With an Attitude of Gratitude

... for a Beautiful, Well-Equipped Space and Many Happy People to Fill It!

from Jyl Benson, Director of Culinary Programming

The Rouses Culinary Innovation Center by Jenn-Air (aka the CIC or the SoFAB Kitchen) continues to be the recipient of constant generosity from our cherished sponsors and volunteers. Thanks to noted New Orleans restaurateur and Renaissance man, Nanou DeRaczynski, the expansive walls within our space have been painted a perfect shade of green to blend seamlessly with the garden space taking form outside of the kitchen door. Nanou also installed a mind boggling amount of beautiful red pine shelving on which we can now display our extensive collections of dishes, glassware, serving pieces and kitchen artifacts.

At the same time our sponsors at JennAir/Whirlpool Corporation keep our space stylish, fashionable and on the cutting edge of state-of-the-art. New multi-mode convection ovens, built-in wine storage, beautifully designed refrigerators with jet interiors and ambient lighting arrive before we even think to ask. They want us to have the very best so we can make them look good by looking good. What more could we possibly want? See some of the updates here.

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Our wonderful space was filled with many happy people for a recent celebration of St. Joseph's Day. The feast day is significant for Italians and Sicilians throughout the world, New Orleans included. The holiday is celebrated here with St. Joseph's Day altars around the city, huge community meals, and thousands of Cuccidata.  For our celebration we screened Amuri: Sacred Flavors of Sicily, a short documentary film that explores the culinary celebrations and traditions of Sicily. SoFAB Director Liz Williams gave a brief history of Sicilians in New Orleans and the ways that cultural celebrations like Saint Joseph's Day have evolved over the years. As the Director of Culinary Programming, I demonstrated  a popular Saint Joseph's Day recipe of Pasta with Sawdust so called because St. Joseph was a carpenter. Cheese on pasta was an expensive flavor addition, so frugal Sicilians often substituted seasoned breadcrumbs on their pasta.

Throughout the afternoon our many guestsenjoyed delicious traditional Sicilian cookies baked by the beloved gelateria and pastry shop, Angelo Brocato; samplings of fruit preserves from the Anna Tasca Lanza school; and samples of Tasca d’Almerita Sicilian wines from The Winebow Group.

We would like to offer a special thank you to our devoted sponsors at Domino Foods, Inc . Thanks to them we were able to offer free admission for Louisiana residents and Louisiana students all day! Many thanks to Ruth Koffman for making this event possible.

RecipeSofAB's St. Joseph's Day Pasta with Bread Crumbs & Garlic

Serves 4-6

  • 1 pound Cappellini (angel hair) pasta
  • Salt for pasta
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (We like the kind made with Panko)
  • 1/2 teaspoon SoFAB Italian herb blend (available in our gift shop!)
  • Water from cooking pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving water. Leave pasta in colander. Add the olive oil and garlic to the same vessel in which pasta was cooked. Add bread crumbs and the SoFAB Italian herb blend and cook over medium heat until slightly golden. Reduce heat to low, add the cooked pasta and toss until all pasta is coated in the bread crumb mixture. If the pasta is dry add some of the pasta water into the pan by tablespoons until pasta is moist. Serve at once.

Amuri: The Sacred Flavors of Sicily

Missed the movie? Watch it here!