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 ounce 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!

Easter Dessert: Coconut Cake

Ham, deviled eggs, Spinach Madeleine (of course), perhaps even a congealed salad are all Southern staples for an Easter lunch. For dessert, however, we suggest our Coconut Cake from River Road Recipes I! The light coconut flavor and the delicate frosting makes this a gorgeous as well as tasty end to this celebratory meal with friends and family. With the addition of a few flowers, it can even serve as part of your tablescape!

Photo by Don Kadair.

Coconut Cake, RRR I, p. 179

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs (separate yolks and whites)
  • 2 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sweet milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Grease and line 3 8-inch cake pans.
  2. Set over for 375°.
  3. Cream butter and sugar well.
  4. Add egg yolks.
  5. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and add alternately with the milk.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then allow to cool completely.

Coconut Filling, RRR I, p. 179

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup milk or part coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 grated coconut

Directions:

  1. Mix together all ingredients except coconut and cook in double boiler over low heat until thickened.
  2. Cool partly, then add coconut just before icing the cake!

Happy Easter from all of us at River Road Recipes!

Miss Congeal-iality: Raspberry Salad

I know what you’re thinking: “A congealed salad? How 1960s.” But fear not! Just like those flared jeans you’ve been hiding in your closet since the early 2000s, the congealed salad is making a comeback. Even Southern Living agrees! So break out that jello mold and make sure your next dinner party is on the cutting edge with a course featuring this latest culinary food trend. And if anyone looks at you funny, tell them those boring kale salads are so last year.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Raspberry Salad, RRR I, p. 28

With it’s beautiful pale pink contrasted against the bright green of butter lettuce leaves and lime wedges, this Raspberry Salad from River Road Recipes I will make the perfect addition to your Easter table this year! The best part? It doubles as the salad and the dessert, so feel free to have two helpings, guilt free!

Ingredients

  • 1 10-ounce package marshmallows
  • 1 package frozen raspberries
  • 1 small can evaporated milk (chilled and whipped)
  • 2 3-ounce packages cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Melt marshmallows in double boiler with raspberries.
  2. Let cool; add cream cheese blended with mayonnaise.
  3. Add whipped milk to raspberry mixture.
  4. Place in tray and freeze.
  5. Unmold on lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Serves 12.

Recipe by Mrs. William Adams of Tallulah, Louisiana. 

ICYMI: Spinach Madeleine Creator Featured in The Advocate

One of the perennial favorite recipes from River Road Recipes I: A Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine, of course, is the Spinach Madeleine. A time-honored culinary tradition no longer limited to just the Baton Rouge area, it may well be that no single recipe has ever reached such national acclaim as our own beloved Spinach Madeleine. In celebration of the 80th reprint of River Road Recipes I coinciding with the 85th birthday of the Junior League of Baton Rouge, local newspaper The Advocate published an article interviewing Madeline Nevell Reymond Wright, the creator of the recipe. Check out the original article featuring Ms. Spinach Madeleine, herself, here!

Advocate Staff Photo by Pam Bordelon. The creator of the Spinach Madeleine recipe, Madeline Nevell Reymond Wright, poses with the 50th anniversary edition of River Road Recipes I.

ICYMI: River Road Recipes I Featured in inRegister Magazine!

In case you missed it, everyone’s favorite community cookbook, River Road Recipes I, was featured in this month’s issue of inRegister, “a monthly lifestyle magazine that covers the people, places, style and entertainment that make the Capital Region an extraordinary place to live.” While marveling at some of the more exotic recipes in River Road Recipes I (like our Squirrel Pie!), inRegister joins us in celebrating this venerable cookbook’s 80th reprint, calling it “a testament to the generational power of a home-cooked meal.”

“The cookbook has four different versions now, but the fact that the original has maintained such status in Louisiana is really special,” says current River Road Recipes chair Jessica McVea, quoted in the article. “It’s still a traditional gift for engagement parties or bridal showers in the South, almost like a rite of passage.”

Photo by Melissa Oivanki, inRegister March 2017 issue.

So, cheers to you, our old-guard original! You’ve never looked better.

Be sure to check out the original article in inRegister here and sign up to receive your monthly edition of inRegister to stay au courant about all the very best of Baton Rouge!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

While Mardi Gras is sadly over, all is not doom and gloom. St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and River Road Recipes knows the perfect way to help you celebrate!

Baton Rouge’s annual Wearin’ of the Green Parade is an event that rivals any Mardi Gras parade here in town. This year, the parade rolls on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 10 am, rain or shine! You can find out more details and see the parade route here.

Enjoying the 2016 Wearin' of the Green Parade. Image from The Parade Group LLC at http://www.paradegroup.com/galleries/160.

Enjoying the 2016 Wearin’ of the Green Parade. Image from The Parade Group LLC at http://www.paradegroup.com/galleries/160.

After enjoying a morning at the parade, let the festivities continue with traditional Irish fare: Shepherd’s Pie, Cabbage (Cabbage Salad, RRR IV, p. 275), Corned Beef, Reuben Sandwiches (check out our mini-Reubens in RRR II, p. 15), or anything with potatoes, of course (our Potatoes Supreme recipe in RRR III, p. 118 is a healthier take on a favorite comfort food)!  Want more ideas? Check out these 50 Traditional Irish-Inspired Dinners from the Delish blog! Finish off your meal with an Irish Coffee from River Road Recipes II.

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Image from Eat Well 101 at http://www.eatwell101.com.

Irish Coffee, RRR II, p. 22

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 ounces Irish whiskey
  • Strong, hot Community Coffee®
  • Whipped Cream

Directions

  1. Add to each pre-warmed glass sugar and Irish whiskey.
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Fill glasses with strong, hot coffee, and top with whipped cream.
  4. Pro-tip: Use shamrock cutouts and cocoa powder to add the perfect, festive touch to the whipped cream!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all of us at River Road Recipes!

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.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Pink and red, roses and chocolate – love is in the air! It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and the ladies of the River Road Recipes committee want to show our love for you by helping you plan the perfect Valentine’s Day party for the littlest loves in your life! While our thoughts typically turn to our significant others on Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday for children, too! Pair our snack ideas with fun activities for the kids, like making “mailboxes” out of shoe boxes to receive home-made Valentine’s Day cards from friends or making heart-shaped crayons. Check out some fun craft ideas here!

Sparkling Cranberry Punch

This non-alcoholic punch is the perfect beverage for a kid-friendly Valentine’s Day party. The ginger ale adds a little sparkle, and the cranberries lend a festive hue for the occasion.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Ingredients

  • 1 large can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups ginger ale
  • Clove-studded lemon slices

Directions

Crush cranberry sauce in can with fork and empty into saucepan. Beat with rotary beater. Add water and beat until sauce is melted. Add sugar and cool. Stir in lemon juice, extract, and 1 cup ginger ale. Just before serving, dilute with remaining 1/2 ginger ale and serve well iced in frosted glasses. Garnish with mint and clove-studded lemon circles. Serves 12 punch cups.

River Road Recipes I, p. 11

CHOCOLATE FUDGE TURTLES

Instead of store-bought candy, try our Chocolate Fudge Turtles from River Road Recipes I! Everyone is guaranteed to enjoy these delectable desserts, and they are made with the most important ingredient of all: love! You can find our easy, step-by-step recipe here!

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Party Mix

To round out the sweetness, add some salt to your Valentine’s Day party snacks with this simple Party Mix. It’s a perennial favorite for children of all ages. Recipe here!

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at River Road Recipes!