We’ve had a bit of warm weather here in Louisiana and my azalea bushes are bursting into bloom. This reminds me that spring — and Mardi Gras — are on the way. Along with spring comes crawfish season. These crustaceans are plentiful this year, so I’m planning on making a several crawfish dishes. This week I’m attempting to cook Crawfish Bisque. This wonderful, thick soup is prepared in a way that is unique to Louisiana. The crawfish add a distinct favor. The traditional way to make Crawfish Bisque is an all-day process, so I’m adapting the recipe to something that I can manage. The bisque is still tasty and delicious!
Here’s decadent and delicious dessert for Valentine’s Day. My “Classic Cheesecake” is is rich — but then it is Valentine’s Day and this cheesecake very much worth it!. I think my recipe is just as good as any traditional New York style cheesecake. And I added a chocolate Oreo crumb crust and served it with a cherry sauce. Yum.
Let’s make “Pico de Gallo” to go along with the Shrimp Quesadilla recipe which I posted last week. Pico de Gallo is a spicy and pungent salsa which extends the flavors of summer. I love fresh, ripe tomatoes but it is difficult to find flavorful tomatoes when they are out of season. This recipe seems to make the best of tomatoes in the wintertime. Plus the recipe uses lots of cilantro — which is plentiful at this time of year — and growing in my garden now. Continue reading
“Shrimp Quesadillas” is quickly becoming one of our favorite supper dishes. They also make a great appetizer for a party such as an upcoming Superbowl football game gathering. If you haven’t tried to prepare these at home, then you are missing out on an easy-to-prepare Mexican entree. The recipe for shrimp quesadillas takes only a few ingredients. After they are made, pile on the toppings and serve! Here’s what we did.
Here’s a tasty appetizer for a the Chinese New Year which is on Saturday, January 25. I paired Fried Chinese Wonton Appetizers with Buffalo Hot Sauce. It is sort of an unusual combination — but the wontons served with homemade hot sauce is just right. I am particularly pleased with my attempt at making “Buffalo Hot Sauce.” Continue reading
If you are an LSU football fan; this is the year to celebrate. And if you follow college football in general, then you should know that the undefeated LSU football team is top-ranked in the country. We’re going to the national championship playoff game on Monday at the New Orleans’ Superdome. LSU vs. Clemson. To commemorate the successful year of LSU Tiger football, I’m going to make the signature dish of Louie’s Cafe — hash browns. This small diner is located next to LSU’s campus and is a favorite eating place of LSU students Louie’s hash browns are both unique and delicious. Here we go. This is my copycat attempt.
Let’s start out the New Year on a healthy note by including nutritious foods in meals. Oatmeal is a breakfast cereal which is packed with nutritional benefits. Most importantly it is high in soluble fiber — beta-glucan — which lowers cholesterol and helps control blood sugars. Why not “revve up” this simple food to make it more tasty — and to add nutrition. My recipe for old-fashioned rolled oats adds satsuma juice, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries as well as a Louisiana Steene’s cane syrup and a pinch of cinnamon. This turns oatmeal into a satisfying breakfast meal.
Oatmeal – Good for You
There are plenty of reasons to eat oatmeal. Oatmeal is a “heart healthy” food which is often described as “good for you.” The fiber in oatmeal is the type which lowers cholesterol and maintains blood sugar control. And oatmeal has many other health benefits. It is high in minerals including manganese, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc and also in B-Complex vitamins – B1 and B5 – and folate as well as Vitamin E. Oats contain some unique components such as the class of antioxidants called avenanthramides which may help with blood pressure control and provide some anti-inflammation benefits. After reviewing all these nutritional benefits, I’m convinced to eat this food more often.
Gluten-Free, well sometimes
Rolled oats are gluten free, too. However, food mills which process multiple types of grains may have problems with cross-contamination between oats and wheat or other gluten-containing grains. For this reason, oats are often listed as a grain to be avoided on a gluten-free diet. Look for brands which have tested their oatmeal products for levels of gluten and certify negligible amounts of gluten.
Revved Up Rolled Oatmeal Recipe
I find that oatmeal is relatively bland-tasting. However, there are plenty of ways to “revve up” this breakfast cereal. Our local newspaper, The Advocate, recently included an article of ideas for dressing up oatmeal in a recipe for “Overnight Oats.” They suggested interesting flavor additions such as “Pumpkin Spice Oats,” “Pecan Pie Oats” and “Satsuma Cider Oats.” I tried a few variations of my own.
To make this recipe, I used the juice and zest of a satsuma from my backyard tree. (You could also use a small orange to substitute for the satsuma.)
Combine skim milk, the satsuma zest and juice to the old-fashioned rolled oats. Add a pinch of salt (optional) and a Tbsp of Steen’s Cane Syrup (a Louisiana produce) or brown sugar. Add extras for flavor and nutrition such as dried cranberries, roasted sunflower seeds, walnuts and a pinch of cinnamon.
The key to this recipe is to let the oatmeal combination set on the kitchen counter for about half an hour. (The Advocate article suggests letting the oatmeal set overnight — or even several days.) I found that half an hour was plenty of time to let the “oatmeal “rest”.
There are lots of ingredients that you could add to make the oatmeal more interesting. Use your imagination. This a healthy way way to start the day and the New Year!. Enjoy!
Revved Up Rolled Oats with Satsumas and Cranberries
- 1 satsuma (or small orange)
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oatmeal*
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 Tbsp Steen’s Cane Syrup or light brown sugar
- dash salt
- dash cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp dried cranberries (or raisins)
- 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds (or chopped walnuts or pecans)
- Plain non-fat, plain yogurt (optional)
Method and Steps:
- Zest the rind of the satsuma and juice the pulp. Strain to remove seeds from pulp.
- Add the old-fashioned oatmeal, skim milk, Steen’s Cane Syrup, salt, cinnamon, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and the satsuma juice and zest to a microwavable bowl.
- Let set 30 minutes.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove and stir.
- Serve with a dollop of non-fat, plain yogurt.
Let’s ring in the year with “Festive Satsuma Margaritas.” I love margaritas — it is one of my favorite cocktails. This version uses Louisiana satsumas in addition to limes. The beverage is easy to make at home — no special ingredients required — except for the satsumas. But you could substitute oranges, clementines or fresh mandarin oranges. This drink is very easy on the alcohol as the satsuma juice causes a diluting effect. So if you are looking for a fruity but very “light” alcoholic beverage to celebrate the new year; this one is for you.
Let’s cook something new for Christmas Eve: “Tapioca Duchess Crem Gruber Christmas Dessert.” It is made using pearl tapioca and is a light and soothing dessert. Unlike bubble tea and bobo which are popular Taiwanese beverages using pearl tapioca, this recipe is over 200 years old and originated in Austria. The pudding has a fascinating connection to “Silent Night,” one of our most beloved Christmas carols. I remember eating tapioca pudding as a child; haven’t eaten it in years, so thought I’d try a new recipe this year.
Years ago, I visited a friend on Christmas Eve night since I was not returning to my family gathering in Virginia over the holidays. My friend served “Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.” How interesting, I mused, to serve a simple soup on this special occasion. Since that dinner, I have eaten gumbo at other Christmas Eve night celebrations. And I have learned that gumbo holds a very reverend traditional place in Cajun and Creole families on Christmas Eve. I am attempting to reproduce my friend’s gumbo — a deep colored, flavorful soup with chicken and sausage. It was, by far, one of the best gumbos that I have ever eaten.