Saturday, July 31, 2010

Until next year....

Our wonderful garden is coming to the end...we will really miss it! Cannot wait till next year.......:)

Your Place or Mine?

This week JT and I celebrated our "date night" at home before he was taking off for a couple of weeks on business. Lots to do before he left and an early flight the next day so we decided to stay in and cook up some appetizers. Keeping it light was my goal on this very hot and muggy evening of yard work. Here are the pics and recipes of our special dishes......

Louisiana Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

1 pd. of Louisiana Crabmeat (or your fresh local brand, no Chinese imported stuff allowed!)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. of Italian style breadcrumbs
1/4 c. of Parmesan cheese
couple of dashes of creole seasoning (you can also add a dash or two of hot sauce if you like!)
couple of dashes of black pepper
1/4 c. of chopped green onion  
1 c. of seasoning blend (frozen onion, bell peppers, celery, garlic in a bag) sauteed in 2 tbsp. of your favorite butter or margarine till softened.
8 larger mushrooms for stuffing ( I bought them loose for this so I could pick them out all around the same size) 

Wipe off your mushroom with a damp paper towel (never rinse them in water)
Remove the stem, place in a baking dish stem side up
Mix all above together, make small ball shapes of your stuffing mix, place of top of each mushroom.
Place a small dollop of butter/margarine on top of each mushroom and sprinkle with creole seasoning.
Bake at 350 for 20 mins.
sliced lemon wedge on the side

Creole Tomato stuffed with Louisiana Boiled Shrimp

2-Medium to Larger Creole tomatoes (or your local favorite)   
1 pd of chilled Louisiana boiled shrimp (use leftovers from a shrimp boil or buy some at your local seafood market already prepared)
1/2 c chopped celery
1/2 c chopped bell pepper
1/4 c chopped green onion
No extra seasoning needed if you use shrimp from a boil....if your shrimp are bland then add some creole seasoning, salt/pepper to your desired taste.
Mayo (I used the light mayo)

Rinse and dry tomatoes
Cut off the top of the tomatoes and then cut out the middle to hollow out for salad. Place tomatoes upside down on paper towel to drain while you make the salad.
Peel the chilled shrimp and chop to your desired texture, I gave mine a light chop for a chunkier texture.
In a bowl, mix chopped shrimp, veggies, seasoning (if needed) and mayo. Add your mayo a little at a time till your desired consistency. You can make this ahead of time and chill until ready. Remember, never put your tomatoes in the fridge...put the chilled salad in the room temp. tomatoes!
Plate your tomatoes, stuff with salad mixture
sprinkle with creole seasoning
sliced lemon wedge on the side

Use your favorite dishes, garnish and.....Enjoy! 


Friday, July 30, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Drew Brees stops by our Borders bookstore in Baton Rouge at the Mall of Louisiana!

1500 members of the Who Dat nation flocked to our Borders bookstore on Sunday to see our hero and MVP, QB Drew Brees! They came to see Drew and get their copy of his memoir, "Coming Back Stronger".  By the end of the event, Drew had signed 1400 books in two hours, bringing his total number of books signed on his tour to 16,000.
He is amazing and a true inspiration to us all! 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Be The One" T-Shirts Are Available on Restore the Gulf Online Store!

Click on the link below and show your support!
                           Be The One White T-Shirt Restore the Gulf Online Store

Grand Isle Takes Time to Party!

For a day at least, life in this barrier island town reverted to something resembling normalcy Saturday as the fight against the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was set aside. In scenes reminiscent of times before the Deepwater Horizon disaster changed the fabric of life on Grand Isle, women in bathing suits rode around on golf carts while men in pickup trucks tooted their horns and shouted to get their attention. “This is the way Grand Isle is supposed to be but hasn’t been this year,” said Anne Leblanc, of Metairie, La., who said her family has been visiting the island for years. “This is the first time we came this year. With the oil spill there hasn’t been a reason to come, no swimming, no fishing.”

