Archive for » August, 2012 «

Finger Food Friday: Grilled Okra with Jalapeño-Tomato Ranch Dressing

  Okra is prized in New Orleans for its ability to flavor and thicken gumbos, soups and stews. Locally, we also highly regard this fuzzy vegetable for its many other adaptations. Okra that has been pickled in a spicy brine is a common snack food eaten straight from the jar. That same pickled okra makes frequent appearances at parties as the star of the “relish tray” and as the number one garnish for Bloody Marys. We frequently stew this popular pod too with the likes of Creole tomatoes, onions and garlic. Sometimes we embellish that dish [ ... ]

Black-Eyed Peas with Jalapeño Oil

  Outside of New Orleans, I’m considered a bit of a rebel.  For starters, I rise in opposition to fancy schmancy coffees and the joints that sell them–ordering a basic cup of joe should not be a nerve-racking experience.  I also refuse to form allegiances with people who believe you shouldn’t wear white after the Labor Day holiday.  If it’s perfectly acceptable to wear shorts beyond that weekend, why not white? Have you ever spent time in New Orleans during the fall and winter months?  And finally, I riot against anyone who limits grilling to summer, turkey to Thanksgiving and hearty, [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Blackened Chicken Bites

  I’ve had this blackened chicken idea in my head for sometime now.  It just took me awhile to figure out the best way to pull all the pieces together into a nifty little finger food.  My original thought was to wrap the ingredients in pie dough.  But I just used that dough for my crawfish pies.  I decided instead to finish the Blackened Chicken Bites a couple of different ways and go with whatever recipe turned out best. My first batch of Blackened Chicken Bites involved filling Tostitos Scoops with the cream cheese mixture, placing a piece of blackened chicken on [ ... ]

Brabant Potatoes

Brabant Potatoes are a popular New Orleans side dish. They are diced potatoes cooked crispy tender and tossed in a pungent butter sauce. Sort of like garlicky, cubed French fries. They may also resemble your go-to version of home fries. In New Orleans, you’ll find Brabant Potatoes in restaurants accompanying such fancy classic dishes as Chicken Clemenceau or incorporated into a humble hash on a brunch menu. They’re also a favorite starchy side of many home cooks. I’m sure my fellow Brabant Potato lovers have their own special methods of preparation, more than likely [ ... ]

Peas in a Roux

Are you into creamed vegetables? Creamed corn maybe? What about creamed carrots or creamed peas? I’ve always been a fan of canned creamed corn. And my mom stills makes the best creamed carrots this side of the Bunny Trail. But I didn’t have creamed peas until I was in my late teens. The mother of a friend made them every Thursday night to serve alongside her weekly meatloaf and mashed potatoes dinner. I shared that meal with my girlfriend’s family many of times. And although the meatloaf and mashed potatoes were divine, [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Bite-Size Crawfish Pies

Are you hungry for something rich and luscious and seafoody?  Good.  Because that’s exactly what I’m cooking up for today’s Happy Hour!  I’m making crawfish pies which consist of sweet crawfish meat smothered in a creamy, roux-based sauce with the perfect amount of Cajun Country kick.  Throughout the backroads of South Louisiana, you’ll typically find these savory pies prepared as you would a large dessert pie.  The pie is sliced and served along with a green salad or some sort of stewed vegetable.  But they can also be made into individual portions using mini pastry shells like these. For years, I [ ... ]