Archive for » January, 2012 «

Food Blog South 2012

// Happy Friday to you!  Today I’m heading to Birmingham to attend my first ever food blog conference, Food Blog South.  I’m so excited!  I can’t wait to meet other food bloggers from the South (and beyond) and learn the finer points of, among other things, recipe development, food styling and food photography. I also hear the conference meals are phenomenal and the pre- and post-parties are a blast.  And this conference?  It could not have come at a better time!  You see, I had every intention of leaving you with a lovely finger food.  But I failed.  Well, sort of. [ ... ]

Jazzy Crawfish Pasta

In case you missed my tweets yesterday, the 2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival daily schedules have been posted.  The lineup is crazy good this year.  Almost as crazy good as this Jazzy Crawfish Pasta–my take on Crawfish Monica.  Crawfish Monica has been a festival-goer favorite for some 30 years now.  It consists of a mesmerizing bowl of rotini pasta drenched in a deliciously spicy crawfish cream sauce.  This dish became so popular at Jazz Fest that back in 2009, its creator Chef Pierre Hilzim (who named the seafood specialty after his wife Monica) trademarked the name and began [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Party Cheese Ball

There is no Party Cheese Ball in my recipe lineage. Lots of other wonderful family food. But no cheese ball. The only kind I ate as a kid was the prepackaged, almond coated ones from Hickory Farms. Do you remember Hickory Farms? Their stores and kiosks used to rock the malls during the holidays with all those fancy (or so I thought) summer sausage and cheese gift boxes. Maybe they still do. Just not around here. How would I know? I don’t mall shop. Anyway, growing up I never [ ... ]

Rosemary-Garlic Pork Chops with Dijon Pan Gravy

One of the easiest ways to dress up everyday dinners is with a marinade. A good marinade can be thrown together in minutes with generous amount of herbs, spices and other seasonings, some form of acid to carry those flavors into the meat and help tenderize it and oil to keep the meat moist and prevent it from sticking while cooking. For maximum flavor, it’s best to plan a day ahead and marinate whatever you’re cooking (except seafood) overnight. But if you don’t have that luxury, a bold marinade can work its magic in thirty minutes. [ ... ]
Category: Main Dishes, Pork, Sauces  Tags: ,  2 Comments

Finger Food Friday: Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I used to think Houston’s had the best spinach dip.  I liked the saucy spinach with the salsa and sour cream toppings far better than the chunky, cheesy kind usually found on restaurant menus.  Then, back in 2008, I met another spinach dip worthy of my affection.  A creamier, more flavorful one.  Hands down, it was the best spinach dip I had ever tasted.  And well, I haven’t thought much about Houston’s Chicago-Style version since.  My girlfriend Brenda introduced me to it at one of our sadly-long-gone neighborhood Happy Hours.  She likes to entertain as much as I do so [ ... ]

Pan-Seared Fish Tacos with Spicy Mango Glaze, Cilantro Slaw and Avocado Cream

I love tacos, especially those stuffed with fresh Louisiana seafood. I just don’t care for the ones filled with battered and fried fish. While that may be considered the “true” way to cook fish for fish tacos, it’s not for me. The coating, however thick or thin, tends to get in the way of that wonderful seafood flavor I crave when I order or cook them. I also find the deep-fried ones way too heavy when combined with flour or corn tortillas. A highly seasoned, pan-seared fish is more my style, especially when it’s dressed [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Baked Edamame Dumplings

I spent the better part of this week implementing my annual holiday recovery plan. That entailed purging the fridge and pantry of any lingering Christmas goodies, shopping for lots of fresh fruits and veggies and planning lighter, cleaner meals. Don’t ask me why I decided to make the transition back to normal eating this week, considering the weekend is full of family and friend birthdays (including my daughter Chandler’s today and mine on Monday) and major football games! But in any respect, I’m attempting to carry out my ambitious plan through the next few days and beyond [ ... ]

Sun Dried Tomato and Lentil Ragout

Way down yonder in New Orleans, we’re obsessed with beans.  And not just red beans.  We’re crazy about butter beans (large limas), navy beans, pintos, split peas and black-eyes.  Oh, and we also look forward to cooking with Great Northerns, black beans and chickpeas. And I can’t forget fava beans. We like to stash one of those in our coin purse to insure that we’ll never go broke. That’s an American-Creole-Italian thing–although I did discover during my CSA days that favas make a mighty fine dip! Then there are those other less popular types of “legumes” (a word we never [ ... ]