Beet Cured Salmon Gravlax

beet cured salmon gravlax-beyondthebayou Beet cured salmon gravlax! Coming right at you!

I love trying new cooking techniques and this beet cured salmon gravlax is something that have been on my list of things to make. I am so glad I did! It was fun seeing it come together and even more fun eating it.

The curing technique for this is pretty straightforward--curing food goes back hundreds of years. Salt and sugar draws out moisture from the salmon and the added aromatics flavor the meat in the process. Slice it thinly on some toasted bread, serve with some scrambled eggs and you are good to go.

Make this for the uncommon holidays and wow your guest! What cooking techniques or new foods are you looking to make?

beet cured salmon gravlax-beyondthebayou

beet cured salmon gravlax-beyondthebayou

beet cured salmon gravlax-beyondthebayou

Beet Cured Salmon Gravlax

  • 1 pound center cut salmon
  • 1 large red beet (unpeeled)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 5 juniper berries (toasted and coarsely ground)
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (toasted and coarsely ground)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped dill (stems included)
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon gin
  1. Rinse the fillet and dry it with a paper towel and lay it on a piece of parchment paper. Remove any pin bones and set salmon aside.
  2. Cover your cutting board with a layer of plastic wrap so it doesn’t stain from the beets. With a grater, grate the raw beets on the biggest holes on a box grater. Gather up the grated beets in the plastic wrap and transfer them to a food processor.
  3. Add the sugar, salt, juniper, and peppercorns to the food processor. Pulse mixture 7-10 times in short spurts until mixture begins to look uniform and sandy. Transfer the beet mixture to a mixing bowl, add the lemon zest, dill, and tarragon, mix well with your hands.
  4. Splash the gin across the flesh and the skin side of the salmon and make sure to smooth it all over the salmon. Place the salmon flesh side down, onto the the parchment paper. Spread half of the beet-salt mixture evenly over the salmon. Flip the salmon over, skin side down, on top of the beet mixture and pack the remaining beet-salt mixture across the flesh side of the salmon. Fold up the edged of the parchment paper toward the salmon and then fold the bottom side over the top. Wrap the entire salmon package in several layers of plastic wrap (must make sure it is sealed very). Lay the salmon on a rimmed baking sheet (make sure the baking sheaths at least 1/2-inch sides, as a lot of liquid will escape). Place another baking sheet on top and top the second sheet with any object or objects weighing a total of about 5 pounds.
  5. Refrigerate the weighted baking sheets for 16-18 hours. After that time, flip the salmon over, then reweigh it and refrigerate for another 16-18 hours. Open the salmon package and brush away the excess beet-salt mixture, reserving the mixture in case you find you need to continue curing the salmon for a few more hours.
  6. The salmon is ready when it springs back gently when you touch it. If it is extremely hard, it is over-cured. If it is too soft, it had not cured long enough. Best way to know if it is ready is to cut a thin slice and taste it.
  7. When fully cured, rinse the salmon with water and pat dry with paper towels. Lay the salmon on the cutting board and slice horizontally between the skins of the salmon and the flesh to separate the two. Do not remove all of the salmon from its skin, slice only about 2 inches deep.
  8. Serve with eggs, pasta, toast or fold into some delicious cream cheese.

Lovely recipe adapted from Taste & Technique

Tomato Tart


summer tomato tart recipe-beyondthebayoublogDon't you love all of the summer produce popping up all over? This tomato tart screams fresh ripe tomatoes, fresh herbs, buttery puff pastry and a delicious addictive mayo mixed with grated fontina and parmesan cheese. I decided to take the ever so popular southern tomato pie and make it in tart form. The recipe is adapted from Vivian Howard who is known for her amazing tomato pies.

I have a warning for you, this tomato tart is addictive!

summer tomato tart -beyondthebayoublog

summer tomato tart -beyondthebayoublog

Since tomatoes produce a lot of liquid,  the last thing we want is our puff pastry super soggy, so make sure to slice your tomatoes and toss them in a little bite of salt and sugar, place in a colander, and let sit. After a few minutes, you will see all of the extracted water in the bowl that was released. Blot the tomatoes with paper towels to remove the excess water and you are good to go.

You can use what ever tomatoes you can get your hands on for this recipe. Also, get creative on different cheeses as well, you really have nothing to lose.


Tomato Pie

  • 5 to 6 tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 yellow onion, julienne
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup grated Fontina Cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (you will need more to garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (minced)
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon half and half cream
  1. Take the tomatoes and toss with the sugar and kosher salt. Place in a colander over a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. While the tomatoes sit, make your caramelized onions. In a skillet, add the butter and onions. Cook the onions over medium-low heat until caramelized. 25-30 minutes. After 20 minutes, blot tomatoes with paper towels to remove excess water, place aside.

  2. In a bowl mix together the mayonnaise, cheeses, and chopped herbs. Place aside
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Place a sheet of parchment paper on sheet pan and place puff pastry sheet on top. Prick dough all over with a fork, leaving a 1/4 -inch boarder around the edge. Spread mayo mixture on bottom of the puff pastry. Top with the tomatoes, caramelized onions and a few more dollops of the mayo mixture. Mix together egg and half and half, brush the edges with egg wash. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until edges are lightly browned and cheese melted. Garnish with freshly torn basil. 

Kolaches w/ Jalapeño & Cheese

*Thanks to Sir Kensington's for sending me some delicious product, these are condiments I love and use!

Texas kolaches will put a smile on your face. Especially these because they have my favorite sausage, andouille, pickled jalapeños and cheese.

Since moving to Texas I remember always seeing mini sausages wrapped in a yeasty dough when buying donuts. Kolaches are Czech pastries made of a yeast dough and usually filled with fruit, but a lot of the ones I've seen are mostly filled with delicious smoked sausage.

texas kolaches beyond the bayou blog

I used Epicurious kolache dough recipe. I really think it came out great and will be using it again. For the sausage, I brought a pack of small andouille sausage and cut them in half. They were so cute and worked out perfectly. The sauce was my favorite from Sir Kensington's, their special sauce!

texas kolaches beyond the bayou blog

Kolaches w/ Andouille Sausage & Jalapeño

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 andouille sausage links cut in half
  • 1 cup pickled jalapeños diced
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese or your favorite cheese blend
  1. Over medium heat, warm the milk and 4 tablespoons of the butter until the milk is just beginning to steam, but is not boiling, and the butter is melted. Remove from the heat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yeast, sugar, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the flour. Pour in the warm milk mixture and stir until a sticky dough has formed. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, beat together the oil and egg yolks. Pour the eggs into the flour mixture and blend until fully incorporated. Slowly stir in enough of the remaining 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour until the dough comes together and is soft but not sticky. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until it is smooth.
  4. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into 8 even-size pieces. In your hands, roll the pieces of dough into balls and then flatten them into disks 4 inches in diameter. In the center of each piece of dough, place 1tablespoon of the cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons diced jalapeño , and 1 half of a sausage. Fold one side of the dough over the other and roll, then seal by pinching on all sides. Place on the baking sheet 1 inch apart, seam side down. Cover and allow to rise for 45 more minutes.

  6. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Brush the tops of the klobasneks with half the melted butter. Top with a pickled jalapeño and a sprinkle of cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Kolache dough adapted from

Chicken Tinga Cheese Fries

Chicken Tinga Fries Beyond The Bayou

Just in time for the big game, these chicken tinga fries will sure be a hit! Unfortunately, my Saints are not in it--please let's not talk about that last play....but, back to the food--these are da-bomb!

For the big game, I do not want to spend a lot of time cooking so I wanted minimal work involved and easy bite size snacks. For this recipe I used my new go to ingredient, D'Artagnan's Chicken Leg Confit.

Y'all, I love this stuff and the recipes you can make with the chicken leg confit are endless. These have been in my freezer for a few weeks and I finally took them out.

Since moving to Texas, I have been introduced to a wide variety of different cuisines. Friends from different cultures and backgrounds took me in and we bonded over food and cooking! One of the recipes I remember a good friend of mine making was chicken tinga. Chicken tinga is shredded chicken cooked in a smokey tomato sauce with chipotle chiles and onions. This paired with crispy French fries and your favorite cheese sauce is the perfect game day snack that is put together in no time!

Chicken Tinga Fries Beyond The Bayou

*For this post the wonderful people from D'Artagnan Foods were kind enough to offer me some of their product. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own,I have been a long time supporter of D'Artgnan and their products!


Chicken Tinga Fries

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 2 tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 6-ounce can of chipotle puree
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1 package of D'Artagnan Chicken Leg Confit (*can use 3 chicken quarters cooked and shredded)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1-2 bags of your favorite French fries
  • 1 jar cheese sauce
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • pickled jalepeño peppers for serving
  • sour cream for serving
  1. In a skillet over medium heat heat oil and then add the onions, tomatoes, garlic, chipotle puree and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, add chicken, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Turn off heat and place aside. 

  2. Bake fries accordingly to package directions until nice and crispy. While your fries are cooking, heat up cheese sauce and reserve. Once fries are cooked, place on sheet pan and top with chicken Tinga and cheese sauce. Garnish with pickled jalapeño, cilantro and sour cream. 


Chicken Rillettes

chicken As much as I like to cook and make thing from scratch, I also love to have a few short cuts. These chicken rillettes were made with a new favorite of mine, D’Artagnan's chicken leg confit.

Rillettes are great for entertaining and pretty quick to put together, especially with the short cut of the chicken already cooked. It's a spreadable dish similar to pâté where the meat, usually pork or chicken is slowly cooked in fat with aromatics, wine and spices until tender enough to shred. It is then mixed with more seasonings fresh herbs, some of the fat until it is spreadable and paste-like.


For this chicken rillettes recipe, I reheated the D'Artagnan chicken leg confit in a little liquid and then shredded the meat. Added some of the cooking liquid, spices, shallots and fresh parsley and tarragon until well incorporated. Then, all you do is top with a little melted butter and then serve with a nice baguette, pickles and whole grain mustard.

No worries if you do not have the chicken leg confit, you can either roast or boil chicken leg quarters until tender and then pull apart. I recommend seasoning with a little salt and pepper, onions and garlic and then reserving some of the fat, since they produce a good amount.

Chicken Rilletes

  • 2 packs D’artagnan Chicken Confit Legs
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon parsley (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons shallots (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a pan, add the chicken legs, water, black peppercorns and bay leaf, cover and bring to a boil. Remove chicken legs but reserve the liquid. Shred meat and place in a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Over low speed, add the salt, white pepper, black pepper, tarragon, parsley, shallots, melted butter, Dijon mustard and cayenne pepper. Taste for seasoning.
  2. Pack into glass jars or ramekins. Chill and then cover with melted butter or olive oil to seal. Serve with crusty bread, pickles and mustard.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Bacon With Cane Syrup

roasted brussel sprouts bacon Thanksgiving is two weeks away and the holiday prep is on! These roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and cane syrup should be on your holiday table! As much as the turkey is considered the main attraction, the side dishes play a big role as well.

Roasted veggies, dressing (cornbread for me) and Mac-n-cheese--yes please! Decisions on top of decisions on who makes the cut and who doesn't. One of my favorite vegetables to roast and cook are Brussel sprouts. For me they are like little baby cabbages that pack more punch and flavor.

roasted brussel sprouts bacon

For this recipe I combine some of my favorite things. Bacon and cane syrup. Its that simple. Beautiful roasted Brussel sprouts tossed in a bacon-cane syrup-vinegar reduction. Oh, and a little bit of creole mustard to round everything out. That is it. Quick and simple.

roasted brussel sprouts bacon

If you cannot find cane syrup or cane vinegar, which I use in this recipe. Feel free to substitute with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. They both will do the trick! Happy side dish hunting!

roasted brussel sprouts bacon

Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Bacon & Cane Syrup

  • 1 lb brussle sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt to season
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup cane syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cane vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon creole or dijon mustard
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Toss brussel sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Place on a sheet pan, making sure to spread the Brussel sprouts out evenly. Place in oven and roast for 20 to 35 minutes until evenly brown and crispy. Make sure to shake pan every 7-10 minutes for even cooking. 

  3. While Brussel sprouts cook. Prepare the glaze. In a pot over medium heat, render the bacon until nice and brown. Add the syrup, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Cook until reduced in half. Whisk in creole mustard. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Toss brussle sprouts in glaze and serve.

