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Monday, August 29, 2016

Cajun Crate: A Louisiana Pantry Delivered to Your Door

by Rachel Hamburger, intern


Hey y’all! There’s finally one of those subscription boxes that’s worth sinking your teeth into.

Cajun Crate is a cool new company that sends you a box full of Louisiana made products and check this out: Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce is being featured in the September box! PLUS, there's a discount code for 15% OFF your first order: HUGJAYD




The founders, Lafayette natives Tara and Brett Guidry were constantly sending care packages of Louisiana products to family and friends around the country. From that, the idea for Cajun Crate was born. They launched a Kickstarter in May 2016 and the first Cajun Crate box shipped out in August. Their main goals are to share their love of Louisiana with everyone, as well as helping out the local economy by buying local.

A monthly subscription includes five to seven products that get shipped right to your door for just $39 (and a little less if you sign up for three, six or twelve months at a time.) Plus, if you love a product, you can then buy it individually straight from Cajun Crate.


An array of delectable Louisiana products in the August Cajun Crate.
An array of delectable Louisiana products in the August Cajun Crate.

Go to cajuncrate.co to subscribe for your box. Don't forget to enter promocode HUGJAYD for 15% off your first month! You can also send a subscription as a gift, with free shipping to anywhere in the US. The holidays are quickly approaching, and a Cajun Crate box (or boxes) would be a great gift for people unfortunate enough to live outside of the great state of Louisiana. Unless they’re from Texas, then they are the luckiest of them all. (As a Houston gal turned LSU Tiger, I may or may not be a little biased.)

All jokes aside, check out cajuncrate.co and look out for Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce in the September box!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Milkin' It: Sweet Dreams Fulfilled at Milk Bar in NYC

by Chuck P


As a self-proclaimed “fat kid”, it’s very hard for me to turn away from pretty much any food filled with sugar and or covered in icing; Cakes, pies, cookies...you name it. I once read a quote that sums up how I feel on the matter, “Life is short. Eat dessert first.”

Recently the whole Bite & Booze team went on a road trip to New York City where we cooked an amazing Louisiana tailgate themed dinner at the prestigious James Beard House. On the day before the dinner we had time to explore the city and Jay had organized a day of eating and drinking at a couple of Chef David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants. Having read about but never eaten at these places, I was super excited. One stop on the list had my candy coated heart ready to explode: Milk Bar.

What can I say about Milk Bar that hasn’t been said before? Pastry Chef & Owner Christina Tosi’s world famous bakery was very high on my list of places to visit while in NYC. Known for their amazing cookies like the Compost (packed with pretzels, potato chips, graham cracker, butterscotch and chocolate chips), the Blueberry & Cream and Confetti cookies, insanely delicious truffle balls (No icing needed for these bad boys. It’s just straight cake!) and the infamous Crack Pie, people pile into their super tiny shops to fill their sweet tooth cravings.



A birthday cake truffle a pint of fruity cereal milk ice cream.
A birthday cake truffle a pint of fruity cereal milk ice cream.




I ended up buying four of each of their five cookies on the menu and a few packs of birthday truffle balls! Let’s not forget the huge variety of amazing cakes available like their whimsical take on a traditional birthday cake, chocolate malt, strawberry lemon cake and what I can only imagine has to be the best tasting flavor ever, the salted pretzel cake.

Not just content with delivering tasty baked goods to the masses, they also make their own soft serve ice cream and shakes. But this ain’t your granny’s homemade ice cream, folks. This is cereal milk ice cream.


CEREAL. MILK. ICE. CREAM.

Just let those four mind blowing words sink in for a second. Take corn flakes, steep them in cold milk for 20 minutes, freeze (for up to a week, but seriously who can wait that long?) and then enjoy. Sure, that recipe sounds simple enough but there is no way it would taste as (insert expletive here) delicious as it did when I had it. After racking my brain over whether to get soft serve or a shake, I decided to go with the latter. A creamy cup of heaven mixed with corn flake pieces, I never wanted this brain freezing delight to end. There were so many emotions. A few nights later, I actually returned to a location that was closer to where we were staying and bought more cookies and got a pint of the fruity cereal milk ice cream which tasted exactly, I repeat, EXACTLY like Fruity Pebbles.

Hi, my name is Chuck P and I am a Milk Bar addict.


