Archive | 8:06 pm

The World’s Best Beef Jerky!

22 Nov

Forget about commercial Slim Jim and Jack Links’ jerky, the world’s finest dried and spiced meat is made by our friends at Bourque Specialties in Port Barre, LA. We first met Shannon and Chad Bourque when we were road tripping through the Bayou a couple year’s back. I was blown away with their product quality and their friendliness, so we decided to share them with the rest of the planet. Lucky you!  


Shannon & Chad are seen above toting a mess of delicious boudin


The beef jerky is packed as you see it above. The meat is incredibly spicy and smoky. It is also pretty darn tender as far as beef jerkys go. No, this stuff will not rip your dentures out. However, the flavor is over the top fabulous. I challenge you to find a better jerky anywhere. This is perhaps the world’s most perfect food for delivering maximum protein and taste.  


Want some now? Never fear, Bourque’s ships their products worldwide.


The pork boudin at Bourque’s is also world class. Made of pork, rice and spices, the boudin is best when squeezed atop a Saltine cracker and blasted with a splash of Tabasco sauce. At least that is how we roll here at  


The staff at Bourque’s has your boudin links waiting, so order today y’all!


More on Bourque’s later – including a review of their creamy Crab & Corn Soup!

Mississippi Fred McDowell – “John Henry”

22 Nov

Great clip, but sadly a lost art.

Nobody is making music like this anymore. Shame!

Soups and Salads – Some of the Best

22 Nov

The weather here in FL has been unseasonably chilly (I can’t say cold) this past week. It’s 9 a.m. as I type this and the temp is a nippy 50 degrees — BRRRRR!!!! (: And when the weather turns cooler, I always seem to have a craving for a bowl of soup. I have given in to that craving and sampled a variety of soups at local eateries in and around Sarasota. Here are a few of the highlights:


French Onion Soup at The Polo Grill – The Polo Grill is located in Lakewood Ranch, an upscale planned community just east of I-75. The help is always friendly and the setting is sophisticated but casual. There are polo matches played nearby, hence the name. As for the soup, it is swimming with onions and topped with a decadent blanket of white (gruyere?) cheese. It’s messy to eat, but it is totally worth the adventure. Tuck in that cloth napkin and go to town!  


Seafood Soups and Stews at Whole Foods – I have already talked about their wonderful Seafood Cioppino in a previous blog. Since then, I have discovered many other joys of the Whole Foods “Soup Bar.” You really can’t go wrong with the creamy Lobster Bisque, the chunky New England Clam Chowder, or the Roasted Corn and Shrimp Chowder. I sampled the latter for the first time this week and I wasn’t disappointed. Great flavor and not so creamy that you feel like you’ve cheated on your diet. I grabbed a mini baguette and a spring water and enjoyed a really nice lunch for about $6.00.   

Many restaurants around here offer soup and salad combos, other times it just makes sense to pair the two together. It makes for a reasonably healthy and satisfying meal. Two of my favorite salads are featured below:

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad at The Polo Grill – One word: Incredible. Huge chunks of blue cheese and freshly cut pears. The mountain of fresh greens (speckled with pecan pieces) is drizzled with a delicious cherry-based dressing. Give it a try if you ever get to the Polo Grill.


The Fuji Apple Chicken Salad at Panera Bread – Panera is virtually everywhere, so many more of you can take advantage of this one. I became addicted to the Fuji when I was living in Houston. There was a Panera just a stones throw from my office and, believe me, I took advantage of it. The true tastemakers of this dish are the balsamic apple vinaigrette and the pungent Gorganzola cheese. The salad, topped with crisp apple chips, comes with your choice of french bread or an apple. I always opt for the french bread, although you might want to fork over the extra dough (a little bakery humor, folks) for the Asiago Cheese bread — it is amazing! 

Now, get out there and eat with confidence this holiday season!

Ambrosia Macaroons

22 Nov


Can’t wait to try this recipe — found in Bon Appetit magazine.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  • 3 large eggs
  • 24 oz sweetened flaked coconut (about 6 cups firmly packed)
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted


  • Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and salt; beat until blended. Beat in orange peel, then eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in coconut. Drop batter onto sheets by tablespoonfuls, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart.
  • Bake macaroons, 1 sheet at a time, until golden on bottom and browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on sheets.
  • Using fork, drizzle chocolate over macaroons. Chill on sheets until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Cashew Pie

22 Nov



Serves 12

Coating a pie crust in chocolate adds decadent flavor and helps keep the crust from getting soggy. This easy-to-make pie can be made a day or two ahead of time.


1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, preferably Belgian
1 prepared 9-inch pie crust, cold or frozen
1 cup brown rice syrup or corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if cashews are salted)
2 cups cashew pieces


Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave then brush interior of pie crust generously with chocolate, avoiding the fluted edges; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Stir in cashews then pour contents of bowl into piecrust. Bake until center is thickened but not quite set, about 45 minutes. Transfer pie to a rack and set aside to let cool completely. (Pie will set completely as it cools.) Serve pie at room temperature.