Tag Archives: New Orleans

Printable Tennessee Williams Quote

This past weekend, I wished a dear friend good luck as she embarked on a life-changing move from New York to San Francisco. So, even though I am down one less partner-in-crime, I cannot be happier for her. I wanted to make something fun for her and since she is also one of my New Orleans travel buddies, I felt this quote by Tennessee Williams was particularly apt.

What do you think? No offense to Cleveland or anywhere else, but I am 100% in agreement! Do you have any city quotes that resonate with you?

This downloadable PDF fits beautifully in a standard 5” x 7” frame.


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Dinner Tonight: Cajun Shrimp, Corn & Potatoes

Lately, I’ve been craving some Cajun food with a little bit of heat. Since corn season is winding down, figured I needed to make this Cajun dish ASAP!  This is one of my favorite go-to recipes and it really takes no time at all to cook. Also, I never need an excuse to bring a little New Orleans into our home!

Cajun Shrimp, Corn & Potatoes

Based on Shrimp Boil with Spicy Horseradish Sauce, Gourmet, August 2008

Serves 4


  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 5 tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning (I used Emeril’s Bayou Blast)
  • 2 -1/2 teaspoons cayenne, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 8 small boiling potatoes (about 2 inches)
  • 4 ears of corn, shucked and halved
  • 1-1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 -1/2 tablespoons bottled horseradish


Look at that yummy corn!

In a large pot, squeeze lemon juice from lemon into about 4 quarts of water. Then, add lemon quarters, Creole seasoning, 2 teaspoons of cayenne, bay leaves, garlic and potatoes to the pot. If salt isn’t the first ingredient in the Creole seasoning, add 2 teaspoons of salt.

Bring pot to a boil and them simmer partially covered for 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add corn to the pot, cooking partially covered for 4 minutes. Then add the shrimp and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turns opaque.

Separately, combine ketchup, mayonnaise, horseradish and ½ teaspoon of cayenne in a small bowl. Add more cayenne to taste if you want to pump up the heat.

Drain potatoes, corn and shrimp into a colander. Then, serve with the spicy horseradish as a dipping sauce.


 Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 12


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Food Fest (a.k.a. New Orleans Jazz Fest 2012)

Official 2012 Jazz Fest poster, featuring Trombone Shorty

I’ve been out of touch for a while! About a week and a half ago I flew down to NOLA with three of my girlfriends to go to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.  I think I’m now fully recovered. The numbers are in and roughly 450,000 of us melted under the Louisiana heat and gorged on Crawfish Monica and cochon de lait.  But we were not rookies – this was our second consecutive year at the Fest. Last year, we had no idea what stage was what, which bathrooms were the cleanest and had the quickest lines and which food stands to hit (um, all of them?). This time, we were practically pros.

Big Sam of Big Sam’s Funky Nation playing the trombone at the Conga Stage, May 5, 2012

We missed the big acts of the first weekend – Tom Petty, the Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen (!!). But, we were able to see most of the big concerts of the second weekend, including Florence + the Machine, Eagles, Foo Fighters and Bonnie Raitt, to name a few.  With 7 stages and 5 tents, it can be overwhelming since there are so many great acts that overlap with other performances. This year, I learned that it’s better to hang out towards the back of the Acura stage instead of staking out a spot closer to the stage. The acoustics are better in the back and it’s easier to make a getaway if you want to catch the second half of another performance at one of the other stages.

Some people just go to the Fest to see the big musical acts, but there are plenty of great performances going on in the tents. For example, if you were staking out a spot for the Foo Fighters concert on Sunday afternoon, you’d have missed the seniors be-bop-a-lulling away in the Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent.

Jazz Fest should really be called “Food Fest” though with some music sprinkled in. The food stands are the real stars. As I overheard someone say, it’s gourmet food served on paper plates. Prepare to wear loose-fitting clothing – you’ll want to eat everything! If you’re afraid of trying the boiled crawfish because you don’t know how to eat them, no worries. Trust me, a helpful stranger will show you how. Everyone is so happy and helpful at the Festival. It takes me about a day to shake off my Northeastern aloofness but before I know it, I’m chatting up with strangers on where to find whatever it is they are eating.

Here are some of my highlights from the trip:

The Crafts

  1.  Detail of a beaded hummingbird for a future Mardi Gras Indian costume
  2. Mardi Gras Indian costume
  3. Potter at the wheel by the craft tents
  4. He’s in the spirit!

The Music

  1. Glen Hansard (from the movie, Once) performing on-stage with his guitar.
  2. Cast of Treme at a signing. From left: Steve Zahn, Phyllis Montana LeBlanc and Lucia Micarelli.
  3. Bonnie Raitt performing with Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the Gentilly Stage.
  4. Closeup of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band drum.

The Food

  1. Crawfish beignets with tartar sauce
  2. Key Lime pie
  3. Hawaiian shirt beer cozy…we were getting a little goofy then!
  4. Fried soft shell crab po boy

Food Around the French Quarter

Besides within the festival, we had great food around the French Quarter and the Warehouse District.

  1. Fresh homemade biscuits (and Bloody Mary) at Café Fleur de Lis on Chartres St.
  2. Cochon’s sign outside the restaurant
  3. Oyster and bacon sandwich at Cochon
  4. Braised pork cheeks with poached egg
  5. Hummingbird cake at Borgne
  6. Borgne dessert menu

Needless to say, I’m stuffed…and already planning the trip for next year!

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Dinner Tonight: Shrimp Étouffée with Rice

I am a big fan of anything related to New Orleans… The culture, art, music and of course, the food! I’ve now visited NOLA three times, including Jazz Fest last year. While there last year, I had my best meal at an after-hours venue…a bowling alley of all places!. The meal was shrimp étouffée served out of a foil chafing pan at the Rock ‘n Bowl. It was soooo delicious. And that’s saying a lot since I ate very well that trip!

Shrimp (or crawfish) étouffée is a traditional Cajun dish that is usually served over rice. A rich roux forms the base of the recipe, which consists of flour and butter melted together. Traditional roux is made from lard  — but I want to still fit into my jeans. It can take a bit of time to make a roux, depending on how much étouffée you’re making. When you first start cooking the roux, it looks like this:

After you have been constantly stirring, so it doesn’t burn, the roux should be the color of peanut butter, like below. (I was visualizing Jif here.)

The first time I made shrimp étouffée, it was a several years ago from a recipe I found in The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American. Unfortunately, the recipe isn’t available online.  I recently made it again, this time from an Emeril Lagasse recipe on foodnetwork.com.

I adapted the recipe somewhat, first by cutting the recipe in half, since the original served 10.  I also bought Emeril’s Essence spice at the grocery story, but I think next time I’ll play around with the spices more. There is a link to his recipe for Essence on the website. I would also punch it up a little more next time with more cayenne or Tabasco. This was a tad flat. I cheated a little with this recipe too. Instead of making my own shrimp stock, as the recipe suggests, I used canned seafood stock. Homemade stock would have given the étouffée more depth. So, with those notes, here we go!

Shrimp Étouffée

Adapted from recipe in New New Orleans Cooking, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch

About 5 servings


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cups chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 cups chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more if you want more heat)
  • 2 tablespoons Essence, recipe here
  • 1/2 quart shrimp stock or seafood stock
  • 1-1/2 pounds medium shrimp (21 to 25 count per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • Steamed white rice, for serving
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish


Melt the butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Stir the roux over medium heat until the color of peanut butter, 5 to 7 minutes (see picture above).

Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the pot and season with the bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of the Essence. Cook the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the shrimp stock.

Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook the étouffée, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Season the shrimp with the remaining tablespoon of Essence and add them to the pot, stirring to evenly distribute. Cook the shrimp for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Add the chopped parsley to the pot and stir to combine.

Serve immediately over steamed white rice and garnish with sliced green onion tops.

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DIY Mardi Gras Roundup

This Yankee Doodle Gal really loves anything that has to do with New Orleans. And what is more New Orleans than Mardi Gras? So if you’re hosting a Mardi Gras-themed party, here are some DIY ideas.

  1. DIY Mardi Gras bracelet on Dixie Delights 
  2. Hurricane recipe from The Family Kitchen
  3. Mardi Gras Macarons at Sprinkle Bakes
  4. DIY Leather masks from Chet Pourciau Design
  5. Mardi Gras wreath on Deep Fried Kudzu
  6. Mardi Gras mask cookies from Sweetopia


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