If you’d like to sample the deliciousness of Milk Bar you don’t have to head to NYC to get your fix. Visit their website where you can order cookies and cakes as well as their cereal milk mix so you can make your own ice cream treats!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Jay D's Bites: Fried & Baked Wings

by Aimee Tortorich

With LSU football season quickly approaching, wings are making their way back into our bellies, tailgating tents and our hearts (even though they never really left). Super easy to make, and a crowd favorite, we decided to create our baked and fried versions of these messy heartthrobs. These crispy wings will excite your taste buds with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavors. Use Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce or Molasses Mustard for a great dipping sauce!


Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub Baked Chicken Wings 


Jay D's Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub Wings
Jay D's Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub Wings


1 lb chicken wings
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub


Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix vegetable oil with Jay D’s BBQ rub, toss in chicken wings and let stand for 5 minutes.
Spread wings out on a single sheet pan in an even layer. Bake for 45-50 minutes until crispy or until internal temperature reaches 165F.


Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub Butter Fried Wings 



½ cup softened, unsalted butter
½ Tbsp Jay D’s BBQ Rub
1 lb chicken wings
Salt and pepper to taste


Melt butter in saucepan and add ½ Tbsp of Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub. Set aside.
Heat oil to 350F in a deep fryer or large Dutch oven. Add wings and cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Once cooked, toss in Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ butter

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Burgers with Chuck: The OG Burger at Alfie's in Washington, D.C.

by Chuck P

Anyone who knows me understands that I have a very unhealthy relationship with an iconic American classic: the hamburger. My love affair with the mother of all sandwiches knows no bounds. I’m always on the hunt for the perfect burger locally and whenever we travel. 

On our recent trip to New York we made a pit stop in Washington, DC to visit Jay’s fellow Food Network Star cast mate Alex McCoy at his pop-up restaurant, Alfie’s. I was told Alex would be cooking us up one of his signature burgers called The OG.

After meeting Alex and his staff we made our way to the bar for an adult beverage. I noticed one of my favorites on the craft beer menu, the Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale, and immediately ordered a pint. I’m very happy that Bell’s is now distributed in Louisiana because their IPA is one of my all time favorites. It’s got nice pine and grapefruit notes in the aroma with a little hop bomb and solid malt backbone. I was almost halfway through my pint when Alex walked up to our table with one of the most beautiful burgers I’ve ever laid eyes on.

The OG Burger with house-made pickles, grilled red onion and arugula.
The OG Burger with house-made pickles, grilled red onion and arugula.


I mean, look at that thing! It’s a work of art! It was almost too pretty to eat...almost.

This is easily one of the best burgers I’ve had in my lifetime, seriously. Normally I don’t like any “salad” on my burger. I want to get to the nitty gritty of the burger without the healthy obstacles getting my way, but this time I made an exception. The house made pickles, red onion and arugula completely added to the awesomeness of the burger. The meat was incredibly juicy and seasoned to perfection. The toasted bun was a soft, buttery and a little sweet which I totally loved.

There is nothing I could find wrong with this burger. Usually, imperfections stick out on a burger like a sore thumb. Whether it’s the patty, bread or toppings, you’ll notice them either visually right away or with that first bite. But this one, THIS burger right here, had nary a flaw to be found. From the first bite to the last, it was perfection.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Acre: Humble, Southern and Inspired

by Aimee Tortorich

After an epic road trip to New York cooking at the James Beard House & Chefs and Champagne and eating at some of the best restaurants in NYC, Team Bite and Booze had one more important stop to make. Jay had been talking about having dinner at Acre in Auburn, Alabama for over a week. I didn’t think it would live up to the amazing dishes we had in New York, but Chef David Bancroft blew me away.

Acre in Auburn, Alabama
Acre in Auburn, Alabama


Nestled only two blocks from the historic Toomer’s Corner in Auburn lies one of the South’s hottest new restaurants. Acre is a restaurant that passionately follows the farm to table concept. Surrounded by an acre of fruits, vegetables and herbs, Chef David has fresh ingredients fueling his creativity a few steps away. A self-proclaimed “country boy” and a master culinary magician in my eyes, Chef David welcomed us with true southern hospitality. Seating us at the Chef’s table he immediately began offering up simple, but flavor packed, inspired dishes. 

Chef David picked watermelon from the front yard of the restaurant for a snack and a cocktail!
Chef David picked watermelon from the front yard of the restaurant for a snack and a cocktail!

As a chef, it’s a dream of mine to build a career focused on the harvest of southern, seasonal ingredients. Raised to live off the land, I’ve always had a passion for this kind of cooking.

The first dish that hit our table was the Chicken Fried Bacon. Two strips of house-made smoked bacon were gently fried in a pepper batter and served with silky white sawmill gravy, Vermont maple syrup and garnished with local pecans. We were fighting over the last bite because it was that good!

