Let’s Cook: Louisiana White Beans and Smoked Ham

Here’s a traditional Louisiana-style recipe for “White Beans and Smoked Ham.” Although the recipe, “Red Beans & Rice,” is commonly associated with Louisiana cuisine, white beans are served in the South, too. This dish is often found as part of “plate dinners” or on cafeteria lines. White beans are mild flavored — and combined with some seasonings the beans are quite tasty. Dried beans have many health benefits — they are high in fiber (the kind that lowers cholesterol and controls blood sugar) and protein — so I’m trying to eat them more frequently. And a pound of beans makes a large batch — enough for several meals. Continue reading

Bonnie’s Miniature Strawberry Cheesecakes for Easter

I happened to mention to a friend that I was looking for recipes which use fresh Louisiana strawberries for my blog. She replied by saying that she has a great recipe which she makes every Easter using local strawberries. Bonnie shared her family tradition and recipe for “Miniature Strawberry Cheesecakes”. It’s a delightful recipe.  Surely everyone will love to eat it!

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Crawfish-Stuffed Egglant Pirogues

Here’s a recipe that combines crawfish with seasonings and diced eggplant. The stuffing is piled back into eggplant shells and baked. For eggplant lovers, this is a great dish. If you don’t have crawfish available, then substitute shrimp. This is one if my favorite seafood dishes which I’m naming, “Crawfish-Stuffed Eggplant Pirogues.” It can be  served either as a main dish or side dish, just double the crawfish for a main dish.

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Cajun Fried Crawfish Tails

Spring is crawfish season in Louisiana. I have several scrumptious crawfish recipes to share this year. “Cajun Fried Crawfish Tails” is not the most common way to serve this mudbug but it is a delicious dish. The fried crawfish are small, crispy and they “pop” with spicy Cajun seasonings. They remind me of fried popcorn shrimp. The “secret ingredient” in my recipe is Tabasco Sauce. It adds just the right touch of “hot” to this dish. Serve the fried crawfish as an appetizer or as part of a salad or at any special occasion where you want something really different to share.

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Mardi Gras Mambo Cupcakes

This year, in celebration of Mardi Gras, I am making cupcakes with colorful cream cheese icing for an event where everyone is expected to bring a dessert. Mardi Gras has been celebrated since the early beginnings of New Orleans and was originally a Catholic holiday of indulging in a rich meal before the beginning of Lent. Over time Mardi Gras has extended well beyond the Catholic religion and “Fat Tuesday.” Lots of revelry and fun for everyone. So my cupcakes are “in the spirit” of the Mardi Gras season.

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Cajun Blackened Chicken

When I think of Mardi Gras, I think of New Orleans and recall all of our adventures to the city during carnival season. New Orleans has a distinct and rich cuisine; we’ve eaten at many restaurants over the years during these times. Blackened redfish, made famous by Cajun Chef Paul Prudhomme, is one of the memorable dishes of this city. With carnival season and Mardi Gras arriving soon, here’s my “blackened recipe,” a version using chicken rather than redfish.

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Sour Grapes for Super Bowl Sunday

Sour Grapes. Guess who is not going to the Super Bowl Championship game this year? The New Orleans Saints football team and fans. This includes our family who managed to watch over 50% of the Saint’s games this fall including several exciting wins. To commemorate the loss, I am posting two “sour grapes” recipes this week. In case you might like to try making them yourself on “Super Bowl Sunday,” I’m posting recipes for “Sour Grape Cocktails” and “Sour Grapes” today. 

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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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Pecan Tassies with Persimmon

If you like pecan pie, then you will like Pecan Tassies. And if you are not a fan of pecan pie, I bet you might like my version of this dessert. I added persimmon pulp (or you could add pumpkin puree) and the custard filling mellows out the rich and so, so sweet flavor of traditional pecan pie. A Pecan Tassie is a favorite Southern dessert served during the holiday season and is a great addition to any party or buffet.

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Cajun-Style Shrimp Stuffed Jalapenos & Variations

I grew a bumper crop of jalapeno peppers in my garden this summer; these hot peppers are extremely easy to grow. One of my favorite appetizers at a local restaurant uses these peppers in a dish called “Crab Stuffed Jalapenos.” All summer I’ve attempted to duplicate and copy their recipe using my large crop of jalapeno peppers. Here are several of my variations and results. The stuffed jalapenos are delicious; I do recommend having a large glass of water nearby. Continue reading