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Blackened Chicken Sliders with Bacon and Avocado-Basil Cream

Earlier today, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across a funny comment that my dear friend, Cindy, had posted. It read, “Here ye Here ye Casa Sanders is no longer taking reservations until September 2016!!!! Peace Out!” I laugh every time I read it because I know all too well where she’s coming from. You see, last year, Cindy and her family moved from the piney woods of Mandeville (a New Orleans suburb) to the Windy City. Since this is their first full summer in Chicago, their home has been nothing short [ ... ]

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). [ ... ]

Grilled Chicken Wings with White Rémoulade Sauce

The inspiration behind this unlikely duo hails from North Alabama of all places. Are you familiar with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce? I wasn’t until a couple of months ago when my social media feeds starting buzzing about it. Because I’m a sauce girl, my curiosity was piqued. So I did a little digging and learned that this unique sauce was created back in 1925 by Big Bob Gibson of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama. He used it primarily to “baptize” smoked chickens. Since then, Big Bob’s signature white barbecue sauce, along with [ ... ]

Grilled Flat Iron Steaks with Chimichurri

My secret to simple, summertime meals (and sensational cocktails) is an herb garden. I plant one every year with vibrant flavors I love and use often—basil (Genovese), rosemary, lemon-thyme, parsley and cilantro. I also throw in one or two herbs I’m not that familiar with. Last year, it was lemon balm. This year it’s dark opal basil. Almost everyday during the summer months, I turn to my little garden for inspiration. I use the majority of my fresh herbs to make punchy salsas, pestos and sauces. These are great on grilled meats and [ ... ]

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 [ ... ]

Baked Rigatoni

This is the time of year when my household shifts into high gear and my calendar overflows with sports and related activities and end-of-the-year school commitments. And with the majority of those obligations taking place between five and eight, getting a proper meal on the table can be a challenge. So what I typically do during these hectic months is make one or two “Big Easy” meals early in the week and serve the leftovers again later in the week. Red Beans and Rice certainly fits within my Big Easy plan. So too does this Baked Rigatoni. I know many [ ... ]

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 [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Seafood Nachos

If you’ve tuned into the Weather Channel at all since my last post, you’re probably privy to the fact that it’s still cold up here in the Northwest Quadrant of the ATL. Yes, we were among the “lucky” ones—those above “that ridge.” So since Tuesday, we have been dealing with snow and ice and snow and ice. And although today is absolutely gorgeous and all the snow and ice has melted (at least on our side of the street), the kids are enjoying their fourth snow day this week (lest you forget, they were off ALL last [ ... ]

Standing Rib Roast

As I’ve mentioned in posts past, our Christmas dinners are basically encore presentations of Thanksgiving where turkey takes center stage, a sweet and savory glazed ham fills the supporting role and the always reliable cast and crew of traditional trimmings and seasonal sweets backs up the meal. But for some, including many of my friends, nothing says “special holiday dinner” more than a show-stopping cut of beef like a rack of prime rib. I’ve prepared many a prime rib roast (also known as a standing rib roast) in my day. Next to boiled crawfish, it is the [ ... ]
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