cajun cooking

Jamie Oliver’s catch of the day! Try these easy gourmet twists to make fish fabulous – Daily Mail

For modern-day busy people, without doubt your freezer, if stocked correctly, is your closest ally.

Whether it’s preserving individual ingredients or keeping portions of batched recipes for future meals, food is brilliantly suspended, ready and waiting to help you out when you need it.

Salmon and white fish are two of the 18 everyday food heroes that people tend to buy regularly.

If you eat fish, it’s such an incredibly delicious source of protein, but the minute it’s caught it starts to deteriorate in freshness, so you want to buy and eat fish on the same day. 

Salmon and white fish are two of the 18 everyday food heroes that people tend to buy regularly, writes Jamie Oliver

Salmon and white fish are two of the 18 everyday food heroes that people tend to buy regularly, writes Jamie Oliver

Salmon and white fish are two of the 18 everyday food heroes that people tend to buy regularly, writes Jamie Oliver

I know that’s not convenient for a lot of people, but I can only tell you the truth. 

If you can’t use it that day, freeze it until you need it, or even buy quality frozen, tinned or jarred fish, which can also be fantastic.

Make sure you choose responsibly sourced fish — look for the MSC logo, or talk to your fishmonger or the guys at the fish counter in your local supermarket and take their advice. 

Try to mix up your choices, choosing seasonal, sustainable options. If you can only find farmed fish, make sure you look for the RSPCA Assured or ASC logos to ensure your fish is responsibly sourced.

Eggs are also a popular staple which can be cooked in exciting new ways as you will discover here. Just make sure you choose free-range or organic ones.

Go for variety

To live a good, healthy life, vegetables and fruit should sit right at the heart of your diet. 

Veg and fruit come in all kinds of colours, shapes, sizes, flavours and textures, and contain different vitamins and minerals, which each play a part in keeping our bodies healthy and optimal, so variety is key.

Eat the rainbow, mixing up your choices as much as you can and embracing the seasons so you’re getting produce at its best and its most nutritious. As an absolute minimum, aim for at least five portions of fresh, frozen or tinned veg and fruit every day of the week, enjoying more wherever possible.

A large handful (80g) counts as one portion. You can also count one 30g portion of dried fruit, one 80g portion of beans or pulses, and 150ml of unsweetened veg or fruit juice per day.

I’ve also used packets of mixed veg in my new recipe book 7 Ways. They’re great because you get a variety in one happy parcel, meaning more flavour and hopefully less food waste. 

Note, some of the stir-fry packs contain beansprouts, which can’t be eaten raw and need to be piping hot. 

Dial up your dairy 

With staple dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt and butter, please trade up to organic. Unlike meat, it is only slightly more expensive and I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough — we’re talking about pennies to upgrade.

Plus, every time you buy organic, you vote for a much better food system that supports higher standards of animal welfare where both cows and land are well looked after.

Mighty meat & eggs

Generally speaking, we should all be striving to eat more plant-based meals that hero veg, beans and pulses. If you are investing in meat, it makes complete sense to me to enjoy the benefits of better-quality organic, free-range or higher-welfare meat.

There’s no point in eating meat unless the animal was raised well, free to roam, displayed natural behaviours, and lived a healthy life. The same goes for eggs — always choose free-range or organic. 

Be shrewd on quality 

As is often the case in cooking, the success of the recipes comes down to the quality of the ingredients that you use.

There’s not loads of stuff to buy for each recipe, so I’m hoping that will give you the excuse to trade up where you can, buying the best meat, fish or veggies you can find.

Also, remember that shopping in season always allows your food to be more nutritious, more delicious and more affordable.

Creamy prawn-stuffed salmon

Wilted garlicky spinach, smoky pancetta, rosemary & parmesan

Cook/prep time: 30 minutes 

Serves 4 

  • 4 x 130g salmon fillets, skin on, scaled, pin-boned, from sustainable sources
  • 20g parmesan cheese
  • 80g half-fat crème fraîche
  • 80g small cooked peeled prawns, from sustainable sources
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 500g spinach
  • 4 rashers of higher-welfare smoked pancetta
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary

Preheat the oven to 220c/gas 7. Cut down the middle of each salmon fillet lengthways on the flesh side, about three-quarters of the way through to make a pocket. 

Finely grate the parmesan cheese, beat with the crème fraîche, then mix in the prawns. Rub a large, deep sturdy tray with a little olive oil and place on a low heat on the hob. 

Peel and finely slice the garlic, add to the tray with the spinach, season, stir until just wilted, then turn the heat off. 

Nestle in the salmon fillets, divide and spoon the prawn mixture into the pockets, then sprinkle with black pepper. 

Drape one rasher of pancetta over each fillet. Rub the rosemary sprigs with a little oil and place one on each piece of salmon. 

Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then serve.

Creamy prawn-stuffed salmon

Creamy prawn-stuffed salmon

Creamy prawn-stuffed salmon

Spaghetti-wrapped fish

Sun-dried tomato pesto, spinach, crème fraîche, bacon bits

Cook/prep time: 25 minutes

Serves 2  

  • 60g dried spaghetti
  • 2 x 125g white fish fillets, skin on, scaled, pin-boned, and from sustainable sources
  • 1 tbsp sun-dried tomato pesto
  • Olive oil
  • 2 small sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
  • 4 spring onions
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 2 tsp half-fat crème fraîche
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the grill to high. Cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling, salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain, running it under cold water to cool. 

Hero ingredient

Without a doubt, salmon is one of our favourite fish, and it’s not hard to see why — it’s easy to cook, incredibly versatile and totally delicious. 

You can pan-fry, roast, grill, steam and poach salmon.


Season the fish with sea salt and black pepper, then rub with the pesto. Divide the spaghetti into two, then wrap and knot it around the fish. 

Place on an oiled tray, turn the rosemary sprigs in the oil in the tray to coat, and tuck them under the spaghetti. 

Grill for 10 minutes, or until golden and the fish is just cooked through.

Meanwhile, finely slice the bacon and place in a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat to crisp up, while you trim the spring onions and slice them 1cm thick.

Spoon out the crispy bacon, leaving the pan on the heat, and go in with the spring onions and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss for 2 minutes, then add the spinach, stirring to wilt.

Divide between your plates with the spaghetti-wrapped fish, then dollop over the crème fraîche and sprinkle with the crispy bacon bits.

Drizzle over 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and finish with a pinch of black pepper.  

Spaghetti-wrapped fish

Spaghetti-wrapped fish

Spaghetti-wrapped fish

Quickest white fish tangine 

Sweet cherry tomatoes, harissa, asparagus & fluffy couscous

Cook/prep time: 15 minutes

Serves 2  

  • 150g couscous
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 250g ripe mixed-colour cherry tomatoes
  • 250g asparagus
  • 2 heaped tsp rose harissa
  • 2 x 150g white fish fillets, skin off, pin-boned, from sustainable sources
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt

Place the couscous in a bowl, add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then just cover with boiling kettle water, and put a lid on top. 

Hero ingredient

If you eat meat and fish, as a general guide for main meals, you want at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily.


Peel and slice the garlic, then place in a shallow casserole pan on a medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, stirring while you halve the cherry tomatoes, adding them to the pan as you go.

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus, roughly chop the spears and stir into the pan, then season with salt and pepper. 

Rub most of the harissa over the fish, sit it on top of the veg, finely grate over the lemon zest and squeeze over half the juice.

Add 150ml of water, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through.

Fluff up the couscous. Ripple the remaining harissa through the yoghurt, then spoon it over the fish and couscous. Serve with lemon wedges, for squeezing over.

Quickest white fish tangine

Quickest white fish tangine

Quickest white fish tangine

Golden parmesan fish bake

Sweet leeks, crispy sage, garlic, mustard & butter beans

Cook/prep time: 35 minutes

Serves 4  

  • 2 leeks
  • Olive oil
  • ½ a bunch of sage (10g)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 x 700g jar of butter beans
  • 150g half-fat crème fraîche
  • 4 x 150g white fish fillets, skin off, pin-boned, from sustainable sources
  • 25g parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 200c/gas 6. Trim the leeks, halve lengthways, wash, then slice 1cm thick. 

