The Food Bowl: What if Alabama and Louisiana faced off in the kitchen, instead?
by Lisa Davis
Jan 04, 2012 | 2542 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Food Bowl! We hope you’ve got your knives and forks ready, because this one promises to be a real table-setter! We’re not talking about Louisiana State University and the University of Alabama vying for the BCS National Championship. No, we’re talking about the showdown that goes on every day in kitchens across the South. Here’s a breakdown of Louisiana vs. Alabama cuisine … a snackdown, if you will.

Louisana Alabama Play-By-Play
Beignets Biscuits Beignets are deep-fried, but biscuits come with gravy.
Red beans and rice Black-eyed peas and greens Two solid players, but only one brings good luck.
Crawfish Shrimp and grits Crawfish got claws, but shrimp got grits.
Po’ boy sandwich Pulled pork sandwich The po’ boy is versatile; pulled pork is a one-note sandwich.
Gumbo Brunswick stew Two wild cards: Never know what you’ll find in the pot.
Fried alligator Fried catfish Both are hard to catch – but one can bite back.
Bread pudding Banana pudding One of each, please.
Hurricane Sweet tea Hard to call. They both pack a wallop.

Desserts for the fourth quarter

Cinnamon Bun Bread Pudding

This recipe calls for 12 fully baked cinnamon buns. Get them at the bakery or the grocery store. If you get raw cinnamon buns, bake them according to package directions, let them cool, then use as directed.

6 eggs
1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half or skim milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
Pinch salt
12 large glazed cinnamon buns
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a blender or large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the salt. Puree or whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Cut each cinnamon bun into 1- to 2-inch chunks. Arrange the chunks in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Pour the egg mixture over the pieces of cinnamon buns. As you pour, use a fork to gently press on the bun pieces to help them absorb the liquid.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly puffed and starting to brown. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, water, vanilla and remaining 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

To serve, drizzle the bread pudding with the glaze.

– The Associated Press

Best Banana Pudding

It is well worth the effort and not at all difficult to make banana pudding from scratch, but if you simply don't have time, you may substitute two (4-serving) boxes of cooked, not instant, vanilla pudding.

Make sure the bananas you use are very ripe, still firm but fragrant and on the verge of turning brown.

For the pudding:

3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla

For the assembly:

4 large, ripe but firm bananas
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (12-ounce) box vanilla wafers
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Whisk the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Add yolks and cream, and beat until smooth. Very gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook over medium-low, stirring, until mixture is thick and beginning to bubble in the middle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Spoon into a glass container, seal with plastic wrap pressed on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate.

When pudding is cold, slice the bananas about 1/4-inch thick and toss with the lemon juice. In a large bowl or trifle dish, arrange a layer of wafers, then banana slices, then pudding, repeating 3 or more times depending upon the container. End with pudding spread to the edges to seal bananas. Cover again with plastic wrap pressed to the surface.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 2 days so flavors meld and wafers soften. Just before serving, whip cream until soft, add sugar and vanilla, and whip until stiff. Serve pudding topped with whipped cream.

– The Miami Herald
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