Monday, August 30, 2010

The Saints and hanging out in New Orleans!

If you caught my last post then you already know that I surprised JT with pre-season Saints tickets. We took off Saturday afternoon and headed to the Big Easy for some fun and relaxation. After checking in to our hotel we immediately visited one of JT's spots, a home away from home when he is there on business. Not only is it directly across from the New Orleans Convention Center the couple that own it are like family to JT. The bar is called The Corporation, a hole in the wall for sure! The bar was completely destroyed after Hurricane Katrina, not by the storm per say but the vandalism. But they recovered and are trying to keep it going as the convention business slowly comes back. We stopped in to say hello and enjoy some really cold beers. But Ms. Pat would not let us go without making us one of her poor boys...we choose the soft shell crab. It was delicious!!

Then to the dome for the game, the city was nuts! I had never been to the stadium before so I was very excited...and it did not disappoint. The game was pre-season but you would not of know it by the size of the crowd or the enthusiasm. The game was great and we met a lot of great people around us...sooo friendly!

The next day we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather, we had a cool front come in over night. That may sound funny but it was wonderful and very noticeable cooler with no humidity, if you have ever been here in August then you know what I mean. We decided to drive down to St Charles St., home of all the historic beautiful homes. We noticed the street cars running and what a perfect day to take advantage of the weather and the views from the street cars. I have always wanted to ride them but after Katrina they were not running for a while. After our ride we drove over to City Park and took a stroll through the park. It really is amazing and thank goodness has been restored since the storm. Before we left we could not pass on lunch at one of our favorite places...Ralph's on the Park. The restaurant is directly across from the park, we discovered it a couple of years ago when we visited the park for a Christmas event. It is a small intimate place, warm and friendly. On this Sunday they had a wonderful piano player Joe Krown, there to play for their traditional southern Sunday jazz brunch. It could not of been more perfect after a wonderful night before celebrating but a personal Sunday phone call from my sister in Florida that my mother is ill. JT and I were able to sit and just relax and take in the distractions of the music, people watching, friendly bartenders and oh the food! JT and I decided to start off with a Bloody-Mary for him and a Mimosa for me.  After much deliberation we decided as we do most of the time to try two different dishes and share. I chose the CRABMEAT RAVIGOTE NAPOLEON, layers of Israeli couscous & roasted corn, jumbo lump crabmeat & ravigote, topped with Barrilleaux Farm's creole tomatoes & English cucumbers tossed in a salsa verdĂ©.  JT chose the traditional Louisiana TURTLE SOUP to start and the CAJUN SCOTCH EGG , a soft boiled egg, creole country boudin, cheese grit soufflĂ© and corn maque choux. It looked so interesting already but the surprise was the egg was in the boudin!

It was a great weekend with my husband, hope you enjoyed the slide show! 

Check out these links:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Your Place or Mine?

This week we stayed in for appetizers and drinks as we are "saving ourselves" for our big night in New Orleans the next day! I surprised JT as I was able to get tickets for the Saints pre-season game against Texas Saturday night! He will be traveling most of fall this year and I thought this may be our only opportunity to see the Saints play...not to mention that the pre-season availability and affordability was much more manageable! I have never been in the Superdome so JT is very excited for me! The French Quarter and Dome is sure to be electric since this will be their first game home. I will be sure to post pictures and my experience (if I can but here are the dishes we tried Friday night:

Antipasto Platter

I bought a mixture of artichoke hearts, olives, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella cheese, Genoa salami and placed on a platter. Drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with sprinkle of Italian seasoning. Some dishes are so simple but have a high impact! This platter would be great for tailgating too! 

Crawfish and Corn Egg Rolls

I got this recipe from a local TV show and decided to try them out! This recipe is an excellent creative way to use your leftover crawfish from a boil! You can make these ahead of time and keep refrigerated for up to 24 hrs. 

I have to admit I was intimidated with the egg roll concept but this was so easy I will be stuffing everything in an egg!

You will need:

1 pd package of Louisiana Crawfish tail, drain the liquid from the packaging (or leftover tails from a boil, just do not use anything from China! Read the package because they package their tails to look and sound like its from Louisiana but it is not!)

