The tropical storm slowly brewing in the gulf is becoming the Barry of bad tidings for the entire state of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region.
We’re no strangers to storm watching, and we know all too well the warnings and preparations that go with the territory must be heeded.
My initial intention for this blog post was to show you all the treasures I recently found shopping my favorite antiques and gift shop, but between storm watching and grocery store runs that ain’t happening.
Gulf coast themed accents remind me just how beautiful the area is and star in the summer at the coast style show currently decorating the dining room table and sideboard.
We’ll have to see what Barry brings our way, and what, if any, damage we will be left to repair.
In the meantime, we’ve got enough bottled water, non-perishable foods, batteries, and tenacity to hang in there.
Dave is already sweating over the looming loss of air conditioning. We do like our air conditioning.
I feel like the lady in the home warranty commercial. We just got the new roof less than two years ago when the tornado ripped the old one to shreds.
This isn’t our first time at the storm watching rodeo, and we can hang on Louisiana strong for the entire eight minutes, hours, days- you get the idea.
Louisiana loves to throw a party, and what makes a good party is great food, drink, and conversations about great Mardi Gras food and drink. Last Wednesday I got a call from my nephew on just this subject.
The Mardi Gras king cake is a Carnival staple, and people do have their favorites.
I thought the chocolate cinnamon king cake from a local market the one that takes the king cake, but that was until my nephew gifted the Places In The Home gang with a cinnamon king cake from Dong Phuong Bakeshop.
A king cake connoisseur in his own right, he too thought he had a chosen favorite until his coworker brought a cinnamon king cake from Dong Phuong Bakeshop in east New Orleans to the office for a Mardi Gras party good time king cake celebration.
It was king cake love at first bite.
You know how it is when you discover a new whatever and you like/love it so much you want to show and tell it with your inner circle, gang, tribe, or Mardi Gras krewe?
That’s exactly the case in this king cake scenario.
He placed an order for twelve cinnamon king cakes from Dong Phuong Bakeshop. The window for shipment had just closed, so he drove from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to pick up the order.
When you’ve got a craving for king cake, you do what you have to do to get one.
His friend happened to be driving up to Central Louisiana the following day, so my nephew asked him if he would make a king cake delivery to Places In The Home.
Now the Places In The Home gang knows what all the Dong Phuong cinnamon king cake excitement is about.
Right off the bat, I was impressed with the artwork and the font used on the cake box.
It’s the same exact font I use for the Places In The Home header and sidebar.
Love the font.
Love the king cake!
King cake is a Mardi Gras must have, a tradition beginning on January 6th and ending on Fat Tuesday.
Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
Stir together yeast, ½ cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 ½ cups) until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together ½ cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.
Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.
Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed. Omit 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon. Increase ½ cup sugar to ¾ cup sugar. Beat ¾ cup sugar; 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened; 1 large egg; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders. Proceed with recipe as directed.
*6 to 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour may be substituted.
Purple, green, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles
The weather is not wanting to cooperate, but Louisiana doesn’t let a little rain dampen the Mardi Gras spirit. The parades are rolling, the party atmosphere is intoxicating, and time-honored traditions and customs will be well represented.
The Boot is kicking up its heels in Mardi Gras party good time style.
Home Sweet Holiday Home is all about our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes. Delicious anticipation over our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes builds all year long, and inquiring minds and holiday appetites drive family and friends home to break bread and give thanks for these favorite thanksgiving side dish recipes.
Our holiday dinner menu is influenced by traditional, new traditional, and regional Thanksgiving side dish recipes. Family is well represented through the memorable dishes found on our Southern family dinner table.
Here’s two of our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes full of Louisiana flavor for the season.
12 ounces day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoons Creole seasoning
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Coarsely chop any large oysters. Set aside.
In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Remove 2 tablespoons butter and reserve. Add onions, celery, and bell pepper; cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add sage, parsley, thyme, and garlic; cook 1 minute. In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, bread, bread crumbs, lemon juice, Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper; stir until combined. Add oysters and 1 cup of reserved oyster liquor; stir gently. Spoon into prepared pan. Drizzle with reserved 2 tablespoons melted butter.
Bake, lightly covered, 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until bread is lightly browned and oysters are curled around the edges, about 25 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and add asparagus. Top with canola oil, salt, and pepper, and brush evenly with basting brush. Bake until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add water to a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer. In a stainless steel bowl, add egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne. Hold bowl over simmering water making sure bottom of bowl does not touch water, and whisk vigorously until volume of egg mixture doubles. Slowly whisk in melted butter until sauce is thick and combined. Remove from heat, and stir in crawfish. Serve immediately over asparagus.
Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned. Serves 6 to 8.
Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream. Gradually add muffin mix alternately with milk. Fold in corn.
Pour into a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Makes 8 servings.
Look at that crispy edge perfection- the hallmark of Southern buttermilk cornbread.
Good cornbread is the base ingredient of great dressing. I’ve enjoyed bread dressing, oyster dressing, and sausage dressing. All are quite delicious in their own right, but our traditional holiday turkey dinner is not complete without Southern buttermilk cornbread dressing. Here is my recipe for the cornbread:
3 Tablespoons oil
2 cups buttermilk self -rising white corn meal mix
1 cup self-rising flour
½ Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
Set oven to 425 degrees. Preheat oven while preparing cornbread mix. Mix corn meal and flour into mixing bowl. Stir in milk and eggs and mix well. Batter should be a medium thick consistency. Thin by adding additional milk until desired consistency is reached. Grease baking pan or oven safe skillet(preferably a black cast iron skillet) with 3 Tablespoons cooking oil. Bottom of pan or skillet should be coated well but not swimming in oil. Place pan in oven to heat oil. Once oil is heated, remove pan from oven. Pour batter into greased pan. Return pan or skillet to oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Buttermilk Cornbread Dressing
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning, optional
*We are in a sage free zone here at Places In The Home. If you want to add this seasoning/herb to the recipe, I suggest ¼ teaspoon sage.
1 medium bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
3 eggs, beaten
4-6 cups chicken(canned is fine) or turkey broth, or more as preferred
One skillet of crumbled cornbread will make approximately 6 servings. For dressing, crumble cooled cornbread by hand to a fine consistency with no lumps. Place crumbled cornbread in large mixing bowl. Add poultry seasoning, green onions, celery, beaten eggs and broth (½ cup at the time). Mix well. You want the consistency of your dressing to be soupy. Pour into lightly greased roasting pan or deep casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour until top is lightly browned and knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Making Louisiana gumbo is what’s cookin’ in the Places In The Home kitchen today. Our son wants to master the art of the roux and the flavor ya ya of my gumbo recipe. The plan is to introduce his Canadian friends and co-workers to Cajun cuisine. A lesson in flavors from home far transcends roux and filé.
“Cajun cuisine is a technique-driven cuisine, because it’s a very humble style of cooking. It’s about what can you do with humble ingredients like onions, celery, bell peppers, oil, and flour. How can you intensify flavors and create meals that are satisfying and hearty and make you happy.”
1 cup flour
1 cup vegetable oil
Heat oil in a black skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add flour in gradually, stirring well. Reduce heat to low. Stir/whisk the mixture constantly until it reaches a rich brown color, approximately 30-40 minutes. You must stir/whisk constantly to prevent the roux from burning. Black flakes indicate burned roux, and burned roux tastes horrible. If you burn it, throw it out and start over.
It’s worth it.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
8 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 lb. package smoked sausage
1 12 ounce bag frozen chopped onions
1 12 ounce bag frozen chopped bell peppers
3 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon fine black pepper, or to taste*
OR in place of salt and pepper season with 1 teaspoon Créole seasoning, or to taste*
1 cup white wine
Slice sausage into ½ inch pieces. Using a seasoned skillet for optimum taste results, cook the sliced sausage over medium-high heat until browned. Transfer cooked sausage to plate lined with paper towels, allowing excess grease to drain. Set aside.
Place chicken breasts in Dutch oven or stock pot, add water, and bring to a boil. Season for broth with ½ teaspoon celery salt ½ black pepper. Stir and reduce heat to medium low, cooking chicken breasts until done, about 1 hour. Transfer chicken breasts from pot to large mixing bowl. Slice chicken breasts into strips and add back to broth.
Turn heat back to high and bring to boil. Add prepared roux to broth and chicken mixture, whisking until roux dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and add minced garlic, chopped onions, chopped bell pepper, bay leaves, chicken bouillon cubes, remaining celery salt and pepper (or Créole seasoning). Carefully pour in white wine. Stir to blend and incorporate.
Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer uncovered for approximately 2 hours, allowing all flavors to marry. Remove bay leaves and skim any fat off the top of gumbo. Add chopped green onions and continue to simmer for additional 5 minutes.
Serve gumbo over rice. Top with a sprinkle of filé, more green onions, and hot sauce to taste, if desired. Gumbo is delicious on the first day, and flavor filled filé fantastic the next day.
