Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Crisco Olive Oils - Free Recipes and Free Mobile App!


Through the Tastemaker's program from Foodbuzz, I recently had the opportunity to try Crisco's line of olive oils, available in three varieties — 100% Extra Virgin, Pure, and Light Tasting. Most of us know the benefits of including a good extra virgin olive oil in our diets to occasionally replace some of the other fats we love. Olive oil is a healthy fat, a cholesterol-free food and is high in antioxidants. But frankly sometimes the flavor is a bit too heavy for some dishes, or we need an oil that can hold up to heat.

If you've been around here long, you already know that I use a good bit of olive oil, and with Crisco's lighter versions, it's easy to transition in the places where extra virgin oils just won't fit. With the lighter versions, you can also try replacing butter with olive oil in favorite dishes like mashed potatoes, or drizzled on baked potatoes.

Keep olive oil in a small cruet right on the dinner table to encourage family members to use it for drizzling on salads, in soups, stews, for dipping bread, and even drizzling over pastas. And you can use it for one of my favorite tips, as a kitchen helper for easy clean up of sticky things like honey, mustard, and syrups.


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Old Fashioned Broccoli Salad

Old fashioned broccoli salad, made with red onion, celery, carrots, raisins, nuts and bacon, and a mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar dressing. Served here on leaves of romaine lettuce.

Old Fashioned Broccoli Salad

This poor ole broccoli salad has been languishing around for me to showcase it on the blog forever. Very patience little green veggie. Truth is, while The Cajun won't even give it a fair run, broccoli is one of my favorite veggies. I love to eat it most just simply steamed to be honest, though I've been known to fry it on occasion too. What can I say?


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Old Fashioned Southern Boiled Dressing

This old fashioned, creamy, boiled dressing has a unique, tangy flavor that is excellent on coleslaw, potato salads and vegetable salads, like Old Fashioned Broccoli Salad.

Old Fashioned Southern Boiled Dressing

Another one of those classic heritage recipes, old fashioned boiled dressing has sort of fallen out of favor with the convenience of commercially bottled dressings. It's history was one of the common folk, dating back to the the time prior to the late 19th century, when only the wealthy were able to afford the finer cooking oils for fancy vinaigrettes and creamy dressings.

I guess you could say that it sort of falls somewhere between a hollandaise sauce and homemade mayonnaise, but with the familiar tangy, sweet and sour flavor we southerners love. It's one of my favorites and it really takes next to nothing to whip it together either. Despite the name, just like Boiled Drinking Custard, it should never actually be boiled, but only simmered slowly in a saucepan or in the top of a double boiler until thickened.

Most commonly used as dressing for pasta salads, potato salads or plain boiled potatoes, in coleslaw, in deviled eggs, drizzled over meats, or tossed in vegetable salads, like Broccoli Salad. It can also be thinned down with milk to make a fabulous salad dressing for lettuce wedges.


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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spicy Meat Trio Barbecue Baked Beans

Make a jump from beefed up barbecue baked beans with beef, bacon and spicy andouille - add other leftover smoked meats if you like too. Jazz that up with hot sauce, Creole mustard, Cajun seasoning and jalapeno and you have one fine pot of beans y'all.

Spicy Meat Trio Barbecue Baked Beans

Move over Beefy Baked Beans cuz there's a new Baked Bean King in town with a beefed up trio of meat - and a spicy kick. And if you happen to have some leftover smoked meat, it's right at home here.


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Monday, August 29, 2011

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Balls

Old fashioned peanut butter balls are a rich dessert, both in its heritage and its taste. A classic Christmas confection, peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar are rolled into balls and dipped in chocolate. If you remember these from your childhood, one bite will take you right back.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Balls

In the Deep South, we don't do buckeyes, the peanut butter and chocolate confection from Ohio, that is partially dipped so that the result is patterned after the nut of the buckeye tree. We do peanut butter balls down here. The concept, of course, is the same, we just completely encase our peanut butter balls in chocolate. Raise your hand if you have memories of these peanut butter balls at Christmastime. I certainly do.


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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Garlic Chicken from Birds Eye Voila!


Authoring a full time food blog, I don't buy a lot of frozen food products, but as you know, they are handy to have for a hurry up meal. I love opportunities to try them though and to share my opinion with readers, many of whom do live a much more harried life than me. Based on the crowd in the frozen food aisle the day I purchased this, I'd say a lot of us are super busy these days and looking for food that is both convenient and satisfying.

Birds Eye has always had good quality frozen vegetables, but now they've moved into a line of complete frozen dinners, and through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program I recently had the opportunity to give Birds Eye Voila! complete meal kits a taste test.

I decided to try tried the Garlic Chicken. Soon as you open the bag, you smell the garlic and this gal loves her garlic so that made me happy!



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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crawfish Etouffée

Crawfish, simmered in a very simple butter roux, seasoned with a basic trinity, garlic, stock and Cajun seasoning, and finished with a little fresh parsley and green onion. Serve over hot rice with fresh French bread for dipping.

Crawfish Etouffée

There are so many schools of thought on how to prepare a proper crawfish etouffée. Some say with a roux, others think not. Some add tomatoes, others say there is no place for tomatoes in it. Some use the Trinity, others only part of it. One thing I think that we all can agree on is that it should be uncomplicated.

For a seafood etouffée, crawfish is traditional, although shrimp can be substituted. It is a totally different taste experience from crawfish, however, since the fat from the crawfish do contribute both a distinct flavor and a bit of color. I would suggest giving it a taste after you've added the shrimp and maybe bump up the seasonings a bit. Maybe even add a bit of Old Bay, or just a dab of tomato paste also.


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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Next Food Network Star!

Food Network Star: The Official Insider's Guide to America's Hottest Food Show
Food Network Star: The Official Insider's Guide to America's Hottest Food Show
If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!

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Yeah, y'all weren't thinking I was gonna audition for the next Food Network Star show were you? No, not me! Heavens no.

I am not a competitive person. Never have been. I don't like performing, I have no desire for fame, to be a celebrity, to put my mug on video much less a cooking show, or anything like that. Okay, I might do a video... someday. My goal with my website is to simply put out an authentic product that hopefully readers will enjoy, that will stir up some memories from days past, and that will nudge you back to the kitchen. I spent most of my pre-blogging life in a highly competitive legal career, but the growth of my site has been pretty organic, and I kinda like it that way.

I do, however, love watching, from the stress-free comfort of my cushy chair, competition cooking shows and Food Network Star is my favorite. I've been watching that one for several seasons now, believe it or not, even with The Cajun who I think enjoys it as much as I do. The next star I'm talking about here, is the brand new, just released today, Food Network Star: The Official Insiders Guide, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity for a sneak peek I could share with you. Y'all know I love my cookbooks, but this is one of those cookbooks that is much more than just a collection of recipes. Yes there are recipes, of course, like this one.

Carissa Steward's Shrimp Puffs from Season Two. 

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Corn Fritters

A simple flour fritter featuring corn. Cream corn adds such a nice creamy texture, but fresh corn milked from the cob is excellent too.

Corn Fritters

A reader on the Facebook page recently asked for a corn fritter recipe, and I thought that it'd be a good time to get mine up on the site. Cornmeal is often used for corn fritters, but I like to reserve that for hushpuppies and hoecakes myself, since I prefer a corn fritter to be more, well, light and fluffy, almost a corn puff really.


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Friday, August 12, 2011

Southern Caramel Cake - A Tribute to The Help Movie

A light, tender yellow butter cake with a classic boiled icing, traditionally made from burnt sugar or for more modern versions, with boiled brown sugar.

Southern Caramel Cake


As soon as I knew they were making a movie from the book The Help, I knew I wanted to make a caramel cake for the website. Really, from the first time I read about Minny's caramel cake in the book in 2009, I knew I'd be making one. There is just something about this book that makes you want a caramel cake... and maybe never want to eat a chocolate pie - at least for awhile. You'll know what I mean on all of the above counts if you read the book.

My intention had been to make this cake over the past weekend, but I was dragging my tail-end here recently thanks to fighting off a summer cold while simultaneously pulling a muscle in my back and found my motivation lacking. With the film making its debut at the theater Wednesday, I decided to make the cake anyway, and found myself up at 2:00 a.m. that morning icing a cake!

