This post state dinner post is all about the c’est si bon. I got completely caught up in the design and decorating details of the event, but knew I would be remiss it I did not chime in on the menu choice of jambalaya in the style of Louisiana jambalaya. Cooked in the flavor traditions of New Orleans, the dish served at the State Dinner was Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya.
The in the tradition of New Orleans seasonings jambalaya reviews are in from Senior Louisiana senator Bill Cassidy who was in attendance.
The meal & evening were “fantastic,” Sen. @BillCassidy tells me, but “the jambalaya was not jambalaya—it may have been rice pilaf but it wasn’t jambalaya.” https://t.co/JefFmiuH8M
Anywho, a quick google search provided a recipe from Carolina Rice for Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya. As delectable as the recipe may cook up to be, if you’ve never tasted Louisiana Creole or Cajun jambalaya, you’re not eating Louisiana jambalaya.
Trust me on this one. The taste buds don’t lie.
Louisiana chefs of restaurant and at-home test kitchen skill alike master their personal versions of this flavor rich to the core one-pot rice dish. We’re all about the one-pot dish down here in the boot. Variety is the spice of life and Louisiana jambalaya recipes. There is Creole jambalaya and there is Cajun jambalaya. The main difference boils down to the addition or exclusion of one ingredient- tomato. Creole jambalaya (red jambalaya) is made with tomato (diced, paste, etc.) whereas Cajun jambalaya (brown jambalaya) is made without. The holy trinity of chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery is flavor front and center in both, chicken, sausage and/or shrimp serves to further accentuate the flavor, and spice combinations work their seasoning magic.
I cover all the culinary bases by owning both. While I am loyal to the Magnalite dutch oven my mother-in-law’s best friend gave us as a wedding gift 35+ years ago however, the big blue pot cooks as pretty as it looks.
Let’s cover the essential c’est si bon that go so well with jambalaya.
Louisiana Hot Sauce
Southern Buttermilk Cornbread
Creole Cajun Seasoning
Creole Cajun Seasoning
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.
Chicken and sausage is the Places In The Home house favorite for gumbo and Louisiana jambalaya. Time is not on my side at posting, so I am using the image of the chicken and sausage jambalaya from New Orleans’s Cafe Reconcile as featured on Louisiana Cookin’.
Preparing or purchasing Valentine’s Day sweets for the sweet is a scrumptious tradition. Sweet logic and delicious justification make Cupid’s case for whipping up one of these Valentine’s Day desserts delectably dedicated to the one you love.
Sharing is caring.
Food is love.
Calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day.
Let’s Valentine’s Day Desserts!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Valentine’s Hearts
¼ cup unsalted butter-softened
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini chocolate chip morsels
For Dipping and Decoration:
10. oz semi sweet baking chocolate
1.5 oz white chocolate for garnish
A few drops of pink or red food colors
Beat softened butter and brown sugar until fully combined, then add vanilla and peanut butter and beat until fluffy. Add flour and sweetened condensed milk and beat until combined. Fold in the mini chocolate chip morsels.
Press the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish lined with parchment paper and set in the fridge to chill.
Pull off the parchment paper to lift the dough from the baking dish. Using heart shaped cookie cutter cut off the truffles and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Set in the freezer while melting chocolate.
Using a fork dip the truffles into melted chocolate ( one at the time), slightly tap the fork against the side of the bowl to trim the excess chocolate and place the truffle back on the parchment paper. Set them back in the fridge to firm.
Melt white chocolate, stir in a few drops of red food color, transfer into a small bag, cut the corner off and pipe melted chocolate on top of the truffles.
recipe Cherry or Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)
recipe Chocolate-Dipped Cherries (see recipe below) (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 6×2-inch round cake pans or springform pans. Mix 1 teaspoon each flour and cocoa powder; dust pans. Set pans aside. In bowl combine ¾ cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. In large bowl with electric mixer beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in sour cream and flour mixture. Pour batter in pans; spread evenly.
Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on rack.
Use serrated knife to horizontally cut cakes in half to make 4 layers total. Place bottom layer on plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with layers. Place top layer on cake. Heap remaining frosting, swirling in peaks. Refrigerate.
To serve, top with Chocolate-Dipped Cherries. Serves 8.
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 8 ounce carton sour cream
1 cup whipping cream (do not use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream)
2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
In a chilled large mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, sour cream, whipping cream, and cherry juice. Beat with the chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until fluffy.
