This recipe from The Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis is an absolute favorite of mine. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve pretty much memorized the recipe and I can usually grab all the items I need with a quick trip to the store, so it’s becoming a stand-by for those nights when I don’t have anything else planned. I’ve done all different versions, including roasted red peppers in place of the sun dried tomatoes, spinach in place of the artichokes, chicken or turkey sausage, etc. $1.25 likes pasta a little on the spicy side, so even when I use a hot italian sausage I’ll usually throw a few red pepper flakes in too. Fresh basil, parsley and mozzarella are the key to this dish, so don’t try to sneak by with anything else!
Here’s a shot from the last time I made this for a weeknight dinner.
Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll love it too!
Ralph’s On The Park (900 City Park Avenue, 504-488-1000) sits just across from City Park. With a main dining room, bar seating and multiple function rooms upstairs, there are plenty of different ways to experience this fine restaurant by Ralph Brennan. For me, I find the main dining room to be a more formal experience, but still relaxed (business casual). The bar, on the other hand, is simply relaxed (jeans will fit in just fine). In the bar area, you can opt to eat at the bar or at one of the tables set up near the window. Taking a table gives you the best of both main dining options, the informality of the bar and the fine service of the main dining room. After a rough week with work, we weren’t quite up for spiffing up on our Saturday, so the bar it was.
$1.25 and I head to Ralph’s when we need a treat but don’t want the effort of a big night out. The good thing about Ralph’s is that it’s a very versatile place. While we had on jeans this last visit and sat in the bar area, we’ve also been in the main dining room on New Year’s Eve in festive cocktail attire. That’s my kind of place. I absolutely love the ambiance at Ralph’s. The main dining room is light and airy with beautiful views of the oaks in City Park. The bar area is cozy, with exposed brick, lower lighting, and the same great view of the park. Upstairs there are private rooms with french doors leading to wrap around balconies perfect for cocktail hour or a morning brunch.
The only problem I have with Ralph’s is I don’t ever love everything I order. Usually I have something outstanding, something so-so, and something I wouldn’t order again. This last visit was no exception. I checked out the menu online earlier in the afternoon and was really excited to try the Crawfish Fritto Misto from the lenten specials section. When I re-read the description that night at Ralphs, “corn fried crawfish tails, pickled cherry peppers, Italian provolone, frisée, butter lettuce, remoulade sauce”, I didn’t even consider anything else on the menu. Our waiter sealed the deal when he recommended it as well. Continue reading
While crawfish are pretty much universally enjoyed, the process of cooking crawfish is a deeply personal ritual. It’s why the question of “Do you need any help with that” is pretty much always answered “No, I got it.” Unless of course some grunt labor is needed. Everyone has certain things they expect to find when the steaming pot of crawfish is turned up on their table: Potatoes, corn and, of course, the crawfish.
When I journey into the realms of fine dining, I often shy away from beer and instead reach for a wine or hard alcohol. I simply don’t think of beer in those situations, perhaps it is because of the unwritten social rule that beer is somehow “lower class” than wine or scotch, gin, etc.
Well the fine folks at Abita aim to change that perception. Showing that not only can you partake of beer during a fine meal, you can use the beer to compliment and enhance the experience. Enter Abita’s Dinner Series at Galatoire’s.
Work lunch at the Napoleon House (500 Charters St., 504-524-9752) today. A quick and easy spot across from the Louisiana Supreme Court building in the heart of the French Quarter. The old house which was purchased to serve as Napoleon’s New World abode is a virtual shrine to the conqueror of the Old World, as countless prints, paintings and sculptures bear his likeness.
It’s Tuesday, so I’m up on cooking. Today, pineapple is on the menu. I went to the store and saw a huge pineapple display, so it was on. Grabbed a bunch of ingredients and headed home. Fired up the computer to put on some music and started to shake up a drink. I’m not the prolific cook like Cupcake is, so I need a little encouragement.
I rocked the Simply Margarita, but subbed some pineapple juice for a bit of the Simply Lime (1 part) and cranked the Rebirth channel on Pandora. It was awesome until I hit my first ad, but I quickly got over that. Any way, the food is what we’re here for.
Menu (and recipes):
Pineapple glazed chicken
Black beans (don’t start these last!)
Fellini’s (900 N. Carrollton Ave., 488-2147) provides a nice selection of pizza, sandwiches, wraps and pasta dishes. Today, we hit it up for a little bit of pizza. The Hawaii Five-0, topped with ham, green pepper, pineapples, jalapenos and mozzarella cheese.
A nice thin crust pizza littered with toppings. Spread evenly among the pie, each piece contained a bit of all four toppings, unlike many pizzas found around town where toppings are clumped in groups where some
bites pieces do not have one or more of the toppings ordered.
As you can see the crust is very thin, unfortunately it was not cooked enough to my liking. While not undercooked or doughy, the crust was very soft. I think I would have preferred just another minute or two in the oven to make it a little crispier, you know give it a little bit of a crunch.
Fellini’s sauce is sweeter than most, but since the pies aren’t coated in sauce, the sweetness isn’t overpowering. The pizza was not greasy and the toppings well prepped. Despite the slightly undercooked crust, Fellini’s pizza hit the spot today.
So it is finally here, the Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager. Don’t believe me, maybe a huge image from Abita’s website will convince you:
By now you’ve had to have seen the huge mountains of Abita Strawberry sixers unceremoniously dumped in the middle of just about every large South Louisiana grocery store. If you haven’t already picked some up, I recommend you do so. Immediately. You can read the rest when you get back.
So I’m not the most creative and talented chef, but boy can I follow a recipe. For dinner the other day I started with this recipe from Bon Appetit found on epicurious.com by Bruce Aidells. I was a little worried about the potato “risotto,” but it worked out fantastically. As I did my grocery shopping after work, I didn’t have time to run all over town to get the exact ingredients called for. Below is what I ended up using: