Saturday, July 18, 2015

Best-ever Lemon Pie

This recipe was given to me by a waiter/teacher that I worked with in 1999. After searching for years for a great recipe, I have looked no further. AND, I never want to lose it again.
Best-ever lemon pie
1 ¼ c. sugar
6 Tbsp cornstarch
2 c. water
1/3 c. lemon juice
3 eggs separated
3 Tbsp butter
1 ½ tsp lemon extract
2 tsp vinegar
Mix sugar and cornstarch in top of double boiler. Add the 2 c. water. Combine egg yolks with juice and beat. Add to rest of mixture. Cook until thick over boiling water for 25 min. This does away with starchy taste. Now add lemon extract, butter, vinegar and stir thoroughly. Pour into a deep 9” (pre-baked) pie shell and let cool. Cover with meringue and brown in oven
Never Fail Meringue
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water
½ c. boiling water
3 egg whites
6 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt

Blend cornstarch and cold water in a saucepan. Add boiling water and cook, stirring until clear and thickened. Let stand until completely cold. With electric mixer at high speed beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Turn mixer to low and add salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in cold cornstarch mixture. Turn mixer again to high speed and beat well. Spread meringue over cooled pie filling. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. This meringue duts beautifully and never gets sticky. ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Curried Cauliflower for all my friends

Canola oil
2TCumin Seeds
4 Bay Leaves
2T Garlic, minced Curried cauliflower
1 Head Cauliflower, broken down into medium florets
 2T Ginger, minced
3 C. Onions
1 medium size Red Bell Pepper, roasted and cut into strips
3 C. Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and largely diced
1 ½ T Coriander, ground
3T Garam Masala
½ t @ cayenne and White pepper, ground
3t Turmeric
2 JalapeƱo Pepper, cut in half
4 C. Water
Fry florets, in oil, golden brown, add onions, peppers, remove drain and save oil. Add cumin into the pan, toast a few minutes then add garlic, bay leaves 5 min. Add garam Masala, turmeric, cayenne and white pepper, coriander, low flame  8 min add everything else, stir to combine, adjust salt and black pepper to taste, cover and cook in 350 oven 10 min. Serve with rice. Yum!
Garam Masala
8T cumin
12t coriander
12t black pepper
4t cloves
4t Nutmeg
8 Cardamom Pods

Toast and grind

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 4th update on Bob

Update on Bob.
Well fans, Bob’s still in the ‘nursing home’ and now getting NO physical therapy, No speech therapy, No one attempts to sit him up, talk to him or interact on any level.
He remains in his (now) blow up hospital mattress bed, in a diaper and is delivered pureed food three times a day, he shows signs of fading and we try to keep him and his spirits blown up as well..
            His room-mate Sylvester, a broken bodied young man keeps his TV on 24/7 and the same for his radio which he keep with volume full throttle; Bob puts earplugs in to keep out some of the sound. Bob also sleeps with his light on over the bed either because he doesn’t want to sleep in the dark or that he cannot reach the light string. Bob and Sylvester’s room is not cleaned well on a regular basis, their AC unit does break down on a regular basis.
            We’re working on getting Bob to a better facility: St. Margaret’s at Mercy. It is worth checking out their website. I’ve taken a tour and talked to the admissions person. It’s a country club compared to where Bob is.
            Bob still has his legs locked in the kneeling position and his legs still have sores on them. I’ve been scheduled to have a ‘Care Counseling’ about Bob and my concerns. Since making the date, it seems that Bob’s care HAS gotten a little more attentive. The weekends are the worst because in actuality no one there seems to care a flip about professionalism.

            Bob still is lying in bed 24/7 with absolutely nothing to accupy his time or his mind save for the visits from myself and Debbie. He needs a shave again and his nails need trimming. I’m sure that he’s not the easiest patient to have but he certainly cannot be that much trouble. He does seem to be the easiest to overlook and ignore.

