Cookin’ in the Kitchen: Cowboy Baked Beans with a Kick — during the Coronavirus threat

Wow, so much has changed in the world in just a few weeks. It is hard to imagine at the start of 2020 that Louisiana and many other states would be under a “stay at home” order for the very serious health treat of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Our governor says that Louisiana has one of the fasting growing trajectories of this virus — due to the city of New Orleans and I’m guessing the tourist trade. Stay at home also means to cook at home. This includes being flexible and adaptable with ingredients on hand in your pantry. But who wants to spend all day cooking and washing dishes? For the next several weeks,  I’m going to post one-pot dishes which are simple to prepare and allow for substitution of ingredients. “Cowboy Baked Beans with a Kick” is one of these recipes.

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The Vegetarian Epicure: Baked Beans à la Charente

This week I’m travelling back in time to a recipe from the 1980’s. While searching through cookbooks on my bookshelves, I rediscovered one that I purchased during those years. I’m a collector and never throw anything away — this cookbook is a good one. Glancing through the pages, I saw marks by the recipes that I had made; most had “excellent” by them and many had memories associated with them. And this cookbook has a story of it’s own. I decided to try to make a one of the recipes — “Baked Beans à la Charente”, a vegetarian bean casserole topped with fresh tomato and eggplant slices. A little cognac in the beans gave some zing. Yum. Continue reading

Aunt Fanny’s Summer Squash Casserole

This week I have my favorite recipe for yellow summer squash. This squash is plentiful in stores in the summertime, why not eat it more often?  I can pinpoint “Aunt Fanny’s Summer Squash Casserole” as the turning point in “how I learned to like to eat squash.” I never liked “squash”, but this casserole changed my mind. Aunt Fanny's Yellow Squash Casserole - IMG_0660

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Ruth’s Chris Special Sweet Potato Casserole

Are you looking for a sweet potato recipe for Thanksgiving? I recommend Ruth’s Chris Special Sweet Potato Casserole. It is a traditional Louisiana recipe with a praline topping and a filling made with fresh baked sweet potatoes. The rich, creamy filling includes a special ingredient. It is served in Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurants around the world.Ruths Chris Special Sweet Potato Casserole - 4 - IMG_6222

The recipe is from Ruth Fertel. She is the original owner of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, an upscale restaurant in New Orleans which is now a world-wide chain. That is an interesting story itself. Continue reading

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Project

This fall I feel like I’m on the television show “Chopped”. I am participating in CSA through my employer. On Monday I get a box of fresh produce from a local farmer to bring home and cook. Get ready, open basket, wait for the buzzer to go off and I’ve got a week to cook the box of food. It’s a fun challenge! And generous helping of fresh vegetables for our family.

Week One CSA - 2 - IMG_6986_1

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Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Surprise

twice baked sweet potatoes with marshmallows - 1 -IMG_0822_1
I bought a sack of Louisiana-grown sweet potatoes a couple of weeks ago, and now need to find many ways to cook them. Fortunately, sweet potatoes are versatile, lending their use to a wide variety of recipes from desserts to side dishes and even biscuits (the subject of a future post). They are relatively bland and can be combined with many seasonings–I even found a recipe for curried shrimp-sweet potato soup which sounded interesting.

My favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes is simply to bake them. It’s easy, fool-proof and tasty. Given the wide range of flavors that go along with sweet potatoes, I also like to stuff the baked sweet potatoes with an assortment of ingredients. The possibilities are endless.

 

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