I first met Emeril Lagasse at Heaven on Seven, Jimmy Banos’s New Orleans style restaurant in the Garland Building on Wabash Avenue in Chicago’s Loop. The Garland Building had a special affinity for me because I used to accompany my mom there to a salon which had been on the 7th floor to get her hair done. Emeril had come to Chicago to promote his first cookbook, Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking (yes, it was a while back) and was cooking recipes from the book for a group of food writers and editors. I didn’t know at the time how successful he was going to be (cooking shows, multiple restaurants, cook wear, etc.) but his enthusiastic personality and great food certainly showcased his potential.
Now, in his 18th cookbook, Emeril’s Cooking with Power: 100 Delicious Recipes Starring Your Slow Cooker, Multi Cooker, Pressure Cooker, and Deep Fryer (William Morrow Cookbooks; $25.99, Emeril shows us how to use four countertop appliances—Slow Cooker, Multi Cooker, Pressure Cooker, and Fryer to make over 100 recipes. It’s not only geared towards the harried home chef who wants something delicious waiting at the end of a long day but also for those who are looking for more unique recipes.
"Slow cookers make wonderful kitchen helpers in that you can 'set in and forget it' and return hours later to a slowly cooked meal just waiting to be served up," says Lagasse in his usual exuberant way. "The problem is that everyone knows how to do a pot roast in a slow cooker, but what about Pot Roast Dianne? Or Artichokes a la Barigoule? Even risotto."
I always enjoy Emeril’s cookbooks but was really intrigued when I saw his recipe for making several of my favorites. One, a hold out since my days at Girl Scout camp, is a take on s’mores, but here a luscious and rich pudding on steroids—made in a multi-cooker and the other a New Orleans specialty—crab beignets which Emeril describes as being like a marriage of a crabcake and fritter and can easily be cooked in a deep fryer.
Deep Fryer: Crabmeat Beignets
1 cup diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper, small dice)
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and cut into small dice
2 green onions, minced
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
²⁄³ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup whole milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 cup instant flour, such as Wondra
Tartar or rémoulade sauce, for serving
In a small bowl, combine the bell pepper, jalapeño, green onion, ¾ teaspoon of the salt, the Worcestershire sauce, and the hot sauce. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and cayenne and mix well. Stir in the milk and eggs. Fold in the bell pepper mixture and the crabmeat. Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer to 350°F. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Position a wire rack over a paper-towel-lined baking sheet.
Combine the instant flour and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt in a shallow dish or baking pan.
Using a small ice cream scoop or a measuring spoon and working in batches, drop 2 rounded tablespoonfuls of the beignet batter into the instant flour and toss to coat. Gently drop the beignets into the fryer. Do not overcrowd the fryer. Cook the beignets until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the beignets on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining beignet batter, keeping the drained cooked beignets warm in the oven.
Serve the beignets immediately, with tartar sauce or rémoulade sauce.
Multi Cooker: S’mores Pudding
“Everybody loves s’mores—they’re an all-American classic,” write Lagasse describing this dish. “This s’mores pudding, made with milk chocolate, is topped with ooey-gooey toasted marshmallows and crushed graham crackers.”
½ cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups whole milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup roughly chopped graham crackers
12 to 18 large marshmallows
Sift the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt into a medium bowl. If there appear to be any lumps, sift until the lumps have disappeared. Pour the dry ingredients into a multi-cooker and whisk in the milk, vanilla, and chocolate. Set the multi-cooker to the “white rice” program and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook uncovered, until the pudding begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the multi-cooker. Working quickly, pours or spoon the pudding into six 4-ounce ramekins or cups. Allow them to set up in the refrigerator, about 2 hours. The puddings can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the graham cracker crumbles and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, or just until golden brown.
To toast the marshmallows, preheat the broiler. Place the marshmallows on a lightly greased baking sheet, and broil them for 30 seconds. Using tongs, carefully turn the marshmallows over and broil for another 15 seconds. Remove from the oven and set aside. (Alternatively, you can toast them over a gas burner; see Note.)
When you’re ready to serve the pudding, spoon about 1 tablespoon of the toasted graham cracker crumbles on top of each serving. Place 2 or 3 toasted marshmallows on top of the graham crackers, and serve immediately.
Note: To toast the marshmallows on a gas stove, place 2 or 3 marshmallows on each of six long wooden or metal skewers, far enough down so that they will not easily fall into the fire when roasting. Place the skewers of marshmallows close to the flame of a gas burner for a charred result, or hover them above it for a more golden brown. Turn the skewers slowly, cooking all sides of the marshmallows.