Monday, March 28, 2016

Have you hit Aero Drive in Port Arthur?

Cake balls from Debbie’s Delights Bakery are a culinary draw to new shopping and business developments on Aero Drive in Port Arthur. This adorable shop features pastels on the walls and in the sweets counter.
Wallpaper is coming back, say the women of Decorating Depot, who do the “legwork” and “research” for your home’s new look. Flooring, wall covering and décor are featured in a spacious setting for your consideration. Two + Company has an elegant look in its new Aero Drive home with the latest in elegant spring fashions and accessories. They make neutrals look like knockouts.

The Tillamook brand is something else my sister and her friend were happy to find on their visit to  Southeast Texas. They visited the place where this brand of cheese and ice cream is produced in Oregon. Tillamook is a Native American word for “land of many Waters.” Packaging features an 1855 schooner, “Morning Star,” that carried fresh dair products from Tillamook, up the coast to Portland. My mother noticed this brand of ice cream filling shelves when they were empty of Blue Bell. Our guests went shopping and brought some home.
Marionberry Pie features Madagascar vanilla ice cream with real pie crust pieces and an Oregon marionberry swirl. This puts me in the mind of the “Portlandia” sketch where everyone wanted to try the marionberry pancakes at a new restaurant on Portlandia. The line was down the block.
Oregon Hazelnut and Salted Caramel were good and creamy options. We sampled Tillamook cheese varieties and were happy new customers of that, as well.

Bevers ready to speak on ovarian cancer
I met Dennis Bevers at a business opening in Lake Charles. He was a chamber of commerce representative with a friendly attitude and he gave me his card, mentioning his promotional item business sometimes takes him through Port Arthur.
He stopped in to chat with me but I missed him, but got an update. He lost his wife to ovarian cancer, very quickly. Now, he’s all about speaking to groups to educate women and urge them to get tested.
Here’s a portion of what Louis Stutes wrote about Bevers in the Lake Charles American Press:
“Dennis Bevers, whose wife died just days after being diagnosed with cancer, knows all too well the words: “It’s just too late.” Now he wants to ensure that others never hear them.
Doctors diagnosed ovarian cancer in Bevers’ wife, Sandy, in September. Four days later she was gone.
“I just want to warn women everywhere,” Bevers said. “My focus will be warning women about the dangers of ovarian cancer for the rest of my life.”
He said he has so far warned about 1,000 women about ovarian cancer, passing along information about symptoms.
To reach Bevers about speaking to your group, call him at 337-527-8717.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Simply Delicious Creole opens in Groves and Touch Coffee

Simply Delicious, name says it all
The party began an auto parts store and gravitated toward the back, where Mavis R. Rodgers was dishing up shrimp and grits and good advice on Creole cooking.
“Everybody used to cook and get together as a family,” said Rodgers, of Simply Delicious Creole Kitchen, Main Ave., Groves.
She grew up grinding and prepping food for her grandmother’s table, then joined the U.S. Navy.
“I just happened to go in the kitchen and I was sold,” she said.
From Navy to restaurant runner, Rodgers offers a menu including fried catfish Maurice, jambalaya and red beans. She’s got a big smile and open personality that draws you into her stories.
Rodgers catered a Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce morning business connection at NAPA Auto Parts-Mid County Auto Supply on Nederland Avenue. Those who hadn’t already tried her dishes said they were headed there soon. Look for photos of her family influencers on the wall, she said.

Touch Coffee, taste coffee. Fast
       Makers are calling the Touch® T526S coffee system “ground-breaking,” no pun intended. My favorite part is that in addition to brewing up your favorite K-Cup, you can use the mesh cup included to make a cup, or larger carafe, or travel mug, of you own loose grind. That’s good for the environment and your smooth, tasty morning.
       You’ll be making your own coffee memes for Facebook about how much you love it.
       It’s a handsome machine, compatible with “any cup at all—from existing Keurig K-Cups® to generic cups, in addition to Touch's ground-breaking  XBold Cups™, XLarge Cups™ and reusable Refill Jumbo Cup.” 
       Got 20 seconds? Here’s what the makers say:
       According to the National Coffee Association USA, the brewing water temperature for a good cup of coffee is "between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction." The Touch® T526S brewer reaches  this ideal temperature by using its Flash Heating system and starts brewing in under 20 seconds after being off all night. Plus, Touch heats just enough water for the selected  cup size as opposed to the entire tank of water, and the machine turns itself off after using, making it more energy efficient than its competitors.”
       I’m trying this with Touch L.A. Coffee, in Sunset Strip roast. These cups allow up to 30 percent more coffee from each capsule. All this coffee talk has its own language. I’m just speaking the delicious-convenient-efficient dialect.
       Look it all up at

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Bacon-Wrapped boudain is trending. Who's tried it?