Katrina non-poetry

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Hurricane Musings
Tea and Oranges
There is no new poetry, there are only new poets. Excited wild wide eyed innocents and morose mud-stomping posers alike and as if new, continue to splash additional tattoo-like thoughtless art-ink letters (flotsam really), to wash upon the blank bleached skin shores of crushed vegetable pulp. Bayou crab traps. Fishing lures. Beignet crumb clues from mind meanderings, words forming, strung together, or scattered; painting pictures resonating in our mind’s eyes, whose sole purpose is literary terrorism. Once arms are taken up there is no quarter given.
The words are the party line of life making calls to the imaging thesaurus of thoughts, dreams and, crystallized faith fomenting feelings……………. Ideas and beliefs signaled by so many Mississippi River curves and Mid-City angled lines; so many words, so many pictures. Water lines and flooded houses.. Star analogies hung on the Spanish moss oaks of the indigo night sky; the prickly cosmic hitchhiker stickers giving them importance, meaning, value and merit; hung in the endless infinite otherwise ninth ward vacant heavens with the moon shining like pattern baldness on Pete Fountain’s pate. There is no new poetry, there are only new poets, ghetto word soldiers armed with loaded language, sniping bayonet words to be fixed together, reminiscent dots interpretively connected forming the images that reverberate, vibrate, resound, echo, catch fire, explode,. Boom.   
Thoughts and feelings; these are heartset street musician guitar strings that have always been a little out of tune, strum them; these are fruits of our backyard banana trees, pluck them anew like emotional fruit, sometimes ripe, sometimes not. We open our minds, accept the call, stringing the feelings and experiences of pasts, presents and futures together. Born in pain and nurtured into comfort with the Abita Amber visions, dancing desires, dreams, fancies and fantasies fed by the tropical winds approaching. One plodding, skipping, racing heartbeat hoof in front of another.
An emotional New Orleans gumbo ya-ya served to our mind-senses is a flavor of what has already been recognized, identified, tasted already digestedly known.  Learn that we already know that which is not already known. Learning nothing new, anew, somnambulating second-lining into a greater wake-fullness, wiser than we think, dumber than we look.  Newness:  the old shirt that we find at the bottom of our awareness laundry pile. Whatever doesn’t register we envision, make up, imagine. Confusions of grandeur.
Reading poetry brings to
Mind, the inebriated gathering
Of river foam, humid September
 Nights under the sly Orion
Constellation, wearing SPF 50
Gossamer beer shadow glasses
And burlesque queen lusts.

Louis Armstrong conducting an
Orchestra on the volcanic shores
Of the make-believe Ballroom
Washing your cares away with
Oil spill tones extorting all his
Shoeless children to come dance
Down by the riverside.
            Read again and read it again; fathom, digest and envision intrinsic meaning from the words poured forth, spread out and condensed into bite sized form and fashion, tid-bit teasing surprised poultry pausing mid-road to find rhythm or rhyme, dancing beach tar queen, smoky sloe eyed, sandal-footed wordsmith courtesan; beckoning, one step ahead of our stumbling ability to keep up. That crab stepping pirate leaving hints and allegations that whisper “I know and you do not, repeat after me, repeat after me, assess, dissect and leave no more informed than when you took up the task.” Rooftop stranded significance exists only as the meaning was implied and not as you imagined.
            Selfish writer expounding Kindness
            Compassion charity truth and love.
            Cloaked nuances of sex and power
            Hide agendas in shadowed rhetoric
 Placate me not with false promises.
Come clean villain expose your lies
Serpents swallowing tail’s testimony line
By line X marking the spilled ruby blood
Spots at the foot of the umber innocent’s
 Crucifixion turning into self immolation
Disguised as sheaves of sleeping grain
Prestidigitation of the symbolic wordsmith, now you see hidden meanings, now you don’t. The ingredients remain constant, the only constant is the change, the only change has slipped between the cushions of your consciousness and you search for the meanings of poetry as for dimes and pennies to buy another pack of Lucky Strikes. I recall cold comfort from cheerless climes. Mona Lisa smiles, stumbling blocks, stepping stones, the painted sign advertising ‘Undertaker, Gravedigger, Auto Repair’. In the beginning mine eyes saw the glory and now the expressions become another jambalaya served up by pensive Polymnia for Orpheus her son, who reposes in the dirt yard playing with rollypollies. Pray she slakes his mind’s thirst, satisfies his hearts desires, watch his soft lips repeat the food of words meanings: the moon and sauerkraut; for better or for worse and to Hell and back if you really care.
            The bard then takes pity with meter and rhyming
Next easing our plight mastering tempo and timing
Our simple mind’s eye comprehends easy relevance
Because truth be told there’s no strain on intelligence
As ditties likewise recited from youthful awareness
Reveal evidence of poetry’s magnanimous fairness.

