Monday, May 30, 2011

Beignets Down The Bayou and Green Smoothies!

I just got back from a weekend jaunt to Baton Rouge. This was my second visit to Louisiana, the first one being to New Orleans a little over a year ago. While that visit was for a work-related conference my husband and I spent the vast majority of our time scouring the city for its best food. The food in New Orleans is unbelievable. From the Fried Oyster Po Boys at the famed Acme Oyster House to more sophisticated Creole fare like the pecan-crusted Gulf fish with Creole Meuniere suace at the more upscale Palace Cafe, we indulgently savored it all. The highlight of our culinary adventure was a pit-stop at Cafe Du Monde, a coffee-house famous for its chicory-laced coffee and divinely decadent beignets. Beignets are square pieces of fried dough that are generously sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Cafe Du Monde
When one of my closest friends chose Baton Rouge as the location of her wedding I quickly began mapping the distance from Baton Rouge to the French Quarter location of Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. One hour and 10 minutes, according to Google Maps. Totally do-able, right? Not so much when you are there for a wedding. There just was not enough time to make the trip to New Orleans and back and be ready for the 2pm wedding. So I moved onto Plan B. There had to be beignets in Baton Rouge! So began another Google search for the best beignets in Baton Rouge. That is how I came upon Rue Beignet, a cosy little cafe with very friendly servers. The beignets were made fresh, as soon as we placed our order. They were heavenly! Slightly crusted on the outside with chewy moistness on the inside and a light dusting of powdered sugar. I topped that off with a cup of their chicory-laced coffee. Happiness!

Coffee and Beignets at Rue Beignet
The beignets at Rue Beignet in Baton Rouge were amazing, as good as those that I remember having at Cafe Du Monde, and in fact, some online reviewers have reported that they are even better.

Unfortunately, the beignets were not my only indulgence this weekend. The wedding festivities ensured that all guests were well-fed. From a rich crawfish etouffee to moist red velvet cake and a fish'n'chips dinner I am trying not to think too much about, I was not feeling very healthy once I was back at home. I was craving greens so this morning for breakfast I made myself my own version of a green smoothie.

Ingredients (makes 2 large glasses):
2 cups of spinach
1 cup frozen strawberries
A handful of cashews
3 tablespoons of non fat Greek yoghurt
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon of organic honey

One blended it looked like this:

And it tasted pretty good also.
For dinner I decided I was going to continue my healthy eating pattern and so I made yellow split-pea Dal (lentils). Dal is super-nutritious and a staple in South Asian kitchens and this one is my mother-in-law's recipe (albeit with a few deletions on my part to make it a tad healthier!)

1 cup of split peas
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 chopped tomato
Salt according to taste (I used 1 teaspoon)

1. Soak the split peas in water for 1/2 hour, and then discard the water.
2. Add fresh water, (enough to cover the split peas) and bring to a boil.
3. Add the spices and chopped tomatoes and cook until the splits peas soften (I cooked them for about 30 minutes at medium heat)

Done. Super healthy and super delicious! You can eat it with rice, pita bread or even on its own.

My dinner
My husband vetoed my decision to eat healthy and made his own dinner. Boo!
My husband's dinner


Ameena said...

I have never been to New Orleans before but it is definitely on my list of places to go...beignets sound amazing.

And isn't dal the best detox food? I make it and freeze it in little containers and break it out every Monday after a weekend of too much of everything!

Amber said...

My husband and I went to New Orleans for the first time a little over a year ago as well. We also ate a ridiculous amount of delicious food - and of course we went to Cafe Du Monde. That line is intimidating, but they really get you in and out in a hurry! Now I am craving a beignet...yum.

I'm giggling at your husband's side of hot dogs. That looks kind of like something someone else I know would do.

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Ameena: Dal is perfect detox food! This was the first time I have ever made it. Never realized how easy it was.

Amber: For some reason my husband does not believe me when I tell him that the split pea lentils have a decent amount of protein. He insists upon animal-based proteins to make up his requirement, which is why hot dogs are on his plate. Gah!

Pink Lady said...

I am going to try your Dal recipe. Love the picture of Mr. Sam's dinner.

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Pink Lady: You would love the dal. The spices are available at most large grocery stores, and if not, make a quick trip to Little India on 28th and Lex.

Lauren said...

I went to Tulane and this post brought back great memories. I have to get back to Nola, want to take my kids there. I love that you swung the other way and came home to a green smoothie after Cafe Du Monde...balance. BTW you won our giveaway, Lisa will be in touch.

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Lauren: How exciting! Especially since I never win anything. I have been dying to try Pure Elizabeth granola since reading about it on your blog.

And yes, balance is what I am going to strive for, especially with some more upcoming trips!

Nicole Osorio said...

Sam! I went to school at LSU in Baton Rouge!! You also brought great memories to me! I love new Orleans and Louisiana overall! :). I am for sure cooking the dal tomorrow! will let you know how it goes! Xoxo!

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Nicole: I completely forgot you went to LSU Baton Rouge. The campus is so pretty!

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