Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 5, 2000

DONNA KEATING / L’Observateur / February 5, 2000

LAPLACE – Philip Hoffman of LaPlace experimented with cooking as a youngster, mostly making breakfast and heating up food. But after spendinga lot of time with his grandfather, who did most of the cooking in his own home, he really took an interest in cooking. Once Hoffman got married hebegan to do most of the cooking for his family.

Hoffman is a native of the New Orleans area. He moved to Metairie in 1960,then his interest in golf brought him to LaPlace in 1987. He had joined BelleTerre Country Club and liked it so much he decided to move here.

Hoffman, owner of P&C Builders, is married to Debbie Hoffman and is the father of four children, Angelle, Amanda, Abbie and Philip Hoffman Jr.

He got involved in cooking for school fund-raisers because of his children. Hesaid, “When your children are in school you do things to help the school out.

It was also fun to help out.”He has cooked for fund-raisers for different groups at St. Charles CatholicHigh School, including the Quarterback Club and the school’s track and soccer teams. Hoffman and some of the other volunteers have cooked jambalaya,white beans and prepared salads for St. Charles Catholic High School’sfootball games and have also cooked for occasional Sunday dinners held there.

“Every Friday night during high school football season I get a group of volunteers together from different groups that I am involved in and we cook the food at my house and bring it over to the school football stadium,” he said. “Even though it only takes two or three people to make jambalaya, weusually get more people who want to get together to talk and enjoy the food.”He is also one of the volunteers who cooks St. Charles Catholic High School’sthanksgiving dinner for the needy which consists of turkey, dirty rice, candied sweet potatoes, salad and dessert.

Ascension of Our Lord School fund-raisers are also on Hoffman’s cooking list. He got started there with the Knight of Columbus fund-raisers, and he iscurrently a fourth degree Knight with the organization. Crawfish etoufee andjambalaya are dishes he has helped prepare for its fund-raisers.

When the Knights of Columbus held a cooking contest he was one of a four- man team which placed in this area and went on to the state finals for seafood gumbo.

Hoffman said in the past he has gotten a release from his work by golfing but now cooks instead. He added, “For me cooking gets me away from thethings you do every day.”Though his wife is also a good cook, he does most of the cooking for his family, including the holiday meals.

And when Hoffman says he is going to cook his wife gets out of his way.

“When I cook I don’t want anyone in my way, and when I want help I’ll ask for it,” he said.

Hoffman’s favorite dish is jambalaya because he likes cooking in a big pot. Hesaid big pot cooking is more of a social event than a cooking event. Hisfamily’s favorites include lasagna and crawfish etoufee.

“We have a tremendous amount of great cooks in this area; the City of New Orleans would be lucky to have as many good cooks as we have in the River Parishes,” he said.

Here are some of Hoffman’s recipes:


2 lbs. crawfish tails

2 cups onions, diced

1/2 cup green bell pepper

2 toes garlic, diced finely

3 green onions, diced

2 bay leaves

8 ozs. seafood or chicken stock

6 ozs. good white wine

2 tbsps. tomato paste

2 sticks butter or margarine

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup celery, diced Tabasco

hot sauce, to taste

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Melt butter on medium high heat in a four-quart pot. Saute onions, bellpepper and garlic until tender. Add crawfish tails and saute with vegetablesfor about five minutes. Dust in flours until mixture thickens. Add stock andwine and bring to a boil. Add celery, green onions, bay leaf, worcestershiresauce and Tabasco sauce. Stir in tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste.Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve over rice with French bread and butter.Serves six.


1 lb. fresh Italian sausage, casing removed

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground chuck

24 ozs. spaghetti sauce

24 ozs. mozzarella cheese, grated

16 ozs. ricotta cheese

8 ozs. Romano cheese, grated

1 egg 1 box lasagna noodles

1 medium onion, diced fine

5 toes garlic, diced

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup water

Brown all meat in a dutch oven type pot. Drain off all excess fat and addonions and garlic and saute until onions are clear. Add tomato sauce and letsimmer for about 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Beat egg andwhip into ricotta cheese (this makes the ricotta cheese smooth and easy to spread). Spray a 9X12 Corning Ware dish with pam. Start with a little saucein the bottom of the pan and then place dry lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Next, place meat sauce on noodle on top of noodle and then placericotta cheese, romano cheese and then mozzarella cheese on top. Repeatthe process to build up to four layers. Pour 1/4 cup of water around theedge of Corning Ware dish. Cover with foil and place in a 350-degree oven forabout 50 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Serve with meat sauceon top.

Serves eight.


1 loaf of French bread (Zip Leidenheimer)

1 qt. half and half

6 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup pancake syrup

1 stick butter, melted

1 cup raisins

1 cup sliced peaches, drained

In a large bowl, add all liquid. Add French bread and let soak until soft. Mix inall other ingredients. Pour mixture into a greased pan. Preheat oven to 350degrees, then place mixture in oven for about 35 minutes. Remove fromoven and then serve with rum sauce over the top (see the following recipe).


1/4 stick butter

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup rum

Put all ingredients in the top of a double boiler and cook over medium heat with water in the boiler boiling for about 10 minutes. With a wire whisk, beatthe sauce until it is fluffy.

Serves about eight.

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