A taste of the Big Easy arrives at Delaware shore


Chef Charles Oppman and his wife, Barbara, moved here from Alexandria, Va., about a year-and-a-half ago.

Special to the Coastal Point • Marie Cook: Chef Charles Oppman was a real cut-up in the kitchen. Chef Oppman shared his recipes with Marie Cook for this week’s column.Special to the Coastal Point • Marie Cook: Chef Charles Oppman was a real cut-up in the kitchen. Chef Oppman shared his recipes with Marie Cook for this week’s column.“Our next-door neighbors had friends here and raved about this area. We came here to check it out and fell in love,” he said. “It’s relaxing, welcoming, has a nice pace, and is a great mixture of agriculture and beach.”

Since the Oppmans are history buffs, the historicity of our neck of the woods also appeals to them.

Chef Charles is a classically trained pastry chef and has worked with some of the finest New Orleans pastry chefs. For 15 years, he also owned and operated his own restaurant in Alexandria — Café Marianna — named after his daughter. His bio also includes being pastry chef at the famous Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. He delighted me with stories of 5-foot-high wedding cakes and pastries that made my mouth water.

I usually ask those I highlight, “At what age did you take an interest in cooking?” Charles’ answer was a first. “At the age of 35, I was working as the director of environmental health for the Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans. I decided that I wasn’t cut out for wearing three-piece suits. I come from a big family — one of seven siblings — so something was always cooking at our house. I decided I wanted to cook for a living, even though at that time I couldn’t even boil rice.”

Charles enrolled in pastry chef school. One of the school’s stipulations was that students also hold a job in their chosen field, so he sold his car, bought a bike and for three years worked for $3 an hour as an apprentice to garner hands-on practical experience.

Charles laughs when he talks about working in the top soul-food restaurant in New Orleans. He worked for free, three days a week for three months, under chef/owner Austin Leslie to learn how to cook good Cajun food — New Orleans food.

“He made the best jambalaya, shrimp Creole and gumbo. I learned how to make true shrimp and andouille sausage gumbo — which is a complicated recipe with more than 20 ingredients — and the secret to making the perfect roux and a strong stock. Many years later, when I owned my own restaurant, gumbo was my signature dish,” he said. “I made 5-gallon buckets of gumbo at least twice a week. If my customers came in and I didn’t have gumbo, they’d let me know that that was not acceptable.”

Barbara and Charles travel extensively. She is also an excellent cook, so the trips they take always focus on food — culinary vacations. Some of the countries they have visited include Mexico, Vietnam, Brazil, Spain and Morocco, and Canada.

Asked if he has hobbies, Charles laughed and said, “Fishing, fishing and fishing!”

Charles is a member of the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce and is quite active in our community. He enjoys giving cooking demonstrations and has several gigs on the calendar. Two scheduled demos at the South Coastal Library will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 2 to 3 p.m., titled “French Cooking Made Easy,” and Tuesday, Nov. 12, also from 2 to 3 p.m., titled “Colonial Thanksgiving Dishes,” which will highlight authentic Colonial Thanksgiving fare.

“I’m one-fourth American Indian,” Charles said. “My mother was French-Canadian and was one-half Indian — the Ojibwe tribe. You can’t have Thanksgiving without including the Indians,” he said. “I’ll be discussing corn, beans, Indians and the colonists.”

Two additional demos are scheduled at the Milton Public Library, located at 121 Union Street, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. The topic will be “Classic Christmas Fare.”

Chef Charles has also written a book titled “Accidental Chef,” which is available for purchase on Amazon.com. He is a personal chef and enjoys sharing his skills in cooking demonstrations, cooking classes and catering. If you’d like to contact him, call (703) 625-4416, or send him an email to coppman@cox.net.

Shrimp Creole

Ingredients:

? 2 pounds large shrimp with heads and shells (See instructions below on how to make shrimp stock from the heads and shells. Reserve the raw shrimp for the final step in the recipe.)

