In Louisiana March Means Crawfish Boil Season Is Here

The month of March may best be known for the start of spring, but in Louisiana March means crawfish boil season is here.  Louisianians love to boil, peel and eat these freshwater crustaceans in quantity and quality. We do love our seafood here in the boot, and from March to June we set the tables, plan the menus, and prepare the seafood dishes around a crawfish boil.  Crawfish taste almost like lobster, with the differences between the two basically amounting to cost, size and seasoning.

Boiled-Crawfish-on-plate

Crawfish are native to the swamps and marshes of south Louisiana and farmed crawfish ponds of the Gulf Coast region.  Louisiana produces approximately 150 million pounds of crawfish annually, and also ranks as the nations number one provider of shrimp, oysters, crabs and alligator. Boiled to seasoned perfection, the crawfish boil is a weekend backyard gathering, festival or fais do-do in the making.

crawfish app

Those in the best price for crawfish in your area know you need an app for that.  The Crawfish App is a free app available on iTunes.  The app uses your device’s location or an entered address to list crawfish vendors in the area. You have the ability to view by price, reviews, or distance.

crawfish boil supplies

It’s amazing how a crustacean can create culinary excitement throughout the cities and parishes.  We love to host a crawfish boil or two or ten during the season for friends, neighbors, coworkers and family.  Fire up the pot and bring on the onions, garlic, celery, potatoes, lemons, crab boil and culinary imagination.  I’ve been to crawfish boils where the host chef adds smoked or andouille sausage, okra, carrots, cabbage and fresh mushrooms to the seasoned boil.  The flavor and the taste can be summed up in three words. C’est. Si. Bon!  Food is the language of Louisiana, and ours is a flavored speak.

Zatarains shrimp crab boil

Zatarain’s Shrimp & Crab Boil

Here’s a tip from the Places In The Home test kitchen~ add a drop of Zatarain’s liquid shrimp & crab boil to potato soup.  Delicious.

LouisianaCrawfishBoilrecipeImage

Zatarain’s® Crawfish Boil

Ingredients

3 pounds yellow onions

6 heads garlic

6 lemons, halved

1 package (73 ounces) ZATARAIN’S® Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil – Complete

4 pounds small red potatoes

1 sack (35 to 40 pounds) live crawfish, cleaned

1 bunch celery, cut in bite-size pieces

¼ cup ZATARAIN’S® Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil

1 box ZATARAIN’S® Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil – In a Bag

12 frozen half ears corn on the cob

Directions

Fill an 80-quart crawfish boiling pot with a basket 1/3 to ½ with water. Place pot on a jet-style propane burner on high heat. Add onions, garlic and lemon halves.  (You can use a small laundry bag for lemons and garlic. Or just leave the onions in the mesh bag they come in from the grocery with tags removed.)

Bring to full rolling boil. Stir in Crab Boil Complete.  Add potatoes (in their mesh bag from the grocery or a laundry bag).  Reduce heat to medium-low. Boil 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Remove potatoes.

Return water to full rolling boil on high heat.  Add crawfish, celery, liquid Crab Boil and Crab Boil bag.  Return water to full rolling boil on high heat. Start checking doneness just before water returns to full rolling boil.  As soon as small gaps start to appear between the head and the tail on the largest crawfish, they are done.  Turn off heat.  Add frozen corn and cooked potatoes.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Remove corn and potatoes. Let crawfish stand for a minimum of 30 minutes, but 45 minutes is better. Serves: 20

To clean crawfish: Pour live crawfish into a washtub or ice chest; cover with water.  Drain.  Repeat 3 to 4 times until crawfish are clean.  Drain. Discard any dead crawfish and debris.

~Zatarain’s

Turn up the heat, the music and the good times with a crawfish boil.

cest-si-bon

Superstitions and Traditions: The New Year’s Day Menu

A symbol of fortune, hope and luck for the upcoming year, black-eyed peas and cabbage are what’s on the New Year’s Day menu.  As tradition dictates, the eating of black-eyed peas is the culinary insurance policy one must take out for good luck in the upcoming year.  I’m sharing three pea something for everyone’s traditional and new-traditional taste recipes with you.

Traditional

New-Traditional

Smoky Black-Eyed Peas with Fried Green Tomatoes

Y’all!

