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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Basil Hayden's Classic Manhattan: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard
Basil Hayden's Classic Manhattan

Ah, National Bourbon Heritage Month. It came, and it went, so fleetingly. Nothing lasts forever. 

It's our last week to celebrate, and we're doing so with Basil Hayden's Bourbon. The family recipe for this craft bourbon dates back to 1796. Master Distiller Basil Hayden Sr. set out to create a one-of-a-kind bourbon recipe that utilized twice as much rye as traditional bourbons. The result is a spicy bourbon that's great on its own or mixed in a cocktail.

In anticipation of Team Bite and Booze's upcoming trip to New York, here's a recipe for Basil Hayden's Classic Manhattan, developed by Louisville-based mixologist Damien Cooke. Any recipe including Luxardo cherries automatically wins in my book.

Basil Hayden’s Classic Manhattan


2 parts Basil Hayden's Bourbon
¾ parts Carpano Antica Vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Luxardo Maraschino Cherries (for garnish)


Combine ingredients in a mixing tin with ice and stir.
Strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with three cherries on a cocktail skewer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Libby Landry: Governess of Grapes

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup
Libby Landry overlooking the vineyard in West Monroe, Louisiana
Libby Landry overlooking the vineyard in West Monroe, Louisiana

When you pull onto the gravel road that leads to Landry Vineyards you’re greeted by a landscape of rolling hills covered in grape vines. It’s a sight you can’t see in many parts of Louisiana, but to the Landrys it’s just another day at the office.

Jeff and Libby Landry were high school sweethearts at Hahnville High School in Boutte. Libby turned Jeff down a few times when he asked her if he could carry her books, but a determined man, Jeff won her over eventually.

Three years later, they married. Jeff studied engineering while Libby learned cosmetology. In the early years of their marriage, Jeff traveled across the country for months at a time for work, and after having a few children, the Landrys felt a hankering for something with a slower pace.

The dynamic duo and their four boys settled down in Folsom, Louisiana, and began searching for a blueberry farm. Neither Libby nor Jeff had any experience working on a farm, so Libby had no idea what her family was in for.

You can imagine her amusement once Jeff had discovered a vineyard, talked to the owner, and set his sights to open his own.

“I told him he was crazy…absolutely crazy,” Libby said.

The Landrys' experience wrangling four rowdy young boys was nothing compared to farming.

Six weeks later, the family started laying cloth in the ground to cultivate the land for grape vines. It takes three years from the time the fruit is planted until you can yield a successful crop.

Eight years later, still struggling through the process of growing grapes for wine in Louisiana’s temperamental climate, Hurricane Katrina made landfall. The Landrys moved North to West Monroe, Louisiana, where Jeff had every intention of starting over and Libby saw an opportunity to get out of the business.

But once they found the perfect piece of land, the couple decided to see the vineyard through. The temperature, rolling hills, and soil were ideal for growing grapes.

While owning and operating a Louisiana vineyard may have been the dream of her husband, Libby's hard work made it all possible.

“I would cook food for days," she said. "We’d pack up the boys and live in the old barn showering with a water hose until each harvest was complete. That was our life for a while.”

Six years later, Landry Vineyards bottles wines with grapes grown in California and shipped overnight to West Monroe in addition to fungus and disease resistant grapes grown on their property in Louisiana.

Libby still help harvest the grapes when it’s time, but now her duties lie mostly with the vineyard’s tasting room, concert series, and special events.

Their concert series starts in March and is held every other weekend until the end of the summer. Sometimes over 1,000 visitors attend, and Libby shops and cooks for all of them. Almost every other weekend of the year is taken up with special events or weddings.

In addition to events, Libby also in charge of gift basket orders and coordinating their new wine club.

“The jobs are endless,” she said.

She runs vineyard, keeps her man in check, has two teenage boys at home, and still finds time to pour herself a few glasses of wine; I’ll drink to that!

