Sour Cream Drop Biscuits and Avocado Yellowtail Crudo

Oh this world and the people in it! Jazz Fest is here and a multitude of rapscallions have migrated to New Orleans to take in the pleasures of music, food and dance at the fairgrounds. KP’s dad arrived, now sporting around town on a Honda Harley scooter, and he has been dubbed “Jazz Fest Santa”—photo ops are available at a discount price to select fans. And CONGRATULATIONS to SUSAN from Minneapolis who won the CLICK giveaway last month! Hopefully your free Click will keep you Jazzed, my dear.

It’s gonna be breakfast and brunch only at home for the next week. Here are some tasty dishes to whisk together for hungry house guests.

Sour Cream And Scallion Drop Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, divided

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1½ cups sour cream

Hungarian hot paprika (for serving)

Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl. Drizzle in 6 Tbsp. butter and mix lightly with your hands just to distribute butter. Make a well in center of bowl and add scallions and sour cream. Mix with a wooden spoon until no dry spots remain and mixture forms a shaggy dough.

Using 2 spoons, drop ½-cupfuls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing at least 1½” apart, or into a 12″ cast-iron skillet, arranging so sides of biscuits are just touching (you should have 8). Brush tops with remaining 2 Tbsp. butter; sprinkle with paprika. Bake biscuits until tops and bottoms are golden brown on top and bottom, 12–15 minutes.

For Brunch, make this!


Yellowtail Crudo With Citrus And Avocado

1 avocado

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tablespoon crème fraîche or sour cream

2 serrano chiles, seeded, finely chopped, divided

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided

Kosher salt

4 ounces sashimi-grade skinless, boneless yellowtail fillet

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot

½ teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger

½ teaspoon yuzu kosho

1 radish, trimmed, thinly sliced

Cilantro leaves with tender stems and thin fancy crackers or crispbread (for serving)


Mash avocado with garlic, crème fraîche, half of serranos, and 1 Tbsp. lime juice in a small bowl until mixture is mostly smooth; season with salt.

Hold your knife at a 45° angle and slice fish with the grain into ½” slices (use a sharp blade and aim for one long, clean stroke). Cut each slice crosswise into ½” pieces.

Combine oil, fish sauce, shallot, ginger, yuzu kosho, remaining serrano, and remaining 1 Tbsp. lime juice in a medium bowl. Add yellowtail, season with salt, and gently toss crudo to combine.

Spread avocado mixture on plates. Top with yellowtail, radish, and cilantro. Serve with crackers.

Smoked Gouda Carbonara in Honor of Carbon #GoScience

What better way to celebrate science than to gather the elements and use your kitchen as a laboratory. I’m here on site in DC today and plan to wave my poster tube around like a wand or a torch. All around me in our nation’s capital are examples of the beauty of nature and the human striving to know and master the lessons there for us when we look deeply.

Some inspiration from the Hirschhorn Museum.

Consider this rhododendron a pompon for science today.

And this dinner a reward for marching for those of you who hit the pavement with your posters and song.

Smoked Gouda Carbonara

Adapted from Food and Wine

1 pound spaghetti

5 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded smoked Gouda, plus more for serving

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

6 ounces slab bacon, finely diced

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

I recommend making your own pasta– tastes infinitely better. See here for basic pasta recipes.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the whole egg, the 1 cup of Gouda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of black pepper. Very gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water to temper the eggs.

Meanwhile, in the large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until rendered but not crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the pasta, crushed red pepper and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook, tossing, until the pasta is coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the pasta mixture into the large bowl and toss vigorously until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes; add more cooking water if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta into bowls and serve, passing more Gouda at the table.

Shout out to the chickens who prolifically laid eggs for all the yolks in this dish. YUM.

Have Your Sour Cream Vanilla and Blueberry Cake and Eat it for Easter

Hot off the press, Have Your Cake and Eat It: Nutritious, Delicious Recipes for Healthier Everyday Baking by Mich Turner, is a beautiful new baking book from Sterling Epicure that features the work of the celebrity baker who has fashioned delectable desserts for Downton Abbey and Buckingham Palace!