Smoky Black-eyed Peas with Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients

1 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups fresh black-eyed peas
2 Smoked Ham Hocks or purchased smoked ham hocks
1 (12-oz.) bottle amber beer
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 (7-oz.) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup plain white cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 large firm green tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices
Canola oil
3 large ripe red tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices
1/2 cup crumbled feta or Cotija cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Hot sauce

Directions

Sauté onions in 3 Tbsp. hot oil in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute.  Stir in peas, next 4 ingredients, 3 1/2 cups water, and 2 Tbsp. adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers. (Reserve peppers for another use.)  Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes or until peas are tender.  Discard bay leaf. Remove hocks.  Remove ham from bones; discard bones.  Chop ham; stir into peas.  Add salt to taste; cover and keep warm over low heat.

Stir together 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a shallow dish. Whisk together cornmeal, ground chipotle chile, and remaining 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a second shallow dish. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk in a third shallow dish.

Dredge green tomatoes, 1 slice at a time, in flour mixture, shaking off excess.  Dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.

Pour oil to depth of 1 inch in a cast-iron skillet.  Heat over medium-high heat to 375°.  Fry green tomato slices, in batches, in hot oil 3 minutes on each side or until crisp.  Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. (Let oil temperature return to 375° between batches.)

Divide peas among 6 plates.  Top each with 1 red tomato slice and 1 fried green tomato slice.  Repeat tomato layers once. Sprinkle cheese and cilantro over tomatoes.  Serve with hot sauce.

~Southern Living

black-eye-pea-snack

For the binge watchers, couch trenders and let’s say we prepared a traditional New Year’s Day culinary extravaganza but actually do nothing but snack crowd, this recipe will cover all the bases, luck included.

Chili-Roasted Black Eyed Peas

Ingredients

2 (15.8-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 17- x 12-inch jelly-roll pan.  Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until crispy and dry, stirring every 10 minutes.  Let cool 20 minutes.

~Southern Living

cabbage-fall2

Cabbage enters into the picture of prosperity as the money dish, as it is believed the leafy greens symbolize folding money.  One would be hard-pressed not to find black-eyed peas, cabbage and buttermilk cornbread cooking in the New Year’s Day kitchen.  As a Southerner, I do not question the New Year’s Day menu or the Southern superstition(s) nor will I buck this time honored tradition.

aunt-pitty-pat

In the words of Aunt Pittypat Hamilton, “It simply isn’t done!”

buttermilk-coleslaw

Classic Buttermilk Coleslaw

Ingredients

1 (16 ounce bag) coleslaw mix
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients until mixed thoroughly. Adjust seasoning, if desired. Chill until ready to serve. This can be made about two hours in advance, but any longer and it will lose its crunch and may become tinted from the purple cabbage.

~Kitchn

buttermilk-cornbread2

Buttermilk Cornbread

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons oil

2 cups buttermilk self -rising white corn meal mix

1 cup self-rising flour

½ Tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup milk

Directions

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.

~Places In The Home

new-year-quotes-10

I want to thank you the readers, visitors and subscribers of Places In The Home.   Every heartfelt comment, Facebook like, tweet, instagram follow and kind word means so much to me.  The New Year brings more anticipation, excitement and decor inspiration to Places In The Home.  I want to invite you to visit often, chime in, and let me know what you think.  We will design with beauty and style in mind, make pretty on a penny, source, create and suggest.  I raise a gorgeous goblet to toast happiness, health, family, love, peace, prosperity and friendship to all throughout the New Year!

Tasty Tailgating Recipes For Tailgating Times

Tasty tailgating recipes for tailgating times are on my mind.  Our favorite team is picked, we’ve rallied our friends, and the ideas for tailgating recipes are flowing.  Tailgating is a parking lot or stadium grounds pregame ritual based on the principle of celebrated camaraderie and good food and drink shared among home team friends and fans.  Tailgating sets the pregame football excitement in motion.

tailgating recipesFirst Tailgating- Adams State Grizzlies vs. Texas A&M–Commerce Lions

As fall and football season make their collective presence known, the party atmosphere is everywhere.  Selecting tailgating recipes takes time and thought.  Dishes pleasing to the masses and the pocketbook as well as ones that prove easy to prepare determine many tailgating menus, ours included.  Here’s the starting lineup of tailgating recipes for this season’s tailgating times beginning with the pass a good time crowd-pleaser, Cajun Lemonade.

cajun-lemonade

Cajun Lemonade

Ingredients

2 cups light rum

1 (12-oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce

1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled

Crushed ice & garnishes:  sugarcane sticks, lemon slices

Directions

Stir together first 3 ingredients. Add club soda just before serving. Serve over crushed ice. Garnish, if desired.

