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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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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Chopped Chicken Liver

Why make “Chopped Chicken Liver?” Because it is a traditional food often served at Jewish holidays including Passover. This holiday is celebrated with a special dinner and it will soon be here. Plus, my recipe for “Chopped Chicken Liver” is delicious. Other than the high cholesterol content, chicken livers are very nutritious; rich in iron and many vitamins.

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Pecan Rum Cake with a Satsuma Variation

Every year my mother-in-law sends “gelt” (a.k.a. money) for Hanukkah rather than presents. I like to save the gelt for something really special; something I might not otherwise indulge in. This year an old-fashioned Bundt cake pan caught my attention. I love to bake and this seemed like a fitting use for her generosity. The first cake I made was “Pecan Rum Cake.” It is festive for the all the holidays — both Hannukah and Christmas. I liked it so much I also made a variation, “Satsuma Rum Cake.”

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Cranberry Oatmeal Bliss Bars

I look forward to the holiday season — it is a good excuse to indulge a little by baking cookies and other scrumptious desserts. I especially like to try new recipes — last year I stumbled upon Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss Bars. Here’s my own version of the recipe —  using an old-fashioned oatmeal blondie brownie recipe along with dried cranberries, orange zest, white chocolate chips and a cream cheese icing. Yum. This festive dessert is pretty good!

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Zesty Marinated Vegetables

Looking for a healthy and different way to serve vegetables at a buffet over the holidays? This recipe for Zesty Marinated Vegetables is quite unique. It consists of nutritious and colorful vegetables — carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower and turnips — that are marinated in a curry, sweet and sour dressing. You might not think of combining these vegetables — much less serving them at a holiday meal — but that’s part of the appeal. Served cold as an appetizer, they are quite tasty.

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Teen Chef: Let’s Bake Mardi Gras King Cake Broiches

It’s Mardi Gras season in Louisiana and today we’re making King Cakes. This year I have teenager, Jessi, to help me make these sweet, rich and delicious yeast breads known as King Cakes. King cakes fill the grocery stores and hundreds are sold in New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season. It is fairly easy to make a king cake yourself at home using this recipe. The key is using a heavy-duty mixer to do the kneading.

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Meyer Lemon & Rosemary Sorbet

This Christmas holiday I made Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Sorbet. Why make a sorbet in the middle of winter? Because this is when the Meyer lemons on the fruit tree in my backyard ripen. And a tart citrus sorbet is good any of time of the year. This icy sorbet is just the right ending to a rich meal, it cleans the palate. Since it is fat free it doesn’t fill you up. The sprig of rosemary and a bit of lime juice add another dimension to this sorbet. I think I have found just the right blend of sweetness and fruit flavors. Continue reading

Let’s Make Candy: Peanut Brittle

When we held the estate sale of our parent’s home, one item that we didn’t sell was my mother’s heavy marble slab that she used for making candy. She made the best Peanut Brittle every year at the Christmas holiday season. I kept the marble slab and recently located her Peanut Brittle recipe. Here’s my attempt to duplicate it.

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