• salad dressing

    Viva la Caesar Vinaigrette Dressing

    My dear friend CC is passionate about her love of good food and sharing it with friends. I recently sat in an organic cooking class where she made the following announcement:   Ladies, go to Victoria’s Secret and buy some nice lingerie, then buy a pack of cigarettes, because you are about to have a love affair with this food. I felt she was speaking directly to me because I love good food—quality food that has been prepared deliberately + creatively.  I LOVE GOOD FOOD.   That being said, I struggle with bottled salad dressings. One case in point is Caesar salad dressing. I am underwhelmed by what I find on…

  • alcoholic,  fruity

    Sugar-Rimmed Raspberry Gin Smash

    I’m going to a pool party next weekend and have been put in charge of libations. So when the question is What is cool + light + refreshing + fruity? the answer is Sugar-Rimmed Raspberry Gin Smash.  But what is a smash? A bartender* once explained a smash as a julep but with a choose-your-own-adventure spirit. You add booze (of choice) + herb (of choice) + sweetener (of choice) + seasonal fruit (of choice)—whatever blows your skirt up—to a glass of ice. Give it some swirls and bottoms up!  Or use a straw if you are sassy.  Summer raspberries are bulging with juice, so turning them into a smash makes…

  • Asian fare,  main course,  paleo,  poultry,  salads

    Tangy + Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad

    Do you have 30 minutes? Good! That means you have time to throw together this refreshing Tangy + Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad! It’s a rainbow of colors + textures bolstered by a silky peanut dressing—a flavor explosion, I guarantee. I have compiled a scrumptious conglomeration of typical Southeastern Asian ingredients including sesame oil + cilantro + ginger (for flavor) and chopped peanuts + cabbage + carrots (for crunch). You could always add crispy wontons for extra toothsomeness.  I’ve also included a zinger: green papaya. Most Asian markets carry green, or under ripe, papayas either whole or shredded in a bag. Adding green papaya among this salad’s gorgeous vegetables + flavors…

  • Asian fare,  main course,  pescetarian

    Easy Spicy Ahi (+ Ebi) Stacks for 2 

    When I go out to eat, I often have When Harry Met Sally moments.  Let me clarify. I scrutinize what the waiters serve to other patrons as they saunter past my table. And sometimes, without even having an idea of what is on the plate, I will simply say, “I’ll have what she’s having.” The last time I tried that technique was when I saw this glorious tower of crab + rice + tuna + avocado in a saucy puddle, sprinkled with sesame seeds. When it came time to take my order, the Tower of Seafood my heart yearned for was no more. Much to my chagrin, they sold the…

  • sugar + spice

    Raspberry Sugar

    Whether you scatter, sprinkle, or mix it in, this Raspberry Sugar  will add its flavor + crunch magic to whatever needs a little abracadabra!  Imagine  licking the rim of your margarita not greeted by salt but instead Raspberry Sugar. Lip-smacking good! It’s so easy to make this Raspberry Sugar. All it takes is a cup of sugar + frozen raspberries + a little patience. (I used white sugar because a wanted to create this beautiful fuchsia hue, but you may use any granulated sugar.) Mash + strain frozen raspberries to extract their juice. Mix the sugar into the juice and dry in a low temp oven.  Taa-daa! This sugar will…

  • alcoholic,  infused syrups

    Rosemary + Gin Cocktail

    What time is it? It’s cocktail o’clock, of course! So bring on the Rosemary + Grapefruit Gin Cocktail! Why this combo?  Because I love gin. Aaaaand my rosemary bush needs a trimming. If you read my post on Rosemary Not-So-Simple Syrup, you may have wondered where I was going with that. Well, my fellow imbibers, here we are. I introduce to you the Rosemary + Grapefruit Gin Cocktail. I recommend you use freshly squeezed juice. Do not misunderstand me–I totally get that sometimes we need shortcuts. And there are plenty of good store-bought options. But if you’re up to it and you have the time, squeeze the citrus yourself.  Ripe…

  • infused syrups

    Rosemary Not-So-Simple Syrup 

    “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.” Ophelia, Hamlet, Act IV, scene V. Rosemary. Even the most delicate brush against this woody evergreen releases a waft of fragrance. Similar to pine and eucalyptus, it is intensely aromatic, nay potent. So potent that it purportedly increases our memory. Substantiated or not, its tenacious oil refuses to be ignored.  Rosemary’s first culinary uses trace back 2,500 years ago.  The ancient Greeks believed it helped improve memory + concentration + digestion + circulation. It is even alluded to in the Bible.  So how does rosemary’s potency translate into a sweet syrup? Beautifully, I must say, and in various + sundry ways.   Other…

  • salads,  soups + stews

    Crunchy + Garlicky Croutons

    This is an open letter to Mrs. Kitchens, my former neighbor and babysitting employer. Dear Mrs. Kitchens, There was this one occasion when I babysat your kids that I found a container of crunchy bread chunks in the pantry. Those chunks were so savory + buttery that I started eating them–just one or two each time I walked through the kitchen. What harm was there in eating a few toasted pieces of bread? Well, I am not sure what happened next…things are a little foggy…but the next thing I remember was seeing the bottom of the container, unobstructed.  I had eaten ALL the bread. So I write this open letter…

  • gluten free,  main course,  pescetarian,  seafood,  sugar + spice,  Uncategorized

    Quick + Easy Blackened Shrimp 

    A gold star on my forehead. There was nothing I treasured more than that sticky foil star, smack dab between my eyes. I intended to wear it the entire day, as a trophy, a distinction. Unfortunately, within the hour my forehead was glistening with perspiration and the star lost its grip. Such is life in New Orleans where the weather is either balmy, hot, or ooh-wee chile’ scorching. What had I done to receive such a high honor? I cleaned my plate. Almost to the point of licking. I was at K-Paul’s, Paul Prudhomme’s restaurant, experiencing blackening seasoning for the first time. On redfish, I recall. Redfish seasoned and seared…

  • sugar + spice

    House Blend Blackening Seasoning

    Years after the buzzwords blackened redfish burst onto the foodie scene, I dined at Chef Paul Prudhomme’s restaurant in New Orleans. It took one mouthful of that flavor explosion to make me a life-long devotee. If you ask me about that dining experience, I will unashamedly confess that I licked my plate clean. Period. I am including what I believe to be a replication of the authentic spice blend that was born in the kitchen at K-Paul’s. This blackening seasoning is so easy to throw together you may never buy it from the market again. A bonus of making your own is that you can personalize this recipe to control…