Grab your tickets for the Capital Chef Showcase on Sept. 4!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Baked "BBQ" Chicken Thighs over Grande Whole Grains with Thyme

As part of the promotion that I'm doing with Virtual Potluck, Bob's Red Mill and the California Olive Ranch sent each of the bloggers some special grains and oils in order to help us come with some healthy dishes to kick off 2012.  You can go back and take a look at my appetizer and side dish, but now it is time to get on to the main event!  I needed to make use of Bob's Grande Whole Grains as well as the Miller's Blend olive oil.  I also had access to my Harb's Oasis herb garden, some chicken thighs, and my own homemade BBQ sauce.  Plus, as an added bonus, I recently received a sample of DJ Paul's (yes, the DJ Paul from Three 6 Mafia!) BBQ rub.  This chicken and whole grains had met its match!

Baked "BBQ" Chicken Thighs over Grande Whole Grains with Thyme

The basic preparation shook down like this:
A few hours before I was ready to start cooking I put 8 chicken thighs in a brine of apple cider vinegar, Tin Roof Amber Ale, a chopped onion, and some of my homemade Bite and Booze BBQ Sauce.  They then went back into the refrigerator until I was ready to cook.

The whole grains needed to boil and simmer for a while to absorb enough moisture.  I added 1 cup of grains and 2 and half cups of water to a sauce pan and placed it over high heat.  I also threw in a pinch of kosher salt, a couple turns of my black pepper mill, a dash of cayenne, and about a teaspoon of dried thyme that I had previously cut from my herb harden.  After coming to a boil, I covered the pot and reduced the heat to simmer for nearly an hour.

The 8 chicken thighs were removed from the brine, patted down with a paper towel, drizzled lightly with Miller's Blend olive oil, and placed in a large hotel pan (any baking dish would work).  With the skin side up, I sprinkled DJ Paul's BBQ rub on each thigh to liberally coat the skin.  The thighs were then placed in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  After the half hour, I took the chicken out of the oven, brushed each thigh with BBQ sauce, and then returned them to the oven for another 15 minutes.

After everything was ready, I plated the dish by placing a large serving spoon of whole grains on the plate, then topping that with a chicken thigh.  I garnished with a sprig of tried thyme to give the entree a more rustic look that worked with the whole grains.  And the best part: after I took a few pictures, I got to eat it!


Want some Bob's Red Mill grains and olive oil from the California Olive Ranch?  Read blow for the details about how you could win some!
  • Visit either Bob's Red Mill or California Olive Ranch's Facebook pages and retrieve this week's Virtual Potluck code word. Then use that code word in a sentence, when commenting on this blog post. 
Additional Entries:
  • For an extra entry: Follow BRM, COR and VirtualPotluck's Twitter profiles and tweet about the contest linking to this blog post and using the #virtualpotluck hashtag. Then comment again, letting me know you've done so, by providing the link to your tweet.
  • More Blogs, More Ways to Win: Get additional entries in each week's giveaways by visiting our host blog and finding other participating VP bloggers sites to comment on.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Andrew Zimmern Visits Baton Rouge and the Food Trucks Go Crazy!

Jay Ducote and Andrew Zimmern in Baton Rouge
Andrew Zimmern, probably best known for hosting Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel, stopped by Baton Rouge on Wednesday to film an episode of his popular MSN web series "Appetite for Life."  In case you are unaware, next week a new episode of Bizarre Foods America will air on the Travel Channel that features Louisiana and our unique cuisine.  This time though, Andrew was hosting a jambalaya cook-off, and to make things more interesting the weekly Wednesday Food Truck Wroundup was held at lunch in conjunction with the filming.  I actually had the extreme pleasure of being one of the judges for the food truck event that featured each truck's best Cajun inspired dish.  Along side me in the judging booth were Rachael Upton from 225 Dine, Lauren Westbrook from WAFB, Beth Colvin from The Advocate, and Brian Haldane from Talk 107.3 FM.  

