I have been wanting to create a photo recipe for some time where written explanations are completely unneeded. I think that is a creative way to share a recipe if you have good photos. Fortunately, MegaPxls was able to deliver high quality photos that capture what I have in mind.
Today has been rainy and dreary which has always been good days for soup. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I had black beans and skirt steak. I wanted to add some color, so I bought some kale and corn at the store.
Add some spices to give it a Mexican flair, and you have a hearty meal.
3/4 pound skirt steak
Fresh cracked black pepper
1 12 ounce package mirepoix
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 cups kale, chopped
2 ears raw sweet corn, kernels removed
1 Serrano pepper
1 cup Chardonnay
1 teaspoon beef base
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups water
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I was out of oregano)
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1/4 pound black beans, cooked
Pat steak dry and rub with oil, pepper, Tony Chachere’s, and chili powder.
Sear steak in hot cast iron Dutch oven.
Remove steak and set aside for later.
Add mirepoix garlic and sauté until onions are translucent.
Add kale, corn and Serrano pepper. Sauté until kale is wilted.
Add wine and reduce.
Add beef base, crushed tomatoes, water, chili powder, Italian seasoning (or oregano), paprika, thyme, cumin, and black beans.
Cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour.
Cut steak against the grain into strips and add to soup or top each individual bowl.
Season to taste and eat with flour tortillas or cornbread.
I may be a slow learner, but this is the third time I made baked beans this week. The first batch was amazing, but I wasn’t following the recipe closely. Last night’s were a bummer, but today’s batch of beans will be a triumph.
One of my favorite treats happens to be baked beans. Most of the time I’ll punch up a can of Bush’s, but I have made baked kidney beans a couple of times.
I know, it sounds awkward like the time my dad tried to tell me about…well, you know…the birds and the bees? I was fourteen and I think he actually talked about birds and bees.
He certainly didn’t teach me anything I haven’t heard in school. The kidney beans are more enjoyable than that distant memory, but they have nothing on the traditional navy beans.
Baked pinto beans are another story, though. I always have pinto beans on hand and the skin is a little tougher than the navy beans, but their subtle flavor and creamy texture allow the mingling of sugars and pig fats to take center stage.
This recipe is similar to a recipe I found on Food Network, but I think the small alterations I made are quite enjoyable.
3 cups pinto beans, sorted and soaked overnight
1 onion, chopped
2 slices salt pork, chopped
2 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 link smoked sausage, quartered and chopped (andouille works nicely)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning
1 teaspoon Hatch chili powder
1 teaspoon Gebhardt chili powder
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon chicken base
3 Mezzetta peperoncini peppers
Sauté meat in a cast iron Dutch oven to render the delicious fat.
Add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent. Season with black pepper and Tony Chachere’s.
Add both chili powders, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, chicken base, and peperoncini peppers.
Add beans and four cups of water to combine.
Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer on the stove for about 90 minutes. Stir occasionally and add water as needed.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the lid and place in oven for the last hour of cooking so it thickens up as only baked beans can do.
Salt to taste and enjoy by itself or maybe with some nice greens.
I dunno if you can call them baked beans with only an hour in the oven, but last night I baked them for five hours and they tasted sad and unfulfilled. Today’s beans were delicious.
Every Easter, we end up with a couple of dozen boiled eggs. Boiled eggs are great, but what else can you do? You can always make deviled eggs. I wanted a simple sandwich today, so I made egg salad.
I have never made egg salad before, but there’s nothing to it. Eggs, mayo, mustard, etc. I did not use any recipes for inspiration for this endeavor. Fortunately, I had the forethought to write it down. DO NOT skip the smoked sausage. The sausage really brings out the egg flavor. And the sausage flavor.
Note: I have not received any promotional consideration for any of the above products. These are products I prefer. I certainly won’t shill a product I don’t believe in.
Cut sausage link in half and throw in a skillet to heat up. While the sausage is sizzling, chop boiled eggs and place into a bowl. Mince peperoncini and add to the eggs. Dump in paprika, cajun seasoning, garlic powder, mayonnaise, and mustard.
Once the sausage is good and sizzly, take one half of the sausage and half it again. Then, chop those two quarters and throw the pieces into the egg mixture. The other half sausage link makes a great snack while you are making egg salad. Or you can give it to the kids since they probably won’t be eating any egg salad.
Mix the ingredients together and throw on some bread. Enjoy.
I would really appreciate any feedback when you try this recipe. It’s a work in progress. I may cut back on the cajun seasoning because of the salt content, but my wife said it was perfect. I also think it may do well with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, but that is for another culinary adventure.
I’ve been a fan of spicy cajun food my entire adult life. I began teaching myself to cook sixteen years ago and have enjoyed trying to make cajun dishes that were palatable. It is no coincidence that I started my cooking journey a week after I met my wife.
