Grilled Calamari

This summer, I’m grilling out more than ever. Aside from being a lover of all things hot and humid, I’m still trying to shake the chill from Snowmageddon 2014. Was that not the worst? Okay, maybe not a big deal for some of you. But for this Deep South girl, it was catastrophic. For the life of me, I cannot understand how people endure that type of weather year after year. I’ll take the sweltering heat, runny makeup and sweat-stained clothes over that any day! Which brings me back to the grill, on [ ... ]

Broccoli Salad

I often make big batch salads on the weekends to kick off Sunday suppers with my family and feed me lunch throughout the week. In order for these types of salads to work, they need to be made with tasty and tough ingredients. You know, foods that won’t wilt or spoil before I’ve reached the bottom of the bowl later in the week. Pastas and potatoes are obvious choices for these types of salads, but they tend to leave me sluggish–a feeling I’d rather not fight every afternoon. So I lean more towards hearty greens and [ ... ]

Grandma Benson’s Peach Cobbler

Grandma Benson was the hubby’s maternal grandmother who, unfortunately, passed away before he and I began dating.  I did not have the pleasure of meeting her or sharing a meal at her table.  I was, however, put to the Grandma Benson “test” early on in our relationship by a couple of Larry’s cousins (whose names shall remain anonymous) along the Uptown parade route no less.  It was the typical, old-school New Orleans line of interrogation:  “Who’s your mama?”  “Are you Catholic?” and “Can you make a roux?”  (The latter question also generally means, can you cook.)  Thankfully, my mother was [ ... ]
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Finger Food Friday: Crescent City Sin

If you live in the south or have ever done any SEC tailgating, you’re probably familiar with Mississippi Sin or, as it’s called by some, Mississippi State Sin. It’s a devilishly delicious dip dotted with specs of ham and chopped green chiles that apparently originated in the kitchen of some big MS Bulldog fan. Up until a few months ago, I had only heard of this Southern college game-day tradition. Then, while flipping through a community cookbook my mom recently gave me (The 2nd Annual South Area Diversity Cookbook of the USPS), I came across the recipe [ ... ]

Zesty Penne Pasta Salad

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us. The unofficial start of summer is here. And while most of you will be frolicking about in bathing suits on boats or beaches or hanging with your besties at barbecues or boils, I’ll be hold up inside with two very unhappy children who need to study for final exams. I think this is the first year since my kids have been in school that they have to return after Memorial Day. It has certainly put a damper on our holiday plans. Maybe we’ll be able to squeeze in a [ ... ]
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Crispy Jalapeño-Lime Chicken

I wake most mornings before dawn. Four-thirty to be exact. That’s when my internal clock starts ticking. Has been that way for as long as I can remember. On those occasions when I’ve stayed up way past my eighty-thirty bedtime or have had one too many craft beers, I may force myself back to sleep for an additional hour or so. But for the most part you can bank on the fact that I’ve downed my second cup of Dark Roast Community Coffee before even the most ambitious of roosters has crowed, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.” I love the dark stillness of those wee [ ... ]

Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Tostadas with Ponchatoula Strawberry Salsa

Have I told you how much I love Mexican food? In my world, it comes in a strong second behind my hometown favorites. I love margaritas. “Big Texas Rocks Salt” is how I order mine at our favorite neighborhood Mexican joint which I affectionately call “The Ranch” (El Ranchero). I love chips and salsa. Thin chips. Smooth and spicy salsa. The Ranch does that right too. I also adore everything on their menu. And if you ask me for recommendations, I’ll usually suggest The Ranch’s Chicken Soup if you’re looking for [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Creamy Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

A couple of weeks back, we made our annual pilgrimage to Pike’s, our local gardening center, for some colorful annuals to brighten up our patio, a wide assortment of herbs for warm-weather cooking and several vegetable and fruit plants for the kids’ garden. This springtime ritual is always an adventure. If we’d let them, the kids would spend hours and thousands of dollars filling our carts with everything edible. That sounds great, but their enthusiasm and lack of understanding of just how difficult it is for their mother–me–to successfully grow anything always leads to disappointment. One of many tough [ ... ]

Pan-Fried Trout with Crawfish au Gratin

The hubby and I just returned from our annual New Orleans Jazz Fest date weekend. We had an awesome time and the weather was absolutely amazing–a far cry from last year’s cold, rainy and muddy event. We spent two glorious days frolicking around the Fair Grounds eating, drinking, craft shopping, soaking up some rays, taking in a couple of cool cooking demonstrations and–of course–enjoying some of the finest music on earth. Anyone who loves listening to live music and eating the finest fest food around in an environment enhanced by local culture and interesting people watching needs [ ... ]

Crawfish Soup

While most of the country is welcoming the arrival of spring, New Orleanians are welcoming the arrival of crawfish. In my hometown, the two are a package deal. And when Mother Nature messes with the calendar and cool temps linger, both spring and crawfish season get delayed. That was the case this year (and last, if I recall correctly). Although there were a few sightings of crawfish before Mardi Gras (which was also late), the temperamental crustaceans didn’t start running consistently until a couple of weeks ago. Now everyone’s going crazy. Finally, seafood markets [ ... ]
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