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A healthy steak, yes, it exists! Well, kind of...

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Cauliflower is a veggie steak favorite, its flavor enhanced by the high heat of grilling or roasting, which coaxes out a sweet earthiness.

We finally live in a world where going meatless on Mondays can appeal to even the enthusiastic carnivore, which is why vegetable “steaks” are becoming increasingly popular. The concept is pretty simple. We cut up thick slices of veggies — often eggplant, portabella mushroom caps, heads of cauliflower — and grill or broil them just as we… Continue reading →

Review: Excellent food, good atmosphere make up for less-than-stellar service at Bin 77

Advocate photo by Ellen Zielinski  --  The shrimp and crab au gratin offered a pepper jack cheese sauce with seafood and roasted poblano peppers, served with a side of French bread.

For our first foray into the world of food writing, we sought out a classy date-night dinner venue, Bin 77. The restaurant mostly delivered on its promise of good atmosphere and delicious food. Located on a corner in Perkins Rowe, the former wine bar expanded to include a lovely courtyard for outdoor seating and a… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Apple Almond Cake

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Apple Almond Cake

Let’s talk desserts. Better yet, let’s eat them. Perhaps you’re the family member signed up to bring something for an upcoming Fourth of July celebration. There’s an easy way to contribute without a lot of stress. Desserts are always good choices to bring to any gathering, namely because most people love them. Even though I like… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Blueberries

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Grandma's Blueberry Lemonade

The biggest and best blueberries are in the stores and at our farmer’s markets now. Those delicious berries with their silvery bloom are especially good this year. That silvery bloom, you know, is their own natural, protective waxy coating. Take full advantage of these delicious blues by adding a handful to your cold or cooked cereal,… Continue reading →

Man enough for the kitchen? These books aim to help

Associated Press photo -- 'Man Food' by Billy Law

Unmanly men need not apply. Or maybe I’m just being overly sensitive. Because just in time for Father’s Day, there’s a whole crop of new cookbooks aimed at guys, and I don’t feel nearly manly enough to cook from them. I suspect that’s kind of the point. Not to make me feel badly, but rather to… Continue reading →

What A Crock!: Raspberry Ribs

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Raspberry Ribs

Baby back ribs frequently go on sale at my grocery store and when they do, I stock up. Typically, barbecue is my favorite go-to dinner, but there are other equally good flavors, and I am trying to branch out. How often do we go back to the same favorites and neglect trying new choices? Whether we’re talking… Continue reading →

Set your mind to taming fire beast for a great steak

Advocate photo by Teresa B. Day -- Broiled Flat Iron Steak served next to Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad With Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Normally, I go all out for Mother’s Day with a fancy lunch, printed menus and the good china — the whole nine yards. But on Father’s Day, I try to let the dads be. A nice piece of red meat and an uninterrupted golf nap and they are usually happy. There’s just one problem… Continue reading →

Eat Your Vegetables: Wilted Spinach Salad

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Wilted Spinach Salad

This Wilted Spinach Salad is different from the ones we used to make. The first wilted spinach salads I made had you fry bacon and use hot bacon fat to drizzle over and wilt the spinach. I remember those salads well, because that was my first introduction using raw spinach in salads; granted, that’s going back… Continue reading →

Farmers market sets date for Farm to Fourth

The Red Stick Farmers Market will hold its second annual Farm to Fourth market Thursday, July 2, at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge. The Farm to Fourth celebration will feature samples and Fourth of July supplies from farmers and food artisans, including Cutrer’s Meat Market, Re: Salad Dressing & Marinade, Papa Tom’s,… Continue reading →

Tomato Me Crazy celebration set Saturday

The Red Stick Farmers Market features Louisiana tomatoes in the annual Tomato Me Crazy celebration Saturday. Held at the corner of Fifth and Main Streets in downtown Baton Rouge, the market will feature face-painting by Liz Lopes, tomato giveaways at the coffee booth and a tomato-themed art booth as part of the Red Stick… Continue reading →

Meat, potatoes cooking contest set

Junior’s Meat Market, 17050 High Water Road, French Settlement, will hold a steak, pork chop and potato cooking contest 8-11:15 a.m. on June 27. Ribeyes, T-bones or Porterhouses may be entered in the steak category. The pork chop category includes pork chops and pork steaks. Baked potatoes may be filled with anything. The dish must… Continue reading →

I Eat La.: Chicken, the versatile protein; including tomato basil chicken served over buttered Parmesan pasta

Advocate photo by Teresa B. Day -- Tomato Basil Chicken

Every day when I pick up my girls, I am asked the same two questions: “Can you turn off the ’80s station?” and “What’s for dinner?” No matter what protein I respond with, one will say, “Yum,” and the other will just groan and stuff leftover crackers in her mouth from her lunchbox. The exception… Continue reading →

What A Crock!: All that Zest! Chili sauce provides a spice to milder eggplant

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Chili Eggplant

Chili sauce is one of those ingredients strongly associated with certain recipes. I use it mostly in a meatball appetizer and one particular chili recipe, but it’s a great flavor for lots more. In this case, it provides both the necessary liquid and flavor for the mild-tasting eggplant. You don’t want a sauce of any kind to… Continue reading →

Frittatas: Ultimate have-it-your-way meal

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Pepper Steak Frittata

Frittatas are like quiches without crusts, and that makes them an ideal fast and simple weeknight dinner. They also are the ultimate have-it-your-way meal, and that makes it easy to feed a family of — inevitably — picky eaters. You all get to enjoy the same meal at the same time, but you aren’t… Continue reading →

Close to home: Baton Rouge Table Touts its local farm-to-table approach

Advocate photo by Teresa B. Day -- Table's fried green tomatoes are battered in a crispy cornmeal crust and served with blackened shrip and drizzled with cool green goddess dressing.

