Oysters at the Tchoup Shop

Oysters at the Tchoup Shop

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Help Save The New Orleans Musicians Clinic

There is a problem brewing in the New Orleans music scene, funding for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic has been cut 90%. This is enormous when you realize that the city as a whole is under-insured, especially musicians who live off of nightly gigs which obviously have no "company provided" medical benefits.

The NOMC has been operating in partnership with LSU Medical since May 2, 1998 with the goal of comprehensive medical care with an emphasis on preventative care. Service, health consultation, and prescriptions are offered with a co-pay, deductible, and a sliding scale for those who cannot otherwise afford care. The program has had a huge positive impact in the overall health and longevity of New Orleans' greatest treasure, the musician community and the joy, laughter, and healing that their music provides.

Please watch this video and find out how you can help. The website is also included below.


Sorry about the enormity of the video, I am still learning how to do this stuff-just click on it and it will take you to youtube.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pickled Green Beans with Thai Chilis

As the title of this blog bluntly implies, I make pickles. Normally I make what I call "Louisiana Bread and Butter," and "Cajun Onions." I use these for the Tchoup Shop, the B and B's are used for hot dogs, sausages and the like and I use the pickled onions for the Cajun Burger to sort of replace ketchup. I decided to start developing a spicy pickled green bean because they are the staple in a real New Orleans Bloody Mary, and I thought that it would be a nice touch for DBA to have a custom pickle for their already fantastic Bloodys.

Last night I made my first version and, since I have no patience at all, I popped a jar this morning to taste them. I realize that the flavor will develop more in the coming weeks, but I am off to good start! Most people use dill in these, I love tarragon and decided to use that. I was going to originally use chipotle chilis, but decided to use Thai chilis since I was in Chinatown and they were there. I added smoked paprika because I wanted some sweet heat to match up with the tarragon, and coriander as a principle aromatic, and it is working quite well. What I ended up with was a very tasty, mildly smokey and spicy, crunchy pickle. I am pretty happy with it, but am going to continue to tweak it a bit. I am going to add some onion and some more garlic and I am thinking about adding some lemon peel. I will update the changes next week when I have a chance to pickle stuff again. (I only used 18 chilis, but am going to go ahead and double that number now because I think that they should be hotter!)

I wanted to share the recipe in case anyone wants to try making some. They are really, really easy to make as most pickles are. The thing to keep in mind is to keep them as sterile as possible and to process them for an adequate time. Anyway, here is the recipe:

3 # Green or yellow beans, as straight as possible
12 ea cloves of garlic, sliced in 1/8" pieces and then blanched for 1 minute (this is important because it will oxidize and turn green in the vinegar)
36 ea Thai chilis, washed and halved lengthwise
6 ea Bay Leaves
6 sprig fresh Tarragon
3 tsp celery seed
2 TB coriander seed
2 TB smoked paprika
3 cu cider vinegar
3 cu water
1/3 cu Kosher salt
1/4 cu granulated sugar

6 1 pint mason jars with bands and new lids

In each jar add the following:

6 Thai chilis
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp smoked paprika
divide the garlic up evenly between jars

Wash and trim beans so that they will fit in the jars leaving 1/2 " of head space.
Place beans in jar so they are somewhat tight and standing on end.

Add the tarragon.

prepare the brine:

put the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan (stainless steel, aluminum and iron leech out into the acid)
Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar and salt

Now, you want to ladle the brine into the jars, but it is important to make the jars warm first so the hot liquid wont crack the glass. You can do this by heating them in a water bath before you fill them, by placing them in the oven for a minute or two or having some warm water in a pan that you can set them in (with out tipping them over) to warm them.

You should also heat the lids in water, this softens the plastisol gasket so your lid will form a good vacuum during processing, very very important. If you don't then water will leech in and dilute the PH of the brine which could cause a huge problem, Botulism is deadly.

pour the brine into the filled, warm jars. You need enough to cover the beans, but leave 1/2" head space minimum at the top.

Screw on the lids finger tight and then a little bit more.

Process the pickles in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, covered. You want to make sure that the water covers the jars completely, this will require a big tall pot!

After 10 minutes, remove lid, turn off the flame, and let the jars sit for 5 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool.

You want to make sure that a vacuum is achieved and you can tell because the safety button on the lid will be indented when they are completely cool. They should now be shelf stable as long as they are kept in a cool, dark place-sunlight and heat and pickles don't get along.

