Book eyes N.O. as more than ‘one menu’

New Orleans food writer Lorin Gaudin takes a look at the culinary evolution taking place in New Orleans in her cookbook “New Orleans Chef’s Table.”

She offers recipes from more than four dozen New Orleans restaurants, from old-line restaurants to those that aren’t well known or are new. What they all have in common is a willingness to embrace a new way of eating while still cooking the traditional dishes for which New Orleans is famous.

“The city has long been known for certain foods and dishes — beignets, jambalaya, gumbo, boudin, crawfish — our regional cuisine, what the national food press has called New Orleans’ ‘one menu.’ It is true that we do have that menu,” she writes in the book’s introduction, “and we do it proudly and beautifully, but New Orleans is in a very exciting transitional time for food. We have more, do more, explore more, and have created a bunch of ‘menus’ deserving of attention.”

She has organized her book by eight neighborhoods from the Garden District and Lower Garden District to the Arts and Warehouse District. She features restaurants from each neighborhood, offering information on the restaurants and their chefs, plus a recipe from each.

Among the recipes are crawfish boil vichyssoise from Commander’s Palace; tagliatelle with Gulf shrimp and field peas from chef Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery; duck confit meat pies from Mid-City’s Crescent Pie & Sausage; and Rivisita’s tomato tartlets on homemade puff pastry, which are available at the Crescent City Farmers Market. The book is illustrated with lovely, full-color photographs by Romney Caruso. This is a good choice for the experienced home cook who wants to try the flavors of New Orleans.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, try the Irish House’s recipe for Irish stew, found on Page 16 of “New Orleans Chef’s Table.”

Cookbook signings

Kat Robinson, author of “Arkansas Pie: A Delicous Slice of the Natural State,” will sign copies of her book and discuss pies found on restaurant menus from Arkansas’s Delta to the Ozarks at 2 p.m. Sunday at the French Market Fare Demonstration Stage, between Ursulines and Governor Nicholls streets in New Orleans.

The event, free and open to the public, is hosted by the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Visit http://www.southernfood.org or http://www.frenchmarket.org.

Donna Douglas, a cast member in The Beverly Hillbillies television show, and co-author Javetta Saunders, both of Baton Rouge, will sign copies of their cookbook, “Southern Favorites With a Taste of Hollywood,” from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble, 2590 CitiPlace Court, Baton Rouge.

Mary Ann Giordano will autograph her cookbook, “The Saint Joseph’s Day Table Cookbook,” at 2 p.m. Sunday at Barnes & Noble, 3721 Veterans Boulevard, Metairie.

Noble’s book named finalist

The “Delta Queen Cookbook” by Food columnist Cynthia LeJeune Nobles is a finalist in ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year Awards in the adult nonfiction cooking category.

Nobles, who writes the Bites of History column in The Advocate’s Food section, was notified Monday by LSU Press.

Finalists were selected from 1,300 entries covering 62 categories of books published in 2012 by independent and academic presses. Winners will be announced at the American Library Association annual conference in Chicago on June 28.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s Food editor. Her email address is csonnier@theadvocate.com.

Autumn Irish Channel Beef Stew

Serves 8. Recipe from “New Orleans Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From the French Quarter to the Garden District” is by chef Matt Murphy of Irish House, 1432 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans.

2 ozs. vegetable oil

2 lbs. stewing beef, cubed

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup flour

2 medium onions, sliced

1/2 head celery, diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into half moons

2 small leeks, diced

2 bay leaves

1 large sprig thyme

1 small sprig rosemary

1 gallon beef stock

1 pint NOLA Irish Channel stout

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed

Chopped parsley, for garnish

1. Use a heavy-gauge pot. Set the temperature on high and add oil. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Then toss the beef and the flour together. Add the beef to the pot and allow it to brown. Stir in the onions, celery, carrots and leeks along with the herbs, stock and stout. Bring to a boil and then allow the stew to cook for bout 1 to 11/4 hours.

2. Add the potatoes and cook for another 40 minutes or until tender.

3. To serve, remove the bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley.