Saturday, February 7, 2009

Red Beans Recipe


Just so you know, they are delicious!

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 -1 tsp. cayenne pepper, depending on your 'heat' preference
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. chopped or minced garlic
1-2 lbs. seasoning meat*
1 standard package of smoked sausage, sliced to your liking
1 lb package of dried red beans, preferably soaked overnight and drained
9-12 cups of water
1 tsp. salt
Cooked rice

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large, thick bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion and bell pepper for about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, cayenne, black pepper, thyme and seasoning meat (not the sausage) and saute for about another 5. Add the beans, garlic, and enough water to cover all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about two hours. Add water if necessary. Using your spoon and the sides of the pot, mash the beans. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1/2 an hour. Add the sausage and cook for another 1/2 hour. At this time, taste to see if salt is necessary. If so, add it to your liking. Cook for another hour, or until the beans are creamy. Again, stir occasionally and add water if it becomes too thick. The mixture should be creamy, almost like a thick soup. Remove bay leaves before serving over rice.

* seasoning ham, ham hocks, smoked turkey necks, pickled meat, pickled rib tips. When considering weight, take into account the weight of any bones. You want one pound of meat. Also, consider that some of this meat is fatter than others, with the turkey being the leanest, of course.
Variations

Many recipes include celery. I'm not fond of the taste of celery, so I didn't add it. Also, I can take or leave parsley and didn't add it this time simply because I was out. Play around with the onion and bell pepper, too. Just get in there and make it yours.

I know someone who added liquid smoke to their beans. They were delicious.

I like to eat my beans with hot sauce, and I use all different kinds. Today, I used Crystal Hot Sauce. For this dish, instead of my all time favorite rice, basmati, I use extra long grain white rice, preferably Uncle Ben's or Zatarain's. A nice piece of warmed French bread would be a perfect finishing touch. If French bread is not available, brown and serve type rolls will do nicely.

I hope you try this recipe, maybe adding your own special touches, and let me know how it turns out. As always, if you have any questions, comment or email me.

Bon app├ętit!

Saturday Morning




What are you all doing today?



And I don't know why I feel like I should have something here in the morning. Nobody visits me, anyway, humph!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday, Random Stuff


I came home from work a little early, which is not unusual for a Friday. I took fifteen from the hundred shrimp rounds I have in a box in the freezer, put them in the toaster oven and warmed them. Delicious!




I washed them down with a beverage I made using my blender for the first time. It's delicious, too! I put a little of this in it, courtesy of my son's girlfriend, Stormy:



It has mango and black pepper. What's not to like?
Cinzia is doing much better with going up and down the stairs. I still have to retrieve her at times, but it's not like it was when she would wait for me to tote her little behind down the stairs, and then wait for me to get her and bring her back up when she was ready to come up Who does she think she is?

I have a friend I've known since I was about ten. For the last few years, her idiotic, self destructive behavior has tried my patience, and the very few friends she has are ignored in favor of any man she could have just met last week. Our history meant something to me, but the truth is, we have very little in common. It is difficult to have even the simplest conversation with her. Recently, she commited what I consider a major indiscretion, then treated it like it was nothing, tried to deflect everything and came up with every weak excuse in the book insted of just apologizing. I really think this was the last straw. On top of everything else I don't trust her, and I have lost what little respect I had for her.

That guy on the Match.com commercial who talks about cheeseburgers, has long braids in a long ponytail with a hat and eats a Hostess cupcake at the end? Name is junkfoodie? Works on my nerves.

Remember the Honeycomb Hideout?

I can't wait to do my planting plant next month.

I think my son thinks he has to tell me how to do everything. Yes, he's smart, but where does he think he got it?

I wish my friend (another one) would change her disposition in her relationship. She has given him the upper hand and he has no reason whatsoever, to make much of an effort. A friend and I were discussing this type of predicament, and it really has me thinking.

When I think of what Robert did to my air conditioner and my window, I want to hit him with my baseball bat.