Put a 30cm shallow casserole pan on a medium-low heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 

Put in the sage leaves to get crispy, then scoop them out on to a plate, leaving the sage-infused oil behind. Stir in the leeks, then peel, finely slice and add the garlic, along with a splash of water. 

Cook for 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in the mustard, followed by the butter beans (juice and all), crème fraîche and crispy sage. 

Mix well, then season to perfection. Nestle the fish into the beans, get it bubbling on the hob, then finely grate over the parmesan cheese. 

Transfer the pan to the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden and the fish is just cooked through.

Golden parmesan fish bake

Golden parmesan fish bake

Golden parmesan fish bake

And if you don’t fancy fish, try this cracking eggs recipe

Cajun coddled eggs 

Home fries with sweet potato, sweet peppers, crispy kale & pancetta 

Cook/prep time: 1 hour 20 minutes 

Serves 4  

  • 2 red onions
  • 2 mixed-colour peppers
  • 1 sweet potato (250g)
  • 1 potato (250g)
  • 2 heaped tsp Cajun seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • 50g kale
  • 4 rashers of higher-welfare smoked pancetta
  • 4 large free-range eggs

Preheat the oven to 200c/gas 6. Peel the onions and cut into eighths. 

Hero ingredient

Egg shells are porous so store them away from anything strong-smelling. You can tell if an egg is fresh by cracking it on to a saucer. 

If the yolk stands up and the white isn’t watery, it’s as fresh as a daisy.


Halve and deseed the peppers, scrub both potatoes, then chop them all into 3cm chunks. 

Toss in a 25cm x 35cm roasting tray with the onions, Cajun seasoning and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 

Roast on the bottom of the oven for 50 minutes. 

Meanwhile, tear up the kale, discarding any tough stalks, massage with 1 tablespoon of oil and put aside.

Get the tray out of the oven, poke the kale in and around the veg, drape over the pancetta and return to the oven for 5 minutes. 

Pull out the tray and crack in the eggs. 

Return to the oven for a final 5 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. 

Season the eggs, then serve.

Cajun coddled eggs

Cajun coddled eggs

Cajun coddled eggs

Extracted from 7 ways: Easy Ideas For Every Day Of The Week by Jamie Oliver, published by Michael Joseph on August 20, 2020, at £26. © Jamie Oliver 2020

Extracted from 7 ways: Easy Ideas For Every Day Of The Week by Jamie Oliver, published by Michael Joseph on August 20, 2020, at £26. © Jamie Oliver 2020

Extracted from 7 ways: Easy Ideas For Every Day Of The Week by Jamie Oliver, published by Michael Joseph on August 20, 2020, at £26. © Jamie Oliver 2020

Extracted from 7 Ways: Easy Ideas For Every Day Of The Week by Jamie Oliver, published by Michael Joseph on August 20, 2020, at £26. 

© Jamie Oliver 2020.

We’ve partnered with WHSmith to offer readers the chance to buy 7 Ways for only £12. 

Pre-order online or buy in-store from August 20, 2020. 

See Page 62 for details and conditions.

Photography © Levon Biss

Jamie : Keep Cooking Family Favourites will air on Channel 4 at 8pm from Monday, August 17.

cajun cooking

Bourbon Street Barrel Room chef to give free virtual cooking demo –

HUDSON, Ohio – Bourbon Street Barrel Room chef Johnny Schulze will give a virtual demonstration via the Hudson Library & Historical Society.

The demonstration is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Schulze owns the restaurant in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood as well as Zydeco Bistro Mobile Catering. He will guide viewers on how to cook gulf shrimp creole. 

Schulze is an award-winning New Orleans trained chef. His eateries in Northeast Ohio reflect Creole- and Cajun-inspired cuisine.

The event is free, but registration is required with valid email. Participants will receive an email invitation to join the Zoom class one day before the class.

The Bourbon Street Barrel Room was the last restaurant we featured in our weekly brunch series before the stay-at-home order was issued to stem coronavirus. The series covered breakfast and brunch offerings at more than 130 restaurants.

For details on the virtual program, email or call 330-653-6658, ext. 1010.

Related coverage: Bourbon Street Barrel Room: Northeast Ohio’s best weekend brunches, breakfasts

I am on’s life and culture team and cover food, beer, wine and sports-related topics. If you want to see my stories, here’s a directory on

Mask with opening front for eating and drinking.

(Photo courtesy Your Social Mask)

Masks for eating and drinking on sale: Going out to a bar or restaurant but want to stay protected from coronavirus? Check out these masks that allow you to eat and drink without taking them off.

cajun cooking

Houston Personalities: Restaurateur Levi Goode on what he loves about Houston – KPRC Click2Houston

Houston Personalities is a weekly feature series where we ask business owners about their favorite things to do in Houston. If you’d like to be considered for the series, email your information to

Levi Goode, president of Goode Co. restaurants, chatted with us about the family business and how operations have changed amid the pandemic. He also talked with us about Houston’s food scene and shared some of his places to eat around the city.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Houston? 

A: First and foremost, the people. This city is just a great city. There’s so much to go see and so many things going on. The genuine nature of the people that live in this city, in my opinion, has no other equal. This is a city of opportunity. If somebody wants to come to Houston and work hard and apply themselves, doors open. I’ve seen it so many times. Houston’s one of the places where people welcome you with open arms. I’ve had so many experiences with that, I’ve witnessed it and I’ve actually helped other people on numerous occasions. It’s a city of open arms and I think that’s very special and unique as big of a city and as spread out of a city as we are. 

Q: What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think about Houston? 

A: Diversity and resilience

Q: What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think about Texas?

A: Proud

Q: What are some of your favorite dishes from Goode Company restaurants? 

A: I’ll tell you, one of our Damn Goode Margaritas and a simple plate of cheese enchiladas at our Kitchen & Cantina is definitely one of my happy places. At our seafood restaurant, I enjoy our Campechana De Mariscos on a  sweltering Houston day. It’s a nice respite to the heat we’re experiencing this time of the year. I like our style and I think it’s really unique. To me, all of our food is kind of my comfort food because it’s what I grew up eating. When I go away somewhere, it’s always what I want when I come back. I think we have a unique style of cooking fresh Gulf Coast seafood over mesquite wood that I really enjoy. At the barbecue restaurant, my go-to is a chopped brisket sandwich on jalapeño cheese bread. I’ll also say that the Smoked Redfish Dip at our seafood restaurant is a nice little appetizer as well. I like to bounce around our menus quite a bit but I do have some go-tos I gravitate towards.

Q: What are some of your favorite Houston restaurants? 

A: I like my good buddy Drake Leonard’s cooking over at Eunice. I really like his style of cooking and his style of food. I did spend a good part of my childhood in Cajun country in the southwestern part of Louisiana. His food, while it’s much more refined and house-presented than what I ate as a kid, there’s definitely some reminiscing when I eat some of the dishes that he prepares. I enjoy his food, his style in the kitchen. Another place that I like to go is State of Grace. Bobby Matos is a heck of a chef and I’ve really enjoyed his food since they’ve opened. I like Lankford Grocery and Market for a good, greasy cheeseburger. I like Laredo Taqueria on Washington just for a taqueria-style meal. The barbacoa tacos are pretty fantastic. Their spicy fajita tacos on corn or flour tortillas are a good go-to as well. 

Q: From your perspective, how does the Houston food scene differ from food scenes elsewhere.

A: Just from an anthropological level, the melding of cultures and the geography, both being in big beef country and close to the coast, it’s all this different stuff just kind of put in a blender and it really creates some exciting dishes in this city. Not to mention the competition. The competition here is fierce. I would argue the competition in Houston is probably some of the most fierce in the country. I would put Houston’s competitive landscape up against the likes of Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. All that said, in my opinion, competition is great. It pushes competitors to put their best foot forward and that’s what it’s all about. If you’re not playing hard, you might as well not even suit up, you know?

Q: Would you say the competitive nature of the city’s food scene has pushed Goode Company and its restaurant concepts? 

A: Absolutely. Houston’s really evolved over the last five years, 10 years. The whole food landscape has definitely evolved and competition continues to evolve each and every day. What’s the zeal of life if you can’t put on your eye black, suit up, get out there and give it your best? I have no fun playing the safe route. I like to get out there. I like to innovate. I like to explore and try new things and I think that’s kind of the spice of life.

Q: How has the pandemic impacted Goode Company?

A: As big of a dark cloud as the pandemic has cast over the whole world, in particular in Houston and our business and our business operations, it’s really kind of driven a lot of ingenuity and innovation for me. Through the pandemic, we’ve created a new concept that opened about a month ago. It’s curbside takeout only but we’re looking to expand that to maybe have some weekend sitdown opportunities. We also opened up a fried chicken concept called Goode Bird about a month ago. Everything’s made from scratch.

It’s got buttermilk fried chicken, cornbread, mashed potatoes, jalapeno cream corn, pimento mac & cheese, collard greens and all sorts of good stuff. That’s been fun. We’ve got just such a wonderful teams that’s been so flexible and agile in this environment to be able to not be so paralyzed with all the negativity and be able to spin all that into something positive that allows all of us to collectively apply our skills and collective knowledge all with the intention of supporting this community. Comfort food is something that I thought might be of need for our community. So we rolled that out about a month ago and it’s beena smash hit so far. We’ve sold out every day and we’re really excited for what the future many hold on that. I’ve also opened a grocery business through the pandemic. 

cajun cooking

Community Education courses – your chance to learn in Whanganui – New Zealand Herald

Whanganui Community Education courses for term 3.

Silk screen printing with Marty Vreede:
Learn screen printing, from hand-cut stencils to photo emulsion techniques for paper and fabric. Work with self-generated and found images to create your own vision through this versatile medium. Basic materials provided, bring your own fabric if you wish to print on textiles.
Eight sessions, Wednesday 6-9pm, August 5 – September 23. $320.

All levels woodcut printmaking with Marty Vreede:
Learn the techniques of making beautiful woodblock prints with master printer Marty Vreede.
Using traditional hand tools, Marty will guide you through the process of making and printing from your own woodblocks to create your own original art prints. Suitable for all levels of experience.
Eight sessions, Tuesday 6-9pm, August 4 – September 22. $260.

Drypoint with Esther Topfer:
Six-week drypoint course. Drypoint allows you to translate your drawings into the printed realm, enabling you to go beyond the image and into the world of mark-making through learning to work with a new printing vocabulary. Suitable for complete beginners and those with some experience.
Six sessions, Thursday 6-8.30pm, August 6 – September 10. $150.


New approaches to line with Michael Haggie:
A “whoa to go” drawing course – a refresher for those acquainted with drawing, or an introduction for complete beginners. Cement the foundations of your drawing practise and learn to draw what you see, rather than what you think you see with pencil, ink and charcoal.
Six sessions, Tuesday 6.30-8.30pm, August 11–September 15. $135 – BYO drawing materials.

Capturing the dunes with Pauline Allomes:
Explore and gain inspiration from the Castlecliff sand dunes to create paintings and drawings through this five session course. To start, an excursion to the dunes is planned to sketch and photograph them, where you’ll also visit Coast Care planting sites that help with dune stabilisation and attend a talk to gain some insight into the programme. You will then use the resources generated from this day to work on drawings and paintings over the next four weeks in any style and media you choose, with guidance from Pauline.
Five sessions, Saturday, August 8, 10am-2pm; Wednesday, August 12, 19, 26 and September 1, 6.30-9pm. $150 – BYO drawing/painting materials.

Figurative acrylic painting with Michael Haggie:
Wanting to work more with figures? Six weeks with Michael will help you on your way to explore many aspects of figurative painting using acrylics. Learn about composition, basic colour theory, paint mixing, application techniques and contrast through creating works on paper and canvas.
Six sessions, Thursday 6.30-8.30pm, August 13 – September 17. $135 – BYO painting supplies.

Raranga with Juanita Davis:
Create and explore raranga, traditional Māori flax-weaving, with Whanganui weaver Juanita Davis. This connective class will bind you together in experience and knowledge as you learn how to identify, harvest, prepare and weave harakeke, and the tikanga alongside the process. This class is suitable for beginners or those with some experience.
Five sessions, Sunday 1.30-4.30pm, August 30 – September 27. $125 – Some materials included.

Stone set rings with Craig Winton:
Learn the principles of silver jewellery construction with established local jeweller Craig Winton, creating your own stone-set sterling silver ring. This will teach you the basics skills of silver-smithing; including sawing, filing, soldering, texturing and more.
To personalise your ring, bring along your own stone to set in it. This does not have to be a precious stone, but could be a more creative or sentimental piece. Stones and cabochons will also be available to purchase through Craig. Course cost includes an allocated amount of silver for your ring — more silver will be available to purchase if required.
Saturday and Sunday 9-4.30pm. August 22 and 23. $275 – Silver supplied.

Photography for Beginners with Leigh Mitchell Anyon:
Is your digital camera and its menu perplexing you and holding you up from taking great photos? Learn more about it through tutorials and practical outdoor photography exercises, which will expand your camera confidence and creative photographic skills. I’ll share creative techniques which I use in my own photography and basic steps using Photoshop to improve and fix your photos.
All levels welcome, each student will need to bring along their own digital camera.
Six sessions, Monday 6.30-9pm, August 24 – September 28. $165.

How to take a pattern from a garment with Jenny Meade:
Come and learn how to create a pattern from a beloved garment to create a new version of it. Skills to learn for every level.
Four sessions, Tuesday 7-9pm, August 18 – September 8. $95 – BYO sewing machine.

Wild about weeds with Margi Keys:
Learn how to identify edible plants and weeds and make the most of your garden. Tutor Margi Keys opens up her own garden to show you how. Students will enjoy a salad and fresh herbal tea made with their findings at the end of class.
Saturday 2-4pm, September 26. $25.


Gardening for fun, food and flowers with Terry Dowdeswell:
A practical class to learn how to plan, plant and grow vegetables and flowers, following crops from seed to plate or vase. You will learn the basics, understand what plants need to grow well, and how to provide for this. You will also learn specific crops for the home garden according to season. Venues will vary as we visit home gardens and nurseries following growth and circumstance. Each lesson will leave you with something to take home, such as seeds sown, seedlings, cuttings or plants, and the knowledge to grow it.
Five sessions, 10am-1pm First Saturday of each month, August 1 – December 5. $95.

Craft Beer 101 with Chris Hayton:
Keen to delve into the exciting world of craft brewing? Or just want to cut costs and make your own craft beer? Come along to this four-part workshop and follow the journey of a brew from grain to glass, learning the hows and whys of home brewing.
Four sessions, Saturday 1-3.30pm, September 5-26. $110 – Materials supplied.

Cheese making workshop with Gina Guigou:
Learn the skills and gain the hands-on experience required to make soft cheeses, such as feta, haloumi, mozzarella and ricotta. All ingredients supplied.
Saturday, 9am-3.30pm, September 12. $135.

Food from the bayou with Adam Wasiolek. Expand your culinary repertoire by immersing yourself in Cajun cuisine with chef Adam Wasiolek. Three lessons covering a full menu; entrees, mains and deserts. You will explore everything from gumbo to beignets and more giving you a true taste of the bayou.
Three sessions, Wednesdays 6-9pm, August 19 – September 2. $150.

Pasta and gnocchi with Adam Wasiolek:
Leave pre-packaged pasta and gnocchi in the dust and come learn how to create your own from scratch in a fun filled evening with local chef Adam Wasiolek.
6-9pm, Wednesday, September 9. Entry by koha.

Spanish 101 with Luis Solano:
A native speaker, Luis will introduce you to Spanish as spoken in Latin America. You will learn the tools to start tackling this wonderfully expressive language that is the second most-spoken home language in the world after Mandarin.
Five sessions, 6.45-8.15pm, Mondays August 3-31. $85.


French 101 with Luis Solano. Start learning the language of business and pleasure under the tutelage of Luis, in a friendly and supportive environment with like-minded people. Learn basic greetings, how to express your needs in everyday settings, read signs and posters in French, how to write a postcard in your new language and more.
Five sessions, 5-6.30pm, Mondays, August 3-31. $85.

Defensive driving with Sarah Bolland:
This defensive driving course provides training to help you become a better driver and reduce the time it takes to get your full licence. (You need to hold a NZ Learner Licence or Restricted Licence to take this course). A deposit of $30 must be paid to hold your place.
Four sessions, Monday 6-8pm, August 17, 24, 31 and September 7. $215.

Gentle yoga for beginners with Amanda Burgess:
Yoga aims to unite the body, mind and spirit. Amanda’s gentle style of yoga co-ordinates the breath with movement, and will introduce you to basic breathing techniques and postures. Through these you can work towards developing a relaxed and comfortable body and strengthening the respiratory system. Some of the benefits from doing so can include increased vitality, energy levels and peace of mind. Class includes warm-up and closing relaxation.
Six sessions, Monday 6-7.30pm, August 3–September 7. $60.

Any instrument goes band with Bruce Jellyman:
Do you play an instrument? Do you sing? Then come along to this fun, crazy, eight-week course. The more musicians and singers, the more fun!
Eight sessions, Tuesday 7-8pm, August 4 – September 22. $85.

Life drawing with Sandra Morris:
Hone your life drawing skills in our monthly life drawing class. An un-tutored session supervised by Sandra Morris, the class will go through timed exercises to loosen your line and sharpen your skills through a variety of poses. Suitable for beginners and those with more experience. Participants must be over 16 to attend.
First Wednesday of every month, 6-8pm, September 2 and October 7. $10 per person, per class – bookings essential for each class.

Socrates meets Whanganui:
Socrates Cafes are gatherings held around the world where people from different backgrounds come together, exchange thoughtful ideas and experiences while embracing the over-arching idea that we learn more when we question, and when we question with others. No philosophical background is needed. It is about our own philosophies of life. This is not a debating club but about questioning, open-mindedness and challenging our own assumptions while listening to and respecting the views shared by others.
Please let us know in advance, by phone or email, if you will be attending.
10-11am, third Thursday of the month. August 20 and September 17. FREE.


To enrol or for more information contact the office between 10am-3pm Monday to Friday
Community Education, 24 Taupō Quay/PO Box 7252 Whanganui
Telephone; (06) 3454717 / Email:
Website: / Facebook;

cajun cooking

Bored? Here’s 10 fun things you can do outdoors in Pensacola – Pensacola News Journal

We get it – you can’t stay inside one more minute! Lucky for us, we live in gorgeous Pensacola and the outdoor entertainment options are unlimited. Here’s a list Visit Pensacola put together that works as well for visitors to our beautiful as it does for newcomers or even natives who’ve forgotten the many things our city has to offer.

Remember to keep a distance of six feet from people outside your own household, where a mask where appropriate and save your adventures for another day if you’re not feeling 100 percent!

1. Download the Experience Pensacola App

The Pensacola Bay Area has been an oasis for explorers since the Spanish first arrived in 1559. Nowadays, instead of using a compass, the Visit Pensacola App offers today’s explorers a unique way to discover all there is to see, do and experience around the city – all through an interactive app on a smartphone. Looking for specific restaurants? Fun festivals? Historic places? Live music? Outdoor activities? Family fun? Sporting events? Nightlife? Arts? Museums? We’ve got you covered. With geolocation features and an itinerary builder, finding what to do while in Pensacola is fun, fast and easy! You can even discover travel deals for your next affordable vacation! Download the app now from the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

2. Meet a dolphin (or two)

Who doesn’t love Flipper? Known for their playful behavior, dolphins are highly intelligent creatures and very social. Did you know that dolphins have acute eyesight both in and out of the water? And they can hear frequencies 10 times that of a human? That means dolphins know where you are long before you ever see or hear them coming. Dolphins tend to live in pods and hunt and play together. The most common species of dolphin you’ll find around the Pensacola Bay Area is the bottlenose dolphin. Take an excursion to see dolphins and other wildlife around Pensacola Bay. Multiple boat charters leaving Pensacola Beach offer one- and two-hour tours that take you to areas known for dolphin viewing.

3. Get out the paddles

The best way to enjoy Pensacola Bay’s natural attractions is to explore them by water. Visitors can rent paddleboards, canoes or kayaks to discover beautiful areas like Big Lagoon State Park, Little Sabine Bay, Big Sabine Bay, Bayview Park, Johnson Beach, or Perdido River. These waterways take you through secluded bayous, dense marshes, narrow canals and serene beaches. Paddlers can see a variety of birds and wildlife as they pass through the various landscapes of beaches, wetlands and saltwater marshes. 

4. Fly high above the water

The first thing to know about parasailing is that you’ll get much higher than you can even imagine. The other thing to know is it’s eerily quiet (but really quite relaxing, actually) when being pulled behind a boat, high in the air, in a giant parachute. It’s easy to go parasailing along Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. Ride service businesses can give you personal training before pulling you across the bay for a bird’s-eye view of the city and the beach.

5. Hit the links

Pensacola is home to numerous world-class golf courses. Lost Key Golf Club is an Arnold Palmer signature designed course with premier grass called Sea Dwarf Paspalum. The course takes pride in being one of the few golf courses that is naturally resourced and protective of the environment. Marcus Pointe Golf Club is another great course with an award-winning 600 acres of rolling hills and fairways. Don’t forget miniature golf!

6. Pull out the tents — or campers.

Why camp in a forest when you can do it at the beach? Whether you’re traveling by RV or bringing tents, the Pensacola Bay Area is ideal for camping by the beach. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy primitive, natural settings in Perdido Key and Pensacola Beach. The campgrounds at Fort Pickens on Pensacola Beach can accommodate both tent and RV camping. And for those more into “glamping,” the new Pensacola Beach RV Resort is right up your alley.

7. Explore 450 Years of History

Curious about Pensacola’s local architecture, museums and cultural influences? Pensacola offers centuries of stories and sites to discover. Explore the vast brick battlements and labyrinth of arched tunnels of Fort Pickens – a pre-Civil War era fort on Pensacola Beach. Spend the day touring Historic Pensacola Village to experience the rich heritage of America’s first European settlement. Comprised of 28 museums, historic homes and properties, the village encompasses 8.5 acres within the footprints of the original Spanish and British forts in downtown Pensacola. Start exploring 

8. Go Fish

The Pensacola Bay Area is an angler’s paradise, and you don’t have to be a pro to enjoy it. Between the Gulf of Mexico, three bays and a river that’s home to Florida’s most diverse freshwater fish population – we have a bounty of saltwater and freshwater fish species to choose from here.  All it takes is a quick stop at the tackle shop or a call to your one of our many charter fishing captains and guides. Next thing you know, you’ll be hooked — well, hopefully just the fish. Whether you book a fishing charter or cast a line from one of the Gulf’s longest piers, there’s rarely a bad day to cast a line out in Pensacola. If you want to let someone do the work, check out one of our fabulous tour companies. 

9. Experience Fresh Seafood

Whether you desire an elegant waterfront restaurant, a laid-back beach bar, downtown dining, or something in-between, Pensacola is just the place to satisfy any seafood craving. Because of the area’s rich history, you’ll be able to find everything from French flavors and Spanish savors to southern Cajun cooking. For those wanting to take some of our fresh seafood home with them, you can’t leave without stopping in the world-renowned Joe Patti’s Seafood market – a Pensacola landmark for the past 90 years. 

10. Obviously, go to the beach!

The most obvious thing to do in Pensacola is to hit the beach. Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key are both known for their pearly white sands and warm, crystal-clear waters. It’s a paradise for beach-goers, a beautiful backdrop for relaxing or embarking on your next outdoor adventure. When not swimming or sunbathing, take a walk along the shoreline and collect seashells as souvenirs. Just remember our motto: Leave Only Your Footprints Behind.

cajun cooking

How to Celebrate Black Restaurant Week in LA – Thrillist

Food & Drink

Support these Black-owned businesses around the city.

Comfort LA

Comfort LA

Courtesy of Comfort LA

Now in its fifth year, Black Restaurant Week returns to Los Angeles from Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August 16. Founded by Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell, and Derek Robinson, Black Restaurant Week celebrates African-American, African, and Caribbean cuisines by introducing communities to their local Black-owned restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and catering businesses. 

Black Restaurant Week is typically celebrated with outdoor festivals, live panels with culinary experts, tastings, and other events that bring communities together around food. With the COVID-19 pandemic and recent resurgence around the Black Lives Matter movement, Black Restaurant Week has shifted its approach, instead focusing on providing digital resources that help Black-owned culinary businesses remain profitable beyond the pandemic. 

This year, the usual $200 registration fee was waived so that more businesses could participate. The event schedule has been adapted for an online format, including a virtual bartending competition with Maker’s Mark and a series of digital panels to share COVID-19-related resources. The culinary initiative hopes to create a Black food marketplace that will provide online listings for spices, recipes, cookbooks in addition to a database of Black bartenders and sommeliers.   

