Celebrate National Cheesecake Day with a sweet dessert

Photo provided by Restaurant R'evolution  --  Serve Restaurant R'evolution's Creole Cream Cheese Mousse With Strawberry Gelee in celebration of National Cheesecake Day on July 30.

Cheesecake lovers now have a sweet summer holiday — National Cheesecake Day, being observed on Wednesday. In celebration of the food holiday, whip up a dessert featuring Creole cream cheese, a treat enjoyed in Louisiana since the 1800s. Restaurant R’evolution Executive Pastry Chef Erin Swanson incorporates Creole cream cheese in a dessert she calls Creole Cream Cheese Mousse With Strawberry Gelee. She garnishes it with lemon curd… Continue reading →

Muffin Meal 

Associated Press photo by MATTHEW MEAD -- Broccoli Cheddar Breakfast Muffins

Wouldn’t you love to start your day with something tastier and more substantial than that all-too-typical bowl of cold cereal? It’s so boring day after day. And, most cereals won’t tide you over until lunchtime. Here, then, is a meal in a muffin, a delicious and substantial alternative to the usual breakfast fare. The base is a mix of white whole-wheat and all-purpose flours. Don’t fret over the whole wheat. White whole-wheat flour — which… Continue reading →

‘Country Gourmet’ yields great fig preserve recipe

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  This summer has brought a bumper fig crop. It's time to make fig preserves.

Summer is fig season, and from all reports, this summer’s crop has been excellent. My dear friend and canning buddy Virginia Noland and I have made all kinds of preserves in more than 20 years of cooking projects, but our few attempts at fig preserves have been less than successful. Our last try produced jars with hard, shriveled figs. My previous failures with figs left me with mixed emotions when Wayne Daigle brought… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Brisket stash can save money, time

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS  --  Slow-cooked Bourbon Brisket makes enough for two meals.

Recipes that offer more than one meal always hold great appeal for busy families. Whether you cook an entire week’s dinner on a weekend or prepare a large amount of a particular recipe, meals-in-waiting are useful, like reaching into a treasure chest at the end of just about any challenging day. That idea always comes to mind when I run across a great sale at the meat counter. If you have freezer space,… Continue reading →

Fresh Ideas: Strawberry salad makes elegant summer meal

Photo by Helana Brigman  --  Consider serving Strawberry Spinach Salad With Goat Cheese, Pancetta and Bourbon-Candied Pecans for a light summer meal.

Sweet summer strawberries bedded with soft goat cheese make for a wonderful combination in any salad. To liven things up, consider crisping some pancetta or bacon in a skillet and sprinkling the meat over your salad for a salty twist. Still want a salad with a little something extra? Try my recipe for Bourbon-Candied Pecans to add an extra-sweet, candylike final touch. Sweet and salty, crunchy and warm, this Strawberry Spinach Salad With Goat Cheese, Pancetta… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Cakes for beginners and experts

“Southern Living The Southern Cake Book” edited by Allison E. Cox Oxmoor House, $22.95 254-page paperback HHH Reviewer’s rating HHHHOutstanding, HHH Excellent, HHGood, HFair I don’t know if our extra cold winter had anything to do with it, but my fig trees and those of my neighbors have yielded bumper crops of fruit. That, of course, leads to looking… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Get creative with versatile, sweet corn this summer

Advocate staff photo by  April Buffington  --  Carribean Okra, Corn and Tomatoes is colorful and pretty enough to serve straight from the skillet.

No matter our age, I think we all have a love for fresh corn. For years, I only knew of boiled corn slathered with butter, fresh corn soup or maque choux, or maybe I should say those were my favorite corn dishes. I also remember that all of them cooked on the stove for a LONG time. If there is one thing I’ve learned and enjoyed lately, it is to not overcook corn. With… Continue reading →

Celebrating the Piña Colada

Photo provided by Caribe Hilton  --  Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico is celebrating the 60th anniversary of what it says is the Original Piña Colada.

Puerto Rico’s Caribe Hilton is sharing what it says is the original Piña Colada, Puerto Rico’s official drink. Its famed Piña Colada recipe turns 60 next month, just a few weeks after National Piña Colada Day, which was July 10. The hotel is hosting a Piña Colada festival on Aug. 16 to kick off its year long festivities. Caribe Hilton says its Oasis Bar is where bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero created the coconut, pineapple and… Continue reading →

N.O. chef hits the ring in ‘Food Fighters’

NBC photo by EDDY CHEN -- Oregon cook Elisha Joyce, left, host Adam Richman, center, and New Orleans chef Kevin Belton are seen in the premiere of 'Food Fighters.'

Even the most well-seasoned cooks feel the pressure. Just ask New Orleans chef Kevin Belton, who’ll appear on the premiere of NBC’s reality cooking competition series, “Food Fighters.” The show pits one home cook contestant, favorite recipes in hand, against five veteran chefs from across the country. Cat Cora (“Iron Chef”) and Duff Goldman (“Ace of Cakes”) are also among the well-known TV chefs on the first episode. “Everybody says,… Continue reading →

Ready to get rolling Rethinking rolls for a filling, packed lunch

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Quinoa Lunch Box Rollups

With a new school year on the horizon, it’s time to think about what’s for lunch. Brown-bagging it is plenty economical, but a steady diet of sandwiches becomes boring pretty quickly, to say nothing of the fact that all those servings of refined carbs simply don’t provide the energy necessary to power you through a long afternoon. So here is an alternative to the typical sandwich — colorful veggie/protein rolls that are light, yet still… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Reorganization turns up old recipes

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- For an easy slow-cooked dish, try Chili Cheese Spaghetti Squash.

There’s nothing like summer organizing and that includes the kitchen. Clean out old frozen foods that somehow got stuck behind other things; stack and weed out plastic storage containers; clean out old spices and under-the-sink cleansers. Recycle old cooking magazines, perhaps donate cookbooks you no longer use, and maybe update really old cookie sheets or cookware. Since I frequently use my slow cookers, I find that while I clean the inside stoneware where the food cooks,… Continue reading →

Eat Your Vegetables: Strawberry & Watermelon Salad refreshing, pretty

Photo by California Strawberry Commission  --  Strawberry & Watermelon Salad offers a refreshing taste of summer.

This is truly a refreshing summer salad. It’s mostly strawberries and watermelon with just enough arugula to make it pretty. Freshly chopped basil complements the sherry vinaigrette. The recipe calls for topping the salad with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses or balsamic syrup. Both ingredients are available in specialty grocery stores, but there are many recipes for making these reductions (or syrups) on the Internet. You will have to make more than the tablespoonful it calls… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Steakhouse butter really lifts homemade pork chops

Photo provided by National Pork Board --  Serve Dry-Rubbed Porterhouse Pork Chops With Steakhouse Butter with a baked potato and your favorite spinach dish.

Wow your family or guests when you treat them to delicious and juicy pork chops topped with a savory butter. Just like in a restaurant, serve them with a baked potato and your favorite spinach recipe. The recipe for Dry-Rubbed Porterhouse Pork Chops With Steakhouse Butter has a little more to it than a regular grilled chop, more like you would find in a restaurant, but it is easy enough to do at home. Follow… Continue reading →

Local restaurateurs feed ideas to farming symposium

Advocate staff photo by ARTHUR D. LAUCK -  Chappapeela Farms' baby ducks spend time in an indoor outdoor barn and run before heading out to the fields.   MAGS OUT / INTERNET OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC. OUT/GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT OUT/225 OUT/10/12 OUT/IN REGISTER OUT/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/MANDATORY CREDIT THE ADVOCATE/ARTHUR D. LAUCK.

A luncheon featuring locally harvested fare paved the way for the second annual Farm to Table International Symposium, which will be held in New Orleans on Aug. 2-4. The theme for this year’s Farm to Table International Symposium, “The Process,” will explore the best practices for urban farming, bringing products to market, sourcing locally, sustainability and what to expect when the Food Safety Modernization Act is implemented. The process for bringing the second annual symposium,… Continue reading →

Symposium to feature LSU AgCenter findings

The LSU AgCenter has launched a two-year comparative organic tomato study that will be a major topic at the upcoming Farm to Table International Symposium in New Orleans. For the study, the AgCenter planted vegetable gardens in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport to evaluate commercial fertilizers over organic types in vegetable gardening, to monitor disease and to study the microbial qualities of irrigation water over the growing season. Researchers are growing Bella Rosa tomatoes, multiple varieties… Continue reading →

N.O. CoolBrew celebrates 25 years of cold drip coffee

Advocate photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- Harli Lyons packages coffee at the family-owned CoolBrew facility in New Orleans on May 28, 2014.

The popularity of New Orleans Coffee Co. Inc.’s CoolBrew cold-brewed, fresh coffee concentrate has spawned imitators. Competitors in California, New York and Alabama are making what they call “New Orleans ice coffees but we are the original ones,” said Danielle Boyce Batten, who manages the brand. “Ours is the most concentrated cold drip, cold brewed,” added co-owner Greg McCrory, whose father, the late Phillip McCrory, created the coffee concentrate in 1989. CoolBrew has been… Continue reading →

What’s happening for July 17, 2014

Galatoire’s Bistro, 3535 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, will hold a five-course, local breweries beer dinner at 7 p.m. July 23. The dinner will feature selections from NOLA Brewing Co., Tin Roof Brewing Co., Parish Brewing Co. and Bayou Teche Biere. Cost is $60 per person, including tax and gratuity. The menu will include Citrus Poached Lobster paired with Parish Brewing Co.’s South Coast Amber; Pork Pâté… Continue reading →

Enjoying blackberries an easier way

Photo provided by Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission -- For a delectable twist on the classic summer berry shortcake, try Blackberry Almond Shortcake.

Remember picking blackberries as a kid? Trying to keep from being stuck by the thorny bushes, watching out for snakes, wasps and other unwelcome critters, and baking under the summer sun? Your sweet reward — a big bowl of plump, purplish-blackberries sprinkled with sugar and swimming in milk or cream — was worth the effort. Now, you can walk into many grocery stores’ produce departments and see displays of delicious summer berries, including blackberries.… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Wonderbag brings something new to the age-old methods

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Chicken Liguria is started on the stovetop, then moved to the Wonderbag.

Through the years, there has been an influx in new ways to slow cook. It once was rare to see anything new in the method besides the cooker’s colors, shapes or patterns. Then came improvements in settings, allowing for ways to keep foods warm after they are cooked, or timers that allow even greater convenience for those who need it. It is still rare to find a change in how to slow cook. There is now one… Continue reading →