Favorite Summer Appetizers & Desserts

TASTY TREATS, GOOD TIMES By: Marcelle Bienvenu I’ve decided that late afternoons on these long summer days are perfect for inviting the neighbors over for a cocktail hour now and then. Mama and Papa often had these impromptu get-togethers years ago on their cool, lush patio and I thought that was so civilized and pleasurable. You might want to do the same! These appetizers and desserts will surely win over the neighbors! PEPPERONCINI-CREAM CHEESE DIP 1 (10-ounce) jar pepperoncini (salad peppers), drained and stemmed 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup sour cream Two or three dashes of hot sauce, […]

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Favorite Summer Drink Recipes

COOL DRINKS, GOOD TIMES By: Marcelle Bienvenu During the summers of my childhood, the highlight of many hot afternoons was sipping homemade lemonade, root beer or tea. What fun we had under the oak trees at Aunt Belle’s slurping the beverages chilled with ice that had been crushed by beating ice cubes wrapped in a towel with an old hammer! These days, what with the plethora of bottled, canned and ready-to- mix drinks on the market, half the fun, that of gathering ingredients and making the concoctions, is gone. With the summer stretching before me, nieces and nephews, some of […]

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Beach Food Recipes – JUNE/JULY 2016

By Marcelle Bienvenu When friends called to invite me and my husband to join them at their beach house at Grayton Beach, Florida, I didn’t have to think about it. I was packing before I ended the phone call. Two other couples would also be joining us and I was ready for some fun in the sun. I dug out my swimsuits, beach towels, beach chairs and umbrella. I stuffed some shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops into my bag and ordered my husband to do the same. Our hosts did ask us to bring food and I’m always at the ready when it comes to packing foodstuffs for […]

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Memorial Day Recipes

Memorial Day Marks the Beginning of Summer By Marcelle Bienvenu When I was a child, I eagerly awaited Memorial Day for it unofficially marked the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. For years, the entire student body of our small Catholic school was bussed to the Evangeline State Park (now a commemorative area) for an all-day picnic with box lunches, baseball and volleyball tournaments, climaxed at the end of the day with cold watermelons that were packed on ice in galvanized tubs. During my teenage years, the program changed. Then, the day began with Papa taking the family to the local cemetery where […]

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Crawfish Recipes for the Crawfish Lover

Crawfish Lover

By Marcelle Bienvenu The weather is getting warmer. The azaleas are about to pop out. The days are getting longer. AND the crawfish season is in full swing. LIFE IS GOOD After stormy weather moved through and the skies cleared, I took off in my old Jeep to investigate the crawfish ponds in rural St.Martin Parish. At my first stop near the Atchafalaya Basin, a crawfisherman greeted me waving a large crawfish. “It looks like we’re going to have a good crop this year,” he smiled gleefully. He handed me the wiggling crawfish and I gave it a once-over. The […]

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Valentine’s Day Recipes

Valentine’s Day Recipes By Marcelle Bienvenu Don’t forget your Valentine! Mardi Gras is early this year (February 9) and everyone in south Louisiana is in a frenzy with parades, balls, King Cake parties, and general merriment. Some may not realize that Valentine’s Day is coming up and may not remember to make plans for dinner with that special someone. Not to worry. I have some ideas for you (gentlemen or ladies) to prepare for the love of your life. Several years ago, a friend (or perhaps it was a foe) presented me with the book DEATH BY CHOCOLATE by Marcel […]

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A Cozy Christmas Dinner

A Cozy Christmas Dinner By Marcelle Bienvenu More often than not, a cast of thousands enjoys most Christmas feasts. At least that’s how it was, and sometimes still is, with our family. Years ago when it was simply Mama’s father, her siblings (which numbered six) and their spouses, which then made it twelve, plus all of their children brought the count up to thirty. Then, later when the children grew up, married and had their own children, we got up to almost fifty. We ate in shifts and the meal lasted over three hours. It was always a great day, […]

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Hunting Season Recipes

Hunting Season Recipes By: Marcelle Bienvenu My duck-hunting friends are getting antsy for the season to arrive. They’ve been busy preparing for what I believe is one of men’s favorite times of the year. Shotguns have been cleaned and oiled, and probably a small fortune has been spent on shells. The duck blinds have been reworked and stand ready for that first cold front to blow in from the west. Decoys have been retrieved from storage to be marked or tagged. Now it’s just a matter of time before they can go forth to their camps, get up before dawn, […]

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Sweet Potatoes Four Ways

Sweet Potatoes Four Ways – Sweet Potato Recipes By Marcelle Bienvenu Sweet potatoes (also known as yams) have long been a part of Louisiana’s history and cuisine. It is believed that the sweet potatoes originated in the West Indies and Central America. According to history, when the French began settling in south Louisiana in 1687, they discovered the native Indians—Attakapas, Alabama, Choctaw and Opelousas tribes—growing and enjoying the tasty, nourishing sweet potatoes. It wasn’t long before the French and Spanish settlers soon made it one of their favorite food items. It’s no wonder that a variety of sweet potato dishes […]

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Blue Plate Special

Blue Plate Special By Marcelle Bienvenu Diners, corner cafes, and Mom and Pop neighborhood bars and restaurants that serve down-home meals, otherwise known as “blue plate specials” may not be as numerous as they used to be, but they are still around. Thank goodness! These institutions usually go the extra mile for their specials, giving large servings and using local ingredients. When I hear the term “blue plate specials” I conjure up such meals as meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas, or smothered chicken with lots of gravy atop a mound of white rice, or better yet, stewed okra and tomatoes […]

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