Many of the participating restaurants are responding to COVID-19 with an assortment of community-oriented offerings. When diners choose to support these small, Black-owned food institutions, they can rest assured that these businesses are paying it forward in their communities.  

Here’s a list of this year’s participating restaurants along with tips on what (and how) to order. For more information about Black Restaurant Week, visit their website.

Comfort LA

Comfort LA

Courtesy of Comfort LA

Downtown and Inglewood
What began as a late-night pop-up restaurant has since expanded into two brick-and-mortar locations in Downtown LA and Inglewood. ComfortLA takes a holistic approach to Southern comfort food, only using fresh, organic ingredients that have been locally sourced and opting for healthier cooking methods. The restaurant prides itself on Midwest hospitality and even during a brief curbside pickup, they strive to make customers feel at home. 
Cost: $8 lunch special, $12 dinner special and $10 brunch special on Sundays only
Order this: The dinner special with the organic, clean mean greens (vegan) and Cousin Kina’s mac and cheese on the side. 
How to order: Via ChowNow or Grubhub.

Sky's Gourmet Tacos

Sky's Gourmet Tacos

Courtesy of Sky’s Gourmet Tacos

Mid-city and Marina Del Rey
Since 1992, Sky’s Tacos has been serving up flavors they describe as “Mexican with a splash of soul.” The restaurant menu boasts a variety of meat and vegetarian options, all bathed in Sky’s signature “Sassy Sauce,” which is equal parts tangy and spicy. While Sky’s flagship location on Pico Blvd folds around 1,000 tacos per month, their less-trafficked Marina Del Rey location includes a marketplace with freshly prepared grab-and-go meals, groceries, and a full deli counter. 
Cost: $5-20
Order this: Sky’s Signature Shrimp Taco
How to order: Via Seamless, ChowNow, or Postmates

Baldwin Hills
When Chef John Cleveland and his wife Roni took the reins at Post & Beam restaurant in 2019, they never could have imagined what was in store for their first year of business. After multiple curveballs, the restaurant continues to prove their adaptability and commitment to their local community. At the beginning of the pandemic, they partnered with local Councilman Marqueece Harris Dawson on the Emergency Senior Meal Program, which allocated funds to provide meals to senior citizens. When the program ended on June 12, the restaurant added an option to their delivery service that allows customers to donate a meal to a local senior for just $15. 
Cost: $45 for the prix-fixe menu
Order this: The prix-fixe includes a build-it-yourself personal pan pizza or Angus short ribs with a side and a slice of classic pound cake for dessert.
How to order: Via ChowNow

What began as a personal project in response to a friend’s cancer diagnosis has now evolved into a thriving cold-pressed juice delivery service for busy creatives and entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. All of the juice recipes are crafted by owner Chuck Allen and all ingredients are responsibly sourced. In response to local protests, Juice By Chuck held a Juneteenth Freedom Hike to honor African-American ancestors and raise awareness about community building through small business ownership. Follow them on Instagram to stay updated on future events.
Cost: $22.50 for a 4-pack of wellness shots
Order: Signature Juice with beet, apple, cucumber, and lemon
How to order: Deliveries on Sundays and Mondays via website.

Harriet's Cheesecakes

Harriet's Cheesecakes

Courtesy of Harriet’s Cheesecakes

An Inglewood establishment since 1983, Harriet’s Cheesecakes Unlimited is a Black-owned, family-owned business with over 65 flavors available by the slice or whole pies. Because Ms. Harriet is high-risk for COVID-19 and can’t be in the shop as often, she’s been busy behind the scenes creating and testing new recipes to add to their already-extensive menu. Every cheesecake is hand-mixed to perfection with fresh ingredients and Harriet has adjusted the sugar content of her cheesecakes to allow for diabetics such as her son to have an occasional piece. The dessert company plans to donate cheesecakes to essential workers in the COVID-19 unit at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica and is looking to do the same for a facility in Inglewood. 
Cost: $8.25 for a slice and $33 for 8” cheesecakes that are baked daily 
Order this: The Praline is their most popular cake, but the Apple N Spice is Ms. Harriet’s favorite
How to order: Call 310-419-2259 for curbside pickup.

The tagline “You don’t have to be a billionaire to eat like one,” couldn’t be more true. Billionaire Burger Boyz elevates comfort food with menu items that include lobster tail burgers, honey butter chicken sandwiches, and jambalaya french fries. In addition to their Compton storefront and food trucks, Billionaire Burger Boyz also offers catering which includes a tasty wings menu and they’re planning on adding pizzas to their menus soon. Since the pandemic began, they’ve supported their community by feeding those living in Skid Row, donating food to front-line workers at local hospitals, grocery stores, and post offices, as well as donating to Compton’s Community Fridges. The food truck is in LA on the weekdays and in Lancaster, San Diego, San Bernardino on the weekends. Follow them on Instagram for truck location updates..
Cost: $10 burgers and $5 sides
Order this: Jambalaya fries 
How to order: Via website

La Cienega Heights 
For those who miss hunkering down in a coffee shop with their laptop, Undergrind Cafe has a cozy outdoor area where you can work in peace over a refreshing cold brew and people watch at a distance. The all-day breakfast cafe experienced a boom in business about two months ago when Ariana Grande documented her visit and recommended fans follow suit. Undergrind Cafe is supporting health care workers with an ongoing 25% discount on any order.
Cost: $3-5 coffee drinks and $8-12 food items
Order this: The Southern Comfort open-faced buttermilk biscuits and gravy with a Filthy Chai on the side
How to order: Takeout and delivery via Seamless, walk in for outdoor dining.

Windsor Hills
Simply Wholesome has been serving the LA community since 1984 with their restaurant and health food store. Their restaurant menu features unique, Caribbean-inspired flavors including blackened fish and Caribbean tacos and enchiladas while their health food store has everything from vitamins, juices, and teas to natural hair care products and skincare items. Most recently, the storefront was included on Beyonce’s web directory of Black- and African-owned businesses. Simply Wholesome has updated their website to advise customers of longer wait times and recommends that orders be placed in advance over the phone.
Cost: Under $15
Order this: Spicy Cajun Tacos
How to order: Takeout and curbside pickup via phone 323-294-2144.

Orleans & York

Orleans & York

Courtesy of Orleans & York

Downtown LA, Crenshaw, Carson, and Windsor Hills
True to name, Orleans & York satisfies your sandwich craving with New Orleans-inspired ‘po boys and New York-inspired hero sandwiches. They’ve quickly expanded since opening their first LA deli in 2013 and have plans to launch more locations across Southern California and nationwide. Orleans & York is a favorite for Cajun and Creole cuisine, even serving muffuletta sandwiches, which are unique to the Italian community within New Orleans. 
Cost: $15-20
Order this: Gumbo Mumbo Sandwich
How to order: Curbside pickup via ChowNow

Serving up Creole cuisine since 1984, Simply D’Licious is a great option for anyone who wants to go all out with their Sunday dinners. The menu features entrees like beef oxtails, catfish fillet, seafood gumbo, and shrimp Creole fettuccine, all made fresh to order. The restaurant recently opened a food truck and will soon launch a new location in Las Vegas. 
Cost: $12-20
Order this: Wet oxtail burrito
How to order: Curbside pickup and delivery via website.

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Danielle Dorsey is a contributor for Thrillist. 
cajun cooking

Learn to cook a tasty Sunday dinner with University Circle’s top chefs – freshwatercleveland

When COVID-19 shut down the museums and restaurants in University Circle this past spring, Chris Ronayne jumped into action. As president of University Circle, Inc.(UCI), it was his mission to support the institutions and businesses that make the area Cleveland’s cultural center.

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I asked my staff, “how do we stay relevant and connected?’ and they stepped up,” Ronayne recalls. He says that when it became evident that the popular annual summer series Wade Oval Wednesdays wasn’t going to happen this year, they pivoted.

The UCI team quickly came up with Circle Connects—a series of online and interactive family-friendly activities.

While Ronayne says activities like Shape Up in the Circle—livestreamed 30-minute workouts from different locations around the Circle that can be done at home, or Circle the Circle, outdoor activities that can be one while social distancing, one of the most popular classes of the summer has been the Circle Food Tour, in which six University Circle chefs livestream cooking classes.

