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Cook Up These Tasty Snacks for the Big Game on Sunday

This Sunday, February 4, is the big game, and although we wish the Saints were suiting up to play, we know the matchup between New England and Philadelphia will be an exciting one! If you’re hosting a game day viewing party in your 1st Lake home and feel overwhelmed with what to cook for your guests, start here! We’ve rounded up our favorite appetizer and snack recipes from New Orleans’ most celebrated chefs so you can add a little Louisiana to your football watching party this weekend.

Creole Quesadillas from Chef John Folse

Now that crawfish are back in season, we can’t think of a better way to incorporate them into your game day offerings than in a melty, cheesy, and oh so spicy quesadilla. This recipe from Chef John Folse will certainly score you some big flavor points.

Melt their hearts with crawfish-stuffed quesadillas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh crawfish tails
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tbsps minced garlic
  • ½ pound wild oyster mushrooms
  • ½ pound sliced button mushrooms
  • ½ pound Chanterelle mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsps chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup diced Creole tomatoes
  • ½ cup diced yellow bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp Creole seasoning
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 8 large tortilla shells
  • 1 pound grated Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. You may wish to substitute shrimp, crab or even chicken if crawfish is unavailable in your area. In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add green onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until mushrooms are wilted. Add crawfish, thyme, cilantro, tomatoes and bell peppers. Continue to sauté until juices are rendered and liquids have almost completely evaporated approximately 10 minutes. Season to taste using Creole seasoning, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Place the tortilla shells on a large cookie sheet and sprinkle with a small amount of Monterey Jack cheese. Top with a portion of the crawfish stuffing and more of the Monterey Jack cheese. Fold each tortilla in half and bake 7-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and tortillas are slightly crisp but not over-browned.

 

Dooky Chase’s Shrimp Gumbo by Chef Leah Chase

The Queen of Creole Cooking, Leah Chase, shared her world famous gumbo recipe with The Food Network so you can make your guests feel like they’re dining at Dooky Chase in your 1st Lake living room! The weather will be a little chilly this Sunday, and a big pot of gumbo is a great way to warm up the football crowd.

Leah Chase’s gumbo is loaded with delicious fresh seafood! (Photo via The Food Network)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 pound small white shrimp (30/40), peeled and deveined
  • 8 ounces Creole hot sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 8 ounces smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 8 ounces beef stew meat, cubed
  • 8 ounces smoked ham, cubed
  • 6 chicken wings, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon file powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 dozen oysters, with their liquid
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme

Instructions:

Heat the oil in a skillet over low heat and add the flour to make a roux, browning until golden about 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook over low heat until the onions wilt about 4 minutes.

Put the shrimp, sausages, stew meat and ham in a 5-quart pot over medium heat. Pour the onion mixture over the ingredients and add 3 quarts water, the chicken wings, file powder, paprika, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes or until broth reaches desired thickness.

Add the oysters, parsley, garlic, and thyme. Lower the heat and cook until the shrimp is pink, about 10 minutes more, before serving.

 

Bacon Wrapped Dates by Chef Emeril Lagasse

Bacon is always a crowd pleaser in our book! Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Bacon Wrapped Dates are a tasty and perfectly-portioned appetizer to serve before the game begins. These individually served treats are the perfect blend of salty and sweet, and they’ll complement those commercial breaks nicely.

These you might want to cook for yourself. (Photo via Emerils.com)

Ingredients:

  • 24 Medjool dates
  • 24 Marcona or whole roasted almonds
  • 4 ounces honey goat cheese
  • 12 slices very thin bacon

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the dates lengthwise, on one side only, and remove the pit. Place an almond inside each date. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of goat cheese into the other side of the date and press both sides together to close.

Cut each slice of bacon in half. Wrap each date with a slice of bacon and secure it with a toothpick.

Transfer the dates to the parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, take out the toothpick and turn the dates over. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the bacon is crisp on both sides.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.

 

 

 


New Year, New Brew: The Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Home Barista

If you start every day with that phrase, then you’re in the right place. Coffee is the world’s favorite drink to wake up with, and it’s become the center point of a modern culinary revolution. Today’s coffee shops have transformed a common cup of Joe into a meticulously measured art form. Lattes and cappuccinos are topped with beautiful foam creations, iced coffee is brewed for 24 hours before it’s ready, and hot brews are poured at specific temperatures for the “perfect flavor profile.”

In addition to being a bit intimidating, the coffee shop can also be a bit overpriced, but with a few basic lessons and a couple pieces of brewing equipment, you’ll be well on your way to transforming your 1st Lake kitchen into the best java joint in the neighborhood!

