The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas


March 1, 2014

COOKING WITH SIMON: Mardi Gras time in Palestine

PALESTINE — The good times were definitely rolling down Palestine Main Street last Saturday and the food sure was too. It was a great weekend with parades, floats, parties, Cajun recipes, zydeco music and plenty of Palestine area wine.

The sun was out so people from all over East Texas, young and old, came out to enjoy the Mardi Gras party atmosphere.

I was outside Granny Muffin Wine cooking with Christine Gardner from the Tyler Morning Telegraph. I made Bourbon Street Bread Pudding, which is a new spin on my traditional English bread and butter pudding.

Knowing how many restaurants in New Orleans serve bread pudding, I knew I had to create a version especially for this day.

I have always enjoyed making desserts and sometimes will plan a dinner party menu so it fits the type of dessert I would like to serve. Any host or hostess should remember that dessert, whether it’s big or small, should be memorable because it’s the last bite of the meal.

So keep dessert in mind — don’t let the meal’s last bite be the last thought of your meal plan. And when it comes to Mardi Gras make sure it’s decadent. We have several weeks of Lent ahead so indulge why you can.

Bourbon Street Bread Pudding


12 slices of white bread, buttered on one side

8 croissants, halved

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, divided

6 eggs

3 cups milk

1 cup sugar, divided

3 bananas, sliced

2 teaspoons almond essence

4 tablespoons bourbon, divided

1 cup cream cheese

1/4 – 1/2 cup orange juice

Assorted sprinkles: purple, gold, green


Place six slices bread in a 9x13 pan side by side but buttered side down. Top with half of the chocolate chips and the banana slices. Place other six slices on top, butter side down. In a large bowl beat eggs. Heat milk and 1/2 cup of sugar in pan until warm, but not boiling. Add the almond essence and 2 tablespoons of the bourbon to the milk. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the beaten eggs. Combine well and pour over bread. Place the bottom halves of the croissants on top of the bread. Add the remaining chocolate chips and top with the tops of the croissants. Let stand for ten minutes. Place in a 350 degree oven and cook for 30 minutes or until set. Let cool slightly. In a bowl combine the cream cheese with remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons of bourbon and enough orange juice to thin the cream cheese to a whipped cream consistency.

Use as a topping after baking. Garnish with sprinkles.


Recipe by Chef Simon Webster, Sabor a Pasion Estate & Vineyard,,, 903-729-9500


All of the Taste of New Orleans recipes can be found at


Text Only
  • 7-26-simon-slaw.jpg Cooking with Simon: Stomp grapes and eat Texas food

    If you’re picking up the newspaper on Saturday, you still have a chance to come out to Sabor a Pasion and celebrate the grape harvest at the 2nd Annual Charity Grape Stomp.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Two decades of storytelling

    For the past 20 years, I have covered everything under the sun while working as community editor at the Palestine Herald-Press. I have covered festivals, banquets, graduations, fires, wrecks, elections, giant vegetables, you name it, I probably wrote about it.

    July 26, 2014

  • At the Movies: 'Begin Again' — Fresh tale creates appeal

    Some people film big pictures.  Others do small pictures.  Writer-director John Carney makes small pictures. 

    July 26, 2014

  • IMG_1373.jpeg COOKING WITH SIMON: Summer produce brings recipe inspiration

    Chefs are always recreating their menus and finding new inspiration for recipes. People ask me how where my new ideas come from and what I do to get inspired. The answer – mowing the lawn – and, by the way, I have a lot of lawn, vineyard and fields to mow.

    July 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Swiss Chard  & Peach Salad COOKING WITH SIMON: Garden vegetables ready to harvest

    Last month, I was invited to cook for a group of clients at a fishing lodge in Alaska. It was quite an experience – beautiful scenery, amazing salmon, halibut, and great accessibility to some of the best fishing in the world.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • watermelon COOKING WITH SIMON: Red, white and watermelon

    Happy 4th of July weekend! On every street corner the fruit of Texas is being sold from the back of old trucks and roadside produce stands.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMN: Musings about life and the pursuit of happiness

    Yesterday was July 4th, a time we celebrate independence and the truths that all men are created equal and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” to quote Mr. Jefferson.

    July 5, 2014

  • MOVIE REVIEW: 22 Jump Street

    I should have known better.  Just like “Legally Blonde” and “Dumb and Dumber,” a comedy based on a premise as opposed to one based on truly funny characters merged with a clever situation should never have a sequel.

    July 3, 2014

  • 6-28--SIMON-Lamb-Sliders.jpg Cooking with Simon: Celebrate July 4th with lamb burgers

    Being born in one country and raised in another can bring a bit of confusion to one’s life. And then to find yourself living in a third country as an adult, is one reason this kiwi is all messed up.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editor's Notebook: Kids can create their own summer fun

    Things are so different today than when I was a kid. A recent conversation with my 9-year-old son reinforced my belief.

    June 28, 2014