Sunday, August 12, 2012

Make Your Own Chipotle Ketchup


Why on earth would I make my own ketchup, you ask. I know you're asking that because I would ask the same thing. But trust me.....(my eyes swirl and hypnotize you) Trussst me...There are things I would never try to cook. Lasagne - I've tried. It's hard and it falls apart and Stouffer's is good. Canned ANYTHING. Did you know that if you don't do it right, you can kill people with your canned food? Kill them!?! This is pressure I do not need. Frying things- too messy. If I want catfish, I'll go somewhere to get it. I don't often eat fried food anyway.

However, I'll give you three reasons to make you're own ketchup:
1) It just tastes so much better than store bought
2) You can make it with Splenda, thus eliminating some sugar (Don't get me wrong, I love sugar, but I prefer my sugar in delicious cake or cookie form, rather than drinking it or in things that can be sugar free and just as good)
3) You can add chipotle to it and God(dess) knows, if I could add chipotle to everything, I would.

And as an added bonus, it's super easy and you can impress your friends and family. Gnawing at the bit, now, aren't you??

Grab your whisk and away we go...

Chipotle Ketchup
6 ounce can of tomato paste
Apple Cider Vinegar
Splenda
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Sea Salt
Cloves
Pepper

Whisk the tomato paste with enough apple cider vinegar to get it to a ketchupy consistency (technical words...I know, don't let that scare you) Add two heaping tablespoons (approx) of Splenda and a pinch of cloves. Add garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and pepper to taste.
Place the entire contents of a jar of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in a food processer and whir until smooth. Keep this in your frig to add to everything. Cole Slaw dressing, eggs, bbq sauce, cream cheese, mayo, meatloaf, chili...seriously -- everything! Add a heaping tablespoon to the ketchup mixture and whisk.

Chipotle Ketchup is fantastic with steak fries or on a burger or hot dog. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Is Surreality a Word? A Week of Vegas and High School Reunion

I recently took a week off work and, well...you know me. Never one to sit at home and waste a day off with cleaning or actually doing something productive, I headed out on an adventure. The first part of the adventure was spent in fabulous Las Vegas with a couple of fabulous girlfriends (Catz and Pam) and then I flew straight from Vegas to my 30 year high school reunion in Tulsa. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Plus, my friend, Jimmie lives in Vegas half the year (working for the World Series of Poker) AND we went to high school together, so it was like doubling down. Or something like that.



Catz, Pam, and Me
 
When people find out you're going to Vegas, the first thing out of their mouths is 'Where are you staying?'. I am so over the Strip. I've stayed at Paris, MGM Grand, Mirage, Treasure Island (many times as I had  comped room there for about a year and a half for some unknown reason), Ceasar's, Bally's and I don't even remember where else. The sheer size of these places annoys me. I still like to visit them, but I hate coming 'home' to them at night (okay, early in the morning) and having to walk five miles to get to my room. Or having to pack a snack and a bottled water just to make the trek to the pool. I once walked from one resort to the one next door and it took 45 minutes. I feel the same way about large resorts anywhere. Too big, too impersonal. Give me a small boutique hotel or a b and b anytime.


Shrine in our room to Zula, my Voodoo Gambling Goddess (that's her with the pretty feather headdress in the middle) Offerings include stripper heel, WSOP laniard, chocolate Whipahol, beads, a cigarette, candles, tokens, an Altoid and ticket stubs.
 
I love downtown. I know it's not for everyone. It's kinda seedy and little weird, but then again isn't that what Vegas is all about?? Everyone on the Strip looks the same. Middle aged women in khaki or jean shorts, a tshirt, athletic shoes and a baseball cap. And just so you know, I call that the 'I've completely given up-middle aged woman uniform'. Yuck, yuck, yuck. It's like being at the mall at home, but with slot machines and packs of Asians. And, yes, the Bellagio is really pretty, but nobody freakin' smiles there. No one is having fun!!

