There is something about fall, the change in season and the opening of the State Fair of Texas. It reminds me of growing up in Louisiana and cooking. I especially enjoyed making the famous Natchitoches meat pies. They were one of my favorite things to make.
We traveled to Natchitoches and visited with our cousins. Each time we dropped by one of our favorite restaurants, Lasyone’s. Their Natchitoches meat pies were famous and still are to this day!
Natchitoches, Louisiana was the oldest permanent settlement in the vast Louisiana Purchase Territory. It was founded in 1714 by Louis de St. Denis. Quaint brick streets wind along the high banks of the former Red River bed.
Each year on the first Saturday of December, thousands of people flock to Natchitoches for the annual Christmas Festival of Lights. At dusk, a switch is pulled and beautiful decorations light up on both sides of the Cane River. The famous Natchitoches Meat Pies are among the favorite foods featured at the festival.
I’m sure you remember the annual Christmas Festival of Lights as it was featured in Steel Magnolias, a favorite southern movie.
Fried pies filled with ground beef and a burst of creole spices. Delicious! Serve them during the fall and throughout the holiday season.
*Original recipes call for a blend of ground beef and ground pork. I prefer to make them with 100% ground beef. You can make them either way!
1bell pepper, chopped
freshly ground pepper to taste
3pods of garlic, minced
1bunchgreen onions, chopped, mainly green parts
Crust: 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 t. salt. 1 t. baking powder, 6 T. shortening, 1 egg, 3/4 cup milk
Filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet, combine the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, celery, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until the meat looses its pink color. Do not overcook until the meat if dry. Add the garlic during the last minute or two of cooking the meat. Add the flour, stir until it is combined with the meat mixture. Remove from heat, add the green onions. Place the meat in a large colander to drain off excess liquid. Cool to room temperature.
Crust: In a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk a couple of times to combine. Cut in the shortening. Add the beaten egg and milk. Mix lightly, pour onto a lightly floured surface, knead gently a few times and form dough into a ball. Wrap in wax paper. Chill for 30 minutes.
To Assemble: On a lightly floured surface, roll about half of the dough into 1/8" thickness. Cut into 5" rounds. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on one side of the pastry round. Dampen edge of pie with fingertips dipped in water. Fold top over meat and crimp edges with a fork.
To Fry: Fry in a deep fat fryer at 350ºF. until golden brown.
Freezing: The uncooked meat pies freeze well. When ready to fry, do not thaw before frying.
A staple of American cuisine – Macaroni and Cheese is one of our favorite home-cooked meals!
Thomas Jefferson discovered the dish while traveling abroad. Upon returning to Monticello, he planned to serve it for an important state dinner. He imported pasta, parmesan cheese and olive oil.
James Hemings was Jefferson’s chef and slave. Hemings was the first American to train as a chef in France. With his sophisticated techniques of French classical cooking, he prepared a “macaroni pie” for prominent guests at Monticello, Jefferson’s private mountaintop home and plantation in Virginia.
Until the late 1800s, it remained a recipe for upper classes. Once pasta was broadly available more people enjoyed macaroni and cheese. By the 1940’s, it became a hearty, inexpensive meal for the working classes.
Tips for the best Macaroni and Cheese:
Select the best-quality butter, cheddar cheese, and pasta.
Make homemade breadcrumbs with day-old sourdough bread.
Make creamy béchamel sauce with a butter/flour roux and hot milk.
Steps for Creamy Macaroni and Cheese:
Toss homemade breadcrumbs with melted butter.
Boil pasta in lightly salted water until a little under al dente.
Make a béchamel sauce, add the grated cheese to create a Cheese Sauce Mornay.
Pour the cheese sauce mornay over the cooked pasta.
Pour into a lightly greased baking dish.
Top with bread crumbs and sprinkle with paprika.
Bake until bubbly and golden brown.
A staple of American cuisine – Macaroni and Cheese – make some today!
Rise to the occasion . . . knead, roll, rise, and bake some hot dinner rolls!
My grandmother, Birdie was famous for her homemade dinner rolls. She served them at her cafe in Oregon. Last summer, I was visiting with one of my cousins in Austin. She was raving over Birdie’s dinner rolls served 50 years ago! People will always remember your homemade dinner rolls.
Rise to the occasion . . . bake some dinner rolls today . . .
Delicious every time . . . These rolls make every meal memorable!
1cup2% or whole milk
4 cupsall-purpose flour
In a 1-cup liquid Pyrex® measuring cup, add the water, sugar and yeast. Stir to combine Set aside to rise for 5 to 10 minutes or until frothy.
In a small saucepan set over medium low heat, add the milk. Scald. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Set aside. Cool to 100ºF to 115ºF.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, Add 4 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast mixture and cooled, scalded milk. Mix until the ingredients are blended. Switch the attachment to the hook attachment. Knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, add the oil and swirl to cover the sides. Add the dough to the bowl and toss to coat it on all sides. Cover with a clean dish towel. Set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubles in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
About 30 minutes before the dough has risen completely, preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Lightly flour a work surface, a silicon pad is a helpful tool. Roll out the dough into 1/4" thickness. Cut into 1 1/2" strips. Stack the strips. Cut into 2" pieces. Place in lightly greased muffin tins. Cover with a clean dish towel. Set aside until for 30 minutes or until almost doubled in bulk.
Now that the NFL is playing, we need some snacks to make at home. They should be easy to make and fun to serve.
After years of making nachos, these Game Day Nachos are the best of all. Inspired by Joe T Garcia’s nachos, I set out to make them at home with some large tostada chips and hatch chilies. About that time, I was slow cooking a brisket. And just like that, the two recipes merged and became Game Day Nachos.
Sometimes, recipes evolve and become what I call “restaurant-quality” because they rival something that could be found at a favorite restaurant. The Game Day Nacho recipe is one of those recipes. And it’s ready just in time for the fall football season!
One of our favorite dishes to serve on Monday because it's so easy to make. Also, it's great for a Meatless Monday. Add some chicken, shrimp or beef to make it more hearty. Be sure to prep and chop all of the ingredients before cooking. It's much more fun that way. Enjoy!
1cuprice(3 cups cooked rice)
1carrot, finely chopped
1red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2broccoli, florets only
1ear of corn, shucked
1/2canbaby corn, drained & each corn cut into quarters
1small cansliced water chestnuts, drained & cut in half
1small canpineapple chunks, cut into smaller pieces
2T. soy sauce
3garlic cloves, peeled & minced
1bunch of green onions, chopped
1T.ginger, peeled & minced
In a saucepan, cook the rice. Pour onto a jelly roll pan, spread into a thin layer. Set aside.
In a wok set over a high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the onions and carrots. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the red pepper and broccoli florets. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add the butter. When melted, about 30 seconds, add the rice, corn, peas, baby corn, water chestnuts and pineapple. Add the soy sauce. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Lightly scramble the eggs. Julienne. Set aside.
In a small skillet, quickly sauté the garlic and sesame seeds in a little vegetable oil. Add to the wok.
Add the green onions and ginger. Heat briefly, stirring constantly.