By Melony Carey
Food by the Book
Three Louisiana classics were released in hardback this month. First, there’s “Happy, Happy, Happy” by the Duck Commander himself, Phil Robertson with Mark Schlabach. Lest you think the Commander needs a ghost writer, you should know he has a college degree and taught high school P.E. and English in Junction City, Arkansas. He played football at Louisiana Tech with Terry Bradshaw. He is worth millions. He just happens to enjoy walking barefoot in the woods year round and prefers hunting and fishing to almost everything. You might say he’s the national role model for those wanting to live life on their own terms successfully.
Robertson attributes his success to14 rules for happiness. His Louisiana-grown wisdom conjures up a backwoods Ben Franklin, but without quite so many proverbs and sayings. And, like the duck calls that made him a millionaire, we find ourselves wishing we had only invented it, written it, or said it. This is a quick and easy read for Duck Dynasty fans.
If you’re hankering for more home-spun Louisiana tales, try James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux detective series. Out this month is “Light of the World,” which finds the New Iberia sheriff’s detective on vacation in Montana. But, Robicheaux soon learns a venomous presence from the past threatens his tranquil retreat. Burke is no crime writer lightweight with 27 novels to his credit, including his classic 1982 novel “Two for Texas,” which was also a made-for-tv movie starring Kris Kristofferson and Tom Skerrit.
And finally, the last of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, “Dead Ever After,” is out on bookstands, lucky 13 in the list of Charlaine Harris’s kitschy vampire series. Many of Harris’s fans have found it difficult to rectify the HBO True Blood series with her Sookie Stackhouse novels, but both are coming to an end with the final novel and the last 10 episodes of the show’s 7th season in 2014.
Cook up some Louisiana classics that hail from way up north in West Monroe and Ruston. They’ll make you happy, happy, happy.
Miss Kay’s Swiss Steak
Phil and Kay Robertson were married when he was 16 and she was 15. Sharing family meals has been a Robertson family tradition.
8 cube steaks, chopped
Flour (enough to cover steaks)
2 bell peppers (more, if desired)
2 sticks of celery
1 large onion
6-7 cloves of garlic
20 oz. can of whole or crushed tomatoes
Season steaks with salt, pepper and flour. Brown them in an ovenproof skillet with oil. Pour leftover oil into a container. Cut up the peppers, celery and onion. Add chopped vegetables, garlic cloves and can of tomatoes to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Place steaks back in skillet and bake for 2 hours at 325°. You can also place all ingredients in a crock pot after the browning process and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Serve over rice. Source: http://www.aetv.com/duck-dynasty/recipes.
Green Beans Supreme
3 cans cut green beans
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup diced bacon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup diced onion
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons butter
Lightly boil beans with 1 _ teaspoons salt. Drain. Fry bacon and remove from grease. Sauté onion in bacon grease. Sauté mushrooms and drain. Melt butter. Add salt, sugar, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, bacon, and mushrooms. Simmer until blended and pour over beans. Toss and serve hot.
7 or 8 yellow squash, sliced
1 pkg. Mexican cornbread mix, cooked and cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 stick butter
Boil squash and onion; drain. Let sit and then drain again. Add egg, butter, soup and cornbread. Bake in 2 qt. casserole at 350 degrees until done, approximately 50 minutes.
5 cups fresh peaches
Yellow cake mix
1 lb. powdered sugar
11/2 sticks oleo
8 oz. cream cheese
Chop peaches and place in bottom of 9x13” pan. Mix powdered sugar and cream cheese and spread on top of peaches. Sprinkle cake mix on next and top with chopped pieces of oleo. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 55 minutes. You’ll need to pat cake mix in as it cooks. This recipe calls for an entire cake mix, but you don’t have to add the entire mix. I used about 3/4 of the box. Source for above 3 recipes: Feeding the Flock II, Calvary Baptist Church, Ruston, La., from LSU Ag Center website and West Monroe Farmer’s Market