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Win free oysters for life from Red Fish Grill

Ralph Brennan’s Red Fish Grill, 115 Bourbon St., New Orleans, is celebrating its 3 millionth barbecued oyster, which was fried sometime March 20, by hosting a contest for fans to build a new oyster dish. One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, barbecued oysters are flash-fried then coated with Crystal Hot Sauce and drizzled with house-made blue cheese dressing.

The winner of the BYONB (Build Your Own Next Best) Oyster Dish will get up to a dozen free oysters, every day and prepared any way, for life. Participants can submit their suggestions here. A winner will be chosen at random.

Join Ruffino’s chef in Big Apple

Chef Peter Sclafani, executive chef and partner at Ruffino’s, 18811 Highland Road, Baton Rouge, will cook at the James Beard House in New York City on April 6.

Sclafani’s menu includes hors d’oeurves of shrimp corn dogs, crawfish arancini, charbroiled oysters with tasso ham-garlic butter, corn and crab shooters and grillades with grits. Dinner will include crab cheesecake; heirloom tomatoes with foie gras mousse-filled burrata and 25-year-old balsamic caviar pearls; braised rabbit with gnocchi; and pork cheeks with bacon jam served with butternut squash purée and pork trotter tortellini. Dessert will be chicory café au lait panna cotta with chocolate chip beignets.

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Meatless Monday: Seafood Lasagna

Seafood Lasagna

Seafood Lasagna
Serves at least 12. Recipe is from Myra Crawford.
1 lb. lasagna noodles
About 1 cup of a combination of chopped onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic
1 stick butter
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
1 lb. crawfish tails
1 lb. crab claw meat
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. white pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. grated pizza cheese (all white cheeses)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

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Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Salad

Cauliflower Salad

Cauliflower Salad
Makes 8 salad-sized servings. Recipe is by Corinne Cook.
1 medium-size cauliflower, broken or cut into florets
½ cup canola or vegetable oil, not olive oil
3 tbls. white or rice vinegar
½ cup halved pimento-stuffed green olives
½ to ¾ cup halved grape tomatoes
2 tbls. chopped green onions
1 heaping tbl. dill relish (or sweet if you prefer)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salad greens to line bowl or salad plates, optional

1. Place about 1-inch, salted water in bottom of pot. Cook the cauliflower, covered, until tender-crisp, about 7 to 9 minutes. Drain.

2. In medium bowl, combine oil, vinegar, olives, tomatoes, green onions and dill relish.

3. Add cauliflower to vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper. You may want to add more vinegar or seasoning. Put it in a gallon-sized bag and let it marinate until ready to serve.

4. For serving, place in a bowl or on salad plates lined with greens.

Hogs for the Cause adds asado dinner

Hogs for the Cause, an annual barbecue festival in New Orleans’ City Park, will expand into a two-day event this year with the addition of the Southern Asado Dinner at 6:30 p.m. March 22 in City Park.

Coordinated by the Link Restaurant Group and featuring members of the Fatback Collective, a group of Southern chefs who love to cook outdoors. Stephen Stryjewski, chef/owner of Cochon in New Orleans, is a member of the collective and will be cooking at the dinner.

“Hogs for the Cause reflects what I hold to be important in both my personal and professional life,” he said in a news release. “As a parent, I am happy to know there are organizations out there to help in a time of need. As a business owner, I am pleased to be able to contribute whenever possible.”

The menu for the Southern Asado Dinner will include hors d’oeurves of boiled crawfish, raw oysters, crab salad and hogtails by Neal Bodenheimer, owner of Cure and Bellocq in New Orleans; a first course of seasonal salads and charcuterie served with a 2011 Petite Couchon Blanc; a second course of family style platters of roasted meat, including fish, chicken, lamb, goat and beef, and platters of roasted vegetables, served with a 2010 Petite Cochon Rouge and a dessert of cordials from Donald Bender and Martha Foose.

Tickets are $300 per person, $200 tax deductible, or $500 for a weekend Boss Hog pass, $350 of which is tax deductible. Cocktail hour music will be provided by the Tom Leggett Trio. Click here for tickets and more information.

Missing “Downton”?

Bayona, 430 Dauphine St., wNew Orleans, will host a Downton Abbey Dinner 6:30 p.m. March 26. Preceded by a champagne reception with passed hors d’oeurves, Bayona invites patrons to dress as their favorite “Downtown Abbey” characters and enjoy white-glove service and chef Susan Spicer’s dishes. Bayona’s usual dinner menu includes dishes ehs such as veal sweetbreads with lemon caper or sherry mustard butter; , crispy smoked quail salad with pears and bourbon molasses dressing; , and a peppered lamb loin with goat cheese and zinfandel sauce. Chef Spicer’s “Downton” menu is not yet set, but a news release promises “a historical menu in Mrs. Patmore style.” Tickets start at $100. Call (504) 525-4455.

SoBou hosts hangover seminar

SoBou, 310 Rue Chartres, New Orleans, will host a seminar “Paying the Piper: Your Hangover and You” at 5:30 p.m. March 4. Author Wayne Curtis will break down the causes and remedies for hangovers, both modern and historic.

“The thing about a hangover is you can’t avoid it — instead you must understand it, work with it and negotiate a covenant with it,” Curtis said in a news release. “I hope that guests will find the discussion useful for the next time they have one too many!”

Guests will also be able to sample classic hangover cures. Tickets are $35. Museum of the American Cocktail and Southern Food and Beverage Museum members recieve at 20 percent discount. Call (504) 552-4095 or click here.

Craft brewing club holds competition

Brasseurs a la Maison, a Baton Rouge craft brewing club, will hold its first Iron Brewer Festival at 6 p.m. Friday at Tin Roof Brewing Co., 1624 Wyoming St., Baton Rouge.

Ten groups of participants crafted beers from randomly chosen Louisiana foods like cayenne peppers, peaches, rice, red beans, pecans and strawberries. Each team then picked a style of beer, such as a Belgian stout or a Saison. Visitors will be able to sample each brew with admission to the festival, which is a non-perishable food item for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Food trucks will also be on hand.

L’Auberge casino bar to hold beer dinner; Tin Roof sets pop-up event

The Stadium Sports Bar & Grill at L’Auberge Casino Hotel, 777 L’Auberge Ave., Baton Rouge, is hosting a Tin Roof Brewing Co. beer dinner starting with drinks at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21.

The four-course meal will include blonde poached oysters; bouillabaisse with seared red fish, crawfish dumplings and a crawfish Voodoo beer broth; braised pork belly served with mashed slow-braised okra and a chocolate hazelnut cake with coffee porter foam and a salted caramel gelato, all featuring various Tin Roof brews.

Tickets are $45 per person. Click here or call (225) 224-4105.

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Meatless Monday: Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Stew With Brown Rice

Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Stew With Brown Rice
Makes 4 servings. Adapted by Beth Colvin from a Canned Food Alliance recipe. Like most stews, this was even better the next day.
2 tsps. peanut oil
1 cup prechopped seasoning blend that includes onions and peppers
1 (15-oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained, rinsed and mashed
1 (15-oz.) can diced Italian tomatoes
1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

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