June 19, 2014        

I have three favorite products this summer, two from Ball: their half-gallon jar, and their pint and a half jar. The half gallon fits perfectly in the bottom shelf of my refrigerator and it's only four inches wide, so it doesn't take up very much room for the volume it holds.

I'm infusing water in them with mint, lemon, lime, cilantro, basil, cucumber, and anything else that comes to mind — a refreshing summer drink with no calories and no caffeine. I also use the jars to store veggies I've prepped to go in salads over the week, and cut up melon. They're great for leftover soup because they're so narrow; the soup cools faster than in a standard sized bowl. I used a couple to transport pickled vegetables and shrimp to my family reunion a couple weeks ago; they went right in the ice chest. They run about $15 for a case of six, you can use them over and over again, and unlike plastic containers, they won't absorb the flavor of whatever you store in them.

The pint and a half version is also vertical and about 3-1/2" across the bottom; it's just the right size for mixing salad dressings, remoulade, cocktail sauce, and the immersion blender fits perfectly for making personal sized smoothies and milk shakes. They're running about $13 for a case of nine jars.

The third product that has me happy this summer is my SodaStream. I've got the Source version in red, to match my KitchenAid stand mixer. We prefer bubbly water to still;  the SodaStream saves me about $15-$20 per month on bottled fizzy water, so it's paid for itself in just a few months. My nephews Tommy and John Karl love the soda mixes, and the ability to make soda on demand adds to my status as World's Coolest Aunt in their eyes. I am enjoying adding carbonation to the infused water I described earlier, although I have to admit that adding sliced jalapeño peppers to one jarful left me with something that tasted just like a pepper patch smells.

Saturday, June 28: Kicking Cancer in the Gut: a Fundraiser for Chef Carl Shaubhut. Diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, local chefs are putting on an extravaganza to raise money for Carl's treatment. Click here for details

Enjoy this week's recipes, share them with family and friends, and, as always, let me know what's on your mind

Susan Ford

Susan Ford, President

Our Kitchen & Culture, LLC


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Beef and Noodle Salad


Beef and Noodle Salad

The Vietnamese community is vibrant in south Louisiana, and their cuisine has become one of my absolute favorites. This entrée salad is in regular rotation in my kitchen during the hot summer months. I love the way the hot beef and noodles interact with the cold cucumber, mint, and cilantro - and I have a heavy hand with the minced hot pepper! You'll find the ingredients in the international aisle of a well-stocked grocery store. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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pickled corn and bacon relish

Pickled Corn-Bacon Relish

This is one of those recipes you can only execute in the summer when corn is at its peak of sweetness (10 ears for a dollar right now!!). It is a great addition to any salad, the perfect side dish to grilled fish or beef, and heaven with a side of fried chicken. It makes two quarts and will keep for a week in the refrigerator - assuming it lasts that long. Excerpted from Edward Lee's excellent cook book Smoke & Pickles.

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Pulled Beef Brisket

Pulled Beef Brisket

From Tammy Algood's Southern Slow Cooker Bible, this cooks all day in your slow cooker and will either feed a crowd, or serve as a dinner entrée one day and make for a great sandwich filling later in the week. The ingredient list is long, but the only prep required is measuring them out; you'll likely already have everything in your pantry except the brisket. Nothing tastes more like summer than barbecue.

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Jun 19, 2014 to Jun 22, 2014

New Orleans: Festigals

Jun 20, 2014 to Jun 22, 2014

Des Allemands: Catfish Festival

Shreveport: Let The Good Times Roll Festival

Jun 21, 2014

Gilliam: Sunflower Trail and Festival

Lake Charles: Chick-fil-A Big Trout Bonanza

New Iberia: Clifton Chenier Celebration

Jun 25, 2014 to Jun 29, 2014

New Orleans: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

Jun 26, 2014 to Jun 28, 2014

DeRidder: Beauregard Watermelon Festival

Jun 27, 2014 to Jun 29, 2014

Lacombe: St. Tammany Crab Festival

Jun 27, 2014 to Jun 28, 2014

Ruston: Squire Creek Louisiana Peach Festival

Jun 28, 2014

New Iberia: Lafayette Parish 4-H Horse Show

Jun 28, 2014 to Jun 29, 2014

Ville Platte: Smoked Meat Festival

Queen City FestivalPages

View entire event list here (search by name, city)

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