Sunday, September 16, 2018

When 'blistered' is a good thing

                             I ran across a recipe for blistered olives the same week my mom dined on blistered peppers in a restaurant.
                             Funny how terms can make something trendy. Blistered food means it’s cooked, maybe sautéed, at a high heat. It gives an uneven, bubbly texture. Turns out I’ve done this all the time. I love it. But my husband calls it when I burn things.
                             Okay, so I’ve set off the smoke alarm a few times. It’s very sensitive.
                             And I get that he’s not a fan of blistered French toast.
                             But these olives and peppers thing, I can deal with. I’ve also found references to blistered green beans, cherry tomatoes and many more things we can grow in Southeast Texas gardens.
                             Get in on this “hot” trend, but safety first. 

                  From the files:
                            Back in the late ‘80s I guess, I saved a list of canned food ideas. These days I rely more on fresh foods, but the mixing concepts below are still solid. Now I can’t imagine stuffing cherry tomatoes with sardines. Was that a thing then? These ideas sound good in a pinch.
                  * Stir drained, canned shrimp or crabmeat and sliced canned mushrooms into softly scrambled eggs.
                  * Heat canned refried beans with drained chopped chilies, spread on warm tortillas. Top with poached egg and salsa.
                  * Add  drained whole kernel corn, sliced ripe olives and peas to a favorite cole slaw.
                  * Saute  drained clams, sliced mushrooms, peas and minced garlic in olive oil. Serve over hot cooked linguine.
                  SPAM lover
                            I met writer whose profile notes she’s a SPAM fan. That’s a first. This food is an American icon that has been a comfort for many and a punch line for many others.
                             Everyone’s a fan in hurricane season. The shelf life of this canned meat stretches on and on.
                             My favorite means of consumption is to heat perfect cubes with baked beans and pineapple chunks.
                             Granted, I haven’t given this a try in, perhaps a decade. But was glad to share the idea with the foodie I met.
                  Darragh Doiron loves to blister, sauté, broil, bake and grill, but hasn’t mastered frying. To reach this area foodie, send a note to

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Texas back road recipes

                             Anita Musgrove took to the roads to dine on the classic Texas fare that keeps us on the map. Honey Bun Cake from Silverton, baklava from Lubbock and Pirate Stew from Angleton are featured in “Texas Back Road Restaurant Recipes.” Learn a bit about the restaurants and something about what the locals love.
                             This long, filling road trip hit some sites close to home. Remember Peggy’s on the Bayou in Orange?  The restaurant shared Cajun Seafood Pistolletes, shrimp Andouille Sausage with Asagio Grits and Mandarin Orange Cake recipes with the author.
                             I loved seeing Picket House chicken and dumplings in this book. But I’d just as soon venture to Woodville and have them bring me all I can eat at this famous boarding house-style legend.
                             JuJu’s Cajun Crawfish Shak in Fannette is mentioned and the recipe included is for crab cakes or deviled crab. Island Pork Press Sandwich Special and a Shipwreck Float with cherry syrup fro Star Drug Store in Galveston is included. Fried Alligator Tail from Ann’s Seafood in Liberty is featured.
                             Here’s a quick recipe all the way from Mom’s Café in Justin:
                             Carrot Raisin Salad
                             2 cups shredded carrots
                             2 cups raisins
                             1 cup sugar
                             3 tablespoons mayonnaise                                                                                            Mix all ingredients together. Serve.

                             The Barn Café in Paris has this unusual offering:
                             Pinto Bean Pie
                             Three fourths of a cup mashed pinto beans
                             1 and one half cups  sugar
                             1 half cup real butter, melted
                             1 teaspoon vanilla
                             three fourths of a cup chopped pecans
                             2 eggs, beaten
                             1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked
                             Mix all together, except pie crust, by hand; do not beat. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, until firm.                     