When I got up later, I decided I wanted to go see the movie on it's opening day after all, and I'm so glad that I did.  As I mentioned over on Facebook, I literally cried in the very opening scene, then I laughed till I cried, and even got a headache from trying not to cry. It was a hilariously funny movie, that touched just about every possible emotion including, as a native Mississippian, moments of shame, sadness and heartbreak. It was the best movie and very true to the book, and while I rarely read any book more than once, I am on my fourth read of this one. I not only own it on audio, but I have it as an e-book and in a regular paper book I can hold in my hand. That is how much I love this book that is now being referred to everywhere as a new classic.


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Monday, August 8, 2011

Coffee Punch Float

Scoops of vanilla ice cream, topped with chocolate syrup and a coffee punch, made with Godiva chocolate truffle coffee blended with more ice cream and homemade whipped cream, makes for a decadent and refreshing coffee punch float.

Coffee Punch Float

Coffee punch is an old-fashioned, familiar and popular adult party punch in the south, that often shows up at wedding and baby showers, ladies teas, potlucks, cookouts, or really any other party or gathering. Ice cream is scooped into a punch bowl, topped with homemade whipped cream and covered in sweetened coffee. Through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I recently had a chance to try out Godiva coffees, and thought that it would be a good time to transform this familiar southern punch into individual coffee floats, for a refreshing summer treat to serve anytime.

I received samples of both Godiva Chocolate Truffle and Godiva Hazelnut Creme. Both coffees are a medium roast, pre-ground blend, made from 100% Arabica coffee beans, and inspired by signature Godiva chocolates. The inspiration for these two featured coffees is Godiva's rich Milk Chocolate truffle and Open Oyster hazelnut praline truffles - both giving a wonderfully sweet and creamy finish. Godiva coffees are so incredibly fragrant that I gotta say, it was really difficult to settle on one to use for the punch float!

Chocolate TruffleHazelunt Creme

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Buffalo Grilled Shrimp

Jumbo shrimp, marinated in a spicy Buffalo sauce then grilled and served on a bed of Cajun Rice Pilaf.

Buffalo Grilled Shrimp

I recently had the chance to give KC Masterpiece Buffalo Marinade a try and instead of going with the typical chicken or wings, using it on grilled shrimp was the first thing that came to mind.

The next time that The Cajun headed out to shrimp with Dad, I put out my request for some proper grilling jumbos. To grill shrimp, you really need colossals or jumbo sized. Anything smaller will overcook too quickly.

Right off the boat, caught in our Gulf in the mornin', cooked that same day - now that's as fresh as it gets y'all!
I usually grill shrimp shelled, simply because they are much easier to eat that way. I thought that I would try them shell and head-on this time though, just to see if it really made any major difference in the texture or cooking of the shrimp. I carefully ran a paring knife along the backs of the shell to open them up, both to remove any veins and to loosen the shells to rub a bit of oil up underneath to help prevent the shells from sticking and let the marinade get in.


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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fresh Corn Casserole

A garden fresh casserole featuring sweet summer corn and tomatoes, onion, sweet bell pepper and garden fresh herbs.

Fresh Corn Casserole

I don't watch QVC as much as I'd like to, well except during Christmas time, not because I don't love it, but because I do. I would be flat broke is all! At any rate, Terresa Ray was recently filling in as on-air host for two of my favorite Mississippi "Cookbook Ladies" Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley of the Best of the Best cookbook series fame. She was on the 'In the Kitchen with David' segment to do a pre-sell on their upcoming and QVC exclusive August release, Recipe Hall of Fame Fresh from the Farmers Market cookbook. They sold out thousands of cookbooks on that show very quickly.


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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Salsa made with fresh off the cob corn and summer garden tomatoes, black beans, lime and cilantro. Just add some chips.

Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salsa

One of my favorite snacks is tortilla chips and salsa, and one of my favorite salsas is the corn and black bean variety.  I sort of fiddled around a bit with the basics of my restaurant style salsa and came up with this homemade version, both making and plowing through it several times already, all on my little own.


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