Southern Living 

Original_Abigail-Barnes-Paper-and-Cake-pub-pretzel

Pub-Style Pretzels and Beer Cheese Sauce

Ingredients
1 ½ cups warm water
1 packet active yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour (will need extra for kneading)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
½ tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon flavored seasoning of your choice (This recipe uses McCormick Grill Mates Molasses & Bacon)

Smoked Gouda and Cheddar Beer Sauce Ingredients
Yield: about one cup
½ cup of beer (This recipe uses Sierra Nevada for its strong taste. Use a wheat beer or blonde ale for a milder taste.)
½ cup grated smoked Gouda
½ cup grated sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 ½ tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a non-stick baking mat on a cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, add yeast to warm water. Stir until dissolved. Stir in salt and sugar. Once mixed, add flour one cup at a time. Mix thoroughly until dough is thick and no longer sticky.

Create a floured surface for kneading. Knead dough for approximately 5 minutes. Separate dough into even sections, about six.

Roll dough into ropes (Image 1), making width even throughout. Make pretzel shapes by creating a circle with the dough. Twist ends and press down to finish shape (Image 2).

On a plate, mix sea salt and seasoning together for sprinkling. Beat egg in a small bowl and brush on pretzel tops. Place pretzels on baking sheet, and sprinkle salt mixture on top.

Bake for 10 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, switch to broil. Keep an eye on them to avoid over-browning. Remove from oven and serve warm with beer cheese dip.

Smoked Gouda and Cheddar Beer Sauce
In small saucepan, heat beer on low until it bubbles. Slowly whisk in flour, then add cheese (Image 3).  Whisk until smooth.

Add sour cream, mustard and paprika while whisking. Add more flour for a thicker sauce, or more beer for a thinner sauce. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.  Yield: 6-8 pretzels

-HGTV

castella-salad-olives-1-gallon

Tailgating Olive Dip

Ingredients

8 oz. cream cheese
1  cup  olives, chopped (I use green salad olives)
½ cup mayonnaise
2  tbsp. juice from olives
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1  teaspoon hot sauce, optional
½  cup finely chopped pecans

Directions

Soften cream cheese. Mix remainder of ingredients.  Best to prepare the night before to allow flavors to marry.  Keep chilled during transport. Serve with pita chips or cracker of choice.

tailgating-food-ideasBetter Homes and Gardens

Imitation is the highest form of tailgating tablescapes flattery.

flamin-cinnamon-cider

Flamin’ Cinnamon Cider

Directions

In a large saucepan heat cider over medium heat until hot, but not simmering.  Add candies; stir until melted.   To serve, float apple slices on the cider mixture.  If desired, top with orange peel strips.

-Better Homes and Gardens

cider-bottles

I like items that pull double duty.  Is it an urn for a fall foliage centerpiece or is it a stylish holder for bottles of liquid fall in a glass aka apple cider?

wood-planterClancy Wood Urn Planter

board-traySur la table

point-reyes-farmstead-cheese-company-original-blue_1_1

bone-handled-cheese-knivesBone Handled Cheese Knives

pickled-tomatoes

bread-bags

Bread Bags 

purple-raffiaWraphia

copper-bowl-with-handlesHammered Copper Bowl with Handles

paper coneBamboo Leaf Cone

caramel peanut popcorn snack mix

Caramel Peanut Popcorn Snack Mix

Ingredients
15 cups popped popcorn (about 3/4 cup kernels)
vegetable cooking spray
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup butter
½ cup dark corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
wax paper
1 (10.5 oz.) package candy-coated peanut butter pieces (such as Reese’s Pieces)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°. Spread popcorn in an even layer on a lightly greased (with cooking spray) heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined 13- x 18-inch pan. Stir together brown sugar and next 3 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; bring to a simmer, and simmer, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Pour over popcorn, and stir gently to coat.

