Here’s half of the kitteh crew, the youngest half.  They’ve arranged themselves on the tree by order of seniority – Bitsy on top, Ginger Boy, and Ollie, the newest addition.I tried a couple of those refrigerated pizza crusts that come rolled up in parchment paper.  I figured they couldn’t be too bad.  I figured wrong.  Those roasted garlic cloves were very good – cooked at 400 for 45 minutes or so.I peeked into the oven after 14 minutes and saw that the crust edge had little or no color so I gave them a few minutes more.  That was a bad call.  The edge was hard and tough, the rest was just tough.  I have a tube of pizza dough that they package like the biscuits that you rap on the counter edge to pop open.  I’ll give that a go but my hopes for it are limited.It’s getting to be soup weather – the temps are below 90 and that is what we call fall weather these days.  I made a potato soup – boil some ham hocks in chicken stock with onions for an hour or two then add chopped potatoes and continue to simmer until they are soft enough to run a stick blender.  Take out the ham and set aside to cool, run the blender, then pick the meat off the hock and return to the soup.  I added a splash of half and half and melted in a handful of shredded cheddar but that’s optional.I still had a package of sour mustard greens that were an ingredient in this dish – pork belly with mustard greens.  I thawed some of the pork belly I had saved from our last trip to our supplier to use in this and I have the rest of it curing for homemade bacon.  Still have a few days left before that will be ready.I thawed a brick of the last batch of red beans and made a new batch of rice to go with it.  I can see why Louis Armstrong often signed letters “Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours”Tsk tsk, I see Homer has been out frog hunting again.  He’d best hope he doesn’t step in a snapping turtle’s open maw.


This is one of the Texas hurricane rescues, she was brought back in an effort to save her and her litter.  She is heartworm positive with some other maladies and her prognosis is uncertain.  She and her puppies would already have been put down had she stayed.Mmm… red beans and rice.  TaMara mentioned the dish in one of her posts and it reminded me that we haven’t had any lately.  This one was cooked with a ham hock.  I added the andouille late because it will get tough if it simmers a long time.Here’s a kitteh!  Not a hurricane rescue, he is a local kitty boy.Our fig trees/bushes exploded this year.  We put rooted cuttings in the ground spring of ’16 and reaped a scant harvest but this year we should do better.There are a lot of figs coming on and they are getting to a size they couldn’t match last year.This one-eyed kitteh has been adopted since the photo was taken.  I don’t have any more info than that.Cheesesteak!  This was tasty – I did the flat iron steak sous vide, it was in the water bath 6 hours @140 degrees.  For service, it was sliced and added to a pan of caramelized onions and tossed to mix and rewarm then covered with a nice cheese sauce of American and cheddar.Tommy is a tuxedo kitteh born in March this year.  He’s a good kitteh, Brent.


DSC_7100 (1600x1060)Mmm… green beans and ham.  The meat is some of the cured pork that we buy whenever we go up to the processor about an hour north of where we live.  They bag and freeze chunks that are analogous to bacon ends.  I’m not sure what their curing method is, soaking in a brine is my guess, then smoking for a spell.DSC_4256 (1600x1060)Mrs J is getting serious about wrapping up the patio container garden.  I picked most of the peppers.  The small sweet peppers are great for pickling – I have been using a simple water/vinegar/sugar pickle.  The habs and the Anaheims were frozen whole.  I noticed the jalapenos were starting to wrinkle so they got the same pickling as the little grape sized peppers.  Still to go are a bunch of cayennes, and the ornamental tri-color peppers that have proved to be hot hot hot.  Some other tri-colored peppers have no heat at all.IMG_3116 (1600x1200)They brought this long haired chihuahua to the shelter the other day.  He was found running free by the roadside with his son.  No tags or owner.  They think he’s about 8 years old.  Heartworm positive, he’ll be there a while, his son has been adopted and he is all alone.DSC_4278 (1600x1060)A neighbor called yesterday evening, telling Mrs J there was a momma cat and her kittens abandoned by the road.  She found the mom and three kittens right away.  They were hungry.  Another sweep through the same area found three more kittens.

