Chef Susanne Duplantis is always thinking about food.
A self-proclaimed "New Orleans girl" who has been living in Baton Rouge since 1990, Duplantis went from serving to assistant managing to cooking in restaurants. However, her 20-plus-year career took a turn four years ago.
After suffering a stroke in 2014, Duplantis retired from the restaurant world, but couldn't stop cooking. As part of her rehab, she began chopping bell peppers. Months went by, and at the advice of her husband and chef Celeste Gill, Duplantis began a blog called "Makeover My Leftover."
The blog tackles food waste, or more specifically, what to do with leftovers you think you might not use. She saw her share of food waste in the restaurant industry, then would think of recipes using those leftovers. She breaks down ingredients of dishes, then creates entirely new meals.
To this day, Duplantis maintains the blog and continues to cook. She'll have a few catering gigs here and there for small, intimate dinners. She also competes in cook-offs such as last year's World Food Championships. But her blog is her passion.
"At first, I thought the idea of a blog wasn't for me," she said. "But after three months of thinking about it, I went and created it. It has opened up so many doors, and I have met so many people. It has been a good way for me to follow my passion."
In this edition of Let’s Dish, Duplantis shows us how to transform leftover red beans and rice into coconut curry red beans over cashew rice cakes. Leftovers never tasted this good.
Coconut curry red beans over cashew rice cakes
Step 1: Sauté onions, sausage, bell peppers and sweet potatoes in a skillet for about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add cumin seed, curry powder and red pepper to the skillet. Stir one minute to toast seasonings.
Step 3: Stir in leftover red beans and coconut milk to the skillet. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 4: In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg, rice, cashews, and garam masala for the cashew cakes. Let sit for 3 minutes. Drop ¼ cup onto a greased griddle, gently flatten with spatula and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until brown.
Step 5: Plate rice casked with red bean curry. Top with coconut flakes and green onions. Drizzle a spicy mayo sauce for a boost of flavor.
— Matthew Sigur contributed to this report.