Kids in the Kitchen: Snickerdoodles!

The recent blast of cooler weather here in Baton Rouge (it dipped below 60° today!) has us wanting to snuggle up with our loved ones and a yummy snack! Cinnamon always seems to pair nicely with chilly temps, so we are busting out one of our favorite cookie recipes: Snickerdoodles!

Whipping up this classic recipe is a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids, especially when they might be going a little stir crazy from being cooped up inside during the winter months. It’s never too early to start cultivating a love of cooking, and children love to feel helpful. Even the littlest members of your family can get involved – starting from the time your baby is able to sit up on his own, you can help him “help” you scoop ingredients and pour them into the mixing bowl. Toddlers are naturally curious and will enjoy tasting each individual ingredient, and older children will proudly help you stir the batter. Don’t worry about a little mess, it’s all part of the fun!

Through the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s Kids in the Kitchen community project, we help children of all ages in our community learn the joy of cooking. Junior League members purchase and transport ingredients to various volunteer locations, where we then demonstrate and work with youth to prepare meals and snacks.  During the activities, volunteers will encourage conversation about the benefits of healthy eating. So far our Kids in the Kitchen program has impacted between 350 and 550 children in the Greater Baton Rouge area!

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Snickerdoodles, River Road Recipes I, page 200

  • 1 cup soft shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Preheat oven to 400º. Mix shortening, sugar, and eggs together thoroughly. Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together and add to above mixture.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Chill dough. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll the dough balls into a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Place about two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned but still soft. (These cookies puff up at first then flatten out with crinkled tops.) Makes about five dozen 2-inch cookies.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

So long New Year’s resolutions — carnival season is here, and that means king cake! From the French-style king cakes at Strand’s Cafe, to the traditional, cream-cheese, fruit-filled,  or Zulu confections at Ambrosia Bakery and Gambino’s, to the maple bacon king cake at Tiger Deaux-nuts, the variations are infinite. And the fun (cough, calories) don’t stop there – don’t forget the king cake balls at Cupcake Allie, the king cake milkshake at Fat Cow, and even king cake fries from Freetown Fries!

Some New Orleans favorites: McKenzie’s, Party Palace, Croissant D’Or, Cake Cafe, Haydel’s and Dong Phuong Bakery. Picture courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Some New Orleans favorites: McKenzie’s, Party Palace, Croissant D’Or, Cake Cafe, Haydel’s and Dong Phuong Bakery. Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

So many amazing options with so little time before Lent is upon us. Luckily for you, there is a way to get your fix: host a king cake tasting party! This fantastic idea was originally featured by The Scout Guide New Orleans in January 2015, and they recently featured this idea again, with staging by  New Orleans caterer Patti Constantin. It’s the perfect way to sample all of the City’s best king cakes and Mardi Gras inspired treats while enjoying time with friends.

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

First, the menu. Have friends bring their favorite local king cake (or king cake inspired treat) to share with everyone. Can’t pick a favorite? Here’s our cheat sheets from 225  Magazine and Baton Rouge Mom’s Blog:

For beverages, serve our Café au Lait Punch from River Road Recipes IV, page 17, along with wine, beer, sodas, and water.

Cafe au lait Punch, RRR IV

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark roast coffee or coffee extract, at room temperature
  • 1 liter ginger ale, at room temperature
  • 1 liter club soda, at room temperature
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Combine the sugar, coffee, ginger ale, club soda, and half-and-half in a large punch bowl and mix well. Fold in the ice cream and ladle into punch bowls.

Makes 12 to 14 (2-cup) servings.

Second, decorate! Go big with Mardi Gras beads and plenty of purple, green, and gold accessories, or keep it simple with an elegant bouquet of purple Irises or other flowers as a centerpiece. Break out the silver and crystal to have a party fit for royalty, or keep it casual with purple and green paper plates. Either way, you’re bound to pass a good time!

A beautiful King Cake tasting by Patti Constantin. Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

A beautiful King Cake tasting by Patti Constantin. Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Special thanks to The Scout Guide New Orleans for the photos and the fantastic idea!

Throwback: RRR 50th Birthday Party

As our League members are no doubt aware, our first General Membership Meeting of 2017 is quickly approaching on February 7! Since we are celebrating the 85th birthday of the Junior League of Baton Rouge AND the 80th reprint of  River Road Recipes I: A Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine this year, we thought we would throw it back to our September 2009 General Membership Meeting, when we celebrated the 50th birthday of River Road Recipes I: A Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine!

Junior League members with special guest speaker, former Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden.

Junior League members with special guest speaker, former Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden.

With over 1.4 million copies sold since the original edition was printed in September 1959, River Road Recipes I is the oldest community cookbook still in print in the United States.

Ladies of the 2009-2010 RRR Committee showing up the special 50th Anniversary limited edition of River Road Recipes I.