“The genesis of this six-part series is really a quest to stay connected in this community with arts and culinary culture, and it gives people an experience,” explains Ronayne.

The classes are streamed live at 6 p.m. through UCI’s YouTube Channel or its Facebook page. Participants can choose to register and pay for meal kits with all the ingredients needed, or get the upcoming recipe on Friday before the class, shop on their own, and watch the livestream for free. Other than the cost of the meal kits, the classes are free, thanks to PNC Bank.

The Circle Food tour kicked off on Sunday, July 12 with chef Zach Bruell of L’Albatros teaching how to make root vegetable risotto with pulled chicken; followed by chef Seth Bromberg of Kantina on Sunday, July 23, making kosher chimichurri chicken breast with Mediterranean couscous.

And this coming Sunday, Aug. 9, chef Brandon Chrostowski of EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute will lead participants through making Mediterranean rubbed skirt steak with summer vegetables en papillote. A fresh nutcake for dessert will be supplied if participants buy the meal kit through EDWINS.

On Sunday, Aug. 23 chef Tiwanna Williams of Pearlflower Catering will make Cajun Shrimp and GritsCreamy buttered stone ground grits with Cajun spiced shrimp, spicy andouille, peppers, and onions in a Cajun cream sauce garnished with cheese, bacon, and scallions.

On Sunday, Sept. 6, pastry chef Kevin Shlappal of The Coffee House at University Circle will make French macarons. If the meal kit in purchased, it will also include a $25 gift card to The Coffee House and a one-pound bag of coffee beans.

Rounding out the season, chef Doug Katz, chef of Provenance at the Cleveland Museum of Art, among other area restaurants, will demonstrate grilled Peruvian chicken with aji sauce, cucumber, green onion; basmati Rice with annatto, sofrito, and lentils; and Mexican spiced brownie.

Ronayne says the meal kits are available at the restaurant leading the demonstration each week. The recipes are available for free download each Friday before the stream on Sunday. Recipes from past demonstrations are available at any time. To register to pay for and pick up the meal kits click here.

“This is not only a way to engage with our community, but also remind the community that these restaurants are still out here,” says Ronayne.

cajun cooking

Best place to live in every state – KAKE

By: Seth Berkman, Meagan Drillinger

Jay Yuan // Shutterstock

Best place to live in every state

What do you look for in an ideal town? Proximity to trails, lakes, and beaches? How about top-ranked schools for your children? Would you like a professional or college sports team nearby, or do you prefer museums and art walks?

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in every state using Niche’s 2020 rankings. Niche ranks places to live based on many factors, including the cost of living, educational attainment, housing, and public schools.

Many cities on the list are suburbs experiencing growth thanks to rapid improvements in their metropolitan areas, whether it’s the creation of new rail systems or a megacorporation moving in. Other entries include planned communities or older cities that have been revamped with grassroots efforts focusing on greener ways of living, drawing in new businesses, or increased devotion to the arts. Towns with large colleges regularly appear, as prestigious universities not only employ thousands of workers but provide a rich amount of recreation and educational offerings for families.

There are a few well-known locales on the list. For example, a New Jersey college town steeped in Ivy League tradition offers a small-town vibe with historic architecture. Idaho’s entry proves the state is about more than just potato production, and one town in Kansas takes the title of “smartest” town in America. Then, of course, there’s the town that owes its affluence to Walmart, and the Southern city that is the proud home of the Trash Pandas.

Each slide includes the city’s population, median home value, median rent, and median household income. More details on Niche’s methodology can be found here. Whether you’re thinking of relocation or are big on hometown pride, click through to find the best place to live in every state.


Alabama: Madison

– Population: 48,275
– Median home value: $245,000 (70% own)
– Median rent: $887 (30% rent)
– Median household income: $89,522

In April, Madison, Alabama, will become the home of a new minor league baseball team with arguably one of the most eccentric names in sports: the Trash Pandas. The city is building a new stadium to welcome the Trash Pandas (slang for raccoon), and if that’s not appealing enough, Madison also has top-ranked schools, borders the city of Huntsville, and offers several small business incentives.

[Pictured: Hunstville, Alabama, which neighbors Madison.]

Mikhail Varentsov // Shutterstock

Alaska: College

– Population: 13,709
– Median home value: $244,100 (61% own)
– Median rent: $1,329 (39% rent)
– Median household income: $89,072

This small suburb of Fairbanks is the best place to live in Alaska. It’s home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, an international research center. Its proximity to Fairbanks puts it close to museums like the Museum of the North and the Pioneer Park theme park. There are also hiking trails and plenty of restaurants. College is close enough to enjoy these perks, but being a suburb, it offers residents more open space.

Tim Roberts Photography // Shutterstock

Arizona: Catalina Foothills

– Population: 50,426
– Median home value: $426,400 (73% own)
– Median rent: $1,025 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $85,059

Catalina Foothills, Arizona, is surrounded by the picturesque Santa Catalina mountains, luxury shopping, resorts, and museums. Nearby, the University of Arizona has a notable presence, including its operation of Biosphere2. With these resources nearby, Catalina Foothills is one of Arizona’s most-affluent locales.

Philip Rozenski // Shutterstock

Arkansas: Bentonville

– Population: 46,857
– Median home value: $221,400 (55% own)
– Median rent: $918 (45% rent)
– Median household income: $81,934

Bentonville, Arkansas, could also be called Walmartville. The city, in the northwest corner of the state, is the home of Walmart, a company that has left its stamp on the town (just check out the Walmart Museum). If the history of retail isn’t your bag, Bentonville also houses the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, is home to craft fairs, and is close to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.

Michael Rosebrock // Shutterstock

California: Santa Monica

– Population: 92,078
– Median home value: $1,242,100 (29% own)
– Median rent: $1,734 (71% rent)
– Median household income: $93,865

California is packed with great places to live, but Santa Monica is taking home the gold. This small beach community in Los Angeles is home to the rich and famous, who have settled here for its direct beach access, iconic pier, A-list restaurants on Montana Avenue, and beautiful real estate.

Roschetzky Photography // Shutterstock

Colorado: Holly Hills

– Population: 2,909
– Median home value: $426,500 (93% own)
– Median rent: $2,634 (7% rent)
– Median household income: $136,176

Between Denver and the Denver Tech Center sits Holly Hills, a neighborhood in Colorado that takes the title of best place to live in the state. This quiet suburb of Denver is just 15 minutes outside the vibrant, cultural city, putting it within 15 minutes of attractions like the Denver Botanic Gardens, museums, restaurants, and the naturally-beautiful hiking and mountain biking trails around the city.

Ragesoss // Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut: West Hartford

– Population: 63,127
– Median home value: $329,000 (72% own)
– Median rent: $1,297 (28% rent)
– Median household income: $99,280

Aficionados of fall foliage can find some of nature’s best colors in the West Hartford Reservoirs. Even outside of the fall months, this city is becoming a favorite place to live because of its farmers markets, museums, and nearly centuries-old churches. The University of Hartford and the University of Saint Joseph both have campuses in town.

Khairil Azhar Junos // Shutterstock

Delaware: Pike Creek

– Population: 8,312
– Median home value: $338,200 (86% own)
– Median rent: $1,748 (14% rent)
– Median household income: $114,865

Pike Creek, Delaware, offers plenty for outdoor lovers with nearby White Clay Creek State Park. The park offers more than 3,600 acres of hiking trails, creeks, and forest. It’s part of the National Park Service’s National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, as well. There is also Carousel Park, which has ponds, a lake, and miles of walking trails.

Norm Lane // Shutterstock

Florida: Nocatee

– Population: 13,266
– Median home value: $371,300 (82% own)
– Median rent: $1,689 (18% rent)
– Median household income: $115,250

Lincolnh // Wikimedia Commons

Georgia: Decatur

– Population: 23,054
– Median home value: $466,800 (66% own)
– Median rent: $927 (34% rent)
– Median household income: $93,039

SvetlanaSF // Shutterstock

Hawaii: Honolulu

– Population: 401,549
– Median home value: $713,300 (49% own)
– Median rent: $1,494 (51% rent)
– Median household income: $73,447

If you’re worried about rising COVID numbers in the U.S., then any city in Hawaii probably seems like a good place to live right about now. Honolulu is the capital and largest city in Hawaii and boasts an annual marathon, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and regular television and film projects. Oh, and the average low temperature in December in Honolulu? A balmy 71 degrees.

