12.22.2013

Merry Christmas 2013

 

12.18.2013

Happy Birthday, Thom

We wish to tell our son, Thom, Happy Birthday today. For some reason, his phone isn't working, so we haven't been able to contact him, but know he reads our Blog here, so....here ya go! If you see this, Thom, your Christmas/Birthday box should be there today (if it hasn't already gotten there) or if not today, it should be there tomorrow.
 
   Last night I made this little video of our "winter yard". We hardly EVER get snow, but there was going to be a hard freeze, so we had to cover about five of our new little trees. The pomegranate tree, which sits in an old whiskey barrel, didn't freeze to death...instead it came to life! It had fun playing with our cats. When Mama cat would pat her tail, the "tree" would dance. When Mama rolled on the ground and looked at the "tree", it would dance! Who in the world was this Stranger in our yard that morning?? Watch this short little video to see the "scary" show.  Nope...sorry, but the video wouldn't upload here on the Blog, so here's the youtube link (click on it; it's just us): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOKOf1Uxh38&feature=c4-overview&list=UUe6CkaSkPG0EXROyp-xQkjw

11.02.2013

This Weekend's BBQed Chicken

We been running errands all day, but while we were at it I had 10 lb. of chicken hind quarters sitting in Cajun spices, "woo" sauce, lemon juice, and a beer.  Planning on taking advantage of the last day of late sunshine, and putting them on the grill.
With Alley-gater, and Pourky the "Q" mascots looking on, I fired up da chimney.
With natural chunk hard wood charcoal by the air intake on the left and an aluminum pan on the other side, I put the chicken and the required Cajun sausage over the pan of water, opened a beer and got the Blues on the outdoor speakers.
The stuff the chicken was soaking in went into a small pot and with half a stick of butter, and was brought to a simmer on the stove.  It will be used as a mop later, but ya need to simmer it 'cause of the chicken blood it may contain.  Ya can't be too careful.  It's been down for 30 minutes and from my hand on the pit, feels around 180 degrees.  Country boy thermometer when ya can lay ya hand down for a sec. or so 'fore ya gotta snatch it off da pit, is 180-200 degrees.:icon_biggrin:
OK, mopped them, flopped them, mopped them again.  See 'em again in an hour.  Now, where did I put my beer?cheers.gif



Naturally, at the 1.5 hour we couldn't stand it no more and took the Cajun sausage in, sliced it up and are nibbling on it as we dance on da carport jamming to da Blues.

After 2 hours we mopped them, flipped them,


 

and mopped for the last time.  Got another beer and are enjoying the end of a beautiful day.

Well, da sausage was "slap yo mama good", and da chicken is getting right. Won't be long now; it's been like, 8 beers, so it aughta be getting close.th_anim_burp.gif
Alrighty, afta 3 hours we grabbed a leg bone and twisted, and it came apart in our hand.  So we called it "did'.  Cookin' temperature?  Not sure; if it woulda been more than 220, the water in the pan under the chicken woulda boiled and let me know.  If it hadda been less than 180, I coulda held my hand on the lid for more than a second.  Internal temperature??  Who cares.  Twist a leg bone and ya can tell if it's done or  not.  Now we got chicken to last the weekend, and share with the neighbors.  Only problem is....I am outa Beer.:th_crybaby2:
 

 
 

11.01.2013

Cajun Turkey Cheese..Er...Loaf...Er Pate'; Delicious Stuff

Peggy and I picked up a couple turkeys and made what us Cajuns call "cheese" out of them.  We enjoy making it and at a li'l less than $2. a lb. Not only is it delicious, but very economical.  They sell it in stores around here for over $6 a lb.  We like the fact that when we make it ourselves, we control the ingredients.  Nowadays, the stuff ya buy is full of chemicals; ya cant pronounce the fillers.  We know ours is healthy and delicious.  Here's how we do it:
We cut the turkey up like ya cut a chicken.
For this batch we used my Dad's old pot known as Gumbo Jr.
We added onions and bell pepper,
then came Cajun seasoning, "Woo" sauce, hot sauce, and liquid crab boil, then we covered the stuff with water.
video
Fired up the burner out on the patio.
Then let it boil for right at 2 hours at a gentle boil. 


video
Once that was done we took the meat out of the pot and put it in a couple dishpans to cool.
After the meat cooled we took it off the bone and strained the broth through a colander to make sure we got out all the little bones.  I should mention we did not boil the livers 'cause they are too strong flavored.  We saved the giblets for future stuffings or rice dressings.
video
Once it was all ground up we added the broth back, slowly bringing it to a pudding-like consistency
We weighed the finished cheese.

When it was done, we ended up with 7 loaf pans of this delicious Cajun delicacy.  It needs to sit in the fridge so it "sets".  It freezes well, makes good sandwiches, is good cubed as Hor D'Oeuvres on game day, on a cracker or straight up. It's nice to know what ya eating and its satisfying to know ya made it.  Here is the recipe we used, but feel free to adapt it and make it your own.
 
