Monday, August 14, 2017

Harissa 2017

Harissa 2017 By Philipe LaMancusa
2 medium to large red bell peppers
1 ½ tsp coriander seeds
1 ½ tsp cumin seed
1 tsp caraway seed
5 cloves fresh garlic
½ medium red onion
2 ounces dried ancho chilies
2 ounces dried guajillo chilies
½ c. Aleppo pepper
¼ c. olive oil
1 medium to large red tomato or 2 Tbsp tomato paste and 1/3 c. water
½ c. red wine vinegar
1/tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh mint (optional)
1 large pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
2 Tbsp smoked paprika (optional)
Roast and peel and seed the red peppers
Toast the seeds lightly and let cool.
Seed, stem dried peppers, cover generously, moderately hot tap water 30 min drain.
Peel the tomato by blanching in boiling water 90 seconds and seed
Now put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth but still chunky

Let cool then jar and refrigerate. Keeps well.
Serve with pita and hummus or use as a rub or a marinate of fish or chicken. 
Pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, rose water more cumin, olive oil, add more garlic, hotter peppers, go CRAZY, man!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Creole Meat Loaf

5lb ground beef (chuck)
6 oz catsup
2 Eggs
1 ½ C bread crumbs (we made our own)
Sauté until cooked, cool before mixing w/ other ingredients
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 ½ c. chopped onion
¾ c. chopped celery
½ chopped green bell pepper
½ bunch chopped green onion
1 (‘3’ crossed out) shots Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2tbsp black pepper
½ Tbsp white pepper
½ Tbsp salt
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cayenne

 Bke at 350 until done (firm) about 45 minutes to an hour. Serve slices (about ten) smothered with the gravy that you made from the pan juices, smashed potatoes and any vegetable that you can think of. Oh, I don't know how to cut down this recipe.

Twelve Years Later

Twelve Years Later
 Debbie Lindsey

            Every day I pass her signature, stubborn and indelible, an autograph deeply imprinted from the added force of incompetence and malfeasance.  Katrina the hurricane, not The Flood, seemed to be saving her brute force for others and would have made her debut in New Orleans somewhat unremarkable if only the levees had done their job.  But they didn’t and I am reminded of this when I walk next to the three foot plus water line that remains on the glass door and its curtain that has hung stained since that August day.
            Every year, the anniversary of Katrina and the levee failures is met with diametrically opposing emotions and attitudes.  There are those who choose not to dwell on it and those (like me) who have trouble letting it go.  Some lives were damaged beyond repair and others whose lives were lifted up.  “Survivor guilt” is felt, to varying degrees, by those who lived on the sliver by the river and escaped the waters.  But no one, absolutely no one, was spared the pain.  And there is the collateral damage to families and friends who sat helplessly watching it unfold on televisions across the world.  Sometimes I think my sister, high and dry in Birmingham, was more frightened than we were here in the midst of it all.
            You learn quickly who simply can’t talk about it and respectfully change conversational course; but, most folks seem inclined to swap “war stories”.  Yes, it can be equated to having gone through combat and surviving in a war zone. As with war veterans, there is often that bonding, the camaraderie of commiseration that comes from shared dangers and the experiences of living through something historical.   And historical it was.
Katrina most certainly is something for the history books, and I say “is” as it cannot be placed in the past tense of “was”.  Much of this saga belongs to yesterday, however, we live in a landscape—organic, political, economic, and societal—that is forever changed and/or evolving as a result of Katrina and the levee malfunctions.  There were fifty-three breaches to our various canals and levees.  To date this is the largest residential disaster in U.S. history.  A major American city had its population reduced by half.  This natural and man-made catastrophe stands as this country’s costliest hurricane costing 135 billion just for NOLA.  And to this day these stats differ with a multitude of other sources yet all are shocking and admit to be record breaking.  The death toll will never be certain.
Much has been reported, rumored, and recounted about what took place during those days after the flood waters filled our city.  A great deal has been discredited, such as alligators and sharks swimming about.  Why the media wanted to dismiss this as urban myth is beyond me.  Certainly there were alligators—did they think that the gator was going to stay in Bayou St. John as its waters mingled with lake waters and not crawl or swim beyond some invisible boundary?  Heck a gentleman I knew was hospitalized at Lindy Boggs hospital at the edge of Bayou St. John and told of a rather large alligator in the building’s flooded lobby. As for sharks—well I know a very credible source in Gentilly who watched a fin gliding past his flooded home (just a bull shark perhaps).  When simple over-lapping of nature in otherwise urban environments becomes a “tall tale” you can see how easy it was for people to discount the truly shocking—things that folks simply could not wrap their heads around.
It truly was the wild, wild, west.  Anything could and did happen.  Heinous crimes and heroic deeds.  There was no precedent for the days and weeks that’s followed and certainly nothing was even remotely normal for the next year; and even as a rhythm reminiscent of life before Katrina slowly began to take root it would be years before significant reparations and restorations would outnumber the look and feel of a war zone.
            Lessons were taught and lessons were learned.  We know now to assume the worse from a storm and from our man-made protections.  But, and this is serious, we can never become complacent.  Have a plan, whether it is to stay or to go.  If evacuation is not possible then have every possible safety plan in place along with provisions. Stock non-perishable foods, a can opener, first-aid, pet supplies, solar or battery lighting (never candles—we nearly torched our house during Katrina), have prescriptions filled and zip-locked, and know that those cell phones will not be reliable for extended power outages.  Consider keeping or getting a land-line touch tone phone.  If totally dependent upon a cell then have an external back-up battery, a car adapter to plug in and charge from your car’s cigarette lighter.  Before a possible power loss charge phones, reduce to the cell phone’s lowest power mode, and then back away from that device until truly needed for life-saving communications.
            Also stock-up on lots of water, Pedialyte for hydration (my nerves and tainted foods wrought serious diarrhea), moist-toilettes, bleach, and heavy-gage garbage bags. And remember, that toilet ain’t gonna flush after several days (this is when those garbage bags in addition to cleaning out your refrigerator will be needed).  If you stay for the next flood you must remember what it was like twelve years ago.  And for the many new residents too young to have the Katrina Debacle in their memory’s reference--read about it now. I suggest: Chris Rose’s Pulitzer prize nominated “One Dead in Attic”, Douglas Brinkly’s “The Great Deluge”, and Google “17 of the Best Things Ever Written About Katrina” (HuffPost), for more informative reads. 
I often wonder how many folks I crossed paths with during those couple of days leading up to Katrina’s landfall that are no longer with us.  We were the lucky ones, the fools who rode it out.  And, for no good reason other than sheer luck am I able to sit and write about it today—twelve years later.  Consider this a cautionary tale.