The one person who de-friended me on MySpace a few months ago is an alcoholic who talks too much and has extremely unfortunate features. I mean eyes, nose, mouth, even his teeth, just messed up. His pride was hurt because I wasn't quick to show the type of affection he wanted. I was trying to take my time and get to know him better, hoping I would like him so much his looks wouldn't matter, but all he talked about was himself, and about all the women who wanted him for a husband, but of course, he just didn't want that. Maybe it was a combination of the face and the attitude, but every time I saw that face, he was either talking smack or trying to get all up over me, and it made me want to upchuck. The only information he wanted about me was in relationship to how he could benefit from it. Uh, no thank you. I really think I could have gotten used to his looks if he wasn't such a jerk, but this combination is not a good one. He ended things with me when I confronted him about his behavior and he couldn't take hearing about himself. I think he had been down this road so many times he knew just what to do. There were no tears over the loss of the "relationship," but being rejected by a jerk with an ugly face? That hurt. He loves to say he's single by choice. Translation: He has no choice. He doesn't know how to act, women for some reason don't stick around long and when they leave, it's on bad terms (he has a bad track record). He still gets drunk every weekend to avoid the life he wishes were different. Listen up, buddy! You have some things working for you: you're intelligent, neat, have a nice family, you can cook, you actually can relate to women on some level, and you have a sense of humor. Take inventory of your behavior, change what you don't like and perhaps you can settle down with a nice girl and have some funny-looking kids of your own! Hell, you'll love 'em. That's all.

Etta James really and truly does need to be quiet. Stop talking. Just sing, Blondie. Really.

I always eat more when something bothers me. Something must be bothering the hell out of me.

I am looking forward to setting up my pantry tomorrow, and getting the basement together. I have to get the floors ready for me to stain the concrete. Looking forward to that, too. I really must get out more.

I sure do like firefighters. Laughing out loud at that one.

I bought some leopard print sheets because my grandmother had some just like it. I hope they're just as soft as I remember hers were.

I miss both my grandmothers. They were very different about almost everything. One thing they had in common (besides four grandchildren)? They both threw down in the kitchen. I like to think I got 'it' from both of them, 'cause I don't play, either. Maw-Maw Weezie's drink of choice? Tom Collins, only on special occasions. Grandma's fave? Justerini & Brooks Scotch, better known as J&B. Every day.

An aside: Truman Capote drank J&B exclusively, but only called it by its formal name. When he would travel, he'd go into a liquor store an ask for Justerini & Brooks. If the clerk did not recognize the formal name, Capote would never let them know it's J&B. Even if he saw it on the shelf, he would walk out without it rather than call it J&B, or enlightening the clerk. I do not know why.

Our Mayor and City Council have stopped fighting over the waste management contract. Thank goodness. It was turning into a circus.

Sidney Torres is just as cute as he can be.

New Orleans may have its problems, but I often thank God for the blessing of being born here.

There's a sweet smell that hits me when I'm in an old New Orleans neighborhood. The smell takes me back to my childhood. I still don't know what it is.

I can't imagine what you'd have to pay me to sleep in that FEMA trailer again.

I detest insincerity.

I also hate when people know they're going to be on television, yet they show up looking jacked up. Comb your hair! Put on some Chap Stick! Think of others!

I want to go to the Krewe de View parade tomorrow, but I don't know anyone who wants to go.

Okay, I'll stop now, although I have much more.

What's random with you?

Rebirth Brass Band - Do Watcha Wanna

Enjoy some Mardi Gras music.

This is the Rebirth Brass Band in the French Quarter, celebrating the start of Jazz Fest, 2008:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sleepy Time


Question: How many hours of sleep do you typically get per night? Do you feel rested when you wake? Do you try to make up for it on the weekends?

Two Wines I Like...


Bogle's Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah, both from 2006. In addition to being good wines, they're moderately priced at around $10.00 a bottle. Win-win! Talk to me - Have you tried this wine? Tell me about the wines you like.

