Friday, June 2, 2023

How I Saved the Sauce: A Continuing Saga



                  Sauce doctoring comes natural to me. It’s just my nature to add a little something to anything. When my daughter passed a remoulade rescue bottle to me, I clocked in. This famous-maker brand was kind of bland. But my husband liked it okay. He got a serving, but there was still plenty left. Next round I added siracha which gave it a lovely “rouge” hue and a distinctive spice for dipping vegetables. There was still plenty more in that little bottle. If I have to eat shrimp while enduring all this doctoring, so be it. This next round will include a blend of excess ketchup packets, several drops of hot sauce and a sprinkle of spices. I’ll have to get more shrimp for this bottle runs out! 

                   Souper Cubes  – Ever hear of Souper Cubes? They’re like deep, luxurious silicone ice trays, but you fill them with food to freeze controlled portions. They are an OCD dream that can save you money and calories. Imagine neat blocks of little servings or complete meals stacked up in your freezer and ready to go after a long day at work. The couple started this idea from chicken stock, did the “Shark Tank” thing and should be as successful as all get out with this idea. When I saw it in action, my thoughts went straight to gumbo. You make a big old pot of Cajun delight and eat it for days but you freeze the rest in big containers. What happens when you crave a single bowl? Well I don’t know if I’ve ever had just one bowl of gumbo, but you get the idea. Just get one of a block out. Food comes out easily and you can cook in big batches without concern you’ll get burned out “finishing” your casserole, etc. Fill a block and freeze it. Go to for more on just how well-made this product line is. Here’s what tickles me. I assume popularity is regional. Maybe they freeze clam chowder up north and chili elsewhere. In Port Arthur, I think freezers will be full of gumbo blocks.

Trust the Truss – I guess I wasn’t going Culinary Thrill Seeking in the world of raw chicken, because I never really gave a thought to the term “truss,” which kind of makes people giggle. Enter Turbo Trusser, as seen on “Shark Tank” and I am some kind of expert on juicy chicken. In moments I tucked chicken legs into the front end and looped wings into the back wires and that chicken was trussed. Why? To hold in the juices. I ate that chicken for days and the juices came in handy for other things. I’m an expert now. Do you think you need this metal chicken-adorned plate that goes in the dishwasher and evenly cools your bird? Chicken or turkey model? Then hit and get trussed.


                 Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who loves gumbo weather, which is any weather. Share ideas with her at

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Compost in style; go bamboo start-to-finish




People say I have a green thumb, but I always credit the compost. “Just stick it in the dirt” is how I garden. When my sister would come to visit she’d ask repeatedly where I keep kitchen scraps. “Oh that’s right, you don’t compost,” she’d say repeatedly. Challenge on. I’d made a bin from an old coffee canister and tried some other methods. Now I’ve got a stylish upgrade of a bamboo fiber container that looks pretty sleek on the counter. The coolest part is the charcoal filter in the lid that proclaims to be a “magic stank eraser.” The bin and I have been getting along quite nicely and that’s how my garden grows.


Going Tampa Style – As much as the Cajuns of Port Arthur are into flavorful sauces with seafood, sausage and corn, I confess I was not familiar with the crab chilau thing going on in Tampa. Michael Anderson’s founder’s story is the best. Since I can’t go to to his grandma’s house for a family dinner, I’m glad I can get jars of flavor that taste like you’ve been cooking all day. The rest of the story is simple. Cook up chicken, seafood and more in flavors such as: Crab and Boil, Creole Trinity and Crab and Shrimp Boil. Stew Base in Low Country Citrus flavor boosted a rice and chopped steak meal. Later, a chicken thanked me with for the sauce.



The Second Bite Got Her – Founder Carolyn had a crumbly cookie experience after her Celiac diagnosis. She decided life is complicated, so cookies should not be. Mightylicious cookies in Brown Butter, Oatmeal Coconut, etc. My friend needs gluten-free products in her life and I had her taste these. The second bite sold her. We passed these around to some patio guests and they were all mighty pleased at these flavors. Good for your vegan and kosher pals, too. Slogan: “We bake from scratch so you don’t have to.”


Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie considering food prep from shopping to compost. Share your ideas with her at

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Chillin' with berries


Gelatin Art – Who still makes chilled gelatin desserts? I got inspired and had the fruit and the patience to chill, layer and chill again and have a little fun. I made a batch in a tall, clear drinking glass and used a teaspoon to savor a cool, low-calorie treat as the sun set.



