Houmas House Plantation and  Gardens 
January 2018
The History Continues

Wade Hampton II Era (1835-1858)

Following the death of Wade Hampton I, Wade Hampton II and his siblings equally shared the plantations in Mississippi, South Carolina and Louisiana.  Houmas Plantation was managed by Caroline Hampton Preston's husband, John Preston. During the 1840's, Houmas Plantation becomes one of the wealthiest sugar plantations in the South.  The Prestons travel extensively to Europe and educate their children in the finest schools. They spend the winters at Houmas Plantation and entertain many guests, some for months at a time.  
During this era the Houmas Plantation was divided several times among descendants of the Hampton-Preston family until it sold to John Burnside for 1 million dollars in 1858.

Stay tuned next month for a continuation of the Houmas House history.

* This information comes from the book Louisiana's Sugar Palace written by Jim Blanchard.
It's Mardi Gras Time!
As seen by Princess Maggie

My favorite part about starting a new year is the build up to Mardi Gras.  Locals decorate their front doors, mantles, tables and even redecorate their Christmas trees with purple, green and gold glittery masks and garland.
It's the most anticipated time of year for both locals and tourists.  In New Orleans alone there are over 60 krewes who build elaborate floats and host opulent balls. Parades start as early as January 6 and continue until Mardi Gras Day ( Fat Tuesday) which is February 13th.  
As for me- you will find me donning my fancy Mardi Gras hats and greeting every guest with a smile.

Want to know more about Mardi Gras? Here are some useful links:

Secrets From the Kitchens at Houmas House

Sous Vide Lobster with a Garlic, Butter and Jus Vinaigrette

Cooking lobster can be a frustrating task, often resulting in a tough, chewy and bland experience.  Enter the sous vide technique. What is sous vide?
" The term sous vide (pronounced soo-veed) is a French term, meaning under vacuum. Sous vide is a culinary technique in which vacuum-sealed food is immersed in a water bath and cooked at a very precise, consistent temperature."
All you need is an immersion circulator and a vacuum sealer (optional). You can purchase both on amazon for about $120. If you don't want to invest in a vacuum sealer there are tons of videos on YouTube for the hack.

2 Cold Water Lobster Tails 6-8 ounces, peeled from shells whole (Reserve shells for stock).
4 garlic cloves peeled lightly smashed with the side of a knife.
2 healthy knobs of unsalted, European style butter, cubed, chilled.
Several sprigs of your favorite herb(s), whole.
 (We don't recommend rosemary, sage or any super strong herb. Try Chervil or flat Parsley).
Grey Sea Salt, a Pinch
White Pepper Corns in a pepper mill, a small twist on finest setting.
A dash of extra virgin olive oil
2 quart size vacuum seal bag
Ever so lightly rub the tails with extra virgin olive oil.
Lightly season tails with a small amount of sea salt and an even smaller amount of white pepper.
Place herbs on top and bottom of the tails and carefully press into flesh so they will stay.
Fold tops of vacuum seal bags over, so as to keep clean. If they become wet and oily they will not seal properly.
Place one tail in each bag along with butter, dividing garlic between both bags.
Fold bag tops back over.
Seal bags using whichever method you have chosen.  It's important that there is a nice tight seal so the tails stay in place, if not water will get in and dilute flavor or remaining air will cause bag to float.
Now for the cooking, lobster can have a variety of textures; it just depends on temperature and cooking time. Here's a basic table:
Sous Vide Lobster Cooking Temperatures
120°F (49°C)
Soft and translucent
130°F (54°C)
Tender and succulent
140°F (60°C)
Close to traditional steamed-lobster texture
We set ours at 135˚F, for a minimum of 20 minutes.
To finish remove lobster from bag into a small pot with it's own vinaigrette. Check seasoning.
Serve on a plate with its own vinaigrette spooned on top. For an elegant touch place a few drops of fine white truffle oil on the tail.
Serve Immediately. 

Help Us Name Our Swans and Win!

A pair of white swans have made the reflection pond at Houmas House their new home. This male and female spend their days gliding through water and frolicking with the ducks.  But these poor love birds have no name.  That's where you, our readers, come in!  Help us name the swans and be entered to win an overnight stay at The Inn at Houmas House, Dinner for Two in the Carriage House Restaurant, Mansion Tour Tickets for Two and one Houmas House Coffee Table Book.  Don't wait- entries will be accepted until February 10th and a winner announced on Valentine's Day!

Stay Connected with Houmas House

There are so many ways to visit and stay connected with Houmas House!  We offer several options for tours and easy links to book tickets online are right here:

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Open Daily

9 :00 AM- 7:00 PM Daily
Cafe Burnside: 11AM-2PM daily
Latil's Landing: Wed-Sat 6:00pm-9:00pm
Sunday Brunch: 11AM-3PM
The Carriage House Restaurant:
    Breakfast- 8AM-10AM
    Dinner- 5PM-8:30PM

*Closed Christmas Day and New Years Day


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