Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Letting The Good Times Roll...

As previously mentioned, I just got back from a long weekend in New Orleans. There, there...I know you're jealous, but if it makes you feel any better, it poured the first two days we were there. Seriously, we left the first day of the festival soaked to the bone and covered in about three inches of mud. Still, we had the best time in the Crescent City. Between all of the food and the fabulous music, I couldn't have asked for a better time. So what did we eat, you might ask? It's pretty sick, so don't judge me! Ahem. The list includes a muffuletta, boudin, jambalaya, cracklins, spicy meat pie, a pulled pork po-boy, gumbo, praline effin' bacon (aw yeah) and so much more. Thank goodness we walked everywhere!
And almost better than the food, if that's possible, was the music. We heard so many wonderful bands from all corners of the globe...We saw George Clinton, the Black Crowes, Cowboy Mouth, the Meters, Terence Blanchard and SIMON AND GARFUNKEL!!! It's true - one of my favorite bands of all time reunited to play the show and let me tell ya, it was an unbelievable experience. I'm still giddy.

Anyhoo, for all of you fellow NOLA food fans, here are some low-calorie variations of two of their most famous menu items.

CHICKEN JAMBALAYA
Ingredients:
1 spray non-fat cooking spray
2 1/2 oz raw turkey sausage, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium celery, stalk, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium chicken breast, cooked, skinless, cubed (about 2 cups)
28 oz canned tomatoes, whole, plum, peeled with juice
2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 cup uncooked white rice, long-grain
Directions:
1. Coat a large, nonstick saucepan with cooking spray. Over high heat, sauté sausage until crispy on edges. Add onion, celery and green pepper; sauté until tender.
Reduce heat and stir in cayenne, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic; sauté until garlic is fragrant.
2. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, broth and rice. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Flavor Booster: Popcorn rice, a specialty of Louisiana, is a delicious substitute for long-grain rice. The rice, which has a mild nutty taste like basmati rice, is available through gourmet food stores and Internet specialty shops

BEIGNETS
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons granulated Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for frying
Powdered sugar
Directions:
1. In a saucepan, combine Splenda, salt, butter, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil.
2. Add flour and cook over medium heat, beating with spoon until dough forms a ball and leaves side of pan. Remove from heat.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with electric mixer at medium speed after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth.
4. Mix in vanilla.
5. Roll dough on a floured surface and cut into 2-inch squares.
6. In skillet, heat 1 to 2-inches of oil. Then fry dough (three or four pieces at a time) until puffy and golden brown on both sides.
8. Remove beignets and drain on paper towels. While hot, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

And, here are some videos of my favorite folk duo, because I HEART S&G.





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