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Monday, August 29, 2011

Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Visits Louisiana Tonight!

Tonight at 8 PM Central our television sets will transform into a beacon of culinary imagery and language that will transcend cultures and time.  Okay, maybe that is being a little too verbose on purpose, but if you are watching Hurricane-postponed Monday Night Football, then you have your television tuned in to the wrong channel.  Anthony Bourdain's hit show "No Reservations" airs tonight in the season finale from Cajun Country.  The chef, author, and TV host will surely have some wise remarks about his visit to our fine state.

Anthony Bourdain visits Lakeview Park in Eunice, LA (photo courtesy of travelchannel.com)
His journey on the Travel Channel show will begin in New Olreans where word is that he'll check out a drive-through daiquiri shop and swing by Willie Mae's Scotch House for some fried chicken.  From there it'll be off to Breaux Bridge for a crawfish boil and then to Eunice where Tony will participate in a boucherie (literally translated: butcher shop, Cajun Dictionary definition: A community butchering which involves several families contributing the animal(s) --usually pigs -- to be slaughtered. Each family helps to process the different cuts of meat, like sausage, ham, boudin, chaudin, chops, and head cheese. Each family gets to take home their share of the yield. This process was done in late fall to provide meat throughout the cold months.).

Anthony Bourdain and his hosts in Eunice prepare the hog for the boucherie (photo courtesy of travelchannel.com)
This is sure to be an exciting episode of "No Reservations" and I'm very happy to see Louisiana's culinary trails getting more attention and respect from national television programming.  Make sure to tune in (or at least set your DVR) to the Travel Channel tonight at 8 PM Central.  I don't think you'll regret it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Viking Cooking School Outdoors Cooking Class Giveaway


By now I hope you've heard about the Viking Cooking School Outdoors that is coming to Baton Rouge.  If you've been paying any attention to the Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket, Bite and Booze itself, or my Twitter or Facebook pages, you would know that I'm actually going to be one of the chef instructors for the first-of-its-kind outdoor cooking experience!  I'm pretty excited.

So with that, I'm giving away an awesome prize package through Bite and Booze.  The package includes:

Admission for 2 into the Viking Cooking School Outdoors class of your choosing,
A one-night stay at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center (where the cooking school is), and
A $100 gift card to the Kingfish Restaurant at the Hilton


So how do you win this prize that is valued at up to $500?  Simple.  Make sure you like the
Viking Cooking School Outdoors - Baton Rouge Facebook page.

Once you've done that, post on the page's wall saying something clever about how you want to win the Bite and Booze prize package.  Bonus points (AKA extra entry) if you also like the Jay D's Bite and Booze Blog page and tag it in your post! I'll keep tabs of everybody who likes the page and posts on the wall, and then we'll randomly select one lucky winner!!  Couldn't be much easier... unless you don't use Facebook.  If that's the case, have a friend enter on your behalf!  Make sure to do this by Labor Day (Monday, September 5th).  I'll announce the winner on September 6th.

For more ways to win a $100 gift card to the Kingfish Restaurant, tune into the Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket on Saturdays at 5 PM on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge.  I give one away every week!

Cheers and good luck!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vote for Bite and Booze in Draft Magazine's Annual Great Grill-Out Recipe Contest!



Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm at it again.  This year, a recipe of mine has been selected as a Top 10 finalist for Draft Magazine's Annual Great Grill-Out Recipe Contest.  The theme of the contest was right up Bite and Booze's alley: "recipes are limited to 10 ingredients or less - one of them must be beer - and your dish should be made on the grill."  The only pantry ingredients we were allowed to include that didn't count as our ten were salt, black pepper, and olive oil.  This contest was a no-brainer for me to enter and I'm thrilled that my recipe has been chosen as a finalist.  If I win, I could get another Big Green Egg Smoker/Grill Package, a dual faucet kegerator from BeverageFactory.com, Omaha Steaks, a beer club membership, and more!

Please help me vote.  This contest has a 1 vote per IP address per day limit and only lasts until September 9th.  Give it all you've got and help me win another grilling contest!!  Share this link of Facebook, Twitter, message boards, etc. or email it to all your buddies!  Thanks so much everybody!

Vote here: http://draftmag.com/recipecontest/vote/
My recipe, which is also seen below, is the "Grilled Pork Chop with Spicy Peach Chutney."  Click on it and it'll show you the recipe... then click on the vote button and you'll cast your ballot for me.  Come back daily until September 9th to vote again!

Grilled Pork Chop with Spicy Peach Chutney

Grilled Pork Chop with Spicy Peach Chutney

Ingredients:
6 bottles of slightly fruity wheat beer
2 cups brown sugar
1 Tbsp Allspice
2 Tbsp Cinnamon
4 thick cut pork chops
1 stick of butter
2 shallots
2 jalapenos
1 garlic clove
2 peaches
salt
pepper

Step 1: Make a beer brine.

