Holly Clegg’s Strawberry Custard Brûlée and a Blackberry Variation

This blog post is a tribute to cookbook author, Holly Berkowitz Clegg, who passed away last week. Holly raised her family in Baton Rouge and lived here for many years. Her message began as a healthy approach to southern cooking with easy meals in a series of “Trim & Terrific” cookbooks. Over the years her accomplishments include authoring 17 cookbooks selling over 1.5 million copies, appearing in national media and writing a bi-weekly food column for our local newspaper, the Advocate. I am making a blackberry variation of a recipe from one of her cookbooks, “Strawberry Custard Brûlée.” It is light and tasty. It exemplifies her goal to make things low-fat and easy. I like it — you will too. Continue reading

Louisiana Satsuma Infused Carrot Cake

Back in my hospital food service catering days, we prepared and served a dinner for the Board of Directors each month. I liked to change things up — partially for boredom’s sake and little for spite as it meant I had to work late that night. So one month I served carrot cake — trying to pack a little nutrition into the dessert. Much to my surprise, one Board member came to me after the meeting and said, “that very large piece of cake was the best dessert you’ve ever served — it was delicious.” And Carrot Cake is delicious. It should be moist, with just a little spice and nutty flavor. Topped with a cream cheese icing, it makes a great dessert for the holidays. And so I’m making my carrot cake again this year.

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Gluten-Free Banana Nut Muffins

Here is another recipe for a simple and tasty muffin. Even better, the recipe is gluten-free. I had some very ripe bananas to use up and decided to experiment with substituting a gluten-free flour blend in my recipe. Muffins do not require much mixing or kneading, so this is the perfect type of recipe to use with gluten-free flour. My muffins were moist and soft with a flavorful bend of bananas, walnuts and chocolate chips. Yum! They quickly disappeared.

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Sweet Potato “Fries”

When the very nutritious vegetable, the sweet potato, is cooked perfectly, it is tender yet still a little crisp with a wonderful sweet flavor. I have decided that it is actually a little tricky to cook sweet potatoes properly.  But I think I found the prefect sweet potato fry in a restaurant in Breckenridge, Colorado, of all places. We recently visited this very upscale restaurant with a James Beard Chef winner on the staff. The sweet potatoes were cooked and served immaculately. I came home to try to duplicate their recipe.

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Let’s Cook Something New: Indian Blue Corn Frybread

Let’s cook something new: Indian Blue Corn Frybread. My brother’s family shared a package of Blue Corn Frybread Mix which they purchased at a Navajo Indian village in Arizona on their cross country trip last fall. I love to experiment with new foods, ingredients and recipes. Of course, I had to learn about blue cornmeal and discovered some interesting facts about blue corn in the process. And I made a chewy cornmeal-tasting bread, too.

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Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding is the quintessential New Orleans dessert. Every restaurant in the city has some sort of variation. Here’s an twist to this southern dessert. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie spices along with pecans really dress up classical bread pudding. And it appears like a cake when baked in a spring form pan. I served the dessert with bourbon sauce. Delicious. With Louisiana sweet potatoes available in the fall, this is a good time to make this variation.

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One Dish Meal: Classic Greek Moussaka

Here’s a recipe that combines my some of favorite vegetables — eggplant, potatoes and onions — with other ingredients to make a one-dish meal. I ate a wonderful version of this dish, Beef Moussaka, at Lebanese restaurant in Niagara Falls, Canada, of all places. It has been five years since we took the trip to Canada and I’ve made many attempts at duplicating the recipe. With eggplant in season in the summer, I’m trying again and here’s my final recipe.

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Sunny Surprise Breakfast Muffins

Bonnie brought the most delicious breakfast muffins to our April weekend girls getaway at the beach. As she gave me the recipe, she said “whatever you do, don’t leave out the parsnips.” What? Parsnips in muffins? Yes, these muffins contained plenty of healthy ingredients — and you wouldn’t guess it. The spices blended with the all the “surprise” ingredients and the muffins were moist and irresistible. This is spicy muffin recipe is perfect for cool autumn days.

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Classic Deep Purple Plum Pie with a Rich Flaky Crust

I went to Whole Foods Market to purchase parsnips and noticed the beautiful purple plums. So I purchased several of these too. Guess I’m an impulsive buyer. Anyway, I’ve always wanted to make a plum pie. If you never thought you’d like plums, then try “Deep Purple Plum Pie.” This pie is very easy to make and is perhaps one of the best fruit pies you will ever taste. Not to brag, but it really is great. And I made a rich, flaky crust to go along with the plums. Continue reading

Aunt Gaye’s Yellow Squash Pickles

Aunt Gaye has done it again. She provided me with another great recipe idea. This one is for yellow squash pickles. I was tempted to say, “yuck.” But Aunt Gaye’s recipes somehow always work out even when it doesn’t seem plausible. And, as luck would have it, our local produce market was selling four yellow squash for one dollar. I couldn’t pass up the bargain and came home with a large bag full of squash. Then I spent several hours making Aunt Gaye’s yellow squash pickle recipe. And they turned out great!

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