Tag Archives: Comfort food

Recipe: Southern Black Eyed Peas…

Southern Black Eyed Peas…

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I have read numerous cookbooks and food blogs looking for a suitable recipe for our family’s New Years Day dinner.  There are dozens if not hundreds of recipes available.  I searched until I found a couple that had the ingredients that sounded good to me and created my own recipe.

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Don’t let the number of ingredients listed deter you from trying this recipe…It’s easier than it looks and delicious!

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Ingredients:

1# dry black-eyed peas, washed and picked
1/4 # of bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
3 qts of chicken stock (sodium free), heated and set aside
2 pinches of kosher salt
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning, Tony Chachere’s salt free
3 Bay Leaves
2 jalapeno, sliced
1 # pork sausage, hot and spicy

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Directions:

In a medium sauce pan heat the chicken stock and reserve for later.

Now, In a dutch oven or similar pot cook the diced bacon until browned but not crisp.  Next add the holy trinity; diced onion, bell pepper and celery to the bacon and cook until wilted.  Add diced garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add rinsed black-eyed peas to veggie mixture and stir thoroughly for 3-4 minutes.  Begin adding the hot chicken stock to the peas and veggies (reserve 2 cups of liquid, you will probably need it later)..next add the salt, pepper, jalapeno, bay leaves and seasoning. Bring the pot to a roiling boil, reduce the heat and simmer partially covered.  Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. In a separate pan, crumble and brown the pork sausage.  Drain the fat and set the sausage aside until needed.

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After the peas have cooking for an hour you may need to add more chicken stock if the mixture has gotten too thick.  Also add the cooked pork sausage stir and  continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes.  Now it’s time to make your cornbread or rice whichever you prefer to serve with your black-eyed peas.

Due to my Southern heritage, I would normally choose rice over anything else …growing up in the south rice is as common on the dinner table as salt and pepper…however, you may want to forgo the rice with this dish so that you can enjoy more of the peas. Yes they are that good…and filling!

Now it’s time to Enjoy!

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Comfort

“Comfort is a sense of physical or psychological ease, often characterized as a lack of hardship. A degree of psychological comfort can be achieved by recreating experiences that are associated with pleasant memories, such as engaging in familiar activities, maintaining the presence of familiar objects, and consumption of comfort foods. Comfort is a particular concern in healthcare, as providing comfort to the sick and injured is one goal of healthcare, and can facilitate recovery. Persons who are surrounded with things that provide psychological comfort may be described as being within their comfort zone.”

I find comfort in being surrounded by family, coming home after a long trip and I always find comfort in the first sip of my morning coffee.

Things I find comforting

I find comfort in watching movies I have already seen.  I actually enjoy watching certain movies over and over.  I connect with certain characters.  They become familiar.  They are like old friends.

I find comfort in drinking my morning coffee in my favorite cup.  Over the years the cup has changed.  My favorite cup feels a certain way in my hand.  In years past when my grip was stronger and my mornings required massive amounts of caffeine my favorite cup was actually a large beautiful mug.  Now my mug is much smaller but just as beautiful.

I find comfort in curling up on the sofa with my favorite handmade quilt.  I actually have two favorites.  My absolute favorite is about 80 years old, it is soft and cool to the touch but warm and snuggly underneath.  It was given to me by my husbands grandmother.  The treasured quilt is frayed around the edges, therefore it is has been retired to the quilt rack.  My new favorite was made by a friend and one day it to will be a family treasure passed down through the generations.

I find comfort in the sounds that float through my house.  The sounds of laughter and frustration that come from my sons room when he is playing a video game.  The barking of my sweet little dogs that let me know when anyone pulls into the driveway.  The sound of my husband’s voice as he shares his day with me or the many projects he has plans for.  All of these things and so many more help me to live in my comfort zone.

Where is your comfort zone?

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Wordless Wednesday (03.23.11)

In the comment section leave the link to your Wordless Wednesday Post!

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Filed under All Things Foodie, Life in Texas, My Local Recommendations, postaweek2011

cookin’ up a little family tradition…

 

press play and read on 

Friday we had a “snow/ice” day…at least that was the media hype.  No matter.  It is was my day off!

I was already planning on making a  DELICIOUS pot of chicken/sausage gumbo for the BIG GAME!  The icy road conditions were of no concern to me personally because I had planned ahead and purchased my groceries the day before. 

Cooking up, that’s a New Orleans term,  one of my all time favorite recipes reminds me of my childhood and days gone by, spent at my Mamaw’s house. 

 Food and family were always an event! 

My Dad is/was the youngest of 9 siblings.  This meant family gatherings were filled with lots of Aunts and Uncles and dozens of cousins.  My Grandmother had 9 children + their 9 spouses + their 26 children = 45 people gathered together for dinner!! 

Now, we are scattered across the country, and sometimes the world, and family gatherings are smaller more intimate affairs. 

For the record I miss those days…I miss all the hugs and laughter.  I miss that big family feeling.  But on this day we are together, if only in the memory of a wonderful family tradition.  Cooking Gumbo!

Cooking Gumbo is also an event! Gumbo is a lot like a family.  There are lots of unique ingredients that on their own are good.  However, when they are mixed together something incredible happens.   Just think about oil and flour.  On their own they are important and serve a purpose, but when you blend the two together…well its MAGIC! 

