Duchess Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter Sage

I walked into Whole Foods Grocery Store to return gift items at the Amazon Customer Service Center and walked out with Louisiana sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes were right inside the entrance to the store. Too tempting to walk by them without purchasing several. This root vegetable has lots of nutritional value. Plus, they are in season and inexpensive. So, there you go — three good reasons for why to purchase sweet potatoes. Today, I am making “Duchess Sweet Potatoes” which is a jazzed up concoction of mashed potatoes. I added browned butter with sage to give a upscale flavor. I even located my pastry piping bag and star tip to bake the potatoes little swirl shapes which is what makes “Duchess Sweet Potatoes” special. These creamy potatoes are just as good for when baked in a casserole dish as piped onto a platter for a fancy holiday dinner.

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My Favorite “Hush Puppies”

A fried catfish platter with French fries and hush puppies is a favorite Friday night supper during Lent. And you can’t find a better plate of a fried catfish than at the iconic Baton Rouge restaurant of Ralph and Kacoo’s Seafood. I wasn’t surprised when I checked out their internet site and saw that they boasted of being the largest seafood restaurant in the South with a seating capacity for 800 patrons. The restaurant is massive and everything about the place shouts “big.” The restaurant has an interesting saga. My favorite food and memory of Ralph and Kacoo’s Restaurant is however, not the catfish, but their hush puppies. Their little fried cornmeal treats are unique — just a touch of sweet with green onions and spices. The best ones that I ever have eaten. I am going to try to re-invent these hush puppies. However, rather than frying catfish, we’ll more likely serve them with broiled or baked catfish — I’ll save that recipe for another time.

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Easy Cook: Chili Con Carne with Louisiana Red Beans

Here’s an easy and very tasty recipe for “Chili Con Carne.” This is a great concoction for cold winter weather to warm up the body and soul. Or make a pot of “Chili Con Carne” next weekend and watch the football Super Bowl game — your family can help themselves to the chili and you won’t miss a football play. The recipe includes dried red beans –giving it a Louisiana “touch” — as certainly the dried version of red beans is used in traditional New Orleans cooking. I made this chili several times to tweak the recipe and the result is a pleasing blend of chili peppers and seasonings, tomatoes, kidney beans and beef. The chili has “bite” but no one component overpowers the other. I think I got this recipe “just right.” With the dried beans, this recipe takes several hours to cook — so start early in the day.

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Marie’s Southern-Style Cornbread & Sausage Dressing

Thanksgiving will be here soon; roasted turkey and dressing are always on the menu. I especially love cornbread dressing; but never have been very successful at making it myself. Folks rave about Marie’s Cornbread & Sausage Dressing and she shared the recipe with me. Her recipe has a Cajun flare, it is uniquely Southern with a different twist from most recipe books and magazines. Marie also shared some of her secrets to making the dressing taste special. I’m sure you will enjoy it, too.

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In Search of the Real Cajun Jambalaya

Will the REAL jambalaya recipe please come forward? Ever since President Trump served “Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya” in April at a state dinner honoring French President, Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, controversy has been brewing in Louisiana. That is not “jambalaya,” folks protested. This set off a flurry of newspaper editorials, recipes and opinions in our state. The truth is that there are many variations of jambalaya and many good recipes. Here’s own recipe, I think it’s one of the best!

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Achafalaya Basin Swamp Juice and a Cajun Food Tasting Party


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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Easy Shrimp Remoulade with Mirliton and Avocado

This shrimp remoulade appetizer is about as easy as it gets to prepare. For a touch of local flavor, I included the native Louisiana vegetable, mirliton. When served on a holiday buffet, this shrimp appetizer is appealing and tasty–very traditional Louisiana cuisine.

shrimp, mirliton and avocado appetizer - 2- IMG_1445_1

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Chef John Folse’s Tunica-Stuffed Peppers

Hard to believe that October is here already. This summer flew by. Guess I still have a few summer vegetables on my mind–including these colorful bell peppers. Bell peppers are very nutritious and also inexpensive when in season in the summer. One of my favorite ways to prepare bell peppers is stuffed with ground meat, rice and served with tomato sauce. While looked through some recipe books, I found an interesting variation on this theme which highlight’s Louisiana cuisine.

John Folses Tunica Stuffed Peppers - 3 - IMG_7517_1

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