This post is part of a monthly series spotlighting Louisiana women in the business of booze. Previous features include:

Natalie Parbhoo: Duchess of Distribution
Lindsay Nations: Baroness of Beers
Dori Murvin: Sorceress of Service
Nora McGunnigle: Headmistress of Hops
Myrna Arroyo: Vino Valedictorian
Brandi Lauck: Warden of Whiskey
Cari Caramonta: Mother of Malts
Erin White: Priestess of Pairing
Beth Donner: Dame of Distilling
Halston McMullan: Hustler of Houston Hops

Friday, September 25, 2015

Free Booze Friday: Get to Know Pappy

It's Friday! Have you checked out Free Booze Friday on Geek Nation yet? Jay serves up booze and tries to educate puppets on alcohol, but things never go smoothly.

This week, we'll hear from Pappy in his own (admittedly garbled) words. We don't know much about Pappy. His accent is confusing, and he seems relatively ageless, but I kind of agree with a lot of his opinions on alcohol.

Like Lorraine last week, we sat down with Pappy and had him fill out a Myspace survey circa 2007. I'm not entirely sure Pappy knows what Myspace is, but he was patient enough to hear me out.


Pappy behind the scenes at Beausoleil Restaurant

1. Last beverage:

Moonshine

2. Last phone call:

Telephones? Don't trust 'em

3. Last song you listened to:

Listened to some Blind Willie Johnson 78s

4. Last time you cried:

Real men don't cry!

5. Have you dated someone twice?

Who's askin?

6. Have you lost someone special?

Most everyone close to me is gone now...

7. If you could change your name, what would it be?

Pappy's fine by me

8. What did you do for your last birthday?



9. What time did you wake up today?

Woke up with the sun, like I do every morning

10. Name something you CANNOT wait for?

I can't wait for you to stop buggin me with all these questions

11. Most visited webpage:

Wikileaks.org

12. Zodiac sign:

My what?!

13. Height:

Tall enough

14. Tattoos:

Back when I was in the Navy I picked up a tattoo or two

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Barbecue Bites: Asian Glazed Black Drum

A little Cajun-Asian fusion always delights tastebuds. Flaky fish and Asian seasonings pair perfectly together, and thrown together with some vegetables, they make an easy and flavorful feast.

Fresh Louisiana black drum from Indie Plate combine with our Asian spin on Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce in this recipe by Chef Eusebio Gongora. 

Check out our website for more recipes, and buy a bottle of sauce here!


Asian Glazed Black Drum with Jay D's Asian BBQ Sauce. Photo courtesy of Mario Do at Indie Plate. 


Asian Glazed Black Drum


Black drum 5-7 oz filets, 4 each
1 cup Jay D’s Asian BBQ Sauce (see recipe)
1 lb squash, sliced

Red onion, julienned 1 each
½ lb Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
½ cup Cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp Sesame oil
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
2 tsp Jay D’s Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub (Red Stick Spice Co.)

Preheat a non-stick skillet on medium high heat. Season each filet with ½ tsp of Jay D's Sweet & Spicy BBQ Rub. Place filet in the skillet and sear for 2 to 3 minutes until the fish is  of the way cooked. Flip fish and finish cooking. Remove fish from skillet and return pan to stove. Place sesame oil in the skillet, and once it starts to smoke, add red onions and squash. Don’t move vegetables for 1 to 2 minutes to allow them to brown. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté them for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Plate vegetables with fish filets on top and finish with Asian BBQ sauce and chopped cilantro.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

French 7Q at Grand Isle: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Grand Isle's take on the French 75, called the French 7Q
by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard


In keeping with our celebration of National Bourbon Heritage Month, we've got quite a recipe for this week's Whiskey Wednesday.

The brilliant minds over at Grand Isle in New Orleans came up with this fun concoction: the French 7Q.

It's a play on the French 75 (it's even served in a champagne flute) using Angel's Envy bourbon. The combination of the bourbon with St. Germain, Ty-Ku coconut sake, and sparking wine makes for a fresh take on a classic.

Check out the recipe below! And happy National Bourbon Heritage Month!







French 7Q

1 ounce Ty-Ku coconut sake
1 ounce Angel’s Envy bourbon
½ ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur


Pour into a Champagne glass filled with Roederer Estate sparkling wine.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Red Stick Farmers Market, Uprooted

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

Each month, our Uprooted series will highlight local chefs, restaurants, organizations, and farmers who are spearheading the farm-to-table and local foodways movements in South Louisiana.

Copper Alvarez is the Executive Director at BREADA. Photo courtesy of Copper Alvarez.


