Meringue Nests with Fresh Fruit for Passover and Easter

I cannot remember a Passover meal without my mother-in-law’s meringue nests for dessert. These are truly a family tradition. The little meringue shells are made from egg whites and sugar with a hint of vanilla extract and are filled with fresh fruit. They are tasty and colorful and truly remind me of spring. Fill them with whatever fruit is in season — blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries. Best yet, this dessert is fat-free and healthy. It will surely impress! This is the “perfect” and elegant dessert for spring — serve it for Easter dinner, too!

Continue reading

Spicy Christmas Chutney with Satsumas, Cranberries & Apples

Here’s a colorful and absolutely delicious chutney for the holiday season. This “Spicy Christmas Chutney” is hard to stop eating once you open a jar of this pungent and hot concoction. The recipe is a sweet and sour chutney which combines Louisiana satsumas, cranberries and apples with a blend of spices for a powerful mix. I ran across the recipe inspiration on a Scottish internet site — didn’t know that the Scottish cooked with satsumas or made chutneys with this much punch — but it is a great recipe for me because it is a way to use my backyard satsumas. And the recipe is mighty spicy, too, including cloves, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne pepper. Yeah, we’re talking Louisiana, now.

Continue reading

Marie’s Artichoke & Mushroom Appetizers with a “Pinch of Cajun”

I love artichokes in any shape or fashion– added to green salads, as an ingredient in dips, in New Orleans Eggs Benedict or as a whole boiled artichoke. One of my favorite recipes combines chicken, artichokes, pearl onions and wine. Yum! Marie made an artichoke appetizer recently at a dinner gathering for a small group of friends and she graciously shared the recipe. This appetizer blends artichokes, mushrooms and cheese into bite-sized balls; perfect for the holidays. For a “Cajun” kick, it contains garlic and cayenne pepper.

Continue reading

Coconut Lemon Bars for Passover

I made this delicious “Coconut Lemon Bar” recipe in December using Meyer Lemons from my backyard citrus fruit tree. The combination of lemons, coconut and walnuts on a buttery crust made a great holiday dessert. These bars can easily be adapted for Passover and so I decided to make this dessert for our “virtual” Seder meal coming up this week.

Continue reading

Apple and Walnut Compote a.k.a. Haroset

Passover will soon be here. My husband’s family is planning a “virtual” Seder meal and service via “Zoom.” With family is scattered all over the country and unable to travel and local folks trying to maintain 6 feet of space at a table, this seems like a good solution. We are living in a new era. One dish at the Seder meal which I particularly enjoy is Haroset which is served along with Matzah. Several years ago, a friend brought Haroset to our Seder which was absolutely delicious. The combination of apples and  walnuts in a sweet sauce is good to eat anytime of the year — whether or not you are celebrating Passover or another religious observance. I made the recipe to share with you.

Continue reading

Festive Satsuma Margaritas

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.

Continue reading

Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo for Christmas Eve

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.

Continue reading

Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Cakes – Miniature Cakes

Miniature Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Cakes make an easy and delicious dessert and a great gift for the holidays. Who doesn’t like to receive a home-baked present?  This lemony cake with cranberries is tart yet sweet and moist. Fresh cranberries give a holiday flair with a flavor “pop.” I used some of the Meyer lemons from my backyard tree to make these cakes and baked them in mini-loaf pans. Make sure you read all the way to the bottom of the post where I share a couple of photos of my elusive backyard cardinal bird pair. Continue reading

A Small Batch of $250 Neiman-Marcus Cookies

Once a good cookie recipe, always a good one, and this is true of the $250 Neimam Marcus Cookie. It is associated with the luxury Neiman-Marcus department store chain which is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The cookie is a great one for the holiday season — it is a chewy and loaded chocolate chip cookie with nutty oatmeal and walnuts. My work supervisor made these as a Christmas present one year and shared the recipe which I have saved all these years. I found it again while sorting through recipes files.

Continue reading

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