There is so much to prep before you can begin the gumbo.  Once you commit to making the roux there is no time for dicing veggies or potty breaks.  You will want to have your favorite beverage within reach.  You will want to call your family and let them know you are cooking gumbo so they won’t call while you are in the middle of stirring your roux.  You will probably want to tweeet and post on facebook what is about to happen.  You just want everyone to know; don’t call me, I’ll call you.    You should have everything you need close at hand.  You may even consider having a helper.   Here is the run down of what needs to happen: dice onion, bell pepper and celery, make stock, roast chicken, make Roux, add veggies, add stock, de-bone chicken, add chicken, simmer for 1 hour, add sausage, add green onions, add seasoning, simmer another 20 minutes, make rice. 
Enjoy!

This process is going to take a little time. 

Every self-respecting Louisiana cook has a copy of the “Talk About Good” cookbook within easy reach.  This is my second copy…the first one mysteriously disappeared.  I think I may have lost it in the divorce.  Back then it would have been the only thing I had that was worth something.   

C’est la vie!

Fortunately for me, my sister gifted a revised edition to my wonderul husband, who by the way is a great cook,  for Christmas a couple of years ago.   Thanks, Sis!

Every Gumbo begins with a beautiful caramel colored roux!  Making a roux requires commitment and patience.  This roux took 25 minutes of continual stirring and scrapping.

Families require commitment and patience!  You will probably agree that some require a little more than others.

Every Louisiana Gumbo contains the Cajun trinity, a Cajun mirepoix; diced onion, bell pepper and celery. 

Families are a mirepoix, a blend of unique individuals.  Each one is ok on their own, but when they are thrown into the family mix things can either blend together or fall apart.

I am a NOLA girl at heart! 

I thought it would be nice while the Gumbo is coming together we could spend a little time walking through my beloved hometown taking in the sights and talking about family. 

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lets take a little stroll around the square…

Welcome to Jackson Square

The square has been in existence in one form or another since New Orleans was settled.  The most famous of the attractions are  the St. Louis Cathedral, the Cafe Du Monde & the French Market.   The square looks much the same as it did in 1814.  For almost 200 years families have been coming to the square to worship, trade and be entertained. 

 

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back in the kitchen….

When your roux has reached the perfect color, add your mirepoix mix and cook until tender. 

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just across the street from the square…

Here are two staples of New Orleans life, Jax Brewery & Community Coffee.  New Orleanians have been brewing up Community Coffee for family and friends for decades.  Growing up I remember that everyday at 3pm my Grandmother would serve cake and coffee to whoever stopped by.  And everyday family and friends did stop by her house for the three C’s; cake, coffee and conversation.  It is a family tradition!

 

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meanwhile back in the kitchen…

Your chicken has been roasting away.  It is now ready to be taken off the bone and added to the pot.  Always make sure your poultry has reached the correct temperature. 

 

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let me show you whats just around the corner…

 

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New Orleans is famous for her courtyards and balconies.  These are places where family and friends gather for breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee and evening cocktails. 

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the aroma from the kitchen is calling our name…

After adding the chicken to the pot simmer for 1 hour.  Next add the Andouille Sausage, green onions and seasoning.  Another 15 minutes of simmering, prepare the rice and you are ready to enjoy!

It’s Dinner Time!

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A little evening stroll will finish up our tour of the city…

New Orleans is also known for the alleyways and antique shoppes.  The alleyways lead into beautiful courtyards that are filled with memories of family events.  The antique shoppes are filled with family treasures from the past. 

 

New Orleans has so many options for an enjoyable weekend getaway for family and friends, there really is something for everyone!

New Orleans, Family and Gumbo!  When all of the ingredients come together it can be a memorable event. 

Laissez les bon temps roule!!!

A few more NOLA posts you may want to check out:

https://nolagirlatheart.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/new-orleans-eatin-shopin-and-carry-n-on/

https://nolagirlatheart.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/nola-eatin-shoppin-and-carry-n-on-again/

https://nolagirlatheart.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/nola-ill-be-seeing-you-in-all-of-the-familiar-places/ 

All photographs in this post are my own. 

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Filed under All Things Foodie, family, Weekend Getaways and Vacation Spots

january reflection…friendships are like cupcakes…

This post is almost exclusively from the 2011 inspirational wall calendar hanging in my office.  I always choose my yearly wall calendar based on the pictures.  In years past I have I had calendars that featured adorable puppies, beautiful landscapes and this past year I ordered a custom calendar filled with pictures from one of our favorite family vacations.  This year’s calendar features comfort food…desserts…and as a bonus they have included a few of the recipes.  The creators of the calendar have wrapped it all up with a pretty bow by reflecting on life as a sweet journey. 

my friends are like an assorted box of cupcakes

…be generous with love and friendship, for the return will make life all the sweeter.

With every friend comes a different kind of friendship.  Some are characterized by the laughter that always seems to bubble to the surface no matter what you’re doing.  The silly memories that emerge are priceless.  Some friendships feel like comfort food, infused with the kind of warmth you can’t put into words but are keenly aware that your soul needs.  Then there are the friendships that take root on many levels, through common interests, a kindred spirit, a similar sense of humor, and a trust born instantly by the reflection of yourself you see in the other. 

No matter how many friendships our hearts hold, God has created us with the capacity to receive more.  Some we’re given to enjoy for a season, some for years, and some for a lifetime-but each one becomes a part of our unfolding story.  And God knows what is just right for us.  The friends we need at the moment we need them…the wisdom, strength and joy we have to offer…the times when we have little more to give than a smile and a hug.  Each and every kindness, whether given or received, is a fragment of His beautiful purpose. 

Friendship is like the perfect confection from God- sweet and satisfying with a wonderful way of making us feel special every day.  It truly is a cupcake for the soul…so whenever one is presented to you, let your heart reply with an enthusiastic, Yes, please!”

 

 

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