But downtown? You can see people half dressed, people in fun costumes (and not just the ones that want you to tip them for a picture!) scary people, people who probably just escaped from prison and the hookers are much easier to spot. There are also some great restaurants and bars downtown. So, yes, I stay at a little tiny hotel/casino a block off Fremont Street called the Gold Spike (we lovingly call it the Crackwhore Casino of the Damned).

The staff at the Spike (who we know by name) is so helpful and nice and actually seem happy to have you there. As my friend, Catz says 'They look you in the eye and smile'. A man named Reverend (is that his real name?) makes some delicious food at the little diner (clean and great prices) and Joe is our bartender. LisaMarie is rockin' the front desk. We arrived super early in the day this time and were sitting in the bar having bloody breakfast and waiting to check in when Marchelina, one of the housekeepers, came by vaccuuming. We automatically lifted our feet for her to vacuum under and laughed about how we used to do that for our Moms. From then on, she was our best friend and had beach towels delivered to our room and anything else we needed.


Ms Catz chillin' in the pool
 
Okay, so the neighborhood isn't fancy, the elevators are slow and the hallway of the 6th floor reeked like potato chips and smoke, but the rooms are clean, the pool is nice and uncrowded and the price is so right, it's almost free. Seriously...$30 a night. No frig (buy a cooler down the block at Walgreens, Joe will fill it up each morning with ice), and no safes (don't bring any jewelry you aren't going to wear every day). Plan accordingly. I like the Spike. No judging. It's my blog, anyway.

I deffered to my professional photographer friend, Catz, to take pics this trip. I've been slacking lately on the pics, but I did get some fun ones of the Neon Boneyard. It's an outdoor museum of all of the old signs in Vegas. The tour takes about an hour and even at 10 am it's hotter than hell. You have to wear closed toed shoes due to gravel and possible broken glass and I suggest minimal clothing, an umbrella and a bottle of water. If you've won big the night before, possibly a pool boy to spritz you with Evian and fan you. It was definitely worth it -- very, very interesting and great photo ops.

Here's their link. You should go there next time you're in Vegas for something different
http://www.neonmuseum.org/



Old Gold Nugget sign. That is the nugget!


From Treasure Island
One of those Stardust stars would be fab in my living room!!!


Attack of the giant ducks!!!! Ugly Duckling Used Cars


Why, yes I am. Thanks for noticing.



Part of the Stardust sign


Aladdin's Lamp

The Silver Slipper. Rotated on a big pole like this one next door to the Desert Inn, where Howard Hughes was a recluse. He thought there was a camera in the shoe watching him.

From a pool hall. Mullett Man





Another highlight of the Vegas trip was seeing Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns at the Palms.

The best of the best Vegas musicians get together one night a week when they're off from their regular gigs with the big musical productions such as Jersey Boys and Phantom. They are incredible. Jaw dropping. As an added bonus, we got to sit in one of those lovely half circle banquette booths and sip cocktails. I could've listened to them for another two hours. Swankalicious.

And that's about all that I'm going to report on Vegas, because you know what they say. I did get to throw the dice in craps for the first time (and threw one clear off the f'ing table, much to the amusement of my friend, Jimmie), earned a nickname at Mermaid's casino - 'Berrynice'. See last year's Vegas blog for reference, partied and ziplined with Elvis down Fremont Street. And I have to say, if you don't have a friend who owns an Elvis suit and brings it to Vegas with her...well...you ain't livin'.

Unapologetic Vegas Randomness: Glow in the dark KISS themed mini golf, party room, gift shop and 'Hotter than Hell' Wedding Chapel. Wow.

That's me behind Catz (Elviz?) Pam in on the bottom left in the crowd taking pics




You've been a very naughty girl
 

Karma: Walking into a casino with your friend dressed as Elvis and two other friends and finding four open Elvis slot machines in a row.

 
From Vegas, I flew into Tulsa for my 30 year high school reunion. Let the surreality continue. I stayed with my parents and we feasted at some of my favorite places in town - Old School Bagels, Hideaway Pizza and The Wild Fork.
Yes, food is a very important part of vacation. If you don't agree, I just don't understand you.

