Daily Archives: February 16, 2012

Red Beans and Rice with Pickled Pork

We usually watch recorded episodes of cooking shows while we are eating dinner.  We have a small TV on a counter hooked up to a “nettop” computer and also to a Dish DVR.  The computer is great for looking up recipes online, and the DVR has forever ruined me for watching broadcast TV.  Anyway, the other day we had an old Alton Brown show playing when he started in on pickling pork for red beans and rice.  I’m pretty sure I’d never heard about such a thing but he made it sound good enough to try.  I cut up some pork,assembled the pickling solution, and boiled it for the few minutes the recipe specified.Then it was just a matter of letting the brine do its work for three days.  Longer would be fine but two weeks seems to be all Alton was comfortable with before use or draining and freezing the meat.  This meat has had the three days and has been drained and briefly rinsed to wash off the odd mustard seed:They are just a tad larger than the inch cubes the recipe wanted, I cut them down a bit before stirring them into the pot.Bring everything to a boil then cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer, give them a couple of hours covered then remove the lid and raise the heat a little so the liquid reduces to where you want it to be.  Serve over rice with a side of cheddar cornbread.  Add extra hot sauce as desired.


Thursday Recipe Exchange: Mardi Gras!

I’m getting ready to travel again, so I’m swamped with getting everything done at work and home.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate Fat Tuesday with some New Orleans style food and drink.  Bring on your party recipes.  And next week let’s go vegetarian.

I wanted to do gumbo, but didn’t have time to recipe test anything this week, except a death-by-chocolate Texas Sheet Cake, and I find my own gumbo recipes lacking. Luckily when it comes to gumbo, JeffreyW runs circles around me.  Here’s his take on a shrimp gumbo:

I was rummaging about in the big freezer and turned up a stick of Andouille sausage.  That put me of a mind to make a pot of gumbo.  I noticed that Alton Brown was touting a method of making a brown roux in the oven that seemed to be foolproof, and didn’t require one to stand over the stove stirring for a half hour and more:

Place the vegetable oil and flour into a 5 to 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven and whisk together to combine. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, whisking 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.

Seemed to work pretty well:

This was after 90 minutes.  It could have spent a little longer and been a bit more brown but I went with it as you see it.  More or less following Alton’s recipe, I put it over a medium flame on the cooktop and stirred in diced celery, green peppers, and onion.  The roux turned right away into thick mud but I kept stirring it until the veggies softened a bit, about ten minutes.  Next was several cups (4-5?) of the stock the chicken I used was cooked in, fortified with some Creole seasoning, along with the canned tomato bits I used in lieu of fresh.  I did have fresh thyme and even grow my own bay leaves now.  That simmered for a half hour before I added the cooked chicken, thawed pre-cooked shrimp, and the sliced and browned Andouille sausage.

Serve over rice, and be sure to have a bottle of hot sauce on the table lest you be taunted.

Hit the comments with your own Mardi Gras recipes and I’ll see you next week!  – TaMara

Cross-posted at Balloon-Juice.

Kindness Ranch: Cute Critters and Quiet Retreat

Was glad to help promote a great animal sanctuary on my work blog.  Thought I’d go ahead and share it here, too.

Cross-posted at Aqua Care Solar

We know many of our clients personally and often attend their events and contribute to their charities.   So it just seems a natural extension to promote them on our blog.  We are happy to use this platform to help you reach out.   I was thrilled to learn about Kindness Ranch this morning from one of our Solar clients.  Here’s some information on this great organization.  If you’re looking for a sweet companion, check out their animals up for adoption.

Rosco stole my heart a bit.

Kindness Ranch is the only sanctuary in the US that takes in all kinds of research animals. While new, it is the result of a decade of work, saving, and planning.

Laboratory animals have long held a special place in the heart of Dr. David Groobman, Founder of Kindness Ranch. Successful in business, Dr. Groobman first saved enough to provide for his family into the future. Once this was accomplished, he dedicated all the profits of his business for ten years to the ranch. He searched four years to locate the perfect 1,000 acre parcel near historic Hartville in Wyoming.

Groobman’s passion attracted caring board members to the cause. Together, they began planning for a sanctuary with the expectation that the residents will always receive the best in animal care and that dogs and cats would be rehabilitated in a home-like environment. Ground was broke in 2006. After building four guests yurts, a dog yurt, a cat yurt, and a managers’ yurt, construction was finished in the summer of 2007.

The benefits to the animals are obvious: they are well-cared for in every aspect of their lives.

Besides rescuing everything from dogs to pigs, you can also take advantage of the serenity of their Wyoming location and take a time out there:

The Hartville area of Southeastern Wyoming is steeped in history. Here you can find peace and serenity, wildlife and outdoor activities, and, of course, the Kindness Ranch. As a Kindness Ranch member, you can stay in one of our beautiful yurts. Use it as a base while you visit local sites or stay here and help us care for the animals.

Head over to their page and learn more about the good works they do.  And if you would like us to promote your event or charity, hit the comments or send us an email: