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Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro hits the mark from start to finish

Photo by Tim Arnold -- The fig cobbler with brandy sauce at Jolie's Louisiana Bistro was outstanding.

Sometimes eating out is about sustenance, and sometimes it’s the night’s main event. Our party enjoyed the latter recently at Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro in Lafayette. Elegant yet relaxed, we enjoyed good food and good conversation with charming service. The doors of the spacious dining area open up to the view of a beautiful dark… Continue reading →

The next course at Arnaud’s? A new one.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--The sister and brother team of Katy and Archie Casbarian run Arnaud's Restaurant together and are beginning to put their own stamp on the menu.

The black drum Mitchell was arrayed at a jaunty angle, its bright, light-tasting sauce was a reduction of bouillabaisse broth and it rested over a cool, crunchy tangle of mirliton slaw. It was nothing revolutionary, but it did feel contemporary and since it was served at Arnaud’s Restaurant, the dish was definitely a signal.… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: How do you like your apples?

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Enjoy the new crop of apples by using the simple recipe for Baked Apple Halves.

The new crop of apples is arriving at stores, so this is a good time to enjoy the best of the season. After you have enjoyed eating a few apples out of hand, then try baking some for dessert. I tried two recipes. For the Baked Apple Halves recipe, the apples are cut in half and cored,… Continue reading →

Holiday dish with room for dessert

Photo provided by Wyman's of Maine  --  Wild Blueberry, Butter Squash and Quinoa Salad offers a healthful option for a holiday side dish.

Looking for ideas for your Thanksgiving menu? Here are three ideas — Garlic Rosemary Turkey for a flavorful main dish; a quinoa salad featuring blueberries and butternut squash as a side, and for dessert, the ultimate seasonal treat, sweet potato pie flavored with bourbon. The turkey is flavored with only five simple ingredients, but the garlic, herbs… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Slow cookers can help ease space constraints

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --  Use a slow cooker to make Squash Stuffing Casserole to free oven space on Thanksgiving.

It’s the annual dance-around-the-oven-space ritual. Kitchens are roomier than ever these days, and builders have learned a thing or two from the input of cooks about holiday cooking needs. That doesn’t necessarily hold true if you, like us, have what some workers at home improvement stores have referred to as one of those “old-fashioned” houses. Lovingly… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Ina Garten gets ahead of cooking

Advocate photo by Cheramie Sonnier  --  For a special dinner, serve Asparagus & Prosciutto Bundles. The recipe is in Ina Garten's 'Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.'

Hint to holiday shoppers: Fans of Ina Garten and her Barefoot Contessa cookbooks are surely hoping to receive a copy of Garten’s “Make It Ahead” book for Christmas or Hanukkah. They definitely won’t be disappointed with the gift. Garten, author of eight bestselling cookbooks, tackles stress-free entertaining by preparing dishes ahead of time. Some of her latest… Continue reading →

What’s Happening for Nov. 20, 2014

Virginia College, 9501 Cortana Place, Baton Rouge, will host a free Fall Fest for the community and former, current and prospective students from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday. Activities will include a holiday craft-making area for children, refreshments and giveaways. Attendees will… Continue reading →

Eat Your Vegetables: Opt for fresh greens this year

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Opt for fresh green beans for Thanksgiving and serve Green Beans With Almonds and Bacon.

Forget the creamy green bean casserole this year and opt for fresh green beans topped with sliced almonds. This is a good holiday dish because you can prepare the beans the day before and heat them in the oven when ready to serve. This is an old recipe that resurfaced recently. I think the original used a… Continue reading →

Victory is sweet (and savory); area cooks shine in Thanksgiving recipe contest

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND  --  For an easy holiday appetizer, serve Cranberry Pear Relish with crackers and cream cheese.