? 1/2 cup diced bacon

? 1 cup diced celery

? 1 cup chopped bell peppers

? 1 cup curly parsley

? 1 cup diced onion

? 2 bay leaves

? 2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves

? 2 tablespoons minced garlic

? Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, cayenne and black peppers to taste

? 2 cups tomato sauce

Method for Shrimp Creole:

Peel the shrimp and use the shells and heads to make a shrimp stock. Simmer the heads and shells in two cups of water for 20 minutes; reduce to one cup.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, sauté bacon until fat is rendered out. Add celery, bell peppers, parsley, onion, bay leaves and thyme and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and cayenne and black peppers. Add shrimp stock and tomato sauce. Simmer entire mixture for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Add the raw shrimp to the Creole mixture and cook a few minutes until done. Serve with white rice. Yield: 6 servings.

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients:

? 1 pound smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch slices

? 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

? 1/4 cup vegetable oil or butter

? 1 cup diced onion

? 1 cup chopped green bell pepper

? 1 cup diced celery

? 1 cup chopped parsley

? 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic

? 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

? 2 tablespoons thyme leaves

? 6 bay leaves

? 1/2 of a 6-ounce can tomato paste

? 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

? Hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste

? 2 cans (16 ounces each) chicken broth

Method for Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo:

In a heavy pot, sauté smoked sausage in vegetable oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add onions, bell peppers, celery, parsley and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are slightly softened. Stir in flour and add thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Finally, add shrimp and adjust seasoning. Remove bay leaves. Simmer 10 minutes more. Add additional water or chicken broth if too thick for your preference. Serve with white rice. Yield: 10 servings.

Chef Charles told me that stuffed peppers are found on menus all over the world. Stuffing varies from mashed potatoes, onion and spices, eggplant and zucchini; to minced meat and rice. Charles’s favorite is a recipe he picked up at Chez Helene, the premier Creole-soul restaurant in New Orleans.

“Sadly, Chef Leslie is no longer with us,” he said. “He died from health complications brought on as a result of Hurricane Katrina. I’m sure that Austin Leslie would be honored to know that one of his signature dishes lives on.”

According to Chef Charles, “I got to know Austin fairly well when I worked at Chez Helene early in my career. The other cooks and I dubbed him ‘Big Funk,’ because he was a big man and he put soul into his food.”

Chez Helene Stuffed
Bell Peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients:

? 4 to 5 green bell peppers, halved

? 1 pound ground beef

? 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined

? 1 cup finely diced celery

? 1 cup finely diced onion

? 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced

? 1 heaping tablespoon dried thyme leaves

? 1/2 cup finely chopped curly parsley

? 2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

? Chicken stock as needed

? Salt and pepper to taste

? 1 stick salted butter

? 1 cup plain bread crumbs

Method for Chez Helene Stuffed Bell Peppers:

In a large skillet, sauté beef for 10 to 15 minutes until it softens. Add the celery, onion, garlic, thyme and parsley and sauté until softened. Stir in flour to combine with all ingredients. Add shrimp and chicken stock and stir until mixture binds together; add salt and pepper to taste. Do not add so much stock as to make the mixture soupy, but just enough to moisten it. Continue to slow cook with lid on for 10 more minutes. Add a little stock as necessary to maintain moisture. Do not allow mixture to dry out. Halve peppers; remove stems, seeds and ribs. Immerse pepper halves in gently boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes to just soften them a bit. Once cooled, stuff each pepper with the filling.

In a large skillet, melt butter and stir in bread crumbs. Arrange peppers in a shallow pan or casserole dish. Cover each pepper with the buttered breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, or until peppers have softened and bread crumbs have browned. Serve as a main dish or with sides of choice. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Lamb shanks are often sidelined in favor of racks of lamb or lamb loin chops, but there’s something earthy about lamb shanks. My mouth waters just thinking about them. I haven’t made them in a long time, so when I saw Chef Charles’ recipe, I put them on my shopping list.

