A dizzying array of new food products hit store shelves each month, including plenty of particular interest to south Louisiana cooks.
For example, those who like to imbibe in the Bloody Mary cocktail will want to try Tony Chachere’s new Creole Style Bloody Mary mix. Made with the popular Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, the mix is simple to use — just add vodka and ice.
“For a long time, people have been putting our seasoning on the rim of their glass when they make Bloody Marys, so making our own Bloody Mary mix just made sense,” said Don Chachere, president/CEO of Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Cuisine.
A 32-ounce bottle of the low-sodium, gluten-free mix sells for a suggested retail price of $5.95.
The family-owned and operated Opelousas-based company says cooks are also using the mix as a substitute for tomato juice in sauces, marinades, soups, baked goods and dressings.
Tabasco Premium Sriracha
McIlhenny Co. has introduced Tabasco Premium Sriracha Thai Chili Sauce. The sauce, made from a mixture of red chili peppers, garlic, salt, vinegar and the company’s signature aged Tabasco pepper mash, is gluten, preservative and fat free. The company suggests using the sauce in stir fry, noodles and soups, or in any recipe calling for a sweet chili and garlic combo.
Tabasco Premium Sriracha is available in a 20-ounce plastic bottle at select Super Target Stores nationwide, including those in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. It is also available online at tabasco.com for a suggested retail price of $3.99.
Substitutes for cheese rolls
For many south Louisiana families, holidays aren’t complete without Spinach Madeleine or Garlic Cheese Grits on the menu. But in the years since Kraft discontinued its Jalapeño Cheese Roll and Garlic Cheese Roll used in the popular holiday dishes, home cooks have been trying to find replacements for the convenient products.
Home cooks tried concocting their own substitutions for the Kraft products before local stores began carrying cheese rolls manufactured by Parkers Farm.
However, the Parkers Farm products were recalled last year for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria contamination. That led Mark Calandro, of Calandro’s Supermarket in Baton Rouge, to go in hunt of yet another substitution. His suggestion?
Pine River Garlic & Herb Cold Pack Cheese Food and Pine River Jalapeño Cold Pack Cheese Food. Both are made with aged natural sharp cheddar cheese.
Newsroom taste-testers weren’t very impressed. The jalapeño-flavored, Wisconsin-made product “might be spicy for Wisconsin,” but it doesn’t have much of a jalapeño flavor, a taste-tester commented. The other product has a mild garlic flavor.
If you do use the Pine River products for your holiday dishes, be aware that the Kraft products were 6 ounces each while the Pine River products are 8 ounces.
“Downton Abbey,” the popular PBS television series that follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants, ended its fifth season Sunday and won’t return until next year. In the meantime, devoted fans might want to enjoy a “cuppa” tea inspired by the drama.
The Republic of Teas is offering a Downton Abbey Tea Collection with such flavors as Grantham Breakfast Blend, an assam black tea with ginger root, and Lady Cora’s Evening Tea, a caffeine-free herbal blend.
The teas come in colorful tins featuring Downton Abbey characters and hold 36 round, single-serve, unbleached tea bags without tags.
Looking for a healthful chip in a variety of flavors? Try the Simply7 line of savory chips.
Distributed by Simply 7 Snacks, LLC, of Houston, the bite-size, baked snacks include chips made with hummus, lentil, pomegranate and quinoa. They are kosher, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegetarian, with no trans fat and no artificial colors or flavors, the manufacturer says. A 4-ounce bag sells for the suggested retail price of $3.19 at grocery stores throughout the south Louisiana area.
Hummus chips are available in sea salt, spicy chili pepper, tomato basil and roasted red peppers flavors; lentil chips, in sea salt, bruschetta, creamy dill and jalapeño; pomegranate, in sea salt, black pepper and white cheddar; and quinoa chips, in sea salt, sour cream and onion, and barbecue.
The Simply7 products got mixed results from our taste-testers. Some flavors were more popular than others — jalapeño and sour cream and onion were favorites — but everyone liked the idea of a more nutritious chip.