       Who tried the bacon-wrapped boudain?
       Nadine Kibodeaux of Nederland read about my “discovery” of  bacon-wrapped boudain in last Wednesday’s Culinary Thrill Seeking, ran to Market Basket, and was dining on it by day’s end.
       A certain officer of the law with a Port Arthur News column messaged me that he had possibly gained weight just by reading about this temptation.
       My family tried it for company and we have plans for the next installment.
       The story is that I just heard about the concept that does seem pretty obvious around here. I love that I kept mentioning it to hard-core cooks I know and everyone’s eyes got big. I “put it out there” and area foodies are responding.
       I tried the bacon wrapped boudain, Darragh, and will definitely have it again,” said Kebodeaux,” who I met through Texas Artists Museum.  “I used Zummo boudain and I did not pre-cook the bacon. I wrapped a thin sliced piece of bacon in a spiral manner around
the link of boudain and put it under the broiler, turned iftover a couple of times, and removed it when
the bacon was done. It was wonderful. I used a throw-away foil pan because all the fat from the bacon
goes into the pan and keeps it from getting in your oven. You are right, being on the border of Louisiana
where boudain is "king", I can't believe we had not heard of doing this.”
Here’s what we did:
My sister and her friend were headed in from Alabama, so here’s how we tried the bacon-wrapped boudain idea that just came into our lives.
First of all, ordering a shipment of D.J.’s boudain to take home to her son is always a priority. That done, we tended to our own links, cut in half and wrapped around the links, with the skin still on.
Just as predicted, they were popular.
My mother’s critique is that she got thick-cut bacon and she thought that a thinner cut would have crisped up more. I had already pre-cooked the bacon to give it a head start before running the pan under the oven.
These were served as supper with an omelet, biscuits and jasmine tea jelly that my nephew’s fiancé sent over.
Still loving your reactions and stories, readers. Keep ‘em coming.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Salad .jpgDeclare it salad week. Photo by Darragh Doiron.
Salad all week
The date on the package said my cottage cheese should still be good, but after looking forward to plopping some giant berries into it all morning, it was decidedly not good.
At lunch break I headed to the grocery store for a week of salad fixings, but there was no way to wash all that goodness off and assemble a salad within the hour.
That’s why I ended up getting one chicken leg for 88 cents at Walmart. Turns out Walmart fried chicken is pretty good, even on the run.
So what do I have to work with?
I bought romaine lettuce, kale, carrots and avocados. At home there was a purple onion and oranges. I’m seeing variations all week.
If you didn’t know, a bag of chips turns into great croutons. Crush them up in the bag a little or a lot. I’m adding nuts some days and pork skins other days.
Some new cottage cheese and Greek yogurt will also go into the mix.
Dressings? Olive oil and vinegar most days, but green salsa will make a nice switch.
Oranges and apple slices will add color and crunch on other days.
Do I have more salad ideas than days of this week?
Yes. Do you now have more salad ideas? You’re welcome.

Bacon-wrapped boudain; Taste of Gumbo is on the way

I hate to miss a party. Especially when I hear what I what all I missed. In this case, I’m told there was bacon-wrapped boudain. Once I heard that sentence, the room kind of got blurry. I could not concentrate on anything else but making this treat and wondering why I’d not heard of it or thought of it myself. 
We’re “on the boarder” of Texas and Louisiana, people. I Googled it. I told others about it. I put it on Facebook to see if other “foodies” I know had tried it.
The consensus among them was: That sounds great, why didn’t I think of that?
At this writing, I have not tried what sounds like a gift from Heaven. But I think I have successfully planted the idea in my mother’s head that she ought to make some for all of us.
I suppose one should cook the bacon a bit, then wrap it around an inch or two of boudain, perhaps with a jalapeno sliver, the broil it.
Readers, have you done this? Does it sound good? Let me know what you think.

Rotary Taste of Gumbo, Etc.
The day the Rotarians gather the gumbo lovers in Port Arthur is one of my favorite times of the year. I won’t get to go this time, so everybody, please go and eat gumbo for me. It’s from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19 at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.
“Come visit your neighbors, grab a taste or two of gumbo and do a little shopping while supporting the community through the Rotary Club of Port Arthur,” Janie Johnson, Rotarian, said.
 Rotary Club of Port Arthur has been doing this for 29 years and you know their proceeds, from $10 tickets at the door, is going to good causes.
There’s a silent auction, vendor booths and door prizes.
We can thank this group for the Rotary International Avenue of Flags that welcome seafarers to the Port of Port Arthur.
Johnson reminded that Rotarians internationally work to eradicate Polio through vaccines, water, sanitation, health care and better quality of living. Locally Rotarians have  invested in a quality community through support of grants to local charities, college scholarships, early literacy and feeding the hungry.
“Our motto is Service Above Self and as Rotarians we are honored to serve in our community first,” Johnson said.