When you're the Executive Director at a local non-profit organization, your role often extends beyond the boardroom.

Just ask Copper Alvarez, Executive Director at BREADA, the Big River Economic & Agricultural Development Alliance. Alvarez finds the formality of her title at the Baton Rouge-based non-profit somewhat amusing. 

“It’s pretty official, but as far as executive directors go, I empty trash on Saturdays," Alvarez laughs. "I do things maybe all executive directors don’t do. We’re a small staff.”

When she's not manning garbage cans, Alvarez said her days are spent maintaining facilities, looking for new site partners, doing administrative grant work, coordinating markets, visiting farms, and working with chefs, farmers, and national groups.

“Every day is a different day, which is why I like it," she said.

The Mississippi native has been with BREADA since the non-profit formed 14 years ago, and in her years at the helm of the organization, she's seen the community come to embrace BREADA's programs including the Red Stick Farmer's Market and Main Street Market in downtown Baton Rouge.

The Red Stick Farmers Market began in 1996 when a group of farmers was recruited for the city's first farmer's market by graduate student Chris Campany as part of his Master's thesis in LSU's Landscape Architecture program.

That November, the first market was held, and six years later, BREADA opened Main Street Market downtown, which serves as a small local business incubator.

In the years since its inception, the Red Stick Farmers Market has become a weekend destination and community gathering place for many in Baton Rouge. Beyond purchasing fresh locally grown produce and quality cuts of meat from area farmers, the Red Stick Farmers Market offers cooking demos, educational opportunities for kids through their Red Stick Sprouts program, and an arts market each month.

But according to Alvarez, some people are still hesitant to take part in the weekly market due to concerns about affordability and accessibility.

"I don't know where the myth started that it is more expensive," she said. "People see the farmer’s market as being for upper class, trendy foodies, but it’s not."

In 2010 BREADA received a grant from the USDA to implement a token program that would match SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients' money up to $10. The grant meant people with Louisiana Purchase cards would have more of an incentive to shop at the market, and it allowed BREADA to better serve the whole community. 

"It expanded what people thought about us," Alvarez said.

It also made a difference in the number of people shopping at the Red Stick Farmer's market.

Alvarez said that when she first started at BREADA, only three to five percent of people nationally shopped at farmer's markets. Now, that number has increased to 10 percent nationally. 

“The trend has finally hit the South," she said. "Hopefully we are just at the precipice of making it grow here. It’s a trend that doesn’t go away."

The farm-to-table scene in Baton Rouge is still shadowed by that of New Orleans, Alvarez said, where tourists are more willing to pay a higher price for cuisine prepared using farm fresh ingredients. 

Though she has seen an increase in Baton Rouge-based chefs' demand for local produce, she admits that most consumers are not demanding local, seasonal produce. 

"Here, the restaurants are up against a lot of chain restaurants," Alvarez said. "Generally, the restaurants who are local have to make a bottom line."

Part of BREADA's mission, and part of Alvarez's role as Executive Director, is to implement programs to people in the city about the seasonality of produce and the importance of choosing "real foods.

"Once you start choosing to eat locally, the freshness, the difference, the nutritional value is so much higher than most people realize," Avarez said. "It’s almost addictive."

Friday, September 18, 2015

Free Booze Friday: Get to Know Lorraine

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

If you haven't heard yet, Free Booze Friday is officially a thing up and running at Geek Nation. So far, we've released seven of the episodes, and they've been getting a lot of love. We're stoked!

We've got a cast of hilarious characters on Free Booze Friday, but what are they like when they're not drunkenly harassing Jay?

We decided to have each of them fill out a Myspace survey circa 2007 to find out who they REALLY are. Check out Lorraine's answers down below.




1. Last beverage:

A nice glass of Yellowtail!

2. Last phone call:

My third husband Carl called to tell me the cat we share custody of died. Rest in peace, Mittens.

3. Last song you listened to:

"London Bridge" by Fergie

4. Last time you cried:

I'm crying right now.

5. Have you dated someone twice?

I married, divorced, and remarried my first husband Craig.

6. Have you lost someone special?

Yes, my dearly departed fifth husband Christopher. Or was it Chester...? No, it was Christopher!

7. If you could change your name, what would it be?

I might as well change my name to Madonna. People are always confusing me for her!

