Guest Post – Raised on a Roux

Chicken Sauce Piquant

Hey Dixie Chik Cooks fans!  My name is Genêt and I’m thrilled to be a guest on Shea’s awesome blog.  Shea and I met back in January at the FoodBlogSouth conference in Birmingham where we bonded over beet meatballs, pomegranate vinegar, sushi, Southern cheeses and Good People Brewing Company’s mighty-fine craft beers!  Although I’ve only known her a little over a month, I feel like we’ve been close friends forever.  I bet you feel the same way, considering how graciously she conveys that sweet Southern charm and hospitality through her attention-grabbing posts and tasty recipes!

My blog, Raised on a Roux, also has Southern roots–deep, Southern roots.  It’s where I share recipes and life lessons from my New Orleans family kitchen.  I brought one of those recipes along with me today.  It’s a classic one-pot wonder we call Chicken Sauce Piquant.  Piquant generally means to prick the tongue.  That’s exactly what this sassy little number is intended to do.  The broad mix of spices gives this chicken plenty of attitude and it will have your tongue dancing with excitement.  Now if you’re not used to eating spicy food, don’t fret.  Simply prepare your first batch with sweet green bell peppers instead of the jalapenos and/or use less cayenne.  Then with each subsequent batch, because I’m confident you’re gonna like it, gradually add a little more heat.  Enjoy!

Chicken Sauce Piquant Recipe

Seasoning Mix

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice


1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup canola oil

1 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped celery

2 large fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes

4 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

Baked Rice, for serving

In a large bowl, combine seasoning mix.  Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and toss with seasoning until evenly coated.  Add flour and toss to evenly coat; set aside.  In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat until it begins to smoke.  Shake excess flour from chicken (reserve excess flour) and fry in batches until golden brown on all sides.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to paper towels to drain.  Add reserved flour to oil and cook, stirring constantly, until a peanut butter colored roux is achieved, about 5 minutes.  Add onions, celery, jalapenos and garlic; cook stirring occasionally until tender, 3-5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, broth and bay leaves.  Return chicken to pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, partially cover pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and gravy has thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Adjust seasonings if necessary.   Serve over rice.  Serves 4-6.


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Sugar Free Chocolate Cashew Butter

It is always an honor to have a friend request a guest-post. Yet even though Shea and I work together more often than most bloggers work together, because our methods of cooking are so different it is often difficult to come up with something that she and her readers will love equally as my family and my readers do.

But then, there’s chocolate. Who doesn’t love chocolate?

When my son asked me to make him a chocolate sandwich (think: Nutella), I knew just what I wanted to share.

Because two of my children and I cannot have milk, luxuries like Nutella are a no-go for us. That and the amount of sugar in the store-bought brands of chocolate nut-butters is enough to send my children into permanent hyper-active mode.

When there’s five of them and only one of me…

Let’s just say I avoid sugar as best I can.

Still, we like sweet. We love chocolate. And, we like to enjoy our food.

Thus, I am happy to share our solution to the no store-bought chocolate butter conundrum.

Choosing raw cashews over hazelnuts primarily because they are easier to find in our humble little town, this recipe is smooth, rich, creamy and every bit as sinfully delicious as a chocolate nut-butter should be…only, this one has none of the sugar or chemicals that come with the store brand.

Thank you, Shea, for the opportunity to share, I hope to see you all again sometime soon.


Sugar-Free Chocolate Cashew Butter (Raw, Vegan)

3c Raw Cashews

3 Tbs Cocoa Powder

3 Tbs Coconut Oil

6 Dates, soaked 1 hour

10 drops Vanilla Crème Liquid Stevia 

Using high-speed blender, add ingredients in the order provided above. Blend on medium speed for about 3 minutes, tampering all ingredients until somewhat crushed, turn speed to high and continue to blend until the natural nut oils are released and the nut butter is creamy and smooth, approximately 5 minutes longer. Remove from blender, serve and enjoy.

Store in an air tight container and refrigerate.

Makes approximately 3 cups of nut-butter.

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Guest Post: Maureen from Orgasmic Chef – Apple Tart

I couldn’t be more pleased to do a guest post for Shea and her Dixie Chik Cooks. I’ve loved her blog for a long time because not only are her recipes and photos good, the girl’s got sass. I love that. We should all have that no-nonsense attitude when it comes to cooking.

Since Shea is a true Southern Belle, I’m going to post a REALLY southern recipe. None of that deep south stuff, we’re going all the way south to Australia. I’m a Yank in Oz and I got this recipe for an apple tart from my mother-in-law who said, “Doesn’t everyone use applesauce in their apple tarts?”

“uhhh, no.”

It’s interesting to see what people think of Americans when they’ve never visited the states and only have the occasional TV show to judge all of us. I live in Australia and I love it here but my brain is American.

When I first moved to Australia my future mother-in-law was reluctant to meet me. She assumed I chewed gum, spoke irreverently and used slang all the time – just like those TV shows. I told J that if she met me she’d like me. Eventually that day came and we’re the best of friends now.

