Potato Latkes with Zing for Chanukah

This year the Chanukah holiday — “Celebration of Lights” or “Feast of Rededication” — begins on December 13. I’m making Potato Latkes which are small fried potato pancakes traditionally served during this holiday. The holiday observance begins at sundown on the preceding evening; so I’ll serve my Potato Latkes at dinner tonight. My recipe is perhaps a bit unusual; I stumbled on an ingredient which adds “zing” to the pancakes quite by accident.

Continue reading

Traditional Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

I’ve been told that it is it possible to grow tomatoes in the springtime in Louisiana and then to plant another crop in the fall. I love ripe tomatoes and two crops a year seems like a gardener’s dream. But being somewhat an unbeliever, I decided to prove this for myself in September by setting out a large number of tomatoes seedlings. The experiment turned out to be partially successful. Here is some of my autumn tomato crop. Continue reading

Cajun Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

These Cajun Sweet Potato Wedges are mighty spicy, but also very tasty and they add spark to an otherwise ordinary meal. Plus sweet potatoes are very health and this is a good way to sneak some into your meals.

Cajun Spices

While not all Cajun cuisine is highly spiced and seasoned, alot of it is generously “hot” and easily might send you reaching for a glass of water. There are plenty of commercial spice blends that claim to be authentic “Cajun Spices.” One blend especially caught the eye of my mother-in-law who came to visit from Texas and she bought me a container. It is “Slap Ya Mama” from Ville Platte, Louisiana, in the heart of Cajun Country. The brand has a catchy name; I’ll occasionally add it to gift baskets.

From looking at the label on the back of the container, there are only four ingredients in the spice blend –salt, garlic, black pepper and cayenne pepper. It’s the cayenne pepper that makes this blend taste “hot.” No special concoction or voodoo spice, just a simple blend.

I set out to make my own Cajun Spice blend — perhaps I’ll call it “Voodoo Spice.” You can easily make it in your kitchen, too. However, don’t purchase such a large jar of cayenne pepper like I did. A tiny bit of cayenne pepper is all you need; this container will last for years!

Cajun Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

This is a very easy recipe. The sweet potatoes are coated with olive oil and spices and roasted in a hot oven. And it really doesn’t take long for the sweet potatoes to bake when cooked like this.

I made this recipe a several times to get the cooking instructions correct. Here’s what I did. Peel and cut two large sweet potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds) into wedges.

Place the sweet potato wedges into a large (gallon-size) zip lock bag. Mix the spices with olive oil to make a slurry and pour over the sweet potato wedges.

Use your hands to “massage” the bag to evenly distribute the olive oil and spices to coat all the wedges. I find that it is possible to use much less olive this way, rather than directly trying to drizzle the oil on the wedges.

Next, cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and add the sweet potatoes wedges in a single layer. Bake in a hot pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Turn the wedges once after 10 minutes or they will burn. The wedges may stick to the foil, use a spatula or tongs to gently turn. If the foil tears, don’t worry.

That’s it! Very easy and tasty. Serve along side a sandwich rather than french fries or chips, as an accompaniment for a meal or eat as a snack. Add a little voodoo spice to your meal.

Your friends will say, wow! Just reply, “It’s from Louisiana; the swamp.”

Cajun Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 large Louisiana or orange-type sweet potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fine Sea Salt (can be reduced to 1/2 tsp, if desired)
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic powder powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • scant 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (only a  tiny amount is needed)

Method and Steps

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes, remove eyes, cut into wedges. Place wedges in a large (gallon-size) zip lock bag.
  3. In small bowl mix olive oil, salt, granulated garlic powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper to make a slurry.
  4. Pour seasoning over wedges in the zip lock bag. Use your hands to “massage” the bag and evenly coat all the wedges.
  5. Arrange the wedges in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn all the wedges over using a spatula or tongs. Some of the wedges may stick to the aluminum foil. Gently loosen; don’t worry if some of the foil tears.

Here’s the swamp in South Louisiana!

Candied Sweet Potatoes with a Fruited Twist

Sweet potatoes grow in Louisiana and autumn is harvest season for this agricultural crop. We are lucky to have the freshest and sweetest potatoes in grocery stores which were grown in the central part of the state. Here is a very easy recipe, “Candied Sweet Potatoes,” which makes a good way cook this healthy vegetable. The twist to the recipe is that the glaze is fruit and juice; which sweetens the potatoes but doesn’t add too much sugar. Continue reading

Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

We stopped at a farmer’s market on our recent trip to Upstate New York. What fun it was to walk up and down the isles and see what was for sale that we don’t have in Louisiana. I loaded up the car with produce to bring back to Louisiana since this was a road trip. One of my bounty prizes was butternut squash. Much less expensive than in Louisiana.  Continue reading

Easy Homemade Applesauce

Our fun activity of pick-it-yourself apples at the New York apple orchard resulted in bringing home about 30 pounds of apples. That is alot of fresh sliced apple snacks. Plus these varieties of apples (Empire, Golden Delicious and Ida Red) are very tart. I’m not a person to waste anything and so that sent me searching for recipes to use all these apples. 

Continue reading

Apple Cider Ice Cream – Autumn Flavors

I finally got my chance to go apple picking this past week when we visited my daughter in upstate New York. The apple orchard was full of ripe apples — the branches were loaded with plenty on the ground. Within a short time we had picked 30 pounds of apples! 

Continue reading

Let’s Cook Something New: Braised Red and White Russian Kale

Thought I’d try to plant something new in my autumn garden in September. Red and White Russian Kale are new to me and they are turning out to be star performers in my garden. This sent me scrambling to learn how to cook the kale. Looks like Braised Kale should be easy. Continue reading

Eclectic Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing

The inspiration for “Thai Crunch Salad” is my backyard garden. I planted an autumn garden on the first of September. A month later, I am pleased and proud that the pak choi has grown prolifically with very little help from me. It is ready for harvest and I need recipes.

I remember eating a dish for “Thai Crunch Salad” with chicken and a peanut butter, cilantro and lime dressing at  California Pizza Kitchen. Although flavor combination was a bit unusual; the dish was outstanding. I’ve always wanted to try making it at home. Here’s my version. Continue reading