8. What did you do for your last birthday?

Went to the Taj Mahal with my late husband Christopher. There, I met a snake charmer named Raja who taught me a thing or two about charming his snake if you know what I mean ;)

9. What time did you wake up today?

I woke up at 11 a.m. today

10. Name something you CANNOT wait for?

I CANNOT wait to get to the bottom of this stupid survey

11. Most visited webpage:

eHarmony.com

12. Zodiac sign:

Gemini

13. Height:

2’5"

14. Tattoos:

Wouldn't you like to know!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Barbecue Bites: Skirt Steak Roulade

Week night dinners can get redundant. After a while, roasts and potatoes can get boring. Why not try out this skirt steak roulade recipe instead?

steak
Skirt Steak Roulade with Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce marinade. Photo courtesy of Maria Do at Indie Plate. 


This delicious and simple dish by Chef Eusebio Gongora utilizes high quality, local ingredients from Indie Plate as well as Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce.

To up your dinner game, try the recipe below, or check out some of our other favorite barbecue recipes here!

Skirt Steak Roulade


1 cup Goat cheese
½ cup Jay D’s Barbecue Sauce
¼ cup green onion, chopped
Flank/skirt steak, 2 each
2 tbsp Jay D's Sweet & Spicy BBQ Rub (Red Stick Spice Co.)

In a small mixing bowl, combine goat cheese, half of the barbecue sauce, and green onions. Cut each steak in half lengthwise and fill each piece with 1/4 of the cheese mixture and roll each one up, securing with toothpicks. Place remaining BBQ sauce on rolled steaks and allow to marinate for 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat an oven-safe skillet on medium high heat. Season each steak with ½ tbsp of Jay D's Sweet & Spicy BBQ Rub and place in the skillet to sear on each side for 1 to 2 minutes. After searing, place entire skillet into oven to roast for 5 to 10 minutes for medium temperature. Remove from oven and allow steaks to rest for 3 to 4 minutes before cutting. Serve with your favorite vegetables!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

TCB Sour at Compère Lapin: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

The award-winning mixologists at Compère Lapin, Top Chef Nina Compton's new restaurant, are slinging their latest creation in honor of National Bourbon Heritage Month.

Enter the TCB Sour, the restaurant's iteration of a whiskey sour made with bourbon, lemon, orgeat cherry, and byrrh (a wine-based digestif).

I'm not a huge fan of the whiskey sour normally, but I think the sweetness of the orgeat cherry (an almond-based syrup) and the byrrh would convince me otherwise. 

Check out the recipe below, and definitely head to Compère Lapin if you haven't already!

TCB Sour at Compère Lapin in the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery on Tchoupitoulas in New Orleans

TCB Sour

2 ounce bourbon
1 ounce lemon
½ orgeat
¾ Byrrh
½ ounce egg white


Shake and serve on the rocks with an orange peel.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Between Two Shells: Raw West Coast Gold Creek Oysters with Jay D's Blanc Du Bois

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

As Louisiana wiggles its way into “fall,” our sinuses retaliate against the endless back and forth of cool one minute, warm the next weather, and we find ourselves victims to flash thunderstorms and preemptively retrieving our warmer clothing out of storage bins.

It’s a glorious time of year, and Baton Rouge is bustling with fun events – Live After Five is a favorite of mine. I like to be posted up with an assortment of raw oysters at Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar, drink in hand.

Raw West Coast Gold Creek Oysters with Jay D's Blanc Du Bois at Live After Five
Raw West Coast Gold Creek Oysters with Jay D's Blanc Du Bois at Live After Five

Situated on North Boulevard with doors open to the street, Jolie Pearl is the perfect location for grabbing a dance session on the lawn and then shimmying your way back to the bar for refills.

At my first Live After Five of the season, I paired some West Coast Gold Creek raw oysters with a glass of Jay D’s Blanc Du Bois, because why not?

It’s been a few months since the limited release of Jay D’s Blanc Du Bois from Louisiana’s Landry Vineyards, and while it can be hard to find a bottle in stores, Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar still pours it by the glass!

With grapes grown on Louisiana soil, the Blanc Du Bois is crisp to compliment the extra saltiness in these non-Gulf oysters, and fruit-forward notes of peach and pear harmonize with the briny, earthy notes that West Coast oysters are known for.

