Browsing Category

Local

Celebrations, Christmas, Citrus, Fruit, Healthy, Kumquats, Local, Louisiana, Salads, Southern, Thanksgiving

Ambrosia revisited: Southern holiday fruit salad goes all natural

November 24, 2015

For the record, I’m a big fan of the mini-marshmallow.

Big fan.

One of my greatest food memories is cozying up to a marshmallow-y fruit salad — classic Southern ambrosia – that someone brought to my maternal grandfather’s after funeral gathering. I’ll never forget the way the baby marshmallows melted into the citrus juice, creating creamy goodness and a perfect comforting texture. I couldn’t stop eating it. Years later, I similarly fell in love with something called Green Stuff, a congealed cottage cheese and marshmallow fruit salad made by an old boyfriend’s mother and always served at his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Yum. I love a bowl of trashy.

But as much as I savor marshmallows, and as much as I bow down to tradition, this year, I wanted an all-natural version of the classic holiday side….

Ambrosia

Continue Reading…

Farmers Markets, Local, Louisiana, Sandwiches, Soups, Southern, Vegetables

Meatless Mains: Curried 3-squash soup with fresh tomato bruschetta

November 19, 2015

Here’s one for my vegetarian pals, or anyone who likes to incorporate an occasional meatless main course: a veggie-centric soup-and-sandwich combo made with fresh farmers market ingredients.

A couple of weeks back, I posted on 5 fall produce soup ideas, and briefly mentioned this one: roasted butternut squash soup studded with sautéed summer squash and zucchini. It showcases the range of produce available in south Louisiana right now. We can still get a lot of summer produce alongside the inaugural harvest of fall vegetables. And with fresh tomato bruschetta on the plate, too, this dinner takes advantage of Southern vegetables that refuse to be confined to just one season.

Continue Reading…

Appetizers, Farmers Markets, Hors d'oeuvres, Local

Need a stress-free hors d’oeuvre? A cheese board is the answer.

October 22, 2015

For a fast hors d’oeuvre, nothing is tastier, easier or prettier than a cheese board assembled from a few great cheeses, some fresh bread and seasonal garnishes.

Recently, I wrote an article for 225 Magazine on “Goat Lady” Wanda Barras, the farmstead cheese maker from St. Martinville, Louisiana, who sells her award-winning Belle Ecorce goat’s milk cheeses at the Red Stick Farmers Market in Baton Rouge. Barras’ cheeses are officially “farmstead,” as opposed to “artisan,” because she uses milk from her resident herd of Nubian and La Mancha goats instead of milk purchased from an outside source. Her cheeses are absolutely delicious. I picked some up this past weekend after doing a cooking demo at the Saturday market.

Recently, Barras added a few Jersey cows to the mix, and now she’s also producing delicious aged cow’s milk cheeses. She has at least three regular varieties of bleu and the Camembert (pictured here), which is vibrant and punchy. Its flavor profile and texture is so much more complex than the garden variety Camemberts in the supermarket. I’ve also got a few of her flavored chevres here, including the cracked pepper and red pepper-topped Parisian. They’re creamy and sublime.

I like to serve cheese with toasted slices of a fresh whole grain baguette, and I love to throw in some quince paste (membrillo), which goes nicely with a salty cheese like Manchego, its traditional mate, or even good Parmesan.

Don’t sweat the food styling. Thankfully, expectations for arranging a cheese board have become increasingly relaxed. Over-the-top Martha Stewart is out. The more natural and loose the platter looks, the better.

Enjoy!CheeseBoard

Boudin, Cajun, Hungry for Louisiana, Local, Louisiana, Southern

Gameday boudin balls

September 14, 2015

Boudin links are great. We all know that. But boudin balls are better, because as we also know, what pork and rice really need is to be deep-fried.

This weekend, as LSU fans across the state prepare for the game against Auburn, many of them will stock up on Cajun charcuterie’s greatest guilty pleasure. Whether you tote your boudin balls to a tailgate party in a grease-stained paper bag, or on a behemoth disposable platter gilded with parsley, boudin balls are the pinnacle of gameday finger food.

BoudinBalls2

Continue Reading…

Crab, Local, Louisiana, Seafood

Succulent, classic Crab Louie salad is fast and easy

September 8, 2015
CrabAJsfromHammon

A friend sent us this picture from a crab boil underway over Labor Day weekend! He picked up fresh crabs from Hammond, Louisiana, and boiled them during a beach weekend in Destin, Florida.

The blue crab harvest is fully underway here in South Louisiana, and many friends I talked to over the weekend were planning Labor Day crab boils. Yum! As much as I love crawfish, shrimp and oysters, crab — I have to admit — is my all time favorite local seafood. It would be on my desert island list, and my death row last supper.

After our daughter’s cross country meet Saturday morning, we picked up a couple dozen boiled crabs over from Tony’s Seafood for our family of five, and they couldn’t have been tastier. Traditionalists say if you harvest crabs after a full moon, they’re at their fullest, so I guess we were still benefiting from the full moon a week earlier.

Continue Reading…

Cajun, Crawfish, Hungry for Louisiana, Local, Louisiana, Southern, Weeknight

A weeknight saved by crawfish tails

September 3, 2015

Here it is early September in South Louisiana, and crawfish season seems like a thing of the past. Backyard boils, Sunday etouffée and rural crawfish festivals are fixtures of spring, not fall. But let’s not be too hasty. One-pound packages of Louisiana crawfish tails are still available in many independent grocery stores in South Louisiana, and they should be around for another few weeks, says my friend Blaise Calandro III of Calandro’s Supermarkets here in Baton Rouge. In fact, it’s only between November and February when local tails are not commercially available.

So stock up for yourself Louisiana peeps, and freeze some for your out-of-state friends, because in addition to being full of flavor, crawfish tails are one of easiest and most convenient ingredients around, especially if you’re a working parent. I can attest. Earlier this week, I found myself trying to pull together dinner at the absolute last minute, and a pound of frozen crawfish tails saved me.

Continue Reading…