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Sunday, August 31, 2014


Rachel Ray has coined a short term for "Extra Virgin Olive Oil": "EVOO".  Well, I have coined a term for a little something I made up (though it may already be thought of, I don't know), it is "Basil and Garlic infused Olive Oil", or "BAGOO".

My poor Basil plant needs a little love.

Do you ever feel like your go-to weeknight spaghetti is a little boring on the tastebuds?  Maybe you're a really good person (GP as I call it) and you don't feel that way.  Well, I'm not a GP and I always want to yawn or go into a comatose state when we sit down to yet another spaghetti meal.  I have a real celebratory streak in me.  So I feel that meals should be a party in your mouth.  Or if not a Monday night party, then at least something to bring a hint of a smile to you and your beloved family members.

Hence I have created (once again, I may not have originally created this…Giada or Bobby or Ina may have already and I just don't know about it) the Basil and Garlic Olive Oil.  
This is all you need:
(you guessed it) basil, garlic and olive oil  

Instructions are simple.  Whatever pasta dish you're doing (spaghetti, pasta salad, or even macaroni)…just boil the pasta as directed on the box and strain.  You will then return the pot to medium heat and add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil (more if you're making a large portion).  You will then add minced garlic (amount depends on how much you like garlic).  Once the garlic is aromatic, you will add in the chopped basil leaves (amount depends on how much you like basil).  I like strong flavors (hence the party in the mouth), so you do the math. :)  Let that simmer for maybe 1 minute and then throw the pasta back to the pot.  Stir it around so that the oil covers the noodles and then remove from heat.  Now you can add the tomato meat sauce (spaghetti) or cheeses (macaroni), or pasta salad ingredients.  

This little trick serves to liven up whatever pasta dish you are preparing.

I have to admit, there is one celebrity I think of when cooking with Basil and Garlic.  Early in my dating days with my husband, we often cooked complicated recipes together instead of going out to restaurants.  Our soundtrack to these nights was often a trumpet player named Chris Botti.  Several years ago, we went to a concert of his at the Riley Center in Meridian, MS.  We got to meet him afterwards.
Chris Botti

I particularly like Basil, so that is why I do "Bagoo".  You may prefer another herb.  You might want to  make Cagoo (cilantro), or maybe Pagoo (parsley).  Whatever you decide, good luck with your flavor-infused dish.


Friday, August 22, 2014

A New Orleans Affair

Our dear Erica is taking a short leave of absence from our blog for the small reason that she has recently GOTTEN MARRIED!  She is no longer Erica Enger.  She is now Mrs. Erica Cross!

The wedding was of course, ridiculously sweet and beautiful.  It took place in the wonderful city of New Orleans, LA. (you may recall this is the place where we met Nate Ruess, ahem, the lead singer of FUN.)… insert pic again:  

If I were to describe the wedding weekend through a list of words/phrases, this would be my compilation:
Commander's Palace
Giant Marti Gras beads
Praline Cheesecake
Chicory Coffee (thick enough you could almost chew it)
A certain family photo pose
Rhyming/poetic expression
Nice weather uncharacteristic of New Orleans summers
Old and new friendships
Gorgeous flowers
Navy Blue
Rosary beads
Umbrellas and Handkerchiefs
My own flower girl and ring bearer
Lousiana Spice-the best band ever!
Seafood Pasta, Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, and mini Muffalettas
Shuttle bus
Last minute seamstress job
Lots of love, hugs and kisses

The recipe I will give in honor of Mrs. Cross's wedding weekend is a favorite of our's from a hole-in-the-wall bars-on-the-windows deli at the very end of Royal Street.  This little hidden gem is called Verti Marte and they happen to serve up the absolute best everything-on-it po'boys in the city.  I actually called this place and asked the unfortunate soul who answered, to describe to me exactly how they make it.

                 So here it is, in an approximation of how I was told, in New Orleans accent, I give you:

The All that Jazz Po'boy
courtesy of Verti Marte

Baby, first you're gonna slice some mushrooms, alright?
Then you're gonna throw them into a pan to sautee on medium heat along with some shrimp.
Once that is done, you put it on a plate and throw in the ham and the turkey.
Then, Darlin, you're gonna put a slice of swiss and a slice of cheddar on the meat to melt.
Once it's melted, turn the heat off.
Slather Wow sauce on both sides of the open, toasted French bread.
You got it Baby?
Me: Yes sir.
Alright then, you're gonna first put the shrimp/mushroom mixture on the bread.
Then throw on the ham, turkey, and cheeses mixture and you got your sandwich.
Me: So how do you make the Wow sauce?
Baby, I can't tell you that, alright?  But I can tell you to get some tartar sauce and add a lot of seasonings, whatever you want to it.  

That is one delicious sandwich!

My version of Wow sauce was tartar sauce with Garlic Salt, Pepper, and Cajun Seasoning.  Just taste it as you're making it to get it right.

And now for a little Blog Beautification:

Cheers to the happy couple!  We raise our glasses and sandwiches to you, Dr. and Mrs. Britt Cross!