Coffee Beans & Roast Types

Coffee beans come in a variety of sizes, colors, and flavors. The variations of flavors depend on the region and conditions in which they were grown. According to The Spruce, “Most regional varietals will fall into two main categories, Robusta or Arabica.”

Robusta coffee beans tend to be used in large-scale commercial brews, and they’re considered to have a more acidic taste and higher caffeine levels. Arabica beans tend to have more diverse flavor notes, but they’re difficult to grow, which increases the demand and price of this superior bean. If you buy your beans from a local coffee shop, you’re most likely buying Arabica beans.

Darker beans mean a stronger “roasted” flavor profile.

The beans you buy come in a range of caramel to chocolatey brown colors, but they don’t start off that way. The original green colored beans are roasted with a dry heat, but their roasting times play an important role in the coffee’s brewed flavor. The three main categories are light, medium, and dark.

Light roasts retain a larger amount of the bean’s original flavor. They tend to be a little more acidic and feature brighter, sharper tastes and little to no “roasted” notes. Medium roasts have a darker color, an oily appearance, and tend to have a balance between the roasting effects and the bean’s original flavor. Medium beans tend to be the most popular of the three categories. Dark roasts focus heavily on the flavors derived from the roasting process. The bean’s original flavors are almost completely overcome by the roast, so your coffee will have a powerful smoky taste. Dark roasts are typically used in espresso drinks, like lattes and macchiatos.

Brewing Styles

Gone are the days of basic automatic coffee makers. With this new knowledge, you’ll be able to find the roast you’re the most interested in and brew coffee at home like a pro. If you plan on buying your coffee pre-ground, it’s best to use it as fast as possible. The Perfect Daily Grind says, “Coffee has a shelf life. This will vary, but a good rule of thumb is to only buy the coffee you’ll drink that week. Store your coffee in an airtight container at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.”

If you’re buying roasted beans, you can either grind the beans at home with a hand grinder or electric grinder, or you can bring your bag to a grocery store for grinding. A lot of coffee shops will grind the beans they sell to you before you leave the store. If you’re grinding your beans at home, it’s best to grind only what you will need to brew for that day and store the rest away.

So, you’re probably asking, “What do I do with my coffee now?!”

There are two techniques that have grown in popularity over the past few years: pour over brewing and immersion brewing. You can achieve both of these at home, but you will need some equipment to properly brew using these techniques.

The pour over technique retains a lot of the grind’s original flavors.

Pour over coffee can be achieved using a coffee-specific glass pitcher, a porcelain dripper, a coffee filter, a kettle of hot water, and a kitchen scale. The porcelain dripper can be placed on top of either the glass pitcher or the coffee mug you intend to drink from. We like Blue Bottle Coffee’s easy-to-follow guide to the perfect pour over coffee.

Immersion coffee is most commonly associated with the French press or AeroPress. You can find French press and AeroPress coffee makers in home goods stores across the Greater New Orleans area. French press style is one of the easiest brewing styles, and unlike the single-serve pour over technique, it allows you to make larger amounts at one time. Follow The Kitchn’s guide to French press brewing here.

Im-press your friends with a handmade pot of divine French press coffee.

You Brew It!

Not only will making coffee at home save you money, it will help keep our environment clean of plastic cups and harmful plastic straws. If you’re interested in learning more about the complex range of coffee flavors and roasting styles, you can visit a local coffee shop for one of their free “cupping” lessons. This is a great way to find the flavor profile that suits your tastes and puts you on the fast track to home-brewing glory.

But first, coffee.


Get to Know Clearwater Creek Premier’s Energy Efficient Kitchen

Our brand-new luxury living community in Elmwood, Clearwater Creek Premier, is loaded with state-of-the-art features and apartment amenities you won’t find anywhere else in the Greater New Orleans Area. One of our goals for this new development was to provide energy efficient options in every single one of Clearwater Creek Premier’s living spaces.

Cooking Up Savings

At the center of this effort are the electric convection range and double-ovens located in the kitchen of each residence. The range uses radiant heating elements on its stovetop, which is significantly more energy efficient than its generic electric coil counterparts. Radiant coils are similar to traditional coil burners, but instead of protruding from the top of the range, they sit under a smooth and flat ceramic surface. Heat is conserved better under the ceramic top, which allows for faster heating times and higher heat outputs. Plus, it’s easier to clean!

Four heating elements, a warming element, and two ovens? Now we’re cookin’!

Just under the range’s sleek stove are two, that’s right, two ovens! The ovens on this range utilize a dual element baking technique, which combines the efforts of the baking coil and the broiling coil for comprehensive cooking. The smaller top oven is ideal for warming or short cooking times, while the larger, convection-style oven offers delay bake and audible preheating capabilities.

If you’re ready to enjoy all of the perks of your Clearwater Creek Premier stovetop and range, put on your chef’s hat and try your hand at a few of our favorite seasonal recipes below!

Corn & Crab Soup for the Winter Soul

Warm up when there’s a chill in the air with this rich and creamy Corn and Crab Soup recipe from Bon Appetit:

Elmwood has its cold days. Stay toasty with this savory soup! (Photo via Bon Appetit)

Ingredients

  • 1 16- ounce bag frozen petite white corn (do not thaw), divided
  • 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1 8- ounce bottle clam juice
  • 4 tablespoons sliced green onions, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger, divided
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 4 ounces cooked crabmeat, flaked

Instructions

Reserve 1/4 cup corn. Bring remaining corn and milk to boil in medium saucepan. Cover; remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Puree mixture in blender. Add clam juice, 3 tablespoons green onions, and 1 teaspoon ginger; puree again until almost smooth. Return puree to saucepan; bring to simmer. Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add reserved 1/4 cup corn; sauté 1 minute. Add crab, 1 tablespoon green onions, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 3 teaspoons lemon juice; stir just until warm. Season with salt and pepper. Divide soup among bowls; mound crab mixture in center.

 

Chili-Roasted Black-eyed Peas for a Lucky New Year

Good luck starts by pre-heating your state-of-the-art oven. Munch on this recipe from My Recipes:

Crunch your way to good luck this year. (Photo via MyRecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 (15.8-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 17- x 12-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until crispy and dry, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes.

 

Become a King Cake Connoisseur before Carnival

Mardi Gras will be here before you know it! Parade your new oven’s capabilities with this popular Mardi Gras King Cake recipe from Epicurious:

We can’t think of a better place to cook up some king cakes!

Ingredients

  1. For the cake:
    • 1 cup lukewarm milk, about 110°F
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
    • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup melted butter
    • 5 egg yolks, beaten
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
    • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
    • Several gratings of fresh nutmeg
  2. For the icing:
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/4 cup condensed milk
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • Purple, green, and gold decorative sugars
    • fève (fava bean) or plastic baby to hide in the cake after baking

Instructions

  1. For the cake, pour the warm milk into a large bowl. Whisk in the granulated sugar, yeast, and a heaping tablespoon of the flour, mixing until both the sugar and the yeast have dissolved.
  2. Once bubbles have developed on the surface of the milk and it begins to foam, whisk in the butter, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the remaining flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a large rubber spatula.
  3. After the dough comes together, pulling away from the sides of the bowl, shape it into a large ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes.
  4. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a draft-free place to let it proof, or rise, for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough between your palms into a long strip, making 3 ropes of equal length. Braid the 3 ropes around one another and then form the braided loaf into a circle, pinching ends together to seal. Gently lay the braided dough on a nonstick cookie sheet and let it rise until it doubles in size, about 30 minutes.
  6. Once it’s doubled in size, place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake until the braid is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  7. For the icing, while the cake is cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar, condensed milk, and lemon juice in a bowl until the icing is smooth and very spreadable. If the icing is too thick, add a bit more condensed milk; if it’s a touch too loose, add a little more powdered sugar.
  8. Once the cake has cooled, spread the icing over the top of the cake and sprinkle with purple, green, and gold decorative sugars while the icing is still wet. Tuck the fève or plastic baby into the underside of the cake and, using a spatula, slide the cake onto a platter.

Tour Clearwater Creek Premier Today!

If you’re looking to make moves in 2018, consider visiting Clearwater Creek Premier today! Not only will you enjoy the cost-saving benefits of our kitchen appliances, but you’ll gain access to a multitude of other living amenities that will make you feel like you’re living in a luxury resort.


What To Do with Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

So, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and you have a fridge full of leftovers. Don’t throw it out! Luckily, a lot of cooking magazines and lifestyle websites have taken action against pitching Thanksgiving’s tastiest dishes. They’ve come up with a multitude of clever and delicious recipes for your leftovers, so you can finish off your whole feast, pocket some spending money, and save from wasting perfectly good food.

Here are some of our favorite ways to reuse your Thanksgiving meal leftovers.

Neighborhood Food’s Waffled Cranberry Cream Cheese Turkey Sandwiches

Even Neighbor Food’s photo has us drooling over this dish! (Photo via Neighbor Food)

It’s savory. It’s sweet. It uses everything from Thanksgiving and then some! Turkey sandwiches are a post-Thanksgiving given, but slapping a couple turkey slices onto a piece of sandwich bread can feel boring. Instead, slap those turkey slices on a waffled bed of cranberry sauce, cream cheese, and crispy greens. There is nothing boring about this turkey sandwich!

Bon Appetit’s Turkey and Mushroom Risotto

Reinvent your turkey with this rich risotto recipe from Bon Appetit. (Photo via Bon Appetit)

Do you still have a lot of turkey left even after making waffle sandwiches? Shred it and use it in Bon Appetit’s Turkey and Mushroom Risotto recipe. The dish’s gravy is filled with the delicious flavors of mushrooms, onions, parmesan cheese, and parsley. It’s a warming winner for a cold weather dinner.

Country Living’s Sweet Potato Spoon Breads

Leftover sweet potatoes? Turn them into spoon breads! (Photo via Country Living)

It might even be worth cooking more sweet potatoes than needed if it means making this sweet single-serve dish after the big day is over. Country Living’s Sweet Potato Spoon Bread with Caramel-Pecan Topping is our favorite way to treat yourself after hosting the holiday at your 1st Lake home. You deserve to celebrate a successful Thanksgiving Day with the help of cinnamon, sugar, caramel, and pecans. Trust us.

Food Network’s Turkey Waldorf Salad

A healthy option for those Thanksgiving leftovers. (Photo via Food Network)

We had to toss in one healthy option, and this one is nothing short of delicious! The Food Network’s Turkey Waldorf Salad is a flavorful and refreshing way to reinvite your Thanksgiving leftovers. We all know Thanksgiving meals can make you feel stuffed (literally), so instead of carb-heavy sandwiches, try making a chopped salad instead. Crispy and crunchy celery, grapes, and apples? Sweet and wholesome roasted pecans and honey? Savory shredded turkey? Sign us up!

Have your own favorite way of using Thanksgiving leftovers? Tell us on social! Share your favorite recipes and quick meal tips on our Facebook page. You might inspire another 1st Lake resident with your ideas!

 


Eat Dat! Tailgating Recipes

With football season underway and the weather cooling down, fall is truly the perfect time to tailgate in New Orleans. If you’re in need of some football tailgate recipe inspo, take a look at these fun and easy recipes perfect for a crowd.

Tailgating Recipes

cheesedip

Charleston Cheese Dip. (Photo via FoodNetwork.com)

Charleston Cheese Dip

Sure, we live in New Orleans, but we can enjoy a little love from the Low Country with this creamy, cheesy dip recipe from Food Network. Serve it with tortilla chips and crudité like carrots or celery.

Ingredients: 

Recipe: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green onions and cayenne pepper. Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish, such as a 9-inch pie pan. Top the mixture with the cracker crumbs and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and top with the bacon.

poppers

Roasted jalapeno poppers. (Photo via FoodNetwork.com)

Roasted Jalapeno Poppers

These aren’t exactly healthy, but roasting is a better alternative than typical breaded, fried poppers while adding deep, complex flavor.

Ingredients:

Recipe: 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut 1/3 of each pepper off lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place on a baking sheet. If peppers do not sit flat on the baking sheet, slice a thin piece off the bottom of the pepper so it will not roll around.

Mash the feta, cream cheese, shredded cheese, cilantro, and onion together and stuff the peppers with the mixture. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the cheese is brown at the edges and bubbly.

pbjbars

PB&J Chocolate Bars. (Photo via FoodNetwork.com)

PB&J Chocolate Bars

Finish on a salty-sweet note with these delectable dessert bars!

Ingredients: 

For the base

For the filling and glaze

Recipe: 

Make the base: Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, extending it over the sides. Put the butter in a medium heatproof bowl; position the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water). Once the butter melts, stir in the sugar and cocoa. Whisk in the egg; cook, whisking, until the mixture is warm and the consistency of hot fudge, 6 minutes. Remove from the heat; mix in the saltine crumbs and peanuts. Press the crust into the pan. Set aside the saucepan of water.

Make the filling: Spread the jelly over the crust in the pan; place in the freezer for a few minutes. Beat 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter, the peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar with a mixer until light. Spread over the jelly layer; return to the freezer while you make the glaze.

Place the chocolate and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a heatproof bowl; set over the pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat; stir until smooth. When cool but still runny, spread the glaze over the chilled peanut butter layer. Freeze for another 30 minutes.

Use the foil flaps to remove the bars from the pan; cut into squares while still cold. Serve cold and keep leftovers refrigerated.

All recipes via FoodNetwork.com

Check out more great recipes here!