• Favorite foods: Cajun, Cuban, Southern, Soul Food

Weekend Book Giveaway: 'Roadfood'

My all time favorite has to be the Cajun Cafe on the Bayou in Pinellas Park, Florida, just outside of Tampa. A genuine taste of Cajun country here in Florida.

Dry Rub

McCormick Grill Mates makes a very good steak rub.

To use gumbo file or not?

If you first make a roux, you shouldn't need it. But if you don't, add it at the table, not on the stove.

Can't wait for Gumbo!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Moving to Tampa, is there anything good to eat?

In nearby Pinellas Park, there is an authentic Cajun restaurant, Cajun Cafe on the Bayou, that serves wonderful gumbo (some of the best I ever tasted), jambalaya, dirty rice, Pouche's boudin, andouille, and around 75 different craft beers. If you like Cajun cooking, this is the place.

Flank steak - without a grill

I use it to make beef Stroganoff.

What is your favorite food spot in Tampa?

I love the Cajun Cafe on the Bayou. Technically, it's not in Tampa. It's in Pinellas Park. If you like Cajun food, you'll love this place. Absolutely authentic Cajun cuisine....the best gumbo ever, boudin, dirty rice, and about 100 craft beers. Don't miss it!

what are your motivations to head to the ethnic grocer?

I couldn't find any pork liver for my boudin sausage making project. I found it at a small Hispanic grocery.

pig roast?

I've only roasted a pig once. It was a small one, maybe 10 to 12 pounds. I won't do it again....too much waste. Next time I'll just roast a couple of Boston butts.

charcoal grill

Big Green Eggs are awesome. I've had one for over 20 years and use it regularly. However, they're very expensive. A good Weber is really hard to beat, especially with all the accessories available for it.

What about pancakes and fried chicken?

Well, in a lot of places they serve chicken and waffles, but I don't think the chicken is fried.

Sunday Dinner in Austin, TX?

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

NYD traditions: Slow-Cooker Black Eyed Peas

Hoppin' John and collard greens.

Home made sausages

Thanks, Everyone! I'm inspired!

Roux troubles

What MMinNYC said.

Christmas Dinner....What's it gonna be?

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

Bacon from Masser's Farm Market near Paxinos, PA. Smoked over red birch and sassafras!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Southside Market Sausage

Ga. Pig in Brunswick, Georgia

Seasoning cast iron pans

I always use bacon grease exclusively for seasoning. Crisco will harden after a while and become difficult to remove. Same with vegetable oil.

Stainless Steel skillet - cannot get clean!

Pitch it in the trash and go buy a cast iron skillet and learn how to use and maintain it. Then you can will it to your grandaughter in 50 years.

How to Make Your Pecan Pie More Exciting

I wonder if cane syrup-----which I dearly love-----would work as a substitute for Karo? Anybody tried it?

best way to cook beans from dry?

@derosa: I do the same way with excellent results

vegetable shortening vs. lard

I've used Crisco on the rare occasions that I was all out of bacon grease. It seemed to work OK as long as you don't go without using it for long periods of time. If it sits too long, several weeks for example, the Crisco tends to get very sticky. I'm at a loss as to why Lodge would recommend it. But then again, I'm not a fan of Lodge. I've always been able to find WagnerWare or Griswold cast iron at yard sales/flea markets. I much prefer a smooth cooking finish rather than a rough one.

Vegetarian cooking - do I need a cast iron skillet?

I'm a big fan of cast iron, too. However, I always season my skillets and Dutch ovens with bacon grease which makes them unsuitable for vegetarian or vegan cooking.

Smoking with pecan wood and sugar cane

Last week I told you about my success making boudin sausage. What a treat! Now I'm going to try some andouille sausage. A couple of the recipes suggest smoking the sausages over pecan wood and sugar cane. I've used pecan with a great deal of success, but never sugar cane. How do you use it? Do you dry it out first for a certain amount of time? Does it burn by itself? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Made some Boudin sausage at home!

A few weeks ago, I asked for some tips on sausage making at home. Thanks to the many foodies who offered such good tips! It payed off with some of the finest Boudin sausage I ever tasted, as good as any I've had in Louisiana. I used the recipe from Emeril's "Louisiana, Real and Rustic" cookbook.

Home made sausages

I got a meat grinder and sausage stuffing attachments for Christmas, so I guess I'm going to try my hand at sausage making. Any words of wisdom before begin?

