Judge rules over court and kitchen

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2000

ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / July 26, 2000

From a dishwasher and short-order cook while in high school to an attorney with a law degree and now an appellate court judge with a keen interest in cooking. In talking to Judge Tom Daley, he is as at home withhis cooking as he is presiding in a courtroom. Both consume specialinterests and time in his very busy, full and fulfilling life. The cooking,though, came about naturally as when he was young his dad would take him to an uncle’s place, Daley’s Diner, so Tom could help out.

Born in New Jersey, Daley came to New Orleans for law school in the early 70’s and stayed. Although he had met Margaret Mary in high school, theyhad not seen each other for 10 years but rekindled their relationship when he went home for a family party. That produced a permanent union whichproduced two daughters, Bernadette and Monique. Judge Daley waspracticing in Jefferson Parish when John Crum encouraged him to come to LaPlace, which the Daleys have called home for 16 years.

Now, every Christmas, Daley and Dale Madere get together to cook a whole pig and lamb for Crum’s Christmas party, with Madere doing the jambalaya and white beans. Once a year Daley buys the lambs from Joe Millet ofLaPlace so he has fresh, locally raised meat. The lambs are butchered inDecember, and Daley has fresh lamb for Crum’s party. The rest is frozen touse for the judges’ spring luncheon.

The pig comes from Edgard. Getting together to prepare food for the partyproduces as much fun for the men as the actual party, they say.

The Christmas party and judges’ party are equally popular, annual events.

For the past four years Daley and Madere have cooked at Peavine for all the judges and local lawyers from Jefferson, Orleans, St. Charles, St. John andSt. James parishes. Daley’s recipe for lamp chops, which he developed overthe years, is very popular.

At home, the Daleys eat a variety of pastas at least two or three times a week, but the crawfish pasta is eaten at least once each week. They makea light pasta using available seafood. The main ingredients vary, but clamswere a local seafood dish where Tom grew up. Margaret Mary does most ofthe cooking during the week, but the Daleys share cooking space on the weekends when, for Sunday dinner, the judge does the meat and she does the side dishes.

A family tradition at Thanksgiving for the Daleys is the pie contest. Youcan come to Daley’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, but you have to bring a pie. It takes all weekend to sample the pies; everybody votes and all thepies have won at one time or another, including Daley’s lemon meringue.

Margaret Mary makes apple and pumpkin and a brother makes pecan. Thedaughters always make a “mud” pie so there is always fun and competition.

Family gathering is natural for Daley as he is the second oldest in a family of 12 brothers and sisters, including his twin sister. A celebrity in thefamily is sister, Rosie Daley, who was the cook for Oprah Winfrey and who wrote the book “Cooking in the Kitchen with Rosie.” She is writing anotherone.

Judge Daley is very involved with the community. He helped form the St.John Shade Tree Committee, which has distributed 1,500-2,000 trees each year in the parish. He also does a lot of continuing legal education,lecturing to lawyers and judges, and teaches a class at night at the LSU School of Law. Working with Za Maurin on some of the communityactivities, the judge is very involved in campaigning against littering.

“If everybody did a little extra, so much would get accomplished. A littleeffort by everybody can go a long way in doing great things,” he said, voicing his belief and commitment.

Daley keeps an office in Gretna and LaPlace and hears cases from St. John,St. James, St. Charles and Jefferson parishes. He went from being anassistant district attorney to a district court judge doing trial work in Edgard and is in his fifth year on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which he took over from Judge Thomas Klibert. The position serves a 10-yearterm so later this year the judge will be up for re-election. For certain,though, his involvement in community activity will continue as will his kitchen activity. He shares the following recipes:


2 cups apple cider 1 cup apple cider vinegar 2 tbsp. brown sugar1 tsp. cinnamon1 large clove of garlic (chopped) 2 onions (sliced) 8-12 thinly cut lamb chops

In a saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar, apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon and stir. Mince the entire clove of garlic and thinly slice theonions. In a 10″ x 13″ pan, lay out a thin layer of sliced onions. Cover theonions with the apple cider mixture.

On a side chopping board, spread out the minced garlic and press both sides of the chops, one at a time, onto the minced garlic so that the minced garlic is distributed and pressed into the chops. Season the chopswith garlic salt, pepper, thyme and sweet basil. Lay the chops out onto thesliced onion. When the pan is layered with chops, place another layer ofsliced onions on top of the chops, spoon in additional apple cider mixture so as to not disturb the seasoning on the chops and begin a second layer.

Chops should be marinated 24 hours before barbecuing. Barbecue over amedium fire, turning occasionally.

CRAWFISH PASTA (Daley’s Kitchen)

1/4 c. olive oil1/2 stick margarine 1 full garlic (at least 5 pods) 2 onions (diced) 1 lb. crawfish tailsGarlic Salty Pepper Italian Seasoning 1 pkg. vermicelli

Saut onions and minced garlic in olive oil and 1/2 stick of margarine.

Season and then add crawfish, saut. Season again if needed and add anyextra liquid if desired (white wine or light cream) for richer, heavier sauce. I don’t usually add this.Serve over pasta (vermicelli) and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

NOTE: This can also be made with shrimp. Two cans of chopped clams canalso be substituted.

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