Junior League members showing off the special 50th Anniversary limited edition cover of River Road Recipes I.

After so many decades of success, it’s hard to imagine that this historic cookbook almost never came to be. When the idea for a cookbook was first proposed by the original Junior League of Baton Rouge cookbook committee in 1957, the League’s financial advisors (incidentally, a group of men) strongly advised against it. “It was another generation, the men thought we couldn’t do anything,” Emily Robinson, chair of the the original cookbook committee, recalled in an interview with Country Roads Magazine in 2011.

Let them eat cake, or rather, humble pie! Years later, after witnessing the enduring success of River Road Recipes I, one of the financial advisors finally admitted to Robinson, “We gave you bad advice.”

Let them eat cake, or rather, humble pie! Years later, after witnessing the enduring success of River Road Recipes I, one of the financial advisors finally admitted to Robinson, “We gave you bad advice.”

 

The River Road Recipes I 50th birthday cake!

The River Road Recipes I 50th birthday cake!

Make sure you log in to your member home page through Digital Cheetah to RSVP for next week’s meeting if you haven’t already. Can’t wait to see you there!

Getting Your Table Dressed for the Holidays

Now that the holiday season is upon us, we are all preparing to spend time with family and friends to share meals together and celebrate. It’s easy to let the hustle and bustle take away from the fun times with loved ones. This year, we are committed to focusing on the time we spend with each other– try these simple tips to make your holiday table inviting to your guests without becoming an overwhelming task.

Fresh seasonal greens from your own garden or local grocery warm up a table with casual elegance. Most floral departments offer an affordable bouquet of mixed greens (seeded eucalyptus, evergreens, blades) that are a versatile festive touch, throughout Thanksgiving to New Years.

Photography by Rebecca Klar.

Photography by Rebecca Klar.

Consider adding in some hardy long-lasting favorites, like fresh rosemary, cranberries, and satsumas, which can be re-purposed later as a fragrant simmer pot. Fill a saucepan with water, sliced satsumas, rosemary twigs, and even a cinnamon stick. Allow to lowly simmer, adding water as necessary, and enjoy the clean and homey holiday fragrance!

Photography by Rebecca Klar.

Photography by Rebecca Klar.

Low centerpiece arrangements allow for an easy flow of conversation. For seated dinners, it’s better to resist a tall airy arrangement that will block your guests from each other. Opt for something low, gathered, and intimate to encourage interaction. Camellias are starting to bud all over Baton Rouge– blooms tucked into champagne saucers or water goblets are colorful and effortless– plus offer another reason to use your wedding crystal!

Photography by Rebecca KJar.

Photography by Rebecca KJar.

Handwritten name cards make each guest feel that their place at the table is special.

Photograph by Rebecca Klar.

Photograph by Rebecca Klar.

Amid this hectic time of year, just remember that the time we spend together is more important than any decor details or etiquette book edicts. A gracious hostess is simply one who makes her guests feel welcome!  We encourage you to create your own traditions and holiday gatherings this year– these are likely the moments we will remember more fondly than any present that could fit under the tree.

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

Happy holidays, from our River Road Recipes family, to yours!

Red Stick Farmer’s Market, Saturday, December 3

Join us Saturday, December 3rd from 8:00am until noon at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market!

Red Stick Farmers Market Logo

Members of the River Road Recipes cookbook committee will be on hand sharing cookbook knowledge, offering samples and, of course, selling all 4 of our beloved books.

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.

Member Spotlight: Hosting a Cocktail Party with Meghan Poole

No matter what political party you belong to, one party we can all agree on is a cocktail party! In honor of the upcoming election, Junior League member Meghan Poole shares with us some tips and tricks from a political campaign reception she and her husband recently hosted at their home. Meghan used the Cocktail Meet & Greet Menu on page 56 of River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes and had rave reviews from her guests. Whatever get-together you may be having, political or otherwise, these recipes are sure to get bipartisan support!

Junior League member Meghan Poole.

Junior League member Meghan Poole.

Cocktail Meet & Greet Menu

My husband, Lamar, and I hosted a small reception for a friend who is running for a City Council seat. We had a similar reception last year for a state representative and used this menu then. The food was such a hit, that we prepared the recipes for a second time. Because our party was at six o’clock in the evening, dinner time, and guests made a contribution to attend, we supplemented the food with gumbo and rice from Pot & Paddle, and some sliced ham and rolls.

Meghan with her family on vacation.

Meghan with her family on vacation.

I prepared the turkey meat for the Toasted Canapés about a week in advance by boiling turkey legs and boneless/skinless breast in water seasoned with salt, pepper, onion, carrot, green bell pepper, celery, bay leaf and a few shakes of tobacco. I froze the broth and chopped meat in one cup portions to use in other recipes later.

