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Friday, November 21, 2014

Louisiana Culinary Trails: Prairie Home Cooking

Kermit Lejeune talks to Jay Ducote as Fred Mince, Dan Jones, Jordan Lewis, and Blair Loup produce
Kermit Lejeune talks to Jay Ducote as Fred Mince, Dan Jones, Jordan Lewis, and Blair Loup produce

Blair Loup helps feed the baby goats before we get back on the road
Blair Loup helps feed the baby goats before we get back on the road





Filming the Prairie Home Cooking trail brought us away from New Orleans and the Northshore and to the more rural central part of Louisiana. Life slows down a little here but the food culture doesn't. Much of Louisiana's famous smoked sausages and other meats come from this part of the state. We visited smokehouses, slaughterhouses, and people's houses to capture the spirit of Prairie Home Cooking. We paid a visit to Chefs Cody and Sam Carroll at Hot Tails, Kermit Lejeune at Lejeune's Sausage Kitchen, Andy Fontenot and Willie Burson from the Eunice Superette, Marguerite Constantine from WesMar Farms, and Karlos Knott from Bayou Teche Brewing.







Jordan Lewis, Fred Mince, Dan Jones, Jay Ducote, and Katie hope producing a great interview at the Eunice Superette
Jordan Lewis, Fred Mince, Dan Jones, Jay Ducote, and Katie hope producing a great interview at the Eunice Superette


Jay Ducote checks out cheese curds at Wes Mar Farms
Jay Ducote checks out cheese curds at Wes Mar Farms


Dan Jones in the smokehouse at Lejeune's Sausage Kitchen
Dan Jones in the smokehouse at Lejeune's Sausage Kitchen


Kermit Lejeune and his faithful companion check the smokehouse at Lejeune's
Kermit Lejeune and his faithful companion check the smokehouse at Lejeune's


Chef Sam Carroll of Hot Tails in New Roads talking about Prairie Home Cooking for Louisiana Culinary Trails
Chef Sam Carroll of Hot Tails in New Roads talking about Prairie Home Cooking for Louisiana Culinary Trails


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To Decant... or Nah: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

There seems to be a rift in the whiskey world about whether or not to use a decanter. So this week, Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key Whiskey Bar will explore just that. In the world of grapes, the taste of a wine can improve dramatically when it is decanted, but does the same apply to the taste of a whiskey? The answer is no. Whiskey decanters got their start back when whiskey only came in barrels. Similar to bringing a growler to fill with a special craft brew, you would bring your jugs to the local general store and fill 'er up with hooch. Decanters were used for easier pouring over thick, heavy clay jugs, and they provide, to this day, a more refined aesthetic. Flash forward a couple hundred years and the whiskey decanter's current use is purely for looking good and possibly for hiding the brand of your booze. Whiskey Decanter Co. recently sent me a couple of their premiere decanters, both beautiful but both very different. I'm excited to have them sitting on my shelves for years to come!

The Lexington
The Lexington






The Lexington is hand-made with mouth-blown accents. Squared off with a hefty bottom weight to it, the Lexington has an outward beveled spout. It is an ideal gift for any man in your life because of its more masculine shape and heft, but by all means the ladies can enjoy a pour from it too!



The Fusion Derby
The Fusion Derby














The Fusion Derby is slightly more feminine. It has a rounded bell shape and the topper fits a more securely than that of the Lexington. The glass is thin and extremely light so it is also easier to pour whiskey from it. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Barbecue Bites: Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Meatballs

Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Meatballs
Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Meatballs

Meatballs are the successful party's unsung hero. The bold and complex flavors of Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce united with the fresh, local grass-fed ground beef from Indie Plate and the zesty notes of Red Stick Spice Company's Burger Blend will rock these party meatballs like you wouldn't believe.

Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Meatballs

Makes 2 to 3 dozen, 1 inch meatballs

1 lb. lean ground beef
9 oz. apricot pepper jelly
12 oz. Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 large onion, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. Baton Rouge Burger Blend (Red Stick Spice Co.)

Preheat oven to 350F.
Saute onion with olive oil in a small saute pan and set aside to cool. Mix ground beef, egg, onion, and Burger Blend spice and form 1 inch meatballs on sheetpan. Bake for 10 minutes or until meatballs are slightly browned. Mix together barbecue sauce and pepper jelly in a saucepan and begin to simmer. Add meatballs to sauce and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Louisiana Culinary Trails: Northshore Sampler

Jay Ducote and Chef John Besh at La Provence
Jay Ducote and Chef John Besh at La Provence




The Louisiana Culinary Trails crew moved from New Orleans to Louisiana's Northshore in order to film our second video in the series. We crossed Lake Pontchartrain to shoot in Mandeville, Covington, and Slidell. We also ran into Chef John Besh at La Provence where he gave us a great interview to start the entire series, then cooked for us in the kitchen. We filmed some amazing seafood while on the Northshore and had interviews with Vanessa Gomes of Champagne Beverage, Tom Gregory from Go Coast: Louisiana, Chef Louie Finnan from Louie & the Redhead Lady, Vinnie LeDonne from Palmetto's on the Bayou, and Chef Erick Loos from La Provence. All in all, the Northshore really impressed and is definitely worthy of a visit!





Dan Jones films Chef John Besh creating one of his signature dishes
Dan Jones films Chef John Besh creating one of his signature dishes


Vanessa Gomes discusses food on the Northshore as Jay Ducote, Dan Jones, Jordan Lewis, and Fred Mince produce
Vanessa Gomes discusses food on the Northshore as Jay Ducote, Dan Jones, Jordan Lewis, and Fred Mince produce

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Orca Beans, High West Whiskey, and Fried Chicken + Giveaway: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

High West Whiskey and Bob's Red Mill Orca Beans
Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar takes a different turn this week with a little cooking challenge from Bob's Red Mill. They sent me some heritage beans called Orca and I thought there would be no better way to add smoke to them than the Campfire Whiskey from High West Distilling. The orca beans get their name from the black and white coloring similar to a killer whale. After soaking the beans over night I sauteed some red onion and garlic in olive oil then added my soaked beans and the soaking liquid. After simmering for half an hour, I threw in some Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning and a few splashes of High West Whiskey. I let the beans simmer for another hour, adding a little water along the way, until they were tender but not mushy. Served alongside some fried chicken, these orca beans hit the spot! 

Here's some news even greater than my meal, though! Bob's Red Mill is offering up a bag of beans and a $30 gift card to purchase whatever you'd like from their site. Enter the giveaway below through Rafflecopter and you could win the prize! One winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the winner will be notified and displayed here on 11/20!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fried Chicken alongside Whiskey Orca Beans