Package of egg roll wraps (find them in your produce section)

1 8oz container of Philadelphia Garden Vegetable cream cheese

2 ears of fresh corn, cut kernels off the cob

1 1/2 c. of frozen seasoning blend (pre-chopped onion, celery, bell peppers)

1 tbsp of butter

Sprinkle of Cajun seasoning, to taste. ( if you use leftover tails from a boil do not season the dish)

Cooking Oil

Remoulade dipping sauce or your favorite sauce


Saute the seasoning blend and corn in butter till the seasoning blend is wilted and the corn is cooked but still has a slight crunch.....should be around 10 mins. 

Add the crawfish tails and saute together for another 5-8 minutes  

If your tails are not seasoned, add salt, pepper and your favorite Cajun seasoning to taste. You can make these egg rolls mild or as hot as you like! I went on the mild side and had a spicier sauce on the side for dipping.

Combine your crawfish mixture and 1/2 container of cream cheese in a bowl. Mix gently till the cream cheese melts and coats the crawfish mixture.

Place one egg roll wrapper on plate (be sure to separate to just one wrapper, they will be on the thinner side and are stuck together). Place the wrapper with a corner facing you so you are looking at it like a diamond shape on the plate.

Fill the wrapper in the middle with mixture....about 2-3 tbsp

Wet the edges of the wrapper with your finger with water

Fold the left and right point inward and then fold the point closest to you inward, now roll the wrapper tightly to the end. Make sure the final point is wet to hold on the roll. Once you do one, you are good to go!

Heat your oil in a pan that will allow you to brown the rolls in about 2 inches of oil. I used my cast iron skillet. You want your oil to heat to around 350 degrees. To tell that the oil is hot enough just put a tiny piece of wrapper in the oil, if it immediately starts to "roll" in the oil then you are good. If you have a cooking thermometer than use it!

Place rolls in oil, and cook both sides till golden brown. DO NOT walk away from the rolls....have metal spatula or tongs available to turn. Place rolls on paper towel to drain.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, I bought Louisiana Fish Fry brand Remoulade has a little kick! A good ranch dressing or cocktail sauce would be good too!

Use your favorite dishes, garnish and enjoy!   



Thursday, August 12, 2010

Your Place or Mine?

Cajun Shrimp Burger
Voted Best Burger in Louisiana by The Food Network!

Featured in the June/July 2009 issue of the Food Network Magazine
stuffed with jalapenos, piled high with Louisiana sauteed shrimp, jack cheese, and more jalapenos - spicy!

This week while running errands in Baton Rouge, we decided to finally check out

Mason's Grill

Since we moved here we have seen that famous ad featuring the above Cajun Shrimp Burger. It was voted by The Food Network's Best Burger Contest (50 states-50 burgers) as Louisiana's top burger! The burger did not disappoint, it was amazing! JT and I decided to split the dish since it was lunch for us and we are so glad we did!  

Check out the website!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our little girl turns 21...southern style!

Alexa turned 21 yesterday and celebrated with traditional southern red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing topped with martini, hurricane and margarita sugars!   I can't take the credit for these delicious treats, I ordered them from our local favorite Ambrosia Bakery in Baton Rouge. 

Check out their facebook page, they ship!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dinner + Balloon Festival= A lot of fun with my daughter!

Pennington Balloon Festival, Baton Rouge, LA.

Your Place or Mine?

Hot Summer Nights!
Light and Easy is on the menu tonight!

Southern Favorite.......Tomato Tart (or sometimes called "pie")
Olive Pasta Salad

These extremely easy but impressive dishes are also great for a brunch, shower or as a light side dish to your barbecue! 