Wild Fork Omelette with cheese grits and fruit. My Mom and I split this and couldn't even finish it.

Hideaway Pizza. Oh, Baby.
The reunion was lots of fun. Getting together with people I grew up with is both cool and surreal. It's a little like going back in time, especially since I don't live in Tulsa anymore and don't just randomly run into these people all the time. Everyone looked great and we had a blast. As far as I know, nobody got scandalously drunk or anything fun like that.( I would've totally videoed that for my blog, are you kidding? Wondering now why I didn't buy rounds of shots. Maybe I was just expecting a cocktail waitress to bring some by) I drove by the house I grew up in and had a Koolie from Quik Trip and my time travel trip was complete.


Tour of the school!!! This was pretty fun.

This is where we used to park in our high school lot, known as Bong Row, because the stoners parked there, too. Too...I said too. That's my Dad's car and he lets me drive it when I'm in town because he's nice like that.

Me and Laurie

Laurie, Me and Toni
 

Scott, Toni and Lolly
 



Toni, Laurie and Me. Laurie didn't even go to high school with us, but she is our perpetual party bud, so she joined in the fun, good sport that she is




 One more random thing about Vegas -- we got a little lost due to navigational error one day and ran upon this building. It's the Center for Brain Health designed by Frank Gehry. Pretty fantastic, even in the land of strange buildings.



Another fun adventure. Sometimes it's really great being me.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Limoncello - the Perfect Summer Cocktail


Limoncello is an Italian Lemon liqueur, mainly produced in Southern Italy (or in my kitchen). It tastes like sunshine. Limoncello is a perfect after dinner drink, served very chilled or over ice and it makes a bad ass addition to a lemon daquiri. I would also add a splash to a dirty martini, because I'm just fabulous like that.

10 Lemons
1 750 ml bottle of good quality Vodka
3 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
Seriously, just double the above, because you're going to want more than one batch.

Peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler (this is by far the most difficult part of the recipe and it will be worth it, I promise!) Peel ONLY the yellow part and try to get none of the white pith because that will make your Limoncello bitter like a bad teenage breakup. If you end up with some white on your peels, simply scrape it off with a small, sharp knife. Place the peels and the vodka in a large container (I used a suntea jar) and let it sit at room temperature for two weeks. I picked it up and swirled it around every couple of days, just because it was fun.

**NOTE: Don't waste those little nekkid peeled lemons! Juice them and add water and Splenda to taste and you will have some AWESOME lemonade. Vodka optional in this one.

After the two weeks, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves - about 5 minutes. Cool completely and add to the vodka mixture, stir and refrigerate overnight. Strain the peels out of the mixture and transfer to bottles that you can cork or seal. 

Old wine bottles with the labels removed work well, as do Lorena French Lemonada bottles or you can buy fancy ones at Pier 1, The Container Store or Hobby Lobby (makin' likka is MY hobby!)  Pier 1 has really pretty bottles like the one on the right in the pic and they're not too pricey.

Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Limoncello makes a great gift.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chipotle Honey Lime Roasted Chicken and Greek Roasted Chicken

Greek Roasted Chicken
Okay, I'll admit it....until recently I had never roasted a chicken. I know, I know, my Grandmother would roll over in her grave, but it just seemed pointless since buying a raw chicken and going to all that trouble costs only about a dollar less than an already cooked rotisserie chicken. Until I roasted my first one. OMG....moist...flavorful...delicious! Now I'm hooked. Here are two recipes that are wonderful (As if you had any doubts) You can easily roast two chickens on Sunday and have plenty of leftovers for the busy week. The Honey Lime Chipotle one is really good served in tortillas, also.


