Saturday, November 30, 2013

Southern Po' Boy Cookbook offers history you can eat

My mama sure will forgive Todd-Michael St. Pierre for being verbose in defending the perfect soft-inside, crisp-outside bread for a po’ boy sandwich. She does the same thing. He asks for such forgiveness in his Ulysses Press release, “The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook: Mouthwatering Sandwich Recipes from The Heart of New Orleans. You just want to start crying a few pages in when reading about “history you can eat,” and how the sandwich makers Bennie and Clovis Martin offered free ones to those “poor boys” on strike from conducting street cars. They said they’d feed them ‘til hell froze over, then they’d offer blankets. Before that an oyster loaf was called a peace maker, when men brought them home to wives to stop complaining about their coming home late. Now the author loves a classic dressed or scantily  clad, and also shares some twists like the Who Dat barbecued shrimp variations of muffuletta and debris and The Algiers Boy with fried scallop and chipotle. The Italians, Vietnamese and Mexican cultures want in on this po’ boy thing, too. You can pull open a bag of Zapp’s chips with just about any of them.
The Lafayette is made with boudain and the Plaquemines edition features turkey and stuffing. Now here’s where I insert my weekly pumpkin trending update. Have a slice of P pie after your sandwich.

New Stubb’s stuff
Sticky Sweet Stubb’s All Natural Bar-B-Q Sauce. Sound good to you? My daughter is marrying a Stubb’s-lovin man, so she was more excited than I was to try it. When my mother asked if she could prepare us all a meal on her recent visit, we suggested she do any old thing with this bottle of new Sticky Sweet I got, featuring brown sugar and molasses. She showed us up by saying she already had a jar. So we all slept tight waiting for barbecue on Sunday. Imagine our surprise when we opened the door and smelled . . . Mexican food. It’s the other Texas comfort food. A misunderstanding, but still delicious.
So the next time we all got together, I understood she was picking up a box of Chinese food to go with a pot of rice I made. She showed up with a roasted chicken. Another misunderstanding, but our family can get on board with a food switch pretty quickly. Jasmine and I took the opportunity to slather our chicken with the long-awaited Sticky Sweet and can say, old Stubb’s has done himself proud. If you didn’t know, Stubb’s is an Austin thing.

Downton Abbey Red and White
There were literal gasps as I announced the guest at this party: two wines with the donton Abbey label. Fans devoured information on Mr. Carson bringing wine on a silver platter and info on the notes of wild berries. It was a hit all the way around, with samplers commenting that these flavors may not be what  they would normally reach for, but they enjoyed this step up into another world. My favorite is the red, which poured a lovely purple in my glass. No wonder, as it features black and blue berries, red currents and aromas of spices and violets in the notes. The white Bordeaux features apricot notes. Grapes used to create the new Downton Abbey Wine Collection were grown in the same Bordeaux region as was imported by the British aristocracy in the 1900s, Is that a conversation starter, or what. This is fun stuff.

Chinese are buying American
Here’s the story as makers tell it. NYC based entrepreneur Sol Wahba says that the several of the colorful and tasty products in the NuvoSport Smart Meal-SNX line are striking a chord with people in China.

“We’re seeing significant and growing interest in two of our high density nutritional drinks,” he said. “We’re shipping more and more orders on a regular basis.”

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Donut is here

For years I’ve passed a little sign in a field announcing “donut, coming soon.” It’s here. The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce helped Paul and Judy cut the ribbon on Donut Hole, at 7217 Ninth Avenue. Paul told me the boudain kolaches are best sellers and with that huge fresh bun around the link, I can taste why. They also did a great job on a crispy apple fritter, a personal favorite of mine. Bavarian cream? Yes. There are plenty of other flavors as well as big breakfast sandwiches. The couple is from Cambodia and the extended family also runs Donut Hole bakeries in Groves and Orange.

Times are tofu
I’ve heard lots of stories about vegetarians and turkey lovers not getting along during the holidays, but Nasoya can help bring unity to the table. Tofu is nothing to laugh about and our younger generation is favoring it as a healthy option. Packages of Nasoya brand extra firm tucked away in the back of the fridge are a handy option for when you can’t think of anything else, as well as when you want to create. A serving has 80 calories, and you can flavor it into just about any culture’s tastes. I usually opt for Asian, but just got up from an Indian curry with some Nasoya bulking up the spinach and onion concoction. Here’s an idea straight from the makers that can use meat, or not:
1 package Nasoya Won Ton Wraps
8 ounces ground turkey
8 ounces whole cranberry sauce
1 fourth cup finely chopped walnuts
1 fourth cup finely chopped sweet yellow onion
1 fourth cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
half teaspoon  salt
gravy for dipping
Preparation Method: 
        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Brush edges of Won Ton Wrap with egg wash (1 egg and one fourth  cup water mixed). Place 1 teaspoon of turkey mixture on wrap then pinch corners together. Place filled wraps on non-stick baking sheet. Brush top of wraps with remaining egg wash or lightly spray with vegetable oil. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until wraps are golden brown. Serve with gravy for dipping.

        Hint: Cover unused wraps with a warm, moist cloth in between batches to keep from drying out.