We took “the olds” (yes, that’s what we lovingly refer to them as) to the states several years ago and it was a true eye opener for them.

“Everyone is so nice.”

“I can’t get over the service in a restaurant!”

“It’s so green and beautiful.”

“New York City is really clean and everyone is so friendly.”

I wanted to say, “Told you so,” but decided I wanted to stay in their good graces. I just smiled and said, “Americans are good people.”

While I’ve always been a pretty good cook, I love learning new recipes, ingredients or methods of cooking that differ from the way my mother taught me to cook. When my mother-in-law invited me to cook with her one day I jumped at the chance. We made this apple tart together and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since..

Start by making the pastry. This is my standard pastry that makes enough dough for two tarts. If you have one you like, it will work just fine for this tart.

Tart Pastry (from Cook’s Illustrated)

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz. or 355 grams) all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
6 oz (170 grams) of cold butter cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (104 grams) of shortening
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup very cold water

In a food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, salt and sugar and process in 2 one-second pulses.
Add the butter and shortening and process until the dough starts to form uneven clumps. This takes about 15 seconds and will look like cottage cheese and there is no visible flour.
Scrape the bowl and distribute the dough evenly around the blade.
Add the remaining cup of flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed. Only 4 to 6 quick pulses.
Dump the mixture into a bowl and sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture.
Important: Use a rubber spatula and fold and press until the dough sticks together.
Divide the dough into two and form two flat disks. Wrap and place in the fridge for 30-45 minutes (or up to 2 days)

Making the Tart

2 cups apple sauce (needs to be sweet and tastes really good with a bit of cinnamon)
2 apples
1 tbs demerara sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup apricot preserves heated

Pre-heat oven to 400F or 200C.
Roll out the dough and place in a tart pan with a removable bottom (you can use anything you want but this pan makes placing the tart on the plate really easy)
Prick the bottom and place in refrigerator to chill.
Peel and cut the apples in half and remove the core.
Slice thinly and toss with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Retrieve the tart crust and smooth the applesauce over the bottom.
Lay the apple slices in a nice pattern on top of the apple sauce.
Sprinkle with demerara sugar and place in the oven. Reduce the heat to 375F or 190C and bake until golden brown. My oven took about 40 minutes.
Brush the apples with the heated apricot preserves.


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Crash Sweet Potatoes

I know what you’re thinking. “She’s just copying Pioneer Woman’s Crash Hot Potatoes.”

Nope. I’m merely adapting.

Actually, I think I was inspired. Isn’t that a key element of our passion as food bloggers? We inspire each other everyday. We actually seek inspiration. I have found that I gain inspiration from so many things; but it’s the unconventional that stands out the most to me.

I’m a nurse at a long term care/rehab facility. About a week ago, I was in the room of an 80 year old patient when her breakfast tray was brought in. On her plate, she had a bowl of grits, a boiled egg and crumbled bacon. As if she had done this a million times, she put the bacon on top of her grits along with a pat of butter, then added a packet of sugar. Then she stirred it all up. AND she smeared it on her biscuit.

People add sugar to grits everyday (which is such a slap in the face to grits, I mean really), but the fact that she added the salty bacon along with sugar was intriguing to me.  In other words, she’s going through the motions eating a regular everyday meal, in an unconventional way. I LOVE that.

What inspires you?

Crash Sweet Potatoes

3 sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into thick discs

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp granulated garlic

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°.

Bring water to a boil in a large pan; add potato discs and boil for about 10-12 minutes, or until soft – NOT all the way done but almost. Mix together the brown sugar through salt.

Drain the potatoes and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Using a potato masher, carefully mash down on each disc.

Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly on the potatoes, then give each one a good drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.

Easy side dish – and oh, so yummy.

Have a great week!


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Salmon Ceviche


I love you.

I just discovered ceviche recently, a popular South American dish. It’s raw fish marinated in acidic fruit (along with other flavorful ingredients). The acid basically “cooks” the fish but doesn’t really change the raw natural flavor. It’s pronounced “seh-vee-chey”.

Very ethnic and interesting sounding, right? They also say it’s a great cure for hangovers. There you go, a great excuse to try it. Now that I have your attention, please read on.

It’s ah-mazing. If you are a sushi lover, or even a fish lover, you will definitely like this. If you aren’t…won’t you please stick around and just check it out? You never know…it may surprise you.

Salmon Ceviche

1 lb fresh salmon filet

1 hot house cucumber

1/2 white onion

1 mango

1 tsp black sesame seeds

1 tsp white sesame seeds

1 lime, juiced

Drizzle of olive oil

Salt to taste

Dice the salmon through mango. Yes, it’s a little bit of work, but so therapeutic! You know you like to chop.

Throw the rest of the ingredients in and toss to combine, then put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Isn’t it beautiful?

I just grabbed a bag of pita chips and scooped it up.

Such a fantastic appetizer/side/snack. Oh, and apparently hangover cure….but I haven’t tried that out.

Don’t be scared – try it.

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