Pour 2 bottles of beer into a grill-safe pot. Heat the beer until simmering or slowly boiling. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of brown sugar, 1 Tbsp of allspice, 2 tbsp of cinnamon, 2 tbsp salt and 2 tbsp ground black pepper. Heat keep over heat until all ingredients have dissolved into the beer and come together as one. Remove from heat and chill.

Once at room temperature, add the pork chops to the brine and allow to soak for at least an hour or two.

Step 2: Drink a beer while the brine is cooling and the pork chops are in the brine. Okay, drink two beers.

Step 3: Make spicy peach chutney.

Once the pork is getting close to coming out of the brine, finely chop the shallots, jalapenos, garlic and peaches. Melt some butter in a pan over the grill. saute the shallots in the butter. Once soft, add in the jalapenos and garlic. Saute until cooked down and soft, then add the chopped peaches. Continue to cook down. Add about half of a beer (drink the other half), the 1/2 cup of brown sugar that remains, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook it down while moving on to step 4.

Step 4: Cook the pork chops.

Remove the pork chops from the brine. Place on the grill over a medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, then flip. Cooking times will vary depending on thickness of the chop and temperature of the grill. Probably 5-10 minutes per side. Cook to a medium temperature.

Remove the pork chops from the grill. Allow them to rest for just a few minutes. Top each chop with the spicy peach chutney, and enjoy with your last beer from the six pack.


I have made this with Bayou Teche Brewing Company's Grenade, which is a Louisiana Passionfruit beer. I suggest something with some fruit characteristics but nothing overly sweet. Pork and fruit work really well together, and a lot can mix with peach, so perhaps a raspberry beer, strawberry beer, or even a pumpkin spiced beer could work.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Viking Cooking School Outdoors presents their new chef: ME!!


I am extremely excited to announce that I will get the opportunity to serve as the Viking Chef at the new Viking Cooking School Outdoors on the third floor pool deck of the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center!!  The school itself is currently under construction, but classes are slated to begin on Thursday, September 22, 2011. The fully equipped outdoor kitchen featuring grills, smokers, and outdoor burners from the Viking Range Corporation overlooks downtown Baton Rouge and the Mississippi River.  I'll be up there teaching and demoing great recipes in leisure-style cooking classes for anybody interested in learning more about outdoor cooking or changing up their idea of going out to eat.  The hands-on classes will be small groups of no more than 16 people while the demo classes can hold up to 36, or can be expanded for private events and larger parties. 


From the Hilton: "Chef Instructors for the first ever Viking Cooking School Outdoors have also been selected. Local food blogger, radio show host, LSU tailgating expert and MasterChef participant Jay Ducote will lead the way with his passion for competitive barbecue and outdoor cooking. His experience on the grill and in the kitchen, as well as teaching, public speaking, and entertaining will be an asset to the school and will spice up all the classes. Chef Matt Brewton will also join the team. Matt brings experience as an executive chef in New Orleans as well as with the Viking Cooking School in Nashville, TN. His knowledge of the culinary arts and the Viking line of products will make the hands-on cooking classes and demos can’t-miss events!"

I hope to see you around the grill!!  Let me know if you have any questions or comments.  I sure am excited to share this experience with everyone!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wine Dinner at Niche Bar and Grill

Niche Bar and Grill on Siegen Lane recently hosted an "Around the World" Wine Dinner.  The seating area had been transformed into a white table cloth dining room and I immediately became excited about the efforts of Ause, the owner, and his staff.  I knew this dinner would be an improvement over the previous wine dinner I attended at Niche, but I didn't know how much better.

The wonderful Lauren Michaud joined me for the evening of food and wine.  Appetizer number one featured what Niche called "Tapas de Brie."  Pretty much a version of bruschetta, the slices of toasted bread were topped with tomato slices and melted Brie then drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette and rosemary.  The dish had great flavors that worked very well together.  For a small plate or an hors d'oeuvres it did the trick.  I didn't quite get the pairing with the Argentina Malbec as the Tapas de Brie seemed more Italian than Argentinean or even Spanish, but, what the heck, its all Latin, right?

Tapas de Brie
Graffingna Malbec
Appetizer two included Oysters Portofino paired with a glass of Bottega Vanaia Pinot Grigio.  The oysters were breaded and covered with a spicy basil red sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.  The wine pairing on this course was right on target.  The oysters themselves were decent, but the sweetness and acidity of the wine that matched the tomato sauce is what really made the dish work.

Oysters Portofino
Bottega Vanaia Pinot Grigio
The first entree course emerged as by far my favorite dish of the day.  A blackened redfish filet sat on top of a deliciously fried eggplant slice.  Both the redfish and eggplant were smothered in Niche's signature spicy crawfish cream sauce.  The Hess Chardonnay matched extremely well with the trio of fish, eggplant and cream sauce.  The textures and flavors of every aspect of this plate struck my taste buds in a harmonious symphony.  This is the best dish that I've had at Niche, which made me really happy!