                             For years I’ve given pumpkin updates in this column to reflect the crazy options trending out there. Can’t wait for this round.
                             This is a transition few weeks when we sort through closets for earthy colors and some how end up eating watermelon and craving candy corn in the same week.
                             No matter if you’re planning turkey or tofu for Thanksgiving, be sure to try some spaghetti squash, baked sweet potato with sour cream and curry and play with root vegetables this fall.
                             I put the flamingo door decorations aside and created a “wreath” based on a rake with the handle broken off. Funny thing  is, I found the rake head in the shed and thought about how my dad would have repaired it. Then of course, I thought about how modern rakes probably do the job better than an old repaired one. So I put the rake head out near the trash in case any handyman-type would pick it up and restore it.
                             When there were no takers, I did a Pinterest search and there they were, rake crafts. You can even make that rake head look like a turkey with feathers. My creation just features your standard fall leaves, pine cones and sunflowers. Let it fall!
                             Darragh Doiron is an area foodie ready to make a Texas Road Trip any time you are. Contact her at 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Have you “poked” yet?
Everybody’s talking about the new Hawaiian Poke Bowl in Port Arthur and I’m just going to say, it’s ironic you can get an uber healthy and fresh salad and then hit the rolled ice cream, if you want.
                My husband and Mom went through the line and I told them I’d be happy with whatever they brought to the table. This is that “new concept” sort of place where you go through the line. Some diners may face more decisions than they are prepared to make. Don’t let this deter you. Pick a variety of vegetables, fruits and proteins and get a salad over rice that will blow you away. It’s a mix and match festival. Mine was loaded with salmon and  a sweet/tart sauce and colorful crunchy vegetables.
                I got to eat this with chopsticks and that made something already good even better.
                I heard all sorts of clicking and clacking while my family ate and we saw all sorts of families, couples, etc. headed toward that sound. That’s where the ice cream was being flattened onto a frozen disc and reshaped into rolls. We had to share one of those and that proved an interesting texture. Someone I know praised that this method keeps the ice cream cold. She hates a melty mess.
                Everyone is asking how to pronounce this “poke.” We got two variations from staff and I’d just read another, regarding this trend. I’m going with “POH-keh.”  Once I heard Port Arthur was getting one, I’ve been running across variations of the dish everywhere. Try it and let me know what you think.

Strangely addictive seaweed
                Who’d of think I’d be going about my day and craving seaweed? Not me. Do you think I was going to let the cute sharks on Seasnax packages seduce we with their “Strangely Addictive” tagline? You’re kidding. I’ve had the seaweed before. It was pretty good.
                Okay. I tried the Seasnax and chipotle. Then the barbecue. Then the different Chomperz shapes and the bigger sheets. Then the smaller sheets in lime that are crunchy and sound like thin sheets of glass when you finally crunch down.
                It’s true you cute little surfboarding shark. You got me. Seasnax have me, and someone I know, addicted. At 15 calories a serving, we’re not feeling too guilty.
                Most people who grab change for vending machines may not think they’d be into organic roasted seaweed with olive oil. I’m sure the seaweed never imagined being paired with chipotle seasoning, but these little packages deliver what people want at snack time: flavor and satisfaction.
                Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who loves to try what’s new out there and share it with readers. Let her know what you’ve been trying at

Sunday, September 2, 2018

When breakfast is for dinner and the crunchy stuff...

  Breakfast for dinner
                             Just about the biggest berries I’ve ever seen topped a breakfast-for-dinner creation my mom served the family.
                             I think my choice to pile everything high on a small plate added to the presentation.
                             She had me at eggs, then I saw the sausage and the berries knocked me out. This was meant for a waffle base and a yogurt topper. It didn’t need it, but I brought out syrup.
                             The colors and flavors made a weeknight meal feel like a luxurious brunch. See what you can come up with one night.

                             Gelatin with a crunch
                             Dessert happened when I thought all my wine glasses could use a run through the dishwasher. But I demand a full load, so I wanted to use each glass before it got a nice polish.
                             I think those glasses get more use as stemmed dessert vessels than they do as wine holders. I don’t know how my mom uses half packets of gelatin, but she does. She gave me permission to clear out her leftovers and I turned them into a layered dessert.
                             Yogurt mixed into the strawberry flavor was the base. When that was set I added more for a “clear” division then some fruit and orange zest followed.
                             I rarely keep whipped cream or non-dairy topping, but I did have some vanilla coffee creamers. I popped open two of them to pour over three servings and then floated cocoa nibs for crunch.
                             When my mother walked in and found a glass at her setting, she said “Oh, we’re having wine.”
                             I said I hated to disappoint her, but that was gelatin in the glass. Turns out, she wasn’t disappointed at all.
                            From the files:
                            For a long time I’ve kept a recipe I’ve never made, and most likely never will. It came from a book I reviewed years ago and it’s called Arkansas Margarita.
                             The novelty is that you melt hog lard and dip a paper cup in the liquid so as to rim your glass with crushed pork rinds.
                             The actual drink is buttermilk and “white lighting.”
                             I can’t think of anything else to say about that…
                  Darragh Doiron will try breakfast for dinner and dinner at any time. Share your foodie finds with her at