Chef Charles said, “Shanks are a great cut of lamb. They are inexpensive, bursting with flavor, soft in texture and have high collagen (when heated, collagen dissolves to provide flavor and gelatinous texture). Since this is a tough part of the animals’ musculature, shanks must be braised or slow-baked in the oven. My recipe calls for braising in the oven.

“As with any cut of lamb, shanks are delicious with mint sauce. Please do not resort to mint jelly. Fresh mint sauce is a snap to make. Just add fresh mint leaves to the natural juices. Lamb shanks can be large, so compensate for this when judging how many shanks to cook.”

Lamb Shanks

Ingredients:

? 4 to 5 pounds lamb shanks

? 1/4 cup vegetable oil

? 1 teaspoon table salt

? 1 teaspoon black pepper

? 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic

? 1 cup diced onion

? 1 cup diced celery

? 1 teaspoon thyme leaves

? 4 bay leaves

? 2 cups chicken broth (canned is fine)

? 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

? 1 tablespoon tomato paste

? 6 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped

Method for Lamb Shanks:

In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over a high flame. Salt and pepper the shanks and sear on all sides in hot oil to form a brown crust. Remove and set aside the browned shanks. To the hot skillet, add garlic, onion, celery, thyme leaves and bay leaves. Cook over medium-to-high flame for 3 minutes. Add shanks back to the skillet. Add chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce.

Either place a covered skillet in a preheated 300-degree oven, or simmer, covered, over low fire. Cook until shanks are fork tender — about 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove shanks from skillet and set aside (keep warm). Strain sauce into a separate container. Skim any oil from surface and discard.

Return sauce to skillet and reheat. Whisk in tomato paste. Add chopped mint leaves. Reduce sauce until desired consistency is achieved. If too thick, add a small amount of chicken broth. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with oven-roasted potatoes or couscous. Serve sauce in a separate container. Yield: 4 servings.

Chef Charles said that the one dessert that Americans associate with New Orleans is bread pudding.

“Bread pudding has its root in Europe,” he said, “where thrifty cooks recycled stale bread in a variety of dishes. In the Big Easy, bread pudding is thought of strictly as a dessert. It’s usually served with an accompanying hard sauce or one loaded with rum or bourbon. Additions to bread pudding can be pecans, chocolate chips or dried fruits, such as raisins. It is inexpensive and easy to make, but bread pudding is quintessential comfort food!”

Bread Pudding

with Whiskey Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients for Pudding:

? 1 stale French baguette

? 3 cups whole milk

? 6 large eggs

? 1/2 cup granulated sugar

? 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (Never use imitation.)

Method for Pudding:

Slice baguette into 1-inch slices. Liberally grease a 9-inch cake pan (do not use a springform pan). Arrange two layers of bread slices in the pan, making sure that they are packed tightly. Whisk and strain milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Pour some of this custard into the pan until bread is submerged. Wait a few minutes for the bread to absorb custard and then add more custard.

Place the pan in a hot water bath and bake at 350 degrees until center is set and no longer liquid, approximately one hour. Check center for doneness by making a small hole to be sure custard is no longer in a liquid state.

When done, allow to cool and turn out by running a knife around the sides and placing a plate on top before inverting; then place another plate on the bottom and turn it over again. The top side will now be up.

Ingredients for Whiskey Sauce:

? 3/4 cup unsalted butter

? 1 cup granulated sugar

? 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

? 1/3 cup whiskey, or dark rum, if preferred

? 4 large eggs

Method for Whiskey Sauce:

In a heavy saucepan, melt butter over low heat, but do not brown; remove from heat. Mix in sugar, vanilla and whiskey. With a whisk, stir until sugar is dissolved. In a bowl, whisk eggs and slowly add hot mixture to the eggs to warm them. Return all ingredients to the saucepan and heat over low fire, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until mixture just thickens. Strain and serve with pudding. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

(Editor’s note: If you have recipes to share, or recipes you want, contact Marie Cook, Coastal Point, P.O. Box 1324, Ocean View, DE 19970; or by email at ChefMarieCook@gmail.com. Please include your phone number. Recipes in this column are not tested by the Coastal Point.)A taste of the Big Easy arrives at Delaware shore

By Marie Cook

Special to the Coastal Point

Special to the Coastal Point • Marie Cook

Chef Charles Oppman was a real cut-up in the kitchen. Chef Oppman shared his recipes with Marie Cook for this week’s column.