I was so inspired, page after page of gorgeous creations, Almond Toscaners, Lemon Meringue Chiffon, Chocolate and Coffee Roulade… and where possible, Turner points out ways to make her recipes healthier. Sugar is sugar, but in the fat department, there is room for improvement. And many of the cakes have prunes and dates and fruits and nuts and oats to vie for righteousness.

I really appreciated the design ideas—Turner is a master in presentation and in the cake I chose to make here, I adapted a recipe to have a structural variation from the “Skinnylicious Vanilla Cake” –which involves sparing frosting in exchange for meringue.

Sour Cream Vanilla and Blueberry Cake

Adapted from Have Your Cake and Eat It


2 sticks of butter, softened

1 cup superfine sugar

4 medium eggs

1 TB vanilla bean paste

2 cups self-rising flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ cup sour cream

2 cups blueberries



2/3 cups cream cheese

½ cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

¼ cup sour cream



1 ½ cup superfine sugar

1 ounce light corn syrup

¼ cup water

4 medium egg whites (5 ounces)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and line with parchment two 8 inch round pans. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then add beaten eggs one at a time. Beat well. Add vanilla paste. Sift flour and baking powder together and fold that in. Stir in sour cream, then finally fold in 1 cup of the blueberries. Spoon batter evenly into each pan and then bake for 45 minutes. Let cool then chill for several hours.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and sour cream. Chill for 30 minutes. Spread onto both tops of the cakes.

For the meringue, measure the corn syrup, sugar and water into a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir until temp gets to 176 F, then don’t stir until temp gets to 230 F. Put egg whites into a clean bowl and start whisking on full speed. When the syrup gets to 246 F, remove the pan from heat and while the egg beater is still going, slowly pour a steady stream into the whites. Keep whisking until it looks glossy and is a little cooled down, then use right away.

Put meringue into a frosting bag and fit with an open rosette pipetter, and pipe a layer in a flowery pattern on to the top of each half, stacking them up so it looks like an ice cream sandwich. A beautiful ice cream sandwich. Torch the meringue so the lines get better defined.

Wow the masses.

It went great with Easter. Also these napkins mom sent.

The cake tasted especially rewarding after the Crescent City Classic. Selfies with Mr. T (on the course) to follow…

Also, big thanks to Sterling Epicure for a complimentary copy of this book.

Gouda Friday Savory Pancakes

A delicious Good Friday morning. Squash blossoms yawning open with the sunrise. Hot coffee and fat buttermilk gouda pancakes with a side of crackling bacon. The nest thick three chickens deep; a solo clarinet issuing “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” from a radio hitched to the coop (I believe the ladies are urged along in their egg laying when serenaded with Southern gospel). Sandaled feet kicked up on a lattice creeping with vine; I meet the morning without ceremony, hair wild and undone, donning broken grease-smeared sunglasses and a draw-string muumuu. Clouds blink out the sun as they laze their way across a blue sky.

The raised bed in a bath tub is starting to overflow after three weeks of rain and sunshine.

Gosh. A day off never wears out its welcome.

On this holyday, pancakes as thick as English muffins to spurn quiet reflection. May the sunset tonight on the noble accomplishment of nothing.

Gouda Friday Savory Pancakes (such an awful pun)

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk, room temperature

2 tablespoons safflower oil, plus more for skillet

1 cup shredded gouda (2 1/2 ounces)

3 scallions, thinly sliced (1/2 cup), plus more for serving

Crisp-cooked bacon and Greek yogurt, for serving

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and oil; whisk until just moistened. (Do not overmix; a few small lumps are fine.) Fold in cheese and scallions.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Drizzle skillet with oil; rub with a paper towel to evenly coat. Cooking in batches, ladle 1/4 cup batter per pancake into skillet, spreading in an even circle. Cook until edges begin to set and undersides are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip; cook until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes more. Top with more scallions, bacon, yogurt, and pepper; serve.