But the spill was not forgotten.

The Island Aid concert took the place of the annual tarpon rodeo, a fishing tournament wiped out by the oil spill.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baby Turtles released in to the Gulf....let's pray they make it!

Click here to see pics........Baby Turtles released in to Gulf

Federal biologists are releasing thousands of endangered baby sea turtles into the western Gulf of Mexico, betting that by the time the silver dollar-sized swimmers make it to the oil-fouled waters of the eastern Gulf, BP will have cleaned up its goopy mess.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service are proceeding with the annual release of Kemp's ridley turtle hatchlings off Padre Island National Seashore because Texas has not been significantly impacted by the oil spill. For years, scientists have incubated and hatched the turtles to give the endangered creatures a boost.

The risks of holding turtles in captivity at a critical stage in their life cycles could be worse than the dangers of oil more than 400 miles away, the plan's supporters say.

Friday, July 23, 2010

First Installment of Your Place or Mine?...and a little lagniappe!

Welcome! I am so excited to submit my first installment of "Your Place or Mine"?. But before I get started I think it best to give you some background and a little lagniappe (french for "something extra") on my childhood and my experience with food. 

From since I can remember, my mother (a beautiful Portuguese women) took so much care, planning and love with her cooking. It goes without saying that my mother (Mary) is my hero! For a lot more reasons than her cooking but I would venture to say that cooking was her deepest passion. We were a middle class family that dealt with ups and downs in life like most but my mother could take a dozen eggs and turn it into a gourmet meal. These meals were prepared after her long day at work and presented to us like we were at a gourmet restaurant. So when my father was laid off from time to time we never felt the difference. Food was always provided and even on the smallest budget at times we had fresh wholesome food. My parents had a huge garden most of my life and when we didn't they would shop at a local farmers market. Mom would make homemade breads, cakes, pies, pastas all from boxes or machines here, except for a mixer! Even the pasta that she shaped with her hands was laid out to dry on cookie sheets or a wood rack that my father made for her. I can remember a day, I was probably around 12 years old when I discovered white Wonder Bread(a version of the Louisiana Bunny Bread). I had been playing with a friend in the neighborhood and she made me a bologna sandwich on this white bread and it was amazing! I had never had this bread before, my mom's bread didn't stick to the roof of my mouth. I came home and innocently told my mother about the bread and begged her to buy it for me. Of course she didn't comply and really? What was I thinking? I cannot honestly remember one single meal where my father did not say to everyone at the table...."You are the best cook in the world"! My mother would modestly tell us in detail how she prepared the meal as we basts in every bite. The traditions did not stop with my siblings and I, our children and their children have experienced the love too. There is not a grandchild or great grandchild that doesn't know their Nana's homemade french toast!  And I would be remiss if I fail to mention that all these meals were proudly "presented", not just served. We did not serve ourselves from the stove, the meals were transferred and arranged onto other dishes and garnished with a "sprig" of something from her garden. Mom is 85 years old and still loves her food........and oh, the food channel.......:) So going forward, just know that I proudly share my mother's passion but I am still working on living up to her reputation! 

This Friday evening JT and I made plans to stay home for dinner because we knew he would be tired from an early and long day of fishing in Lake Pontchartrain. So this morning in preparation for our usual tradition of seafood on Fridays I took out Redfish fillets from the freezer. And you know from my earlier post that I was dying to do something with those Creole tomatoes! This evening we had a few southern delights but JT and I will also enjoy an appetizer or two and some good wine. Here is a pic and the recipes of our special dishes....... 

Fried cucumber slices with ranch dressing
Grilled Redfish over yellow rice ( I used Mahatma brand and added small peas) 
Dressed Creole Tomato Salad

Fried Cucumber Slices
(Yes, I fried a perfectly healthy cucumber, but since it was an appetizer we went with it!)

