Sunday, July 29, 2018

Reel Cajun bananas and Zatarain's Creole Mustard zing

  Zatarain’s reminds us that Aug. 4 is National Mustard Day, and there’s no way I want to miss out on that.
                             I always pick a course, flavorful mustard and Zatarain’s Creole Mustard is in my pantry now.
                             It’s a flavor thing for me to mix mustard into dishes that many people would go for mayonnaise first. Mustard typically has zero to few calories so it lowers the total count for your sauces and dressings and it simply tastes great. Mustard is something that qualifies for the term “zing.”
                             Zing away with Zatarain’s recipes here, which “pass muster” on National Mustard Day.

                  Remoulade Dipping Sauce
                  1 cup mayonnaise
                  2 tablespoons Zatarain’s Creole Mustard
                  1 teaspoon lemon juice
                  one half teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Paprika
                  one fourth teaspoon minced garlic
                            Mix mayonnaise, Creole mustard, lemon juice, paprika and garlic in medium bowl until well blended. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Serve with boiled shrimp or over fried green tomatoes.

                  Jezebel Sauce
                  1 jar, 18 ounces, pineapple preserves
                  2 tablespoons Zatarain’s Creole Mustard
                  4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
                            Mix all ingredients in medium bowl until well blended. Cover. Referigerate until ready to serve.

                  Reel Cajun 

                             My mom picked Reel Cajun for her birthday and, after a nap no doubt, was on Facebook posting about her fun time and bananas foster. She indicated it would be on the menu in foodie Heaven.
                             This restaurant is known for seafood and a bar with beer that fills your glass from the bottom, but let me give you a heads up. If you haven’t asked your server what people are getting that comes with a big pitcher, you’re missing out. Pour that sticky, sweet brown sauce from pitcher to ice cream and you’re hooked. It’s a good sensation to wrap up your Reel Cajun experience.
                             Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie with Cajun roots, but she loves any sort of cuisine. Forward hot tips and questions to her at

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sauce in secret; sauce in abundance

     Sometimes you have a “secret sauce” because it’s dangerous to let others know about it.
                             Remember Felix’s famous queso? All the restaurants are gone, but in Houston, El Patio on Westheimer is making it from the master recipe. My Aunt hauls it frozen across the Lone Star State as Christmas gifts. There have been some grievances filed unauthorized sampled were consumed from these batches.
                             People: You have to label and hide precious food stuffs. Mark it “liver” if you have to.
                             Auntie sent some home with me to share for my mother’s birthday and that was the basis for our Abundance of Sauces meal.
                             The queso would get warm chips.
                             My husband suggested chicken with mole sauce so I served that alongside a colorful bed of green lettuce with shredded purple cabbage.
                             My aunt had also taken me to a fancy Ace Hardware in Houston because she was looking for 3SonsFoods sauce out of Katy. She sent a jar of Diablo Verde Creamy Cilantro Sauce home with us. A portion of proceeds from sales are donated to the International Rhino Foundation to ensure that all five species of rhinos will continue to thrive. This Go Texan product was so good, it should have been reserved for a separate meal, because we already had so much flavor going on.
                             My mother also brought a skillet of sauce she made with onions and peppers. A restaurant meal inspired her to make her own. That would have been a main draw over fish, shrimp or chicken, but we used it as a dip for the tortillas.
                             This was just the first meal in Mom’s jubilee birthday week, so we have to pace our selves.
                            Darragh Doiron is an area foodie who suggests celebrating everything you can, wherever you can. Share how you do that at

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Vegging out with Jasmine

Jasmine, my daughter, asked me to be her assistant in a cooking demonstration. How flattering.
I realized step one involved running to the grocery store, shopping, prepping for fruits and vegetables, paying for the lot of it and hauling it to Houston.
            Still, I was flattered to assist my daughter. It’s what moms love to do.
            She has already worked all over the state with Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinics and she’s working toward becoming a dietitian. She’s recently observed nutrition programs at school districts, hospitals, etc. This cooking demo was for WIC program mothers in Texas City.
            My part of this adventure began in a local grocery store. I was charged with getting a combo of four fruits and vegetables that the mothers had perhaps never tried, so they could think about coordinating the items into their family diets.
            Jasmine asked for jicama. I didn’t see it on the shelves and I asked a stocker.
            “Hmmm,” he said. “Does it go by any other name?”
            No worries. I got radishes. My dad used to grow them and slice them up to put in sandwiches. As a kid I found them too hot and spicy, but now I love them. My daughter was not too familiar with them herself. I told her I hear they eat radish and butter sandwiches in England.
            I also put cherries, yellow bell pepper and leeks in my basket. The checkout person had to ask what the leek was. To be fair, I knew, but that didn’t mean I’m all the time buying them and cooking them.
            I prepped the items to serve and sample and also left some intact as a display so the mothers would recognize them in the store.  The nibbling session went well, if I say so myself.
            As for her cooking demonstration, Jasmine assembled bean, cheese, zucchini, spinach and corn quesadillas and everyone sampled the finished product. There were surveys and discussions over the pros and cons of fresh, canned and frozen vegetables with what we all hoped was a continued and better understanding that healthy foods can be fun.
            I’m ready for the next class.
            Darragh Doiron is one of a family of Southeast Texas foodies, bringing more into the fold.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Purple power, in potatoes


                             Purple power!
                                         We usually have sweet potatoes around here. Yams are different things from different places, but we’re kind of used to them all being orange inside.  I was at the grocery store and saw a sign for yams, so I bought one and kept it on the counter a while before cooking it.
                             Imagine my surprise when I cut into it and it was purple. It must have been a Dioscorea alata, a learned through internet “research” long after I consumed it.
                             So if you happen to find a purple yam, I can imagine a certain group of loyal classmates in Port Neches and Groves who would love such a meal presentation.
                             I sliced some up for breakfast and the purple paired with egg yolk was an early morning pop of color.
                             So back to sweet potatoes…
                             How do you like them?
                             For years I’ve been baking them like a regular potatoes and serving them with butter, Greek yogurt and curry powder. If you’re lucky enough have some bacon and green onions, that’ll work, too.
                             My mom potted a sweet potato and the vine has been making a lush crawl up a trellis every summer. Sometimes I harvest the leaves and enjoy them in a salad. I learned this trick by finding leaves for sale at a farmer’s market.
                             Happily, the vine loves this treatment and produces more with every cut.

                  Half a honey bun
                            Here’s a breakfast trick not everyone will be willing to try. It involves sharing.
                             Sometimes an extra honey bun, doughnut, fritter or something like that comes into your life. You know it tastes good, but just looking at it makes you feel a tad guilty. So many extra calories you didn’t plan for.
                             I actually find these little gifts more flavorful if sliced thin and grilled in butter to a certain crispness.
                             From there I can fry an egg or two  around these sweet, crunchy bites and then that one pastry becomes breakfast for two in a French toasty kind of way.
                             Sharing becomes easier when you think about great flavor at half the calories.
                             If you try this, let me know what you think.

                  Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie always looking to get the most out of her three squares a day. Tips? Send them her way via