Monday, May 26, 2014

Have you tried Bebeaux's?

I’ve been so looking forward to the yellow labels of Bebeaux’s Cajun Food arriving at Market Basket stores. Lauren Bebeau tells me I should be on the lookout for samplings. Sounds like they were a big hit dishing out tastes at the Big Store at the beach. I’ve tried  the chicken sausage gumbo and I liked it very much. Just heat and eat the thick, flavored gumbo that tastes very homemade to me.
Lauren says
Bebeaux's Cajun Food is distributed by Zummo Meat Company in Beaumont, Texas.  
“The first product in our line debuting at Market Basket is Bebeaux's Chicken and Sausage Gumbo which includes Zummo's Andouille sausage,” she said. “We are locally owned in Beaumont, Texas. Our company is run by three employees: Fred Bebeau, Greg Prejean, and Lauren Bebeau - all of Beaumont, Texas.”
More dishes are on the way, but get that gumbo now.

Cocktails for Mother Earth
Cucumber Vodka over ice is a cooling thought this season. Add the thought that you are going organic, add some watermelon cubes, diced lime, organic agave nectar, salt and a cucumber slice garnish, then you’re enjoying the peace of mind of a Garden Variety cocktail.
Prairie Organic Spirits is to thank with products made with organic, non-GMO corn grown exclusively on family-owned Midwest farms that embrace sustainable farming methods. After being meticulously cultivated and crafted, farmers then recycle the leftover corncobs to create bio-fuel and feed, makers say.
My guests from Rhode Island had heard of this line and enjoyed some on their swing through Texas, pronouncing their samples smooth. Everyone remarks on the cucumber taste shining through. Pretty bottles complete the sophisticated package. Down here, we’re not so familiar with rhubarb, but I’d love to share some other recipes from “the prairie.”

1 and one half ounce Prairie Organic Vodka
1 and one half ounce pomegranate juice
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Directions: Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf.

1 and one half ounce Prairie Organic Gin
1 spoonful rhubarb jam
1 ounce lemon
Top with soda water.
Serve over ice.

 Amazon Strong
Camu Camu is documented to have the highest concentration of Vitamin C in the plant kingdom and Ama├žari is packaging capsules of what they are billing as a miracle fruit. I’ll say I felt energized during a stretch of days I was eating super pure foods for my health.
Here’s some of what makers say it does:

·         Supports immune system function with extraordinary Vitamin C content
·         Promotes enhanced mood, energy and mental clarity
·         Potent antioxidants protect cells from free radicals
·         Supports joint health with high levels of betulinic acid
·         Fights oxidative damage and signs of aging

Sunday, May 11, 2014

"Dreamgirls" and better business in Southeast Texas

I have a Facebook friend who must have re-typed most of the program to praise all the cast members for the Beaumont Community Theater’s production. My “review” of “Dreamgirls” is much shorter: You will love it. Some little girls I spoke to at intermission were loving the dresses. My mom can’t stop talking about the amazing singing. It’s a really big show.

Better Business Torch Awards
I attended my first Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Marketplace Trust at the Beaumont Civic Center and remain impressed by the large-scale production and packed-house this event drew. Being a foodie, I have to note that guests at the chocolate and Champaign reception were buzzing with talk about bites from the new Sweet Cheeks Macarons, on Boston Avenue in Nederland. The owner says macarons are different from the coconut macaroons we are used to. But, back to the event. With all the fanfare of a marching band, really, one came right through, the night of May 6 unfolded like this:
Entergy Texas, Inc. in Beaumont, Classic Forms & Products, Inc. of Beaumont, and Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas in Beaumont and Orange are the winners of the 2014 Torch Awards for Marketplace Trust, presented by Better Business Bureau Serving Southeast Texas during its 17th annual awards presentation banquet.          BBB Consumer Education Foundation, Inc. helped to contribute to the Scholarship Funding that includes all four-area higher education institutions - Lamar University, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College - Port Arthur, and Lamar State College - Orange.  Proceeds from the Torch Award Banquet and silent auction allowed BBB to contribute toward scholarships for college students across Southeast Texas. Total contributions over the past 17 years now totals $215,000.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Wine works a 'growing' business

We learned about barreling down and crushing when Perry McFaddin Clark shared the growing and bottling process for Amizetta wine his family produces in Napa Valley. The talk was at the McFaddin-Ward House and the wines are named for his mother; the family is tied to the McFaddin family. The packed house learned how grapes grow on a terrace and the climate, weather and other dangers that could nip a vine in the bud, as it were. Each plant has an expected lifetime value of about $2,000 and a hungry gopher could wipe that out in a day. That’s why owls are on the payroll. It takes a lot of love to get that bottle to your table. The program offered a taste of three very fine wines and appropriate pairings in the lovely visitors center.
One of the offerings came with some much-discussed curry-cheese spread on toasted English muffins. I remember that my mother would prepare these for receptions. The aroma brought me back by decades.

I couldn’t resist putting something on Facebook about the tasting the speaker’s sixth grade teacher in California caught it.

Back to the muffins. They are called Curried Moroccan Muffins in the classic “Lagniappe” Junior League cookbook. It includes recipes from their luncheons. Mother was a regular at the Jackie Lytle’s table at Lagniappe Luncheons at Patrizi’s Other Place, The Tower club and the Beaumont Country Club. Jackie’s table mainly consisted of members of the Woman’s Club of Beaumont, an organization that had a great need of appetizers and hors dooeuvres for their own entertaining at their historic club house. They created an adaptation that was a hit at doffees and teas. They always gave verbal credit to the Junior League. This is the recipe in Mom’s “Food Glorious Food” cookbook.

Curried Cheese Olive Canapes
1 small can ripe olives, chopped
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
One half cup fresh parsley, minced
Cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon instant onion
1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
1 garlic clove, pressed
Mayonnaise to make spreading consistency
Butter, softened
1 package sourdough English muffins
Spread butter on muffin halves
Combine all other ingredients using just enough mayonnaise to make a stiff spread. Divide mixture on muffin halves and spread. Refrigerate to firm up.
When ready to serve, cut with electric knife into 6 pie-shaped segments. May be frozen at this pint. To serve, bake until cheese bubbles in 400 degree oven.

Now here’s a hashtag I can get behind. If you love Texas – of course you do! – go ahead and snap some of your favorite scenes and post them as #TexasToDo and then the world will see and want to come to Texas. As a proud Texan, you can show off everything from our bluebonnets and wide open spaces to culinary delights and historic architecture. Don’t forget good times at festivals. Locals showing they love Texas encourages everyone to visit us and spend their valuable tourism dollars in the Lone Star State. It is a beautiful win-win.