Local Chefs Share Game Day Snacks Recipies


Chef Isaac Toups’ Famed Cracklins

Chef Isaac Toups, Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” season 13 “Fan Favorite;” owner of Toups Meatery in New Orleans and author of Chasing the Gator – Isaac Toups & the New Cajun Cooking (Little, Brown) loves finger foods for game day snacks. According to Isaac, Cracklins, also called grattons, “are deep-fried chunks of pork belly and skin. But they’re so much more than that. They are the most unique dish that comes from Cajun culture, and they make me insanely happy. At a boucherie, cracklins are often the first things ready to eat. Once you holler “grattons!” everyone comes running.”


Chef Isaac Toups

Serving : 6 cups, 1lb


2 pounds skin-on pork belly

3 cups lard

1-gallon peanut oil

Crack Spice (recipe follows)

EQUIPMENT 2 (13-quart) Dutch ovens


Place pork belly skin side up on a cutting board and cut into 1 ¼ inch pieces.

Start with a cold 13-quart Dutch. It should be large enough to hold the pork belly chunks and cover them in rendered lard by at least an inch.

Add the cold lard and cold skin-on belly to the cold pot. Turn the heat to medium-high. As the lard starts to melt, give the pork belly a gentle toss with a wooden spoon, and make sure the pieces of pork belly are separated—they’re naturally going to want to stick together. As the lard melts and the fat renders, the oil in the pot should be 240°F. That’s the ideal temperature for rendering the cracklins.

As the belly renders down, it’s going to create more lard. Stir very gently; if you cause too much commotion the skin will separate from the meat and fat. Just give the pieces of pork belly an occasional nudge so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If you see bits of skin exposed, turn them back upside down to submerge them in the oil.

Pull the rendered cracklins off the heat when the skin starts to blister, and the outsides are uniformly golden brown (this can take 45 minutes to an hour). Take the whole Dutch oven off the heat and let the rendered cracklins sit in the oil and rest until they have completely calmed down, meaning that the oil is no longer bubbling or popping, about 10 minutes. Remove the cracklins with a spider or slotted spoon and put them in a metal colander or on a wire rack set in a sheet pan so they can drain. (Don’t place them on paper towels—they’ll stick.) You don’t need them to be completely free of fat, you just don’t want them sitting in a pool of lard.

Let the cracklins cool for about 20 minutes in the fridge. Then take your second cold Dutch oven and add enough peanut oil to cover the cracklins in oil by at least an inch with enough room for you to stir them without sloshing oil over the sides.

Set the Dutch oven over high heat and preheat the oil to 380°F. Deep-fry the cracklins for about a minute, until the skin has puffed. Remove from the oil and drain (again, don’t use paper towels). While they’re still hot, season liberally with Crack Spice.

Crack Spice (1 cup)

6 tablespoons popcorn salt

6 tablespoons ground chile de Arbol (or 3 tablespoons each cayenne pepper and smoked paprika)

3 tablespoons ground white pepper

3 tablespoons granulated garlic

3 tablespoons celery salt

3 tablespoons sugar


Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir gently with a whisk to combine. And cover your mouth and nose while you do this. Trust me.


*Popcorn salt is an ultra-fine salt that can be found at well-stocked grocers or online at jqdsalt.com.

Chef Nina Compton’s Conch Croquettes

James Beard Award-winning Chef Nina Compton’s conch coquettes are a tasty treat everyone will love. Perfect for game day, these crispy fritters are packed with the flavors of the Caribbean. The dish can also be made with minced shrimp.

Conch Croquettes and Pickled Pineapple Tartar Sauce

Yields One Appetizer Portion


8 Tbsp. unsalted butter

½ Spanish onion, peeled & finely chopped (about ½ cup)

2½ cups all-purpose flour

4 cups whole milk warm

1 bell pepper diced

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cayenne

8 oz. conch poached (see recipe below)

½ tsp. salt

1 pinch nutmeg

2 large eggs, beaten

1 cup breadcrumbs

Heat the butter in a medium sauté pan over a medium flame. Add the onions and peppers and cook until they are translucent about 5 minutes. Add 1½ cups of the flour and mix energetically. Cook for 5 minutes to make sure the flour is cooked through; it should start to take on a golden color. Pour the milk into the flour mixture and cook, stirring continuously, for about 2 minutes; add the spices, until you have a thick béchamel.

Add the conch and sprinkle in the salt and nutmeg. Cook for another 2 minutes. The mixture should be thick enough that you can mold in your hands. Carefully pick up a bit and try to ball it with your hands. It shouldn’t be too sticky. If it does stick to your hands, cook it a little longer. Then, spread the mixture on a cookie sheet and let it cool to room temperature.

Take a spoonful of the cooled béchamel mixture and roll it in your hands to make a small cylinder the size of a wine cork. Roll the cylinder in the remaining 1 cup of flour, then in the eggs, and then in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with all the croquettes.

In a small, deep frying pan, heat the olive oil to 375°F (190°C – measured with a candy thermometer). Add the croquettes in small batches, making sure they are covered completely in oil. Fry until they have a nice golden color, about 1-2 minutes; then transfer them to paper towels to drain. Repeat with all the croquettes and serve hot with some tartar sauce and lemon wedges.  Enjoy!


1 onion julienned

½ bunch rosemary

8 oz. conch

Olive oil

3 qt. water

Method:  Caramelize the onions in a sauté pan and add the rosemary. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the conch and simmer for 45 minutes. Take off heat and cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely in liquid.

Tartar Sauce

(Yields: Approx. ¾ cup)

½ cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion

1 tsp. chopped capers and 2 Tbsp. juice (from jar)

1 Tbsp. jalapeño or Calabrese chili, chopped finely

2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, plus wedges, for serving/garnish

2 Tbsp. pickled pineapple, small diced or mango

Salt to taste

Cayenne pepper, pinch (or to taste)

Method: Combine all ingredients and serve.

Chef Brian Landry’s Pork Poppers

Chef Brian Landry, the Chef/Owner of Jack Rose, says easy, shareable finger foods are the way to go for an at-home game day watch party. Made with pork tenderloin, bacon, cream cheese, and herbs, his delicious pork poppers are a real crowd pleaser and perfect game day snack! Watch out, these go fast.

Pork Poppers

Serves 4

1 ½      lbs                    pork tenderloin

¼         cup                  creole seasoning

3          each                pickled jalapeños, sliced thin

10        strips               thick cut smoked bacon

4          ounces            cream cheese

1          tablespoon       fresh thyme, chopped

1          tablespoon       fresh parsley, chopped 

6          ounces            cane syrup

6          ounces            sherry or balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper


  1. Rub the pork tenderloin with creole seasoning.
  2. Sear the tenderloin in a minimal amount of oil in a cast-iron skillet just until a crust forms.
  3. Place the tenderloin in the refrigerator, then cut into ¼” by  2” strips
  4. Wrap each piece of pork tenderloin around a slice of pickled jalapeno, then wrap a piece of bacon around the pork.
  5. Skewer the poppers with a bamboo skewer.
  6. Allow the cream cheese to soften at room temperature.
  7. Once soft, mix in the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add the cane syrup and vinegar to a small saucepot.
  9. Reduce the syrup vinegar mix by half.
  10. Grill the skewers of poppers until the bacon is crispy and slightly charred.
  11. Smear some of the cream cheese in a line on a plate.
  12. Remove the poppers from the skewer and place on top of the cream cheese.
  13. Drizzle some of the cane syrup over the poppers.
  14. Enjoy.

Fall Is Here. Adjusting What We Eat to Align With the Season

Fall Is Here. Adjusting What We Eat to Align With the Season

By Lia Threat

Click aqui para español- > El otoño ya llegó. Ajustemos nuestros alimentos de acuerdo a la temporada

Our weather is finally cooler, which means a change needs to happen with the food we consume. In fall, seasonal fruits and vegetables are darker and heavier, which means our recipes are, too! That does not have to mean food should be laden with sugar, calories, or processed. Make the transition by switching out tropical fruits and berries for stone fruit, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, and grapes. Seasonal vegetables are full of leafy greens like kale, collards, swiss, and chard. Pumpkins and multiple squash varieties are in season as well.


If you are the type to have smoothies in the morning for breakfast, try switching out bananas for pumpkin purée to keep your smoothie creamy while boosting the antioxidant content. Pumpkins and squash are rich in vitamin A, which is an excellent immune-booster during a time when many are not only having to battle the usual cold and flu, but also COVID-19. Roasting, steaming, and adding seasonal vegetables to soups and salads are great ways to get multiple servings a day.

One of my favorites is a simple side dish of delicata squash. Delicata is generally small and not as wide as other squash varieties, which makes them easier to cut. Check out the recipe below.

Delicata Squash with Balsamic Drizzle

Preheat oven to 400 F


3 Small Delicata Squash

1 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Honey

¼ c Olive Oil

2 Tbsp BalsamicVinegar or Glaze

4-5 Sprigs of Thyme

5 Cloves of Garlic (smashed)




Slice squash in half and then cut so that your slices resemble a crescent moon.

Toss with a generous amount of salt and pepper and enough olive oil to coat every piece. Next, drizzle the squash with maple syrup and mix to coat. Add garlic and thyme to a sheet pan with the squash and spread evenly—roast on a sheet pan for about 40-45 minutes or until they are fork-tender.

While they are roasting, mix remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic mixture over the squash while they are still warm. Taste and adjust if needed.

Tuna Antipasto

Tuna Antipasto

Para español hacer clic aquí ->Antipasto de Atún

Antipasto is the traditional first course of formal Italian meals that include cured meats, olives, mushrooms, pickled vegetables with vinegar and oil, and cheeses.  We have a recipe that may not be traditionally Italian, but it will become a must-have in any gatherings. This Antipasto Dip replaces cured meats with tuna, making lighter and more affordable. It’s easy to make and it will make you the most liked host or the favorite guest at your next gathering.


10-12 servings. 82 calories per serving.

1 large white onion cut into thin slices 

1 red bell pepper cut into long thin strips 

1 tablespoon of oil 

1 jar of tuna steaks (with the oil it comes in) 

1 tablespoon of salt 

1 jar of pickles, chopped (with the vinegar it comes in) 

1/2 jar of capers (with the vinegar it comes in) 

1/2 cup of mushrooms previously fried in butter

1/2 jar of stuffed olives (with the vinegar it comes in) 

I / 2 jar of tomato sauce or ketchup

1 bay leaf 

1/4 bottle of onions with vinegar

Prep: About 1 hour.

In a frying pan on the fire, heat the oil and fry the onion, paprika and bay leaf there for 3 minutes. Remove from the fire. 

Separately, in a non-metal container, place the tuna and mash it with a fork, add the pickles, capers, olives, mushrooms, onions, and tomato sauce. Stir well and pour this mixture over the previously fried onion and paprika. Place this mixture on medium heat and let it heat until it boils, stirring gently with the help of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. 

Serve it accompanied by crackers. 

NOTE: If you have time you can prepare it 1 day in advance so that it has better taste and store it in the fridge.



Click aqui para español- >Sangría

As we continue to enjoy our backyards while practicing responsible social distancing, what could be better than a refreshing summer beverage to relax during the weekend, after a long week of readapting to regular business hours?

We bring you a sangría recipe straight from the Mediterranean Coast. Sangría is named after “sangre,” the Spanish word for blood, because of its bright red color, which also reminds every one of the passionate Spaniards. Sangría is one the most world recognized drinks. Enjoy it responsibly!


 1 bottle red wine

2 oranges

½ lemon

1 apple

2 peaches

1 tbsp sugar

1 cup of brandy or orange liqueur

4 cups of orange soda

1 cinnamon stick (optional)


Pour wine into a pitcher with the juice from oranges and lemon and the cup of liqueur

Add cinnamon stick and sugar. Mix until sugar is completely dissolved

Wash and peel the fruit. Cut fruit in medium sized chunks and add to pitcher. Let it rest overnight before serving



Click aqui para español- >Guacamole

This popular Mexican dip is internationally recognized, and it is believed to be a legacy of the Aztecs. It takes little prep-time and the ingredients are easy to find during all seasons. Guacamole is a simple dish with a big power to bring everyone together, something we miss due to the current pandemic. The name of this dip comes from a combination of the Spanish word for avocado, “aguacate,” which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word “āhuacatl”. The second part of the word “mole” comes from another Nahuatl word: Moli (meaning sauce). So, put the two words together and you get “Ahuacalt-moli.” You can enjoy Guacamole at home during Cinco de Mayo, or during any other day because it is a very healthy dip. If you are trying to cut calories, you can replace the chips with celery stalks or carrots and skip the Margarita that is usually present when guacamole is served.