This is the gross part...you have to release the icky raw chicken from it's package (some people say wash it, some say don't bother, so I didn't bother) and then (hang on tight!)  you have to stick your hand up inside the cavity (EEEWW!!!!) and take out the scary and strange assortment of things that someone has stuffed up in there like some sort of crazy freakin' meat by product pinata. Seriously...this is disgusting. There is liver, a neck and God only knows what else in there. It really made me seriously reconsider my eschewing of med school because after that, I think I could totally rock being an Obstetrician.  Cut off any extra skin that is around the cavity (Plastic surgery, oh yeah...now I'm kinda getting into it)

Place the bird on a broiler pan with foil around the bottom and the top sprayed with Pam for easier clean up. Then season as directed in the recipes below. Baste? Ummm...I can't because all of the drippings are in the bottom of the broiler pan. So, save some of the marinade out in a seperate bowl and dilute with some wine/olive oil/broth for your basting needs. More on that later.


This is the finished Greek Chicken. Opa!!!!

Chipotle Honey Lime Roasted Chicken Ingredients

Ready to go in the oven

Ready to eat.

Greek Roasted Chicken
One Chicken (about 4 lbs)
Salt
Lemon Pepper
Thyme
Oregano
1 lemon
1/2 a yellow onion (cut in 4 pieces)
Olive Oil
8 cloves of garlic
Garlic Powder
After following the prep instructions above, you have your chicken on the broiler pan. Preheat your oven to 375. Pour a little Olive Oil in your hand and give the bird a little rub down. Then squeeze the lemon over and inside the bird. Stuff the used lemon halves, garlic cloves and the pieces of onion up into the cavity. That's right, I know..eww. Just do it.

Sprinkle the chicken generously with Oregano, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Lemon Pepper and a little Salt.

Place it in the oven - you will probably have to lower a rack.

Make a simple basting sauce of olive oil, wine, spices, and a little chicken broth or bouillon. Baste every 15 minutes until the last 45 minutes, then stop basting so the skin can get all nice and crispy. After cooking, let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before carving. This is really good with rice and veggies and/or Caesar Salad.


Chipotle Honey Lime Roasted Chicken

One Chicken ( about 4 lbs)
1/2 cup Mayonaise
Splash of Olive Oil
Zest and Juice of 1 Lime (keep used lime halves)
4 Tbsp pureed Chipotles in Adobo sauce (puree the entire contents of the can)
Salt
Pepper
Honey (to taste - about 4 Tbsp)
Fresh Cilantro - some chopped some left on stems
Half a Yellow Onion - cut into four pieces

Prep chicken as directed above. In a large bowl whisk together the Mayo, Chipotle, Olive Oil, Lime Zest, Lime Juice, Honey and Salt and Pepper to taste. Reserve 1/4 cup of Mayo/Chipotle mixture in a seperate bowl. Brush non reserved Mayo/Chipotle mixture generously over and inside chicken. Sprinkle generously with chopped Cilantro. Stuff bird with used lime halves, Onion pieces and Cilantro on the stem.

To the reserved mixture, add a splash of white wine, some more olive oil and or some chicken broth. This will be used for basting. You remember basting? It's what we used to do with baby oil to our bodies when we laid out by the pool back in the 70s to get that 'savage' tan.

Bake at 375 for about 2 hours, basting every 15 minutes (careful not to wash off the cilantro) at first, but then don't baste the last 45 minutes.

My Grandmother would be proud!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New Orleans ~~ Girl Trip 2012




I earn my beads the old fashioned way. At parades!

Oh, yes...I know what it means to miss New Orleans. I hadn't been there in years. So you can imagine how excited I was to get back there for Girl Trip 2102 -- which, incidentally, is the 15th year that Pam and I have been Girl Trippin' for her birthday. Okay...there have been several that were not her birthday, but it's a milestone to celebrate. Any reason to celebrate, after all...
Oh, yes, I know that New Orleans can be considered sleazy. And parts of it may be, but I love the diversity, the architecture, the history, the characters, the show.