Chicken Fried House-Made Bacon, sawmill gravy, Vermont maple syrup, local pecans
Chicken Fried House-Made Bacon, sawmill gravy, Vermont maple syrup, local pecans


These tender Gulf shrimp swimming in an Asian-inspired sweet and spicy BBQ butter sauce almost knocked me out. We were only on our second course and a single bite of the crispy sweet corn donuts dredged in the flavored butter had me feeling feelings. 
 
Peel & Eat Shrimp-“Top secret” BBQ Butter, Sweet Corn Donuts
Peel & Eat Shrimp-“Top secret” BBQ Butter, Sweet Corn Donuts


This was easily one of my favorite dishes of the night. If curry is on the menu, I’m all over it and this dish didn’t disappoint! The balance of heat and sweetness around the tender oyster was absolutely addicting.

Chargrilled Oysters-Curry Butter, house-made hot sauce
Chargrilled Oysters-Curry Butter, house-made hot sauce


The beef tartare with stone ground mustard was the perfect balance of umami and tang. The creaminess of the tender beef with the acidic, spicy mustard was a perfect bite on a charred bread.
 
Wagyu Beef tartare-stone ground mustard, grilled bread
Wagyu Beef tartare-stone ground mustard, grilled bread

The smoky flavors of the salmon balanced well with the acidity of the mustard and pickled veggies. I could ping pong back and forth between this dish and the beef tartar any day.

Smoked salmon rillettes-mustard, pickled veggies, grilled bread
Smoked salmon rillettes-mustard, pickled veggies, grilled bread



The flavorings of the sausage were far from traditional. Chef de Cuisine, Caleb Fischer added bright Asian flavors to the sausage, which balanced out the fattiness of the pork. The house-made waffles had a nice crunch, but tender on the inside, while the huitlacoche purée brought the whole dish together with nice, earthy notes. 

Sausage and Waffles-house-made sausage, house-made waffles, Huitlacoche (corn smut) sauce
Sausage and Waffles-house-made sausage, house-made waffles, Huitlacoche (corn smut) sauce
  


As our bellies began to get full, Chef David slowed the pace down with a nice and refreshing intermezzo. A fresh picked watermelon from the garden graced our table garnished with torn basil, Gulf of Mexico salt from our friends at Cellar Salt Co. and a slight drizzle of Georgia olive oil.

Sliced watermelon, torn basil, Cellar Sea Salt, Georgia olive oil
Sliced watermelon, torn basil, Cellar Sea Salt, Georgia olive oil


Chef David brought out his magician skills with the highlight of the evening, a two-year aged ham. Beautiful in color and thinly sliced, the ham melted in my mouth. Following boucherie-style tradition, we shared a shot of whiskey with a Bancroft twist. First, you place a drop of Poirier cane syrup on your tongue and let it sit. Then, we took a sip out of a mason jar filled with skins/fat from the ham soaking in Woodford Reserve and finished it all off with a bite of that heavenly ham. 
 
2 year aged ham, Poirier cane syrup, 2 year old ham skins/fat in Woodford Reserve
2 year aged ham, Poirier cane syrup, 2 year old ham skins/fat in Woodford Reserve


The cream poached sweet corn with sweet corn donuts was a simple, yet flavor packed dish. It came as no surprise that Chef David picked the corn from the restaurant garden. He described the Silver Queen variety as the “cream of the crop.” Super tender, extremely sweet, and a perfect welcome back to the South.

Cream poached Silver Queen corn with corn donuts
Cream poached Silver Queen corn with corn donuts
We closed out our amazing dining experience with a humble but tasty dessert, fig cinnamon rolls. It was especially touching for Jay because we had just served his Granny’s famous cinnamon pecan rolls earlier that week at the James Beard House. They were warm, fluffy and drenched in icing; job well done Chef Caleb Fischer!

Chef Caleb Fischer's cast iron fig cinnamon rolls
Chef Caleb Fischer's cast iron fig cinnamon rolls


After dinner, we took a tour around the property where Chef explained the significance and importance of living off the land. Every crop in the garden and protein used inspired the kitchen to create dishes that were not only well thought out but executed with a humble touch. I hope to return to Acre sooner rather than later to see what Chef David is cooking up!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Jay D's Bites: Jay D's Louisiana Molasses Mustard Deviled Eggs

by Chef Aimee Tortorich

Summertime in the South is the perfect time for outdoor celebrations, and what better way to celebrate than to invite your friends over for some superb snackage. These bite-sized beauties are the perfect appetizers for any get together. We took a modern spin on this traditional dish by using a different cooking method than simply boiling the eggs, and adding Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard to the mix. 