1 fresh turkey around 20 lbs
 
3 lbs. yellow onions, quartered
1 large bell  pepper, rough cut
1/2 cup Cajun seasoning, to taste
2 Tablespoons hot sauce, to taste
2 Tablespoons Worstershire sauce
2 Tablespoons liquid Crab boil
1 gallon of water
 
Follow the steps we gave you above. Enjoy!
 

10.10.2013

Cajun Country Boy Fishing Lessons, Cappy-Style

Several of the outdoor forums I read, as well as lots of Youtube videos I watch, all sing the same song.  They are mostly from young parents who long for the outdoor life they didn't get as a kid; folks who didn't have parents or grandparents to teach them the love for God's glorious nature.  Now that they are all "growed up" with small children of their own, they want to teach their kids how to fish, but don't have a clue how to go about it.  I see lots of pleas for help. After making a couple of trips to sporting good stores and striking out, having spent hundreds of dollars for over-priced store bought stuff, no wonder they get discouraged about fishing in general.  GI-Joe poles and Dora the Explorer tackle boxes full of gimmicky, flimsy tackle seldom works.  All it takes is a few simple lessons and a li'l common sense and anyone can catch fish.  "Think like a fish and ya will catch one".  If ya can teach a small child the joy of fishing, who knows how many lives you have affected?  If the kid grows up spending time on a bayou bank instead of a city street, think of the possibilities.
   With this in mind, I have decided to start a series of videos and slideshows showing fishing lessons much like I was taught by my ancesters.  I plan for them to be short ,very simple and start at the basics, slowly working up to more complex fishing. 
 My very first video is: Catfishing Lesson #1 "Handlines", below.  (Please let me know what yall think as I attempt to teach someone how to love the simple pleasure of fishing.) 

9.29.2013

Taking Care of Beloved Black-Iron Pots

Ok, let's begin at the beginning: 9 outa 10 homes around here have a black-iron pot on their stoves full time.  They stand there black and shiny, proudly part of what Peg calls "Kitchen Jewelry", along with cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, and ceramic cookie jars, part of what gives a Cajun kitchen it's homey appeal. Most of these beloved cast-iron pots are well over 100 years old and many haven't EVER been "re-seasoned".
Black-iron is the original non-stick surface. Since it is black and heavy, it is incredibly efficient at transferring heat.  With this in mind, it should never be used on "HI"...the knob for temp regulation; TURN IT DOWN!!
 
If a black-iron pot sticks, it's because of a few possible reasons, all human error.
1. Cooking on too high a heat.
  2. Not enough liquid in the pot
                                            3. Not watched or stirred often enough, or some combination of the above.
 
When something sticks, all is not lost.  Add water, stir gently and keep cooking at a simmer. If ya caught it soon enough, what is stuck aint burnt, just browned and will add to the flavor of what ya cooking.
If ya shamelessly get distracted by kids or phones, and stick ya pot so bad that 'browned' goes to 'blackened', it still aint all lost. Keep cooking and try NOT to scratch the burnt bits loose and deal wit them later. This is most definitely YOUR fault, so deal with it. :-P
 
So, if all else fails and ya left with a pot with stuck stuff, all is still not lost.
Clean it. Never use dish soap on black iron; it was invented long before dish soap and ya don't wanna use it 'cause it is designed to remove oil from pots, and oil is what makes black iron work.
Water and a dishrag should do the trick, and if all else fails, ya can scrub with a plastic scrubby or put the pot back on the stove with a lil water and deglaze it, as mentioned.
Remember, all still aint lost; if the worst occurs and ya end up with rust spots on the inside or the bottom of your pot YOU have seriously "F-'ed up", but it still aint over!
Do not re-season the pot, cause every time ya do, it weakens the iron and eventually will cause it to crack. 
Instead, wipe the rust off, dry the pot and fry bacon in it for breakfast or chicken or something for dinner. Remember, the whole pot aint ruined by just a few spots on the inside bottom. A couple cookings later ya won't even notice ya blunder. 
 
Okay, here's a story: when I got on the boat last week, I took the boat's black-iron pot outa the cabinet, where it had been stuck by an inexperienced deck-hand. It had been "rode hard and put up wet". When I lifted the lid, the inside bottom was rusty...all the seasoning was gone. Instead of panicking, and after I finished cussing like a sailor, (which I am) I wiped it out with several damp paper towels, put it on the stove on "LOW" and dried it.  Then I poured in a couple drops of oil and rubbed them around the bottom of the pot. Later, I put in an inch or two of oil and fried the chicken I was planning on stewing that day. It came out wonderful, the crew ate the whole batch, including the gravy I made in the pot outa the pot liquor and the fried bits that fell off the chicken while it was cooking. (Peggy says she remembers Colonel Sanders calling that "cracklin' gravy") To make that, I poured off most of the oil, added water and brought it to a simmer, then added my seasonings and milk. It made a luscious gravy for the mashed taters and green beans that went with it.
When cleaning up, I washed the pot out with warm water and a rag, dried it on a low stove, "re-0iled" it and put it back on it's place of honor on the stove.
After frying bacon and sausage breakfast patties in it the next morning, washing and drying and "re-oiling" it back to normal, ya would never know it was so horribly mistreated.  Today, even though unused for lunch, it sits proud, all black and shiny on the stove, ready to serve again, as does it's brethren scattered all across Cajun country.      
 