When you’re a restaurant staying true to the farm-to-table movement, a fox in the henhouse can be a problem. But for Table Kitchen and Bar owners Scott and Michelle Wilson and executive chef Curtis Froelich, it’s an opportunity. “When the truck pulls up and you don’t know what’s in it, it’s like opening a present,” Scott… Continue reading →

Country Roads to honor two Covington chefs

Country Roads magazine will honor four chefs — two from Covington — at the second annual Small Town Chefs Awards. Breanne Kostyk, of Ox Lot 9 at the Southern Hotel, and Torre and David Solazzo, of Ristorante del Porto, both of Covington, will be honored along with Carol Baugnon, of Creola Cafe in Grand Coteau, and… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Add greens to chicken: Chicken and Hearts of Palm (Or Artichokes) Over Spinach

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Chicken and Hearts of Palm (Or Artichokes) Over Spinach

Dress up your entree tonight by layering chicken over a bed of sautéed spinach then topping it with a simple sauce. Have you noticed in magazines that sautéed greens are being tucked under entrees from chicken dishes like this to fancy steaks? I had a big bunch of spinach and used that for this… Continue reading →

Happy trails mix: Woman’s skills as chef lend well to hiking passion

Photo provided by Katherine Gividen -- Katherine Gividen is pictured with her son, Dustin Schafer, on the Appalachian Trail on the Pennsylvania/Maryland border. They hiked the AT in 2011 and 2013.

Katherine Gividen greets most people wearing hiking clothes and a big smile. Her passion is hiking, which she promotes as an instructor of the LSU leisure backpacking class, president of the Louisiana Hiking Club and through her job as an outdoor specialist at a local retail store. But it wasn’t hiking trails that… Continue reading →

5-day culinary camps cater to kids

The Southern University AgCenter, in collaboration with the LSU AgCenter, will sponsor a youth cooking school, “Creating Healthy Enjoyable Foods,” or CHEF. CHEF is open to children ages 9-11 on July 13-17 and ages 12-14 on July 27-31. The camp is designed to teach basic cooking principles and nutrition education based on the USDA’s recommendations and… Continue reading →

Review: From Mexican standards to unique twists, Cabo’s Grill serves it up right

Advocate photo by GEORGE MORRIS -- The brisket tacos at Cabo's were acceptable, but nothing special.

We’re not snobs about chain restaurants, because they wouldn’t become chains unless people liked the original restaurant’s fare. But we still like a stand-alone restaurant that adds its own flair to familiar dishes. So it is with Cabo’s Grill in Zachary. Not everything we tried there was a home run — the baseball analogy is appropriate because… Continue reading →

Perfect grilling weather is straight ahead!

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Goat Cheese-Stuffed Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Memorial Day is behind us, so that means there’s nothing but summer — and perfect grilling weather — straight ahead. Try a finger-friendly dish of grilled onions and peppers, grilled sweet potatoes stuffed with creamy goat cheese, smoky chicken bathed in Alabama white sauce (proof that good things actually do come from Alabama), kick up… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Veggie variety, liquid level affect cook time

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  Apple Acorn Chicken

Last month, I spoke at a healthy eating/heart health trends luncheon meeting with cardiac nurse Christa Wilborn. Wilborn prepared boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the oven, and I lamented how many slow-cooked dishes involving boneless, skinless chicken seemed drier than their bone-in counterparts. While that is often true, it doesn’t mean they can’t be successfully… Continue reading →

Looks like a banana, but eats like a potato! It’s a plantain

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Tostones Eggs Benedict With Cilantro Sauce

My 16-month-old daughter has started identifying her favorite fruit, joyfully crying “ba-TA-ta!” as soon as she spies the cheery yellow fruit in our produce basket. She repeats its name in the hopes that I’ll work my mummy magic on the banana, snap the peel open and reveal that sweet, creamy goodness within. And… Continue reading →

Asparagus, pork gussied up with a lemon-truffle sauce

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- Grilled Pork Chops and Asaparagus With Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette

One of my favorite summer meals is asparagus and pork chops cooked to perfection on the grill. It’s a fast and effortless meal that is perfect for summer weeknights. Often I’m happy with nothing more than some salt and pepper; these ingredients are so good in their own right — especially when grilled… Continue reading →

Memories of Ebarb: Member of Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb writes cookbook to keep traditions alive

Sun Herald photo by Tim Isbell -- Dorsey Ebarb Bronson talks about her book, 'Louisiana Cooking by Native American Choctaw-Apache.' The book includes recipes and childhood memories.

Dorsey Ebarb Bronson, of Mobile, Alabama, hopes the best way to a lawmaker’s heart is through his stomach. She’s a member of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb, on the Louisiana side of the Sabine River near the border with Texas. The tribe is recognized by the state but not by the federal government. Bronson compiled… Continue reading →