16 maraschino cherries with stems
½ cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 teaspoon shortening
Drain cherries; pat dry with paper towels. In small microwave-safe bowl combine semisweet chocolate pieces and shortening. Cook on 50 percent power (medium) 1½ to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Dip cherries in chocolate; place on waxed paper until set. Store, covered, up to 24 hours.
The red velvet cupcake, molten lava cakes or cheesecake!
Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes from Spache the Spatula look absolutely divine. Click on the link to check out this and other tempting recipes from Spache the Spatula. Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes
Red Velvet Cheesecake
1 pound milk chocolate, chopped
½ cup butter
19 ounce package chocolate wafer cookies (40 to 45 cookies)
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup slivered almonds
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted
48 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
18 ounce carton dairy sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
11 ounce bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
2 egg yolks
Chocolate leaves (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
Fresh raspberries and/or small whole strawberries(optional)
In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and ½ cup butter over low heat; transfer to a bowl and cool completely.
Place wafer cookies, chocolate pieces, almonds and brown sugar in a large food processor. Cover and process until finely ground. Add the ½ cup melted butter; cover and process until well combined. Transfer crumbs to a 10×3-inch springform pan with a removable bottom. Press crumbs onto bottom and up the sides of the pan, leaving a ½-inch space at the top of the pan. Set aside.
In a very large mixing bowl, beat the cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, buttermilk and red food coloring with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Add 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks all at once. Beat on low speed just until combined.
Pour filling into crumb-crust lined springform pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan on the oven rack. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour, or until 2 inches of outside edge appear set when shaken gently.
Remove springform pan from baking pan. Cool cheesecake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a small metal spatula to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Cool 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan. Cool for 1 hour; cover and chill at least 4 hours.
To serve, use a paper doily to decoratively sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder on the top, if you like. Garnish the center with chocolate leaves and fresh raspberries, if you like. Clean knife between each cut. Makes 20 servings.
Bake and chill up to 24 hours. Garnish just before serving.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, ¾ teaspoon salt and the baking powder in a medium bowl. Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg
and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough until 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, then cut out cookies with a 2-inch heart-shaped cutter.
Arrange about 1 inch apart on the prepared pans. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are slightly firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the pans, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Make the filling:
Combine the white chocolate, remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla and
pinch of salt in a large bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan, then pour over the white chocolate. Stir until smooth, then refrigerate until cold, 25 minutes. Beat with a mixer until creamy. Sandwich the white chocolate mixture between the cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on cookie sheet or counter work surface.
Using soft brush, brush over sheet with melted butter. Lightly sprinkle entire sheet with sugar. Top with another sheet. Butter, sprinkle and repeat until 6 sheets thick. Repeat to create another 6 sheets stack. Using a pizza cutter or large knife, make ten vertical slices and one horizontal slice down the middle of each stack.
Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line each muffin cup with 1 of the phyllo pieces at a time, covering sides and bottom to form a cup. Repeat making 12 cups.
Using a microplane, shave dark chocolate over each cup to dust.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and immediately place desired amount of chocolate chips in each cup allowing to melt.
Top melted chocolate chips with strawberry slices, drizzled honey and whipped topping. Dust whip topping clouds with cinnamon.
Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake from The Cake Blog. Trust me, this recipe is well worth the time, the effort, and the click on the link to check it out. Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake
Easy as the top ingredient!
Chocolate Sweetheart Cupcakes
2 sticks butter
1 ½ cup sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup heavy cream
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 oz. white chocolate
Heat oven to 350ºF. Line 12 regular-size (2 1⁄2-in. diam) muffin cups with paper liners. Beat butter, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl with mixer on low speed 1 minute or until well blended. Add eggs; beat 2 minutes or until fluffy. Beat in milk and vanilla (batter may look curdled), then flour just until blended.
Spoon scant 1⁄4 cup batter into each muffin cup, filling each about 2⁄3 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in centers of cupcakes comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pan to rack. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining batter. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting and decorating. Each recipe makes 24 cupcakes.
For the ganache:
Gently heat ¾ cup heavy cream over medium heat, then pour over 8 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute; stir until melted and smooth. Evenly spoon ganache on top of 12 large or 24 small chocolate cupcakes. Let set for 30 minutes.
For the lettering:
Microwave 3 ounces white chocolate on 50% power in 20-second intervals until melted and smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1.5 tip, then get creative!
The flu is raging with a vengeance. Dave the Builder has informed me seven of his coworkers are currently out with the flu, and the office air is thick with the scent of Lysol. We believe in doing everything you can to prevent catching the flu. My one and only time to have the flu was an ugly, ugly experience. I was out of commission for 6+ weeks with flu that turned to pneumonia quicker than I could say I don’t feel good. Remembering that experience like it was yesterday, the Places In The Home household is in take charge mode to ward off the flu, including, but not limited to, brimming bowls of homemade potato soup. Dave the Builder’s mom spoke of the healing powers of homemade potato soup, and who am I to argue with the wisdom of my mother-in-law?
