WATCH: Juding the Official Texas Gumbo Cook-off

For the last few years, I’ve had the great privilege to be invited to judge the Official Texas Gumbo Cook-off. As a native of south Louisiana, it’s always a real treat to sample some familiar cuisine, take-in live music from an authentic Cajun band, and spend time telling stories with great people.

Click the video below to check out what goes into the competition!

Where to find the best gumbo in Texas

Judging the Official Texas Gumbo Cook-Off was no easy task.

Texas is proud of its culinary heritage — a figurative and literal melting pot of cultures and signature dishes known the world over. Drawing discerning foodies from around the world, the Lone Star State is no longer catering only to those with a taste for barbecue.

Kitchens are serving up creations by world-renowned chefs and recipes handed down for generations are known in every corner of the state.

It appears our palate is expanding again, with help from Texas transplants from Cajun country. On Saturday, March 5, I got to help judge a ranking of the best gumbo served up in 2016. Continue reading

Recipe: Homemade buttermilk biscuits

After an overwhelming number of requests on Facebook, I wanted to share my great-grandmother Abby’s recipe for homemade buttermilk biscuits. I hope you enjoy! Please share any feedback or suggestions in the comments below.

(Makes 16)
4 cups self-rising flour, sifted, plus more if needed
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lard, shortening
1/4 cup butter
Continue reading

Inspirational ‘Chef Jeff’ taping national TV show in E. Texas

Lane and Chef Jeff after a live cooking segment on Good Morning East Texas.

Lane and Chef Jeff after a live cooking segment on Good Morning East Texas.

A celebrity chef is visiting kitchens across East Texas this week, tasting the comfort foods that stir-up smiles. Chef Jeff Henderson is taping a new syndicated TV show, ‘Flip My Food,’ which promises to take favorite family recipes and make them better, with fewer calories.

Henderson’s rise to the top took a different path than other celebrated chefs. 18 years ago, he walked out of Federal prison after serving nearly a decade for drug trafficking. From that day, he says his life had a purpose. “I decided I wanted to make something of myself. I wanted to break the cycle of poverty and the cycle of dysfunctional families and I changed my life.”

Continue reading

GMET’s Shrimp & Grits Showdown

GMET Shrimp & Grits ShowdownEach Friday our GMET Meteorologist Grant Dade shares his favorite recipes during our ‘Cooking Up a Storm’ segment. This week, Dia and I decided to settle our claims of serving superior Shrimp & Grits.

In a head-to-head competition we donned aprons and headed into the kitchen, fists flying. Ultimately, my version of shrimp & grits swept the taste test. Dia’s shrimp & sausage paired with my grits, quite possibly could produce the ultimate mouth-watering dish!

Here are each of our recipes and video clip of the segment:
Continue reading

Oldest town in Texas celebrates diverse heritage

A view of downtown Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas.

Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas, is quite proud of its rich heritage. Having worked for the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Natchitoches, Louisiana, I have a special interest in history and cultural studies. Through Nacogdoches’ architecture, people, food, and in the city’s general way of life it’s easy to see the many different influences.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church held a Multi-Cultural Festival in the town square last weekend to showcase the area’s heritage. People from across the region added their own touch of East Texas’ culture to the melting pot festival. Speaking of melting pot, the best part of the festival was the food.

From savory Hungarian crepes, to curried Indian food, to tradition Mexican cuisine, each booth served up a plate of flavorful goodness. I bought a giant turkey leg from the Knights of Columbus booth. It was incredibly huge, taking me nearly 30 minutes to finish. Continue reading

Pursuing a “mid-year resolution”

Who needs January 1st to resolve to make change in your life? Most people break their New Year’s resolution within a week or two. In January I didn’t make a traditional “resolution,” but I made a conscious effort to be healthier.

Many people set out to lose weight, quit smoking, or get fit for their spring vacations. Since none of those apply to me, I only wanted to feel like I was living healthier. It sounds earnest, but what exactly is “healthier?” Trips to fast food places, operating on little sleep, and letting stress pile up were the first things I tackled. Cooking nutritious meals and getting quality sleep were a bit easier than I expected.

For the most part, my new, healthier lifestyle lasted about a month. Unfortunately the stresses of school, work, and my personal life made it all too easy for excuses.

Continue reading

Day 5: My first week in the newsroom

I’ve had a spectacular first week at WFAA. Let me recap some of the highlights. I couldn’t ask for a group of people who are so professional, personable, and committed to their responsibilities as journalists.

I’ve learned walking is the cheapest form of transportation. Gas prices are still ridiculously high (might be the topic of a future post.) I’ve concluded that the easiest, fastest and cheapest form of transportation for me will be using the light rail, DART, or Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Walking past the buildings downtown is fulfilling — the views are great and I think I’m doing my body some good. Continue reading