Bake at 325° for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Add peanuts during last 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and spread on lightly greased (with cooking spray) wax paper. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Break apart large pieces, and stir in candy pieces. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Southern Living

corn-and-black-eyed-pea-salad1

Corn and Black-Eyed Pea Salad aka Death Valley Salad 

Ingredients

2 cans black-eyed peas
2 cans white corn, drained
2 cans yellow corn, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium purple onion, finely chopped
1 medium bunch green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper, optional
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup white vinegar

Directions

Chop bell pepper, celery, purple onion, and green onions, add to large bowl.  Add black-eyed peas,  drained white & yellow corn.  In separate mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, and vinegar, mixing well.  Pour over salad, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Kitchen Daily

four-chile-chili

Four-Chile Chili

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ½ pounds ground sirloin or chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large Spanish onion (1 ½ pounds), coarsely chopped
8 large garlic cloves, minced
3 large jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
¼ cup tomato paste
Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes, coarsely chopped and juices reserved
3 cups chicken or beef stock or canned low-sodium broth
Two 19-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Pinch of cinnamon
Coarsely chopped cilantro, for serving
Sour cream, for serving

Directions
Heat the olive oil in a enameled cast-iron casserole. Add half the ground beef in large chunks and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat until brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Stir and cook until most of the pink is gone, about 3 minutes; keep the meat in large chunks. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the casserole. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeños and cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the ancho powder and paprika and cook over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste is glossy and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the chicken stock and the cooked beef and any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the kidney beans, chipotles and oregano and simmer for 30 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper and a large pinch of cinnamon. Remove from the heat and let stand for at least 20 minutes. Reheat before serving.
Serve the chili in bowls, topped with a generous sprinkling of cilantro. Can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and frozen for up to 2 months.

-Food & Wine

chili-spoonsFood presentation, especially when tailgating, should be fun. These Chili Cook-Off Wooden Spoons from Personalized Gallery take first, second and third place in the category of how fun!

tailgating-serveware-ideas

Serveware ideas include mahogany wood chargers, sugar molds used as a utensils holder, cast iron skillets in assorted sizes, Lodge cast iron mini serving bowls perfect  for  chili, soup and stew, cake stands, chalkboard picks, baker’s twine, take out boxes, and galvanized hot dog trays (clearance priced right).

purple-burlapBurlap is the original if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it tailgating accessory.  I like to keep burlap on the list of tailgating decorating and tablescape items because of its durability and inexpensive price tag.  Versatile for table covers, table skirts and table runners, burlap is a very forgiving fabric. Spills happen.  If a stain should occur, cover it up with a serving tray or platter of food (hey, every good tailgating host and hostess does it) for the duration of your tailgating soiree.  There’s no use in crying over spilled chili, dip, cocktails, etc…  Between tailgating times, head over to the fabric store or online retailer near you for several more yards of this tailgating friendly fabric.

Jack-Cheese-Fondue-100134722_w

Jack Cheese and Smoky Chipotle Fondue

Ingredients

4 slices bacon, halved crosswise
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red or yellow sweet pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (16 ounces)
2 8 – ounce carton sour cream
2 -3 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
French or Italian bread, cut into bite-size cubes
Tortilla chips or tortilla chip cups
Directions

In a heavy, medium saucepan, cook bacon till crisp. Remove bacon; reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble bacon and set aside.

Add green onion, sweet pepper and garlic to saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat about 5 minutes or till vegetables are tender. Stir in flour. Stir in cheese, sour cream and chipotle peppers. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
Transfer cheese mixture to fondue pot over a fondue burner or slow-cooker on the low-heat setting. Top with crumbled bacon. Keep warm up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with bread cubes or tortilla chips.

-Midwest Living

 

hummingbird-cupcake

The Hummingbird Cupcake

Prepare cupcakes according to box directions.  Allow to cool.  Stir 1 cup chopped toasted pecans and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon into canned frosting.  Garnish with fresh pineapple wedges, banana chips, and pecan halves.

Southern Living

LSU pitcherGo Team Go Serving Pitcher.  Pick one up on your way to the game at Cracker Barrel.  Yes, Cracker Barrel.  

Citrus Tea Punch

Ingredients

6 cups water, divided

½ cup sugar

3 whole cloves

2 family-sized tea bags

1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick

1 cup orange juice

1 (6-ounce) can thawed lemonade concentrate, undiluted

Ice

Lemon slices (optional)

Directions

Combine 4 cups water and sugar in a heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until sugar dissolves; remove from heat.  Add cloves, tea bags, and cinnamon; steep 5 minutes.  Strain mixture through a sieve into a pitcher; discard solids.  Add remaining 2 cups water, juice, and lemonade concentrate; stir well.  Chill.  Serve over ice, and garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

-My Recipes

enjoy

The Celebration Countdown to 4th of July Party Ideas

The celebration countdown to 4th of July party ideas is on.  Allow me to take this opportunity to express a very big thank you in patriotic colors to the Earth, sun, moon and calendar year 2016 for the three-day weekend we have to celebrate Independence Day.