Judging Panel for the Appetite for Life Food Truck Wroundup
Every truck there did an exceptional job with the challenge.  The dishes blew me away with their creativity and flavor.  This seriously might have been one of the most difficult food challenges that I've ever had to judge.  It is a tough job, but somebody has to do it... or so they tell me (as I'm doing it!).  Here were the entries and results.  Start drooling now.

Taco de Paco's "Cajunator": Seafood gumbo taco with seared andouille, crawfish tails, rice, gumbo sauce, and fried okra!  This won the "Laissez Les Bon Food Trucks Rouler" award for best use of traditional Louisiana/Cajun foods in the entry.

The Cajunator from Taco de Paco
A Coffee Truck returned with their King Cake Latte that took the non-traditional prize in last year's King Cake Contest with Visit Baton Rouge.  While it didn't win any awards this year, it still impressed all the judges and was a great sweet treat along side all the savory dishes.

a coffee truck's King Cake Latte
The Cuban Connection's entry featured a blackened catfish filet over a bed of Louisiana seafood paella.  I loved the seasoning on the catfish as it burst with spices that were home to both the Cajuns and the Cubans.  Unfortunately this plate didn't win either, but the Cuban truck should still keep their chin up!

Seafood Paella with Blackened Catfish from Cuban Connection
 Curbside hit a homerun with a debut offering and sneak peak at their upcoming links truck.  The "Porkducken" featured truck-made local pork, chicken, and wild duck sausage basted in duck fat, thyme, and roasted garlic then finished with lemon zest.  Nick and crew topped the sausage with a cream cheese foam, Hungarian smoked paprika and fresh chives which all sat atop some house-made creole potato chips and fresh French bread.  Curbside ended up taking home the "Way more creative than this name" award for most creative dish.  Well deserved!  It freaking rocked, and I can't wait for that new truck!

Curbside's Porkducken
Sadly I got so carried away with everything that I forgot to snap a picture of FRESH's shrimp salad.  It also had blue cheese and candied pecans.  It was definitely my kind of salad!  They didn't win any awards for it, but I'd gladly eat it again!

Ignatius Reilly's took home the top prize with their Warm Savory Couche-Couche, with Smoked Trotter & Switches Gravy and a Fried Softshell Crawfish.  The gravy was loaded with slow cooked pig tail and crawfish tails.  The dish had an amazing balance with sweetness from the cous cous cake, spiciness from the gravy, and savoriness from, well, everything.  And then to top it off with deep fried soft shell CRAWFISH?!  Wow.  For the win.  The "Show Dat" award for overall best tasting - best in show.  Congrats!

Ignatius Reilly's winning dish
The event as a whole helped raise over $2,000 for the Capital Area United Way.  Big thanks and congrats to everyone involved, and I'll definitely be posting the link to the Appetite for Life episode when it comes out!!  Oh, and there is also this clip about the whole event from WAFB.  Watch closely... you'll see me taking a huge bite at some point!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jay Ducote Dawg!

Baton Rouge's own Frankie's Dawg House is under new management (Brian Medlin of All-Star Catering) and also has a new featured hot dog.  The "Jay Ducote Dawg" (yes, I have a hot dog named after me, I guess I'm big time now!) features a Nathan's 100% beef frank on a locally baked bun and topped with shredded cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, jalapeno's, and the new "Bite and Booze Louisiana BBQ Sauce!"  You probably ought to go give one a try and let me know what you think.  Nathan Lemoine did, and I quote, "Sauce was boss."  Brian Haldane from Talk 107.3 tweeted, "...@biteandbooze had the Jay Ducote dog from Frankie's! Unbelievably good!!!"  Here it is in all of its glory:

Jay Ducote Dawg from Frankie's Dawg House in Baton Rouge, LA 
Menu Board at Frankie's Dawg House Describing the Jay Ducote Dawg
Bite and Booze BBQ Sauce, you wonder?  I've been playing around with my own BBQ sauce and I'm very happy with the results so far.  I'm calling it a Louisiana BBQ Sauce because of the notable choices to include certain Louisiana ingredients such as Cane Syrup, Creole Mustard, Pepper Sauce, and, of course, Louisiana Craft Beer (Tin Roof Perfect Tin Amber, to be exact).  Aside from those, it is cooked down with fresh onion and garlic instead of the powdered crap and is a tomato based sauce with layers of sweet and spicy flavors that I feel pay tribute to what people around here like in their barbecue sauce.  I'm hoping to be making more soon and getting it out there a little bit before I try to figure out the next steps of nutrition labels and bottling.  With a little luck, you might actually see it in a store before too long!  Until then, let me know if you'd like a bottle and I'll do my best to accommodate!

