Though much of my cooking is influenced by the down-home Dirty South dishes (like beans 'n' cornbread, biscuits, casseroles, and the like) my mama and granny made when I was growin' up, there's no denying the importance of the Cajun cuisine of New Orleans. My cookbook will be a mix of dishes from various areas of the South, including my beloved NOLA.
Though I've never lived in New Orleans, the Crescent City has been a favorite vacation destination for years. One of my all-time favorite dishes from the deep, deep South is red beans and rice. But I wanted to mix things up a bit, so I made Cajun Red Beans 'n' Quinoa instead:
That's topped with extra hot sauce and some Slap Yo Mama Cajun seasoning (picked up on my last excursion there in the fall).
I served this hearty main with one of my all-time favorite sides — Fried Green Tomatoes (another cookbook recipe):
It may sound weird, but I've been enjoying these locally-grown fried green 'maters with a side of homemade strawberry jam. The savory cornmeal crust pairs perfectly with the sweet and fruity strawberry spread. Try topping your fried tomatoes with a teaspoon or so of jam next time you make 'em.