thank-you-noteZazzle

The big blogging plan to share with you pops of 4th of July party ideas for your copying, ordering, and/or purchasing consideration fizzled out like a firecracker with no pizzazz.  An area wide internet outage hit the Places In The Home neighborhood last week, and with it went my connection to the world wide web.  That’s two internet outages in one month, but’s who’s counting?

internet-outage

Meet Jeremy, the at&t man with the get you back online ASAP plan. Jeremy, your good deeds and expert skills are greatly appreciated.  You’ve got a well deserved three-day weekend coming your way.

thom-filicia-fire-pit

Now comes the disclosure portion of this post.

Disclosure:  As it in life and disclosure policy compliance with FTC rules, honesty is the best policy. This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one of the product links and make a purchase from the retailer, I receive a commission from the sale. To read the entire policy in full (fun, fun) please read my disclosure page. 

Our 4th of July three-day holiday weekend plans are set to serene with an emphasis on slow and easy.  Outdoor living spaces furnished to the hilt in summer style and let’s get the patriotic party started creature comforts in mind deliver just that.  Let’s take a look at some, shall we?

white-hanging-chair

 

The Willow Swingaswan is a stylish throwback to the hanging chair glory days of the swingin’ 60s & 70s.  Just add a decorative pillow, a refreshing beverage or summertime treat, a good read and you’ve got yourself a rest and relaxation haven for the 4th of July three-day weekend.

loop-siclesPopsicles and champagne come together to make Summer’s Sweetest Sparkling Sipper.

How to Make Rainbow Sangria from Country Living Magazine

lemon-icebox-pie-ice-cream

Lemon Icebox Pie Ice Cream 

Ingredients

3 to 4 lemons

2 cups half-and-half

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers

Directions

Grate zest from lemons to equal 1 Tbsp. Cut lemons in half; squeeze juice from lemons into a measuring cup to equal 1/2 cup.

Whisk together half-and-half, sweetened condensed milk, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and times may vary.) Stir in graham cracker crumbs and lemon zest; transfer to an airtight container.  Freeze 2 hours before serving.

~Southern Living via My Recipes

 

okl-historical-documentsA good and patriotic read ~ American Historical Documents

 

A star spangled theme is instantly recognizable as the traditional theme of 4th of July celebrations.

Eagle-glasses

In keeping with tradition, the American flag meets and greets neighbors and friends, but I opt to decorate with items such as fabric and serveware in a broader range of holiday patterns and colors.

flying-the-flag

The activities, food, sports, colors and celebrations generally associated with the summer months give great inspiration. Pick a favorite as your 4th of July party ideas theme foundation and go 4th from there.

summer-fabrics

OnlineFabricStore

Wallpaper and fabric closeouts can be a great source for affordable and stylish patterns to use as tablecloths, table runners, napkins, basket and serving dish liners.

4th-of-July-party-ideas

Handbag charms as napkin rings?  Absolutely!  I picked up six of these long fringe handbag charms on clearance at Rue21 for $1.20 each to use as napkins rings and parting party favors.  Love the look, the price and the dual purpose.  Blooming blue hydrangeas from the yard of a very generous and giving neighbor will star in the centerpiece arrangement along with a trio of small American flags.  Simple.  Affordable.  Appropriate.

Lincoln_Square_Farmers_MarketLincoln Square Farmers Market

Our star spangled celebration menu takes a celebratory cue from the best part of the summertime bounty- fresh from the farmers market fruits and vegetables.  I am entertaining the thought of developing a recipe for s’mores cake to debut over the 4th of July holiday weekend.  Fresh beans, roasting marshmallows, and bursts of color on the table and in the sky. That’s how we snap, crackle and pop a 4th of July party in the USA at Places In The Home.

fresh-squash

These 4th of July party ideas place an emphasis on fun, easy, delicious, stylish, and affordability.  Celebrate smart, safe and stylish this 4th of July holiday weekend.

Love your style!

