Archive for » October, 2012 «

Halloween: Cafe au Lait Meringue Ghosts

My neighborhood rocks on Halloween.  How can it not?  On my street alone, which is exactly a half mile long, we have at least 30 children under 13 and a rock-band-leader teenager who lives at the top.  Parents stroll along with “well-stocked” wagons in tow while live music pours onto the road.  The kids, decked out in the latest costume trends, run freely from house to house racking up on what ultimately ends up being pillowcases full of treats. When my kids were younger, I used to host a Halloween open house complete with a spooktacular spread of heavy picking food [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Pepperoni Pizza Dip

Today’s finger food is for the kids.  It was inspired by my neighbor’s youngest son who, several months back, starting referring to my Finger Food Fridays as “Fun Fridays.”  My neighbor has three boys around the same ages as my gang.  They are always together, unless one of her boys has ball practice or a game.  On sports-free Friday evenings, she’ll typically mosey on down to share a beer and finger food out on my patio.  Our children love it because they know those impromtu visits mean they’ll get to play outside until after dark.  We love it because we [ ... ]

Roast Chicken with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce

  I love roast chicken.  During the week, I pull together a simple family meal by roasting legs or legs and boneless thighs.  For those quick dinners, all I do is sprinkle the chicken with Creole seasoning, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  I then stick the pan in the oven and roast until all the fat has melted away and the skin is deep golden brown and crispy.  It’s a simple process for dark meat perfection.  I approach a whole chicken a little differently.  Because it contains both dark and white meat, I punch it up with more [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Mexican Layer Dip

  It’s happening again.  Another one of my dear friends is moving.  Thankfully this one, Brenda, is not moving too far and will be forced to frequent our part of town for work and “major necessities” (manicures and hair cuts)!  Brenda and I have been friends since I moved to Atlanta from New Orleans.  Our friendship began on the tennis courts.  Both of us, for that matter our entire team, were newbies.  On the court, we learned the sport of tennis.  Off the court, we learned how to build families out of friendships.  In the early days, we spent many, many Wednesday [ ... ]

Grillades and Grits (Smoked Gouda Grits)

  According to the turn of the century cookbook, The Picayune Creole Cook Book, a grillade (pronounced “gree-yahd”) is a square of fried meat cooked down with onions, tomatoes, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.  The cookbook indicates that plain and breaded (“Grillades Panées”) versions of this “fried meat” were served primarily as hearty breakfast items alongside things like cracked wheat, apple fritters and café au lait.  Among the poorer classes of Creoles, grillades were also served at dinner “with gravy” (“Grillades à la Sauce”) and a “dish of red beans and boiled rice.”  At some point between then and now, [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Crab Bread

  I’m having a hard time transitioning with the seasons.  Not summer to fall.  Crab to oyster!  Just when I thought I had had my fill of those luscious Louisiana blue crabs in all their glorious incarnations, bam!  I remembered this gem of a finger food that I’ve never shared with you all.  Years back, this bread was the first appetizer I made for any get-together.  Then, somehow, it got overshadowed by the likes of Cajun Egg Rolls, Andouille Baked Brie and Corn Dip.  Today, I’m putting it back in the limelight for reasons you’ll soon understand! This recipe deserves to be [ ... ]

Oyster and Artichoke Soup

  This soup is tied to one of my earliest cooking disasters.  One day while I was in the seventh grade home alone and bored, I decided to make–or attempt to make–Oyster and Artichoke Soup.  I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t even think to ask for help or search for a recipe (which at that time would have been limited to my mom’s red accordion recipe file and a couple of regional cookbooks).  My only points of reference were a flavor memory I had banked from a local restaurant meal and the title of that menu item.  [ ... ]