New Year’s Resolution: Eat More Healthy Poboys

Healthy Poboy

You know what time it is.  Time to lighten things up.  Time to acknowledge our jeans are a little tighter after all the holiday treats.

Time for food makeovers.

I just got back from a New Years’ trip to New Orleans and had my first “authentic” shrimp poboy.  After 2 hours of waiting (1 hour in line to order and 1 hour waiting on the food–seriously), I was ready to dig in. Honestly?  I was kind of disappointed.  I’m not going to name the famous establishment in which I ate, but it definitely made me go “hmmm..”

original poboy

Ahhh, the picture is beautiful, no? Unfortunately, the shrimp was bland and overly coated in dry cornmeal batter, there was waaay too much bread, and there was no remolaude sauce.  What?  Isn’t the sauce the whole point??


Well, I’m not eating that sort of thing anymore.  I’m cleaning things up.

The irony is, that this one was so much better.  Trust me guys.  I’m incapable of telling lies.

Healthier Shrimp Poboy

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The Bourbon Grilled Cheese Sandwich of Etherus

Hey, guess who I bumped into the other day? Etherus. You know, the Santharian God of Excess. Not to brag but he’s a personal friend. Yeah, we go waaay back. He likes to drop by unexpectedly. Usually whenever I break out the bourbon. That’s a bad habit of his but what can I do? He just doesn’t take a hint. Like the other night while I was watching a football game and sipping on some sour mash when, sometime after the half, who shows up? The E-Man. It seems that E was hungry and thought that a grilled cheese sam’itch might hit the spot. Yeah, that might taste real good about now. But not just ANY grilled cheese. Oh, noooooo. Not for the G of E. He had a reputation to uphold. It was time to step it up! A little cheese between two hunks ‘a bread just wasn’t gonna cut it! It was all in and balls out! The following abomination is what he came up with.

The Bourbon Grilled Cheese Sandwich of Etherus

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Stewed Over Fall

Ahhh, fall. The crispness of the air as it begins to cool, the chill in your chest as you take that first brisk breath. The sting of the frost, the bite of the wind, the…the hell with that! This is exactly why I moved to L.A. Three-hundred-plus days of beach barbeques until the weather dips down into the 70s. Then of course, you’re forced to move inside. Ugh! I get goose bumps just thinking about it…

I grew up in the Midwest—northern Indiana to be exact—and I miss the cold Lake Michigan wind chill about as much as I miss acne. Ten-degree mornings and ice cold leather car seats? F that! If I can’t get a sunburn on Thanksgiving, I’m bummed! So pardon me Mr. Gore, while I release these fluorocarbons. Bring on the global warming, Woo Hoo!

But, we still like our fall food out here on the left coast, and when I feel it dip below the 80s, I like to bring out the soups and the chilies. So how about a little beef stew to get things crackin’? What I really like about the following recipe is how it magically changes from rank tasting to righteous during the long simmer. You’ll see. Try it and you won’t be disappointed.

Katt’s Bitchin’ Beef Stew

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This is What Brunch at Per Se Looks Like

Per Se may be the best restaurant in New York, but it’s also a food blogger’s nightmare: no photos allowed!?! ES Spy Sara Huneke discovered a secret: opt for their $200 brunch instead of dinner, and you’ll have enough natural light flowing in to surreptitiously take drool-worthy smartphone shots.

Red wine-braised heirloom onions, arrowleaf spinach, broccolini, cauliflower, Meyer lemon and preserved horseradish.

Glazed white asparagus, yellow cling peaches, Belgian endive, Pearson Farm’s pecans, sorrel and Australian black winter truffle.

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Gridiron Grub: Polenta Crab Fries

Starting Monday, you’ll hear all about the dining/debauchery that went on when the entire ES crew descended upon Philly for a weekend. To ease us into that, here’s a Gridiron Grub dish inspired by my favorite football-related Philly food stop: Chickie and Pete’s Crab Fries.

Chickie and Pete’s is a local restaurant that started in the late 70’s and has grown to include locations in all the city’s stadiums, Philadelphia International Airport, southern New Jersey and more. It sounds like a chain and out-of-towners grow even more perplexed by the fact that these “crab” fries don’t even contain crab. Despite this obvious omission, for locals they are synonymous with hot summer nights watching the Phils and cool fall afternoons with the Eagles. That being said, if you are not from Philly and you saw ES  put up a recipe about sprinkling some Old Bay on french fries, I know we would get even more complaints than we do about our potty mouths. So, here’s my updated take, with some much needed crustacean added in.

Polenta Crab Fries w/Horseradish Cream Sauce

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Deviled Eggs: Not Just for Parties

With all of our recent drooling over deviled eggs, I became a bit manic about boiling some eggs and stuffing them with tons of mustard. Deviled eggs aren’t too much work, but it’s usually not something one makes just to keep around the house. Well, I’m putting forth a movement for everyday deviled eggs.

It’s a perfect, portion-controlled, and healthy (compared to potato chips) snack for a quick nibble of protein and creaminess. I don’t add anything too fancy: simply mashing yolks with some mustard, horseradish, a touch of yogurt, salt and pepper. They keep for a few days and I dust with paprika right before eating for a fresh kick. (I also cut up a few—egg salad on demand—to fill a charred whole wheat tortilla wrap with lettuce, avocado, green garlic and extra mustard.)

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Avoid Your Mother (Sauces)

Don’t worry about not mastering the French or Chinese Mother Sauces, you can easily create a creamy and tangy dressing from a few items in your fridge. In an I-need-to-make-dinner-in-30 minutes attempt last night, I buzzed around mustard, tahini, horseradish, hot sauce, manchego, oil, the slightly-cooled pasta cooking water, salt and pepper for a quick sauce on top of Israeli couscous with asparagus, almonds, avocado and green garlic.

The sauce turned out really well and I sourced it all from some hidden gems just in my fridge. Here are some more ideas on how to get the most from all those jars taking up shelf space.

5 Fridge Finds for Better Sauces

1. Mustard

Mustard makes everything better. It adds a creamy texture and a zingy flavor. And just like the New Kids On the Block, there’s a member of the mustard family out there for everyone. We usually keep a  dirty (aka spicy or brown) mustard, a grainy (with mustard seeds) dijon mustard and have recently purchased the British nose-stinger Coleman’s. Each has a unique flavor that can match lots of cuisines. And I’m currently in the market for a super hot Chinese mustard (suggestions welcome), maybe as a coating for eggplant?

2. Tahini

My dad is the only person I know that makes (veggie-filled) hummus on a weekly basis. Most people let their sesame paste sit until the next infrequent hummus affair. Tahini brings depth and thickness, and almost has a raw nut butter flavor. It plays well with plenty of other items, easily blending into a sauce with lemon and cumin, miso and cilantro, or feta and scallions.

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