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big, easy bites

a heatwave fruit save: stone fruit caprese

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By Jen White · August 2, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Did someone say heat wave? Can I get a witness sweatband?

Look, it's too hot to cook, but the good thing is, there's plenty of ripe fruit and veggies to gorge on. Take a simple caprese salad, for instance: tomatoes, basil, mozz, vinegar, and oil.  I love it, you love it, we've all eaten plenty of them.  But don't think a caprese has to stop there: use fruit, like peaches, nectarines, and avocados. Use other vegetables, like roasted eggplant, squash, and cukes.  The caprese salad is one of the best Italian inventions ever, and I'm not going to let the traditional recipe stop me from going ca-ra-zay with it.

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Tagged with: caprese, mozzarella, peach, basil, salad, plum

thanks you's all around: a blog year in photos

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By Jen White · August 1, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Above: one of the tastiest parts of the year: Alon Shaya's charcuterie and relishes.

It was just over a year ago that I decided to get to work.  I mean really work, and I mean on this here blog.  I started it in 2008, but I tended to just piddle around on it every few months.  Last summer, I had a break from work and a need to do something creative and writerly for myself, and I channelled just about all my energy into blogging.  It's been an amazing year, some parts of which still make me pinch myself.  

Dear readers, thank you so much for coming along for the ride.  Thank you for reading my blog, for commenting and sharing your thoughts. Thanks for directing your friends and coworkers here, for recommending it to travelers looking for good places to go.  Thank you for inspiring me with your own awesome blogs and food photos.  Thanks for following Food Orleans through Facebook, Twitter, OnSugar, email, Pinterest, and RSS feeds. Cheers!

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the gift of grits: creamy peppered mascarpone grits

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By Jen White · July 30, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

So, a couple of years ago, on this very blog, I made a statement I'd like to retract: "I don't cook grits with milk or cream--I just don't see the need." You see, I was stuck then on the notion that grits cooked in chicken broth were the most flavorful and avoided scalding milk in my favorite pot, even though my friends were all telling me that cooking grits in milk was the way to go.  Eventually, I tasted several versions of grits that were so creamy and luxurious, I had to know how they were prepared, and the answer usually came back as "cooked in milk." So now, I'm a milk convert.  Whenever I happen to eat breakfast at a restaurant that serves watery, thin grits, I get cranky and insist that they should be doing the milk thing too.  And now I have an even richer, more wonderful addition to my favorite grits: mascarpone cheese.  We were introduced to mascarpone cheese grits at La Provence in late May, and they were a dreamy revelation of what grits could be. Mascarpone is a thick Italian cream cheese that's not as salty as our usual cream cheese--it's more like a consolidated version of ricotta.  In fact, it tastes a lot like unsalted butter to me, and it melts as easily into the hot grits as butter would.

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gettin' fresh: new fresh market opens on st. charles

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By Jen White · July 25, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

The new Fresh Market opens today, y'all! 9:00 a.m. Be there ready to fill a cart full of goodies because everything looks so bright and shiny and gorgeous.  It's in the beautiful old Bultman Funeral Home at the corner of Louisiana and St. Charles, which was most recently a short-lived Borders Bookstore. It may just be the most awesome place in town to make groceries, considering their offerings, their prices, and their not-too-far-uptown location.

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not-your-mama's tuna salad bagel

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By Jen White · July 21, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

A few weeks ago, our neighbor Andy gifted us a huge chunk of fresh tuna right off the boat after one of his deep-sea fishing trips.  I'm talking about 8 pounds worth. I don't remember what Paul and I had planned on eating that night, but whatever it was, it got DITCHED.  We set to work on the tuna right away, because when you have a nice piece of fish that fresh, there's only one thing to do.

Eat it raw.

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Tagged with: seared, bagel, salad, sandwich, Tuna

love for Uncle Lionel

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By Jen White · July 18, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Uncle Lionel graces the poster for Treme's bicentennial celebration.

10 days ago, New Orleans lost one of its best ambassadors: Uncle Lionel Batiste, longtime drummer of the Treme Brass Band and generally the sharpest-dressed gent in the city. It had been a while since we'd run into Uncle Lionel on Frenchmen Street or in the Quarter, but when we first moved here, Paul and I used to see him all the time.  We'd be in the Spotted Cat and he'd saunter in, dancing breezily with his cane, or we'd find him nodding his head at the Apple Barrel. Once on Paul's birthday, Uncle Lionel and Jack Fine were our tablemates for the evening, and Uncle Lionel led a rousing "Happy Birthday" for Paul while Jack played along (sitting at the table, of course).  Every time I got up from the table, Uncle Lionel watched my purse so I could dance unencumbered.  Once we even ran into him at the Ritz, drinking a High Life at Jeremy Davenport's show.  He could show up anywhere, and he leant a sense of playfulness anywhere he went.  I think that's why he's so beloved by people here and such an appropriate figure for things like the Treme poster: Uncle Lionel always had a good time, and it was a classy good time.

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things i lurve*, July

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By Jen White · July 4, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

*Love is too weak a word[.]

Woody Allen

1. Iced Chai with these Bigelow chai tea bags!

Iced chai is delicious! But it's an expensive habit. I've been making my own lately for less than .50 per cup. You just simmer a chai tea bag for a few minutes in a small pot of water and milk, add sugar to taste, set it in the freezer to cool while you read facebook or something, and after about 8 minutes, pour over ice.  Take that, summer doldrums.

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when heaven happens: the commander's palace chef's table

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By Jen White · July 2, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

This is Commander's Palace. If it looks like a fairytale building, that's because it is. It's a place where stories are told, surprises happen at any minute, and everyone works together to entertain you and take care of everything you could possibly want.  Prepare to be a princess, in other words.

Any time you eat at Commander's, it's special; from brunch on any Sunday to lunch on Thursday to dinner on Saturday night.  But the best times to eat there are on holidays, like Thanksgiving, or special occasions: the birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries that are the most important days in the story of your life.  I had a big ol' birthday this month; I turned 40.  All I wanted was to eat at the Chef's Table at Commander's, and Paul, my wonderful love, he made it happen.

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of love and lunch: The Root Cafe, Little Rock

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By Jen White · June 22, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

My birthday burger and salad with blueberries and honeydew.

Last week, Paul and I attended a wedding in Little Rock, Arkansas...and also got to hang out with some of our favorite people for my 40th birthday! We've actually enjoyed a whirlwind of weddings, birthdays, and friends since June started, and we've been eating some terrific food along the way.  We seem to visit Little Rock every two years or so, for a wedding or similar event, because Paul spent years living there and has a ton of friends who call it home.  Our friend Alan suggested lunch at The Root Cafe, and we couldn't have had a better meal.

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the summeriest of snacks: fried whole okra with remoulade

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By Jen White · June 13, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

The other day, in the midst of a marathon 4-day wedding weekend, Paul and I took some out-of-town friends to The Company Burger so they could revel in its deliciousness.  As always, the bacon-and-egg burgers and mayonnaise bar at Company didn't disappoint.  But we also got to try one of their vegetable specials, fried whole okra with a vinegar pepper sauce.  it was a revelation, and I haven't been able to get it off my okra-loving mind: lightly battered, crisp little bites of the summertime garden.  The spicy vinegar was great for dipping, but I wanted to try something a little more clingy on them, and I think this remoulade is a good match.  Remoulade (a zippy little mayonnaise-based sauce commonly served with shrimp in New Orleans) will perk up just about any vegetable, whether it's grilled, roasted, steamed, fried, or just plain raw.  

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Tagged with: remoulade, Tempura, okra, fried, snack


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