Cooking Keto: Smoked Sausage & Vegetable Packets

I cook almost every single day. If I am not cooking dinner (all hail leftovers!), or cooking lunch, I am cooking food for Pippin, my 17 1/2 year-old shih-tzu. While I truly love cooking, sometimes I’d do anything to just pick up the phone and order a pizza so big that everyone, including Pippin, could eat off of it for a week.

Knowing full well I cannot do that and continue to feel good, both physically and mentally, I seek out easy-peasy recipes that take little time to prepare and offer a whole lot of flavor. This is one of those recipes …

Before I start, I want all of you anti-tin-foil renegades to know I hear you. I usually only use aluminium to wrap things up for storage. This recipe is an exception … well, and baking salmon filets, but that’s another story.

Oh and yes, I like to use a lot of local, smoked sausage. What can I say? I like pork! For this recipe, I use Double D Smoked Sausage from Bogalusa, Louisiana. Other brands like Savoie and Manda taste too much like hot dogs to me … not that I am dissing hot dogs! I also think good kielbasa would work if you can’t get your hands some Double D.

Also, I’d like to mention that you can totally put in your own preferred vegetables, whatever you’ve got in the fridge, if you wish. Just make sure there’s onion and a little something acidic like the tomato or some lemon slices. Have fun!

Smoked Sausage & Veggie Packets

1 16oz package of smoked sausage
1 red onion, sliced
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used pre-sliced crimini)
1 sliced yellow bell pepper
12 halved San Marzano tomatoes
1 1/2 cups green beans (steamed for 5 min in the microwave – frozen or fresh)
2-3 Tblsp. butter
Salt & Pepper

Method: Preheat the oven to 400°. Put two large pieces of tin foil on a baking sheet. Cut the sausage into four pieces and put two pieces in each packet. Split the veggies and put half into each packet. Salt and pepper the veggies as desired and dot with butter.

Roast packets in the oven for 30-35 minutes OR if you are blessed to have a grill out back, you can throw the tin foil packets on there and cook for about 20 minutes.

Kick back, relax and let someone else serve it up!

Just breathe …

In an effort to prevent myself from ripping someone’s head off and sh*tting down their neck, I tore out of the apartment to take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Cruising down Louisiana Avenue, I noticed that it was busier than I’d hoped, everyone making wide circles, maintaining our distance as advised. I turned back into the residential area hoping to find more solitude.

My rage began to subside after a few blocks and I turned back towards home, much sweatier and a bit thirstier than I expected, and had to stop and enjoy the beauty of one of my most favorite homes in the neighborhood.

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A Louisiana First: Broad Street Cider & Ale

Pursuing a PhD in history may not be the usual path to opening a cidery, but fortunately for Jonathan Moore and his wife Diana Powell, it was a path that was also strewn in craft beer and cider. In 2010, Moore moved to New Orleans after being accepted to the PhD program at Tulane University. While researching his doctorate, Moore traveled with Powell to the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand (among other destinations) where they not only furthered their love of craft beer, they also developed a taste for hard cider. “We wanted to stay here and I have a few skills, but I don’t do well in office jobs,” Moore admitted with a laugh. “The cidery came about when we decided to make our own jobs.”

Moore had already been home-brewing for several years, but he made the transition from beer to cider-making in New Orleans. Not only is it less labor-intensive, it’s not as temperature-dependent, nor does it need as much quality water to make a great batch of cider. “The juice is more expensive than grain, but it’s a lot less time consuming” says Moore. “My fermenting day … what takes every 8 hours of brewing, takes me about an hour of making cider.” In addition to learning the fermentation process on his own, Moore took a week-long cider-making and cider-startup course at Oregon State University a year before opening Broad Street Cider & Ale in Central City.

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Let them eat (king) cake!

Traditional, French king cakes and where to find them in New Orleans.

Though the king cake traveled to New Orleans from France approximately 150 years ago, the practice actually dates back centuries earlier to ancient pagan festivals. A bean was hidden inside a cake and the man who was lucky enough to find it was made king for a year and then offered to the gods at the end of that year in an annual human sacrifice. Like many other pagan practices, the king cake tradition (minus the sacrifice) was adopted by Christianity and was instead associated with the Epiphany, a feast day that commemorates the coming of the magi and the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.

La Petite Sophie Patisserie
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House of the Week: Greek Revival side hall on Prytania Street

When I moved from the Carrollton neighborhood and back to the Garden District three years ago, there was a house just a few doors down that had been almost wholly razed except for the foundation. As the months passed, construction began, and after a year or so, it almost looked as if it had always been there. They designed the new house (at least the exterior) to look practically identical to the 1830s-era home they tore down.

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Ages ago, when my income was a tad more disposable, I had a bit of a thing for salt and pepper shakers. I admired many sets but bought only a select few, and after a while, I had a mini-collection, approximately ten sets, of which I was rather proud.

Turkey and the Wolf has different S&Ps on every table. This is one of several pictures!

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What I did on my summer vacation …

Surely y’all remember writing about what you did on your summer vacation when you went back to school in September. It seemed like an elementary/middle school English teaching requirement. Naturally, my essays would include a lot of food and not much has changed over time. After 8 long years, I finally was able to take a short vacation thanks to my mother’s plentiful miles and my friend’s willingness to care for my elderly Shih Tzu while I was away.

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Celebrating 48 Years: Palm & Pine

Though some might believe it makes me a terrible food writer, I’m notoriously bad at patronizing pop-ups. I’ll mark them on my Google calendar, get all excited about trying new dishes from daring young chefs eking their way towards their own brick & mortar. Then almost inevitably, something will prevent me from attending … IE. illness, car trouble, money issues, a heated argument with my SO, my lazy ass … you get the idea.

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Trading Thai for tapas

When the Spanish-inspired Costera Restaurant & Bar opened in the Prytania Street building that formerly housed La Thai, I was easily one of the first to try it. My zealousness was not due to the type of restaurant nor was I overly anxious to see what Brian Burns, formerly chef de cuisine at Peche, had in store (well, in all honesty, I was actually a little excited about that). But what really pulled me in there, no joke, was the fact that Costera was an Uptown spot that was open all day long.

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House of the Week: Sidehall Camelback on Coliseum Street

New Orleans’ wretched summer heat is already upon us and it’s not even officially summertime yet. Though I love taking walks with Pippin around my gorgeous neighborhood, my sweet pup turns 17 this year and he’s really slowing down … especially when the heat index is over 90°.  Our long, long walks have recently shortened to a quick jaunt then back into our air-conditioned apartment.

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