Sunday, January 30, 2011

Because it's always good to be grateful, we gave a hefty portion back to Nancy, the hairdresser. She called to say that it's the best gumbo she's ever eaten. She wants to become Lyman's assistant.

The ducks were a wood duck, a small female mallard, and a shoveler.
Mmmm. Mmmm.

Lyman finished his duck and sausage gumbo last night.

It started weeks ago with him begging ducks from local hunters. Finally, our hairdresser's husband brought three ducks by on Thursday -- two wood ducks and a spoonbill. I took one look in the bag at those pretty little orange feet and pretty feathered breasts and said, "Tell me when it's over."

He plucked and cleaned those ducks in the kitchen, making less mess than the parrots do on any given day. I was pleasantly surprised at that. Friday he made the stock.

Then last night settled into the finish. He used something near this recipe.

It's good. Really good.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I've found this tutorial to be effective at achieving the line sketch effect in GIMP. I won't be using it this time.

Malgalin is good, but a little beyond my reach. I'll watch a cute young Aussie anyday, though.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's been nearly 20 years since I worked much with graphics programs. I downloaded GIMP to work on the Groundhog Day card.

The big difference between then and now (apart from free software) is that I can find free tutorials online. Then I went to workshops at the Dallas Infomart.

UPDATE: But I can still get just as d**ned frustrated.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Neither Lyman nor I cared much for the paratha.

I admit to be being shaky on the execution, and the product was not beautiful. But it was the flavor that put us off. My experience has been with paratha stuffed with potato or cauliflower. And I used Madhur Jaffrey's suggestion to use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour. I would have been happier with all white flour.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tomorrow we'll try Onion Stuffed Paratha with Vindaloo:

Chicken Vindaloo

For the vindaloo curry paste:
2 t. whole cumin seeds
2-3 hot, dried red chilis
1 t. cardamom seeds
1 t. fenugreek seeds
1 stick of cinnamon
1.5 t. whole black mustard seeds
5 T. white wine vinegar
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 t. light brown sugar
10 T. vegetable oil or ghee (ghee is preferred)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
5 tablespoons water

For the rest:
2 lbs. boneless chicken (I use thighs) cut into small chunks
a 1 ” thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
A small, whole bulb of garlic, separated & peeled
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 bottle Bass Ale (optional)


Vindaloo Curry Paste

Grind cumin seeds, red chilis, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon and black mustard seeds in a grinder. Put the ground spices in a bowl.

Add the vinegar, salt and sugar. Mix and set aside.

Heat half of the oil in a wide, heavy pot over a medium flame. Put in the onions.
Fry, stirring frequently, until the onions turn brown and crisp. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and put them into the container of an electric blender or food processor. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the blender and puree the onions. Add this puree to the ground spices in the bowl.

The rest of it…

Dry off the chicken chunks with a paper towel and remove large pieces of fat, if any.

Put the ginger and garlic into the container of an electric blender or food processor. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water and blend until you have a smooth paste.

Heat the oil remaining in the pot once again over a medium-high flame. When hot, put in the chicken chunks, a few at a time, and brown them lightly on all sides. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and keep in a bowl.

When all the chicken has been removed from the pot put the ginger-garlic paste in the same pot. Turn down the heat to medium. Stir the paste for another few seconds. Add the coriander and turmeric. Stir for another few seconds. Add the chicken, any juices that may have accumulated as well as the vindaloo paste and 1 cup of water or Bass Ale. Add the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for an hour or so, until the chicken is tender.

We're substituting pork for the chicken this time.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Boring housewives need some glamour in their lives.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Yeah, yeah, I know. "Collard greens? Ewwww." "Hog Jowls? EWWWWW."

They were delicious with a sprinkle of black pepper, Tony's and salt.

Hog jowls run about $1.30 a pound in local supermarkets vs. nearly $4 a pound for hamhocks. We'll be using them more often.

Smoked neckbones are a fine seasoning meat, too, but they fall apart in cooking. Eating becomes an adventure of picking through beans or greens for bones.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Y'all, it's chilly here in the Deep South. Yesterday the temp never rose above 34F (that's 1.1C for you metric measurers). Today won't be much better, so I'm looking forward to spending the day in the kitchen making chicken and dumplings.

And today is our 17th wedding anniversary. Of the divorces I've known, most happened right after 18 years. So I'm on guard until 2013. Not for any cause, mind.

UPDATE: Exploring new depths in a mature relationship, we're adding collard greens cooked with hog jowl to the menu.

"Old man river, old man river..."

Monday, January 10, 2011

All right. I hope that Auburn appreciates that I am loaning my #1 Tiger fan to their base tonight:

But those War Eagles can go "weagle, weagle."

UPDATE: Auburn 22, Oregon 19

Good job, Charles Gore. Treats tomorrow.
And Mother Jones has done some reporting. What a novel idea.
I have read a lot of words in reaction to the shootings in Arizona this weekend, but the only ones that seem appropriate are the ones found in comments here.

The shooting is a political event for many people, but not for these.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Maybe I'll just leave this blog right here, with Alberta Hunter and two pretty redheads on the front page. Lucy's always in the mood.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Norman here is a nutria. Look at those feet.
Send the children to another room:

Monday, January 03, 2011

For contrast. I saw these men in a small concert hall in New York, about 1980. Full Indian regalia.

I read in comments to one of the videos that a person didn't like Aaron Neville's voice.

Someone replied, "Have you SEEN Aaron Neville? You gonna be the one to tell him he can't sing?"

Miss Alberta, young. What a woman.

I saw Miss Alberta in New York, about '81. Maybe earlier.

An interview with an older Miss Elizabeth here. I had the great privilege of hearing her play in person at Reed in or about 1975. She wrote "Freight Train."

She played left-handed upside-down. Didn't know no better, she said in concert.

Then I will.
I'm all up for suggestions to push the Christmas music off the front page on this site. We are into a new year. Scott? Paul? Sarah? I take in Gregorian chants, Jordana?

I like her.

Oh, shut up you drug-addled rock singer.

Have some Betty Crocker recipe pancakes and a dose of genuine maple syrup. The back bedroom is clear, and necessary toilet articles are in a basket beside the sink in the bathroom. Clean towels in the pantry behind you. I'll listen for your breathing.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Quip of the day from comments at Kimberly Stuart's blog:
Thank goodness I'm not the only one aging. It's like all mirrors have suddenly gone HD.
UPDATE: Let's change the name of this feature to "Quote of the Day," which is probably more accurate, and allows more leeway.
Kate has a good idea.

She was too busy to send out Christmas cards on time. Read the post and you'll see why. You'll also see that she brought up the idea of sending out Groundhog Day cards.

Now, I don't normally do cards. But it occurred to me that it would have been a welcome gesture to send cards to our service providers at the coast, particularly the cleaning service staff.

I'd like to find a good picture of Pierre C. Shadeaux to use for a card for Cajun Groundhog Day (even if Pierre is a nutria). Pierre does not predict the length of the winter, but the length of the spring. If he sees his shadow, we'll have an early summer.

Unexpected, fun and serves the same purpose.

(I did speak to the service people at the coast while we were there, but only to the manager of the cleaning service.)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The dinner menu: battered, deep-fried pork chops, black-eyed peas, mustard greens and hot water cornbread. Good luck to you, too, in the coming year.