Rice Festival cookbook compiles cookery contest winners annually

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Every year some of the best cooks in southwest Louisiana, as well as the neighboring state of Texas, compete in the International Rice Festival Rice and Creole Cookery Contest, and every year the Crowley Post-Signal makes their recipes available to the public in its commemorative cookbook.

This year’s cookbook contains Michelle Puissegur’s 2013 Chef-de-Riz-winning recipe:

Cajun Seafood Eggplant

4 eggplants, peeled and cut into chunks

3 onions, chopped

1 cup cooked rice

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 lb. lump or claw crabmeat

1 stick of butter

1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp

3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the eggplant until tender and drain. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large skillet. Add the onions. Sauté until clear. Stir in shrimp. Cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t overcook. Add eggplant, rice, bread crumbs, cheese and Cajun seasoning and mix well. Fold in crabmeat.

Spoon into a 9x9 baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes.

Serves 8 to 10.

Elaine Chatagnier of Iota was the Adult Division Tri-Color Winner of the 76th IRF Rice Cookery Contest with her white chocolate bread pudding recipe, which is contained in last year’s cookbook:

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

1 qt. heavy whipping cream

3/4 sugar

Cocoa powder for sifting over top

1 cup cooked medium grain rice

2-12 oz. bags of white chocolate chips

2 eggs

1 loaf French bread

Break bread into bite-sized pieces and place in 13 x 9 baking dish. In large microwave-safe bowl, place 1 bag of chips and 1/3 of cream. Heat on high for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add rice and stir. Pour over bread. Prepare remainder of chips and cream as above, but place in refrigerator to cool slightly.

When cooled, beat in eggs and sugar and pour over bread.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until top is slightly browned. Cool and sift cocoa powder over top.

Copies of the 78th International Rice Festival Rice & Creole Cookbook are available for $10 each at the Crowley Post-Signal offices. Prior editions are also available for $5 each.