Charles Knowles // Shutterstock

Idaho: Moscow

– Population: 25,174
– Median home value: $224,400 (41% own)
– Median rent: $695 (59% rent)
– Median household income: $38,533

David Wilson // Flickr

Illinois: Clarendon Hills

– Population: 8,711
– Median home value: $561,700 (84% own)
– Median rent: $985 (16% rent)
– Median household income: $126,500

This affluent suburb of Chicago is packed with small-town charm. Originally planned in the late 19th century, the Village of Clarendon Hills is known for its low crime rate, top schools, and high average home values. The family-friendly community is home to the Morton Arboretum, with 1,700 acres of natural wildlife, as well as a community theater that hosts a calendar of events.

Golden Ratio Photos // Shutterstock

Indiana: Carmel

– Population: 90,163
– Median home value: $330,600 (77% own)
– Median rent: $1,199 (23% rent)
– Median household income: $116,867

[Pictured: Belltower and lake at Coxhall Garden in Carmel, Indiana, at sunset in the winter of 2019]

Rich Herrmann // Flickr

Iowa: Mount Vernon

– Population: 4,454
– Median home value: $216,800 (74% own)
– Median rent: $758 (26% rent)
– Median household income: $82,656

Jon Kraft // Shutterstock

Kansas: Prairie Village

– Population: 22,048
– Median home value: $261,500 (78% own)
– Median rent: $1,321 (22% rent)
– Median household income: $88,635

[Pictured: Waterfall at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in springtime, located just outside of Prairie Village, Kansas.]

Bill Eichelberger // Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky: Fort Thomas

– Population: 16,313
– Median home value: $226,300 (70% own)
– Median rent: $882 (30% rent)
– Median household income: $76,837

Fort Thomas, a Cincinnati suburb, is named after Civil War General George Henry Thomas. Fort Thomas was a key mobilization point during the Spanish-American War; later, when mineral waters were found in the area, health resorts popped up throughout town. An annual art festival draws vendors and spectators from around the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area.

[Pictured: Fort Thomas Mess Hall.]

Felix Mizioznikov // Shutterstock

Louisiana: Prairieville

– Population: 31,721
– Median home value: $231,600 (87% own)
– Median rent: $1,152 (13% rent)
– Median household income: $94,478

[Pictured: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, located just northwest of Prairieville.]

Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

Maine: Cape Elizabeth

– Population: 9,279
– Median home value: $408,800 (87% own)
– Median rent: $1,191 (13% rent)
– Median household income: $111,884

Cape Elizabeth is a suburb of the cool cultural hub of Portland. Located on Casco Bay, the affluent Maine town is known for a historic mansion, New England beach, and, of course, its iconic landmark, the Portland Head Light. Plus, it’s just a short drive to the restaurants, galleries, and historic downtown of Portland.

Nicole Glass Photography // Shutterstock

Maryland: South Kensington

– Population: 8,769
– Median home value: $736,300 (90% own)
– Median rent: $2,164 (10% rent)
– Median household income: $181,941

Susan Marrah Photography // Shutterstock

Massachusetts: Brookline

– Population: 59,234
– Median home value: $885,700 (51% own)
– Median rent: $2,194 (49% rent)
– Median household income: $113,515

John F. Kennedy spent his childhood in Brookline, and Brookline oozes history—the Underground Railroad made important stops in Brookline that you can still retrace. Today, different community gardens and farmers markets make this Boston suburb a favored locale to raise a family.

[Pictured: Jogging path around Massachusetts reservoir surrounded by colorful fall foliage on a sunny October day.]

Deb Nystrom // Flickr

Michigan: Okemos

– Population: 23,912
– Median home value: $231,100 (61% own)
– Median rent: $965 (39% rent)
– Median household income: $78,080

[Pictured: Countryside in Meridian Charter Township, Ingham County, Michigan, where Okemos is an unincorporated community.]

Thomson200 // Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota: Eden Prairie

– Population: 63,900
– Median home value: $351,400 (73% own)
– Median rent: $1,352 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $106,555

Located along the Mississippi River, Eden Prairie is home to Optum, part of the UnitedHealth network. Those in Eden Prairie can take advantage of ice rinks, community gardens, and community theater productions. The Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis are less than a 30-minute drive away.

[Pictured: Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail, Eden Prairie, Minnesota.]

Pmsyyz // Wikimedia Commons

Mississippi: Madison

– Population: 25,522
– Median home value: $255,000 (93% own)
– Median rent: $1,557 (7% rent)
– Median household income: $106,849

Paul Sableman // Wikimedia Commons

Missouri: Richmond Heights

– Population: 8,457
– Median home value: $247,500 (55% own)
– Median rent: $1,010 (45% rent)
– Median household income: $78,481

aindigo // Shutterstock

Montana: Bozeman

– Population: 45,121
– Median home value: $343,000 (44% own)
– Median rent: $1,016 (56% rent)
– Median household income: $51,896

Jasperdo // Flickr

Nebraska: Chadron

– Population: 5,654
– Median home value: $124,800 (55% own)
– Median rent: $600 (45% rent)
– Median household income: $52,201

Chadron can trace its roots back to the pioneer days, when it was used as a fur-trading post in the Great Plains. Its surrounding natural beauty makes it a wonderful place for outdoor adventure, from the Nebraska National Forest to the Pine Ridge National Recreation Area.

Teresa Munson // Shutterstock

Nevada: Incline Village

– Population: 8,491
– Median home value: $826,700 (73% own)
– Median rent: $1,437 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $93,507

Incline Village sits on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, making it one of the most beautiful places in the country. It is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with ski resorts, bike paths, hiking trails, and waterfront activities. Cultural activities include an annual Shakespeare Festival, historic homes, restaurants, and a festival dedicated to the Norse God of Snow.

Jay Yuan // Shutterstock

New Hampshire: Hanover

– Population: 11,512
– Median home value: $548,200 (68% own)
– Median rent: $1,475 (32% rent)
– Median household income: $133,672

Djkeddie // Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey: Princeton

– Population: 30,728
– Median home value: $833,000 (59% own)
– Median rent: $1,563 (41% rent)
– Median household income: $138,194

Kit Leong // Shutterstock

New Mexico: Los Alamos

– Population: 12,373
– Median home value: $295,600 (68% own)
– Median rent: $1,007 (32% rent)
– Median household income: $106,288

Los Alamos, New Mexico, is steeped in Native American history. Today, it’s an outdoor-focused city with parks and public spaces, a bustling downtown, and its position as the “gateway” to three national parks and the Santa Fe National Forest. Bandelier National Monument gives a glimpse into the area’s ancient past: Visitors can climb wooden ladders to explore ancient cave dwellings where the region’s earliest inhabitants used to live.

Jayne Lipkovich // Shutterstock

New York: Jericho

– Population: 13,827
– Median home value: $772,900 (84% own)
– Median rent: $2,044 (16% rent)
– Median household income: $161,771

New York’s Long Island is home to many charming, family-friendly towns, but Jericho takes first place as the best place to live in the state. Being in Nassau County means it’s close to the services and convenience of New York City, but the suburban vibe is great for families. The Jericho Senior High School was ranked the fifth-best public high school in the state by Niche, as well.

ying // Shutterstock

North Carolina: Morrisville

– Population: 25,007
– Median home value: $317,700 (48% own)
– Median rent: $1,330 (52% rent)
– Median household income: $96,489

In North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Morrisville boasts headquarters for worldwide tech companies like Lenovo. A youth leadership council stresses mentoring and civic duty among students in town, and there is easy access to nearby Raleigh–Durham International Airport.

[Pictured: Winter morning at Lake Crabtree County Park, Morrisville, North Carolina.]

Guy RD // Shutterstock

North Dakota: Fargo

– Population: 120,209
– Median home value: $199,700 (44% own)
– Median rent: $796 (56% rent)
– Median household income: $53,309

Lewis Directed Films // Shutterstock

Ohio: Madeira

– Population: 9,091
– Median home value: $281,100 (91% own)
– Median rent: $986 (9% rent)
– Median household income: $112,513

Located in Hamilton County, Madeira is an affordable city in Ohio on the outskirts of Cincinnati. Families flock to the suburb because it ranks very high nationally in public education, with three public schools. There are three parks within the city, as well.

