Red Beans and Rice

I will not be able to concentrate on writing this post or recipe if I do not clear this out of my head – but a famous Sir Mix-A-Lot song keeps running through my head when I read red beans and rice in my head, the part about red beans and rice didn’t miss her………..  So there, I said it and I bet a few of you have that song running through your head now too don’t you?  Sorry about that.

I am not from the New Orleans area and have only visited there.  If it weren’t so stinking hot and humid there in the summer I might want to live there.  I love New Orleans in the fall months.  I am telling you all of this so that you will understand that I am not claiming that this is an authentic southern style red beans and rice recipe made in my grandmomma’s house in the deep south or even taught to me be anyone who lives even near the Mississippi Delta.

This a recipe that recreates for me what my mind remembers as one of the best rice and beans dishes I had ever eaten.  I ate it in New Orleans but don’t ask me to tell you when or where.  I used to travel with my job in my younger years, and New Orleans was frequently on my agenda. Continue reading “Red Beans and Rice”

Favorite Pasta Sauce

Spring officially started at my house a month or so ago.  It had nothing to do with the date, the slew of singing birds in the area, the baby bunnies the dog loves to chase, or the budding trees.  Spring at my house gets started with the first potted fresh herbs sitting on the patio table.

Unfortunately, they had to spend their first night in their new home hiding under the patio table since we had tornadoes in the area.  Tornadoes are more of a spectator sport in Oklahoma, but tender young plants don’t do so well in gusty winds, heavy rain, and hail.

It has been a chillier than normal spring and none of the herbs have done so well this spring.   Fresh basil and parsley are key ingredients for my lasagna and spaghetti sauce. At this point, it will be weeks (maybe months) before I can harvest enough of both for a huge pot of sauce.  I like to keep a healthy supply of sauce (and other things) in the freezer for quick meals on busy nights.  It helps break up the monotony of sandwiches.  Continue reading “Favorite Pasta Sauce”

Bratwurst and German Potato Salad

homemade-bratwurstBratwurst and German potato salad is one of my favorite meals to enjoy on the back porch during the spring and fall months. I’ll admit it now, the bratwurst in the photo above is homemade and it was made by me, but the recipe isn’t mine. It came straight out of the one cookbook every sausage connoisseur should own: Charcuterie – The Craft of Salting, Curing, and Smoking. I’m not going to post the recipe for the Bratwurst because I think folks should really buy this book. Form a historical standpoint, this book made me truly understand and the appreciate the art of curing meats and knowing exactly where my meat comes from. Buy… the… book… I’m being serious. Even if you don’t plan on making sausage, it’s a good read.

However, I can recommend a method for cooking your bratwurst. Most people just toss it on a grill or pan and go to town on searing it. I find that cooking this way often burns or over cooks the skins before the interior is done. One of the best methods to cook brats or any sausage is to simmer them in a pan, with the lid on, in a shallow liquid, until they are cooked through. Then finish them on the grill or in a pan. My favorite liquid to simmer my bratwurst in is beer. Oktoberfest to be specific. I’ll also chop up some onions and add them to my liquid. When the bratwurst are finish cooking, I’ll put them aside and I’ll finish cooking down the beer and onions until thick. The cooked onions are great with the bratwurst. I may add a little brown sugar to balance out the onions (beer can sometimes become bitter when cooked). Then I will finish the bratwurst on the grill or in a cast iron skillet.

Continue reading “Bratwurst and German Potato Salad”