I developed this rather uncomplicated to prepare and quite tasty recipe for homemade potato soup years ago when our son was in elementary school. Sports, scouts and study schedules tend to dominate after school time, and the dinnertime hour gets pushed later and later more nights than not. The kid, husband and mother-in-law loved it, instantly making it a classic family recipe. Both cream of chicken soup and chicken broth hit the flavor notes with a little help from seasoning friends salt, pepper, onion powder and fresh parsley. I have been known on occasion to add a heaping tablespoon of heavy cream to each bowl, and the crowd goes yum.
Homemade Potato Soup
6 medium to large russet potatoes
1 family size can cream of chicken soup
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup chicken broth
5 cups 2% milk
Fresh parsley, chopped
Heavy cream (optional)
Bake the potatoes at 400°F for 1 hour OR microwave potatoes on full power until tender. Microwave cooking times will vary according to size and heating variance. Let baked potatoes stand until cool. Using a fork, press each potato in center, splitting potato in half. Mash out the pulp and discard potato skins.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stir together the cream of chicken soup, potato pulp, salt, pepper, and onion powder.
Stir in the chicken broth and milk, stirring to incorporate flavors. Bring to a gentle boil.
Lower heat to simmer, add chopped parsley, and simmer uncovered until soup is creamy thick, about 10-15 minutes.
This Dutch oven is 65 years old – a wedding gift from my aunt to my parents.
If the soup becomes too thick, simply add more milk until desired consistency is reached.
Culinary contemplation over how I could up my holiday side dish game brought me to a delicious conclusion. How ’bout pairing the highly holiday requested Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with the OMG as in oh my goodness of puff pastry. Southern Sweet Potato Puffs it is!
Impressing the palates of those who gather together is a part of the holiday dinner and entertaining equation. As someone who puts stock in the you eat with your eyes first approach to dining, the looks so good has to match up to the tastes so good. Let’s begin with the recipe for Southern Sweet Potato Casserole.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Boil sweet potatoes under tender. Carefully remove from heat, drain, peel and mash sweet potatoes.
In mixing bowl, mix together the mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, Southern Comfort, ground cloves and ground nutmeg. Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish.
In a separate mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour, and melted butter.
Spoon over sweet potato mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Southern Sweet Potato Puffs
southern sweet potato casserole for filling
1 box puff pastry sheets
Allow the casserole to cool before using as the filling for the puffs. The reason I elect to fill the puff pastry with cooked sweet potato casserole is to work with a dryer filling. Baking off the casserole absorbs the liquids into the baked casserole, and makes it easier to work with a firmer filling. The next step in the making of Southern Sweet Potatoes Puffs brings puff pastry into the mix. I used the defrost in the refrigerator overnight method of thawing the puff pastry sheets. Unfold 1 puff pastry sheet and place on lightly floured countertop or large baking sheet. Roll puff pastry out using a lightly floured rolling pin. Lightly dust pastry sheet with flour. Using a knife, cut the pastry sheet into six (6) squares.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Southern Sweet Potato Casserole mixture in the center of each pastry square.
Pull corners of each square up over the filling and twist at top to seal. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet. Place the pastry squares onto a large baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Beat 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water together in a small bowl with a fork. Brush each puff with the egg mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes or until puffs are golden brown.
Ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves sprinkled over peeled and chopped apples kick up the fall flavor in this recipe for spiced apples. It most certainly is beginning to look, smell and taste a lot like fall and yes, even the holidays. Earlier and earlier we see holiday articles and postings in our inboxes and social pages, and who can blame those of us who find fall and holiday decorating, cooking and baking news so shareworthy. October through December is the most wonderful and delicious time of the year.
Into every unseasonably warm fall day some rain must fall for the cold front to move through that’s bringing highs in the low 60s and lows in the low 40s.
Hanging out in the kitchen cooking is oddly relaxing and a great way to spend a rainy day afternoon. The Home for the Holidays season is right around the corner (can you believe it?), and the sweet and savory recipes to holiday impress by aren’t going to develop themselves. Do you know what a bowl of softening apples is called?