Oysters With Strawberry Mignonette

Oysters with Fresh Strawberry mignonette recipe-1 Is it just me or is this year moving along rather fast! A few weeks ago I did something that was maybe one of the toughest decisions I've made in a long time--I left a job that I was at for 12 years. I'm a pretty calm person and just go with the flow, but I have never felt that much anxiety in who knows how long! Am I making the right decision? What if I do not like my new job! Should I throw away 12 years? Take the risk or lose the chance right?

Well, that big change led to me having some downtime back home in New Orleans.  The great thing about it was that I was about to spend time with my family during Easter--something I'm never able to do since I work in retail. The best part is that I was able to cook for my family and hit up my favorite spots! One thing I was craving was fresh oysters and knew I could get a good price being back home.

Oysters with Fresh Strawberry mignonette recipe-1

Going to the farmers market I was able to pick up some delicious Ponchatoula Strawberries and some beautiful long cayenne peppers. After that, I headed out to the Westwego Fisherman Market and was on the hunt for 1/2 a sack of fresh oysters. I do not know why I decided on making this strawberry mignonette. I remember in the restaurant the chef adding strawberries and beer into a braised mussels dish, so why not?

Oysters with Fresh Strawberry mignonette recipe-1

This recipe is quick and simple. Refreshing with a nice bottle of champagne or a cold beer. It was my first time shucking oysters and have nothing but respect for those who do it on a daily basis! Make sure to let the mignonette sit for a bit to let the flavors merry and macerate.

Oysters with Fresh Strawberry mignonette recipe-1 Oysters with Fresh Strawberry mignonette recipe-1

Oysters with Fresh Strawberry mignonette recipe-1

Oysters With Strawberry Mignonette

  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 ounces champagne vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar (adjust for taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresno, cayenne, or serrano chile
  • 3 teaspoons fresh strawberries, minced
  • 12 dozen oysters, shucked
  1. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and let set for 10 minutes. Spoon ontop of the oysters and enjoy!


Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus & Hollandaise

Pancetta wrapped It is Spring and beautiful weather is surrounding us. What better way to welcome Spring than with some delicious pancetta wrapped asparagus with hollandaise sauce! So good and such a great side!

Pancetta wrapped

This recipe has been on my mind for quite some time. Debating back and forth if I should use bacon or pancetta? Keep it simple and just do salt and pepper? Well, I decided on pancetta. Mainly because I did not want the added smokieness to overpower anything. I went for herbs de provonce because I love the blend of herbs that add an amazing aroma. The lavender adds a nice mild floral note that pairs wonderfully.

The asparagus was blanced briefly in some heavily salted water before being wrapped with pancetta. I placed the pancetta wrapped asparagus on a baking tray with a rack in order for the heat to circulate. Make sure to place the seam-side down so that your asparagus bundles do not come apart.

Pancetta wrapped

Hollandaise is pretty easy to make. It just takes some paitence and technique. Making sure everything is not too hot nor cold or your sauce will break. Make sure your clarified butter is warm and you add it in a steady stream. I rolled up a towel into a circle for my bowl to nestle into--for when whisking, the bowl is not moving all over the place.

In order to keep the yolks tempered, I kept the pot with hot water on the stove and alternated the bowl between pot and towel. If I felt the yolk mixture was getting too cold, I did a few whisks of the pot over the water while drizzling in the butter and then returned it to the towel. Season at the end with a little bit of creole seasoning and hot sauce, and there you go!

Pancetta wrapped

Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus

  • 2 pounds asparagus (do not use the extra big ones.)
  • 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5-6 slices of pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon warm water (may need more to thin out sauce)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup clarified butter
  • a few dashes of hot sauce (use your favorite!)
  • a pinch creole seasoning
  • a pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375

    Place a pot of water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add a few generous pinches of salt. 

  2. Gather a bowl with ice water and place aside.

    Cut the bottoms of the asparagus off (they are tough) and place asparagus into boiling water. Blanch for 1-2 minutes and the drop into the ice water to chill and stop the cooking.

  3. Drizzle blanched asparagus with olive oil, herbs de Provence, and salt. Take 3-4 stalks and wrap with the pancetta. Place the seam-side down on the baking rack. Continue with rest of asparagus and then back for 20-25 minutes until pancetta is rendered and crisp.