Tomato Tart

1 ready-made 9 inch pie shell (found in the freezer section)  
1-2 Large Tomatoes
1 8 oz. package of shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tbls. chopped green onion
3 tbls. chopped fresh basil 
1 tbsp of E.V.O.O (extra virgin olive oil)
salt/pepper, to taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (this dish is worth using your oven in the summer!)
Let your pie shell sit out for a few minutes to thaw right before you are ready to start. (take a fork and poke bottom of pie shell a couple times, this will prevent the shell from "swelling" during baking.)
Slice tomatoes into 1/4-1/2 in. slices and place on paper towel to drain while preparing filling.
Spread the mozzarella cheese evenly on the bottom of the pie shell
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
Sprinkle chopped fresh basil and green onion over cheese
Place the sliced tomatoes on top of the pie, arranging to cover as evenly as possible 
Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese
Drizzle with olive oil
Bake for 30-35 mins. (check pie at 25 mins. in case your oven cooks hot like mine!)
 Slice in wedges and serve warm or at room temperature. 

Olive Pasta Salad

16 oz. package of pasta ( I used the tri-color curly pasta)
16 oz. of Olive Salad ( I used our locally made Boscoli brand, you can find it in the olive/pickle section in the grocery store)
6-7 oz. of Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/4 c. of chopped green onion
1 jar of Salad Sensation seasoning (reddish mix, find it in the seasoning section of the grocery store)

Cook pasta, drain well and put in a large mixing bowl
Add jar of olive salad
Add Parmesan cheese, reserve some to sprinkle on top
Add chopped green onion
Add seasoning mix ( I don't recommend adding any other seasoning until you taste, seasoning mix and Parmesan cheese should be sufficient!) 
Toss together and sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.
Chill for at least 2-3 hrs or for best results make ahead of time and chill overnight in refrigerator.
The olive oil will thicken when the pasta salad is chilled, take out of refrigerator 20 mins. before serving!

 To make this dish a main course, just toss in cubed cooked chicken(a rotisserie chicken from the grocery works great!) or cooked/grilled shrimp (if you use shrimp from a shrimp boil cut back on the seasoning mix!). 

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

Monday, August 2, 2010

"Save Our Gulf" Initiative from Guy Harvey!.....Very Cool!

The “Save Our Gulf” Initiative

It has taken a while to execute this latest project, but I have released three new designs to raise funds for research work on marine life affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Two of these custom images are appearing on t-shirts under the appropriate title of “SAVE OUR GULF”, while the third image will be released as a unique poster. Fifty percent (50%) of the sale price of these items will go toward the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Gulf Fund.

These items will be available through all the usual retail channels and outlets, such as Beall’s Dept Stores in Florida, Bass Pro Shops, Academy Sports + Outdoors and Hibbett Sports, as well as many independent stores around the southeastern US. Additionally, south Florida’s biggest newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel, is featuring my art – and these designs – in a special editorial on Sunday to increase awareness and encourage people to participate in this project.

While the “bottom kill” procedure is scheduled to end the leak of oil by July 30 there is still a huge volume of oil floating around the gulf, some of which will make its way into the Atlantic Ocean. We need to find out which marine creatures have been affected the most and which have survived by tolerance or evasion. We must also gather information on mortality, particularly of larval and juvenile stages of the many marine species that spend long periods near the surface. This knowledge will assist in predicting recruitment of species important in recreational and commercial fisheries for several years to come and will greatly assist us in preparing mitigating measures against any future spills.

In initiating this project, I am enabling people who want to contribute to the research effort to do so by purchasing a unique design in support of the GHOF Gulf Fund. The funds will be collected and administered by the GHOF and then distributed to organizations currently conducting marine research work in the affected area, such as the University of Florida, Mote Marine Laboratory, the University of Alabama and the CCA.

There are many other worthwhile projects happening. For example, the government of the Cayman Islands, where I live, just announced its intention to assist with hosting turtle eggs and hatchlings that are being relocated from affected beaches on the gulf coast. The Cayman Turtle Farm is the only commercial turtle farm in the world, and they have the capacity and ability to assist in this effort (their initiative is being sponsored by the Tortuga Rum Company and Cayman Airways), so agencies responsible for such action would do well in accepting such a generous offer.

I look forward to your comments and your assistance in raising funds for this worthwhile initiative. Take action now and get involved. Meanwhile fish responsibly and dive safely.

Guy Harvey

A Taste of Louisiana with local Chef John Folse...check it out!
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