Crabmeat Green Goddess

The meeting of the courts of Mistick Krewe of Comus and King of Carnival Rex has happened, http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/entertainment_life/article_f64c931e-06de-11e8-a7dc-3bae2229f574.html, the streets have been cleared, and cleanup has begun. Mardi Gras is officially over and now the Lenten Season begins.

Here in South Louisiana, the Lenten Season brings family and friends together on many of the weekends for crawfish boils as seafood is a traditional substitute for meat on Friday’s. We take this time of religious reflection to gather and celebrate our relationships and as always, show our love with food.

At the end of February, crab season begins. Crabmeat Green Goddess, from River Road Recipes IV, is a wonderful recipe to make for your guests or to bring to share during the Lenten Season. It is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Crabmeat Green Goddess, RRR IV, p. 59. Photo by Meghan Poole.

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Red pepper to taste
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 pound lump crab meat, drained and shells removed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl until blended, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  2. Stir in 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, green onions, 2 crushed garlic cloves, salt, black pepper, red pepper, Tabasco sauce, and lemon juice to taste.
  3. Spread the cream cheese mixture 1/2 inch thick on a serving tray. Chill, covered in the refrigerator.
  4. Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 crushed garlic clove in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt, black pepper, red pepper, and Tabasco sauce.
  5. Fold in the crab meat.
  6. Spread the crab meat mixture over the cream cheese mixture just before serving.
  7. Garnish as desired and serve with assorted party crackers.

 

‘Tis the Season to Eat Crawfish!

Christmas holidays are over and the new year has begun. With the Mardi Gras season in full swing, it will soon be crawfish time in South Louisiana. Families and friends will be gathering for food and fellowship with weekend crawfish boils. These wonderful mudbugs may not be pretty, but they sure are tasty and the leftovers can make for beautiful dishes.

Below is a recipe for Crawfish Etouffee from River Road Recipes I. The recipe in RRR I, tells you to boil the crawfish and gives the directions on how to do so. In today’s world, we are fortunate enough to be able to buy packaged crawfish tails.  However, this recipe is a wonderful idea for leftovers from a crawfish boil, as well. Make it for your family, or perhaps a party you have planned. Serving the dish in martini glasses (as shown) or other decorative ware can make for a beautiful presentation and it can be served in appetizer portions. Having portions in easy to handle serving dishes makes it easier for your guests if you are having a buffet or cocktail party.

This recipe makes about 8 quarts or 30 servings. It freezes well in ziplock bags or airtight containers. You may also cut the recipe in half.

 Crawfish Etouffee

RRR I page 103

 Crawfish Etouffee, RRR I p. 102. Photo by Don Kadair.

The recipe has been adapted from the original, assuming you have the crawfish tails and do not need to boil.

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 to 5 lbs of  crawfish tails with the fat
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 stalk (bunch) of celery
  • 6  medium onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bell pepper
  •  1 cup green onion tops
  • 1 pimento (or red bell pepper)
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.

Directions

Grind (dice in a food processor) the vegetables and cook in shortening until tender. Add the seasonings and blend well. Add the crawfish tails (with the crawfish fat). Cook for about 15 or 20 minutes, but do not overcook. Turn the heat off and let it stand for 30 minutes until the seasonings are blended. Serve over rice.

River Road Recipes I, p. 103

 

 

Party Time!! Make Ahead Recipe: Blue Cheese Truffles

It is party season! The Super Bowl is coming up and the Mardi Gras season is under way, but everyone is busy. Here is a recipe that is sure to please the hostess, as well as, the party goer who needs to bring a dish. Blue Cheese Truffles from River Road Recipes IV . It has only three ingredients.

This recipe can also be made in advance because it freezes well. Go ahead and use your stand mixer and double the batch.  Then you will have some ready in the freezer for the next party.  Just freeze the truffles in a plastic container separated in layers with wax paper. Take them out the day of the party and you are ready to go!

Blue Cheese Truffles are also gluten free and low carb. This combination will be sure to please any crowd.

                                            Blue Cheese Truffles, RRR IV, p. 57. Photo by Meghan Poole.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups pecan halves or pieces, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces blue cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

DIRECTIONS

  1. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast at 300° for 15 minutes or until light brown, stirring occasionally. Let stand until cool and finely chop.
  2. Combine the blue cheese and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until blended.
  3. Shape the cheese mixture into balls using a small melon baller and coat with the pecans.
  4. Arrange the balls on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Chill, covered, until serving time.
  5. Serve with sliced apples and/or grapes.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen truffles

Southern Antipasto

Southern Antipasto, RRR IV, p. 57. Photo by Meghan Poole.

Meghan prepared this recipe for a party she held at her home:

The Southern Antipasto was the easiest item on the menu to make. I cut the green beans into two pieces each before blanching. I sliced one type of olives lengthwise and the other crosswise. My garlic press also has a slicer on it, so it was easy to get the garlic to a consistent size. Three tablespoons of thyme takes a while to get, so I used an herb stripper to make the process go faster. I prepared the marinade the day before the party in a plastic container with a lid. I combined the rest of the ingredients in the quart-sized bag as indicated in the recipe. I poured the marinade in the bag about 2 hours before the party, then into a serving bowl when I was ready to serve it without draining the marinade.

Ingredients
1 (12-ounce) jar pickled okra, drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh green beans, blanched and drained
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olive halves
1/4 cup pitted green olive halves
1/4 cup pimento-stuffed olives
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper

Directions
Combine the okra, green beans, and olives in a 1-quart re-sealable plastic bag.
Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and red pepper in a bowl.
Pour the lemon juice mixture over the okra mixture and seal tightly. Turn to coat.
Marinate in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes. Drain before serving.
Serves 12

Spinach Madeline: A Thanksgiving Tradition

Spinach Madeleine, the recipe that put the first Junior League of Baton River Road Recipes Cookbook on the map! This savory and bubbly warm dish is now a traditional favorite for family gatherings, potlucks and supper clubs all around our great state for over 50 years.

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The original Spinach Madeleine recipe is found on page 63 of River Road Recipes I: A Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine.

Spinach Madeleine can be served as a warm appetizer dip with toast points or cocktail crackers, as well as, a flavorful side dish complimentary to many main dishes. Remember, Spinach Madeleine also freezes well. So consider when preparing, double the recipe and freeze half.

This dish is also a good way to introduce spinach to those who might be reluctant to try green veggies. The blended flavors and spices are sure to please even the most doubtful of picky eaters.

The original recipe calls for a roll of 6 ounces of Jalapeno cheese. Kraft Foods no longer makes the product so we have substituted 4 ounces of Velveeta cheese, cubed, and 2 teaspoons of minced jalapenos!

Spinach Madeleine

  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onions
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup vegetable liquor (the liquid reserved from cooking the spinach)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons jalapeno, minced
  • Red pepper to taste

Cook spinach according to directions on package. Drain and reserve liquor. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring until blended and smooth, but not brown. Add onion, and cook until soft but not brown. Add liquid slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until smooth and thick; continue stirring. Add seasonings, jalapenos, and cheese which has been cut into small pieces. Stir until melted. Combine with cooked spinach. This may be served immediately or put into a casserole and topped with buttered breadcrumbs. The flavor is improved if the latter is done and kept in the refrigerator overnight. This may also be frozen.

Serves 5 to 6.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Red Stick Farmer’s Market

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Members of the River Road Recipes Cookbook Committee will be on hand from 8am-12pm this Saturday sharing cookbook knowledge, offering samples and selling all 4 of our beloved books.

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend and the Red Stick Farmers Market is a wonderful way to grab a cookbook along with some fresh ingredients to whip up something special for dinner later that evening!

 We hope to see you Saturday! Be sure to stop by our booth and say hello. Keep reading for our featured sample, Cheese Straws.

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Photograph by Don Kadair

Cheese Straws

Cheese straws are a perpetual crowd favorite at parties. The sharp cheddar cheese with the hint of red pepper make them an irresistible, savory snack for any event! They also make great gifts when placed in a decorative bag or tin. While the recipe calls for you to roll the dough thin and cut it into narrow strips, you can also place the dough in a cookie press to give them a decorative shape before baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 2/3 cups sifted flour
  • Dash red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Mix ingredients together well. Roll thin and cut in narrow strips. Bake in slow oven, 275°, until light brown. Makes about 4 dozen.

River Road Recipes I, p. 223

Chili Con Quotis

Lilly Pulitzer once famously said,“That’s what life is all about: Let’s have a party. Let’s have it tonight!” We here at River Road Recipes couldn’t agree more!  We love any excuse to throw a party, and casual, last minute affairs with a few close friends always seem to be the most fun. Whether you are planning a big shindig for Cinco de Mayo or hosting an impromptu girl’s night with your two best girlfriends, this delicious dip from River Road Recipes I has the perfect amount of spice and is a breeze to toss together. Once you’ve made it, be sure to share the fun – take a picture and tag it #RiverRoadRecipes!