They all seem to be healthy.  We have them all in the back barn for now, all set up with litter boxes and bedding.DSC_7105 (1600x1060)Bookending the post with beans.  These are red beans and rice.  Kroger surprised me the other day with Andouille sausage.  I bought a ring and used it here.  Just about the perfect addition to the classic bean dish.  I tossed in a few boneless chicken thighs to keep the sausage company.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Wash Day Beans and Rice

Click on image for full size

Since this is the weekly recipe exchange, when I settled on red beans and rice, I decided to go googling around the internet and see what everyone else thought red beans and rice should be. I stumbled across the photo above and knew I had to include it tonight. The recipe isn’t that much different from what I’ve been making for years. If it’s good enough for one of my favorite performers, it’s good enough for me.

I live within walking distance of a Lucille’s restaurant that I do not visit often enough. Mostly because it is open only for breakfast and lunch. A week or so ago, I realized I really wanted their Wash Day Lunch, but didn’t see how it would fit into my schedule that week. Then I remembered I had a big jar of Lucille’s spice in my cupboard. The solution seemed simple, I’d make a batch of red beans and rice, tonight’s featured recipe.

Of course, JeffreyW has his own take on this, with great photos to accompany his Red Beans and Rice with Pickle Pork (click here to see it, you know you want to).

For tonight’s featured recipe, I threw on my Zydeco cds and started chopping and sautéing. Set it to simmer all day and finished it off with some delicious buttermilk corn bread.

Red Beans and Rice

  • 1 lb. Kidney Beans
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • Water or vegetable broth
  • 6 small Ham Hocks or one smoked Pork Butt, wash well and pat dry
  • 1 tbsp (or more as desired) of Creole spice, I favor Lucille’s
  • 1/2 lb. of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced*
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 links andouille sausage

Saucepan or dutch oven, skillet


Wash beans thoroughly, cover them with cold water and soak overnight. Pour water off, cover with fresh water and cook until tender. I use a pressure cooker, because at this altitude it’s the only way to get tender beans and it takes less than 30 minutes. Once tender, drain and add chopped tomato, Creole spice, ham hocks, a bit of water or vegetable broth and simmer on low.

In skillet, cook bacon until slightly crisp, drain on a paper towel. Add to bean mixture.

Remove all but 2 tbsp of bacon fat from the skillet, add diced onions, bell pepper and carrot. Sauté on medium heat until tender, add garlic, cook additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add everything to the beans, turn to low and let simmer at least 3 hours, ham should be falling off the bone. I like the idea of simmering all day for the best flavor. Add more water or broth as needed to keep it from drying out.

About an hour before serving, I sliced the sausage in half lengthwise and browned on both sides in a skillet, I then added it to the bean mixture to simmer.

*carrot is optional, but I find it adds a nice sweetness to the dish.

Serve over rice with corn bread. Makes 6 good sized servings.


I used brown rice for this dish and loved the flavor with the spicy bean mixture.

  • 2 cups brown rice, rinsed
  • 2 cups water

Saucepan or pressure cooker

Add water and rice to pan, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low and cook until all water is absorbed, about 45 minutes with traditional saucepan and 25 minutes with a pressure cooker.

Mmm…Red Beans ‘n Rice

I’ve been wanting to make a mess of these ever since we got some tasso from that mail order outfit down in Louisiana.  I also received some dried red beans that were highly, and repeatedly, recommended.

I suppose everyone with  a Grandma from New Orleans has a secret family heirloom recipe for red beans and rice.  I’ve followed a couple that were subtly different but remained the same in essence:  Basic recipe is to sweat some of the trinity in bacon grease, add sausage/ham/chicken/some kind of meat to brown it some, then dump in some soaked beans and cover with stock or water.  The pot simmers for a few hours, spices are added, rice is cooked, onions are chopped and pretty soon you have a great dinner.

Today I printed out Emeril’s recipe and carried it to the kitchen.  I followed it pretty well with a few changes, nothing major. (Didn’t have enough celery so I chopped up some bok choy–don’t tell!)  Emeril calls for a ham hock, I used some sliced, smoked, ham diced into smallish cubes.  I sprinkled in some cayenne like the recipe said, and also sprinkled on some of the homemade Cajun seasoning I made up a while back from this recipe.

I used some Tabasco at the table over mine, and sprinkled on some extra creole seasoning and the result was pretty warm.  Mrs J’s portion was nearly too hot for her but she managed like a real trooper.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.