2 ripe avocados
2 lemons, or to taste
1 Jalapeño chopped
1/2 red onion chopped
1 tomato (optional)
Salt to taste

Peel and remove the pit of the avocados. In a recipient, crush the avocados making a pure. 
Finely chop the cilantro, jalapeño, and tomato.
Season with the lemon juice and salt to taste.
Leave some cilantro to garnish.
Enjoy with tortilla chips.


Pescado a La Veracruzana

Pescado a La Veracruzana

Click aqui para español- >Pescado a La Veracruzana

Just in time for the Lenten season, here is an easy to make recipe of Veracruzana Fish from the Eastern coast of Mexico.


(Serves 8)

8 fillets of fresh fish. Flour fish

¼ cup of oil. Fry the fish on both sides.

In a separate skillet:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of garlic well chopped

¼ cup chopped onion

When garlic and onion are fried, add:

1 lbs. chopped tomato, seeded

Season with:

¼ tablespoon of black pepper

2 teaspoons salt or to taste

4 ounces of tomato paste

1 cup of water

4 ounces of olives

2 ounces capers

4 ounces of pickled onions


Boil the sauce for 3 minutes.

Add the fish fillets and let them boil for 5 minutes.

Garnish with parsley on top.

Conch Soup

Conch Soup

By La Cocina de Antonio

Click aqui para español- > Sopa de Caracol

Sopa de caracol, or conch soup, is a dish made with conch (otherwise known as snails). It is a specialty of Belize and the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Conch chowder is one of its variants and is also a traditional food of the Florida Keys. This soup is one of many seafood dishes enjoyed by Hispanic Catholics on Meatless Fridays during Lent. If you can’t find conch meat readily available, substitute an equal amount of scallops, clams, or any sweet shellfish.



1 lb. conch meat, cut into small pieces and


1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium tomato, finely chopped

1 chile of your choice (preferably green), fi nely


2 celery stalks

4 cups chicken stock

2 -12oz cans unsweetened coconut milk

1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil

4 raw green plantains, peeled and cubed

(about 2 cups)

1 lb. Yucca, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)

2 tbsp Goya adobo seasoning

1 tsp ginger powder

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro



PLACE chicken stock, yucca and plantains in large saucepan on high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add onion and tomato; cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

HEAT oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, celery, chiles, cumin and ginger; cook for 1 minute or until garlic turns translucent. Add conch meat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add

conch mixture to chicken stock mixture.

Stir in coconut milk, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Ceviche Peruano

Ceviche Peruano

Click aqui para español- >Ceviche Peruano

Ceviche is a delicious and refreshing dish that consists of raw fish that is “cooked” in citric juices. The preparation process is easy, and it takes about an hour to prepare. Make this Peruvian inspired ceviche at home!


1 ½ lb Fish

Juice 6 limes

1 tsp Salt

1 Habanero Pepper*

¼ tsp Ginger

1 Garlic

1 Cilantro bunch

1 Celery

Boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn

* In Perú, they use rocoto pepper as the hot pepper and add some Pisco to the ceviche.



Cut fish into médium size cubes. Chop onion in fine slices. Finely chop cilantro and juice the limes.

Add fish cubes into a bowl and add lime juice. Let it cook until the fish turns white (about 30 minutes). Add salt.

Leche de Tigre (Tiger’s Milk Sauce)

In a blender, mix one piece of the fish, ½ Habanero pepper, garlic, ginger, and a small stalk of celery

Add the “Leche de tigre” into the bowl with the fish, add chopped onions and mix.

When serving, add chopped cilantro and garnish with lettuce. Serve with sliced of previously boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn.



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