I made the Blue Cheese Truffles, Pralines and Bourbon Pecan Tartlets in advance, and stored them in the freezer until the day of the party.

The party was on a Monday evening, so we spent Sunday afternoon preparing most of the food. I did the grocery shopping the day before on Saturday. There was nothing that had to be cooked the day of the party, which was a lifesaver. We both work full time, so cooking the day of was not an option.

I chopped two bunches of green onions before I started preparing the food, and that was enough for everything.

For the most part, these recipes are easy to follow and prepare. The most difficult recipes to cook  were the Toasted Canapés and the pralines because they require constant attention at the stove. Leaving them for just a small amount of time can cause them to burn.

Meghan enjoying an afternoon with her two sons.

Meghan enjoying an afternoon with her two sons.

Crowd favorites were the Crawfish Supreme, Crabmeat Green Goddess and Citrus-Glazed Sausage. The Southern Antipasto recipe doesn’t make a lot, but it’s the least popular dish on the menu. The Blue Cheese Truffles are great because they are small, rich and flavorful. They are easy for guests to pop in their mouths and pair perfectly with a glass of wine.

Southern Antipasto

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.

My son loves olives, and he requested to take the leftovers to school in his lunchbox.

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

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

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 teasoon crushed dried red pepper

Directions

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

Serves 12

Blue Cheese Truffles

I made the cheese balls about a week before the party and stored them in a plastic container in the freezer with each layer separated with a piece of waxed paper. The morning of the party, I placed them in the refrigerator and they were perfect that evening. The recipe call for 3 cups of pecans, but 2 to 2.5 is enough. I have a lot of leftover pecans. I put the blue cheese and cream cheese in my stand mixer and let it do the work. I used the small end of my melon baller to make them, but will use the larger end next time. They were a bit too small for my liking. I sliced green apples about four hours before the party and put them in a quart-sized bag in the refrigerator with about 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice to prevent browning.

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

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

Toasted Canapés

I couldn’t find pumpernickel rye bread at the grocery store, so I used dark rye bread. The recipe calls for 24 slices of bread, so I bought two loaves. I sliced the crusts off of the loaves and cut each piece into two triangles using an electric knife. One loaf of bread would have been sufficient because there wasn’t enough filling to go on each toast triangle. I cut the bread the afternoon of the party and stored it in gallon-sized bags until I was ready to make the toast triangles. I prepared the turkey mixture the day before the party and heated it in the microwave when I was ready to top the toast. The recipe was spicier and more flavorful than I’d expected, and I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. I served the canapés in a chaffing dish to keep them warm.

Toasted Canapes, RRR IV, p. ___. Photo by Meghan Poole.

Toasted Canapes, RRR IV, p. 58. Photo by Meghan Poole.

INGREDIENTS

  • 24 slices pupernickel party rye bread, cut into triangles
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup  (2 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

DIRECTIONS

  1. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 500° for 3 to 4 minutes until crisp.
  2. Heat butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour.
  3. Cook until smooth and bubbly, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly.
  5. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the Cheddar cheese adn cook until blended, stirring constantly.
  7. Stir in the turkey, mushrooms, salt, and red pepper.
  8. Spoon some of the turkey mixture onto each toasted bread slice.
  9. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese adn bacon.
  10. Bake at 500° for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese melts.
  11. Garnish with grape tomato slices and fresh chives.

Makes 2 dozen canapés

Crawfish Supreme & Crabmeat Green Goddess

Both of these recipes are served over a layer of cream cheese. I spread the cream cheese over the trays the day before the party, covered them with wax paper and set them in the refrigerator. When it was time to set the table for the party, I just spread the toppings over the cream cheese. They were both cold when served. I used Melba toast for the crawfish instead of preparing my own toast using French bread. I bought lump crabmeat and not jumbo lump crabmeat.

Crawfish Supreme, RRR IV, p. ___. Photo by Meghan Poole.

Crawfish Supreme, RRR IV, p. 58. Photo by Meghan Poole.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 baguette French bread, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 1 pound crawfish tails
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon white Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/.2 cup remoulade sauce
  • 1/2 cup reduced calorie Italian salad dressing
  • 12 ounces cream cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Arrange the rbead slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil.
  2. Toast at 500° until light brown.
  3. Saute the crawfish tails and green onions in a skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  6. Stir in the remoulade sauce and salad dressing.
  7. Microwave the cream cheese until slightly softened. Place the cream cheese on a serving platter and top with waxed paper or plastic wrap.
  8. Roll or pat the cream cheese to cover the platter.
  9. Discard the waxed paper and spread with the crawfish mixture.
  10. Serve with the toasted bread slices.

Serves 10-12

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

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 hte cream cheese mixture just before serving.
  7. Garnish as desired and serve with assorted party crackers.