Grown jaded and graying into ill-tempered maturity
Still savagely take pleasure from youthful obscurity
Words crooned hypnotic while on soft knees seated
Sing song sweet narratives blurred lessons repeated.
And pity the blind fool who performs (when they can)
The arabesque that starts with “there once was a man…”

Katrina: Ten Years On

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Neck Deep
Ten years On
Alright, we all know that the Big One was a decade ago, ten long years ago. We all know, that we who came back willingly and without hesitation, have reservations as to what and how much of a recovery we have been privy to. Sure, it looks good along the main streets and, it isn’t a lot of visitors that venture further than main thoroughfares. So, to the outside view, we’re doing pretty darn good. Even to the casual observer, we’re doing okay; there’s construction, there’s building, traffic is backed up on major streets and new shopping outlets are opening almost daily. But, that’s rat’s ass to the average Joe that used to call this “The Big Easy” because it was easy to make it here.
In reality what I see, and this may be a biased opinion, is that we have made it easier for those of the more comfortable set to get goods and services and for those of lesser means to get shunned and/or priced out. It’s almost as if there is still a “Whites Only Entrance” to aspects of town and I’m not talking racial exclusion, I’m talking economic profiles that exist and that are being put into a permanent placement in the NEW New Orleans. In many cases those newly arrived are as far out of the loop concerning our funk and flavor as Liza Minnelli would be at a Big Freedia twerk party.
The Treme hood is beyond racially mixed; Treme is simply no longer an African-American enclave. Corner groceries and shops are now new housing for the upwardly mobile and properties are being renovated (displacing long time residents) and upgraded out of financial reach of the average working stiff.
Let’s take a case in point and build on it exponentially, shall we? A hundred years ago in the French Quarter there were fifty ‘grocery’ stores, not convenience stores, grocery stores, The French Quarter now has less than a handful. There were also hardware stores, pharmacies, washaterias, gas stations, shoe repair and ‘fix it’ shops and that type of Mom and Pop enterprise concentration went for other neighborhoods as well.
Fifty years ago the French Market was a fresh vegetable, fruit and seafood Mecca with shops lining the streets from Jackson Square to the old Mint. Twenty years ago working stiffs could afford to live, frolic and mingle in the Quarter, rubbing elbows in restaurants, bars and art openings with politians and socialites. Now folks that don’t make better bucks are being economically excluded from the very places that the well heeled now exclusively enjoy. Local manufacturing is a thing of the past as well as the jobs that they entailed and the class structure of citizens that they created. Progress has proliferated New Orleans with hip eateries, box stores, mini malls and blighted properties.
This is not a rant, and I’m not just blowing smoke; I live and breathe New Orleans, I make and spend my money locally. On my days off I tramp the city with my camera shooting snaps of our failures and successes. Without exception, daily, I am confronted by places that I cannot afford to frequent and I feel a solidarity with people I meet who can no longer enjoy, on a regular basis, that funk, sass and feeling that made New Orleans the go-to place for the rest of the world to play in. Meet the Jones’ that are one paycheck away from under the overpass.
Wait. Wait. I correct myself; this IS a rant. I’ve got one on a number of things: education, gun control, human/personal rights, man’s inhumanity toward man, you name it. This is my New New Orleans one.
One gets weary, putting on the ‘Happy Face’ for visitors that say “Oh, New Orleans sure has come back, hasn’t it?’ or “Things are lookin’ pretty good here, aint they?” One wants to scream: “Go ten minutes from City Hall and see in the pure and abject poverty, the working class that just cooked your friggin’ breakfast omelet and washed your hotel bed linen and watch them argue with their kids about what a noble effort they’re making and the advantage of getting educated while little Johnny retorts with the economic fact that he can make more money on the street than they do, combined, working for ‘The Man’.”
One gets weary of watching civic improvements that are being made for the ‘haves’ while the ‘have-nots’ scramble for change for the bus. Or listen to another congressperson rail about the ‘Obamanation’ of the Affordable Health Care Act when it is they that have been able to ‘afford’ health care all along while your health care plan has been simply not to get sick! And politicians that kill bills that would give equal pay to women or allow former students to refinance their loans at a lower rate. One do get weary.

Okay, so ten years on not all that much has changed and that’s the rub; the common person is still common, the rich get rich, the poor have children and we all pray for a decent landlord and competitive grocery prices. One do get weary, because one did expect just a little bit more.