First...the apartment. Oh my freakin' Goddess. This apartment was fantastic. Two bedrooms, exquisitely decorated with antiques and art, the home of a local art dealer. It even featured a large and gorgeous balcony that was just feet from the corner or Bourbon Street and St. Ann. It slept 6 comfortably and was drop dead gorgeous. Yes, I outdid myself this time. Thanks for noticing. :)

The living room, complete with Baby Grand piano. The window to the left of the piano served as the door to the gorgeous balcony.


We spent lots of time on our balcony, which was just steps from Bourbon Street. Many of the horse and carriage tours stopped to look at our balcony and take pictures. People would yell to us 'Your balcony is beautiful. You're so lucky!'.

The Courtyard


Master Bedroom -- it was huge! There was also a second bedroom with two queen beds

Look at that chandelier!!!


The china cabinet kept opening by itself. A little spooky.

Fireplaces in the bedrooms. Love it.


We hung out in the French Quarter, napped one afternoon when it rained, lounged on our balcony, walked around. One afternoon there was a parade that we could see from our balcony and when people walked by afterward, we threw them beads. That was fun! Pam, Laura and I went to the Krewe of Pontchartrain parade, which was a BLAST! Who knew that standing out on the street yelling for beads and catching them from the floats was so much fun?! The crowd was amazingly well behaved and everyone was polite and shared beads and gave the stuffed animal throws to children. That made me extra happy.

We took a tour of the Garden District and Cemetary one morning. The Garden District is a neighborhood of about 1000 mansions and gingerbread houses that originally began in the mid 1800s for the newly wealthy 'genteel' population of New Orleans who didn't want to live in the French Quarter with the working class.
This place is swankalicious...


The Manning Home. Yep, I mean Eli and Peyton.
Surprised that I know who they are, aren't you?

Anne Rice's former house. The home of  'The Mayfair Witches', one of my favorite books.


12,000 square feet for sale at $12 million. A steal.

Festive door wreaths everywhere for Carnival

Sandra Bullock's house. Gorgeous!

House where Benjamin Button was filmed
The tour we took was with "Free Tours by Foot", which -- yes -- is free. Actually it's for tips only, which is great and our tour guide, Sarah was extremely knowledgable.

The cemeteries in New Orleans are interesting and known as Cities of the Dead. The above ground tombs act as ovens and they say it takes 'a year and a day' for a body to completely decompose and turn back to dust. Many people are buried in these family vaults. When they open it up to add a newly deceased family member, they place what's left of the most recent burial in a special burial bag and move it into the 'basement' of the tomb. The remains of the coffin are then burned in ovens located within the cemetery. There are many notes of people in this cemetery that died during a Yellow Fever plague and one tomb that contained about 10 children of one couple who died in infancy or childhood. Heartbreaking.

This cemetery is the fictional home of the Mayfair Witches tomb and the vampire Lestat's tomb

Sarah, our tour guide

Fireman's Tomb



People leave tokens and toys at the tomb of the orphan boys to ward off a little boy demon and keep him happy.


Open tomb

You can see how this would work as an 'oven'

The ferns are called 'Resurrection Ferns' and feed off decomposing bodies

Food....Well, you know me and you know that eating is a big part of traveling for me. The food in New Orleans is delicious. It's hard to find a bad meal. Hope you're hungry...
This was one of the best things I've ever eaten. At Camellia Grill in Carrollton (we rode the streetcar up there, it was fun!) Pecan Pie....warmed up on the grill while being slathered with liquid butter. (no...really) Then served with ice cream AND whipped cream. Oh, Baby...

Cheeseburger at Camellia Grill with grilled onions. Fantastic and such a fun place.

Workin' hard at the Camellia Grill. The waiters are also cooks, singers, comedians. And extremely flirtatious. So much fun!


Pat O'Brien's - we went on a rainy day and huddled under an awning. The food was hit or miss. My muffaletta was 'eh', but Laura's shrimp and cheese grits were awesome. Fried Gator was surprisingly good. (Yep, tastes like chicken) The Bloody Mary was good, spicy and garnished with spicy pickled green beans.

Burger at Yo Momma's Bar and Grill with mushrooms and blue cheese. Fab!