***Post contains affiliate links***

Summer In A Jar: Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

Well, it’s official.  I am slowly but surely becoming my grandmother- both of them.  These two Southern women of strong convictions and delicious confections knew from trial by fire through temperatures of hellacious measure how hot a kitchen could get in the dead of summer.

summer-fruit-bowl

Late lunch and evening meal menus played to cold salads of potato, macaroni, Louisiana seafood and leafy greens, fresh farm to market fruits and vegetables served at room temperature (the absolute best way to eat a homegrown tomato!), crispy cold fried chicken or bacon, roast beef or thin sliced ham prepared the morning before, canned pickles and chow chow spiked with bite and flavor.

blueberries

Even in these modern central air times, when the stove and double ovens are cooking and baking at full throttle in the good old summertime, things can get hot, hot, hot in the kitchen.  I learned from the best it’s not the temperature it’s served at but the taste and presentation upon the plate.

Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

My latest summer salad series recipe, Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette, deliciously fits right in with the house salad rule for summer suppers.  The Dijon mustard, olive oil, Kosher salt and fine black pepper make a tasty base.  The complementing flavors of the fig preserves and fresh lemon juice brought on the zing, but two tablespoons of fresh mint chopped uber fine delivered a bright bite placing this vinaigrette in a whole new flavor category.  This vinaigrette is summer in a jar.  Simply fresh, simply delicious!

butter-lettuce

Note the vintage serving bowl I bought on our latest antiques treasure hunting trip.

summer-butter-salad1

Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

Ingredients

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 Tablespoons fig preserves

1½  Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

Kosher salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

 

Directions

Whisk lemon juice, Dijon mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl until blended.  Add olive oil and whisk until blended.  Stir in the fresh mint, Kosher salt and pepper.  To guarantee extra blended goodness pour vinaigrette into a small mason jar.  Screw on the lid good and tight and give it a good shake to combine.

enjoy-hydrangea

Coconut Poke Cake

Temperatures in Louisiana hit the 90° degrees in the shade mark today. Summer is in sight and the first holiday weekend of the season is coming up.  I guess now is about as good a time as any to shine the spotlight on an entertaining summer read and a delicious summer recipe.  Two things our dinner gang does not shy away from- discussion and dessert.  The Coincidence of Coconut Cake  and a request for coconut poke cake served up a delicious course of both.

ef0822572bc63956_cale.xxxlarge_2x

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

My mother requested I make a coconut poke cake for our Mother’s Day brunch dessert.  She specifically wanted me to make a coconut poke cake from a recipe she eavesdropped on overheard two ladies discussing at the beauty shop. Trying to follow her not so committed to memory bits and pieces of recipe recall about drove me coconuts.  “They said something about poking holes and coconut.”  Gee thanks, Mother.

cake-on-a-plateGoogle supplied the general outline, but a couple of ingredients adjustments and culinary interpretation fined tuned the overall taste.  My mother was so pleased with how my coconut poke cake turned out she asked me to make another one for the next meeting of our dinner gang. My idea for choosing The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert as our required read was no coincidence at all.

coconut-poke-cake

Coconut Poke Cake

Ingredients

1 box white cake mix

1 cup coconut milk

3 large eggs

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons good vanilla

1 can (15 oz) Coco Lopez cream of coconut

2  8 oz frozen Cool Whip Extra Creamy whipped topping, thawed

1 8 oz package shredded coconut

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour the pan(s).  I like to use about 2 heaping tablespoons of the dry cake mix to flour my pan. You can use a rectangular pan, two round cake pans or a bundt pan.

Prepare cake mix substituting the coconut milk for the water and adding vanilla. Beat for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until all ingredients are well blended.

Pour cake batter into prepared cake pan(s). Bake according to package instructions. Remove cake from oven and while cake is still hot poke holes all over the top of the cake using a the handle of a wooden spoon.
Slowly pour the entire can of cream of coconut over the top of the cake. making sure the cream of coconut soaks into the holes.  Allow cake to cool completely. Generously frost top (and sides) with the extra creamy whipped topping and finish by topping the cake with the flaked coconut. Cover and keep refrigerated.

enjoy-hydrangea

A Most Fetching Friday: Grilled to Perfection Delicious Inspiration

Today’s Fetching Friday features grilled to perfection delicious inspiration for your outdoor living entertaining ideas pleasure.

