Cooking Louisiana - Newsletter - September / October 2004

Bonjour my fellow home chefs! 

Labor Day is here and we've got some cooking to do! This time of year the gardens are still producing some nice veggies and those can be incorporated into the outdoor cookout. Adding vegetables to the traditional barbecue lends a nice light (and healthy) item to the menu. Smoked vegetables are delicious and are really easy to do. Just slice up any combination of red onion, mushroom, zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, tomato or whatever else you want.  Drizzle some olive oil and Italian dressing on them and add your favorite seasonings including dried parsley and mix well. Put them in a pan, or heavy duty aluminum foil, add a little water, cover and cook on the pit. Test them to see when they're almost done. At that point uncover and add your favorite smoking woods to the fire. You can make a nice appetizer dish by adding cut up cooked sausage or chicken and serving them with toothpicks on the side. 

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Back to school time often demands the "quick meal". Fast food all too often takes the place of the regular home cooked meal. Many folks are concerned about the weight their kids are gaining and some of this weight is being put on with the after school snacks. You have total control here because they won't eat what you don't buy! You already know what they want so work within their tastes.

Look for snacks with less calories. It's simple to do a little comparing. Fat is formed in the body when more calories are consumed than are needed.

Here is the Food Pyramid for 2 to 6 year olds from the USDA. Click Here  Note: This guide may be changed in the next year. The CNPP (Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion) is presently working on the revision which is projected to be published in 2005.

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Converting recipe ingredients can be a real pain. I found a website that can convert the amounts of seasonings and ingredients quickly. And, it's all free (I like that price). I have it bookmarked in my Favorites list for sure. Click Here to check it out.

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Are you one of of those folks who has a charcoal pit and just can't see buying a big gas grill? I am, so, I went searching for something small. I like a gas grill to do the quick stuff like burgers, dogs and steaks. I wanted a table top model, sort of like the old Coleman stove. What I didn't want was something that would rust away. After stopping at a few places I wound up at Academy Sports. I found exactly what I was looking for. It's an Outdoor Gourmet. Click here to check it out.  

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With football season upon us it's always nice to throw some different appetizers together for the armchair coaches. I've been experimenting with spring roll pastry lately and have found that they're great for easily making your own Cajun appetizers.  Here are a few ideas...

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Cajun Popcorn.... yummy!

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Have you tried doing garnishes for your dishes? Here's a little info you may use.

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I got this question the other day and decided to share it with you.

Question: 

I am having a debate with someone about what type of bowl to use when marinating, mixing etc., raw meat.  I was told not to use any type of stainless steel bowl.  The person couldn't give me a reason why.  Is that a true statement?  If so, why?

My Answer: 

Stainless, plastic and glass are safe to use as far as I know. Many marinades can contain acids like lemon juice and vinegar. These acids will react with aluminum so it should be your last choice in a container.
 
You may have been told that because stainless steel is toxic if it enters your body. However most "food grade" metal bowls are highly polished therefore no stainless steel should come off of the bowl and contaminate the meat.
 
My personal choice is zipper locking type bags.
 
Here is what the Food Safety & Inspection Service has to say. Scroll down to "Safe Preparation" http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/bastebrine.htm

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Cooking Louisiana wishes the best to the men and women of the military and to their families. We thank you for your service to the people of the United States. 

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Be sure to visit the "What's New" page to see all of the site's new additions.
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Featured recipes.....
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Crab Bites

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Baked Shrimp
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Braised Brisket
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Seafood Kabobs

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Have a safe Labor Day...

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