Batch #3 of the Bite and Booze Louisiana BBQ Sauce
Frankie's Dawg House off Perkins near the Overpass

Monday, January 16, 2012

Toasted Pecan and Parmesan Quinoa plus a Giveaway!

As part of the Bob's Red Mill and California Olive Ranch Healthy 2012 Challenge with the Virtual Potluck team, one of our missions was to create a side item using a whole grain and a olive oil.  I decided to further the challenge by only using ingredients that I already at home instead of going out shopping for more.  The quinoa seemed like a great choice for a side item, so I started there.  After getting two cups of water boiling I poured in one cup of quinoa along with a little salt.  That needed about 12 minutes to cook, so I then turned my attention to what else would go with the quinoa, which by itself is rather bland like most grains.  Fortunately I found some pecan halves and thought that the nutty flavor might go well with the quinoa.  I grabbed the olive oil and some smoked sea salt from the Red Stick Spice Company as well.  


I mixed about a cup of the shelled pecans with two teaspoons of olive oil and one teaspoon of smoked sea salt.  After the pecans were well coated, I spread them out of a baking sheet and toasted them in the oven at around 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes.  


After a little more seasoning to finish up the quinoa, I threw the dish together.  I placed the toasted pecans atop the quinoa and then grated some fresh Parmesan cheese over the top.  The result ended up being quite satisfying, especially for my first attempt at quinoa!



Want some Bob's Red Mill grains and olive oil from the California Olive Ranch?  Read blow for the details about how you could win some!
  • Visit either Bob's Red Mill or California Olive Ranch's Facebook pages and retrieve this week's Virtual Potluck code word. Then use that code word in a sentence, when commenting on this blog post. 
Additional Entries:
  • For an extra entry: Follow BRMCOR and VirtualPotluck's Twitter profiles and tweet about the contest linking to this blog post and using the #virtualpotluck hashtag. Then comment again, letting me know you've done so, by providing the link to your tweet.
  • More Blogs, More Ways to Win: Get additional entries in each week's giveaways by visiting our host blog and finding other participating VP bloggers sites to comment on.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Raise a Glass Whiskey Tournament Sweet 16

Tonight at 6PM and again on Sunday at 4PM we'll be tasting and reviewing the left half of the Sweet 16 match ups in the Raise a Glass Whiskeys of the World Tournament!  I'm excited to see what happens when some of the best whiskey/whisky in the world goes head to head.  Below is the bracket of the remaining whiskey after we started with 68!

Tune in to the Raise a Glass radio show on WHYR 96.9 FM Baton Rouge Community Radio from 6-7 PM every Friday and catch a replay at 4 PM every Sunday.



Also, you can be there while we record the FINAL 4 and name our Whiskey of the World Champion!  We'll be doing it on location at Roux Wine & Spirits on Tuesday, January 24, 2011 from 7-9 PM.  Let me know if you want to come.  There will be tastings and whiskey drinking galore!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Food Louisiana on Cox Channel 4

The pilot episode of Food Louisiana on Cox Channel 4 highlights Bite and Booze, the Curbside Truck, and the Red Stick Farmers Market!  Those are some pretty great choices!  Tune in below and look for it on TV soon!

I'm pretty excited about more local food programming coming our way.  Maybe it is only a matter of time before I have my own TV show.  Hey, it worked for writing and radio!  Anybody want to help me get there?  Let me know.  I'm always looking for extra support when it comes to these kinds of things, and I take all kinds... even if it is just a hug or words of encouragement!








Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bite and Booze Around the Dome

If you're going to be in New Orleans on Monday for the BCS National Championship you'll certainly have multiple options for food and beverage.  Whether looking for a place to pre-game prior to heading into the stadium or looking for a spot to actually watch the epic LSU vs Alabama showdown, sports fans will be in a sea of college football frenzy in the Big Easy.  



Ste. Marie Cocktails
I recently got to do a little hopping around to some interesting spots in downtown New Orleans.  I checked out Ste. Marie, Capdeville, and Whiskey Blue.  I've wanted to eat at Ste. Marie for a while so I was definitely excited to start the little trek there.  The manager brought out three signature cocktails to help get us started with our evening.  Beverage one, which really speaks my language, is dubbed the Scarlett O'Hara.  It combines bourbon and gin with some soda to make a refreshing cocktail that is well balanced and flavorful.  The food at Ste. Marie certainly impressed as well.


Ste. Marie's Gnocchi

Their signature dish is a gnocchi with pancetta, butternut squash, and cauliflower.  It is, quite simply, and amazing dish.  The potato dumplings burst with flavor in the sea of delicious sauce that surrounds them.  We also tried the lobster mac and cheese featuring large chunks of lobster knuckle meat as well as gruyere, fontina, and parmesan cheeses.  Finally, we cooled things off a bit with a superb tuna tartare.  The raw tuna was flavored with coriander and topped with an avocado mousse.  Ste. Marie will have multiple TVs with the game playing on Monday and will be serving a normal dinner menu.  I'd call now to make a reservation before they run out of space!      


Ste. Marie's Lobster Mac and Cheese

Ste. Marie's Tuna Tartare

Capdeville's Speakeasy and Dietzen's Whiskey Smash
Capdeville is a bar and restaurant that is far more in my every day enjoyment zone.  The gastropub is a rock and roll whiskey bar just a block or so off of Poydras.  Their modern adaptations of some typical comfort foods can make anybody both intrigued to experiment and incredibly happy with classic flavors.  

Owner... ahem... Mayor James started us with a couple whiskey cocktails.  Actually, he started us with a little taste of a Utah whiskey that was a bourbon-rye blend.  I didn't realized they made whiskey in Utah!  Then we got a sample of the Speakeasy and the Dietzen's Whiskey Smash.  The Speakeasy is a little Bulleit Bourbon with St. Germaine, a trendy elderflower liqueur, and a splash of orange blossom water.  I enjoyed the beverage immensely!  The Dietzen's Whiskey Smash, which has a story to the name that you'll have to get from James, is a play on the classic cocktail.  It uses Rebel Reserve, orange curacao, lemon juice, and mint.  

Capdeville's Truffled Mac and Cheese

As far as food, we got a sampling of the truffle mac and cheese, red beans and rice balls, and meat pies.  The truffle mac impressed the Hell out of me because of its change from the norm.  While it was mac and cheese, it wasn't ridiculously cheesy.  While it said truffle, the truffle oil wasn't used in irresponsible excess.  The dish also had parmesan, brown sugar, sage, and peas to create a memorable dish that should be tried, for sure.  Of equal but entirely different note, the red beans and rice balls were interesting and quite delightful.  Just like a boudin ball, the mixture is balled up, battered, and deep fried for delivery in a crisp shell of deliciousness.  Paired with a green onion aioli and reduced hot sauce, these red beans and rice balls are not something to shy away from!  Capdeville is open from 11 AM to 1 AM on game day so make sure to swing by before, during, or after the big party in the dome.

Capdeville's Red Beans and Rice Balls

Finally, we also got to swing by Whiskey Blue in the W Hotel on Poydras.  They had several cocktails to taste and a batch of crawfish beignets that I couldn't resist.  We began with a black raspberry martini featuring Belvedere Black Raspberry Vodka, fresh raspberries, mint, lime, and a splash of champagne.  It wasn't quite my cocktail of choice, but he next one I could drink over and over again.  The Coconut Basil Gimlet used Ciroc Coconut Vodka, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and fresh basil.  The refreshing mixture took me to the beach while at the same time had a wonderful balance that didn't blow me away with unnecessary sweetness.  