The habit of gardening helps remind the gardener of how much can be accomplished in the world without you, growth and change in places you neglect to watch.

Happy Spring, from just us chickens.

Click’n through call with Keli’s Teriyaki Chicken Nachos

Most call days I wake up and feel like this.

I only get out of bed if I know I can soon have a full pot of french press coffee. Or Click.

On call days, sustenance is about speed. I’ve posted on Click Coffee Protein shakes before, but oh man, stuff that you can take and shake to go –that tastes like an iced latte or mocha—is ideal. CLICK is sponsoring another giveaway through Bake This Day, so if you’d like to win a free canister of product, reply to this post, drawing will be on 4/19 at 12P!

Another favorite food on busy call days is nachos. I recently discovered Keli’s Hawaiian sauce products, and these Hawaiian marinades are perfect for summer snacking, easy to drizzle on whatever BBQ or salad or chip dish you’ve planned for porch sitting.

Keli’s Teriyaki Chicken Nachos

2 large chicken breasts

3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1 large bag tortilla chips

2 cups salsa (I like

Sour cream

1 cup Keli’s Hawaiian Ginger Garlic Teriyaki

½ can of beer

Various roasted red, yellow and orange peppers (optional)

1 1alapeno pepper, sliced

1 avocado diced

2 scallions, diced

In a crockpot, cook the chicken breasts in the marinade with a ½ can of beer for several hours. Until it falls apart, basically. Then when you are ready to get dinner on the table, put the chips on a piece of parchment on a baking sheet, cover in cheese and salsa, add more chips, cover in cheese and salsa again, and then put in the oven on Broil for 5 minutes, until the chips are brown and cheese is bubbly. Then top with sour cream, avocados and the chicken.

Posts sponsored by Keli’s and Click! Thanks to both for getting me through my residency.

Meadow Mocktail

Everyone who owns socks knows that lavender is good stuff. I had never considered using it as food, but in the realm of craft cocktails, we must leave no stone yet unturned. This cocktail is refreshing, perfect porch material for the coming spring and advent of Jazz Fest here in the Crescent City. This drink is a dazzling blend of floral and citrus—can’t imagine anything that tastes more like spring. It tastes great with and without alcohol, so, what you will. SO fancy.

Meadow Mocktail

Adapted from Food and Wine


1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1/4 cup dried lavender flowers


1/2 cup basil leaves

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

11 ounces chilled fresh grapefruit juice

1/4 ounces Angostura bitters

40 ounces chilled sparkling water


Basil leaves, grapefruit slices and/or lavender flowers, for garnish

Lavender Syrup first. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 2 hours. Strain the syrup through a fine sieve.

In a mini food processor, pulse the basil with the lemon juice until minced. Scrape into a large pitcher. Stir in 11 ounces of the lavender syrup (any remaining syrup can be refrigerated for 2 weeks) and the grapefruit juice, the bitters and sparkling water. Strain into ice-filled glasses and garnish with basil.

To transform the mocktail into cocktail, use 24 ounces sparkling water and 16 ounces gin.

Here’s my parent’s dog after a mocktail. Par-tay!


Made in Louisiana @ Southern Food and Beverage Museum: Alligator Frito Chili with Red Beans

Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in New Orleans is a street seeing its renaissance. This weekend I got to tuck into a new spot on Oretha Castle; I attended the Made in Louisiana festival at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Thrilled to have the opportunity to know a little better what is cracking on the food scene in my city.

Made in Louisiana featured forty local purveyors of food, beverages and culinary products. There was fresh baked bread, cold brew coffee, chocolate, gumbo, smoked tasso ham, craft beer, Cajun caviar, spicy agave nectar…I could go on. But here were the highlights for me:

First, there was the jalapeno chandelier. Then, fresh ciabatta—a loaf so light I have not had in years. It came out of the oven two hours prior to my purchase, mm mm. Thank you Mayhew Bakery. You have Bake This Day’s full endorsement.