  4. Gather a bowl and a pot. Add water to the pot and bring to a boil. In the bowl whisk together the lemon, water and egg yolks. Place the bowl over the pot of boiling water so that the bowl sits securely and you’re able to whisk while the egg mixture cooks.

  5. Cook until the yolks can coat the back of a spoon. 5-7 minutes. Remove from the pot and place the bowl on a secure surface (I used a towel twirled around into a circle to place the bowl in). Whisk the egg mixture while adding a slow steady stream of warm clarified butter into the eggs. Make sure to keep whisking to make sure the warm butter and yolks emulsify. 

  6. Once all of the butter has been added, season with hot sauce, creole seasoning, cayenne and salt if needed. If the sauce is too thick, add a teaspoon at a time of warm water until the desired consistency is reached. Make sure to store in a warm area. Best if served immediately. 

For the hollandaise sauce, make sure bowl sits securely over the pot, making sure the bottom does not touch the water.

If sauce is too thick, you can add a teaspoon of lukewarm water to the sauce. Whisk in until desired consistency is reached. 

Deviled Eggs | Pickled Mustard Seeds & Cracklin'

Deviled There are only a few ways I remembered eggs prepared as a kid.

Hard fried, with some hot sauce on it.

Hard boiled, with salt, pepper, and some distilled vinegar.

Deviled, with a simple filling of mayo, mustard, sweet relish and some seasonings.

These deviled eggs here are adultified. Eye-catching with their beet-colored bottoms. Whites slightly pickled and topped off with some pickled mustard seeds and of course, a nice piece of cracklin'. The perfect bite.


I love pickled mustard seeds. These are pickled on the sweet side and add a nice sweet-tart pop of flavor. The other great thing about these pickled mustard seeds is that they are great for a lot of things. Added to a potato salad, salad dressing, topping to roasted meats or vegetables. They sky is the limit!

Cracklin's are just delicious on their own. I made some a few day ago and thought why not!? I've seen some deviled eggs topped with bacon, so hey, why not some cracklins.

For the cracklin' recipe, click here!

I like to boil the beets until a little bit tender, the last thing you want to do is waste perfectly pickled beets! Just eat them as is or tossed into a salad.

I'm curious to see how many deviled egg fans are there out there? Yay or nay?


Deviled Eggs | Pickled Mustard Seeds & Cracklin's

Picked Mustard Seeds

  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds

Deviled Eggs

  • 1 large red beet, rough chopped
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 large or medium eggs, boiled and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • a pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sweet relish

Pickled Mustard Seeds

  1. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil, making sure sugar dissolves. Lower the heat and simmer for 25-35 minutes. Remove from heat and place seeds in a mason jar with liquid and cool to room temperature. Place aside. 

    When ready to serve. As the seeds cool it will thicken, just add a splash more of vinegar. 

Deviled Eggs

  1. In a pot, combine the chopped beets, vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain the liquid and place aside. In a quart sized mason jar, add the peeled, boiled eggs and pour the liquid over the eggs. Seel and place and the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. 

  2. Take the eggs out of the pickling liquid and cut in half. Carefully scoop out the yolks and push them through a strainer into a bowl (this will help with them becoming nicely whipped) Add the mayo, yellow mustard, heavy cream,  salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper and relish. Mix thoroughly. 

  3. Using a piping bag or a zip-lock bag. Carefully add the whipped yolk mixture into the bags and pipe into the pickled whites. Top with a dollop of pickled mustard seeds and a piece of cracklin'.

Pork Cracklin's

Pork Yes, cracklins. Addictive little morsels of tender pork belly fried until crispy and then tossed in some hot sauce and cracklin' dust, aka seasonings.

These are not the ones you buy in the convenience store, these here, are the real deal!


I remember this guy on his trailer at the fisherman market in Westwego frying up cracklins and selling them. I would always want to buy a bag and snack on them on the way home. Now, these are addictive but nothing that you want to just munch on all the time!

If you are able to find pork belly with the skin on, get it. It will add a nice crackling effect and extra crunch. The pork belly I used did not have the skin on but still came out crispy.


I adapted this recipe from Issac Toups, who owns Toups Meatery down in Nola. He is known for the meat-centered and Cajun dishes at his restaurant in Mid-City. The cracklins there are very good and so is the dirty rice!


