HBO enlisted chef Marcella Bienvenu to create the new “True Blood” themed cookbook. The book titled, “True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps” will be availabe for sale on September 5, 2012.
Chef Marcelle Bienvenu explained to Access how she crafted the scrumptuous Bon Temps-inspired recipes in the book, including the cake on the cover, which she’s already indulged in several times.
AccessHollywood.com: When you got the call to contribute to a ‘True Blood’ cookbook, what went through your head?
Chef Marcelle Bienvenu: I don’t get HBO. I was kind of wondering about it because I knew it was set in Louisiana, and of course, I teach culinary at a university and the students knew about it, so they were just wild! And of course, when they sent me all the series to look at, I went ‘Woah!’ (laughs). But it was interesting and there is so much mention of South Louisiana food in the show that it was really kind of a big challenge to be able to pick up the dishes that they mentioned and work on them.
Access: What were some of the dishes that you had to try and figure out how to make?
Chef Marcelle: The first ones we did — and it was really fun — [were] the drinks that they served at the Fangtasia bar. So it was like Tequila Moonrise instead of Tequila Sunrise. We had a Vamp-Aid instead of Kool-Aid. We had Lovin’ in the Coven, we had a Dead on the Beach drink, so it was kind of fun trying to find drinks that would be something that you could drink, that would tie in with the series. The dishes were pretty easy. We had a shrimp cocktail, we had an oyster po boy, we had red beans and rice and an okra gumbo, crawfish boil, chicken fried steak, chess pie, fried apple pie — so it was very southern, very Louisiana, so it was not that hard to come up with real recipes.
Access: It’s still before breakfast here, but just hearing you read those titles, yum!
Chef Marcelle: Working on it, I gained about 8 pounds, because not only do I teach culinary [at Nicholls State University], I had to test all these, and of course, I had some of the students help me because they were just so excited about it, but eating all of the food I have to eat in class, plus this, really put on some weight.
Access: Were any recipes easier to come up with than others?
Chef Marcelle: I think probably the easier ones were like the shrimp cocktail or a gumbo. They wanted me to do a [vegetarian] burger which I went, ‘Nahhhh!’ but we finally came up with something that was pretty good. And they wanted to do several things with crawfish… Instead of a sweet donut, we made like a little savory puff, and that took a little while to kind of come up with something that would work. Also they wanted to do things like fiery chicken wings, with a dipping sauce. We, of course, ran into a lot of things that had red in color. We [made] a white cake, but it had to have a berry sauce dripping over it, so it looked like blood, but it looks very good. I made four of those!
Access: How many did you consume yourself?
Chef Marcelle: I became very popular on campus, all the faculty were coming over to the kitchen where we were testing things, so they had a good treat.
Access: What did you think of the show? And are you watching now?
Chef Marcelle: I’m definitely hooked, and at school, we watch it on Monday nights because there’s several of us who have been following it, so now I’m hooked. I have to admit it.
Access: Do you have a favorite vampire?
Chef Marcelle: Bill. I like Bill. I’ll stick with Bill.
Access: Stephen Moyer is British, how do you think his accent is?
Chef Marcelle: He does remarkably well! I mean, I was afraid they’d make it to Georgia southern, I was afraid they’d make it too Cajun-y, but they do pretty well. I’m very pleased with it… Plus, he’s darn fine good looking too.
Access: And how about that Alcide, the wolf?
Chef Marcelle: Um… I kind of like him (laughs). All the guys love Sook!
Here is one of the recipes from the book: “Sookie Stackhouse’s Fried Chicken”
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Lard or vegetable oil… for deep frying
Two 3-3 1/2 pound broiler-fryer chickens cut into serving pieces
Combine the flour, salt, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne in a large plastic or paper bag. Shake to mix.
Heat about 2 inches of lard until it registers 360 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer in a large, heavy pot. Put four chicken pieces in the bag, and shake well. Add the chicken to the hot fat and deep-fry until golden brown and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
Drain the chicken on paper towels.
Repeat the process with the remaining chicken.