Mildred L. Covert and Sylvia P. Gerson published the “Kosher Cajun Cookbook” (Pelican) with loads of fun recipes for those who dare to cook with a little bit (or a lot) of spice! In our home, spices are a no-no… I have to keep everything plain with spices on hand (for me) to perk things up. My husband is so sensitive that there are some restaurants and markets that he cannot even walk in to. Can you imagine? Me, on the other hand, enjoys foods as spicy as it can be. Visiting New Orleans was such a treat! Anyway, try these to perk up a mundane barbecue.

Malke’s Macaroni Salad

2 cups elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon salt
3 quarts boiling water
2 cups diced cooked beets
1 cup thinly sliced raw carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon horseradish

Gradually add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water. Allow water to continue to boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until macaroni is tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again thoroughly. In a large bowl, arrange macaroni, beets, carrots, cucumber, and shallots. In a small jar combine oil, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and horseradish. Shake well. Pour over macaroni-vegetable mixture. Cover and chill. Toss well before serving. Serves six.

Pirogue Potato Salad

6 medium-size potatoes, scrubbed, but not peeled
1 cup finely chopped shallots
2/3 cup chicken *Beth’s note (or vegetable) stock
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons prepared hot mustard
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 drops Tabasco sauce
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

Drop the unpeeled potatoes into enough lightly salted boiling water to cover them completely. Boil briskly until they can be pierced with the point of a small knife. Do NOT overcook. Drain potatoes; then peel and cut into ¼ inch slices. Set aside in a tightly covered bowl. Allow to come to room temperature.

In a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan, combine chopped shallots, chicken (or vegetable) stock, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice and Tabasco. Add chopped eggs to potato slices; toss gently. Pour sauce over potatoes and eggs, turning to coat them evenly. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves four.