Whiskey Blue's Black Raspberry Martini and Coconut Basil Gimlet
When the order of crawfish beignets came out to the bar I couldn't resist diving in.  How can you go wrong combining a couple of New Orleans's favorite foods?  The beignets had crawfish and corn rolled into a great base and batter then fried to a crisp outside with a dense, moist center.  The beignets themselves did not pack much of a kick, but plenty of spice came with a dip in the Creole tartar sauce that accompanied the beignets.  Whiskey Blue opens at 5 PM on game day.  After the game, from 10 PM to 2 AM, they'll have an event with a DJ, promoter, and no cover!

Whiskey Blue's Crawfish Beignets with Creole Tartar Sauce
Finally, let me finish by saying GEAUX TIGERS!!  Happy eating and drinking!

Ste Marie on UrbanspoonCapdeville on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

California Olive Ranch and Bob's Red Mill's Healthy New Year Giveaway

As part of eating and blogging and living a little healthier in the new year, Bob's Red Mill and the California Olive Ranch teamed up with the Virtual Potluck crew to bring us a Healthy Holiday Cooking Challenge as well as a product giveaway.  Each blogger got four different grains from Bob's Red Mill and four different extra virgin olive oils from the California Olive Ranch.  We are all tasked with pairing the grains and oils in four dishes (consisting of an appetizer, side dish, entree, and dessert) over the month of January.   I'll get to the giveaway later, but for now, let's check out my appetizer!


Above are some of the ingredients that I used.  I selected Bob's Red Mill's whole wheat pastry flour and the Arbosana olive oil to go along with some other excellent ingredients like elk sausage, Serrano peppers, and black beans.  

Elk Sausage and Black Bean Soup:

Over medium-high, heat 3T olive oil in dutch oven and brown elk sausage on all sides
Remove the sausage when it is done browning and place aside to cool
Add another 3T olive oil and 2T butter to dutch oven and stir until butter melts
Add 1/2C whole wheat flour and stir with a wooden spoon to make a roux
Continue to make roux, stirring regularly, until it turns a dark brown color


When the roux is sufficiently dark, add one medium yellow onion, diced, and stir
After about a minute, add one green bell pepper, diced, and stir
After another minute or so, add two stalks of celery, diced (about 1C) and stir
Add six cloves of garlic, minced, and continue to stir
The roux and veggies will all come together, but don't worry about that
Add three diced Serrano peppers, cored and de-seeded
Add three 19oz cans of black beans, or equivalent if you had dried black beans and re-hydrated them
Add 1QT chicken stock and stir the mixture until it is consistent
Slice the elk sausage into roughly 1/4" slices and return to the pot
Add 2t kosher salt, 2t freshly ground black pepper, 3 bay leaves, 1/2t smoked paprika, 1t ground cumin, a shot (1.5oz) tequila, 1T Cajun seasoning like Slap Ya Mama, and six diced green onions


Thanks to my Harb's Oasis herb garden, I was also able to secure some very fresh tarragon, thyme, parsley, and cilantro.  I added 1T of fresh chopped tarragon, 1.5T fresh chopped cilantro, 1.5t fresh chopped thyme, and 1T of fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

Allow the soup to get up to a boil then reduce to simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally, to allow all the flavors to come together.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

When ready, serve in a bowl and garnish with chopped cilantro or green onions, as seen below.




Want some Bob's Red Mill grains and olive oil from the California Olive Ranch?  Read blow for the details about how you could win some!

  • Visit either Bob's Red Mill or California Olive Ranch's Facebook pages and retrieve this week's Virtual Potluck code word. Then use that code word in a sentence, when commenting on this blog post. 
Additional Entries:

  • For an extra entry: Follow BRM, COR and VirtualPotluck's Twitter profiles and tweet about the contest linking to this blog post and using the #virtualpotluck hashtag. Then comment again, letting me know you've done so, by providing the link to your tweet.
  • More Blogs, More Ways to Win: Get additional entries in each week's giveaways by visiting our host blog and finding other participating VP bloggers sites to comment on.