Saturday, February 27, 2010

Swamp Scum, Bayou Blend Seasoning, and a Mossy Bayou Giveaway!

(Giveaway Now Closed)

I recently had the opportunity to try some of the products available from Mossy Bayou Foods. They sent me a bottle of their award winning Swamp Scum hot sauce, their Bayou Blend seasoning blend, and a package of their Cajun Fried Pecans. Being a Louisiana gal myself, I was eager to receive these products and give them a try.

First up was the Bayou Blend seasoning mix. I first applied the sniff test, and it smelled strongly of chili powder, so I was a bit apprehensive about it--I like Cajun seasoning and I use it almost everything, but I'm not a big fan of hot just for the sake of hot. Once I used it, this stuff put my fears to rest. I used it in every kind of savory dish imaginable, from vegetables to meat to gravy, just as I would any good seasoning blend. It's spicy without being too hot--Mossy Bayou's website describes it as "a special blend of Cajun spices, with an added Mexican accent". It has no salt, which surprised me, and no MSG.

The next product that I tried was the mysterious Swamp Scum hot sauce. This is not your typical hot sauce--for one thing, it looks black in the bottle, and when you use it the color is sort of greeny-black. Not a pretty sauce. But the smell--ahh, the smell is wonderful! It has the most delicious sweet/spicy/smoky smell. Even though I'm from Louisiana, I'm particular about the hot sauce I use. As I mentioned above, I don't like "hot" just for the sake of heat, I like flavor with my spice, and this one also did not disappoint. I used this on chicken fajitas, and as a seasoning on a Cajun spiced pot roast that came out melting-in-your-mouth good. It may not look pretty, but it's a definite keeper for me.

And last but not least, the Cajun Fried Pecans--I love roasted pecans, and these were a tasty change from the usual sweet pecans I enjoy when I can.

And now, for the fun part--Mossy Bayou is sponsoring a giveaway package for one lucky reader, comprised of :
  • Swamp Scum hot sauce
  • Bayou Blend seasoning
  • Louisiana popcorn rice
  • Original Cajun Chow Chow
  • Pepper Fiesta Pepper Jelly

This could help you feast on good old Cajun food for some time to come!

The giveaways is now closed--thanks for your interest!

To enter, leave your name, email address, and comment on the giveaway form telling me which Mossy Bayou product you'd most like to try. The giveaway will be open until next Sunday, March 7, 2010, at 6:00 p.m. central time.

As always, your information will not be shared, and will be used for the purposes of this giveaway only.

(Disclosure: I received the products listed above for review and promotional purposes only, and did not receive any other compensation for doing the review or the giveaway, and the opinions expressed are those of my own.)

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Quick and Easy Hamantaschen

I had hoped to get this post up a little earlier, but while I'm at home in Louisiana I'm on dial-up internet most of the time, so posts come much slower!

Sunday is Purim, the celebration of the deliverance of Israel from the hand of the enemy as told in the book of Esther. I thought I'd share this quick and easy version of hamentaschen, or Haman's hats, that I came up with a few years ago. (hiss, hiss, stomp, clap) (In order to obliviate the very name of Haman, who schemed to destroy God's people, when the story of Esther is read or told, the audience must hiss or stomp or use noisemakers anytime his name is mentioned--thus the "hiss, hiss, stomp, clap"!)

  • pie crust--for this I want a smooth, even crust, so I use my old faithful ready-made crusts
  • pie filling of your choice--I like cinnamon spice apple, or blueberry
  • powdered sugar to sift over the finished product
You need a pie filling with small "bits", so when I do this with apple filling, I use my pastry cutter to smash the pieces so that I have smaller pieces of fruit.

Use a biscuit cutter or the top of a glass to cut as many circles as you can get from your pie crust. You can take the bits that are left and re-roll and cut again, if you like.

Place a small amount of the filling on each circle--I used a heaping tablespoon, and almost overfilled some of mine.

Fold the sides up into the traditional three-cornered hat shape.

It's been a couple of years since I made these, and the first batch I did started coming apart at the corners when they started baking, so I really pinched the corners together on the next batch.

Bake at 400-450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet to a cooling tray. (This was the first batch--see how they started coming apart? Still tasted good, though!)

Dust with powdered sugar right before serving.

These are so good--I'm not usually a big fan of fruit pies, especially apple, but these just the right proportion of crust to filling--and big dollop of whipped cream on top doesn't hurt any, either! (I suspect they would be good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, too, but they never seem to last long enough for me to get to try that.)

This post is linked to:

Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Meatless Mondays at Sweet and Savory
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sour Cream Pound Cake--Made From a Mix!