The vibrant flavor with subtle acidity and sweetness will be sure to impress your tummy and your guests. The best thing about this recipe is the versatility. Top your deviled eggs with nothing or everything. The picture below shows the deviled eggs topped with pickled shrimp, pickled mustard seeds and a slice of serrano; but you can top yours with everything from fried crawfish to cracklin'!

Jay D's Molasses Mustard Deviled Eggs:



Jay D's Lousiana Molasses Mustard Deviled Eggs topped with pickled shrimp, pickled mustard seeds and Serrano peppers
Jay D's Lousiana Molasses Mustard Deviled Eggs topped with
pickled shrimp, pickled mustard seeds and Serrano peppers.


makes 12 deviled eggs

12 large eggs
¾ cup of Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp truffle oil
2 Tbsp mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Separate the egg whites and yolks into two small bowls and set aside.  Spray an 8-inch Pyrex pan with cooking spray and add the egg whites to the pan.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, or just until whites are set.  Once set, remove from oven and let cool uncovered.

Whisk yolks until smooth.  Coat a nonstick pan with cooking spray and set on medium heat.  Add yolks to pan, stirring until they are set (about 4-5 min). 

Transfer yolks to a food processor and add molasses mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil, truffle oil and mayonnaise.  Pulse until smooth.  If mixture gets too thick, you can always add a little more olive oil until it’s creamy.  Transfer the yolk mixture to a pastry bag with a star-piping tip.


Loosen the egg whites from the Pyrex pan with a spatula gently. Turn the whites over onto a cutting board and cut with a 2 in. ring mold.  Pipe yolks onto whites and garnish with paprika, green onions or anything else you desire. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Eating Nashville - A "Research" Trip

by Jay Ducote

These days I am fortunate to get to travel to some pretty awesome culinary destinations. It's the part of my job that I've always loved, and all the more reason that I'm hoping that my pilot for Deep Fried America gets picked up by the Travel Channel. I'm hoping to hear something in the next month or so, but TV takes time, that's for sure!

While I wait for the call, I have plenty of research to do in the mean time and not just in the name of fried foods. In about a year's time, I'll be opening up my first restaurant, a taco stand in Baton Rouge's White Star Market, Gov't Taco.

I can't wait to hit the road to find taco nirvana, but If I'm going to show people where to find the best fried food in America, I need to start eating. Nashville Hot Chicken is one of the most quintessential fried foods out there, so I had to taste it first hand. When I travel, I love to eat and drink locally, so you know beer and some other southern eateries definitely had to be on the menu.


Biscuit Love


I met my friend Tabitha, a food blogger turned culinary marketing mogul, at the Nashville hot spot. They have a rather large "Nashville" that lots of people take their picture with it. So, when in Biscuit Love...

Jay Ducote at Biscuit Love in Nashville
Posing at Biscuit Love in Nashville

One of many great things about Tabitha is that she gets me. I couldn't decide what I wanted to try, other than obviously something with a biscuit, so she ordered nearly everything on the menu. Here's the lineup:

Classic biscuit with jam.
Nashville Hot Chicken biscuit with pickles and mustard.
Bonuts: fried biscuit dough with lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote.
The Lindstrom: shaved Brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, Parmesan, lemon vinaigrette and poached eggs.
Eat Nasty: fried, boneless chicken thigh, aged cheddar and sausage gravy.


One of everything, please! Biscuit Love goes hard.
One of everything, please! Biscuit Love goes hard.

The Eat Nasty, Biscuit Love's signature dish is as remarkably southern and just as delicious as it sounds; as is the entire menu. I need more on my taste buds, stat!

Hattie B's


Nashville Hot Chicken at Hattie B's
Nashville Hot Chicken at Hattie B's

My next hot-spot stop in Nashville was to none other than Hattie B's. I had to get a taste of that famous Nashville Hot Chicken! I'll chalk this up under research for Deep Fried America. I mean, how else would I know if it is worthy for prime time TV, right? 

In case you're wondering- yes, I tried the Shut Da Cluck Up, Hattie B's hottest flavor and yes, I pretty much regret it. A part of me is glad I tried it once, but I'll definitely never do it again. That Hell fire is just not worth the feverish memories. 