Chef Charles Oppman and his wife, Barbara, moved here from Alexandria, Va., about a year-and-a-half ago.

“Our next-door neighbors had friends here and raved about this area. We came here to check it out and fell in love,” he said. “It’s relaxing, welcoming, has a nice pace, and is a great mixture of agriculture and beach.”

Since the Oppmans are history buffs, the historicity of our neck of the woods also appeals to them.

Chef Charles is a classically trained pastry chef and has worked with some of the finest New Orleans pastry chefs. For 15 years, he also owned and operated his own restaurant in Alexandria — Café Marianna — named after his daughter. His bio also includes being pastry chef at the famous Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. He delighted me with stories of 5-foot-high wedding cakes and pastries that made my mouth water.

I usually ask those I highlight, “At what age did you take an interest in cooking?” Charles’ answer was a first. “At the age of 35, I was working as the director of environmental health for the Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans. I decided that I wasn’t cut out for wearing three-piece suits. I come from a big family — one of seven siblings — so something was always cooking at our house. I decided I wanted to cook for a living, even though at that time I couldn’t even boil rice.”

Charles enrolled in pastry chef school. One of the school’s stipulations was that students also hold a job in their chosen field, so he sold his car, bought a bike and for three years worked for $3 an hour as an apprentice to garner hands-on practical experience.

Charles laughs when he talks about working in the top soul-food restaurant in New Orleans. He worked for free, three days a week for three months, under chef/owner Austin Leslie to learn how to cook good Cajun food — New Orleans food.

“He made the best jambalaya, shrimp Creole and gumbo. I learned how to make true shrimp and andouille sausage gumbo — which is a complicated recipe with more than 20 ingredients — and the secret to making the perfect roux and a strong stock. Many years later, when I owned my own restaurant, gumbo was my signature dish,” he said. “I made 5-gallon buckets of gumbo at least twice a week. If my customers came in and I didn’t have gumbo, they’d let me know that that was not acceptable.”

Barbara and Charles travel extensively. She is also an excellent cook, so the trips they take always focus on food — culinary vacations. Some of the countries they have visited include Mexico, Vietnam, Brazil, Spain and Morocco, and Canada.

Asked if he has hobbies, Charles laughed and said, “Fishing, fishing and fishing!”

Charles is a member of the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce and is quite active in our community. He enjoys giving cooking demonstrations and has several gigs on the calendar. Two scheduled demos at the South Coastal Library will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 2 to 3 p.m., titled “French Cooking Made Easy,” and Tuesday, Nov. 12, also from 2 to 3 p.m., titled “Colonial Thanksgiving Dishes,” which will highlight authentic Colonial Thanksgiving fare.

“I’m one-fourth American Indian,” Charles said. “My mother was French-Canadian and was one-half Indian — the Ojibwe tribe. You can’t have Thanksgiving without including the Indians,” he said. “I’ll be discussing corn, beans, Indians and the colonists.”

Two additional demos are scheduled at the Milton Public Library, located at 121 Union Street, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. The topic will be “Classic Christmas Fare.”

Chef Charles has also written a book titled “Accidental Chef,” which is available for purchase on Amazon.com. He is a personal chef and enjoys sharing his skills in cooking demonstrations, cooking classes and catering. If you’d like to contact him, call (703) 625-4416, or send him an email to coppman@cox.net.

Shrimp Creole

Ingredients:

? 2 pounds large shrimp with heads and shells (See instructions below on how to make shrimp stock from the heads and shells. Reserve the raw shrimp for the final step in the recipe.)

? 1/2 cup diced bacon

? 1 cup diced celery

? 1 cup chopped bell peppers

? 1 cup curly parsley

? 1 cup diced onion

? 2 bay leaves

? 2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves

? 2 tablespoons minced garlic

? Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, cayenne and black peppers to taste

? 2 cups tomato sauce

Method for Shrimp Creole:

Peel the shrimp and use the shells and heads to make a shrimp stock. Simmer the heads and shells in two cups of water for 20 minutes; reduce to one cup.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, sauté bacon until fat is rendered out. Add celery, bell peppers, parsley, onion, bay leaves and thyme and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and cayenne and black peppers. Add shrimp stock and tomato sauce. Simmer entire mixture for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Add the raw shrimp to the Creole mixture and cook a few minutes until done. Serve with white rice. Yield: 6 servings.

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients:

? 1 pound smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch slices

? 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

? 1/4 cup vegetable oil or butter

? 1 cup diced onion

? 1 cup chopped green bell pepper

? 1 cup diced celery

? 1 cup chopped parsley

? 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic

? 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

? 2 tablespoons thyme leaves

? 6 bay leaves

? 1/2 of a 6-ounce can tomato paste

? 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

? Hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste

? 2 cans (16 ounces each) chicken broth

Method for Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo:

In a heavy pot, sauté smoked sausage in vegetable oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add onions, bell peppers, celery, parsley and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are slightly softened. Stir in flour and add thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Finally, add shrimp and adjust seasoning. Remove bay leaves. Simmer 10 minutes more. Add additional water or chicken broth if too thick for your preference. Serve with white rice. Yield: 10 servings.

Chef Charles told me that stuffed peppers are found on menus all over the world. Stuffing varies from mashed potatoes, onion and spices, eggplant and zucchini; to minced meat and rice. Charles’s favorite is a recipe he picked up at Chez Helene, the premier Creole-soul restaurant in New Orleans.

“Sadly, Chef Leslie is no longer with us,” he said. “He died from health complications brought on as a result of Hurricane Katrina. I’m sure that Austin Leslie would be honored to know that one of his signature dishes lives on.”

According to Chef Charles, “I got to know Austin fairly well when I worked at Chez Helene early in my career. The other cooks and I dubbed him ‘Big Funk,’ because he was a big man and he put soul into his food.”

Chez Helene Stuffed
Bell Peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients:

? 4 to 5 green bell peppers, halved

? 1 pound ground beef

? 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined

? 1 cup finely diced celery

? 1 cup finely diced onion

? 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced

? 1 heaping tablespoon dried thyme leaves

? 1/2 cup finely chopped curly parsley

? 2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

? Chicken stock as needed

? Salt and pepper to taste

? 1 stick salted butter

? 1 cup plain bread crumbs

Method for Chez Helene Stuffed Bell Peppers:

In a large skillet, sauté beef for 10 to 15 minutes until it softens. Add the celery, onion, garlic, thyme and parsley and sauté until softened. Stir in flour to combine with all ingredients. Add shrimp and chicken stock and stir until mixture binds together; add salt and pepper to taste. Do not add so much stock as to make the mixture soupy, but just enough to moisten it. Continue to slow cook with lid on for 10 more minutes. Add a little stock as necessary to maintain moisture. Do not allow mixture to dry out. Halve peppers; remove stems, seeds and ribs. Immerse pepper halves in gently boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes to just soften them a bit. Once cooled, stuff each pepper with the filling.

In a large skillet, melt butter and stir in bread crumbs. Arrange peppers in a shallow pan or casserole dish. Cover each pepper with the buttered breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, or until peppers have softened and bread crumbs have browned. Serve as a main dish or with sides of choice. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Lamb shanks are often sidelined in favor of racks of lamb or lamb loin chops, but there’s something earthy about lamb shanks. My mouth waters just thinking about them. I haven’t made them in a long time, so when I saw Chef Charles’ recipe, I put them on my shopping list.