Word of the Day - I misunderstood, but was still considering the word of day could be a thing. I thought lilapsophobia was an irrational or disproportionate fear of TOMATOES and HURRICANES. 

Turns out the first word should be TORNADOES. 

I get you. After Rita, etc., we don’t consider our attitudes toward hurricanes irrational at all.

But hurricanes and a great pico de gallo with tomatoes off the vine are truly something to consider with great respect of their power.


Aloe Amazing -  Down south folks grow plenty of aloe vera that’s handy for kitchen burns. Need it on the go? Makers say Eclat Aloe Vera Gel, made with the purest levels of aloe, is in a tube ready to supercharge, hydrate, and nourish dry skin. Here is something that sets it apart: Eclat is formulated at the highest possible concentration – 99.75% pure aloe leaf juice, and no diluting water – for prolonged potency.  Years ago aloe soothed my worst sunburn ever from a Corpus Christi visit that turned me as tomato colored as my new purse. This new non-sticky formula is a summer must-have.

Grace –  If you say grace before meals, you’ll likely enjoy “What Did Jesus Say: The Seven Messages from the Master.” Terry Allan Christian retired as a public speaker  and says the Holy Spirit guided him on this book. It’s just what Jesus said, with no comment on the times then or now. It’s that red letter New King James Bible reading but, just Jesu. Can you deal? It’s light weight as a book so you can carry it around and reflect. More info is at:

I’ll be happy to end by quoting Jesus here:

“Peace be with you.”

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie always down for a good read. Reach her at

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who’s ready to hear the latest finds from readers. Reach her at

Sunday, May 14, 2023


Cauliflower vs. Broccoli – I asked for, and received, permission to use the f-word in this space. Here we go. I saw a Pinterest comment that cauliflower didn’t ask to taste like fart rice.

I like the stuff, but still, that was funny. I shared it with some folks who considered the sentiment to be dead-on. Then I brough broccoli into the mix, because people hate that, too. I learned some call cauliflower “ghost broccoli.” Also funny.

Both are great to me for dips, casseroles with cheese and salads. Raw or cooked, I love it and figure science could reveal why some are not on board. Short answer is that those who can “sense bitterness” are likely responding to compounds called glucosinolates found in most cruciferous veggies. Brussels sprouts is also on the list, but I’ve matured to like these, roasted in oil and herbs. Non-haters, share your recipes with #culinarythrillseeking followers.



Better get two – One jar of Dignity raw coconut oil will star in your kitchen to “butter” toast; pep up grilled cheese sandwiches and roasted sweet potato fries. Keep another in the bathroom for health and beauty. A brush, lip balm and jar of oil arrive in a bag bundled as Clean Beauty Kit: Natural Fiber Body Brush & Body Oil.  At learn benefits of dry brushing your skin, a practice I already love. This small brush with an elegant wooden handle is “just right” as Goldilocks would say. Chemical-free vegan lip balms come in Lavender Peppermint, Vanilla & Unscented and will become the smooth something your lips will crave as a mid-day pick up. Dignity is mainly about the oil, using no-heat centrifuge to preserve micronutrients and uplifting the lives of workers in the Philippines. They sign the jars they pack. This brand makes you feel good inside and out.


Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who loves hearing from readers. Reach her at

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Looks vs. Taste


Looks aren’t everything. Taste is right up there.

I played and created an egg-stuffed avocado in the air fryer that looked pretty darned good, but the flavor and texture needed a little something. It was an air fryer trick that I’m sharing to show you should always be willing to try new things and… hot sauce doesn’t necessarily fix EVERYTHING, as I previously assumed. My take-away was that I often end up with dishes that taste way better than they look. I actually prefer that to making a pretty plate that doesn’t taste like much. Readers, do you have similar examples?


How’s your morning? Got sugar support? Pre and Pro biotics? Kale and spinach that doesn’t scare you? I do and it’s making Activated You Morning Complete do what their site says it should. I feel good about it.

It all started with a white Yeti cup that was gifted to someone until I just casually mentioned I’d always wanted one and then it was gifted to me. All I’d said was that I imagined whatever you drank in such a pure, cool cup would most likely be good for you. Enter Morning Complete samples with green superfoods in Citrus Melody. It’s billed as 8 unique wellness-support blends in one drink. And it’s a cool sip in my new white cup that was gifted, nearly immediately lost, then found again. See? The cup-to-healthy drink pairing is right for me. It even has “adaptogen” to alleviate stress. Gut health, smoother digestion and a metabolic blend for relief from gas, bloating, etc. are cool. And I love that aloe vera is part of the gang in this drink.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who would love to hear what you’ve been eating. Reach her at

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Snacks for birds and humans always appreciated


Culinary Thrill Seekers, this week we’ll share snacks for both birds and humans.

World Migratory Bird Day is May 13 and Museum of the Gulf Coast will present a free family day based on this big deal. Sabine Woods and Sea Rim State Park are places birders come to see spring migration and Pleasure Island has a new bird blind to enjoy. Come to the museum from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to learn about topics including native plants to attract birds, keeping cats indoors and lights out during migration and preventing bird strikes.

Wanna become a Texas Junior Ornithologist? I met Cheryl Johnson who has created a series of handy, fun books. Go to to begin spotting birds at parks, refuges and your back yard. Johnson photographed and wrote “My Texas Bird Book” and other joys.

Roseate Spoonbills are one of my faves of Port Arthur. The book says these pink beauties weigh about 3 soccer balls, are the size of a side table and love shrimp (me, too). They love our Gulf Coast marshes and are born with white feathers that turn pink because they ate all that shrimp.

The author makes learning fun with comparison images noting Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks are the size of your backpack and Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers weigh about as much as a golf ball. It's from Bird Nerd Publishing.

Johnson’s range of talents includes fun journals and frameable art and mentioned she built her own bird blind to take better photos in her own yard. She shared this recipe to attract them. Smear it on pinecones and sticks to nourish your feathered friends:

Suet (For Birds)

Equal parts:

Peanut Butter


Corn Meal to thicken

You can add:




Dried Fruit

But DON’T add Honey (not good for the birds)

Freeze the extra and keep it in fridge.


               Pop Cause – Ever get misty over a popcorn commercial? I’m already emotional over buttery/savory/sweet popcorn and am happy to have it as a meal. Enter Prospector Popcorn, with most of its employees identifying as having a disability. They’re creating crunch out of Prospector Theater in Ridgefield, Connecticut. For Mother’s Day, consider limited-edition flavor Superstar Crunch, made for tastebuds across all spectrums. This Classic Caramel is “Star” studded with colorful candy coated chocolate chips, brownie goodness, and cosmic blue sparkle, makers say. I super enjoyed it and suggest you look them up at to see how super they are.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie feeding friends and birds. Reach her at

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Finer finds of roses and food photography

Riot of Roses – Since we’re all foodies here, let’s start there. Ketchup & Mustard, Apricot Candy, Berries ‘n’ Cream, Brandy, Butterscotch, Candy Cane Cocktail, Fragrant Plum, Gingersnap, Gourmet Popcorn, Rainbow Sorbet and Tangerine Streams should set the mood.

               These are some of the temptations pictured in “The Color of Roses: A Curated Spectrum of 300 Blooms.” Danielle Dall’Armi Hahan pictured these in the most exciting way to make a page turner. You can smell this inspiration.

               What do you do with pictures of roses? Think of how to grow and style your own. These aren’t your grandmother’s roses…. Or maybe they are. Trends come and go and this author has thoughts on that. I love the variety names, as epic as race horses. Try some of these celebrities: Dolly Parton, Julia Child, Marilyn Monroe, Neal Diamond.

               Colors and textures jump from the page and you could swear you are smelling roses. There’s a pinkish Floribunda named after Our Lady of Guadalupe, who I certainly think of every time roses come into play. Those who attend the Port Arthur church of the same name should love this look.


Say Cheese - While bloggers are holding up dinner by holding their camera phones over nachos, photographers working for magazines and cookbooks have stores of equipment and experience to bring to the table.

“The Complete Guide to Food Photography” is Lauren Caris Short showing how to light, compose, style and edit moth-watering photographs. She shows flour flying, cocktails splashing and caramel drizzling. I just want to watch her work and see if I can nab a bite of those pie crusts, prawns in curry and strawberry salads when she’s one shooting them.

There’s lots of “focus” on gridding your food with prop details in the background and forefront. One huge tip is to use makeup sponges to prop sandwich layers, tweezers to gently tilt individual ingredients and blue tacky substance to keep details such as napkin edges held up just right. Here are some more tips from this expert:

Prop starter kit ideas: Platters (oval shapes are versatile), small condiment bowls, various shapes of glassware, vintage utensils, chopsticks, sugar duster, rustic wooden chopping board, neutral linens, small cheese grater.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie stopping to smell the roses. Share finds with her at