Friday, October 31, 2014

Boucherie: Our Favorite Meal in New Orleans

Vacation.  One of the most beautiful words I know.  This week, we traveled down to New Orleans, a town I had never been to and had a blast.  We ate (alot), we drank (a little) and we explored (until our feet ached.)

One of my favorite things about NOLA was the amazing food scene.  We had plenty of delicious seafood, creole delights & beignets, but our favorite meal was none of those things.  The best meal we had in New Orleans was in a converted home turned restaurant tucked into the Uptown neighborhood, miles away from the French Quarter.  We decided to visit Boucherie after reading Joy the Baker's page on her NOLA favs.

I am so glad I looked at her page.  Boucherie is cute & casual, with all the charms of a small restaurant, but their food was big & bold.  Everything we tasted was unexpected but wonderfully comforting & the staff was full of Southern friendliness. 

From the moment we opened the door, everyone we encountered was warm & talkative, which I can appreciate as a Texan & my husband, who would have a pleasant conversation with just about anyone, loved.  We started out the evening waiting at their 4 seat bar with a glass of prosecco & good conversation with the bartender. 

I have to warn you, the photos you about to see are not the best ones I have ever taken.  We went to Boucherie well after dark & I have not yet perfected my 'night time' photo skills, so please know that the food is 1,000 times better than anything looks in these pics.

Our first tastes were a couple of small plates, including the one above, which was a special for the evening.  It was local raised beef, stuffed inside of bok choy with a rich sauce and watermelon radishes.  Yum.  The flavor was rich & smooth, & that beef was so hearty.  

Along with the beefy goodness, we had a plate of collard greens & grit fries.  I know now that you have not truly had grits until you have had fried grits.  Wow, the crispy crust & still creamy inside of those fries, oh my.  The bed of sauteed collards was dressed in a strong beef infused gravy that just screamed Southern comfort.  This dish was a great blend of tradition meets modern meets call your Mom delicious. 

Next up were the large plates.  These did not disappoint.  Andrew's Pulled Pork Cake with Fingerling Potato Confit, Sauteed Kale & Smokey Jus was fun, inventive & so tasty.  The pulled pork was juicy & tender, the potatoes were crispy & the whole thing just worked.

My Pan Seared Duck Breast, with Crispy Pea & Vegetable Succotash with Peach & Almond Pesto was divine.  I've never had a more well cooked piece of duck & the pesto was a wonderful bite of freshness that I used to top off every bite of meat.  The crispy peas & succotash were a nice contrast. 

As you can see, we ate everything down to the very last bite. 

Even though we were stuffed beyond belief by the time we were through the entrees, we just couldn't pass up the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.  This take on a Southern favorite was the perfect end-of-meal treat.  The top had just a bit of crunch & the inside was very soft & creamy.  And if you're thinking that it would sickeningly sweet, you'd be wrong.  It was surprisingly not anywhere near as 'sugary' as I was thinking, just rich.  Oh so rich.  One piece was just right for Andrew & I.

If you are anywhere near the New Orleans area, check out Boucherie.  It's a can't-miss.


Lunch: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Dinner: 5:30 - 9:30 p.m., Tuesday - Saturday

8115 Jeannette St. New Orleans, LA 70118


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Easy Like Sunday Morning: Pretzel Croissants for Two

Did you know that there is a delicious, flaky, buttery, hint of pretzel flavored goodness called a Pretzel Croissant?  And most likely, you can find a box of these delectable treats in the bakery section of your local grocery store?

I had no idea either, but when I happened upon these while strolling through my neighborhood H-E-B Saturday afternoon, I knew they had to be mine.  Had. to . be.  And I'm so glad I threw them in my basket. 


These baked beauties were just right for a Sunday morning breakfast for Andrew & I.  I toasted them up & slathered them with some homemade honey walnut cream cheese & topped them off with fresh raspberries.  Oh My Yum! 

Pretzel Croissants for Two

with Honey Walnut Cream Cheese & Fresh Raspberries

 Serves 2

1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
3 TBS chopped walnut pieces
1 t. honey

1/2 container fresh raspberries, washed and halved

2 Pretzel Croissants, split lengthwise in half
1 TBS softened butter

Whip together cream cheese & honey for a few second to combine.  Fold in walnuts.  Set aside.

Slice each croissant lengthwise and liberally butter each half.  On a warmed griddle pan, toast each half of the croissant, butter side down.  This should only take a minute or two.

Top bottom half of each croissant with cream cheese spread and top with halved raspberries.  Finish off with the second half of the croissant.  Enjoy!

So tasty!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Ghoulishly Glitter Halloween with Dollar Tree

The items in this post were provided courtesy of Dollar Tree, though all thoughts & opinions are honest & my own. 

I love Halloween.  I'm not much for donning a costume, but I really enjoy dressing the house up in it's spookiest decor for the holiday.  The dramatic black decorations with pops of bright, bold just makes the house so fun!

When Dollar Tree approached me about sending a box of spooky swag, I howled with delight.  Dollar Tree is one of my absolute favorite stores for craft finds.  They always have a great selection of seasonal gear for making any celebration magical.  And each and every thing is only a dollar.  You don't even have to feel guilty about your holiday haul!     

After spending the weekend with my sister, who never met a glitter item she didn't like, I decided that for this table display, I wanted a little glitz.  Well, maybe a smidge more than 'little.'  But I love it.  I mean gold. glitter. Halloween.  How could it be wrong?!?

I started by picking out a fun skull head and a sweet little pumpkin out my Dollar Tree box & pulling out some glitter paint and a big 'ol container of gold glitter.  Make sure you're working outside or over a surface that you can clean easily, glitter will end up sprinkled over everything!  The process doesn't take nearly as long as you'd think, but it is messy, so be prepared.  Then I got busy brushing on paint over one section of the skull at a time, laying it on thick & immediately sprinkling it with glitter.  Note, don't try to use a foam brush.  I tried on a previous project & it did not work. At all.  Use a bristled brush.  Paint, glitter, repeat, repeat repeat.  I covered the bottom half of the skull, then turned it over to dry for a few hours, came back & painted/glittered the top half so that all that sparkly gold stayed in place.

After glittering this scary skull up, I decided he needed a bewitching flower crown to add an enchanting touch.  I used a bit of sparkly black floral wire, measured it around the skull head and then bent it to create the base of the crown. I took a bunch of Dollar Tree black roses and a few red and pink flowers and figured out the arrangement I wanted.  I decided to take a couple of the leaves from the bunch of black roses & attached them to the backs of the pink & red blooms to make them a bit more Halloween worthy.  I think it added just the right touch.  I put a tiny blob of hot glue between the back of the flower & the front of the leaf piece, just to make sure they stayed together.  Then, positioning each bloom in between the strands of wire, I hot glued each flower in place.  I was not stingy with the hot glue either, making sure to get it into each crevice and corner so the blossoms don't fall out.

After waiting for everything to cool off & dry, I propped the crown on my skeleton head.  A little Dia De Los Muertos, alotta fun!

I then made my way to the pumpkin & his stripes.  While a completely gold pumpkin would be fab, I thought stripes would be fun too.  Turns out I was right!  My sister helped me with this one & we had a blast.  She painted while I was on glitter duty.  It made easy work for both of us.

Dollar Tree made this tablescape so easy.  I just added some jars I had around the house, my favorite white cakes stands and a few of my favorite black babbles for a little extra glitz.  For the bottles of 'potion' I used a little food coloring in water.  I had such a great time putting together this 'Witch's Lair' of fun!

For more creative holiday Dollar Tree crafting ideas, be sure to visit: