A Night out at SoFAB

By Jyl Benson

On July 2 the Culinary Innovation Center at Rouses by Jenn-Air hosted 70 very stylish guests of Prudential Insurance for a women's empowerment dinner in connection with the Essence Festival.  The evening was lively and hectic and there is no way I would have survived without the generous support of our volunteers Maryam, Edward, Marguerite, Audrey, Angela, and Chef Melissa Araujo of Saveur Catering. I would also like to shout out to my fellow SoFAB staffers Cindy Williams and Holly Barrett for their above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty support. My cup runneth over!

All of this support allowed me to personally cook the four-course dinner for our guests who seemed thrilled with the menu of remoulade salad with poached Gulf shrimp, Creole tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and minced scallions; Cajun dark roux gumbo with andouille and poultry served over steamed rice; Creole jambalaya with Creole tomatoes, Gulf shrimp, andouille, and chicken; and French bread pudding with bananas Foster sauce.

They don't get food like that in New Jersey and New York! Interested in booking your next dinner party at SoFAB? Contact us today!

Here's a bit of lagniappe for your kitchen:

SoFAB French Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Sauce

Serves 10

  • 12 cups 1-inch cubes day-old French bread
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Bananas Foster Sauce (recipe follows)

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the bread in a large bowl. Grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside. Combine the heavy cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and raisins in a large bowl. Whisk to mix. Pour the cream mixture over the bread, and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes or overnight, refrigerated. Transfer the bread mixture to the casserole dish and bake until the center of the bread pudding is set, 50 to 60 minutes.

By Wendy Harman [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Wendy Harman [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Serve warm with warm Bananas Foster Sauce.

SoFAB Bananas Foster Sauce

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup spiced rum

Combine the butter and sugar on a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the bananas. When the banana pieces soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot. Serve warm