Cooks Exchange

Another recipe from Vrazel’s

Homemade ice cream is a timeless treat that can be tweaked for any occasion.
Homemade ice cream is a timeless treat that can be tweaked for any occasion. MCT

The popularity of well-known Coast restaurants lives on even if the restaurants have been closed for years.

Coastians and non-Coastians alike cannot forget their favorite dishes at these restaurants.

Taking the No. 1 spot in requests is Vrazel’s, which was located where Beach Blvd. Steamer is today at 3206 W Beach Blvd., Gulfport, followed by Angelo’s which, oddly enough, was in the same location. Perhaps that is just a good location for memory-making dishes.

Bill Vrazel needs to finish his cookbook. His fans would love it. All of them have a story to tell about his food.

“I would love to have the recipe for Mr. Vrazel’s Eggplant LaRosa,” said Kathie Sicotte, motor coach sales representation at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. “It was the best, and I would always order it whenever I ate there.”

Read on:

“Having lived in Hancock County since near the inception of Stennis Space Center in 1966 until Katrina, [except for one year in Washington, D.C.] to say I enjoyed every meal at Vrazel’s is an understatement,” said 87-year-old Faith Koger, now of Ridgeland. “I recall when he was chef during the early days of Diamondhead Country Club, so, you see, I go way back.

“We moved to Bay St. Louis in 1965 from Texas during the early days at Stennis and lived in Hancock County 40 years until Katrina,” she said. “I now live in Ridgeland, but read the Sun Herald online daily. Thank you for helping with some recipes of my best memories of the Coast, and thank you for keeping us cooking.

“Ask Bill to let you publish his great spinach dish. I do not recall what it was called, but he served it in little side dishes with the main ‘event.’ I always ordered it, so good could have been a main dish.

“I was so glad to hear from him though your column. Tell him ‘hello.’ He is greatly missed by many fans of his superb talent for ‘making our day’ when we could get to Gulfport to enjoy his wonderful food.”

And now for Angelo’s.

“Could you get the original recipe of crab meat au gratin from Angelo’s Restaurant, said Shirley Dedeaux. “It was the best. Thanks.”

Readers, do you have this Angelo’s recipe? I have a couple, but not this one. I know the family has been wanting to do a cookbook and talked to a family member about the book. I don’t know the status, but will check.”

Well, Koger is in luck. Chef Vrazel gave me his Spinach Touffle recipe several years ago. I will share it today. Also, that recipe appears in the old Westminster Academy cookbook.

Now for the Eggplant LaRosa, Chef Vrazel told me a year ago that he was not ready to share that recipe and that he was working on a cookbook. I will get an update on the book.

MORE ON HURRICANE FOODS

“I also store dried fruits,” Ocean Springs’ Pattie Necaise said about foods to have on hand during a hurricane. “I can buy them a good deal ahead of time because they store so well. I also like to have candy (especially hard candies) to give me an energy boost when I am busy cleaning up the yard. Gum is nice to have on hand.”

She also reminded her fellow readers to have plenty of paper goods, such as plastic forks, knives and spoons on hand.

“Those are so helpful not to have to wash dishes, especially when water is limited,” Necaise said.

WANTED: A DIFFERENT TYPE OF FREEZE

“The top of the canister of ice cream has less flavor than the bottom, despite having stirred it thoroughly immediately before churning. One solution I suppose is to empty the canister before serving and mix it again, but this is problematic for 6 quarts,” said Jim Drake in reference to a recent column I wrote about homemade ice cream. “I notice that the churn turns the canister and not the paddle, leaving the paddle and contents stationary and subject to settling. I wonder if the paddle spun instead or if a motor was geared such that it turned the paddle in the opposite direction of the canister so the contents would be constantly stirred? If so, do you know of such a churn available on the market? I would appreciate your thoughts on this.”

Readers, can you suggest a different type of freeze for Drake? Maybe that works well for you. I know very little about ice cream makers, but know that I am not happy with the soft ice cream mine produces.

My grandmother always scooped the top off the ice cream and threw it away. She did that in case any rock salt or extra water from the ice seeped in. She always said it didn’t taste as good.

Checking on freezers, I found a review from www.bestreviews.com. The researchers rated Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop ice cream maker as No. 1. It sells for $359 on Amazon.

The second choice was one I liked better, Aroma House’s Traditional 4-quart Ice Cream Maker, which is both electric and hand-crank and costs $69.99 on Amazon. Reviews from owners were good, too.

SPINACH TOUFFLE

(Yes, not soufflé)

6 ounces cream cheese

10 ounces frozen, chopped spinach with juice

Salt and pepper to taste

2 ounces butter

6 ounces bread crumbs as needed

Parmesan cheese

Melt butter and cream cheese. Add chopped spinach (uncooked) and season with salt and pepper. Add bread crumbs until soggy and place in casserole dish. Top with Parmesan cheese, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Serves 4.

Note: Do not overdo on the bread crumbs.

Submitted by Chef Bill Vrazel

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