Bananas Flambe (Foster)



Also known as Bananas Foster, this delicious and fun recipe started in New Orleans. Everyone should try this at least once...and I guarantee you will be wanting more after each time! But be careful...this dessert is literally on fire!!!

  • 6 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced (either sliced into rounds or in half)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoons banana liquor
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Melt butter and sugar, add bananas, saute over high heat for 2 minutes or until bananas begin to brown. Add all spirits carefully and light. Shake until flames die, add cream and swirl. Serve over ice cream.

Make about 6 servings.

Cooking Tip



Always bring your meat to room temperature before cooking. This helps it to cook quickly and evenly. This only applies to steaks though, not ground meat. Fish needs to remain chilled right up until it touches the heat. The connective tissue in meat is more resistant to heat than fish is, so it benefits from warming up before cooking. Fish proteins are highly sensitive to heat, which is why fish usually cooks so quickly. Size also plays a role in this: the average fish fillet is thinner than the average steak or chop, so it requires less cooking time.

Fruit Popsicles



Sick and tired of that nasty heatwave? Try cooling off with this easy and all natural fruit popsicles! Don't be afraid to experiment with flavors either...try adding herbs to the syrup or adding fresh fruit pieces to the popsicle molds or even mix different fruits together. Just start with this basic recipe and the sky is the limit!

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1-2 lbs. fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, honeydew, peaches/nectarines, kiwi, pineapple, etc)
3 sprigs of fresh herbs to infuse syrup (mint, basil, rosemary, etc.) OPTIONAL

To make simple syrup, gently heat sugar and water, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; let cool.
Rinse, prepare, and puree fruit. (Mash hulled berries, deseed honeydew, pit and roast peaches at 350F for 20 minutes and mash with or without skins)
For every cup of pureed fruit, add 1/3-1/2 cup simple syrup. Taste as you go, adding more fruit or syrup as needed. (keep in mind that when they freeze they will lose a little bit of sweetness, so you might want to make them a little sweeter than you would like)
Pour mixture into molds, add sticks, and freeze.

Cooking Tip - Kitchen Equipment



Cutting boards: glass, wood, bamboo, plastic...so many choices, but how do you decide?

For starters, avoid glass boards. Glass boards dull your knives and you don't even need a cutting board anymore if you don't have any knives left.

Wood or bamboo boards are great. They look nice and are very easy to chop on, as long as you wash it thoroughly in warm, soapy water afterward. Do NOT put a wood board into the dishwasher or soak it for too long. Being in water or high temperatures for too long can crack or warp the board. Wood boards are great for breads and vegetables, but be careful cutting meats as the juices can soak in and cause a sanitation nightmare!

Plastic boards are ideal for raw meat, because you can pop them into the dishwasher as soon as you are done. Plastic boards are usually more stain resistant than wood. So they are much better for color rich foods like beets. Plastic boards also come in a variety of colors, so you can assign colors to certain types of foods and avoid cross contamination. Plus, many of them are bendable which makes it easy to pick up and dump right into the pan.

Nectarines or Peaches? Recipe: Baked Nectarines



Nectarines                                                     Peaches


Nectarines are often confused with their close relative the peach. The easiest way to tell the difference is the skin, peaches have fuzz and nectarines are smooth. Their tastes are very similar, but nectarines tend to have a much more intense flavor and are usually juicier. Nectarines are also brighter in color both inside and out.

Selecting peaches and nectarines are the same. Ripe fruit are fragrant and give, slightly, to the touch. If they are a under-ripe, leave them at room temperature for 2–3 days to ripen in a brown paper bag. Look for fruit with smooth unblemished skin. Avoid extremely hard or dull colored fruits and soft fruit with soft, wrinkled, or punctured skin. They can be kept for about 5 days in a plastic bag in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

Nectarines can be found year round. Majority of the supply comes from California or Chile. Peaches can also be found year round. Most of the peaches come from the southern states (mostly Georgia) or California, but during off season peaches are flown in from Chile or Mexico.

When using either fruit in a recipe (like the one below) there is no need to peel the skin off unless the recipe says otherwise. Nectarines never need to be peeled, but you will find some recipes that tell you to remove the skin on peaches to get rid of the fuzz.

Baked nectarines is a wonderful dessert! It is fresh and simple, but satisfies your sweet tooth! You can also use fresh peaches, but I prefer the stronger flavor that comes from nectarines. Serve over ice cream or just eat it on its own. Definitely give this recipe a try...it is so easy and will leave everyone wanting more!

Baked Nectarines:

  • 1 lb nectarines
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup honey graham crackers, crushed (if you use cinnamon graham crackers, just leave out the cinnamon)
  • vanilla ice cream


  1. Cut up nectarines into bite sized pieces. (Figure about 1-1/2 nectarines per person.)
  2. Place in bottom of baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle with brown sugar (I usually use no more than a tablespoon per nectarine) and cinnamon (as much as you want).
  4. Then crush graham crackers over the top, about half a graham cracker per nectarine.
  5. Then, randomly place small pads of butter over the top -- you don't need much, but it keeps the top moist.
  6. Then, bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until desired softness.
  7. Let it cool for a little bit, then scoop over ice cream.

