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Gourmet Galley: Pimento cheese makes a comeback

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS  -- Pimento Cheese Spread can be served on a sandwich, crackers, a vegetable round or celery sticks.

Southerners have always liked a well-seasoned pimento and cheese spread. Each family had its favorite way of mixing the spread and what went into it. Some families liked it creamy with lots of homemade mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish, others only liked it made with sharp hoop cheese, Miracle Whip salad dressing and dill pickles. Pimento cheese… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Recipe reminiscent of Bananas Foster

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  For an easy, yet decadent dessert, prepare Banana Toffee Croissants.

Vacations and traveling, in general, are good times to throw caution to the wind and never is that more desirable than when choosing dessert. We may not opt for desserts much in our day-to-day meals, but come vacation time, well, let’s just say that’s another story. Lately, there’s interest in croissant-type desserts so I played around… Continue reading →

Eat Your Vegetables: Complement the season’s first sweet potatoes

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --  With Louisiana's new crop of sweet potatoes available, now is a good time to try Oven-Candied Sweet Potatoes and Tangerines (or Satsumas).

This candied sweet potato recipe is different from most in that the peeled sweet potato wedges are cooked in apple juice and brown sugar. When the potatoes are tender, sliced tangerines (or satsumas) are layered over the potatoes and heated through. The citrus permeates the syrup, and it’s the perfect complement to these first sweet potatoes of… Continue reading →

Creamy soup recipe a Sweet Rewards winner

Photo provided by Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission  --  Samantha Foglesong of Baton Rouge takes first place in the 10th annual Sweet Rewards recipe contest's fresh category for her Creamy Smoked Sweet Potato Soup. The contest is sponsored by the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission, along with Louisiana Cookin’ magazine,

Baton Rouge resident Samantha Foglesong won first place in the fresh category of the Sweet Rewards Recipe Contest by pairing smoked sweet potatoes with crabmeat in a creamy soup. The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission, along with Louisiana Cookin’ magazine, last week announced the winners in the 10th annual contest. Foglesong was awarded $500 for her… Continue reading →

Healthy choices Cancer diagnosis leads to life-changing diet

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Jan Hansbrough changed her diet after her diagnosis with breast cancer.

Jan Hansbrough, 61, has always liked vegetables. As the price coordinator for the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Coursey Boulevard, she praises her co-workers and customers for choosing healthful foods. “Even as a kid, I always loved eating vegetables. I used to eat two ears of corn on the cob for dinner,” she said. Now, her… Continue reading →

Here are 10 new ways to try butternut squash

Photo by Helana Brigman  --  Butternut Squash With Dried Cranberries and Honey-Infused Vinaigrette is a takeoff on the popular carrot and raisin dish.

Just as you’re finally finishing up the mounds of zucchini that have haunted you all summer, autumn’s overabundance of butternut squash hits you. Time for some fresh ideas. But before we get cooking, let’s talk prep. Butternut’s thick skin and rock-hard flesh can make the peeling, seeding and chopping part of the meal a challenge.… Continue reading →

Halloween treats can be hard on braces

Photo provided by chef John Besh  --  Orthodontic patients -- and others -- will appreciate delectable Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.

Popcorn, candy corn, caramel apples, candy with nuts and lollipops — all popular Halloween treats — could mean a trip to the orthodontist for people with braces or clear aligners. Halloween tends to be a busy time for orthodontists because patients indulge in treats that they should try to avoid, damaging their braces or aligners. That’s… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Savor these cookbooks over holidays

Just in time for the fall holiday season come “Southern Holidays” by Debbie Moose and “Sweet Potatoes” by April McGregor, the latest additions to the University of North Carolina Press’ delightful “Savor the South” series of cookbooks that looks at the favorite foods and culinary traditions of the American South. Like the eight previous volumes in the planned 24-book… Continue reading →

What’s Happening for Oct. 23, 2014

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Brusly will hold its 34th annual “Feast on the Levee” from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The event will include a Cajun food fest with dishes prepared by parishioners and a cake-baking contest. It will… Continue reading →

Altering your diet while diagnosed with cancer

Can diet cure cancer? Doug Kaufmann published “The Fungus Link” in 2001, but scientific evidence supporting his antifungal diet theory is lacking. He said he will have an article in the November/December issue of the Oncology News publication. Other popular diets such as Atkins or The Caveman Diet follow some of his dietary principles.… Continue reading →

Snack on the go: Baton Rouge entrepreneur hopes 'Iconic' builds new genre

Photo provided by Be Well Nutrition Inc.Billy Bosch, a Baton Rouge native, markets the

A new protein drink now on the shelves in New Orleans could help establish an entirely new genre of beverage.
The Louisiana-born co-founder of the Iconic healthy “lifestyle beverage” promotes his product as a “snack drink.”
“It’s a whole new realm of drink, and one that we think is on the rise,” said Billy Bosch, a 31-year-old LSU alumnus.
Iconic is… Continue reading →

Fresh Ideas: Bake ‘beautiful bread’ at home with this no-knead method

Photo by Helana Brigman  --  Easy Ciabatta Bread requires only four ingredients.