I’m sure it’s a typical story. I met Heather 12/11/2007. The following weekend she invited me over for dinner. Man, was I stoked! I love food. I can’t believe I met a woman who could cook.
I showed up for dinner at the appointed time and was surprised that we were eating Hamburger Helper. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with Hamburger Helper, but on a first meal at home you put your best foot forward. That night I decided that I was going to learn how to cook. The following weekend I began my foray.
That first meal was one I made one or two times prior. We had spaghetti with homemade sauce. It was quite tasty as I watched a friend make it numerous times. This friend was a good cook, but he never let me get any hands on experience. I watched him intently for two years as I was surfing his couch.
When I first started cooking, say the first five years, not all meals were as tasty as that spaghetti. I worked until midnight and the first year or two, I would go to Albertsons after work and make pot roast, pork chops, even chicken fried steak. I’d normally eat around four am and it was common for me to crank out some meal complete with mashed potatoes and gravy. Many of these meals were disappointments, and occasionally were downright inedible. Today, I rarely make something that embarrasses me to feed to my dogs. If I get distracted the dogs may have some awful treat to enjoy.
My culinary skills have vastly improved over the past three years. I have many friends who are professional chefs and they are always happy to give me cooking tips. I like to tell people that I’m finally becoming an adequate cook.
Today, I had to make jambalaya for a catering event. I’ve made it before, but I haven’t been happy with previous efforts. There is money on the line here so I have to make sure it is acceptable.
I looked through recipes and decided I could adapt this one. I made several changes and I hope you are happy with this endeavor. I hope you try it and tell me what you think.
I just remembered that I forgot bay leaves. I intended to add maybe seven to the pot. Remember that this recipe is for 50. You can use some fancy math like division to reduce the amount. I’d do it for you except I’m lazy.
Here’s the ingredient list:
5 pounds pork loin
15 pounds bone in chicken thighs (after deboning you will have around ten pounds of meat)
5 pounds sausage
3/4 pound bacon
2 large onions
3 bell peppers
1 bunch celery
3 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons white pepper
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp chili powder (I used New Mexico Hatch chili powder I ordered online)
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp dry thyme
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
10 cups rice
21 cups water
6-8 ounces chicken base
Add all dry ingredients in a bowl to add later.
Trim pork loin and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Marinate in soy sauce, mustard powder, and white pepper. I didn’t use a lot of any of these ingredients, just enough to coat. Marinate in refrigerator for two hours.
Place chicken thighs on baking sheets. Cover liberally with Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning. Roast at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Remove chicken from oven and let cool. Meanwhile, chop vegetables. Since you have the knife out, chop smoked sausage into 1/4″ rounds.
Down Home is one of my favorite sausages. They manufacture it in Stonewall, LA, which is maybe fifteen minutes from where I live. I couldn’t find a website for the company, but I included a link to a radio station I used to work at where they give the down low on the Down Home. No, I have not received any plugola. If they gave me free sausage, there would be plugola, but I would tell you about it. Somehow, I don’t think it’s plugola unless it’s a secret, though.
Last thing to cut up is to cut up the bacon. Cut that into small pieces. Once cut, toss the bacon into a heated pot to render. Once partially rendered, throw in the marinated pork loin. After it is browned it is time to put the sausage in.
I was watching some cooking show a couple of years ago where this old man was cooking a monster pot of jambalaya outside. He kept saying that you want to cook the sausage so it is scabbed up. He’s right, you want scabby sausage. I was unable to do it this time because of the sheer volume, but when I have a manageable batch, I cook the sausage so it is nice and scabby.
Before you blow scabby chunks, let me explain. This old cajun may or may not have gotten all technical on us, but he was describing the maillard reaction. Chemistry stuff happens to the meat when you brown it. Think of a really nice crust on a steak. That crust is the scab this old coot was describing.
When you have a scabbed up pot of sausage, you want to add the vegetables and saute until soft and the onion is translucent. I wait until this moment to add the chicken. Remember that chicken? Well, we forgot to debone it. So, before you burn up a pot of meat, be sure to have deboned the chicken prior to firing up the stove. After it’s deboned, I spread it back onto a baking sheet, apply some more Tony Cachere’s, and let it crisp up some at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Now that we are back on track, don’t add the chicken until the vegetables are sauteed. This way, you can avoid tearing up the meat from over stirring and whatnot.
This is the moment to add your dry spices and Worcestershire sauce.
I add the base to the water and stir until well mixed. Then it’s time to add the rice and base-infused water.
Simmer the conglomeration of meat and rice for around 50 minutes while occasionally stirring. It is actually desirable to have the food stick to the bottom of the pan to get some crusty bits. Remember? Maillard reaction?
Once the water is absorbed, it’s time to eat. Enjoy.