Strick’s BBQ – Hattiesburg, MS

I was in Hattiesburg today and went to Strick’s BBQ for lunch. It is right near to University of Southern Mississippi where we had gone to see the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the Cook Library.


I had the pulled pork sandwich – it was overfilled with terrific pig meat and came with a small thing of sauce that the meat didn’t need. Trust me, you’ll need two hands to bring this sandwich to your mouth it was that big.

pulled pork

Michelle had the BBQ Beef Sandwich and it did need the sauce they gave her as the meat could use the additional flavor. This one was also over filled with meat that we ended up eating it with a fork once we were done with what was in the bun.

bbq beef

On Friday’s they do a $12 buffet with a whole pig that they leave over a fire for 17 hours. It looked delicious but, with a dinner already planned, I wasn’t sure we’d get our money’s worth.


Not a bad BBQ joint at all! Very friendly people on staff.


Meat Loaf

Sometimes you just crave meat and there is nothing better than the comfort of meat loaf. I also like that I’m usually able to make it with the contents of my pantry and freezer – no special ingredients required!


Here is my basic recipe for meatloaf:

3 lb ground meat – either beef or a mix of pork, venison and beef
1 cup stale bread
1/3 cup milk
2 cups of frozen peppers and onions or 1/2 cup each fresh chopped
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Break bread into small pieces and soften with milk. Let sit for a few moments while you cook the veggies.

Saute onions and peppers until they are just softened in a cast iron skillet and have released their juices. Add in about a 1/3 of a can of tomato sauce and stir to heat through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

With your hands mix together peppers, onions and tomato, softened bread and eggs with the meat. Add salt and pepper and Worcestershire and mix until well combined. Form into a loaf in the wiped down cast iron skillet.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove and pour off fat. Cover with glaze (recipe follows) and bake for 45 minutes more. Remove from pan to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Rest of can of tomato sauce and enough ketchup to make 1 cup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Whisk all ingredients in saucepan until sugar dissolves.  Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Cover and keep warm.


Don’t forget meatloaf sandwiches make great leftovers, too!

meatloaf sammy

Cookie Butter

I confess that I typically eat Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter straight out of the jar with a spoon. As they say in the FAQ: “Really no redeeming value nutritionally BUT it does taste oh so good!”

Sometimes, however, I will mash it up with slightly over ripe bananas for a late night snack.

banana cookie butter


I’ve also found a Cookie Butter Buttercream frosting that I can’t wait to try:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup Creamy Cookie Butter Spread
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk


To make the frosting, beat together the butter and the cookie butter; gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and mix at low speed until combined. To achieve the desired consistency, gradually add milk to thin frosting. Or, if the consistency is too thin, gradually add small amounts confectioners’ sugar to thicken. Spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes as desired.

Abita Brew Pub

I was up in Abita Springs so I stopped for lunch at the Abita Brew Pub. This is where Abita used to brew their mighty tasty beers until 1994 when they moved into a new location.

The Pub offers a full menu plus a whole lot of their brews on tap. I tried the Strawberry Harvest. Just a hint of the fruit made it light and refreshing.

abita brew pub

To eat, I got their meatloaf special – I didn’t eat the green beans but the meat was well seasoned with a nice gravy over it and the mashed potatoes. Quite good.

meatloaf specialService was fast and friendly – nearly every waitperson smiled and checked in as they walked by, making sure my water was refilled regularly.


The Delachaise Wine Bar

I had a pretty depressing day up at the state legislature (see Religious Freedom to Discriminate) and decided that I needed a night out with friends and good booze.

The Delachaise Wine and Food Bar on St Charles Avenue has an extensive wine list and a full bar for nearly every other kind of drink you may want.

I enjoyed a couple of their Louisiana Strawberry Mojitos:


Lovely color and marvelous taste. Went really well with their goose fat fried French fries.

The place gets busy early but the bartenders are highly skilled. Open a tab and grab a table and it is yours all night – no pressure to keep buying or leave.

Trailer Truffles

I’ll be heading to a party tonight and I’ll be bringing my version of cheese fudge. Because I make it with Velveeta cheese, I call them Tailer Truffles. This is a pretty quick recipe for some very smooth and delicious fudge.

velveeta trailer truffles

Trailer Truffles

8 ounces of Kraft brand Velveeta Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product
1/2 pound (2 sticks, or 1 cup) unsalted butter
2 pounds Powdered Sugar (aka Confectioner’s Sugar)
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Cut the Velveeta and butter into cubes and melt in a double boiler. Sift together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Once the butter and Velveeta are melted, stir in vanilla and nuts.

Pour fudge mixture into the cocoa and sugar. Stir thoroughly (a hand mixer can help here). Once completely mixed, pour fudge into a pan covered in aluminum foil. Let fudge set in the refrigerator before cutting.