Try your best to let them age for about 3 weeks. The flavor will be good the next day, but will be even better in a few weeks.

Eat them as a snack, accompany with cheese or pate, or for the end goal--a tasty New Orleans style Bloody Mary!!!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tchoup Shop this Sunday April 18th

I run the Tchoup Shop. People in New York have no idea how to pronounce Tchoup. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked, "What's a Choop?" I then explain to them that "Tchoup" is short for Tchoupitoulas which is the name of a famous street in New Orleans, and actually pronounced "Chop." Tchoupitoulas is named after a Native American Indian tribe, but that's another story fit for a different time, this is dedicated to Tchoup Shop-which, similair to a "chop shop," is kind of an underground thing.

Tchoup Shop is a New Orleans style BBQ that takes place once a week in the backyard of a bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is solely promoted through Facebook, there is a link to the Facebook page at the footing of this blog. When I talk to people about Tchoup Shop BBQ they get really excited and start talking about ribs, pulled pork, brisket, etc… It’s not really like that. It’s more like if you came over to my house in the Bywater to watch the Saints play and we cooked out on the grill in the backyard, drank some great beer, tuned the radio to WWOZ, and commenced to getting stupid, crazy hammered and ate some BBQ’d shrimp and gumbo. Sounds fun right? It’s not fun-IT’S A BLAST!!!

As far as the food, I make everything except the bread (yes, I make the biscuits). I make pickles, mustard, hot sauce, pepper jelly, and ketchup. I try to source locally and organically when possible. I use high quality beef and pork products, local oysters, and get andouille sausage from Louisiana (I know I just said I source local, but the local manufacturer can't make it the same). I am proud of the quality and flavor of the food I serve, I cook with love and season it to what I believe to be as perfect as possible-it shows through when you eat it. I change the menu slightly from week to week in accordance to what's available and what people ask for. So, if you come to Tchoup Shop and wish that we had some dirty rice or gator sausage, let me know and it will probably happen.

I enjoy cooking at Tchoup Shop for a few reasons:

I like that NOLA ex-pats can get authentic NOLA grub.

I also love that it turns people on to one of this country’s most misunderstood cuisine’s, especially if they have never had it. It’s NOT spicy, it’s well spiced. Blackened DOES NOT mean “burnt.” And BBQ’d shrimp aren’t grilled, that’s just what it’s called.

For a professional cook it means so much more. It’s really awesome to get rid of the kitchen walls and really connect with my guests. I can’t really describe how cool the experience is to form that direct connection of you watch me cook, I watch you eat and see your satisfaction, which is my satisfaction. It is truly unique and remarkable to be part of this.

This Sunday marks the opening day of Tchoup Shop for the 2010 season. The weather looks like it's gonna screw with me a bit, but I'll be there. So will Linnzi Zaorski, who is an incredible New Orleans vocalist-Linnzi and her band are a lot of fun.

I am currently desperately trying to get the bar to get HBO on the TV so we can all watch the 2nd episode of TREME, which comes on at 10 PM on Sundays. What a cool show! It was fun to see Rebirth marching around and to see Kermit Ruffins at Vaughn's-brings back some memories and makes me miss New Orleans just a bit more.

Click on the menu below to see what I am serving this Sunday:

Hope to see you there!!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Where to get Tattooed in New Orleans

I am a tattooed person. I love tattoos and wish I had the time and money to get more. I have been lucky to be tattooed by "Whirlwind" Walt Clark. He is AMAZING!!! After Katrina he finally built a shop to hang his hat. It is a great shop and if you are planning on visiting New Orleans and are a tattoo collector you should go and get a souvenir. He can also give you some tips on where to go fishing. This is a photo of my right biceps, burly right? Walt did this at The New Orleans Tattoo Convention back in 1999.

Visit his website to see cool tattoo pics:


Hi, my name is Simon and I will be writing about the culture, food, and music of New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans is a city steeped in culture and history. I lived there from 1995-2005 and miss it incredibly. I spent my decade cooking in luxury restaurants such as Mike's on the Avenue, Sapphire, The Grill Room in the Windsor Court Hotel, and Marisol. It was quite a culinary education. I fell in love with the city's architecture, cuisine, music, and made many lifelong friends. I know what it means to miss New Orleans and visit quite often.

In this blog I plan to share stories and history about NOLA. I will also be sharing recipes and cooking tips. I hope you enjoy.