POSTED: Friday, March 15, 2013 - 5:00am
UPDATED: Friday, March 15, 2013 - 5:04am
Baton Rouge, La — Louisiana’s identity is inextricably tied to its famous foods; gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, and étouffée are among the delicious dishes that locals cherish and visitors remember. But Louisiana’s traditional cuisine has undergone a recent revision, incorporating more local ingredients and focusing on healthier cooking styles. In “The Fresh Table,” now available from LSU Press, locavore and native New Orleanian Helana Brigman shares more than a hundred recipes that reflect these changes, while taking advantage of the state’s year-round growing season.
Her book offers staples of Louisiana fare – seafood, sausage, tomatoes, peppers and plenty of spices – pairing these elements with advice about stocking one’s pantry, useful substitutions for ingredients, and online resources for out-of-state cooks. Brigman equips every kitchen from New Orleans to New York with information about how to serve Louisiana cuisine all year round.
With each season “The Fresh Table” provides an irresistible selection of recipes like Petite Crab Cakes with Cajun Dipping Sauce, Rosemary Pumpkin Soup served in a baked pumpkin, Fig Prosciutto Salad with Goat Cheese and Spinach, Grilled Sausage with Blackened Summer Squash, Blueberry Balsamic Gelato, and Watermelon Juice with Basil. Brigman introduces each recipe with a personal story that adds the last ingredient required for any Louisiana dish – a connection with and appreciation for one’s community.
Brigman is the creator of the blog Clearly Delicious, winner of the 2011 Blogger Chile Recipe Challenge from Marx Foods. A food writer, photographer and cook, she writes the “Fresh Ideas” column for the Baton Rouge Advocate and her work has appeared in “Louisiana Cookin’.” Her daily recipes can be found at http://www.clearlydeliciousfoodblog.com/ .