Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

Here’s a heavenly (or sinful, depending on how you look at it) little number that’s sure to satisfy every salty, sweet, chewy, gooey, crunchy craving. It’s best described as a chocolate chip cookie, peanut butter cup, cheesecake hybrid. Oh yeah! Three delicious sweet treats harmoniously blended into one. I used to make this torte every time family came to visit. Then somewhere along the way the recipe got buried and forgotten. That was until a couple of weeks ago when I went flipping through my overstuffed “Dessert” file in search of something new to [ ... ]

Grilled Flat Iron Steaks with Chimichurri

My secret to simple, summertime meals (and sensational cocktails) is an herb garden. I plant one every year with vibrant flavors I love and use often—basil (Genovese), rosemary, lemon-thyme, parsley and cilantro. I also throw in one or two herbs I’m not that familiar with. Last year, it was lemon balm. This year it’s dark opal basil. Almost everyday during the summer months, I turn to my little garden for inspiration. I use the majority of my fresh herbs to make punchy salsas, pestos and sauces. These are great on grilled meats and [ ... ]

Chargrilled Escargots

Our gas grill recently died and, after much deliberation, the hubby and I decided to replace it with a charcoal grill. This was a big step for us because although we’ve always preferred the flavor of charcoal grilled foods (absent “lighter fluid essence”), we had come to highly depend on the convenience of gas grills. That was especially true for me when it came to developing new recipes. With the gas grill, I wouldn’t hesitate to test a small batch of something on the fly. Charcoal, on the other hand, required more forethought, time, attention and skill. I wasn’t sure [ ... ]

Blackened Scallops with Grilled Corn Guacamole

Scallops are not a popular household ingredient in New Orleans and they’ve only been a noticeable part of the local restaurant scene for about 15 years. Honestly, had I not moved to Atlanta, I probably would have never cooked them for my family. Nothing against scallops. It’s just that in New Orleans scallops are, as local food critic, radio host and author Tom Fitzmorris points out, “exotic.” They don’t come from local waters. But there are so many other amazing, fresh seafood options that do, which is why scallops don’t get a whole lot of local attention. Here in the [ ... ]

Green Olive Potato Salad

I have issues with pickle relish. Under the right circumstances, I like it on hotdogs and my Creole Tartar Sauce wouldn’t be the same without its punchy kick. But that’s about it. I don’t care for relish in deviled eggs and I really don’t enjoy it in egg salad, tuna salad or potato salad. My preference for non-relish versions of these indispensable spring and summer staples dates back to my childhood. I grew up in a non-relish family and didn’t recognize the full impact of that until I began mentally dissecting other people’s food and [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Popcorn Crawfish

Popcorn Crawfish, also known as Cajun Popcorn, is simply precooked crawfish tails that have been battered and deep-fried. At one point in time, Popcorn Crawfish dominated the appetizer section of local menus. These days, not so much. But I still enjoy them and the kids really love them. They’re the perfect fried seafood snack. Each morsel is small—like a popped kernel of corn—which makes them super fun and easy to eat. They’re also very addictive, again like popcorn. I usually serve them straight up. But they also take kindly to any number [ ... ]

Baked Rigatoni

This is the time of year when my household shifts into high gear and my calendar overflows with sports and related activities and end-of-the-year school commitments. And with the majority of those obligations taking place between five and eight, getting a proper meal on the table can be a challenge. So what I typically do during these hectic months is make one or two “Big Easy” meals early in the week and serve the leftovers again later in the week. Red Beans and Rice certainly fits within my Big Easy plan. So too does this Baked Rigatoni. I know many [ ... ]

Book Review: 25 Definitive New Orleans Restaurants (& A Dozen Damned Good Places to Drink)

Did you know that as of today, there are over 1,400 sit-down restaurants in the Greater New Orleans Area? Fourteen-hundred! One dash four dash zero zero! And that doesn’t include fast food joints or most national chains. Oh, and there are at least 500 bars occupying the same zip codes. Isn’t that astonishing? I’m totally amazed and so proud of this post-Katrina renaissance. But I’m also sensitive to the fact that those numbers can be quite overwhelming to anyone looking for a traditional dining and drinking experience. By traditional, I mean restaurants and bars that turn out classic New Orleans [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Ponchatoula Strawberry Salsa

I introduced you all to this salsa last May when I was celebrating Cinco de Mayo South Louisiana-style. Remember my Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Tostadas? This salsa was one of the garnishments. But since it’s finally spring and one of the sweetest signs of spring in the GNO (Greater New Orleans Area) is the appearance of fresh, Louisiana strawberries at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores, I thought it was only right to give this salsa its own time in the spotlight. Because besides being the perfect sidekick to shrimp tostadas, Ponchatoula Strawberry Salsa is also [ ... ]

Crawfish Bisque

Throughout South Louisiana, many families hold large crawfish boils on Good Friday then spend the better part of Holy Saturday working elbow-to-elbow preparing what is known around the region as the most time-consuming and labor-intensive dish that’s ever come out of a Cajun or Creole kitchen—Crawfish Bisque. This impressive meal is an Easter Sunday tradition for many. And there’s no better time than Holy Week to bring grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins together to share in its preparation. If you are like me, however, and don’t have an army of relatives nearby, you start [ ... ]
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