Redfish Feliciana
Hess Chardonnay
The lamb dish, our fourth course, is the one that I most eagerly anticipated.  The frenched lamb chops were covered in a mustard-mint demi-glace and served with rosemary red potatoes.  In another very appropriate wine pairing, the lamb came served with a glass of French Pinot Noir.  While I really liked the lamb, it didn't quite match the previous redfish plate.  The mustard-mint demi-glace fell short of being a stunning sauce with the lamb.  I enjoyed it, but it didn't quite work perfectly for me.

Lamb Chops
Louis Jadot Pinot Noir
The meal wrapped up with tiramisu and a glass of Port.  I again found it odd to pair an Italian dessert with a Portuguese wine, though they did work fairly well together.  I think a glass of Prosecco or another Italian dessert wine may have been more appropriate.  Still, the dessert tasted pretty good and the I'm a big fan of Port, so I left the dinner very happy!

Tiramisu
Fonseca Porto
Thanks to Niche for continuing to put on these dinners of assorted beverages.  I very much applaud the efforts to bring a dinner like this to a more casual dining atmosphere.  This wine dinner proved to be worth every penny.  I found some of the international pairings a little odd, but in the end they worked well enough to ensure that everyone had good food, good wine, and a great time!  And I think that Redfish Feliciana might be on the menu now or at least run fairly often as a special.  Do yourself a favor and go try that!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wall of Fame!

A week before Memorial Day in 2010 I became the fifth person ever to complete the Kodiak Arrest Challenge in Anchorage, Alaska. The challenge was made famous by Adam Richman of Man vs Food on the Travel Channel. Michael El Koubi recently visited Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse where he found my picture enshrined on the Wall of Fame. Thanks Koubi! Good to see that the six pounds of Alaskan King Crab, seven salmon cakes, and foot-and-a-half long link of reindeer sausage was all worth it!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

National IPA Day


Yesterday was National IPA Day and my brother Eric, author of BRBeerScene.com and my cohost on the Raise a Glass Show (96.9 WHYR-LP Fridays at 6), had a bunch of people over to enjoy a smorgasbord of India Pale Ales. I brought over some Saint Arnold Devine Reserve 11 (Double IPA) that had been gifted to me by Shannon McNair and Kevin Black, and then tasted a whole lot more. Good times for sure!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cafe JoJo's in Morgan City

On a recent trip to the Louisiana Coast I had the pleasure of getting treated to a fantastic dinner at Cafe JoJo's in Morgan City.  The restaurant, which opened its doors in 2003, sits in downtown on the banks of the Atchafalaya River.  Fortunately the levee system saved them from most of the flooding after the Morganza Spillway opened this past summer.  Still reeling from the oil spill over a year ago, the Louisiana seafood industry is currently on a long path to recovery.  Morgan City was at the center of the storm, so to speak, during the whole fiasco.  With an ironically named "Shrimp and Petroleum Festival" as the city's largest annual event, it is easy to understand the strong ties of seafood and oil that bond the community.  I made commentary on the connection between Louisiana and Alaska in an earlier post based on seafood and oil, and thanks to Exxon and BP, the coastal communities became even more connected in a tragic way.


Dinner at Cafe JoJo's began with a fried crab cake in an artichoke and corn sauce.  The cake itself came packed with fresh Louisiana crab.  The artichoke and corn sauce impressed me as it had both an intriguing uniqueness  and an excellent taste to go along with the crab.


Course two saw an Oyster Rockefellar bisque.  While I admire the idea of turning a classic dish into a soup, this happened to be the only course that didn't overly satisfy me.  The fried oysters in the creamy bisque felt out of place and left an odd texture.  However, the flavor of the soup still had me eating the entire cup.  Maybe I'm just a fat ass.


The Cafe JoJo's staff brought out the third course.  A delicious seafood crepe came out loaded with shrimp and crab and smothered in an amazing buttery, creamy herb sauce.  I gobbled the crepes up in record time.  They had a great savoriness to match the sweetness of the seafood.  


By the time the fourth course came out almost everybody at the table had already gotten full.  Not me.  I knew what I had in store and I got my second stomach ready.  The main entree featured a grilled Louisiana redfish filet with green beans topped with an intoxicating pesto-chardonnay sauce.  The dish is one that I'd love to recreate at some point.  While the meal as a whole just continued to get heavier and heavier with butters and creams, this dish and this sauce stood out on their own.  I loved every bite of it and needed extra bread to soak up the sauce that remained abandoned on my plate.


And naturally, no meal is complete without dessert.  I tasted the turtle cheesecake (front and center), the bread pudding (far left), and my favorite, the homemade Chantilly cream (top right).  The cream had a light fluffiness that ideal rounded out the heavy meal.  I managed to have a few bites before bringing the rest back to the hotel with me.  All in all, Cafe JoJo's served up an outstanding and memorable meal, and I'd be happy to return any time I dine in Morgan City.


Cafe JO Jo's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

The United Way's Jambalaya Jam Jams on October 9th!