I've been in a food rut. Again. Since the holidays I've been cooking less in general, and not much that's been new or different or blog-worthy in particular.

This weekend I decided to jump back into the kitchen by making an old stand-by--what I call sour cream pound cake. It's a beautiful basic cake that can be eaten plain, warm from the oven, dripping in strawberries and whipped cream, or frosted. I usually make this in an angel food style tube pan, but I've also made it in a bundt pan, as a sheet cake, in loaf pans, and even as cupcakes.

It's a cake that starts from a mix but becomes so much more by the addition of a few key ingredients.


  • Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden cake mix
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c cooking oil
  • 8 oz container sour cream
  • 4 eggs

Mix all ingredients until blended, then beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour into a cooking sprayed pan. For a tube pan, bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. At the end of 50 minutes, I turn the oven off, and leave the pan in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

If I use a removal center tube pan (like an angel food cake pan), I remove the outside ring and allow the cake to cool on the inner ring. (If you try to take it off the ring too soon, it will probably fall apart, or at least crack). When I use a bundt pan, I cool for about 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to finish cooling.

This time, I left it completely plain--sometimes I sift powdered sugar over the top.

This is one of those cakes that's delicious eaten plain, warm from the oven, but it also gets better and better the longer it sits--just be sure to cover it well.

I love this cake--so easy to make, but it tastes like you really did something special. I make it often in two loaf pans to give as a gifts, and nearly always get a recipe request.

This post is linked to:
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Until next time--good cooking, and good eating!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Quick and Easy Garlic Cheese Biscuits

One of the early recipes I posted here was for a quick bread my home-ec teacher (a millions years ago!) used to call "bachelor rolls" . The short-and-sweet version of this is 1 c flour, 1/2 c milk, and 1/4 c mayonnaise. Mix it all together, put in a muffin tin, and bake a 450 for 10-15 minutes.

I made these not long ago for the first time in a long time, and they're really more like a rough biscuit instead of a roll. The texture reminded me a lot of some cheesy garlic drop biscuits I made last year from a Martha White mix, so I decided to see if I could tweak it just a bit and make my own garlic cheese biscuits--and from scratch, yet, can you believe it? I looked at some recipes on-line just to see what kind of proportions of cheese-and-garlic to other ingredients to use, and came up with this version--quick and easy always, made from common, on-hand-for-most-of-us ingredients, and delicious, to boot:

  • 1 c self-rising flour
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 t garlic powder

In a small mixing bowl, stir the garlic powder into the flour. Add the mayo and milk, stirring to combine, then stir in the cheese. Divide into a cooking-sprayed or lightly greased muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are browned.

I want to make this one again, but I need to tweak it just a bit. My husband thought the cheese was too strong--I used mostly cheddar cheese with just a bit of Mexican blend. I don't think it was the cheese, though. I think it was the mayo that was a bit too strong--to be honest, I was throwing this together and I may have been just a bit heavy-handed with the mayo. And to top it all off, I was at the bottom of my garlic powder and I don't think the garlic was fresh and strong enough.

In conclusion--a keeper, but I'm going to try these again with fresh garlic powder and maybe only 3 tablespoons of mayo and see how they turn out.

This post is linked to:

Meatless Monday at Sweet and Savory

Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff

Tempt my TummyTuesday at Blessed with Grace

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Super Bowl Party Foods and Snacks

Anybody ever heard of a big ol' football game called the Super Bowl? I've vaguely heard of it, how about you? All this Louisiana gal can say about it is:


I have a confession to make--if the Saints weren't playing, I probably wouldn't even watch. I come from a family of sports fans, but I never really caught the bug, myself. Although I do have gleeful memories of the year my sister and I picked the World Series winning team--based on the color of their uniforms and the cuteness of the players. My brother almost died when our team won, too!

The best part of the Big Game, in my opinion, is the food. Any excuse for a party, right?

You can't have a party without chips and dip...

One of my new favorite quick and easy "un-recipes"...

Party Pinwheels

Gotta have some cocktail sausages...

Lit'l Smokies and cheese platter

Cocktail smokies in sauce

And if you want something yummy but just a bit more "solid", there's always...

Tamale Bake

Stuffed Bread

And one of my favorites (definitely a make-ahead) BBQ brisket sandwiches made from Slow-Cooked Oven Baked Brisket

What goodies are you cooking up this football weekend?

This post is linked to:

Foodie Friday
at Designs by Gollum
Recipe Swap at The Grocery Cart Challenge
Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life with Mom

Until next time, good cooking and good eating!