Chef Charles said, “Shanks are a great cut of lamb. They are inexpensive, bursting with flavor, soft in texture and have high collagen (when heated, collagen dissolves to provide flavor and gelatinous texture). Since this is a tough part of the animals’ musculature, shanks must be braised or slow-baked in the oven. My recipe calls for braising in the oven.

“As with any cut of lamb, shanks are delicious with mint sauce. Please do not resort to mint jelly. Fresh mint sauce is a snap to make. Just add fresh mint leaves to the natural juices. Lamb shanks can be large, so compensate for this when judging how many shanks to cook.”

Lamb Shanks

Ingredients:

? 4 to 5 pounds lamb shanks

? 1/4 cup vegetable oil

? 1 teaspoon table salt

? 1 teaspoon black pepper

? 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic

? 1 cup diced onion

? 1 cup diced celery

? 1 teaspoon thyme leaves

? 4 bay leaves

? 2 cups chicken broth (canned is fine)

? 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

? 1 tablespoon tomato paste

? 6 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped

Method for Lamb Shanks:

In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over a high flame. Salt and pepper the shanks and sear on all sides in hot oil to form a brown crust. Remove and set aside the browned shanks. To the hot skillet, add garlic, onion, celery, thyme leaves and bay leaves. Cook over medium-to-high flame for 3 minutes. Add shanks back to the skillet. Add chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce.

Either place a covered skillet in a preheated 300-degree oven, or simmer, covered, over low fire. Cook until shanks are fork tender — about 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove shanks from skillet and set aside (keep warm). Strain sauce into a separate container. Skim any oil from surface and discard.

Return sauce to skillet and reheat. Whisk in tomato paste. Add chopped mint leaves. Reduce sauce until desired consistency is achieved. If too thick, add a small amount of chicken broth. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with oven-roasted potatoes or couscous. Serve sauce in a separate container. Yield: 4 servings.

Chef Charles said that the one dessert that Americans associate with New Orleans is bread pudding.

“Bread pudding has its root in Europe,” he said, “where thrifty cooks recycled stale bread in a variety of dishes. In the Big Easy, bread pudding is thought of strictly as a dessert. It’s usually served with an accompanying hard sauce or one loaded with rum or bourbon. Additions to bread pudding can be pecans, chocolate chips or dried fruits, such as raisins. It is inexpensive and easy to make, but bread pudding is quintessential comfort food!”

Bread Pudding

with Whiskey Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients for Pudding:

? 1 stale French baguette

? 3 cups whole milk

? 6 large eggs

? 1/2 cup granulated sugar

? 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (Never use imitation.)

Method for Pudding:

Slice baguette into 1-inch slices. Liberally grease a 9-inch cake pan (do not use a springform pan). Arrange two layers of bread slices in the pan, making sure that they are packed tightly. Whisk and strain milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Pour some of this custard into the pan until bread is submerged. Wait a few minutes for the bread to absorb custard and then add more custard.

Place the pan in a hot water bath and bake at 350 degrees until center is set and no longer liquid, approximately one hour. Check center for doneness by making a small hole to be sure custard is no longer in a liquid state.

When done, allow to cool and turn out by running a knife around the sides and placing a plate on top before inverting; then place another plate on the bottom and turn it over again. The top side will now be up.

Ingredients for Whiskey Sauce:

? 3/4 cup unsalted butter

? 1 cup granulated sugar

? 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

? 1/3 cup whiskey, or dark rum, if preferred

? 4 large eggs

Method for Whiskey Sauce:

In a heavy saucepan, melt butter over low heat, but do not brown; remove from heat. Mix in sugar, vanilla and whiskey. With a whisk, stir until sugar is dissolved. In a bowl, whisk eggs and slowly add hot mixture to the eggs to warm them. Return all ingredients to the saucepan and heat over low fire, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until mixture just thickens. Strain and serve with pudding. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

(Editor’s note: If you have recipes to share, or recipes you want, contact Marie Cook, Coastal Point, P.O. Box 1324, Ocean View, DE 19970; or by email at ChefMarieCook@gmail.com. Please include your phone number. Recipes in this column are not tested by the Coastal Point.)