Red Beans


I know I promised recipes in the future, but here's the thing:

Like most cooks, unless it is a brand new dish, I do not cook with, or follow, a recipe. For the purposes of posting a recipe here, what I will do is cook like I usually do, but measure and write down every ingredient and action. Oh, the lengths I go to for my fans - all 3 of you!

This weekend, I will probably cook red beans. While Monday is the official "Red Bean Day", it's not unusual to have red beans on a Saturday. (Oddly enough, it's not really considered a Sunday meal - I don't know why, it just isn't.) Hopefully I'll have a recipe for you and some pics of the finished product. The picture shown is not my creation, but I chose it because it looks pretty good for restaurant red beans.

Also, I will offer variations of New Orleans style red beans. I have seen recipes from other places that use sugar, carrots, or some other weirdness in their beans. Uh, yeah, they can miss me with that - you will not see that here. I hope you give mine a try and enjoy.

Quote of the Day

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own
reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the
mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is
enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.
Never lose a holy curiosity.”


Albert Einstein, 1879 - 1955

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Life




Tonight is the season premiere of Life. I became a fan last season. When the show began I swore I would never watch it because I thought it was ridiculous that Damian Lewis would have his own show. I mean, how could they give this pasty, red-headed, freckle-faced, skinny guy his own show? I was probably watching another NBC program that was followed by and episode of Life and I didn't change the channel. Well, I watched one episode and I liked it. After the second episode, I was HOOKED. This show is well written and slightly quirky, the characters are well developed and far from perfect (gotta love that), and the storyline is great. I have to tell you, after watching a couple of episodes, I have completely changed my opinion of Damian Lewis. I actually find this man kinda hot, I sure do. You may be wondering what's wrong with me, but trust me - you have to watch to understand. I'd go out with Crews (his character) in a minute.



In the spirit of having something for everybody, this is his co-star, Sarah Shahi (Dani Reese). Yes, she's gorgeous.

Mardi Gras Facts


1. The first Mardi Gras in America was celebrated not in New Orleans, but in Mobile, Alabama, in 1703.

2. Mardi Gras season begins with January 6, the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany (12 days after Christmas), which is the day the three Wise Men came to visit the Christ child.

3. The three colors of Mardi Gras are purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power).
What would you like to know about Mardi Gras?
For More Info, click on the Mardi Gras label below.

Quote of the Day

“Whatever you hold in your mind will tend to occur in your life. If you
continue to believe as you have always believed, you will continue to act as you
have always acted. If you continue to act as you have always acted, you will
continue to get what you have always gotten. If you want different results in
your life or your work, all you have to do is change your mind.”

Unknown

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mardi Gras


It's that season, folks. Mardi Gras is upon us once again. This year the holiday will fall on February 24. It's always on a Tuesday, of course. I, for one, am looking very forward to it. My son and his girlfriend now live within walking distance from one of the biggest parades of the season, Endymion. From now until that time I will be posting several items about Mardi Gras. I hope you enjoy them all. Of course, if you'd like to share your experience please feel free to do so. It has been my experience that there are several different kinds of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
If you've never experienced a New Orleans Mardi Gras, I hope these future posts will make you want to visit. I'll do my best to be as accurate as possible and will answer any questions to the best of my ability, Okay?
Until then, "Laissez les bon temps roulez!"
(That's, "Let the Good Times Roll!")

Wine Tasting for Beginners - The Glass

A good wine glass is designed to direct the wine to the part of your mouth where its flavors will be most appreciated, thus giving you full benefit of that particular wine.

The bowl of a wine glass is slightly narrower at its opening than at the bottom. This design intensifies the aromas rising toward the nose and mouth. All good wine glasses are designed this way. Due to their complex flavors and aromas, red wine glasses have a larger opening and a larger bowl, allowing the wine to receive more air and better oxidation, and the space for the taster to really get his/her nose in there to detect, and perhaps determine the source of its aromas.

In all types of wine glasses, the bowl has to be large enough for swirling, allowing for oxidation and a good release of the wine's aromas. Many people bypass swirling, including yours truly, but it is a very important part of the tasting. Basically, it releases all the good stuff, and don't we all want the good stuff?


