Archive for the Category » Appetizers «

Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Chipotle-Cherry Barbecue Sauce

Grilling season is officially upon us and I could not be more excited. I am a warm weather girl through and through, and I just love being outdoors messing around with my little Weber. My latest grilling obsession? Ribs. Specifically, baby back ribs. Over the past year, I think I’ve prepared well over 15 racks—all in an effort to bring you a full-flavored, fail-proof recipe. So, without further ado, here it is. Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Chipotle-Cherry Barbecue Sauce. Before I share my cooking tips with you, let me first say [ ... ]

Creole Crab and Avocado Salad

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was exceptional. This year we celebrated the holiday at my sister-in-law’s house with 34 of the hubby’s closest relatives—his parents, siblings, their families and his double first cousins and their families. I think I’ve mentioned Larry’s double first cousins before. Remember? One of his dad’s brothers married one of his mom’s sisters. They had four kids who are now all grown up with kids of their own. Cool, huh? I think so. Anyway, as you might expect, this group—which currently spans three [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Roasted Garlic, White Bean and Artichoke Dip

This dip is the epitome of a “pantry recipe.” You know, one of those quick, easy and yummy dishes prepared on the fly with ingredients found in, well, the pantry. A last-minute meal if you will to sate eleventh hour invitees, unannounced guests or a hungry husband and three ravenous teens. Most of the time, I make a pantry recipe once and never recreate it because I fail to write down anything. And my vague recollection of what I created the first go-round never tastes the same despite repeated attempts. But fortunately with this dip, [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Gulf Shrimp Ceviche

My first born, Chandler, is on a ceviche kick. Her enthusiasm for all types of seafood marinated in lime juice started a couple of months ago when my sister-in-law made an amazing batch for a party. Chrissy’s ceviche was full of sweet, juicy shrimp and creamy bites of avocado marinated in the perfect amount of acid and seasonings. Since then, Chandler has also tried two restaurant versions which she deemed good–just not as good as Aunt Chrissy’s! More recently, I had the good fortune of getting my hands on several pounds of straight-off-the-boat Louisiana Gulf shrimp [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Shrimp and Waffle Bites with Creole Pepper Jelly Sauce

While I’ve never ordered the classic soul food combo chicken and waffles while dining out or jumped on the “midnight train” to the world-famous Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles Restaurant right here in Greater Atlanta to seek out what is said to be the best representation of its kind (south of the Mason-Dixon line, that is), I’ve always loved the idea behind this dynamic duo. And whenever I look at the dish, I always step back and think about how I could put a New Orleans spin on it (or, in the words of Ella Brennan, “Creolize” it). [ ... ]

Chargrilled Escargots

Our gas grill recently died and, after much deliberation, the hubby and I decided to replace it with a charcoal grill. This was a big step for us because although we’ve always preferred the flavor of charcoal grilled foods (absent “lighter fluid essence”), we had come to highly depend on the convenience of our gas grill. That was especially true for me when it came to developing new recipes. With the gas grill, I wouldn’t hesitate to test a small batch of something on the fly. Charcoal, on the other hand, required more forethought, time, attention and skill. I wasn’t [ ... ]

Blackened Scallops with Grilled Corn Guacamole

Scallops are not a popular household ingredient in New Orleans and they’ve only been a noticeable part of the local restaurant scene for about 15 years. Honestly, had I not moved to Atlanta, I probably would have never cooked them for my family. Nothing against scallops. It’s just that in New Orleans scallops are, as local food critic, radio host and author Tom Fitzmorris points out, “exotic.” They don’t come from local waters. But there are so many other amazing, fresh seafood options that do, which is why scallops don’t get a whole lot of local attention. Here in the [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Popcorn Crawfish

Popcorn Crawfish, also known as Cajun Popcorn, is simply precooked crawfish tails that have been battered and deep-fried. At one point in time, Popcorn Crawfish dominated the appetizer section of local menus. These days, not so much. But I still enjoy them and the kids really love them. They’re the perfect fried seafood snack. Each morsel is small—like a popped kernel of corn—which makes them super fun and easy to eat. They’re also very addictive, again like popcorn. I usually serve them straight up. But they also take kindly to any number [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Ponchatoula Strawberry Salsa

I introduced you all to this salsa last May when I was celebrating Cinco de Mayo South Louisiana-style. Remember my Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Tostadas? This salsa was one of the garnishments. But since it’s finally spring and one of the sweetest signs of spring in the GNO (Greater New Orleans Area) is the appearance of fresh, Louisiana strawberries at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores, I thought it was only right to give this salsa its own time in the spotlight. Because besides being the perfect sidekick to shrimp tostadas, Ponchatoula Strawberry Salsa is also [ ... ]

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 [ ... ]
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