Let’s Bake Bread: Mardi Gras King Cake

Nothing is better than the aroma a loaf of homemade bread baking in the oven. A Mardi Gras King Cake is a rich, sweet yeast bread. It reminds me of a Swedish Tea Ring or Danish Coffee Cake. uncut king cake - 3 - IMG_3003_1 Baking bread by the traditional method can be a time consuming process. Through much practice, I’ve developed a system that speeds things up and makes bread baking much easier. Since it’s Mardi Gras time and carnival season here. I’ve brushed up on my bread-making skills. Here are a couple of tips learned along the way. Continue reading

My take on Mardi Gras: Traditional and Alternative New

Here we go again in southern Louisiana. It’s Mardi Gras season. The out-of-town visitor probably asks: What is Mardi Gras? Perhaps elusive to someone not from Louisiana. Over the years I’ve learned so much about the essence of Mardi Gras; this is my take on the traditional carnival season as well as alternative new.

Let’s start with the alternative new. Here is my son is parading in the Noisition Coalition in this year’s Krew of Chewbacchus’ parade. The group makes all their own musical instruments–his is a can with duck tape for drum head; the group’s leader spent alot of time perfecting the instruments. Most of them are quite novel and creative.

Ben in Chewbacchus Krew in New Orleans Parade

Compare it with the traditional Krewe and heart of carnival season. TOSHIBA Exif JPEG   Continue reading

Let’s Plant Dill

Does dill grow in Louisiana? Yes, it is easy to grow here. Dill grows best in cool weather and the time to plant it in southern Louisiana is from October to February. It is convenient to step out your back door to snip a few feathery leaves for a recipe. Featured here is Salmon with a Quinoa-Mustard Crust; fresh dill added a flavorful accent to the recipe. Salmon with Mustard and Quinoa Crust - 1 - IMG_2357 Continue reading

Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookies with a Twist

My Brandied Blackberry Ice Cream for Valentines Day needed an accompaniment–something crunchy and subdued in flavor. Decorated Sugar Cookies cut out in the shape of hearts seemed like the perfect match.

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These sugar cookies have a twist. In an attempt to make the cookies somewhat healthier, I include the ingredients of whole wheat flour and wheat germ. As the flour label indicates, wheat germ is high in folic acid. Whole wheat flour adds fiber, nutrients and folic acid, too. Since one of the dietary recommendations is to eat more whole wheat products, you can eat these cookies without guilt!

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Brandied Blackberry Ice Cream for Valentine’s Day, MegaBus and Family Treasures

Valentine’s Day deserves an extra special dessert. While any chocolate dessert is my favorite, I opted to create something unique in my kitchen this year:  Brandied Blackberry Ice Cream with Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookies. Serve the ice cream in an antique Haviland china bowl and share with someone special – in this case our family’s grandmother. My husband’s mother, grandma Jeanne, aged 90 years, discovered MegaBus service and rode in from Houston this weekend to attend my daughter’s double-bass music competition here in Baton Rouge.

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Quinoa Blueberry Crumble

Quinoa Blueberry Crumble is exactly that – it crumbles! But it’s relatively easy to make and  is delicious.

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I adapted a recipe from a cookbook for “Plum Crumble.” The cookbook author, Edna Staebler, pronounced that, “This was the most popular of the six desserts I made for a coffee-dessert party for ladies who are all good cooks.” Obviously Edna likes to cook desserts; this was quite an endorsement for “Plum Crumble.”

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Cajun Pastalaya for Superbowl Sunday

Pastalaya is a take-off on jambalaya, a Louisiana favorite. Pastalaya contains the most of same ingredients–substituting pasta for the rice. It’s easy to took a large batch; great for a Superbowl Sunday party or for any crowd.

Jambalaya is a standard Cajun food here is South Louisiana, with Gonzales claiming itself as “Jambalaya Capital of the World.” (They like to brag–but they also make good jambalaya!)  Real jambalaya is rice, smoked meats, seasonings all cooked in a cast iron pot–the cast iron pot is a must.

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