Maple Street Cafe

I went out with friends to Maple Street Cafe on Thursday. It is a step above casual dining with a large selection of Italian inspired dishes.

maple street cafe

I went with the Angel Hair Pasta with three wild mushrooms. Very tasty with the garlic and red pepper adding a nice spice.



Michelle had the Chicken Robah. The chicken was a little plain but the stuffing items and the marsala wine reduction were very good.


Charlotte’s Chicken Sareen had a very nice sauce that went well with the grilled chicken.


Charlotte and Thomas shared a flan for dessert and quite enjoyed it.


There was only one server and he was run a bit ragged. However, we took the time between his check ins to enjoy our conversation. They do need to update their online menu as the prices were at least $2 and sometimes different from what was on the menu in the restaurant.

Good food, great location – that Maple Street area has lots of cool shops. While we might not go back to the Maple Street Cafe, we will be back in the area.

Rosemary Hydrosol

Hydrosols, also known as floral waters or herbal distillates, are a product of steam distillation. Through the process of hydrodistillation, the biomass (in our case rosemary leaves) is in the boiling water. As the water boils around the herbs or flowers, steam will rise up, hit the ice-filled lid and then condense back into water and drip down to be captured.

While rosewater is probably the most common hydrosol, lavender and rosemary are my favorite things to distill.

I’m doing rosemary today and the resulting liquid can be used as a refreshing body spray, for making your hair soft and silky while reducing frizz, added to cleansers and even used to make delicious drinks (add 1 tablespoon per quart of liquid) and in marinades. Rosemary is a memory enhancer so consider adding it to a pot of green tea or fruit punch for your favorite student. I’ve also been known to put it in a spitzer bottle to mist lower fat meats like lamb and chicken as they grill to keep them moist and flavorful. Rosemary hydrosol are also great as an air freshener and as added to a hot, relaxing bath.

Herbal Distillate

Large stockpot with glass lid
Mason jar or pyrex measuring cup
Bowl to catch the distilled water
Filtered or distilled water
Fresh Herbs

You will need anywhere from a cup to a pound of fresh herbs. If you’re like me and have a huge rosemary bush that needed cutting back, use as much as you can stuff in your stockpot. Dried herbs and flowers also work and require less biomass for the same result.

pile of rosemary

With this amount of rosemary, I’ll be doing three batches and working until I run out of ice.

Make sure that there is something on the bottom of your pot, as otherwise the glass jar could break. Sometimes I’ll take the woody parts of the rosemary shrub and use them to line the bottom but a ramekin works nicely, too.

Place the jar in the pot (on the heatproof item) and fill around it with your herb. I can afford to be generous, as I’ve got more rosemary than I can use but you can use a cup or less and still get a lovely scented hydrosol.

pot of rosemary leaves

Pour filtered water until it comes up about a 1/3 of the way up the jar. Don’t come up too far as you don’t want to get the boiling water into your condensed water. Also, you will want to use filtered water as chlorine or other things that are in tap water will not be good in your finished product.

Depending on the depth of your stockpot and the width of the mouth of the jar, put a small bowl over the jar to catch the condensation. If using a Pyrex measuring cup, you should be able to skip adding the bowl.

Place the lid upside down on the stockpot and bring the water to a boil. I usually make sure the lid is super clean and will even pour boiling water over it before starting the process.

Once at a boil, reduce heat to low in order to just simmer the water. Put a couple handfuls of ice on the lid. You will need to regularly drain off the water (I sucked it off with a turkey baster) and add more ice.

lid with ice

Let the rosemary simmer for about 2 hours. Try not to lift the lid as that lets the lovely steam evaporate without condensing. The below picture is what I was able to capture from my first batch.


You’ll want to store this a cool place. Remember, there is no alcohol or anything to keep it shelf stable, so put it in the refrigerator to make it last longer.


Pizza Delicious

pizza deliciousIt was an evening to plot to take over the world and, honestly, what could possibly be a better place for that than at a pizza parlor?

We ended up at Pizza Delicious down on Piety. I had heard of this place when it was still a pop-up and had always wanted to go.

They serve a selection of New York style pizzas. You can get them by the slice, as a full pizza (with daily specials that include sun dried tomato and caramelized onions), as well as pasta dishes, cookies, etc. They also have a good selection of wines by the glass (I got a Chianti), beers and sodas.

The place is a little rustic with concrete floors and wood tables but the pizza comes out quick and hot and the folks are rushed but friendly.

I ordered a slice of the pepperoni. The pizza was pretty good – thin crust with a good chew, nice sauce and a generous helping of pepperoni on top. Next time I may order one of the entire pizzas so I can judge how good it is the next day.

I also got the garlic knots, which were more like balls. They were dense and chewy but could have used a bit more garlic butter!


The pistachio chocolate cookie was very good as well – nutty and chocolatey and a good way to end the meal.


I would definitely give them a second trip. Oh, and they have bicycle delivery in the Bywater area for the real locals.