New Orleans Chef Keeps It Natural 2009: Editors Chef

New Orleans Chef Keeps It Natural

Editor’s Note: Chef Series is an occasional feature on local chefs — including professional and home cooks — who exhibit dedication to furthering the
culinary arts. This month’s chef is Maudie Schmitt. FAYETTEVILLE — A toss of ingredients, a shaking of the skillet, and five minutes later, Maudie Schmitt produces a creamy and savory creation of Crawfish Ponchartrain in Tasso cream sauce served with herbs over rotini pasta. The chef and co-owner of Cafe Rue Orleans in Fayetteville has been serving up her brand of New Orleans cuisine since Jan. 10, 2001. She’s become a community fixture, whether she’s serving her signature Crawfish Corn Bisque for a Red Cross Taste of the World fundraiser, or lending her culinary skills to a private cooking class. On Feb. 6, Schmitt met at her restaurant she manages with co-owner Carla Williams, for a demo in her kitchen and interview. “I’ve started with a little bit of butter and added about 1/4 cup of onions and a teaspoon of garlic, then I added 10 to 15 crawfish tails, salt, pepper, a little bit of Cajun spice, then sauteed it. When it started to stick a little bit, I added some white wine to pull it up and make it bubbly. “When the liquid evaporated, I added 1/2 cup of whipping cream. Big bubbles started dancing around and releasing water. I added 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese to thicken it up and tossed some rotini pasta, green onions and heated it 4 to 5 minutes. People can substitute with shrimp, chicken or make it vegetarian. It’s the easiest thing.”

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