I am an information junkie. My travel journal is full of fascinating foodie factoids and regional fare ratings. One never knows when the need for a conversation starter or trivia answer round the water cooler, dinner table or game board will present itself. “The United Sweets of America” takes the reader on a culinary state-by-state road trip with a map of official and not-so-official desserts. Louisianians love their Mardi Gras food, and one of our absolute most delicious regional dishes came in as the state favorite. Curious to see what sweet treat sensation is deliciously associated with what state? Click on the image below and the magic of link love will take you right on over to “The United Sweets of America”, a fun read by Slate associate editor L.V. Anderson. By the way, the dessert ranked number one in Louisiana is, drum roll please, Bananas Foster.
Speaking of which regional sweet treat your state is known for, when the calendar points to Mardi Gras season Mardi Gras food is the topic of Carnival culinary conversation. The Louisiana Loyal are finding themselves with a hankering for a taste of sweet home Louisiana. Phone calls, text messages and email requests for Mardi Gras food recipes come fast and furious during Mardi Gras season. Our Canadian snowbird son. The Missouri snow shoveling nephew. Floridian flamingos and Don’t Mess with Texas cousins. East Tennessean hills friends. Chicago suburbs aunts and uncles. I guess what they say is true- you can take the boy or the girl out of Louisiana but you can’t take Louisiana out of the boy or the girl. The proof is in the bread pudding! Gosh, does that sound good! Wondering what Mardi Gras food recipes inspire the masses to phone home? Here’s a look at the Mardi Gras food and recipe requests thus far:
This legendary Louisiana dessert is the stuff flamboyant flambé tableside preparation and presentation culinary dreams are made of. Bananas, melted butter and brown sugar dance the dance of caramelization awaiting generous pours of banana liqueur and dark rum. The grand finale of flame and circumstance showcases the art of tableside exhibition, the lagniappe of New Orleans tradition. The recipe for my version of Bananas Foster takes the top slot on our Mardi Gras food desserts menu.
A King Cake is a sweet traditional cinnamon filled coffee cake style pastry glazed with topping and sprinkled with sugar in the Royal colors of purple, green, and gold. King Cake parties rule the Carnival season. Tradition dictates Mardi Gras revelers love the tradition of eating this Carnival confection during Mardi Gras season. The custom of the plastic baby baked into the cake is steeped in culinary Carnival tradition, and if you are the lucky reveler who gets the piece of King Cake with the baby you are named “King for a Day”. With great King Cake power comes great King Cake responsibility. Tradition dictates the “King for a Day” is obligated to host the next King Cake party.
Hoppin’ John Grits
Hoppin’ John Grits, a Southern with a kick recipe of black eyed peas seasoned with chopped onions, bell peppers and celery (the Cajun trinity) and ham served atop white grits is low country goodness wrapped in Louisiana c’est si bon flavor. This recipe for Hoppin’ John Grits is another Mardi Gras food favorite.
This is the email I received from the Canadian snowbird that kicked off this post:
Re: Mardi Gras Mambo Gumbo
Thanks for the King Cake recipe!
Could you send me your chicken and sausage gumbo and Creole~Cajun Seasoning recipes by chance?
1/3 cup paprika
3 tablespoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon granulated onion
4 teaspoons dried thyme
4 teaspoons granulated garlic
In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, dried thyme, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic. Stir to combine. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.
Part II of our Louisiana Parade of Homes features local residential properties reminiscent of Louisiana history and culture.
Bayous and stately homes line the brick streets of the historic Garden District.
Louisiana history is a melange of varied cultures and influences. The accent mark is well placed over the French and Spanish influence that frames our architectural elements, Créole and Cajun cuisine and the law of the Louisiana land. Louisiana law is different from the other 49 states.
Our state Civil Code is adopted from the Napoleonic Code. Originally based on ancient Roman law, the Napoleonic Code deals in civil law with French and Spanish codes. What is known as counties in the other 49 are known as parishes here in Louisiana. You say antiquated, I say unique. History and tradition holds a court of a different kind here in Louisiana.
This parade of homes is a love letter, a visual note of appreciation to the architects of modern marvels.
“Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.”
Frank Lloyd Wright
Mid-century modern architecture is the prominent feature of the local post-war suburbs historic district. The houses of post-World War II subdivisions typically sit in the middle of large lots. A notable design feature widely considered an essential architectural element, the expansive front lawn fashions suburbia whilst living city proper.
Fast forward 30+ years when contemporary came to town.