Belle, Tara and Laura at Yo Momma's (Or is that the ghost of Belle??)

Steak and Lobster for Pam and Belle at Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar and Bistro. Delicious food, great wine selection. Located at 720 Orleans Avenue in the Quarter


My Barbeque Shrimp at Orleans Grapevine. (red eye reduction - on)  It was fabulous. I also had a cup of wonderful gumbo

Laura had scallops wrapped with bacon and served over a mushroomy sauce. Delish.
Shrimp Po boy at ?? I don't remember but it was good. We had just gotten to town and were hungry. I also ate  fried oysters for a couple of meals, but obviously they were so good that I forgot to take a pic.

Random Fun, N'awlins Style
He had the biggest balls on Bourbon Street and that's saying a lot

Show you my tits? For plastic jewelry? Oh, Honey, you've got to be kidding.

Saturday Night on Bourbon Street


Cheers!

At Prima Donna's Closet - a designer consignment store owned by my cool friend, Stephanie, whom I met years ago while vacationing on Isla Mujeres.

Stephanie and Me
These were calling my name...in a sexy Southern accent. I surprisingly succumbed.

Splendid gowns. I could so rock that one on the right

All dressed up for Mardi Gras at Prima Donna's Closet on Royal Street in the Quarter


This was the most fun night out, as we ended up at Parade, a fabulous gay bar, which was right next door to our apartment. It was sing along night and we lost our little minds!

The video screen shows a tribute to Whitney Houston and the back of a dancer who was on the bar at Parade can be seen . LOL

This is Carter. He was adorable and smelled really good.

Me, Tara and Pam

Sammy ~~ my favorite bartender (except for Steve at Casa Sirena) EVER!!!!!!!! He would come over to our corner of the bar and at the crescendo of a song, he'd throw about 20 cocktail napkins in the air like confetti.

Dancer on the bar

Belle and Pam


What happens in NOLA stays in NOLA. Except for what goes on my blog

Random guy, Pam, Tara and Sammy

The dancer looks like Chris Kattan from SNL

At LaFitte's Blacksmith Shop. Great piano player/singer.

Me, Laura, Pam and Tara

Random Bourbon Street dude who had boobs drawn on him.

Duh...



Me and Laura at the Oyster Bar

Pretty Girls - Tara and Pam

Parade of the Krewe of Barkus ~~ Dog parade! So incredibly cute. Dogs of all kinds and sizes dressed up.

By our front door

Bite it like a Pirate!

St. Louis Cathedral

Pam had a Tarot reading at Jackson Square

Pretty balconies

View from our balcony

No one rocks the Hokey Pokey like Belle!!!

Tara very cutely vamps it up

The piano player likes Melissa

Birthday Girl!!

In addition to all that fun, some of us had readings at Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo with Phillip Humphries, who (altho I didn't know it at the time) is THE psychic of NOLA. His readings were very specific and all four of us were impressed. I have to be honest...he scared me a little. There is no way on earth that he could know such personal and specific things about me that he knew. If you are into that type of stuff (and I really only do this in NOLA) I highly suggest a reading with him. I'm still pretty freaked out by it.
Another fun, spooky story from our trip - Belle awoke Saturday night in the middle of the night and saw the ghost of a woman standing in the corner of her bedroom. She blinked hard, and looked again and sure enough, she was still there. The pretty lady had long salt and pepper hair and looked to be in her mid thirties. She was wearing a purple blouse and was holding a large feather. Belle decided that the spirit was not going to hurt her and tried to go back to sleep, but she kept feeling the feather tickling her nose. Finally, Belle gave up and got up to go out on the balcony to have a cigarette. At that time Melissa came home with her cousin and her cousin's husband, so Belle felt a little better. The next day, when Melissa was home alone, she said she felt a presence in the kitchen with her, like she wasn't alone. It scared her a little, so she went into the living room and turned on the tv.