Perhaps I’m a purist, but there is such a thing as fresh, beautiful bread. No, not the industrial loaves packaged in sleeves at your local supermarket, but real bread with deeper flavors and crispier textures. Part dense and part light, good bread conceals its fluffy white insides beneath a golden sturdy crust. Slice into… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Add deboned chicken thighs, spinach for a hearty mac and cheese main dish

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- For a hearty main dish, add chicken and spinach to macroni and cheese.

Macaroni and cheese has been in the limelight for the past year or so. Yes, it’s everything from the granny-type casserole of yellow cheese (or a cheesy product) to exotic cheese blends melted and folded into cooked macaroni. How it’s served determines where it fits in the menu. I’ve seen mac-and-cheese balls for appetizers, mac-and-cheese cakes as… Continue reading →

Children with cancer also face difficulties with food

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Natalie Porta is the pediatric clinical dietitian nutritionist at Our Lady of The Lake Children's Hospital. The drinks are nutritional supplemental shakes for patients.

Feeding growing bodies is tricky enough for most parents, but for parents whose children are undergoing cancer treatment, getting them to eat enough to keep up strength and energy to face a normal day is the ultimate challenge. According to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital Pediatric Dietitian Nutritionist Natalie Porta, children undergoing cancer treatment can… Continue reading →

What’s Happening for Oct. 16, 2014

Red Stick Farmers Markets reopen for fall In addition to the Red Stick Farmers Market’s two year-round locations, its five seasonal Baton Rouge-area locations are now open for the fall season, a spokeswoman said. The year-round locations are open from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursdays at 6400 Perkins Road behind Pennington Biomedical Research… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Foolproof muffins are this easy

I can’t pass up a new cookbook by Jean Anderson. With her background in food chemistry, I know the book will include plenty of useful information and its recipes will always work. Her latest cookbook is no exception. Anderson has had lots of experience baking muffins, the subject of her latest book. She was only about 4 years old… Continue reading →

Bites of History: Cooks didn’t always have handy appliances; Guess what these utensils did ...

Photo by Cynthia L. Nobles  --  Braised Beef Short Ribs With Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes is seasoned with freshly ground whole peppercorns, which in past centuries would have been stored in a spice box.

Even though our modern kitchens are full of appliances that slice, fry, broil, stir, beat and grind, we still often complain there isn’t enough time to cobble together a meal. But imagine being transported back to a time when there wasn’t such a thing as an electric mixer or even a stove and you had to get… Continue reading →

Think beyond Thanksgiving pies with canned pumpkin

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Pumpkin puree's rich flavor and creamy sweetness work great in both sweet and savory dishes.

Let’s talk about one of the season’s most iconic vegetables — canned pumpkin. Yes, canned, because that’s how 99 percent of us get our pumpkin. Which is fine except for one thing — Americans overwhelmingly associate canned pumpkin with just one dish (pumpkin pie) and one day of the year (Thanksgiving). But canned pumpkin actually has all… Continue reading →

Eat Your Vegetables: Au Gratin ‘delicious’ with grilled chicken

Advocate file photo  --  Squash au Gratin

The Advocate’s food staff featured this simple and tasty squash dish in the 1999 Food Focus Encore booklet “New Century Celebrations.” Use the recipe now but keep it handy because it’s a good one to serve during the holidays, which are just around the corner. A small square of this is delicious with grilled chicken or fish.… Continue reading →

What’s Happening for Oct. 9, 2014

Sandra Roberts, national sales director for Plumpjack, Cade and Odette Wineries and an LSU graduate, will be a special guest at the Oct. 22 Plumpjack-Cade wine dinner at Juban’s Restaurant, 3739 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge. An hors d’oeuvre reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Soup for all ages

Advocate file photo  --  Chicken Tortilla Soup

All I need is a cool snap to get a pot soup on the stove. This Chicken Tortilla Soup is easy to put together and one my family likes. It’s a semihomemade recipe using cooked chicken, canned and frozen vegetables, along with sautéed fresh vegetables. This is a soup all ages enjoy. Pass separate bowls of avocado… Continue reading →

Cochon D’Play Smoke team takes title

Photo provided by David Fontenot --  Members of the Cochon D'Play Smoker team, from left, Bryan Fontenot, Elizabeth Grace Fontenot, Arlin Fontenot, David Fontenot and Wesley Fontenot, show off their prizes after being named the overall winners of the first St. Aloysius Catholic church 'Holy Smoke!' barbecue competition on Saturday, Oct. 4. The team also took first place in the Wild Card category and second in the Pork Shoulder category.

The first “Holy Smoke!” barbecue competition at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Baton Rouge attracted 20 teams who vied for bragging rights in four categories: Ribs, Brisket, Pork Shoulder and Wild Card. Taking top prize as overall winner in the Oct. 4 event was the Cochon D’Play Smoker team of Bryan Fontenot, Arlin Fontenot, David Fontenot, Wesley… Continue reading →

Nutrition guidelines for cancer patients can help with treatment side effects

Photo by Colette Dean  --  Colorful Broccoli, Bacon and Grape Salad With Quinoa is a high-protein variation of the popular sweet and sour broccoli salad.