 Peggy says, "if you want to know how to insult a Cajun, disrespect his pots".

8.30.2013

The Empty Chair

It has taken me almost 2 months to be able to post about the passing of our beloved bratty bichon Sparky.  On the morning of July 9th I dug his grave, and that was probably the only thing I've done in the last 11 years that he didn't help me with.  He was in the house barely able to walk suffering from kidney failure.  Despite our efforts, IV's, trips to the vet his kidneys shut down and we had no choice but put our buddy ot of his agony.  He took his last ride in our SUV just like his first.  On my lap.  I stayed with him till the end.  Wrapped him in a blanket with the 2 toys he loved the most and brought him home and laid him to rest in the shade under our river birch next to the boat that he loved so  much.  Peggy is trying to write the story of his life, but being a man of fewer words I think what I will miss the most is his company.  The brat was always my constant companion.
Just sitting by the fire pit. 
The porch swing.
Napping in my recliner after a Saints game.
From planting our garden boxes.
To harvesting them he was there.
Picking fruit
Wiring the computer
Riding around in my jeep.
Having a few glasses of homemade wine, or
Begging for BBQed asparagus (go figure)
 
The thing I will miss the most is my fishing buddy.  Soon as the cork would bounce he was woofing some times even before I saw it.
As long as I live I will never look at an empty chair with out wishing he was in it.  I pray that in heaven there is a shady bayou bank with a couple chairs by it.  I will be there some day sitting with the brat while Peggy tries to get him outa her chair.
  

8.29.2013

Wasp Stings

I go years between wasp stings. I aint afraid of ém, and we do not disturb them when they nest in our yard. Since honey bees are very scarse these days the wasp take up the slack and help with pollination. If ya don't freak out and go to swatting at them they don't bother ya. Every once and a while though while working in the yard I'll get stung. Usually because I trap a wasp in a fold of clothes or accidently pinch one in my hand while weeding or mucking out the jungle that is our yard. That's what happened yesterday while I was trimming back the wisteria that covers our door. A big red wasp landed on my back and got mashed between my shirt and overall strap. he stung me good before I could reach back and get him out from under the strap. It stung like fire so I immediately went to my favorite home remedy, while hollering for peg I dug in my pocket and found a old tarnished penny. walked in the house took off my shirt exposing an already angry red swelling sting. Peg pressed the penny over the sting and stuck it in place with a piece of tape, A bandaid works too. in a few minutes the stinging was gone and a couple hours later se removed the peny for me and there was no swelling and no discomfort. I don't know why this works and neither did my grandpa who taught this trick to me(he usta keep bees) but it does and das all I need to know.

6.03.2013

The Cycle of Life

As yall know from previous posts, our li'l row of citrus trees bless our family, friends, neighbors, and us with their bounty.  By far, the favorite fruit of our li'l citrus grove is the Satsuma oranges.  They are small, incredibly sweet, easy peeling and almost seedless, kinda like tangerines.  They are so popular we have 2 trees that produce them.  Sadly, one of them died.  The life expectancy of the trees ia 15-20 years.  They are such heavy producers they have a short life.  This li'l tree made it 10 years before dying; we aren't sure but we think since it is planted in a low spot it may have drowned in the heavy winter rains.

Well, I got up early, sharpened my ole shovel and went to work on the dead tree.  The first task was unearthing the bricks which were covered with grass and barely showing after sinking in the soil for over 10 years.
The next step was sawing all the branches off, turning the tree into a stump.  The green in the brush is some other tree that a squirrel planted next to the satsuma tree, most likely an oak.
Next, I clipped all the branches into sticks and got them into the wheelbarrow.  This makes the brush easy to manage, which will be demonstrated later.
Digging the stump up, cutting the roots with the shovel and getting it outa the hole was hot sweaty work but I took a couple water and fresh strawberry breaks and had it done by noon.

Well, call me a sentimental old fool, but the tree had given us such joy over the last 10 years and provided hundreds of pounds of delicous fruit that I couldn't just throw it away, so I created a funeral pyre for it in my old fire pit and gave it a rousing send off.
The fire burned on into the night and it smelled wonderful.  Later after a shower I slipped into bed and Peggy said, "OOOOHH you smell great; kinda smokey, old spicey, citrusy."  Alls I can say is, girl's got a nose on her.
I couldn't hardly end this post with a funeral, so allow me to introduce yall to the replacement Satsuma.  With the cycle complete and a young tree in place we look forwards to future fruity up-dates on this cycle of fruity life.