So, there you have it ~~ fun, food, drinks, ghosts, pecan pie, mansions, cemeteries, drunks, balconies and beads. Mardi Gras is coming soon, so here are a few inspired recipes. Happy Mardi Gras!!!!




Jambalaya

Olive Oil ( about 3 Tablespoons)
White Onion - chopped
Celery (about 5 ribs) - chopped
Bell Pepper - chopped
Minced Garlic - 2 heaping tablespoons
3 cans of petite diced tomatoes
Emeril's Bayou Blast seasoning
32 oz carton of chicken broth
Smoked sausage - sliced
about 2 chicken breasts- torn into bites
1/2 - 1 pound of shrimp - cut off tails
Louisiana hot sauce
salt/pepper
bay leaf - 2
About 2 cups of minute rice

Cheats: I buy a whole rotiserrie chicken and tear off what I want to use in the jambalaya and use the extra with the extra celery to make chicken salad. Shortcut - buy the shrimp already cooked at the seafood counter.

This makes a big pot!
In a large pot, saute the Bell Pepper, Onion, Garlic and Celery in the Olive Oil until softened and onion is translucent.

Add Tomatoes (juice and all), Chicken Broth, Chicken and Sausage. Add two or three Bay Leaves and then add Bayou Blast, Hot Sauce, Salt and Pepper to taste. You can always add more later.

Simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.

Add minute rice and cook until the rice is done.
Add shrimp until warm (if precooked) or done.
Serve with hot French Bread and buttah!

Big Easy Key Lime Pie (not technically NOLA food, but served  at many places there and not technically that big, but definitely easy)

Graham Cracker crust (make it or buy it, whatever finds your Nemo)
2 (14 oz) cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk (fat free works, too)
1 c Key Lime Juice
Whipping cream
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 key limes (or small limes) for zest and garnish

Preheat oven to 325. Whisk together the condensed milk, lime juice and 1 tsp of grated lime zest. Pour into prepared crust. Bake for 25-28 minutes until center is set. Cool.

Whip cream with powdered sugar and vanilla. Don't you dare use Cool Whip on this. It's nasty and made of chemicals. Slice limes into thin slices for pretty garnish. Chill until ready to serve.

Southern Black Eyed Pea Salad

2 cans of Black Eyed Peas (15 1/2 oz each) drained and rinsed
3 ripe Tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 cup thinly sliced Red Onion
1 bag (10 oz) washed Spinach leaves, tough stems discarded
4 strips of Bacon (yeah...'healthy' this salad up a bit, Sugah!) cooked crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup toasted Pecans (coarsely chopped)
Dressing:
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp each Salt and Pepper

Whisk dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in black eyed peas, tomatoes and onion. Cover and chill. Just before serving add Spinach leaves and toss. Garnish with bacon and pecans.

Mr B's Barbeque Shrimp New Orleans Style
(copied from their website)

Don’t break out your grill for this dish. Here in New Orleans, barbecued shrimp means sautéed shrimp in Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce. We serve these shrimp with heads and tails on, so you need to dig in to enjoy. I highly recommend a bib.
We are famous for our barbecued shrimp, and with reason. The biggest trick to making this taste like ours is to not hold back on the butter. The three sticks called for are enough to scare you into cholesterol shock, but are key to the flavor and consistency of the sauce. Another tip to keep in mind: to emulsify the sauce, be sure to add a little butter at a time while stirring rapidly. And don’t overcook the shrimp or they’ll become tough and hard to peel.
16 jumbo shrimp (12 per pound, about 1 1/2 pounds), with heads and unpeeled
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed

French bread as accompaniment

In a large skillet combine shrimp, Worcestershire, lemon juice, black peppers, Creole seasoning, and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute on each side. Reduce heat to moderate and stir in butter, a few cubes at a time, stirring constantly and adding more only when butter is melted. Remove skillet from heat. Place shrimp in a bowl and pour sauce over top. Serve with French bread for dipping.

Yield: 4 appetizers or 2 entrees







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Some of these entries are vintage travel reports and have been restored from a lost blog. I hope you enjoy them.