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.
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
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.
Here’s an speedy approach to preparing a home-cooked turkey for Thanksgiving for a small group. Everyone likes a home-cooked meal but who wants the all the work. This recipe is simplifies things quite a bit. The secret is use only the turkey breast, de-bone it and fill it with a savory Leek and Spinach Stuffing. This speeds up the cooking time and my turkey breast was cooked in just over one hour. It was tender and flavorful. The leek and spinach stuffing adds a different twist to the entree. Plus, you will really “wow” your guests and family when you carve the de-boned breast. Don’t tell them. Just slice the breast at table and see their reactions. We’ve had some good times with this! It really isn’t difficult to de-bone a turkey. Here’s what we did.
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and it is time to bring out favorite and traditional family recipes. Brussels spouts is a vegetable which matures in the autumn and is often featured in Thanksgiving menus spreads of food magazines. My recipe for “Saucy Brussels Sprouts” is a family favorite which we have served for years. The recipe originated in the Parade Magazine of the Washington Post newspaper. It is very easy to prepare and includes boiled Brussels sprouts served with a creamy sauce.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.