If the winning dishes in The Advocate’s Thanksgiving Recipe Contest sponsored by Calandro’s Supermarket are any indication, Thanksgiving Day menus in south Louisiana reflect both the area’s culinary heritage and the cooks’ creativity. It wasn’t easy selecting the contest’s winners, the judges said as they tasted, critiqued and lobbied for their favorites among the dozen finalists in… Continue reading →

Roux & Brew brings dining perfection to newly remodeled space

Photo by RANDY BERGERON -- Tender and juicy, the ribeye was further enhanced by a topping of grilled shrimp.

Diners in Ponchatoula and beyond have welcomed back some familiar faces to the local restaurant scene. Randy and Kayla Tomeny, who operated C’est Bon Restaurant in the quaint city’s downtown from 1996 to 2006, have returned to the same Railroad Avenue spot with a new, remodeled eatery with a new name, Roux & Brew Seafood & Steakhouse.… Continue reading →

‘Cocktails in the Garden’ raises funds for Botanic Garden

Photo provided by Galatoires Bistro  --  The Bela Lugosi cocktail from Galatoire's Bistro, Baton Rouge, will be poured at the 'Cocktails in the Garden' event.

Celebrate the golden age of Hollywood Friday night and help raise funds for the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden. “Cocktails in the Garden” is a new nonprofit, fundraising event for the Botanic Gardens, 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge. The event will feature beverages created by local mixologists, samples of some of Baton Rouge’s best… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Sweet potato pies are the taste of the South

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Try this lower-fat version of Sweet Potato Pie. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream.

Sweet potato pies have graced Southern holiday tables for years, but many of our Northern friends have never heard of them. We’re blessed with some of the sweetest and best sweet potatoes grown right here in Louisiana. According to information on the LSU AgCenter’s website, this year’s crop is predicted to be excellent as far as… Continue reading →

Turning turkey into a healthy salad

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead -- It is easy to turn leftover Thanksgiving turkey into a dinner-worthy salad that will have everyone craving more greens.

When I was a child, my grandmother used to roast up two enormous turkeys at the holidays. And, of course, that was on top of all the usual gravies and sauces, sides and pies. For days after, the entire family would eat Grandma’s famous “blue plate special,” which was our euphemism for leftovers. Fast-forward to today, and… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Good food and good friends make good memories

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Try Slow-Cooked Spoon Bread, Julie Kay's version of an old friend's recipe.

It was 40 years ago when we moved to Baton Rouge as a young couple just starting out. It wasn’t long before we realized how important food was to the culture here. We connected with other young couples who also hailed from parts near and far, and we began a monthly dinner group. The memories flooded… Continue reading →

What’s Happening for Nov. 13, 2014

LSU’s Biological Engineering Student Organization is holding its 33rd annual Thanksgiving sweet potato and rice sale fund-raiser from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Nov. 21 and Nov. 24-25 at the John M. Parker Coliseum parking lot at Highland Road and South Stadium Drive.… Continue reading →

Bites of History: The origin of bourbon’s name remains a mystery

Photo by Cynthia L. Nobles  --  Bourbon-Glazed Ham

Break out the bourbon! The holidays are near, and a respectable portion of imbibing Southerners look forward to bourbon’s smoky, oaky wallop in their cold-season cocktails. Cooks, too, know bourbon adds depth to savory winter dishes as well as to decadently elegant baked goods. A lthough the distinctive taste and aroma of bourbon are… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Main course is only half of the meal

Looking for new, impressive side dishes to serve with your holiday meals or maybe a quick side dish for a weeknight supper? Award-winning cookbook author and cooking teacher Rick Rodgers’ latest cookbook might have just what you want. “The Big Book of Sides: More than 450 Recipes for the Best Vegetables, Grains, Salads, Breads, Sauces, and More”… Continue reading →

Mi Cocina opens in Gonzales with new look, fresh tastes and big variety

Photo by John Colvin -- The tamal Mexicano plate, No. 26, was recommended by our waiter and included a generous, delicious tamale.

