Achafalaya Basin Swamp Juice and a Cajun Food Tasting Party

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Our annual local dulcimer music festival in March draws folks from all over the country for a weekend of music, workshops, concerts, vendors, and of course, good food. We like to introduce the out-of-town guests to our unique Louisiana cuisine. This year fried alligator, boudin balls and crawfish tarts were on our “Taste of Louisiana” menu. I made a festive punch, called “Achafalaya Basin Swamp Juice,” for a thirst quencher.

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Tullio Saffiotti’s Italian Green Bean Salad and the Mediterranean Diet

This week’s recipe is a tribute to my 89-year-old neighbor, Tullio Saffiotti, a Sicilian immigrant who came here as a young man and established the fine fine wine business in Baton Rouge. He passed away recently. The recipe reminds me of the foods you’d find in the healthy Mediterranean Diet.marinated-green-bean-and-new-potato-salad-2-img_7798_1

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Hopping John Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette for New Year’s Day Luck

We can all use a little luck as we start the New Year of 2017. In the South, tradition says that blackeye peas symbolize luck and prosperity. They are served on New Year’s Day along with cabbage which symbolizes money and wealth. Here’s a recipe for Hopping John Salad made with blackeye peas and a molasses vinaigrette. I’m just a little superstitious and know if you fix this recipe on January 1, that your new year will be full of good luck!hopping-john-blackeye-pea-salad

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Southern Fig Preserves Cake: Gifts from the Heart

I think everyone appreciates a homemade gift during the holiday season. It is special and shows you have put some thought into the gift. Consider “Southern Fig Preserves Cake.” The cake is unique, definitely has a Louisiana or Southern charm and is a moist, crunchy and delicious cake. A friend suggested the recipe and she even took photographs and shared her experience “writing a blog post.” I made the recipe, too, here is my mini-loaf.old-fashioned-southern-fig-preserves-cake-img_2302_1

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Dreamer’s 7-Up Pound Cake

Dreamer’s 7-Up Pound Cake is a very traditional Southern cake recipe. It is tender, moist and very sweet. More than a cake, it’s a Deep South cultural tradition. The cake is often served for Sunday dinner or other celebrations such as the Fourth of July when family and friends come to visit at a large afternoon meal.Dreamer's 7-Up Pound Cake - IMG_9836

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Denise’s Banana Cream Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut

Would you guess that Louisiana is famous for icebox pies? Probably not. However, several iconic diners across the state have a reputation for fine icebox pies. The family diner, Strawn’s Eat Shop, in Shreveport is one such spot. This restaurant is the inspiration for Denise’s Banana Cream Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut which I am making for Mother’s Day. It is an old-fashioned and sentimental pie.Denise's Banana Cream Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut - IMG_8884

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Cajun Crawfish Cornbread Casserole

Boiled crawfish in the springtime is a unique Louisiana custom. As spring bursts into the air and the weather warms up, crawfish come out of their burrows. We get a few short months of eating these freshwater crustaceans. I have several favorite recipes for cooking with crawfish. This recipe comes from Aunt Gaye who stated, “this is the best recipe I’ve seen in a long time.” The casserole reminds me of a spicy quiche, full of vegetables, cheese, cornbread and crawfish.
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New Orleans-Style Muffuletta

When you visit New Orleans, a “must do” activity is to visit the Central Grocery Store in the French Quarter and purchase a muffuletta sandwich for lunch. This Italian po-boy is unique to New Orleans; not found anywhere else. Last fall, my son and I purchased a muffuletta and walked to the Mississippi River for a leisurely lunch. The po-boy boasts a unique Italian olive salad spread. Here’s how to make your own.Eating Sandwich along Mississippi River - IMG_5234 Continue reading