White deposit on flatware and glasses

For some unknown reason, my dishwasher, which has always worked well, has left a hard, white deposit on my flatware, glasses, and stainless pots. I haven't switched detergents or made any changes in the water supply. I use the type of detergent that is not supposed to harm or cloud up glasses, etc.
The deposit is difficult to remove without scratching the surface of the utensils and glasses. Any suggestions?

Help! I have to fast today!

I'm going to have some tests done tomorrow that require me to fast, starting this morning, until the tests are over, which will be around 4PM tomorrow. The last time I did this, I almost passed out from hunger during the test. I'm allowedd to have clear liquids, but they don't do much to alleviate the hunger. Any suggestions?

I need a vegan recipe or two for Thanksgiving

My girlfriend and I have a long standing Thanksgiving routine with our two good friends. We get our dinner ready (I always fry a turkey) and load it onto the boat and we head for a secluded beach. We drop anchor, and wade to the beach with our table, folding chairs, and our dinner. We eat, enjoy the afternoon swimming and messing about in the Gulf of Mexico, watch the sunset, then off to home. Here's the rub: One of our party of four has become a vegan. I no virtually nothing about vegan cooking, and I'd like to surprise her with a nice vegan dinner. Any suggestions?

Leftover BBQ

Whenever I bbq I always have leftovers, whether it's ribs, pulled pork or whatever. The problem is reheating it. It's never nearly as good as when it was fresh. I've tried reheating in the microwave (really bad) and the oven (almost as bad!). I've heated it up both uncovered and covered, and wrapped in foil. Nothing works. Any ideas?

Where to buy smoked ham shanks?

I used to buy smoked ham shanks for cooking beans, greens, jambalaya, etc., but my local grocery stores no longer carry them. In fact, the butcher told me they're just not available anymore. Can this be true?

Chicken Livers: Are yellowish ones OK?

My GF and I both love fried chicken livers. The hard part is finding good ones. My local grocery used to carry good quality frozen livers, but discontinued that a while back. They carry their own packaged livers, but it seems that most of the packages contain about 1/4 to 1/2 the livers that are very yellow in color, unlike the deep red that I prefer. My question is this: are the yellowish ones OK, or is there something (besides the color) that isn't right with them?

thermometer problems

I use both deep fry and meat thermometers, and I can't seem to regulate them. I adjust them by immersing in boiling water and setting them to 212 degrees. However, if they are just sitting at room temperature, say 75 degrees, the deep fry reads around 100 degrees, and the meat thermometer reads around 60 degrees. How can I trust them to tell me what temperature the oil or meat really is? Should I go with digital units? Are they always accurate?

Sea Salt

I have tried three different sea salts, including "Fleur De Sel De Camargue" which I brought home from France. My problem is that I can't tell one from the other, or from Morton's table salt. Is there really a big difference, or is it just hype?

Please help me find or make porketta seasoning

I was in Pennsylvania earlier this month, and made my way to Wegman's to pick up a pound or so of my favorite pork seasoning, "Porketta." Much to my chagrin, I was told that Wegman's no longer makes/stocks porketta! I tried several other grocery stores and Italian markets. I was able to find one market, Shaw's, in Shamokin that makes their own version. It was good, but not like Wegman's. Where can I find some or how can I make some?

My Lucky Day!

This morning at a small yard sale in my neighborhood I ran across, and bought, an ancient, beautifully seasoned WagnerWare #8 cast iron skillet, along with a cast iron chicken fryer, and a 5qt. cast iron Dutch oven! All for $20!

What to do with duck livers, etc.?

The last time I bought and roasted a duck (which was also the first time!) I wound up with a lot of organ meat; livers, gizzards, and heart (I guess). I hated to waste it all, but didn't know what to do with it. Suggestions, please?

Roast Duck

I've never cooked a duck, but I'm going to this afternoon. There's a recipe in the current issue of Esquire magazine that is making my mouth water. I'm just wondering if any of you have tried it.

Picky-eater dinner guests

My wife and I belong to a group of about 5 couples who are all best friends. However, when we have them for dinner, here's the rub: 2 are vegetarians, but will eat fish. My wife won't eat fish. One won't eat anything that she considers organ meat or fungus, e.g. mushrooms. The list goes on and on. I love to cook, but this group is a real challenge. Any suggestions?

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