MARELBU // Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma: Edmond

– Population: 91,053
– Median home value: $231,100 (68% own)
– Median rent: $1,028 (32% rent)
– Median household income: $78,692

Just minutes from Oklahoma City, Edmond boasts the University of Central Oklahoma and the Oklahoma University Medical Center among its higher-education institutions. Edmond has produced many star athletes, such as Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller, NBA All-Star Blake Griffin, and Kansas basketball coach Bill Self. Edmond’s high schools are all ranked among the best in Oklahoma.

Nadia Yong // Shutterstock

Oregon: Bethany

– Population: 24,396
– Median home value: $509,900 (73% own)
– Median rent: $1,574 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $127,351

Bethany, not too far from Portland, is one of the wealthiest small towns in the state. Bethany is close to Beaverton, which is home to Nike and Oregon’s Silicon Forest—one of the fastest-growing tech areas in the Pacific Northwest.

[Pictured: Portland, Oregon, which neighbors the unincorporated community of Bethany]

Gaukhar Javarova // Shutterstock

Pennsylvania: Chesterbrook

– Population: 4,714
– Median home value: $312,800 (78% own)
– Median rent: $1,813 (22% rent)
– Median household income: $119,010

Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island: Barrington

– Population: 16,178
– Median home value: $418,900 (89% own)
– Median rent: $1,350 (11% rent)
– Median household income: $123,021

Elizabeth Foley // Shutterstock

South Carolina: Forest Acres

– Population: 10,433
– Median home value: $186,700 (75% own)
– Median rent: $922 (25% rent)
– Median household income: $64,926

Forest Acres is a family-friendly community near the border of the capital city of Columbia. It draws a diverse community, from young professionals and families to retirees. It offers so much for its residents to do, from family events and a farmers market to several parks, such as Citadel Park, Idalia Park and Quinine Hill Park.

Lost_in_the_Midwest // Shutterstock

South Dakota: Dakota Dunes

– Population: 2,895
– Median home value: $266,400 (59% own)
– Median rent: $902 (41% rent)
– Median household income: $99,034

dansif // Shutterstock

Tennessee: Brentwood

– Population: 41,987
– Median home value: $622,000 (91% own)
– Median rent: $1,891 (9% rent)
– Median household income: $160,597

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

Texas: Cinco Ranch

– Population: 16,977
– Median home value: $362,100 (83% own)
– Median rent: $1,375 (17% rent)
– Median household income: $139,420

Planned communities around major Texas cities like Dallas and Houston are common (for more, check out Stacker’s “Best places to live in America”), but Cinco Ranch in Katy, Texas, tops them all. Like many planned communities, Cinco Ranch has an abundance of pools, tennis courts, and golf courses, but this Houston outpost also created an amateur radio society.

[Pictured: Houston, Texas, which neighbors Cinco Ranch]

Parker Covieo // Shutterstock

Utah: Kaysville

– Population: 30,961
– Median home value: $313,700 (88% own)
– Median rent: $905 (12% rent)
– Median household income: $94,001

Bram Reusen // Shutterstock

Vermont: Norwich

– Population: 3,335
– Median home value: $446,800 (74% own)
– Median rent: $1,011 (26% rent)
– Median household income: $116,050

romakoma // Shutterstock

Virginia: Stone Ridge

– Population: 12,990
– Median home value: $454,900 (88% own)
– Median rent: $2,339 (12% rent)
– Median household income: $143,140

Pikachu Ink // Shutterstock

Washington: Redmond

– Population: 63,197
– Median home value: $631,700 (50% own)
– Median rent: $1,855 (50% rent)
– Median household income: $123,449

Video game aficionados could have a field day in Redmond. Microsoft (creator of Xbox) and Nintendo have headquarters in this Seattle suburb. Residents also enjoy equestrian facilities, adaptive recreation options, and a velodrome.

Steve Heap // Shutterstock

West Virginia: Star City

– Population: 2,196
– Median home value: $160,800 (48% own)
– Median rent: $768 (52% rent)
– Median household income: $45,954

Founded in the early 20th century, Star City is a small town overlooking the Monongahela River. Today the city boasts the Edith B. Barill Riverfront Park, which has biking and walking trails, as well as access to the river via a public boat ramp. The Caperton Trail follows the river to Morgantown and passes the West Virginia University Arboretum.

rSnapshotPhotos // Shutterstock

Wisconsin: Elm Grove

– Population: 6,172
– Median home value: $362,200 (93% own)
– Median rent: $955 (7% rent)
– Median household income: $115,972

Elm Grove is a small village with quaint charm, that’s close enough to Milwaukee to provide all the perks of a major city. The town is packed with small businesses and is home to Elm Grove Village Park, which has a community pool and sports facilities. It’s a popular spot for family picnics, as well.

tusharkoley // Shutterstock

Wyoming: South Park

– Population: 1,612
– Median home value: $1,013,100 (80% own)
– Median rent: $1,161 (20% rent)
– Median household income: $105,450

South Park in Teton County is at the doorstep of some of Wyoming’s greatest attractions, making it an entertaining and diverse place for people to live. It’s a small town, with less than 2,000 residents, but is close to the major tourist town, Jackson Hole. Residents can enjoy the hospitality services of Jackson Hole, as well as natural attractions like Yellowstone National Park and all the activities along the Snake River.

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cajun cooking

New Orleans: Not the Big Easy of recipes, but incredible food with lots of spices – Gold Country Media

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cajun cooking

Melissa Martin releases the Mosquito Supper Club cookbook –

Melissa Martin grew up in Cajun culture around the fishing town of Chauvin. Her professional life has been built around food, cooking at restaurants, catering gigs, relief efforts and more. She started a pop-up and developed it into a restaurant of the same name, Mosquito Supper Club (which is temporarily closed). She recently released a cookbook about her life in Cajun culture and food, “Mosquito Supper Club — Cajun Recipes From a Disappearing Bayou.”

Gambit: How did you come to write a cookbook?

Melissa Martin: Part of the experience of coming to the restaurant is that I tell stories and try to talk to people about the reality in south Louisiana right now — environmentally, culturally. We debunk Cajun myths and serve this food I grew up eating. I thought that was needed because I didn’t feel great about the options when people would ask, “Where can we get Cajun food in New Orleans?” I would say, “Nowhere.”

I grew up in a fishing village. I want people to understand where their food comes from. More than anything, my work has been about being able to support fishermen and farmers — being able to serve the best ingredients I can. We broke the book down in seafood chapters so we can talk about the life of a fisherman, how shrimp get sold, how to get good shrimp. We do the same with local oysters. We talk about the problems in the industry and possible solutions. We talk about coastal erosion and the loss of bayou, both metaphorically and physically. With that comes loss of tradition and culture.

I pay tribute to the women. They were the people who were cooking. They were in the kitchen. The women held together what to me is the center and the heart of Cajun culture, and that is the table and food.

G: How do you think Cajun culture has been misrepresented?

M: In New Orleans, it’s the tours — getting on a bus and going out to feed marshmallows to alligators. You see the word Cajun on so many trinkets in shops on Bourbon Street. The term is being used interchangeably with Creole, which it shouldn’t be.

On a food level, everything is spicy. Well, that’s not true either. Even Creole spice is false. I don’t think it can be all bundled up together, but we do season our food.

(In my hometown) people didn’t get modern with their Cajun food. They’re still cooking it the same way. It’s sort of frozen in time. Maybe there’s a faster technique for this or that, but it’s the same food that’s passed down.

G: How has the pandemic affected the restaurant?

M: March 14 was last day as we knew it. Pre-COVID. We transitioned and cooked with Feed the Frontline. My sous chef did every one of those meals because she wanted to work by herself because of COVID. Then we cooked to-go food, until we could operate at 50% capacity. We opened our dining room until last Saturday, when we closed to take a break and to reassess.

We were running at the speed of lightning, and trying on all these different hats — all these different business models. And really, that just costs you a ton of money. We landed on this new business model which isn’t family-style seating — two seatings and just 12 people; and we spread them out all over the restaurant. What was Mosquito before will never be again. It used to be people seated family style, passing around platters of food. I can’t see that happening again or when people will be happy doing that again.

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