Delicious separate, but better together.

Below are some of the other pairings we suggest at Jolie Pearl:


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Barbecue Bites: Crawfish Fritters

Nothing makes a Southerner happier than rolling stuff into balls and frying it. Breaking open a warm, fried ball of cheesy goodness does a body good. 

These crawfish fritters by Chef Eusebio Gongora utilize crawfish tails from Indie Plate as well as BBQ aioli made with Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, available online here

Be sure to look here for more BBQ recipes!

crawfish fritter
Crawfish Fritters with Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Aioli. Photo courtesy of Maria Do at Indie Plate. 

Crawfish Fritters


1 lb Crawfish
1 cup yellow onion, ¼” diced
½ cup Bell pepper, ¼” diced
½ cup Celery, ¼” diced
1 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup Cornmeal
2 Eggs
1 cup Smoked cheddar cheese
2 cups Slap Ya Mama fish fry
1 cup BBQ Aioli (see recipe below)



Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Melt butter and add onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the vegetables start to get soft. Add garlic and crawfish and sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove cooked vegetables and crawfish from heat and place in a mixing bowl. Add cornmeal, eggs, and cheddar cheese and mix until balls can be formed. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Form balls and roll them into the fish fry. Drop fritters into heated oil and allow to fry for 3 to 4 minutes until they are golden brown. Pull fritters from the oil and place onto a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil. Serve with a side of BBQ Aioli for dipping.



Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Aioli


1 cup of mayonnaise
¼ cup of Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce
3 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
1½ teaspoon of Slap Ya Mama Original Cajun Seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic powder




Combine all ingredients and let chill for at least 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Smash: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

It's National Bourbon Heritage Month, and some NOLA bartenders are taking notice by mixing up some specialty cocktails to celebrate this September.

What better way to start off National Bourbon Heritage Month than with a Buffalo Trace Bourbon Smash by the mixologists at Emeril's?

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Smash at Emeril's in New Orleans

Try out this refreshing bourbon cocktail this month to get you in the mood for citrus season!

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Smash

Wedge of satsuma or orange
1 ounce Buffalo Trace Bourbon
¾ ounce Grand Marnier
½ ounce Cherry Heering
½ ounce Falernum (liqueur/syrup with a sweetened combination of flavors including almond, ginger, clove, lime, vanilla, and allspice)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
Satsuma or orange wheel for garnish


Muddle the citrus wedge in a cocktail shaker then add the remaining ingredients except the citrus wheel. Add ice, shake and pour into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a citrus wheel.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Barbecue Bites: Street Steak Tacos

Tacos are hard to beat in terms of ease and versatility: almost anyone can pull them off, and the combinations of flavors are limitless. Plus, they're fun to eat! Just line up all the fixins and have your guests serve themselves!

In this version of street steak tacos by Chef Eusebio Gongora, skirt steaks from Indie Plate are marinated in a mixture that includes Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and served on warm tortillas with a number of fresh toppings. 

Check out more recipes here, and grab a bottle of sauce here while you're at it!

skirt steak
Street Steak Tacos. Photo courtesy of Maria Do at Indie Plate. 


Street Steak Tacos


Flank/Skirt Steak, marinated (see recipe below)
10 Tortillas
¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
½ cup onions, diced
¼ cup your favorite cheese
1 tbsp Jay D’s Sweet & Spicy Barbecue rub
1 Avocado, sliced

Preheat the grill, and remove steak from marinade. Season steak with BBQ Rub and let sit for 2 minutes to allow the seasoning to cure. Place steak on the grill and cook each side for 3 minutes for a medium temperature. Remove steak from grill and let it rest for 3 minutes. While the steak rests, grill the tortillas for 1 to 2 minutes. Slice the steak against the grain and fill each tortilla with the remaining ingredients.

Steak marinade


½ cup Jay D’s BBQ Sauce
1 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Lime juice
1 tsp Soy sauce
Flank/skirt steak, 2 each

In a mixing bowl, combine BBQ sauce, chili powder, cumin, lime juice and soy sauce. Place skirt steaks into a Ziploc bag with marinade. Place bag into refrigerator and allow to marinate for 6 hours.