Duck, Andouille and Tasso Jambalaya

Louisiana has long been known as Sportsman’s Paradise because of the state’s outstanding hunting and fishing resources. And on the hunting front, duck is probably the biggest draw for wild game enthusiasts. Louisiana’s popularity as a prime duck hunting destination is due to the large population of local species that take up residence in the area’s abundant wetlands and agricultural fields coupled with the region’s prime location along the famed Mississippi Flyway—that popular migratory route many game birds take each year in search of warmer weather. So based on that intriguing information, it should come as no [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Tangy Avocado and Feta Dip

My passion for guacamole is similar to my passion for gumbo to the extent that I’m always searching for the best version of each every time I eat out. Granted, I’ve never found the two occupying the same menu (although in New Orleans that cross-cultural thing may occur somewhere). But you know what I mean. Every time I visit a new Mexican or other type of Latin restaurant, I begin my meal with guacamole. And every time I visit a typical New Orleans joint back home for the first time I order some version (usually seafood [ ... ]

Chicken and Andouille Pot Pies

Two of my favorite ingredients are back together again. You guessed it. Chicken and andouille. And this time, I’ve turned to them (along with okra) to put a distinctive South Louisiana spin on a classic American comfort food–the Chicken Pot Pie. This version–with it’s peanut butter roux, rich chicken stock, sassy splash of cream, roasted-to-perfection chicken and andouille sausage and big bursts of okra pods–is like no other. It’s comforting and indulgent and unique. I also tweaked my traditional trinity by using a red bell pepper instead of green (a trick I learned from [ ... ]

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Italian Turkey Sausage and Spinach

I’m a big fan of spaghetti squash but I don’t like it as a low-carb, pasta substitute—which is how it’s typically marketed this time of year. When I crave foods like Meatballs and Spaghetti, I want to have traditional Meatballs and Spaghetti—beefy meatballs simmered in a rich red gravy and served over some sort of “enriched macaroni product” like angel hair or thin spaghetti. Same for dishes like Baked Macaroni or Fettuccine Alfredo. I can’t and won’t do the swap out thing just to save a few calories or reduce my carb intake. Doing so will leave me cranky and [ ... ]

Oysters Rockefeller Turnovers

Oysters are extremely delicious this time of year–especially those sweet, lightly briny Louisiana Gulf Oysters. If you’re looking for something impressive and easy to pull together this New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, try these turnovers. They’re perfectly portioned riffs on the classic Oysters Rockefeller less the time and mess associated with shucking your own. These turnovers can be pulled together quickly with a pint of shucked oysters and a package of frozen puff pastry. They can also be assembled ahead of time and baked just before serving. Oh, and they reheat nicely too. [ ... ]

Standing Rib Roast

As I’ve mentioned in posts past, our Christmas dinners are basically encore presentations of Thanksgiving where turkey takes center stage, a sweet and savory glazed ham fills the supporting role and the always reliable cast and crew of traditional trimmings and seasonal sweets backs up the meal. But for some, including many of my friends, nothing says “special holiday dinner” more than a show-stopping cut of beef like a rack of prime rib. I’ve prepared many a prime rib roast (also known as a standing rib roast) in my day. Next to boiled crawfish, it is the [ ... ]

Cream of Mushroom Soup

If you’re anything like me, you always have a couple of cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup lurking in your pantry. It’s a staple that’s particularly important this time of year when many of us turn to “Umm, Umm Good” ingredients like those to complete time-honored holiday recipes. Until recently, I couldn’t imagine making Green Bean Casserole, a Shrimp Mold or Mock Oyster Dip without it. Then one day I decided, “Enough with the canned stuff!” And I began working on my own recipe. Here are three reasons why you should try it: Making Cream of Mushroom Soup from scratch [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Creole Candied Bacon

I’m sharing another sweet, well savory-sweet, finger food recipe with you all today since we’re in full holiday mode and I’m sure plenty of you are either hosting parties or searching for creative edibles to gift to your friends and neighbors. This over-the-top bacon will meet both of those needs and many more–new brunch or Christmas breakfast item, creative Bloody Mary add-in, food therapy (or for some it may be bacon therapy), new Santa snack or all of the above. It’s just that good. When it comes to bacon, the first accompanying beverage that comes to my mind is [ ... ]

Grilled Oysters with Bacon and Jalapeños

The Louisiana oyster season just recently began and already I've had more luscious Louisiana bivalves than I did during the entire season last year. That's a wonderful thing. My mass consumption has been due in large part to a mini sack the hubby and I had shipped up a couple of weeks back. Those 100 or so plump and briny beauties made for a pretty serious R&D session in my kitchen. Over the course of two days, I researched and developed fun new flavor combinations for slurping and shooting raw oysters and created several exciting new [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Individual Pecan Pies

Oops! I revised this recipe on 12.24.2014 to correct an error–the pie shells should remain frozen until ready to bake. Otherwise, the bottoms could end up soggy. Sorry for the oversight! With Thanksgiving less than a week away, now is the perfect time to share this seasonal treat with you all. This is a sweet, festive finger food perfect for holiday entertaining. And, in my opinion, it’s the best way to serve pecan pie. Not only do the individual pies make everyone feel extra special, each serving has that perfect filling-to-crust ratio and the baker never has to [ ... ]
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