A local grocery store sells bags of day old produce for $1.00. My mother, the produce whisperer, hit the market at the precise moment the produce manager was putting out the marked down bags. She got the price pick of the day, and the deal dished this recipe for spiced apples. I washed and peeled six apples of assorted variety and color, searched the spice inventory and refrigerator for what’s on hand ingredients, and proceeded to recipe develop. This recipe is really a no-brainer based on the natural connection between the fruits, flavors and spices we associate with the taste of fall. Here’s what I came up with.
6 apples, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 generous Tablespoon fig preserves
2 generous Tablespoons orange marmalade
1 Tablespoon molasses
2 Tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 300°. Lightly butter baking dish and set aside. Wash, peel and chop six medium size apples.
Place apples in baking dish. Squeeze the lemon juice over the apples. Sprinkle ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg over apples.
Add the brown sugar and stir gently to coat apples.
Stir in 1 generous Tablespoon fig preserves and 2 generous Tablespoons orange marmalade. Spread apples in single layer in baking dish.
Lightly drizzle molasses over apples. Cut butter into small pieces and place on top of the apple mixture. Bake uncovered at 300° for 45 minutes.
Spiced apples pair deliciously with pork tenderloin or spiral ham.
Spiced apples scrumptiously complement a slice or two of toasted pecan-pumpkin bread.
Designing, decorating and stocking the kitchen, pantry and cupboard with personal style, staples and spices became an adventure in discovery of taste and tastes. When fall comes around each year, the memories flood my mind reminding me these are special times for making fall traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning.
Once photographed and admired, it’s time to give thought to delicious ways of putting a seasonal spin on it.
Tradition is the key ingredient of my recipes. The recipes and kitchen philosophies of my great grandmother, my darling Mama Two, inspire and influence the salads, entrees and desserts developed and prepared in the Places In The Home test kitchen.
I leave myself a mixing bowl full of wiggle room by referring to the Places In The Home kitchen as a test kitchen. If a recipe exceeds taste expectations, my kitchen is the culinary kingdom in which I rule over complete with crown roast and wooden spoon scepter. If a recipe fails, then my kitchen is simply a test kitchen where taste perfection is not an absolute and I remind the family that Domino’s delivers.
A jar of Mrs. Bridges fig preserves is my autumn jam. Fig and pear preserves were a Mama Two staple, especially in her baked goods that I associate with fall traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning. Isn’t it funny the things that play traditional fall favorites with our memory? It’s a question asked and deliciously answered by the fresh pear salad with sour cream, fig preserves and honey I came up with.
The taste of fall on an vintage porcelain dessert plate.
Slice a fresh pair of your flavor choice in two. Using a spoon, gently spoon out the center of each pear half. Place each pear halves core side up on a plate. Spoon ½-1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice over pear halves. Spoon a generous dollop of sour cream into center of each pear half. Top sour cream with 1 heaping teaspoon of fig preserves. Lightly drizzle honey over pear halves.
A perfect union of flavors for a fresh fall salad option, and a gathering of ideas for fall kitchen style, spice and seasoning.
Sharing is a big part of Places In The Home. The concept of sharing useful tidbits of interior decorating information and striking images of all things house that make a home interest to social media platforms is genius. The knowledge gained, friends made, inspiration gleaned makes the experience so worthwhile. During a recent ringing the dinner bell pinning session, it occurred to me a blog post of select recipes from Pinterest as featured on my A Taste Odyssey Pinterest board may pique your Pinterest interest, and make for an inspiring and appetizing show and tell.
Rather you call the evening meal dinner or supper, you’ll call these pin to table main dish recipes from Pinterest favorites. I’m including the original link to each recipe so you can check it out.
The newlywed couple called home last night from IKEA to share their latest wedding gift purchase. The subject of IKEA, meatballs and the concept of a furniture store-restaurant pairing got me to thinking and craving meatballs. This recipe for Salisbury Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes from Maya Kitchenette is comfort food fantastic. Salisbury Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes
Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches
The first three words in this recipe for Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches from Fox Valley Foodie qualify it as a must try. Factor in the ooh la la licious tastes brought forth by combining French onion soup, beef consomme and Guinness beer together with beef roastrump roast and you’ve got a crowd pleasing easy dinner option. Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches
The hotter it gets in the dog days of summer, the less time spent in the kitchen cooking and baking the better. Yes, I know we live in the modern age of central air, but the excuse of it’s too hot to cook gets me out of many a late summer what’s for dinner dilemma. That’s where this recipe for Ranch Quick Bread comes in. This easy to mix, quick to fix, and deliciously filling Ranch Quick Bread recipe hits the spot with big flavor for a small supper.
Ranch Quick Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package dry Ranch seasoning mix
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk**
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup cottage cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.