For the "cracklin' dust" I took kosher salt and sugar and blended them up in a spice grinder. I wanted them to be a powder in order to adhere to the cracklin's better. Worked perfectly!


  • 2 pounds pork belly, cut up into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup lard
  • peanut oil for frying
  • hot sauce to sprinkle on at the end

Cracklin' Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons chile de árbol, ground
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (ground in a spice grinder or blender)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (ground in a spice grinder or blender)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds, ground


  1. In a dutch oven, add pork belly and lard and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently and reduce the heat down. Cook for 25-30 minutes until meat begins to brown a little bit and get tender. 

  2. Remove from dutch oven and place on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until cold. 

  3. Combine all spices in a small bowl.

  4. Strain lard from dutch oven and reserve for future use. Add peanut oil and bring up to 380 degrees. Add pork belly and fry in batches until puffed and golden brown, 2-3 minutes. 

  5. Drain on paper towels, and in a bowl or bag, add a few dashes of hot sauce and sprinkle cracklin spice.

Flatbread With Dates, Manchego & Crispy Prosciutto

Flatbread with dates and Okay, so last week was all about the Golden Milk Ice Cream With Cardamon Spiced Meringue, this week, a savory flatbread with sliced dates, Manchego cheese, balsamic onions and crispy prosciutto

Yes, crispy prosciutto! Which I must say is pretty addictive. The fatty pork and even more concentrated saltiness was the perfect pairing for the sweet dates and tangy sweet balsamic onions. This is a recipe you don't want to miss.

Flatbread with dates and

For the flatbread recipe, I decided to go with a focaccia dough. It is different from the one I posted a while back, which you can find here. I'm all about trying new recipes and love to tweak! This recipe comes from Chef Suzanne Goin who owns a slew of restaurants out in Los Angeles. I own her cookbook Sunday Suppers At Lucques and love her approach to seasonal cooking.

Flatbread with dates and

This dough recipe called for barley malt syrup, which I did not have, but subbed it with some cane syrup. Honey or maple syrup can be used as well.

Flatbread with dates and

This recipe came to light when I was contemplating on what to enter for Food52's recipe contest for your best savory recipe with dates. Their contest has been MIA but finally came back! Yay! I love the challenge and wanted to do something, not in the norm, such as stuffing or wrapping them with salty porky goodness.

Flatbread with dates and

Dates are extremely sweet, especially if roasted, the sugars get even more concentrated, so I really wanted items that would balance and jell well. That is when I decided to crisp up the prosciutto and fry it up a bit and adding the tangy sweet balsamic onions. For the manchego, I picked a 3 month aged, so that it would melt quicker. A piece of this flatbread is the perfect bit, creamy cheese, tangy balsamic onions, crispy salty prosciutto, sweet dates and to top it off, fresh earthy rosemary!

Flatbread with dates and

I hope y'all enjoy it as much as I did!

Flatbread With Dates, Manchego & Crispy Prosciutto

Flatbread Dough

  • 1 cup warm water (around 105 degrees)
  • 1 packet active yeast
  • 3 cups bread flour (all-purpose flour can be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cane syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Balsamic Onions

  • 1 cup onions, julienned
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • freshly cracked black pepper, a few cracks


  • 6 Medjool dates, slivered
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced
  1. Mix the flours together and place aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water, salt, syrup, olive oil, and yeast. Whisk ingredients and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and with the paddle attachment attached, mix the ingredients until they come together into a ball. Swap out the paddle attachment for the dough hook and continue to mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 7 minutes. If dough is dry, add up to 4 tablespoons of water.
  2. Increase the speed to medium-low and continue to mix until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl. If dough is too tacky, sprinkle with a little more flour.
  3. Grease a large bowl with some olive oil. Remove dough from mixer bowl and shape into a round, then place into the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Remove plastic wrap and punch down the dough. Place dough onto a cutting board and with a knife or bench knife divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape into a ball and set onto a rimmed baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let dough rise at room temperature until it doubles, around 1 1/2 hours.
  5. While dough is rising, cook prosciutto in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and crispy. Place aside.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll each of the dough balls out to about 1/8th inch thick circle or rectangle. Place on a sheet pan or pizza stone, drizzle with olive oil and par bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. After bread has par-baked, remove from oven and divide toppings amongst the two. Add the manchego cheese, dates, balsamic onions, pepper flakes, rosemary, prosciutto and sprinkle a little more cheese on top. Return to oven and bake until cheese has melted. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt, a few cracks of fresh black pepper and fresh rosemary at the end.