Chili Con Quotis, RRR I p. 223

Chili Con Quotis, RRR I. Photo by Don Kadair.

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup salad oil (olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green chili peppers
  • 1 lb processed cheese (like Velveeta)
  • 1 No. 2 Can (14.5 oz can) red tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions

  1. Saute onions and garlic in oil.
  2. Add peppers and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Melt cheese in top of double boiler; add to cheese the chopped tomatoes along with onion mixture.
  4. Add cornstarch, stirring until thick.
  5. Serve hot in chafing dish and corn chips for dipping!

Cheese Straws

Cheese straws are a perpetual crowd favorite at parties. The sharp cheddar cheese with the hint of red pepper make them an irresistible, savory snack for any event! They also make great gifts when placed in a decorative bag or tin. While the recipe calls for you to roll the dough thin and cut it into narrow strips, you can also place the dough in a cookie press to give them a decorative shape before baking.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 2/3 cups sifted flour
  • Dash red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Mix ingredients together well. Roll thin and cut in narrow strips. Bake in slow oven, 275°, until light brown. Makes about 4 dozen.

River Road Recipes I, p. 223

A History of Spinach Madeleine

It goes without saying that Spinach Madeleine is hands down one of the most famous recipes in the River Road Recipes cookbook series. In fact, Spinach Madeleine was named as one of the Century’s Best Recipes in an article that appeared in the Houston Chronicle in December 1999. For many Baton Rougeans, no holiday dinner would be complete without this delicious dish! In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we wanted to highlight the history of this iconic recipe.

The original Spinach Madeleine recipe is found on page 63 of River Road Recipes I: A Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine.

The original Spinach Madeleine recipe is found on page 63 of River Road Recipes I: A Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine.

The recipe’s creator, Madeline Nevell Reymond, created this legendary recipe by accident.  She was a young and inexperienced cook when she decided to use up a jalapeno cheese roll that she had in her refrigerator by adding it to a spinach dish she was preparing for a ladies’ luncheon.  The result was a dish that became one the most popular special-occasion vegetable dishes in Louisiana.  This is evidenced every year by the empty freezers in the grocery stores at Christmas time after all the frozen spinach packages have been snatched up.

spinach-madeline-rrr-i

When Kraft Foods decided to discontinue making the jalapeno cheese roll, which is called for in the recipe, hundreds of distraught cooks called Kraft Foods to protest.   The powers-at be at Kraft were amused by Louisiana’s devotion to their jalapeno cheese roll, but discontinued the product anyway.  Fortunately, the River Road Recipes committee developed a new version of Spinach Madeleine in 2000 so that cooks can still serve this outstanding dish. A lighter version of the recipe appears in River Road Recipes III: A Healthy Collection.

spinach-madeline-rrr-i-modern

The recipe is versatile and can be served alone or as a warm appetizer dip with toast points or crackers. Spinach Madeleine also freezes well, so it can be made in advance of hectic holiday dinners! To make sure you have this holiday classic at your Thanksgiving table this year, check out the recipe here!

Member Spotlight: Let Food Be Your Medicine with Betsy Buchert

Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Buchert operates her practice, Mint Health, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as both a conventional OB-GYN and a functional wellness practice. (Functional medicine is based on evidence that factors such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress levels, relationships and genetics are major contributors to disease.) She and her husband also have four young boys. In Betsy’s (limited!) spare time, she volunteers on the River Road Recipes Committee of the Junior League of Baton Rouge. 

Betsy with her husband and four boys.

Betsy with her husband and four boys.

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, told us this during his times, which was from 460-370 B.C.

“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

This comes from Thomas Edison, who lived from 1847 – 1931.

Well we know these two men are super smart, for sure, but unfortunately this is not how most of us approach our health at all, and it is definitely not how we approach our medical care!

I have to say, I LOVE food just as much as every other good Southerner.  I love eating most of all, but I also love cooking (preferably easy) nutritious, health promoting foods for myself, my family, and my friends.  I love the endless “I can’t believe how good this is” remarks I get when people eat at my house.  The secret is not that I am an amazing cook, but rather that I know the importance and amazingness of whole, fresh, local food,  AND I know the importance of avoiding processed, packaged foods – well, at least most of the time!  There is a reason all the new trendy restaurants are Farm-To-Table!

One of the talents I’ve become adept at in the kitchen (since I’ve learned Functional Medicine and definitely practice what I preach) is how to make substitutions, so we can keep eating the yummy foods we love, but in ways that are health promoting rather than health deteriorating.  So we can “youthen” rather than “age” – ugh! Who wants to age ungracefully?

Finding Healthier Alternatives

One area that can be tricky is having creamy dressings and party dips or spreads, so I was excited to find these two recipes in my copy of River Road Recipes I. The “Egg Salad Dressing” on page 23 of RRRI is fast, easy, creamy, delicious, and so good for you (versus the bottles of things you may buy in the store with unpronounceable, suspicious ingredients).  I made sure to use fresh, local, free range eggs, extra virgin olive oil (instead of “salad oil”), and the juice and grated rind from one fresh organic lemon rather than the prepackaged stuff  (and it is Meyer Lemon season right now – an extra plus!).  We ate this dressing mixed with a bunch of fresh assorted greens, like swiss chard and baby kale (it’s greens season, too!), the chopped whites of the eggs, some olives, and fresh brightly colored bell peppers.

The “Olive Egg Spread” on page 70 of RRR1 is also another good find, although I prefer to call it simply “Creamy Olive Dip.”  It’s a little spicy, very flavorful, creamy, and can be made filled with good-for-you ingredients.  We all ate it for dinner one night spread on a crunchy nutty toast (https://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/02/the-life-changing-loaf-of-bread/), and my husband couldn’t help himself from polishing off the rest of the bowl with a spoon.  In this recipe, again I made sure to use fresh, local, free range eggs (the nutrient content is completely different from standard store bought eggs).  I also used raw organic apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar, ghee instead of butter, Dijon mustard instead of Durkees, and Kalamata black olives.   And the parsley and green onions come from local farmers (I order from indieplate.com at least once a week to keep a flowing supply of produce, eggs, and meats from our local farmers).  What a great spread of health promoting foods!

Betsy's Creamy Olive Dip served with Nutty Toast.

Betsy’s Creamy Olive Dip served with Nutty Toast.

Helping Others Find Lasting Health

Why am I so passionate about eating, serving, and teaching about the value of food as medicine and proactive health for life?  Not only am I an OB/GYN (and see all the time how not-their-best people feel and too many pregnancy complications), I am also a Functional Medicine doctor, and started my practice “Mint Health” at Woman’s Hospital to be able to offer women a better approach to lasting health.  Most people in our area of the South don’t know yet what Functional Medicine is all about (although it is all the rage in more progressive areas of the country!).  I’ll just say that the most fun I have as a doctor is helping people get to the bottom of metabolic issues, digestive issues, fatigue, hormone issues, headaches, amongst other common health concerns, to work on becoming HEALTHIER, rather than just trying to figure out what prescription is best to cover up a bothersome symptom.  Many people also come to us at Mint Health to learn how to proactively support their own health and their children’s health, knowing that without learning and being progressive, they will at some point (probably sooner than later) end up not feeling so great, just like the average American.  Health starts in the womb and goes until the ripest of age!

If you are interested in learning more, I regularly give seminars to help people understand what Functional Medicine is and how you can change your health outlook and your family’s health:  see http://myminthealth.com/events/ to register – the next one is October 25th and it’s almost full!  I also share lots of fun information on personal and family health at https://www.facebook.com/MintHealth/. We’ll see you there!

Betsy’s Creamy Olive Dip

Adapted from the Olive Egg Spread recipe, River Road Recipes I, p. 70

Betsy's recommended substitutions for RRR I's Olive Egg Spread.

Betsy’s recommended substitutions for RRR I’s Olive Egg Spread.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 5 egg yolks
  • A little less than 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Large bottle of Kalmata olives
  • 4-6 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 4 green onions (tops only)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Fresh is best! Betsy recommends using fresh, local, and organic ingredients as often as possible.

Fresh is best! Betsy recommends using fresh, local, and organic ingredients as often as possible.

Directions

  1. Chop the olives, green onion tops, and parsley. Beat the eggs thoroughly.

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2. Heat Apple Cider Vinegar to boiling point, adding 1 teaspoon of water before heating to cut the vinegar.

3. Pour boiling vinegar into eggs, beating constantly.

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4. Place egg and vinegar mixture in sauce pan over heat and stir until it thickens.

5. Remove from the heat and add the ghee, then add the Dijon mustard, chopped Kalmata olives, green onions, chopped parsley, salt, and Tabasco.

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6. Enjoy over mixed greens with a side of Nutty Toast!

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