Archive for » August, 2011 «

Finger Food Friday: Warm Blue Cheese Dip

Happy Finger Food Friday!  I’m worn out today after a marathon week of work, homework, test prep, after-school activities, Curriculum Nights, cooking, cleaning and everything else that a mom does to make the “ship run smoothly.”  But I don’t want to start the weekend in a fog.  So I’m breaking out the chips and dip.  This may sound like funky therapy to some, but it’s the perfect remedy for me.  And this Warm Blue Cheese Dip has got it going on (as does anything that contains cream cheese and a splash or two of liquor).  I’ll be serving the dip [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: The Muffuletta

One of the ultimate finger foods has to be the good old American sandwich.  And it dawned on me last week, while working on my banh mi appetizers, that I have never posted anything on the muffuletta (pronounced “muff-uh-LOTT-a”)–one of the greatest and most generous sandwiches New Orleans has to offer.  The muffuletta was created in the early 1900s by the original owner of Central Grocery, a small family-owned Italian grocery store/lunch counter in the French Quarter.  This unique sandwich is made on a soft, circular Italian bread loaf piled high with cured meat, Swiss or provolone cheese and olive [ ... ]

Italian Olive Salad

I have never made olive salad from scratch, until today.  I’ve figured the jarred varieties made by a couple of New Orleans grocery stores would be better than anything I could ever pull together.  However, olive salad has always been one of those items on my make-it-from-scratch-at-least-once list.  So I did.  And like most of the things that get scratched off that list (no pun intended), I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  The texture was the most notable difference.  The olives had more bounce.  The cauliflower more crunch. The overall freshness of the olive salad was a huge [ ... ]
Category: Poor Boys, Salad, Sauces  Tags:  11 Comments

Chicken Roulades with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce

This recipe is the perfect example of what happens when you don’t have a plan.  The boneless chicken breasts were defrosted, the kids were starving and I was bored with the same ol’ same ol’.  So I hit the fridge hoping to get the creative juices flowing and dinner on the table in less than an hour.  What I found, thanks in great part to my kids’ lunch habits, was deli ham, salami and string cheese.  Stuffing immediately came to mind.  I continued to root around the refrigerator shelves for one more ingredient. Something that could perhaps shape a [ ... ]
Category: Chicken, Main Dishes  Tags:  One Comment

Finger Food Friday: Appetizer-Style Banh Mi

New Orleans is known for lots of wonderful food stuff, including sandwiches.  The two most popular being the poor boy and the muffuletta.  But there’s another sandwich in town that’s gotten a lot of attention over the past few years.  It’s “banh mi” (pronounced bun-me).  The word refers to both a Vietnamese-style baguette loaf and the sandwich that’s made with it.  The story behind the New Orleans-Vietnamese banh mi goes something like this. Way back when, the French introduced a baguette smeared with liver pate to the Vietnamese people.  The Vietnamese called it banh (biscuit/cake) mi (flour/wheat).  The French-style baguette was [ ... ]

Grilled Sweet Potatoes and Green Onions with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

I grew up eating sweet potatoes one way–candied. My mom prepared them every Thanksgiving and Christmas with brown sugar, cinnamon, a little Karo syrup and lots of butter and marshmallows. To this day, that’s still my favorite way to eat them. I’m sure it’s partly because that dish is tied to so many fond memories of my family gathered around the holiday table and partly because sweet potatoes baked with a heavy glaze of sugar and spice and everything nice are so doggone good! Over the years, I’ve discovered other delicious ways to prepare them–ways that [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Better Cheddar

Better Cheddar is a coveted prepared food item in New Orleans sold at a couple of local grocery stores.  Langenstein’s, one of the oldest family-run institutions in the City, has arguably the best with Robért’s Fresh Market’s version running a close second.  This addictively delicious spread is made with white cheddar cheese dotted with walnut pieces, green onions and garlic.  It’s perfect served on crackers.  Yet, it also makes a delicious topping for baked potatoes.  And it’s a great inspiration for other dishes such as “Better Cheddar Burgers”!  I crave it often, which is why I had to start making [ ... ]

Baked Rice

I know … you read the title of this post and thought rice? Why a post about cooking rice? Well, in New Orleans rice is a big deal. Aside from being a top cash crop, it serves as a breakfast, lunch and dinner staple. However, it’s probably one of the most overlooked ingredients, in terms of preparation. It tends to get overshadowed by the time and effort needed to create the great foods that are commonly ladled over it like Gumbo, Red Beans, Étouffée and Shrimp Creole. But it’s sooooo important. A mushy [ ... ]
Category: Side Dishes  Tags:  10 Comments