Fried Crawfish Hushpuppies

New Orleans fried crawfish

Who doesn't love anything fried, right? These fried crawfish hushpuppies are my welcome to crawfish season! One of my favorite times of the year when I always make sure I take a trip back home to enjoy pounds and pounds of some steaming hot mudbugs. Being away from home definitely, makes me appreciate the things I once had readily available. So, this recipe is one of many for my love of crawfish.


New Orleans fried crawfish

Some do not understand the hype and love of crawfish, they feel as if it takes a lot of work for a little reward. Peeling crawfish is all about the "pinch" and pull! But not only that, it brings back fond memories of being surrounded by family and friends. If you tell anyone you are boiling crawfish, you better believe a lot of people are going to want to swing by!

For these fried crawfish hushpuppies, I sauteed the crawfish in some butter with green onions and creole seasoning, to add some flavor. Serve these bad boys with this awesome celery root remoulade sauce! If you are not able to get Cajun Certified crawfish tails, I highly recommend cooking them down and seasoning a little bit on the heavy side. I find that some crawfish tails in the packages can lack flavor.

This recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated. The batter will be a little bit runny, but I found that sticking it in the fridge a bit to let everything rest helped out. A lot of times when frying batters, if your heat is too high, it will cook too fast on the outside, so I recommend monitoring your heat. Also, frying them until golden brown and finishing off in a preheated oven works as well. I am curious to see how y'all feel about crawfish, yay or nay?

Fried Crawfish Hushpuppies

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup crawfish tails
  • 1 teaspoon creole seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon liquid crab boil
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 quart canola or vegetable oil
  1. Over medium heat, melt butter and add onions, green onions, crawfish tails, creole seasoning, salt and saute for 3-4 minutes.

  2. Remove from heat, let cool and place aside. 

  3. In a bowl combine, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix well and place aside. 

  4. In another bowl, combine your buttermilk, eggs and crab boil. Whisk and add crawfish mixture. Then gently fold into the dry ingredients until mixture is mixed thoroughly.  Let mixture rest for at least 20 minutes.

  5. While mixture rests, heat the oil in a deep-fryer or into a 6qt dutch oven to 350 degrees. 

  6. Drop small rounds of batter into the oil and cook for 4-5 minutes. Make sure to stir and flip occasionally. Fry until crisp and golden brown on the outside. 

While frying, place fried hushpuppies into a preheated 200 degrees oven to keep warm. 

Game Day Sriracha Honey Wings

Sriracha Baked Hot Wings It is that time of year and I think the Sriracha craze is just starting to cool down--well, until after this post.  Theses wings are a game day essential. Everyone loves a good Super Bowl chicken wing recipe. Spicy and sweet, these are sure to be a hit! Make sure you make enough because these will go fast, oh and make sure to keep paper towels close by; because things will get a little messy.


Sriracha Baked Hot

These wings are seasoned with just a few spices: salt, coriander, garlic powder and chili powder--that is it. Every wing needs a dip to go with it. I paired these wings with a cilantro yogurt dip that is the bomb! The yogurt adds a nice cooling effect just in case the Sriracha might be a little bit too hot.


Sriracha Baked Hot

The sweet and spicy Sriracha mixed with the dijon and honey makes for a great glaze not just for these wings, but also for chicken breast, fish, and pork. I will keep this post short so y'all can hurry up and make these for your next game day gathering! Enjoy!

Sriracha Baked Hot


Sriracha Baked Hot Wings

  • 2 lbs chicken wings
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, granulated
  • 1/2 cup Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  2. Toss wings with salt, chili powder, coriander, garlic and place on a baking rack. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn wings over and bake on other side. 

  3. While wings are baking ,prepare your glaze. Combine Sriracha, dijon and honey into a bowl, whisk and place aside.

  4. Turn heat down to 350. Place wings back into the oven for another 20 minutes. At the 10 minute mark flip them once more. 

  5. Toss wings with half of the glaze and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Take out and toss with the rest and serve.