We eyed the renovations at an old pizza joint on Burnside in Gonzales for weeks as we went to and from church, soccer and ran other errands. New plants. New lights. New paint. New signs. Finally, an open sign buzzed to life, and we swung in for Sunday lunch. The inside was shiny and… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Find ‘comfort’ in pork chops

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  For a stick-to-the-ribs dish on a cool night serve slow-cooked Pork Chops With Navy Beans.

In the later years of her life, my mother-in-law would often talk about life on the farm as a little girl. Her father was a sharecropper and the children would often work in the fields for hours at a time. She didn’t mind it, she said. It was the only time she was allowed to wear… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Jalapeño Chicken may leave burning for more

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Enjoy a hot-from-the-oven Jalapeno Chicken casserole on a chilly day.

Now that the weather is chillier, a tasty chicken casserole hot from the oven delights the whole family. Karen Kiesel shared this Jalapeño Chicken recipe with me. When I asked her where it came from, she said, “Oh, that’s one of my early married recipes. “I have no idea whose it was or where it… Continue reading →

Eat Your Vegetables: Recipe out of this world

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Eat Your Vegs, Out of This World Eggplant

I had two cornbread muffins in the refrigerator and thought about this Out of the World Eggplant recipe I had been wanting to test. Eggplant is boiled and mixed with beaten egg and seasoning, then folded into cornbread crumbs and cheese. This is a quick and easy dish. The breadcrumbs for the topping can be Italian-style that… Continue reading →

Cookbook author Kit Wohl explores the dishes that define New Orleans

Photo by Kit Wohl/Sam Hanna  --  The holiday season is the perfect time for Oyster Soup featuring Louisiana oysters.

When the late Archie Casbarian asked Kit Wohl to write a cookbook about his restaurant, Arnaud’s, he sent the lifelong food and wine enthusiast on a culinary-writing path that has resulted in 11 books in less than 10 years. Wohl, who heads a New Orleans advertising, public relations and marketing firm, was the public and… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Latest John Folse, Rick Tramonto R’evolution to honor Mississippi’s food heritage

Advocate photo by Cheramie Sonnier  --  Bartender Reggie Otis prepares a Belle Epoque Champagne cocktail at Restaurant R'evolution in New Orleans' French Quarter.

While their Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans’ French Quarter offers the chefs’ reinterpretations of classic Creole and Cajun cuisines, Seafood R’evolution will pay homage to… Continue reading →

What’s Happening for Nov. 6, 2014

Lane Regional Medical Center in Zachary is seeking team entries for its upcoming Code Red Chili Cook-off, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Americana Development in Zachary. The inaugural event will benefit projects of LaneRMC Foundation, such as… Continue reading →

From décor to menu items, Zoroona breaks out of typical Mediterranean mold

Advocate photo by KYLE PEVETO -- The lamb kabob was cooked perfectly, and grilled with tomatoes, peppers and onions.

For reasons not quite clear, Baton Rouge seems to have an abundance of Mediterranean restaurants for a city its size, and that’s a good thing. However, having visited many of them, it’s hard to draw meaningful distinctions. One might have creamier or more lemony hummus, and another a more robust garlic accent to its fare, but… Continue reading →

Fresh Ideas: Boiled peanuts hot, salty, addictive

Photo by Helana Brigman  --  Slow-cooked Boiled Peanuts make a good snack for watching football games.

When hosting a party for a large group of people, it can be difficult to prepare snacks everyone will enjoy. But the next time you rush to purchase large bags of potato chips and party platters, consider a simple (but salty) solution: boiled peanuts. Like buttery popcorn at the movie theater, boiled peanuts are the perfect… Continue reading →

What a Crock!: Use imagination for specialty drinks

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  Enjoy Slow-Cooked Pumpkin Latte on a cool afternoon or while waiting for the treat-or-treaters.