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

salmon with creamed peas

Grilled Salmon with Dijon and Dill Creamed Pea Sauce

201208-HD-grilled-flatbreads-with-mushrooms-ricotta-and-herbs-201208-r-grilled-flatbreads-with-mushrooms-ricotta-and-herbs

Grilled Flatbreads with Mushrooms, Ricotta and Herbs

bfe84a51d3586fd0a5ed3a10ca805116

Grilled Portofino Vegetable Antipasto

grilled-tandoori-chicken

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

grilled-shrimp-with-cranberry-salsa

 Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Cranberry Salsa

grilled-stone-fruit-almond-mascarpone-dip Grilled Stone Fruit with Almond Mascarpone Dip

enjoy-hydrangea

Citrus Sugar Hand Scrub

Our latest eBay search for project materials brought forth open tabs and mounds, let me look at this one thing patience, and a DIY recipe for Citrus Sugar Hand Scrub.  More on that point later in the post. Dave the Builder is not used to with unorthodox way of treasure hunting.  Assuring Dave I am able to walk and chew gum at the same time, I jumped around the pages of eBay with expert keyboard precision.  As Dave measured and mulled his decisions, I searched and made a decision of my “own” to click Buy It Now on this darling vintage pottery creamer. 

corn

Pattern, texture and color guide the selection process of interior design, decorating and home decor accents and accessories. Take as an example the PTC value of this creamer.  The pattern is unique as far as corn pottery patterns go, the texture is raised in matte perfection, and the color trio of pink, green and worn over time white blend together to create subtle soft tones.  Add to the mix the vivid childhood memory of a similar creamer my Mother once owned and a curiosity piece match made in collectibles heaven.

pink-corn-creamer

Presentation and placement is key when selling an item. Stores know it, sites know it, and decoristas know it.  It’s the package that sells the product, and the placement that delivers the decorative oomph.

giraffe-trinket-holder

Home decor accessories and accents placed in unexpected spaces and used in unusual ways make for the most interesting conversation pieces.

powder-jar

I am constantly arranging and rearranging smalls to create vignettes and focal point displays. The quickest way to combat decorative complacency is to design and decorate outside the lines.  A vintage creamer is repurposed as a cosmetic caddy, a porcelain bone dish finds new life as a jewelry holder, and an antique silver powder jar becomes a Mother’s Day gift filled with the latest recipe from the Places In The Home test kitchen.

bathroom-vanity-top

Citrus Sugar Hand Scrub is a pampered treat perfectly timed for the summer mani and sandal pedi season.  It is also a wonderful foot scrub! Coconut oil is all the beauty rage, and is well represented in this homemade scrub for its softening ability.

For the hands:

Dampen hands with tepid water. Apply the citrus sugar hand scrub and gently massage in a circular movement to exfoliate and renew skin. Rinse well with warm water and gently pat dry. Complete the at home spa experience by applying your favorite hand cream to seal in the moisture and protect.

For the feet:

Soak feet in warm water for approximately five (5) minutes in order to soften the skin. Apply citrus sugar hand scrub to each foot and work in circular motions to properly exfoliate. Rinse feet with tepid water and gently dry with a towel.  Feet will be soft and moisturized so watch your step!  Now is the time to try out those new summer flip-flops or spa socks to prevent doing the twist and d#*! that hurts shout.

citrus-sugar-hand-scrub

Citrus Sugar Hand Scrub

Ingredients

½  cup raw sugar

½  cup coarse salt

½ cup melted coconut oil

1 tablespoon lemon zest (1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest)

1 tablespoon orange zest

several drops favorite essential oil

Directions

Mix all ingredients together until combined.

ingredients

Spoon citrus sugar hand scrub into container of choice and seal tightly. This scrub is best suited for use on the hands and feet, and is good for use for up to one month.

sugar-body-scrub signature-pink

Eat, Drink and Be Mardi Gras Merry: Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

The parades, good times are rolling state, city and parish wide.  The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50, and we are proudly celebrating the team and our Peyton Manning on this Lundi Gras.  I can’t think of a better reason or season to laissez les bons temps rouler. Laissez les bons temps rouler (pronounced “Lay-say le bon tom roo-lay”) is the term most associated with Louisiana, Mardi Gras and our basic approach to life. Those celebrating Louisianians in their Carnival glory and their Gulf Coast neighbors know how to laissez les bons temps rouler.  We have a zest for life, a taste for tradition, and a food for every festival and celebration.

shaya red beans riceEmily’s Red Beans and Rice Recipe ~ Southern Living

Our culinary melting pot spans the entire state.  Courir de Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday Run, is the traditional way of Mardi Gras in many rural parishes of Louisiana.  A company of merry masked and costumed hunters gather en masse on horseback, foot and flatbed combing parish country roads for essential ingredients for a community gumbo.