The hot chicken, though, which sits in the middle of the spice spectrum, is pretty darn amazing. It has the right heat while still packing plenty of other flavor. The burn is a slightly painful, but in the pleasure to burn kind of way. The idea of hot chicken as a whole is quite crave-able. I know I'll be back. My mouth waters just looking at the picture.


Husk Nashville



Confession: I've never been on a culinary adventure to Charleston, SC. It is a shame, I know. In the last year I've been lucky enough to cross Portland, Austin and Nashville off my bucket list. I'm hoping Charleston and Savannah join that list soon.

I've been itching to get to Husk in Charleston. Chef Sean Brock is the man behind the legendary Charleston restaurant, but now with a location in Nashville I chomped at the chance to grab a taste.

A group of friends and I went for brunch. There were so many stellar options on the brunch menu that I had a difficult time deciding. Our waiter could see it in my eyes, though. He knew what I was thinking: burger time!

The Burger at Husk Nashville
The Burger at Husk Nashville

The HUSK Cheeseburger with Bear Creek Farms beef and potato wedges is about as true to the textbook definition of cheeseburger as it gets. Juicy, borderline greasy (in all the right ways) beef patties are layered with cheddar. Everything else is optional. Dress to your liking and dig in. Simple, but magical. 

The party didn't stop there! Some more traditional brunch dishes were ordered, but the show stopper was the "plate of souther vegetables." A symphony of flavor, these seasonal vegetables are dynamite. I don't understand why more restaurants aren't celebrating local produce more.

Southern Veggies at Husk
Southern Veggies at Husk


Jackalope Brewing



My trip to Nashville couldn't be all food, after all, this is Bite and Booze. I met up with my buddy Kurt Strickmaker, owner of local craft beer distributor Bounty Bev. He took me to Jackalope Brewing where we met up with owner Bailey Spaulding and enjoyed a couple beers as she showed us around the microbrewery.

Kurt Strickmaker from Bounty Bev, Bailey Spaulding from Jackalope Brewing and I pose at Jackalope
Kurt Strickmaker from Bounty Bev, Bailey Spaulding from Jackalope Brewing and I pose at Jackalope

Jackalope is a pretty rad spot. They use a mobile canning line to come in and can their beer so they don't have to warehouse all the cans or invest in the expensive equipment. The tap room is inviting and the brewery itself is small but efficient. It's definitely worthy of a stop on a beer run through Nashville.


Mas Tacos Por Favor



Having completed my other research obligations, it was time to turn my attention to tacos. Mas Tacos Por Favor in East Nashville provided a perfect place to do some tortilla-wrapped homework. The style of this taco shop is simple, authentic and inspiring. It's straightforward, but well thought out; unique, but not pretentious. They make tacos, and they are damn good.


Mas Tacos, always
Mas Tacos, always


I opted for the pulled pork taco braised down with tomatillos topped with cabbage, onions and spicy yogurt. Along side that I got he rotating special: a fried tilapia taco with cabbage, onion and a dill yogurt. Both tacos displayed simple flavors in a way that made them fantastic. They weren't revolutionary or modern, they were just good.


Nashville certainly didn't disappoint me. I found some great food, tasty beers and amazing company. I know I'll be back again to try to find some different spots to conduct my research. Feel free to offer up any suggestions to @jayducote on Twitter!




Monday, August 1, 2016

Jay D's Bites: German-Style Potato Salad with Molasses Mustard

by Blair Loup

Put down the pickles and listen up! There's one food item that Jay Ducote avoids at all costs: the pickled cucumber. Having that said, we've become fans of the warm, German-style potato salad when it comes to summer-y sides.

What makes this recipe is Jay D's Molasses Mustard. I know you're thinking, "Well she has to say that, it's her job," but you're wrong. I make no commissions off of the sale of Jay D's products and I notoriously dislike mustard products. The sweet, tangy-ness of the mustard with that bitter molasses mustard turns everything delicious.

Grab a bottle of Molasses Mustard and some local ingredients at indieplate.com, your local farm-to-doorstep grocery delivery service.

Jay D's Molasses Mustard German-Style Potato Salad: 


Molasses Mustard Potato Salad
Molasses Mustard Potato Salad

Serves 4

1 ½ lbs red potatoes, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard
1 Tbsp red onions, diced
1 Tbsp green onions, diced
1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
½ Tbsp Steens Cane Syrup
Kosher Salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and chop.

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Molasses Mustard, red onions, green onions, parsley, and Steen’s Cane Syrup. Mix together well, then add the potatoes and toss until combined. Refrigerate until chilled before serving.