cousin wants us to come for a major birthday this year and now I really hate to wait til October to go!

    Lucky you for going to K-Paul's. I love Paul Prudhomme & have adapted several of his recipes that I use frequently, especially his version of Chicken & Seafood Jambalaya and DH's fave, Cajun Popcorn aka Fried Crawfish. Sooo good!

    As a side note to Julie,(what a small world) Tulane is my dad's alma mater, and now my Dallas native niece is a freshman there this year, so we have lots of reasons to visit one of my favorite foodie spots in the world! You should definitely take the train trip to N.O.

    Avery, I'm copying your soup dish to try ASAP. Shrimp, Camembert & Champagne=Brilliant! Thanks!

  17. I'm a big soup fan and both of these appeal with great combinations of flavors. I'll be trying the oyster one first. Oysters & champagne could only be spectacular!