Courir de Mardi Grasflickr

 ♫ Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo ♫

Rooted in tradition dating back to medieval France, the fête de la quémande or feast of begging is part tradition, part necessity and part recipe revelry.  Begging townsfolk and voisins (neighbors) for gotta have it gumbo ingredients is a quaint, odd and beloved Courir de Mardi Gras custom- one where history meets heritage.

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

Beginning with the Feast of the Epiphany and ending with the culmination of the Mardi Gras season , sweet home Louisiana is the place of cakes and Kings.

muffuletta-sammies-SQUAREv2Muffuletta Sammies ~ Central Grocery & Deli New Orleans, Louisiana

You say muff-uh-LOT-uh, and I say moo-foo-LET-ta, but everyone who has tasted a muffuletta says delicious.  Staying true to traditional form, no visit to New Orleans is complete without stopping in at Central Grocery for a muffuletta.  I call the muffuletta the Earl of Sicilian sandwiches.  The origin of the muffuletta dates back to 1906 when Salvatore Lupo, the original owner of Central Grocery, introduced New Orleans to the muffuletta.

573px-Muffaletta_At_Central_Grocery,_New_OrleansMuffuletta At Central Grocery, New Orleans

Other Crescent City eateries take a turn at the muffuletta and with great and tasty success, but we always come back to the original and here’s why: a soft, chewy, unforgettable, divine (yes, divine) sesame seed topped bread housing layers of mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham and provolone. Hungry yet?  It gets better.  The crowning jewel of flavor, the signature super-secret recipe Central Grocery olive salad, is without a doubt the best olive salad known to the foodie palate.  Grab an ice-cold Barq’s Root Beer and experience a taste of New Orleans the way the locals do.

King-Cake-scones

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.  A taste of Mardi Gras tradition rolls on with a brunch favorite, King Cake scones.  The recipe is from Louisiana Cookin’. Here is the link to the recipe and King Cake goodness. King Cake Scones

682px-Krewe_of_Eve_Mask_FaceKrewe of Eve

I’m hanging out the gone celebrating sign and heading out to eat, drink and be Mardi Gras merry in laissez les bons temps rouler style.

Love your style!

A Delicious Mocktail For New Year’s Eve 2015

The Places In The Home New Year’s Eve celebration pales in comparison to the rowdy and lively parties in Times Square or on the Vegas Strip, and that’s just the way we like it.  Give me a few appetizers,

cheese-strawsEmeril’s Easy Cheese Straws

everything-twistsEverything Twists

creamed-spinach-dipCreamed Spinach Dip

Brown-Sugar-Poppyseed-Hot-Ham-Cheese-Party-Rolls-Buns-Roll-Ups-01Hot Ham & Cheese Party Rolls

chocolate-dipped-mandarinsSalted, Chocolate-Dipped Mandarin Slices

a fabulous New Year’s Eve celebration themed tunes playlist,

and a delicious mocktail such as the Peach Sunrise Fizz.  Throw in the bangs, pops and sparkles of the neighborhood fireworks show and I’m good.  Party animals we are not, but we do give New Year’s Eve a run for its money 50+ style.

mocktail

Jumex peach nectar is a staple in the Places In The Home pantry.  I use this stuff in everything from cakes to marinades to my New Year’s Eve 2015 mocktail.  A quick survey of ingredients on hand brings forth this delicious mocktail with a zippy zing for proper party measure.

sugar-in-the-raw

Sugar in the Raw is another must have on hand holiday helper.  Did you happen to see my Facebook post featuring my Christmas Fresh Apple Nut cake iced to perfection and topped with Louisiana pecans and a generous sprinkling of Sugar in the Raw?  Take a look here.  Open a couple of packets of these chunky brown sugar crystals and pour into a saucer.

sugar-rim-glass

To zing the taste and the pretty factor up a notch or two, add the zest of one lemon to the sugar.  Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a small bowl.

fresh-lemon-juice

Dip the rim of the glass into the lemon juice.

cocktail-glasses

Fill the glass with ice.  Pour the glass ¾ full with the peach nectar.  Add a generous splash of lemon-lime soda and a generous pour of grenadine (pomegranate juice, sugar and water) or cherry juice.

grenadine

Give the Peach Sunrise Fizz mocktail a quick stir and garnish with fresh lemon twist.

peach-sunrise-fizz

Dave the Builder and I will be raising a glass to you as we toast the arrival of 2016. Here’s to New Year 2016- a fabulous year for us all abounding with peace, joy, love, health and great style!  Thank you for your support and loyal readership. Cheers!

Love your style!