I immediately went home and got out the fancy olive oil and fine balsamic and tortured my bulldog with each piece of hand torn crumb. Don’t worry, she got a little taste.

Then there was Acalli chocolate, a New Orleans chocolatier who imports their cacao from Peru. Delicious, rich little nibs.

Papa Yaw’s Spicy Ginger Peppercorn Agave Nectar was a hit in lemonade and in chicken corn nachos.

Orleans Coffee concocted some delicious cold brew.

Mint Juleps from Oak Alley Plantation.

Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse is my next stop when I’m craving andouille or smoked tasso. OMG. Delicious.

Finally. Caviar. Cajun caviar. I’m a convert.

I came home ready to cook, so inspired by my Cajun Creole Southern Feast State.

Alligator Chili Frito Pie

Adapted from Louisiana Cookin

½ cup olive oil

1 pound ground alligator meat

1.5 pounds ground beef

2 cups diced onion

2 cups diced celery

2 cups diced bell pepper

4 tablespoons diced garlic

4 tablespoons diced jalapeño

2 (16-ounce) cans pinto beans

6 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce

2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Salt, to taste

Cracked black pepper, to taste

A big bag of Fritos

Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, minced red onions, sliced green onions, sliced jalapeño peppers


  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add alligator and beef; sauté 20 minutes. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno. Sauté until vegetables are softened. Add beans, tomato sauce, and broth; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat, and simmer.
  2. Add chili powder and cumin, and stir well; cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Once alligator is tender, season to taste with salt and black pepper. Ladle the chili into bowls. Sprinkle cheese and Fritos on top. Garnish with onions, and jalapeño, if desired.

And some red beans…classic style.

Red Beans and Rice

1 lb. dried small red beans (kidney beans), rinsed and soaked in water overnight, unless you don’t want to—you can just cook the whole thing longer—matter of preference.

2 smoked ham hocks

2 tbsp olive oil (or bacon grease, what have you)

2 onions, diced

1 red or green bell pepper, seeded, and diced

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 tsp. minced garlic

3 whole bay leaves

2 tbsp basil

2 tbsp oregano

2 tbsp sweet paprika

1 tbsp thyme

2 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp salt, or to taste

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 green onions, chopped

5 cups cooked rice, brown is better for you

Cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce, optional

Heat onions, green peppers, garlic, and celery on a skillet in olive oil, ten minutes or so, until soft. Add this mix to a crockpot, with red beans, ham hocks, and bay leaves. In a small bowl, combine the spices and add 4 tbsp of the spice mix to the crockpot. Cover the mixture with water (about 2-3 quarts) and turn on the crock pot to High. Stir periodically and add water if needed to keep the beans covered. Cook for as long as you want… but keep tasting and add more spice mix if you would like. After several hours, remove the ham hocks, put some of the meat back in the pot if you would like. Remove once cup of beans from the pot and mash them until creamy—add them back to the pot for additional creaminess if desired. Remove the cover for the final 30-60 minutes, or until the sauce is the thickness you prefer. Serve over rice and sprinkle with green onions.

In the same pot, cook the bacon until crisp, and remove to the dish with the other meats. Cook the andouille slices until browned, and add to the bacon, etc. In the bacon fat, sauté the onion, bell pepper and celery until softened. Add the garlic, oregano and thyme, and stir for a minute or so. Stir in the reserved 6 cups of liquid, the beans, bay leaves and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the beans are tender and the liquid is beginning to thicken. This may take anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on whether or not you soaked the beans overnight. Remove the cover and simmer until thickened, probably another 30 minutes.

Stir in the turkey, ham, bacon and sausage. Taste and add salt, pepper, more Cajun seasoning, Tabasco and/or cayenne as desired. Heat the meat through and serve over hot fluffy white rice.

Oven method: If desired, once the beans and seasonings are added, the pot may be covered and cooked in a 300° oven instead of on the stovetop. Remove the cover for the last half hour, and then add meat, etc. as above.