Cooking Tip #3 - Eggs (Hollandaise Sauce Recipe)



Do you ever find yourself looking at the use by date on the side of the carton and checking the calendar? Adding up how many days past the date you are willing to test the limit...or perhaps you throw your carton away from the beginning. If you are ever in doubt, do a fresh egg test! Drop an egg in water. If it sinks, it's fresh - perfect for poaching or a souffle. If it stays submerged with its wide end up, it's older but good for most uses - these are perfect for hard boiled eggs. If it floats, throw it away!

Cartons of fresh, uncooked eggs will keep for about four to five weeks if properly refrigerated. Hard cooked eggs left in their shells and refrigerated should be used within one week. Eggs will age more in one day at room temperature than they will in a week if kept properly refrigerated.

Does your recipe call for just the yolks, like the Hollandaise Sauce recip below? Don't waste the whites! They freeze perfectly! Just pour the whites into ice cube trays, freeze, then transfer to an airtight container for up to one year. There are recipes out there that call for just egg whites, so you will be well prepared!

Hollandaise Sauce (Basic)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup butter
Whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together and set aside. Melt the butter over medium heat just until melted. Allow to cool slightly. Temper the eggs by adding a little bit of the melted butter to the bowl and whisking. Continue this until the butter is fully added. Then return sauce to pan and cook slowly over low heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.

Crawfish Beignets



This is a great appetizer...everyone always asks for more! Great with a spicy aioli for dipping! If you don't feel like peeling all of that crawfish, you can find bags of tail meat in the frozen seafood section at Walmart and some grocery stores.
  • 2 eggs 
  • 6 ounces crawfish tail meat
  • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely-chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, finely-chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. In a deep-fryer heat oil over medium-high heat to 365 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl whisk eggs until frothy.
  3. Sprinkle crawfish tails with 1 tablespoon of seasoning and add to eggs.
  4. Stir in bell peppers, green onions, garlic, salt, flour, baking powder and milk; consistency will be wet. Using a large metal tablespoon, drop beignet mixture into oil and fry about 3 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
  5. Do this in 2 batches.
  6. Using a slotted spoon remove beignets and drain thoroughly on paper towels.
  7. Sprinkle remaining 1 teaspoon seasoning over beignets.

Coconuts 101



Coconuts offer many different health benefits in addition to being delicious, but working with whole coconuts can be difficult and a bit intimidating if you don't know what you are doing. Once you get the hang of it though, the work is definitely worth it!

First you need to learn about the anatomy of the coconut: shell, skin, flesh, and water.

Shell: The tough brown shell has three "eyes" or dark spots, but should be free of cracks or mold. Make sure you avoid coconuts that are leaking water.

Skin: Under the shell is a thin layer of brown skin. It's edible, but can also be peeled away.

Flesh: Once a coconut is open, it will keep for only a few days in the refigerator. Unopened, a coconut could lose at room temperature up to six months.

Water: When selecting a coconut, shake it and listen for water inside. The liquid is what keeps the flesh moist and flavorful.

Next you need to know how to break down a coconut:

1. Make a hole in 2 of the 3 eyes with a metal skewer (or screw driver).

2. Drain the water. You will get about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of liquid.

3. Using a meat mallet or hammer, firmly tap the coconut along the middle, turning as needed until the shell starts to split in half.

4. Once you have split the coconut open, carefully pry the flesh away from the shell using a butter knife. Try loosening the flesh by tapping the shell on the outside. Or place the coconut in the oven at 300F for about 10 minutes or until the flesh starts to pull away from the shell. Allow to cool and then the flesh should pop out easier.

5. Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, peel away the thin brown layer of skin.

Fresh coconuts can be purchased at your local grocery store. Most stores also offer young coconuts. They are usually sold peeled and wrapped in plastic. The young coconuts usually contain more water (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups.)

To remove the water from a young coconut, slice off the pointed tip (this will take some force.) Stand the coconut cut side up and cut a square into the tough flesh on top. Pry out the square with the tip of the knife, then add a straw and drink or pour into a glass.

Coconut Chips
Remove the flesh from 1 brown coconut and shave the flesh into thin strips with a vegetable peeler. Toss the strips with 1 to 2 teaspoons of confectioners' sugar. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toast at 300F for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cooking Tip #2 - Pie Crust



Having trouble getting that perfect crust? Here are a few tips for preventing soggy crust.

1. Bake your pie on the lowest rack of the oven. You can either put it directly on the rack or a baking sheet (but make sure you preheat the baking sheet.)

2. Use a glass pie plate. Glass conducts heat more evenly and it gives you the chance to check the bottom of your crust to make sure it's actually done baking.

3. Blind-bake your crust. Most single crust pie recipes tell you to do this to avoid sogginess. Line the unfilled crust with aluminum foil and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until set then remove the beans and foil and continue baking until the crust is golden brown before you add the filling.

4. Brush a prebaked crust with a beaten egg during the last 5 minutes of baking before you add the filling. This forms a barrier between the filling and crust. You could also wait and let the pie cool and spread wth warm jam or melted chocolate to get the same effect and add some extra flavor.

Cooking Tip #1



Trying to cut fat?

Lighten up a recipe with buttermilk. Most commercial buttermilks only have 1 to 2 percent fat, which makes it a healthier alternative to whole milk or cream. Use it in sauces or mashed potatoes. Even though it is low fat, it has a very rich taste. It's fermented with cultures which makes it thick, creamy, and tangy! If you do decide to use buttermilk in a sauce, try adding chicken broth to reduce the sour taste.