Friday, September 30, 2011

Creole goodness make ya wanna slap somebody

I've been busy lately.  I don't have a lot to show for it, but there it is.

I've almost completed sewing a gi for B.  I didn't have a pattern, so it's been an adventure.  I went to Hobby Lobby, WalMart, and a few other places trying to find patterns for adult sized gi, but to no avail.  So, I went online to try to find information on traditional martial arts uniforms.  This resulted in pictures of the way clothing was constructed back forever and ever ago.  So far it's working out well.  The pants, unfortunately, did not turn out as intended.  They went together right, but I failed to take into account enough positive ease, so they wound up being rather fitted.  I was smart enough to buy additional fabric for the inevitable SNAFU resulting from sewing clothing with no pattern.  So, back to the drawing board on those.

I've started knitting a rug, but that kind of went off on a back burner when B asked for a gi.

I've had four depositions to transcribe this past month, and that on top of regular housework has kept me pretty much off the web for the most part.  (other than some short facebooking, and whatever surfing I get in on my phone.  Yep!  I got a new phone!)

I also made a recipe for red beans and rice that my sister-in-law gave to me.  It. Was. YUMMY! (I have about 3 quarts (maybe more) of the stuff leftover, so it's a good thing everyone liked it.  That was with B, the Pup, Fin, her daughter, and myself all having some.   The recipe says it serves six.  I'd say it would serve 12 easily, unless you just at the red beans conglomeration like a gumbo and skipped the rice.

Here's the original recipe with my alterations and additions in ( ) :

This recipe takes approximately 5 hours, so start it early.

Red Beans and Rice

*1 lb Dried Kidney Beans
*2 qt Cold Water
*1 meaty ham bone or a thick slice of raw ham cut into cubes
(Instead of ham, I used smoked pork neck bones.  They're about $1 lb and I had several bones leftover for soup beans or stock later.  You could also use smoked turkey wings for good flavor if you're not into pork)
*1/2 lb hot sausage sliced thick (I used andoullie, but I imagine you could use ground sausage, too.  It does need to be REALLY flavorful, because it's going to lose a lot of flavor to the beans and water.)
*1 bunch scallions, including green tops
*1 bell pepper
*2 stalks celery
*3 medium onions
*pinch of thyme (more like 2 or 3 good big pinches)
*4 bay leaves
*Cayenne Pepper or Tobasco Sauce (I used both... )
*Salt (liberally)
*White Rice - not instant
(Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning)
(Cavender's Greek Seasoning)
(Beef Boullion - 2 regular cubes)
(1 chile pepper)
(1 lb shrimp)

NOTE:  If you are one of those people who pre-preps their veggies etc. before they cook, add an additional half hour to the cook time before smashing the beans.
If you prefer instant rice, add an additional half hour to cook time after smashing the beans.

Rinse the kidney beans twice, toss any that don't look good (discolored), and get rid of any foreign debris that might've snuck into the bag.  Put beans and 2 qts of water in a big heavy pot.  You need at least a gallon stock pot for this.  It seems superfluous for 2 qts of water and some beans, but all your veggies are going to disintegrate into more broth, so you need the space.

Add the ham (boiling meat of choice), sausage, salt, and pepper.  Put on medium heat.

While your beans are heating and soaking - chop your veggies and toss them in as you go.  Add your seasonings (the original recipe calls for very little seasoning.  I liberally dosed mine with some additions, and it was not overly spicy)

When the mixture boils (I had to turn mine up to a med-high heat to obtain a boil) reduce heat to a simmer, and allow to cook for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes (or basically when you think about it, but don't wait too long.)

Using a spoon, squash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot.  If they don't mash easily, try again in 30 minutes.

40 minutes after you've mashed your beans, taste and tweak the seasonings.  Allow to cook for another 30 minutes while you prepare the white rice.  (this is when I added my shrimp - they were pre-cooked and just frozen)

Ladle beans over rice and serve.

All the veggies will practically disappear, and mashing the beans thickens the broth into something like a gravy.  I didn't squash enough beans, so mine was thinner than expected, but still really tasty.

If you don't add anything else to the original recipe, I definitely recommend some cajun-ish spices, and don't be afraid of salt.  The beans and rice both really dull down any spices you add, so the broth has to be flavorful enough to make up for it.

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