Crabmeat on Toast

Preserving family recipes goes beyond collecting and deciphering faded handwritten notes or stained and splattered index cards and patching together these bits and pieces of the past into legible lists of ingredients and sensible instructions. The process also includes the more meaningful task of tracing the recipe’s origin back to a special person or place in time then tying all the elements together with a string of well-told stories punctuated with lots of passion and pride (as well as the occasional reference to a crazy relative or catastrophic kitchen mishap). It’s these associations that remind us of experiences [ ... ]

Shrimp Etouffée

When most people hear the word etouffée, their minds immediately jump to crawfish. That’s fair considering this method of cooking is used most frequently on those delightful little freshwater crustaceans. But other shellfish, poultry and wild game can also be cooked successfully in this fashion. After all, etouffée is nothing more than a fancy word for smothered. Well, smothered South Louisiana-style. And by now you all know what that means–cooked in a deeply flavored sauce that’s made with a roux, the Holy Trinity, a small amount of homemade stock and a delectable combination of spices. [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Seafood Nachos

If you’ve tuned into the Weather Channel at all since my last post, you’re probably privy to the fact that it’s still cold up here in the Northwest Quadrant of the ATL. Yes, we were among the “lucky” ones—those above “that ridge.” So since Tuesday, we have been dealing with snow and ice and snow and ice. And although today is absolutely gorgeous and all the snow and ice has melted (at least on our side of the street), the kids are enjoying their fourth snow day this week (lest you forget, they were off ALL last [ ... ]

Creole Collard Greens

So we’re back on “the road to routine” following an incredibly fun and fast-paced week in New Orleans. Fortunately this year, the kids’ winter break coincided with Mardi Gras. So we spent last week back home frolicking about. It was awesome! But, as expected, we all ate too much and spent way too many days going to bed late and waking up early. Such is the life of a bunch of New Orleans Carnival revelers. Now that we’re settled back in Atlanta, we’re all craving normalcy and lots of veggies (after eight days, “dressed” poor boys are simply not enough). But [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: King Cake Truffles

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. The Saturday before Mardi Gras. That means this year that Hallmark holiday is not going to receive a whole lotta love in the Crescent City–at least not from me and several thousand of my closet friends who will be hanging out on the parade route. Nope. For us, purple, green and gold will trump red and pink. And we will toast our sweethearts and the Olympian God of Fertility and Eternal Youth–Endymion–with Mardi Gras go-cups full of beer and Carnival cocktails while indulging in sexy street food consisting of mini-muffulettas, mini-poor [ ... ]

Fat Tuesday Fried Chicken

We’re in the final and most exciting stretch of the 2015 Carnival Season. Mardi Gras is a week from today. That means everyone’s busy making plans for the extended final weekend that begins this Friday and lasts through Tuesday. Between now and then, folks will be closely monitoring the weather to determine what to wear when, mapping out various neutral ground or sidewalk side parade-watching locations, plotting courses to the nearest public bathrooms, dusting off family parade ladders, packing vehicles with parade route necessities (like folding chairs, throw bags, rolling ice chests, go-cups, koozies and extra toilet [ ... ]

King Cake

This may come as a big surprise to many, but most of us New Orleanians do not make our own King Cakes. We prefer, instead, to patronize our favorite bakery for our Carnival confections. And there’s a certain lineage that typically dictates our most cherished bites. That lineage, more often than not, is defined by family loyalty to a specific bakery. For instance, if mom favors Haydel’s King Cakes, chances are those are the King Cakes her kids and grandkids will ultimately prefer. As a kid, my favorite King Cakes were the simple brioche-based, icing-less ones from [ ... ]

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 [ ... ]
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