With fall in the air, specialty pumpkin goodies are everywhere. That includes the coffee market. From frozen drinks to lattes, the smell and taste practically call your name. With a little imagination and a few guesses on ingredients and proportions, making your own specialty drink is very doable. Halloween is the perfect time to experiment. For… Continue reading →

Side Dish: Magazine columnist’s Louisiana cookbook worth a look

Fans of Stanley Dry’s “Kitchen Gourmet” column for Louisiana Life Magazine will want to read his first cookbook, “The Essential Louisiana Cookbook,” which is based on the New Iberia resident’s column. The author emphasizes using quality local ingredients for preparing the book’s 50 scrumptious recipes, which… Continue reading →

Lafayette restaurant combine love of food, science for healthful selections

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Anne's Table chef-owner John Panaro sits in his downtown Lafayette restaurant.

Nestled between the funnel cake and kettle corn booths at the Festival des Acadiens et Creoles in mid-October was a booth serving quinoa, and it wasn’t even fried. Wearing his chef’s uniform, John Panaro of Anne’s Table smiled to festivalgoers as he proudly described his healthful menu offerings, quinoa and hoppin’… Continue reading →

Covington chef participating in Best of Mid-South Friends

Jeffrey Hansell, chef/owner of the new Oxlot 9 restaurant in Covington, will be one of six chefs participating in the Best of the Mid-South Friends of James Beard Benefit dinner on Nov. 8 at The Peabody Memphis hotel in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The six-course dinner will showcase signature dishes from each chef, along with wine pairings. Hansell, who specializes… Continue reading →

Gourmet Galley: Healthy, hearty soups a good start for a family Halloween

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- For Corrine Cook's Gourmet Galley Eat Your Veggies Column:

Let’s face it, everything gets a little hectic on Halloween, especially if you’re getting children ready to go trick-or-treating. Make it easy on yourself and put on a pot of soup early in the day. Serving them something nourishing beforehand, like a few vegetables, you won’t feel so bad when the children get into their bags… Continue reading →

What’s Happening for Oct. 30, 2014

The Big River Economic and Development Alliance will mark its 18th anniversary with a celebration at the Saturday Red Stick Farmers Market in downtown Baton Rouge. BREADA farmers and board members will cut the anniversary cake at 9:30 a.m. outside at the farmers market. Guest chef… Continue reading →

Boudin, Bourbon, Beer benefit to draw premier chefs to N.O.

Photo by Karley Frankic  --  One of the dishes at the 2013 Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Boudin, Bourbon & Beer.

Emeril Lagasse Foundation will host its 10th annual fundraiser on Nov. 7-8 with premier chefs from across the country and New Orleans, who will participate in the event’s outdoor festival Emeril Lagasse’s Foundation’s Boudin, Bourbon & Beer and its wine auction and black-tie gala dinner Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Carnivale du Vin. The weekend also brings together top… Continue reading →

‘Fingers’ snack a Halloween snack that’s not sweet

Photo from Taste of Home  --  Halloween snacks don't have to be sweet. Pepper Popper Fingers, made with jalapeno peppers, are baked instead of fried, making them a scary and healthful choice.

Looking for a scary Halloween snack that’s not sweet? Consider making Pepper Popper Fingers. The recipe from Taste of Home uses jalapeño peppers, cheese, bacon and sliced almonds to make the savory appetizer “fingers.” The Halloween-inspired treat is baked instead of being fried, so they are also frightfully easy to make.… Continue reading →

Family effort leads to cook-off honors

Ayme Messer and her three children made Sunday’s Poche Plantation Mini Pot Jambalaya Cook-off a real family affair. Messer, of St. Amant, took the top prize in the first-time contest, held during an arts and crafts fair at the St. James Parish plantation. Her 12-year-old daughter, Isabella Messer, made the finals, coming in at sixth place.… Continue reading →

Domenica spinoff forges its own identity in N.O.

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Garlic knots are served with aged provolone fonduta at Pizza Domenica.

The same type of wood-burning oven produces the same char-pocked, bubble-crusted Neapolitan-style pizzas. The same unaccountably delicious, whole roasted cauliflower is a go-to appetizer. And the same chefs and partners — John Besh and Alon Shaya — are at the helm. But Pizza Domenica is a very different restaurant from the one that… Continue reading →

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 →