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That Sounds Good: stories from WWOZ’s cookbook

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You can order your copy of the WWOZ cookbook “That Sounds Good” by clicking here.

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Wanda Rouzan is known as the “Sweetheart of New Orleans” but she has some spice too. Second-line grand marshal, musical ambassador, singer and educator; Rouzan’s dedication to preserving New Orleans culture makes her a living legend. Go ahead and add chef to that list because she is just as talented in the kitchen, case in point, her sinfully delicious bread pudding.

“I make a much larger pan ordinarily because it’s the first thing that goes, whenever we go anywhere, ooh Auntie Wanda made bread pudding so Auntie Wanda’s bread pudding gets hit real fast.”

She says the best thing about New Orleans cooking is the love. “Food is another art form, if I’m preparing something my music is on, I’m inspired.”

“The music the food and the culture of New Orleans, you don’t have that anywhere else in the world, nowhere.”

After 40 years of teaching at the Audubon Charter School, Rouzan retired earlier this year but has plans to stay very busy. She is part of the revival of St. Katherine Drexel Preparatory High School. She continues to perform worldwide with her group and stays involved in several non-profit organizations and boards.

To learn more about Wanda Rouzan visit: http://www.wandarouzan.com/index.html

 

Wanda Rouzan’s Condensed Milk Bread Pudding

4 eggs

1 can evaporated milk

1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp allspice

2 cups light brown sugar

1 loaf stale French bread, sliced

1 stick butter

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 box raisins

Mix eggs, evaporated milk, milk, vanilla, spices and sugar in bowl. Layer bread in a 9×13-inch pan. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter and pour over bread along with ¾ of the sweetened condensed milk. Sprinkle the raisins over the bread. Pour the egg mixture over bread, refrigerate for one hour. Dot with remaining butter. Drizzle with remaining condensed milk. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – “The first song I ever wrote was called ‘Ooh Baby La La’ and the first time I visited New Orleans, I had this song in my head,” says Margie Perez.

Songbird Margie Perez was introduced to music by her mother, “She would always play Celia Cruz and Benny More and old Latin jazz so I was always around music but I didn’t start singing until much later.”

“The first time I ever sang in front of an audience was doing karaoke singing ‘Like a Virgin’ by Madonna,” she laughs. Perez has come a long way since then, making waves in the New Orleans music scene.

Her mother also influenced her in the kitchen and today she’s making her favorite family recipe, Mom’s Cuban flan.

“She is such a good cook and she mostly cooks Cuban things, but she has a Cuban style to cooking anything, even spaghetti is Cuban.”

The ingredient list is short and the directions are easy to follow, but the end result is magic.

“I love everything about it, it looks so pretty the caramel starts flowing down the sides. It’s a very dramatic presentation,” says Perez. Mom’s Cuban flan has been a staple at every holiday meal. “The taste is still there, there’s something about mom’s cooking, me and mom have the flan down.”

To find out performance dates for Margie Perez visit: https://www.facebook.com/MargiePerezSings

Mom’s Cuban Flan

1 cup sugar

6 eggs

1 can sweetened condensed milk

14 ounces whole milk

1 can coconut

For the glaze, heat the sugar in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir until sugar caramelizes and immediately pour syrup over bottom of pan. Chill pan. For filling: combine eggs, milk, condensed milk and coconut in blender. Pour filling into sugar-coated pan. Bake in the over at 450 degrees, for about 30-45 minutes, checking every 15 minutes using a water bath. Once top is golden brown and a knife comes out clean, put flan in the refrigerator to cool. To serve, loosen sides with knife and invert mold onto plate. The caramel will then be on top.

 

These bright, talented children are a part of the Uptown Music Theater, created by none other than Delfeayo Marsalis. Usually, lessons revolve around the performing arts, but today he’s teaching a culinary classic.
“Alright y’all we’ve got the WWOZ 90.7 That Sounds Good cookbook and in it is a recipe that my mom showed me. It’s called cranberry bog and we have the ingredients here and we’re about to get together and mix it up, let’s go, let’s get to it!” says Marsalis.

He knows this recipe well. He made it with his family growing up. “You’re going to need some cherry gelatin, boiling water, frozen lemonade concentrate, cold water, cranberry juice cocktail and ginger ale.”

“I just know it was around the holidays and we would always look forward to Thanksgiving. Mom would make that big ol’ turkey and some of her gumbo and I would always be in charge of the cranberry bog. Around the holidays it was always a fun time, we’d have nice competitive games, football, baseball, etc. When we all get together it’s not really that often but we usually talk about things other than music.”

It’s hard to imagine that the Marsalis family would talk about anything but music when they get together.

“Well yeah, we weren’t so much like the Jackson 5 where my dad was like get in the closet, or practice, or get in the closet and practice! It was never like that, but we were fortunate, we all attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts,” jokes Marsalis.
Now, when he’s not touring with his internationally famous, riff-based jazz orchestra, he enjoys spending time with the kids.

“We’ve been at it since 2000 and I’ve composed 15 or 16 original productions and we have a good time, for the most part. Working with the kids is the same as working with adults, sometimes even easier, so you just try to have a good time and put on a great show, that’s what it’s about, whether we’re here or Carnegie Hall that’s what we want to do… “

“Here’s a toast to the Uptown Music Theater! Cheers!”

 

Cranberry Bog

1 (3-ounce) package cherry gelatin

1 cup boiling water

1 (16-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate

3 cups cold water

4 cups cranberry juice

28 ounces ginger ale

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water, stir in lemonade concentrate (thawed) and cold water. Pour mixture over ice and add ginger ale gradually.

 

 

In the kitchen with singer songwriter Gaynielle Neville, there’s so much to discuss as we look back through old photos.

“That’s Antoinette K-Doe, Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, Cyril and I and I think it was maybe like Mardi Gras 2004, but I miss that lady she was a great lady and Al “Carnival Time” is the most perfect gentleman ever,” says Neville.

Today we’re making okra and shrimp stew, an old family recipe she submitted for the WWOZ cookbook “That Sounds Good.”

“Let’s get to work!” she exclaims. “ My father used to cook it and it was so delicious and I said if I cook it, I want to cook it just like him.”

To her friends, family and fans she’s known as Queen G, but in the kitchen she’s the Queen of Everything, she even has the apron to prove it.

The way she floats gracefully around the kitchen it’s clear, she’s as confident here as in the recording studio.

“Music and food, you can’t live without the two, it’s going to heal the world I tell you,” says Neville.

Life rarely slows down for the Nevilles, but these days Gaynielle has even more on her plate with the release of her new album “Woman Power.” It took six weeks to complete and contains songs that she wrote before Hurricane Katrina. “One of the songs is called Caught in the Crossfire and it’s about kids getting killed in New Orleans.”

When talking about New Orleans culture her face lights up the room, “Everything is about food, it’s food and music, you got to, its Queen G’s rule. Here! Here! “

http://www.gaynielleneville.com/

Gaynielle Neville’s Okra and Shrimp Stew

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves

2 pounds fresh or frozen okra

1 pound turkey sausage (optional)

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 pound deveined peeled shrimp

Hot cooked rice

Vegetable oil for sautéing

2 bay leaves

Salt, pepper to taste

Saute the onion, garlic and okra in large saucepan, add the bay leaves. Add sausage and cook until browned. Add the shrimp and cook until pink. Add tomatoes and cover saucepan. Simmer briefly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with white or brown rice.

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