When undergoing treatment for cancer, nutrition has never been more important. While your body is waging war with cancer cells, appetites can suffer and fatigue can make it hard to muster energy to prepare meals. With help from a trio of experts from Woman’s Hospital — registered dietitian Brooke Schoonenberg, chief clinical dietitian Paula Meeks, and oncology… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Diets and accepting cookies

Photo by Cheramie Sonnier  --  Katherine Anders' Oatmeal Spice Cookies With Cinnamon and Nutmeg

After spending four days at the Association of Food Journalists conference in Memphis, Tennessee, and then munching my way through Kentucky and Alabama for another week, I came home with the intention of avoiding anything with sugar, flour or an abundance of butter in it. Not an easy endeavor when you live in south Louisiana and write about… Continue reading →

Memphis cuisine: Barbecue and a whole lot more

Photo by Cheramie Sonnier  --  For a healthful vegetarian Southern lunch, chefs Feliciana Suzanne Willett, Miles McMath and Ernest Dixon, along with blogger and cookbook author Justin Fox Burks, offer a Study of Corn, left, with Inner City Succotash, Cracked Corn Grits and Crispy Late Tomato, and, at right, Charred Mushroom Tamales with Bonnie Blue Goat Cheese Crema and Smoked Sweet Corn. The dishes were served at Feliciana Suzanne's Restaurant in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, for an Association of Food Journalists luncheon.

Memphis, Tennessee isn’t just barbecue and fried chicken anymore. Today, it honors its traditional food culture while embracing multiethnic cooking, vegetarianism, locally sourced foods and white tablecloth dining. There are still plenty of local pitmasters offering visitors their take on barbecue, including barbecue pizza, the local dish known as barbecued spaghetti, and barbecued Cornish game hens… Continue reading →

Chef makes a case for modern omakase dining at Shogun in Metairie

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Seared yellowtail belly, an exmaple of the contemporary sushi at Shogun in Metairie

Some culinary pyrotechnics are always part of the hibachi restaurant experience, and Shogun in Metairie puts on the usual performance at its griddle-top group tables. These days, however, the real fireworks at this sprawling suburban Japanese restaurant take flight at the sushi bar, specifically the corner that is the roost of the sushi chef everyone calls… Continue reading →

Fresh Ideas: No apple today; take pears to the next level

Photo by Helana Brigman  --  For a pretty fall treat, make Candy Pears dipped in dark chocolate and coated with chopped nuts.

Every grown woman has that one treat she just can’t say “no” to. For me, it’s candied apples; I just love them. With their crunchy, chocolate-covered exterior and their crispy, sweet apple insides, candied apples invoke my favorite fall flavors. And, they’re fun to eat! This recipe for Candy Pears was born out of my love… Continue reading →

Shake the Salt Habit

Photo provided by American Heart Association  --  Cheesecake Dainties feature won ton wrappers sprinkled with crushed graham cracker to create minibaskets for the cheesecake-style filling

Put down that salt shaker and check the amount of sodium in the prepared foods you buy. That’s the message the American Heart Association is promoting during National No Salt Week, which begins Friday and runs through Oct. 10. “The goal for No Salt Week is to ask people to remove the salt shakers from… Continue reading →

Leaning on the muffuletta: Metairie’s Linda Jumonville lands in national cooking contest with her low-fat take on N.O. classic

Photo provided by Pillsbury  --  Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest finalist Linda Jumonville, of Metairie, hopes to wow judges with her Open-Face Italian Turkey Sandwiches, which she describes as a leaner version of the muffuletta.

Lucky recipients of New Orleans native Linda Jumonville’s cooking don’t believe her when she tells them what a terrible cook she was when she married in 1968. Jumonville, who will be among the 100 contestants participating in the 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off on Nov. 3 in Nashville, Tennessee, for the $1 million grand prize, said… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Cookbook has plenty to chew on

HHH “The Chew: A Year of Celebrations” edited by Ashley Archer and Jessica Dorfman Jones Kingswell, $19.99 255-page paperback Fans of the television lifestyle show “The Chew” will welcome the latest cookbook from its five hosts — Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz. “The Chew: A Year of Celebrations” includes recipes from each host, along with… Continue reading →

What’s Happening, Oct. 2, 2014

Whole Foods Markets will host sea-to-table tastings during Thursdays in October during which guests can tour each store’s seafood department, sample fresh Gulf seafood, taste wine pairings and learn ways to prepare seafood. Tickets are $25 per person. Sales benefit the Audubon Nature Institute Gulf United for… Continue reading →

Farmer Nick Usner keeps his hands 'in the dirt'

Photo by Jyl Benson  --  Nick Usner starts the day before dawn harvesting okra grown in his fields at Grow Farm in St. Tammany Parish.

Nick Usner’s father was an organic pig farmer who suffered a fatal heart attack while jogging at age 44 when his son was just 13. Though his time with his son was cut short, the impact of Thomas Usner’s long days “in the dirt” with his son was profound.… Continue reading →