Fine Food, Good Friends

To accompany the September/October issue’s  story about the early career of master chef Warren Leruth and introduction of classic French cuisine to Texoma in the 1960s, Texoma Living! decided to recreate a Leruth dinner using recipes from three of his cookbooks, Great Chefs of New Orleans, from PBS television series of the same name, LeRuth’s 20th Anniversary Cookbook, and LeRuth’s Back Door–Front Door Cook Book, a collection of recipes for the patrons dining at the restaurant and a parallel collection of dishes prepared for the restaurant staff each day.

Click Here to see photos from our dinner party!

Rather than drop all the responsibility on Chef Robert Aranson, we came up with the idea of having a party—not that we needed much excuse for that—and invited some of Texoma’s amateur culinary wizards to join in the cooking and the fun. Think of it as a progressive dinner that stayed in one location. Chef Aranson selected courses that seemed to fit together well and were not too labor intensive, and we started making calls.

The Menu

Cocktails
Cocktail à la Louisiane, Absinthe Frappé, Roffignac, Crusta Ramos Gin Fizz, Café Brûlot

Click on the item for the recipe.

  • Crabmeat Sansbois with Brown Butter Toast
  • Spinach Salad à la Rive Gauche
  • Chicken Saltembuca with Green Peppercorns
  • Brabant Potatoes
  • Glazed Bread Pudding

The Location

The lake home of Fred and Bobbi White of Dallas was center stage for our Leruth Dinner. The Whites’ entertainment complex, with two kitchens, one for presentation cooking and one for catering, was perfect for our needs.

The Guests

Fred & Bobbi White (our hosts), Texoma Estates and Dallas
Richard & Mia Munson, Denison
Brad Underwood and Barbara Reeves, Bonham
Dr. William & Cheryl Plauche, Sherman
Peter & Kathy Munson, Texoma Estates
Nancy Ridgeway, Pottsboro
Patty Macsisak, Leonard

The Process

We called for volunteers, passed out the recipes, and set the group to cooking. Chef Aranson and Kelly Square catering manager Christy Auten were there to lend a hand as needed, and Jacki Lee took pictures.

The Results

These types of projects often require last minute solutions to unexpected glitches, but that wasn’t the case with the Leruth Dinner. Everything went smoothly. The food was fabulous, the atmosphere convivial, and leftovers were scarce. If you’d like to recreate the festivities, here are the recipes. All serve eight to ten generously.