Here's what I have learned so far:

For Red Wines:



A Burgundy glass (shown above) is for a light, full bodied wine such as a Pinot Noir. It is not as tall as a Bordeaux glass, but the bowl is larger, which directs the wine to the tip of the tongue, an area that appreciates the more delicate flavors of wine.


A Bordeaux glass is taller than a Burgundy, with a slightly smaller bowl, designed for full bodied, heavier red wines such as a Cabernets. The shape of this of the glass allows the wine to go to the back of the mouth, where its flavors would be most appreciated.


For White Wines:



A white wine glass bowl will straight and u-shaped, allowing the release of aromas without greatly disturbing the temperature.

For young whites, the best glass has a slightly larger opening, directing the wine to the parts of the tongue where sweetness is best detected, the sides and tip.

For more mature whites, the glass will be straighter and taller, which directs the wine to the back and sides of the tongue to where the stronger flavors will be most appreciated.




A sparkling wine/Champagne glass (or flute) will be pretty straight and narrow for carbonation retention and to enhance the flavor.





Dessert wine glasses are typically smaller to direct the wine to the back of the mouth so the sweetness doesn't overwhelm. Also, dessert wines usually contain more alcohol, so the smaller glass is ideal.

Wine Glass Material

In order for an accurate wine evaluation, a thin, smooth and clear glass is what you want. This type of glass allows you to see the color and feel the texture of your wine. Obviously, crystal would be a good choice as well. Blown glass is also nice and thin. Thick glass makes for awkward sipping.

Obviously, purchasing wine glasses for your personal use is one thing, but for hosting events such as a wine tasting, having the right amount and right type of wine glasses could prove to be quite expensive. I'm going to do some investigating, but off the top of my head, I'm thinking Tuesday Morning, one of my favorite places. Right after Katrina, while I was still pretending my life hadn't been turned upside down, I purchased four wine glasses from a Tuesday Morning in Baton Rouge. I loved those glasses. Later, when reality set in, those glasses would prove to be one of my best and most reliable friends. I am so serious. They may have been Bordeaux glasses. All I know is, they felt really good in my hand, and the glass was thin, which I liked, but I'm digressing, aren't I? I'll expand on that period of my life at a later date. Another place may be World Market. I believe in quality and value, and I'm a pretty good bargain hunter, so know this - I will be researching this matter and letting you know what I find.


Has this been helpful to you? I have certainly learned a few things. Remember, I know little about the wine tasting process, so if anyone who reads this has helpful suggestions, they are very welcomed.

Christian Bale - Do We Really Need This Guy?



http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,487205,00.html

First, he attacks his mother and sister. A few days later he screams at, curses, belittles and bullies the photography director for walking on set while filming, and turns on any and everyone who tries to calm him down. I know a crew member walking on set is a major flub, but Bale's over-reaction is a reflection of how big a jerk he is, and I'm being nice. I don't know who he thinks he is, but methinks he is a celebrity with average talent and not even average looks. Perhaps someone should take him aside and let him know that upgrading him would present very little challenge. While they're at it, they can explain karma to him, if they can get him to stop screaming and listen.



Monday, February 2, 2009

The Neti Pot


I've had a Neti pot for several months and never used it. Friday I had some sinus issues, and my boss mentioned his wife uses hers with good results. That evening I came home, took mine out of the box and used it according to the directions. It was relatively easy to use, not very uncomfortable, nor was it very messy, provided it's used over a basin.


I was very pleased with the results. Immediately, my sinuses were clear and the pressure relieved. If you have sinus issues, I recommend this product. If you use it, let me know what you think.

Rush Limbaugh


Tell me what you think:

Quote of the Day

The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.

William James, Psychologist, leader of the philosophical movement of Pragmatism, 1842-1910.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Question


This is a little morbid but get past that, and I think you'll find it introspective. If you had the opportunity to write your own eulogy, what three things would you want people to want to remember most about you?

I Love This!

What do you think?



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