Easy Cook: Fresh Cranberry Fruit Compote

Cranberries add a festive and refreshing touch to holiday meals. The tart flavor of cranberry sauce helps tone down the rich flavors of a large holiday turkey meal. Doesn’t cut the calories of the meal you just ate, but it does cleanse the palate. Last weekend  company was visiting — they helped with the cooking. My niece and I created wonderful fresh fruit compote with cranberries and foods on my kitchen counter. We served the dish at almost all meals and discovered it was a satisfying substitute for high-calorie desserts. Guess we found a way to save on calories, after all.

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Louisiana-Style Smothered Mustard Greens

Winter greens such as mustard and collard greens have never been my favorite vegetable. But when a co-worker brought her version of Louisiana-style mustard greens to work one evening, I had a new opinion. This dish was so good. It is flavored with typical Cajun seasonings and bits of ham and simmered slowly on the stove — as in old fashioned southern cooking. Best of all, greens are “good for you” — plenty of  healthy benefits. Don’t overlook this often forgotten vegetable; especially when it in season in the fall and winter. Here is my co-worker’s recipe made with mustard greens from my garden.

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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

Crunchy Blueberry and Apple Crisp

I have three treasured blueberry bushes in my backyard. The oldest ls loaded full of blueberries this year and the fruit ripens in May. I’ve watched the blueberries all spring, hoping I could pick them before the birds found and ate them. I’ve been thinking of recipes to make and decided on this easy dessert, “Blueberry and Apple Crisp.” 

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Traditional Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

I’ve been told that it is it possible to grow tomatoes in the springtime in Louisiana and then to plant another crop in the fall. I love ripe tomatoes and two crops a year seems like a gardener’s dream. But being somewhat an unbeliever, I decided to prove this for myself in September by setting out a large number of tomatoes seedlings. The experiment turned out to be partially successful. Here is some of my autumn tomato crop. Continue reading

Stewed Creole Tomatoes

My favorite vegetable any time of the year is a ripe and juicy tomato. It has to be a home grown and vine ripe tomato; not the grocery store variety which has been picked early and shipped a long distance.  Here’s a savory stewed tomato recipe that I’ve made many times and perfected over the past year. I use both fresh Louisiana Creole tomatoes as well as canned tomatoes and added a few other ingredients for a savory flavor.
Stewed Tomatoes - 1 - IMG_9781_1

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A Very Small Batch of Pickled Okra

I love pickled okra; this year I decided to make pickled okra with the pods growing in my garden. Most recipes for pickled okra make a large batch; I’ve experimented with scaling back the ingredients to accommodate what I can pick from my garden every morning.Pickled Okra and Fresh Okra - IMG_4721 Continue reading

Two Summer Squash and Basil Recipes

Eat your vegetables. Never thought that this could include summer squash — squash was not a favorite vegetable when I was young. But over the years, I’ve discovered some tasty ways to prepare this vegetable. I have a plentiful supply of basil and summer squash growing in my garden and found two very similar recipes which include these two ingredients — one is sweet; the other sour.Summer Squash and Basil Medley - Aug -15 - IMG_4677

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Jazzed-Up Marinated Tomatoes and Cucumbers

What’s my favorite summer salad? Simply tomatoes and cucumbers marinated in red wine or balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I could eat this salad every day. The combination can easily be jazzed up, too, with a few other ingredients. Tomato and Cucumber Salad - 2 - IMG_7276_1

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Two Cool Cucumber Dishes – a Soup and a Sauce

Cucumbers grow well in Louisiana gardens in the summer. I have huge crop and try to find different ways to prepare them.  Here are two recipes which use the same ingredient combination — cucumbers, yogurt, garlic — but with very different results. One recipe was a hit and the other bombed.Chicken and Yogurt Dip - IMG_4117_1 Continue reading