Slice cucumber thicker than for a salad, lightly salt and place on paper towel for 20 mins. (This little trick will pull some of the moisture out and make them better to fry!)
Beat one egg
Zatarains Fish Fry (seasoned or unseasoned), I used unseasoned and added black pepper and light dash of creole seasoning 
Dip cucumber slices in egg, then coat with fry mixture
Fry in oil till lightly brown, lightly salt when hot and serve with your favorite ranch dressing. (Remoulade would be tasty too!)

Dressed Creole Tomato Salad
(Of course, I used our Creole's but you can use any seasonal tomato)
Tomatoes should always be room temp and never put in fridge!
Slice tomato on the thicker side
salt and pepper slices to desired taste
Sprinkle feta crumbles on top
Sprinkle fresh chopped basil on top
Add sliced olives(optional, I used kalamata but you can use your favorite) on top
Sprinkle with E.V.O.O (stole that from Rachel Ray....extra virgin olive oil) and balsamic vinegar

Use your favorite dishes, add a garnish and....... Enjoy!
P.S: Thank you Mom! I Love You!!

Brad...Are you there?


Bonnie approaches; work on hold....:(

Couldn't Resist..........

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Grumpy longer!

I have to be honest that when JT approached me about planting a garden a couple of months ago I was interested. The thought of having fresh organic veggies at my fingertips was very exciting. However, we didn't take the time to realize no matter how big or small the is work! We were very optimistic when we planted our garden on the opposite side of the house from all the trees and the extremely annoying squirrels that empty our bird feeder daily. So we planted tomatoes, peppers, green onion, cucumbers, green beans and various herbs. But we didn't plant just any tomatoes, we planted Louisiana Creole Tomatoes! Yes, they have a very distinct taste......deliciously sweet. If you are a purist all you will need is a salt shaker, pour a little olive oil on them and you are gourmet. Restaurants all over Louisiana use this little gift from god in various dishes and I will be sure to experiment with ours! So even though the initial expense of the garden was not cheap and it is one more thing for us to worry has paid off. We have had to forfeit a couple of tomatoes to a few smart squirrels that have found their way to the garden. But one bite and you really can't blame Here is a pic of our Creole's!    

If you aren't lucky enough to live in an area that have Creole's or grow your own.....don't worry, you can order them on-line! or visit their Facebook page at Ben & Ben Becnel, Inc. 

Local Abita Brewery giving back!!

On Friday, July 16 the first bottles of Abita SOS, a charitable brew produced by the Abita Brewing Company, rolled off the production line at the brewery in Abita Springs. SOS – A Charitable Pilsner, will donate 75¢ for every bottle sold to a charitable fund established by Abita that will assist with the rescue and restoration of the environment, industry and individuals fighting to survive this disastrous oil spill. SOS will go on sale in the New Orleans metro area Tuesday will move across the state and nation in the weeks to come. “We feel compelled as one of Louisiana’s favorite brands to help our neighbors and coastal families as they struggle to survive,” stated David Blossman, President of Abita Brewing Company. “That is why we are committing our time, talent and resources to help our fellow citizens through this disaster.”

A Message In A Bottle
The 22-ounce brew bears hand drawn iconic images of all the aspects that make the Gulf of Mexico so unique. Illustrations like those of pelicans, fish, shrimp and fishing boats are arranged in the pattern of the timeless distress symbol: S-O-S. Marsh grass and a symbolic pair of white “shrimp boots” also are highlighted in the beautiful design. In addition, related retail merchandise (hat, tee shirt, lapel pin, decal and car magnet) are on sale at a special website created for the fund, and 100% of the net proceeds also go to the SOS Fund. Online donations can also be made directly to the fund at the site. The beer is an unfiltered Weizen Pils made with Pilsner and Wheat malts. It is hopped and dry hopped with Sterling and German Perle hops. It has a brilliant gold color, a sweet malt flavor and a pleasant bitterness and aroma. The brew is 7% alcohol by volume.

Send Your Own S.O.S.
An innovative new website has been created to support the charitable efforts of Abita and to spread the word about the Gulf Coast crisis. At consumers can discover additional ways to help the region recover from the oil spill disaster. They also have the unique opportunity to “post an SOS” of their own within an interactive on-line coastal scene that doubles as a fully integrated social media site. Consumers choose from a shrimp boat, crab, fish or pelican to represent their post and then write a short message that will be displayed along with their animated character within the interactive coastal scene. Posters can also opt to share their messages of hope, inspiration or frustration about the oil spill with their Twitter and Facebook accounts and tell the world about what is happening along the Gulf Coast. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Louisiana Seafood in New Orleans - May 26, 2010

Check out...Your Place or Mine?

Every week I will introduce a new southern recipe or one of our many amazing restaurants in a segment I will call "Your Place or Mine?" . I will randomly pick a dish and make it for my family and or friends or if we head out to eat highlight the dish and restaurant. When I do the cooking, I will "make  groceries" (cajun term for going grocery shopping) locally and incorporate Louisiana flair whenever possible. We are so blessed to have such wonderful seafood.......trout, red fish, catfish, shrimp, crawfish, oysters, crabs along with delicious fresh local produce. And YES, we still have seafood in Louisiana! Delicious and SAFE seafood!! If anything we probably have the safest seafood in the country because of all the testing and re-testing that is being done daily....hourly. Now that's not to say we aren't holding our breath to see how this oil disaster plays out in the future. But for now we sigh with relief that there is hope in sight and that we can some how hold on to family traditions and generations of an industry that makes Louisiana what it is!!!   

And if you are in the Ascension Parish area check out Cajun Catch Seafood Market & Deli in Gonzales, Louisiana (view their facebook page for the address, directions and all their information including some pics of beautiful Louisiana seafood!) 

Wonderful CCA luncheon at Drusilla Seafood...Tears for dessert!

JT and I attended our CCA (Coastal Conservation Association) luncheon today. We had a wonderful lunch together......pecan crusted fish, green beans with sausage and some amazing mash potatoes with cheese, bacon.....need I say more! The turnout was incredible but we already knew it would be because they had a very special guest speaker.....Billy Nungesser! Billy is a straight talking, no BS parish president in Plaquermine Parish. You may of seen him lately, tirelessly fighting with BP and gang on the oil disaster. CCA has also been very involved in developing and implementing a long term plan to make sure BP pays for what is coming years down the road. So we got through tough information, remembrance of the 11 lives lost in the blast and updates from CCA. And did I mention the introduction of an 11 yr old boy, Rory McCracken who on his own has developed his very own website to raise money to save the gulf (see link below)! Then they introduced Billy to the crowd standing on their feet with gratitude.....well if you know me, you know I cry at Hallmark commercials! It has been all over the news for over 3 months but seeing him right in front of me and the emotion on his face was just too much to take. I quickly recovered with a "little pat" and look of encouragement from JT. So even though Mr. Nungesser is the president of a parish around 70 miles away from our parish we all have him and his team to thank for all the progress so far on what will sure to be a long difficult recovery! We struggle here in Louisiana, its a double edge sword....the survival with the oil industry that has been such an important part of the economy and the need for more regulation and safety measures. The oil is capped for now but please check-out the following websites for how you can help financially or with your time to save our coast!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A little Swamp Pop soothes the soul.....

Attended the Swamp Pop Festival in Gonzales Friday night! Another wonderful turn-out and great music, food, socializing and most importantly the biggest Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser. People come from all over Louisiana to attend this popular festival, filling the hall with folding chairs and filling the parking lot with camper trailers. JT and I went Friday night so we could check out a band he has been reading about from Lafayette LA. called Travis Matte and the Kingpins. I have to admit they were good! 

As I was watching them play I could just imagine "back in the day" when Zydeco bands like this played on the front porch during a hot summer evening.......and couples dance the jitterbug till they drop!     
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