A Twist on Traditional

Anyone who knows my family or has been to any of our holiday ‘gatherings’ knows that we prepare dishes that are anything but traditional. Last Thursday, in the midst of oyster shucking on the back porch and our infamous living room open bar, my Dad and I were in the kitchen preparing our Thanksgiving dishes. Being the confectioner that I am, I was put in charge of making the pies. I decided on two traditional pumpkin pies and one derby pie (this is where the twist comes in!). I am sure most people have the traditional pecan pie at their Thanksgiving table, but I wanted to try something different. While looking up recipes, I came across a recipe for the derby pie. Instead of the traditional pecan pie, the derby pie also included chocolate chips and Kentucky bourbon. It is often associated with the Kentucky Derby – hence the name. I used a Paula Dean recipe  for the pie crust that I had experimented with before in one of my food labs at school. The recipe, obviously pre-diabetes, is a very traditional one that turns out a delicious flakey crust.

Fun Fact: Shortening is an ingredient used in many desserts that have flakey crust. It received its’ name because it ‘shortens’ the gluten strands in the dough, promoting the flakey texture!

I first toasted the pecan halves in a skillet to give them more flavor, and set about 1/2 cup aside so I could sprinkle them on top. I used whiskey instead of bourbon and also did not mix the chocolate chips into the pie filling, but made a bed of them on the bottom of the crust. I poured the pie filling over the bed of chocolate chips, sprinkled the extra pecans on top, and baked to perfection.

post bake


The second experimental ‘traditional’ dish we prepared was our stuffed turkey. Okay, so this one was mostly my Father but I can say that after watching him I would be ready to create my own! We stuffed our turkey with spinach, sauteed mushrooms, and fried oysters – delicious! We first had to bread and fry the oysters and saute the mushrooms. Next, we pounded out the turkey using a small cast iron skillet and layered the spinach, mushrooms, and oysters on top. Rolling and tying it up took both of us about 15 minutes, we were not about to let any stuffing fall out and go to waste in the oven. We placed a few stalks of celery on the bottom of a deep baking dish and placed the turkey on top. Before it went into the oven we sprinkled it with a few seasonings (black pepper, fennel, rosemary, that I can remember) and covered it with foil. It took about an hour in the oven on 325 to bake and it turned out so well! Everyone at dinner seemed to love it, even those who are not so fond of oysters. At your next family gathering, think out of the box try to create something out of the ordinary, I’m sure it will be a hit!



Pictures, As Promised!!

Oyster Shooters at Felix’s


My Muffaletta Sandwich at Cochon’s “Butcher”. Homemade meats, provolone cheese, and olive salad. Served with housemade potato chips and bread and butter pickles.

Our dinner at Dick and Jenny’s. 








Left: Flounder stuffed with crab served over chorizo rice. Bottom picture: Seafood bouillabaisse 


Mom and I along the Mississippi during our morning walk!

The famous french market.

                                      Beignets at Cafe Du Monde!

The Best of “The Crescent City”

Let me preface this post by saying pictures will follow soon!

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to travel to the fabulous city of New Orleans, Louisiana. I was asked several times if the visit was for work or pleasure and truthfully, it was both! I have been looking into the dietetic internship at Tulane University and was interested in visiting. Thankfully, I have the most wonderful mother and godmother who decided to accompany me. We ended up having a ball! The food, shopping, and WEATHER were all amazing.

I arrived on Thursday night, and after an impromptu (and overstayed) stop at the goodyear tire shop to fix a flat, my mom and I met up with my godmother and her daughter for dinner. We headed to a restaurant off the beaten path (exactly my style) called Dick and Jenny’s. Here, we started off with satsuma margaritas — yummy. As I came to find out, satsumas (also deemed the ‘christmas orange’ due to their peak harvesting time) flourish in Louisiana. The rest of our meal consisted of: Appetizers- Coconut gulf shrimp with mango chutney, and fried green tomatoes with lump crab meat; Entrees – New Orleans flounder stuffed with shrimp and crab over chorizo served with the local ‘coyote squash’, and New Orleans style bouillabaisse; and the ever decadent dessert: Pumpkin praline cheesecake!

On Friday, I was lucky enough to experience the famous Cafe Du Monde’s beignets and cafe au lait on the banks of the Mississippi River before the crowd hit. I determined that five is the proper number of napkins needed to thoroughly enjoy this French delicacy; two for your lap, two for the table, and one to wipe your mouth and fingers! My mom and I followed our ‘breakfast’ with shopping in and out of stores, exploring the French market and French quarter, and stopping in every possible ‘souther kitchen’ for a free praline tasting. As I neared a diabetic coma from so much sugar, we headed to a local restaurant, Cochon, for lunch. I have been told by a few people that ‘The Butcher’, Cochon’s lunch restaurant, serves up (direct quote here) “the best sandwiches you will ever taste.” I was not mislead…. My muffaletta sandwich with homemade meats, provolone cheese, olive salad, served with homemade chips AND my all time favorite bread and butter pickles, did not disappoint.

After taking a break from local cuisine for a few hours while I went to my Q+A session with Tulane’s dietetic internship advisor, I strolled back to our hotel enjoying the 84 degrees and got ready for the night.    My mom and I started the night off big by visiting Harrah’s Casino, a first for both of us! It was essentially the blind leading the blind for the two of us — what ever happened to the classic “put in your dollar and pull the lever” slot machines? However, I did win $1.90!!! After our casino adventure, we headed to The Roosevelt hotel to enjoy their cocktail hour. I finally got to try the gin fizz that I have been dying to experiment with. Who knew that this was the favorite of Huey Long!? We then headed to Felix’s for some raw oyster appetizers and to The Gumbo Shop for dinner. I had WONDERFUL gumbo (my first ever!), crawfish etouffee, and the bolder side of me ordered alligator sausage, not bad!

After dinner, we went out to the infamous Bourbon Street. What a party! After experiencing a random Friday night in october, I can’t even imagine what Mardi Gras would be like. We went in and out of the never ending strip of bars and ended up in Fritzell’s jazz club – low key, but enjoyable none the less! Around 1 am we headed to our LAST stop of the night, Bombay martini bar, so much fun!

Overall, I had a great trip! Hard to believe we did all of that in just 24 hours, huh? As I mentioned, pictures to follow! 🙂