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  • Millie | Add A LittleFebruary 1, 2015 - 1:42 am

    Beautiful shots as usual – but now I’m yearning for a trip to New Orleans!ReplyCancel

  • Mallory @forkvsspoonFebruary 2, 2015 - 10:03 am

    Love the shots! Makes me want to book a trip this instant…ReplyCancel

  • Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabblesFebruary 2, 2015 - 5:59 pm

    Whoa. All that gorgeous food and drink. WANT! Looks like it was a wonderful tasty trip!ReplyCancel

  • Brandon @ Kitchen KonfidenceFebruary 2, 2015 - 7:48 pm

    Such an amazing trip. I was following along on Instagram :) I can’t wait to get down to NOLA myself.ReplyCancel

  • Anne Bailey BermanFebruary 2, 2015 - 10:58 pm

    Fantastic. You so captured the food of NOLA from high end to casual. Nicely done but I am surprised that these were all you went to in four and a half days?!ReplyCancel

Shrimp Fritters with Chipotle Tzatziki

I can’t even think about fried food right now. All I want is a big salad or a piece of poached fish. Simple, healthy, clean. Shrimp fritters are a no-go in my life. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy them. I’m sure at some point I’ll recover from our trip to NOLA, but for the next few weeks, I’m keeping things light. That’s what five days of shrimp and grits, fried oyster po’ boys, beignets, and Sazeracs will do to a person. No regrets, though. None at all.

Our time in New Orleans was memorable and we left with a good feel for the city. When we travel, I like to do one activity each day and we managed to do that. On our first day, we took the trolley up to the sculpture garden, which is situated in City Park next to the New Orleans Museum of Art.  Entry to the garden is free, and one can easily spend an hour perusing the 63 sculptures.

Looking to get a bit more general history of the city, we signed up for a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery 1. The hour and a half spent walking with our guide was packed with information (some of which I’m sure we missed since he spoke at a dizzying pace). Having now seen the above-ground vaults, I need to watch the infamous scene from Easy Rider again. Apparently (and not terribly surprising), part of the movie was filmed without permission from the city and, ever since 1969, no other films have been allowed to shoot inside the cemetery.

Our third day was a bit rainy, which made for the perfect museum day. The Ogden was down the street from where we were staying. A relatively compact museum, the exhibits gave us a great foundation on Southern art.

But the part I’ll remember the most was what we did on our last day. A friend who lives locally offered to pick us up to drive around the Ninth Ward. While a few buildings have been constructed over the years since Hurricane Katrina (mainly those financed by Brad Pitt), not much has been developed in this area. There are huge gaps between the houses. Instead of a city, it resembles a more rural neighborhood. A number of these houses are in a state of complete disrepair and should have been demolished years ago. Yet they haven’t been touched and just sit there. It’s a sobering sight; one that anyone visiting New Orleans should see.

I’m not sure when Eric and I will have a chance to return for another visit, but we already have a list of eats, drinks and landmarks we missed on this trip. And speaking of dining, I’ll be sure to share my recommendations later this week.

Back to these fritters! So, see that book down there? These fritters are a result of that beautiful book by Ashley Rodriguez (of Not Without Salt fame). I’ve read through Date Night In once already (a sign of a stellar cookbook is that you read it from cover to cover) and have already gone back through passages. I just love them so much. Now, shrimp fritters aren’t in the book, but a tzatziki dressing is and I went off of that. Because a fried frittery thing, especially one with a bit of a kick, needs a yogurt dipping sauce to cool things down (I should note that I modified it a bit by adding some chipotle pepper to give it a little smokiness).

For other a multitude of wonderful recipes and deeply personal stories by Ashley, be sure to buy her book. Don’t wait. Go. Now. 

Shrimp Fritters with Chipotle Tzatziki Shrimp Fritters with Chipotle Tzatziki Shrimp Fritters with Chipotle Tzatziki Shrimp Fritters with Chipotle Tzatziki Date Night InDate Night In triptichShrimp Fritters with Chipotle TzatzikiShrimp Fritters with Chipotle Tzatziki View full post »

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  • LirenJanuary 26, 2015 - 1:54 am

    I will gladly take this beautiful platter of shrimp fritters off your hands while you detox from your trip, Brian. I know my husband will love it, too, he’s been bugging me about a similar dish, so how appropriate that it’s from Ashley’s new book!

    I’ve been following your delicious escapades and am reminding myself that I need to make it down to New Orleans to taste it all for myself. I’m so glad you had such a wonderful time! Welcome home, and good luck getting back into reality again :)ReplyCancel

  • CarrieJanuary 26, 2015 - 9:09 am

    I typically don’t like shrimp, but fried? I’m sure I could eat far too many of these little babies.ReplyCancel

  • Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabblesJanuary 26, 2015 - 4:35 pm

    Your trip sounds wonderful. And these shrimp fritters. Fantastic!! I need to get my hands on that book, looks like a good one.ReplyCancel

  • EileenJanuary 26, 2015 - 5:59 pm

    We had a very similar ZOMG GIVE ME SALAD reaction after our visit to NOLA too! I heartily sympathize. Glad you guys had a good time! And these fritters sound delightful too. Love the idea of fennel with shrimp.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Baron RodriguezJanuary 26, 2015 - 7:22 pm

    Thanks for this post, friend. I LOVE the look of those fritters. Perfect with that dressing.ReplyCancel

  • AliseJanuary 28, 2015 - 12:34 am

    You’re killing me! I am on a juice reboot and this is the first things I have seen that makes me want to cheat. Looks so decadent!ReplyCancel

  • francescaJanuary 28, 2015 - 1:24 am

    Sounds like you had a lovely little trip. Had no idea Mr. Pitt invested money in re-infastructure (handsome and philanthropic). I know what you mean about taking it all in, then wanting some space from whatever the indulgent thing is – that’s how I felt about baguette and tomato after leaving Barcelona.
    Chipotle Tzatziki sounds amazing.ReplyCancel

  • MonetJanuary 28, 2015 - 11:29 pm

    I have yet to visit New Orleans (despite the fact that is where my grandparents are from!) I’m hoping we’ll get a chance this year. These shrimp fritters look amazing. Decadent and divine. I’m so sorry I haven’t commented in forever. I’ve been swamped with births. But I love what you do, and you always inspire me, sweet friend! I’ll be back here more often!ReplyCancel

  • MegJanuary 29, 2015 - 10:41 am

    Loving the sound of that read, and your time in New Orleans sounds wonderful and powerful. And these fritters — wow! I would take a giant plate right now.ReplyCancel

  • […] You’ll want to eat the whole tray of these shrimp fritters with creamy chipotle tzatziki sauce. (A Thought for Food.) […]ReplyCancel

  • […] shrimp fritters with chipotle tzatziki. […]ReplyCancel

  • JoanneFebruary 1, 2015 - 8:15 am

    NOLA is definitely a one of a kind place. I went two years ago to run a half marathon there and it was SO much fun! Also, the perfect excuse to eat all the things and not feel terrible about it. :PReplyCancel

  • […] these Shrimp Fritters with Chipotle Tzatzki by A Thought for Food had me thinking you wouldn’t have to twist too hard to have these […]ReplyCancel

  • Heather / girlichefFebruary 2, 2015 - 2:06 pm

    I haven’t been to NOLA yet, but it’s on my “one day” list. These fritters sound scrumptious, I love the chipotle tzatziki dipping sauce, too…and I can definitely think food right now. Added this book to my library list!ReplyCancel

  • Linda OmuraFebruary 2, 2015 - 3:14 pm

    Sounds delicious especially with the chipotle Tzatziki!ReplyCancel

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  • celynJanuary 20, 2015 - 10:33 am

    wow the food looks fantastic! loving the decor of the place too

    styleandchocolates.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • Nan Cook LoydJanuary 20, 2015 - 6:21 pm

    Your photographs are so good, they draw me. I want to go to this place, see that stack of uneven but beautiful plates (pottery), taste the food, sit back and go “ahhhh” – evocative!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy@REJanuary 21, 2015 - 10:09 am

    Your photography is as beautiful as ever. I’d love to dive into this meal, Brian. Always happy coming here!ReplyCancel

  • naomiJanuary 21, 2015 - 1:06 pm

    As always, Iove your silent Sunday. The photos are just beautifulReplyCancel

  • Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabblesJanuary 21, 2015 - 4:05 pm

    Gorgeous photos, Brian. Those stacks of plates!! Lovely seafood meal, too!ReplyCancel

  • Gerry @ Foodness GraciousJanuary 23, 2015 - 1:10 am

    Great clicks Brian, always amazing too look at..ReplyCancel

  • Sommer @ASpicyPerspectiveJanuary 25, 2015 - 8:22 am

    Gorgeous photos! I can only imagine the bursting flavors from that beautiful dish!ReplyCancel

Crispy Ginger Snaps

Our winter routine now consists of a nightly pot of tea. Lemon or lemon-ginger are our go-tos. I often leave mine unadulterated, but sometimes there’s a couple teaspoons of honey, an additional squeeze of lemon, and, on the weekends (or after an especially stressful day), a splash of rum or bourbon. We sip this on our couch, curled up under blankets (Maki is usually wrapped up under two or three of these in an attempt to keep her nose warm).  The TV streams episodes one after the next. We’re in full hibernation mode.

On a recent trip to the store, Eric mentioned that he’s been craving some ginger snaps to go with our tea. We bought a box and, while delicious, I couldn’t help but think how nice it’d be if I made my own cookies. Not that it’d be healthier, but, unlike other prepared items we purchase, baking a batch of ginger snaps isn’t terribly complicated. Now, I’m usually a fan of chewy cookies. A little crunch on the outside is fine, but I prefer them a little underdone in the middle. However, my goal here was to make crispy ginger snaps. And I wanted them to be little guys. A couple bites each.

This took a bit of work. I first made the dough, which I knew would result in a flavorful cookies, since I’d consumed half the bowl as I transferred it to the baking sheet. The trick was to roll the dough balls so that when they spread in the oven, it would only be a couple inches in diameter. Next, I needed to figure out how long to bake them for. Too long, and they get burnt (which happened a few times) and too short and they don’t crisp up. It’s a tough job, but I was happy to take on the challenge.

I’ve found that a number of ginger cookies don’t call for crystalized ginger. For me, I love the kick that you get from those little bits, so I’ve included some in this recipe. There’s no doubt that these are ginger cookies. None at all.

Crispy Ginger Snaps // A Thought For FoodCrispy Ginger Snaps // A Thought For FoodCrispy Ginger Snaps // A Thought For FoodCrispy Ginger SnapsCrispy Ginger Snaps // A Thought For FoodCrispy Ginger Snaps // A Thought For FoodCrispy Ginger Snaps // A Thought For FoodView full post »

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  • KateJanuary 12, 2015 - 1:48 am

    Funny, I’m sitting on the couch with a mug of tea, under a blanket, with Cookie curled up next to me. Now I want one of these ginger snaps to go with the rest! Happy new year, Brian.ReplyCancel

  • Liz @ Floating KitchenJanuary 12, 2015 - 8:21 am

    There is definitely something magical about a really crispy cookie and a cup of hot tea. Stay warm, friend!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany | offbeat + inspiredJanuary 12, 2015 - 9:12 am

    Oh these look WONDERFUL. And your photos. Always. <3ReplyCancel

  • TieghanJanuary 12, 2015 - 9:26 am

    Umm, these would be one of those things I would not be able to STOP eating. So good looking!ReplyCancel

  • Lynn @ Order in the KitchenJanuary 12, 2015 - 10:18 am

    These look spectacular and the photographs are gorgeous as always! xoReplyCancel

  • Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabblesJanuary 12, 2015 - 3:48 pm

    So pretty. Perfect for tea hibernation.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarJanuary 12, 2015 - 5:25 pm

    A good gingersnap has got to be one of the best creations on earth. Love these!ReplyCancel

  • Brandon @ Kitchen KonfidenceJanuary 12, 2015 - 7:53 pm

    I love a good ginger cookie especially with the crystallized ginger bits. Sweet heat.ReplyCancel

  • Aimee @ Simple BitesJanuary 12, 2015 - 8:04 pm

    These words and images make me want to drop in for tea. Lovely cookies, Brian! Stay warm. xReplyCancel

  • ValerieJanuary 13, 2015 - 7:40 am

    These look delicious! My daughter has been making different gingersnap recipes over the past month – looks like I’ll be giving her another one to try!ReplyCancel

  • KellyJanuary 13, 2015 - 1:58 pm

    I love gingersnaps. Thanks for sharing and your photos are beautiful! Very inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • Sylvie | Gourmande in the KitchenJanuary 14, 2015 - 1:52 am

    Ginger snaps have always been one of my favorite kinds of cookies, I love the crunch and spicy hit of ginger.ReplyCancel

  • francescaJanuary 14, 2015 - 5:00 am

    Our evenings are full of tea pots and sweet snacks for dunking… great minds think alike <3ReplyCancel

  • LauraJanuary 14, 2015 - 10:32 am

    Oh I do love some snappy ginger cookies with tea, and definitely prefer some crisp-ness. My nightly tea is usually chamomile (we’re in full-bore hibernation up here in Canada too–sending a wool-gloved high five) and sooooometimes I add a splash of amaretto. So, so tasty and cozy.ReplyCancel

  • Arthur in the Garden!January 16, 2015 - 3:03 pm

    Yummy!ReplyCancel

Black Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa // A Thought For Food
These poor black radishes sat in the fridge for weeks. Actually, it may have been over a month. Totally neglected. As the one who does most of the cooking, it was up to me to get up the guts to work with these again. The last time was almost two years ago and I was a bit stunned by their pungent flavor. It was a similar reaction to what I had when I first tried dandelion greens. But now I’m a fan of those greens. I found a way to mellow them and I knew I could do the same with black radish.

After weeks of meals loaded with butter, cream, sugar, and all those delicious and rich ingredients, I was ready to lighten things up a bit. Slaws are my favorite this time of year. Between the soups and stews, it’s nice to balance things by preparing a big salad with a zingy slaw. A little sweetness comes out through the agave and carrot, with a touch of tang from the lime. It’s got a lot going on. A ton of flavor; a lot of textures. And it reminds me to remain fearless in the kitchen. At face value, an ingredient can be intimidating. Approaching it with a little finesse, however, can transform it into something beautiful.
Black Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa // A Thought For FoodBlack Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa // A Thought For FoodBlack Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa // A Thought For FoodBlack Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa // A Thought For FoodBlack Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa // A Thought For FoodBlack Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa // A Thought For FoodBlack Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa // A Thought For FoodBlack Radish Slaw with Toasted Quinoa // A Thought For FoodView full post »

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Chard + Roasted Garlic Pesto//A Thought For Food

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.

The Year, Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Chard and Roasted Garlic PestoChard and Roasted Garlic PestoChard and Roasted Garlic PestoChard and Roasted Garlic PestoIMG_2969IMG_2886Chard and Roasted Garlic PestoIMG_3064Chard + Roasted Garlic Pesto//A Thought For FoodChard + Roasted Garlic Pesto//A Thought For FoodView full post »

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  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspectiveDecember 29, 2014 - 9:04 am

    Love the color! Happy New Year Brian!!ReplyCancel

  • Millie | Add A LittleDecember 29, 2014 - 11:08 am

    Yes – I love this post. The photos, the writing, gorgeous Brian! Have a great start to the new year!ReplyCancel

  • Kari @ Cooking with ToddlersDecember 29, 2014 - 12:45 pm

    This looks so amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Lynn LovejoyDecember 29, 2014 - 3:21 pm

    This looks heavenly and your photos are spectacular as always!ReplyCancel

  • JoanneDecember 30, 2014 - 8:20 am

    Happy new year Brian! Thanks so much for helping to make part of my 2014 so special! :)

    And YES to this pesto! I hear that eating greens on New Year’s is supposed to bring ALL THE LUCK so this is pretty perfect.ReplyCancel

  • KellyDecember 30, 2014 - 7:38 pm

    I love that poem. Beautiful and so are your photos. Never thought to make a pesto with chard but now I must! Thanks!ReplyCancel

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  • renee (will frolic for food)January 2, 2015 - 8:38 pm

    fantastic photos! that pesto looks so vibrant. i’ll have to try this, if just for the perfectly intense garlickyness of it all. <3ReplyCancel

  • Renee ByrdJanuary 3, 2015 - 1:37 am

    fantastic photos! that pesto looks so vibrant. i’ll have to try this!ReplyCancel

  • […] chard and roasted garlic pesto. so […]ReplyCancel

  • ElizabethJanuary 4, 2015 - 11:54 am

    Gorgeous words, gorgeous food. For all the parties, I find the turning of the year to be a little heavy –– it’s comforting to know this angst isn’t anything new. Nonetheless, cheers to a beautiful year ahead.ReplyCancel

  • FrancescaJanuary 4, 2015 - 12:13 pm

    I made something similar with spinach + walnuts… but those oven cloves? That right there’s some genius.ReplyCancel