·        Vegetarian Version: 1 package of Nasoya Extra-Firm tofu instead of ground turkey Crumble tofu into a large skillet and lightly brown with olive oil and a dash of celery salt. Let it cool. Mix together the remaining ingredients and follow the directions above.

Spray Thin
Have that New Year’s Resolution ready? I’ve been playing with Spray Thin, taseless, scented crystals that you spray on food and your nasal sense receptors trigger your brain to make you believe you are full faster. Some of the same people who made Sensa and Sprinkle Thin have created Spray Thin. Read up on the studies before you try the sweet or savory sprays. Savory is designed to give off a Parmesan cheese aroma. Makers offered to send a sample and I sure wanted to try it. It’s a very interesting to read about the product and I can say it doesn’t have a flavor. As a Weight Watcher I portion my food in a different system, so It’s difficult to say how the product worked on me. Portion control is what Spray Thin is about, so those who have issues, especially at tempting holiday time, may want to view

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Culinary explorers, slow down for tea

Numi Organic Tea
Of course I love the Jasmine Green from China, with “hints of moonlight,” because that’s my daughter’s name. But Chamomile Lemon from Egypt gives it a run for the money.
Opening the black bamboo box of Numi Organic Tea’s World of Tea Collection is a surprise and a treat each time, though I’ve come to memorize which section holds Gunpowder Green from Taiwan and Breakfast Blend from England. Numi says it’s a great gift for the culinary explorer, hey’ that’s us! But I’d consider it a gift for my own, private self. Might share if it brought the promise of good company. Makers invite you to travel the world sip by sip through organic, non-GMO and fair trade certified teas. Fall is perfect for a warm cup of Golden Chai for India with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. There’s more of the globe to travel through these flavors that smell and taste so enticing. This is a box of both quantity and quality.
Numi has plenty more to offer. Here’s a beverage you can make with another Numi product.

Created by James Labe
1 Numi Orange Spice Tea Bag
8 ounces Apple Cider
2 ounces dark rum
Heat Cider until very hot. Steep 1 Tea Bag directly in Cider for 5 minutes, covered. Uncover, add Rum and stir. Garnish with Cinnamon Stick.

Salba’s chia is smart
Salba’s Chia Seeds packets call you names. “Hey Smarty Pants!” the back label begins, and describes how the ground and whole seeds “respect your brain and your body.” will tell you more about Omega-3 and such. Smarty Pants also need to know what to do with these seeds. I like the slight crunch they make topping a slice of apple and peanut butter. Of course, you can mix them into smoothies. They can get “hidden” in lots of foods, but hey, I respect these tiny guys like they respect me, so bring on the chia. Go ahead, make chia pet jokes. These grains can take it. I want more.

Look who went ranch
StarKist Tuna Creations has a new 80-calorie ranch flavored single serve that brings a little summer into your  meal routine. Rip open a bag and sprinkle it over a lettuce salad or make it the focal point of your plate with fresh veggie sides. This is a cut above the same-old tuna and mayo deal. It’s light and different and the pouch makes eating healthy very convenient. I ate one for lunch and couldn’t wait for lunch the next day.

Pumpkin trending update:
The Almond Board of California is in on the pumpkin trend. Their website includes a recipe for Almond Crusted Pumpkin Cheese Pie. Go to

Monday, November 4, 2013

My sister's chips

My sister has been on a chip quest while visiting relatives across the country. After searching in Alabama, Rhode Island and Massachusetts for Lay’s Wavy Roasted Garlic & Sea Salt chips, she finally found them in our neck of the woods in Texas. She and my husband loved her chip find, but, ironically, my mom and I liked the garlic kettle chips she was using to fill in better. Takes all kinds.
There are new wavy chocolate potato chips on the market. I wish someone would let me know if they are as good as they sound.
Crock season
Fall puts me in slow cooker mode. Crock-Pot® Seasoning Mixes has new flavors including a good-smelling Original Chili. While I ripped open the packet for a spicy whiff I decided on Savory Herb Chicken, which I cooked up with carrots and onion and served over brown rice. NEW Beef Stroganoff, Hearty Beef Stew, Savory Pot Roast and BBQ Pulled Pork are also in this line. Makers suggest them for crowd-pleasing tailgating fare. Keeping these on the pantry shelf are as easy as firing up the slow cooker. I always feel free to add my own spices to “make it my own.”
Turnip Souffle
A reader, Peg, is seeking the recipe for a turnip soufflĂ© from a Port Arthur club. Here’s what she recalls:
“My husband said it had carrot in it making it orange but was more of the turnip flavor with the consistency of mashed potatoes. “
Contact me at the e-mail below if you know about it.

Pumpkin Update
I’m very much in love with Siggi’s healthy yogurt after just one bite. I had it while actually writing this part of my column on a laptop from the Lover’s Lane Central Market in Dallas. A thick, creamy serving of coconut has 200 calories and is extremely satisfying. I made the yummy sound, for sure.
The company sent me a coupon to taste it and talk up how a serving of this yogurt has way fewer calories than pumpkin pie, but this store didn’t have the pumpkin and spice flavor. I figure shoppers bought it up like they are buying every other pumpkin blend this season. I   enjoyed every other thick and fruity blend I tried.