Serves 12

Citrus-Glazed Smoked Sausage

Sausage is always a party favorite, especially in South Louisiana! Veron’s Sausage is my family’s favorite, so that’s the brand served at the party. The day before the party, I followed the first two steps of the recipe, where the sausage was microwaved twice. I poured the marinade over the sausage, but didn’t return it to the microwave. Before the party began, I microwaved the sausage to heat it up, then poured everything into a chaffing dish for serving. This is the only recipe I doubled.

Citrus Glazed Smoked Sausage, RRR IV, p. ___. Photo by Meghan Poole.

Citrus Glazed Smoked Sausage, RRR IV, p. 60. Photo by Meghan Poole.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound smoked sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the sausage and green onions in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, covered, on High for 2 minutes; stir. Microwave for 1 minute longer.
  2. Whisk the oil, lemon juice, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl until blended.
  3. Add the oil mixture to the sausage mixture and mix well.
  4. Microwave until just heated through.
  5. Serve with wooden picks. You may prepare in advance and reheat just before serving.

Serves 12

Microwave Pralines

I’ve tried to make this recipe more than once, and the pralines never turn out. I even burnt up a plastic bowl once trying to make these. Because microwaves are each a bit different, it’s difficult to develop a perfect recipe for them, especially for pralines because the temperature makes or breaks their success. My go-to praline recipe is Senator Ellender’s Creole Pralines on page 178 of RRR II, which I prepared for my River Roads obligation my provisional year. My cooking thermometer indicates when the temperature reaches “soft balls,” so I don’t have to throw cold water on the praline mixture to judge if they are ready or not. I prepared the pralines 5 days before the party and stored them in the freezer with each layer separated by a sheet of waxed paper. They thawed perfectly on the counter. There was no need to freeze them that close to the day of the party, but my family and I would have gobbled them up otherwise!

Bourbon Pecan Tartlets and Microwave Pralines, RRR IV, p. ___. Photo by Meghan Poole.

Bourbon Pecan Tartlets and Microwave Pralines, RRR IV, p. 61. Photo by Meghan Poole.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 cups pecan pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the sugar and heavy crea in a microwave-safe bowl and mix well. Microwave on high for 7 minutes; stir.
  2. Add the butter. Microwave on High for 7 minutes longer and stir vigorously.
  3. Stir in the pecans and vanilla.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Let stand until set.

Serves 12

Bourbon Pecan Tartlets

I prepared one and a half times the filling called for in the recipe because I had extra shells. The pastry shells are sold in packs of 15, so I had 45 when the recipe makes 3 dozen. I made these the same day as the blue cheese truffles, so they too went in the freezer with each layer separated by waxed paper. I thawed these on the counter top next to the pralines.

My son and I had fun making these together. He placed the chocolate pieces in each pastry shell, then proceeded to eat several just to make sure that they were okay!

INGREDIENTS

  • 36 frozen minature phyllo pastry shells
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) minature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS

  1. Arrange the pastry shells in a single layer on a lightly greased 10×15 inch baking sheet.
  2. Spoon the chocolate chips evenly into the shells.
  3. Combine the pecans, brown sugar, butter, bourbon and egg in a bowl and mix well.
  4. Spoon the pecan mixture into the prepared shells.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove to a wire rack to cool. store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Makes 3 dozen tartlets

Happy Halloween!

We at River Road Recipes think that Fall is one of the best times of the year for family fun. Pumpkin carving, corn mazes, tailgates, trick-or-treating – we just can’t get enough! This year, instead of buying store bought candy for Halloween, start a new family tradition and make your own candy with River Road Recipes! Each one of our cookbooks has some great and unique options, from toffee, to pralines, to taffy and fudge, there is something for everyone. Not only will your house be the new “it” spot for Trick-or-Treating, you’ll make fun family memories, too.

You can package your candy in cute mason jars, like these delicious Sugar and Spice Pecans fro RRR IV! Photo by Jessica McVea.

You can package your candy in cute mason jars, like these delicious Sugar and Spice Pecans fro RRR IV! Photo by Jessica McVea.

Some great and easy options include Fool’s Toffee, Sugar and Spice Pecans, Chocolate Fudge Turtles, or our Old Fashioned Pecan Pralines. If you’re hosting a Halloween Party, our Caramel Apple Dip and Party Mix make great snacks that kids of all ages will enjoy.

Caramel Apple Dip makes a great, Fall-feeling appetizer for any party. Photo by Aimee Broussard.

Caramel Apple Dip makes a great, Fall-feeling appetizer for any party. Photo by Aimee Broussard.

Be sure to share your finished product with us by submitting photos here or tagging them #RiverRoadRecipes on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! Happy Halloween from all of us at River Road Recipes!

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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