Six Pack Spice Info

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Joe’s 2017 (Taco Magic)
Ingredients: Kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, arbol chilies, granulated garlic, onion flakes, Spanish paprika, smoked paprika, leaf oregano, cumin seed.
Uses: 3 tablespoons will well season a pound of meat (fish, chicken) for tacos, enchiladas etc, also good in beans, empanadas, ranchero sauce. Dust on stuff to grill
Greek Fisherman (Lemon Pepper Blend)
Ingredients: Organic lemon peel, black pepper, kosher salt, granulated garlic, dried onion, leaf oregano, dill weed, fennel seed
Uses: Any seafood, salads, shellfish pasta dishes, baked potatoes, cream sauces.
Summer Pie Spice Blend
Ingredients: Allspice, cinnamon, cardamom seed, cloves, ginger, nutmeg
Uses: use on heaping tablespoon for apple peaches pumpkin pies. Use on baked sweet potatoes, candied pecans and mulled ciders
Creole Crack Blend
Ingredients: Kosher salt, paprika, granulated garlic, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, leaf thyme, leaf oregano, leaf basil, cinnamon, and nutmeg
Uses: THIS is the spice to use on everything! Red beans, gumbo, as a blackening, French fries, mac and cheese, avocado, popcorn rims of bloody Mary glasses
Killer Griller (meat seasoning blend)
Ingredients: Kosher salt, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, onion flakes, cayenne pepper, black pepper, crushed red pepper, white pepper, leaf oregano, leaf thyme, leaf basil, peppermint leaf, rosemary leaf, celery seed, yellow mustard seed, cumin seed, coriander seed, allspice berries, seed fennel Uses: Braising, roasting, smoking, grilling beef, pork, ribs, chicken and fish. Use as a rub and in your BBQ sauces.
Ras al Hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
Ingredients: turmeric, cumin seed, ground ginger, Spanish saffron, black pepper, cardamom, seed fennel, mace, cubeb peppers, cayenne, white pepper, cloves, yellow mustard seed, poppy seeds, fenugreek seeds, star anise, granulated garlic, cinnamon bark, mint leaf, allspice, lavender flowers, organic rose petals, nutmeg

Uses:  Any dish that needs a curry like flavor, tagines, roasted cauliflower, sprinkle on fresh melon or mangoes, grilled vegetables and lime in the coconut milk sauce. 

New Orleans Olive Salad

Kitchen Witch New Orleans Olive Salad
2 medium carrots
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 small red bell pepper16 large green olives pitted
2 cups medium green olives pitted
1 cup brine-cured black olives
1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup brining juice from olive jar
6 cloves fresh garlic minced
4 ribs celery
¼ cup (1 small jar) capers
10 sprigs flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 tsp dried leaf oregano
1 tsp dried basil leaf
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Reduce all pertinent ingredients to proper sandwich salad size (dice real small)
Mix well and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and enjoy!

P.S. Feel free to play around with ingredients i.e. use pimento stuffed olives and eliminate the small red pepper etc etc. 

New Orleans Vegan Red Beans and

Kitchen Witch Vegan Red Beans
Thanks for asking; here’s what I do:
The day before, I put on a pound of Camellia brand dried red kidney beans (2 ½ cups) to soak 12 hours at least, preferably over night; I use 3 quarts of water at least for the soaking. After soaking, I throw the soaking water away and rinse the beans in a colander with cold water; then I put the beans in a heavy bottom pot on the stovetop, on medium heat with 6 cups of water and bring up  to a boil. When they reach the boiling point, I transfer them (and the hot hot water) to a Crockpot and let them cook, covered on the ‘low’ setting, all day while I’m at work, or all night while I’m asleep; what’s that, 6-8 hours? If the beans set up some foam in the ‘up to boiling’ stage, just skim the foam off and toss it; however make sure that you keep the 6 cups of hot hot water.
When I get back to the beans I give them a good good stir aiming to break some of them up to form that good good gravy. Meanwhile I sauté 2 cups of diced onion in 2 ounces of vegetable oil, up with 6 ounces of Field Roast brand chipotle sausage, also (a larger)diced; this product has the advantage of having enough sodium, spices and heat to where I virtually need no other seasonings.
When the onions are sautéed translucent and the sausage is well heated (it’s already at a cooked stage when you buy it), I mix them in with the beans and serve them with crusty French bread over cooked rice (I only use brown rice, but you can use whatever rice you like). AND don’t forget the hot pepper sauce on the side (we like Crystal or Louisiana brands). Serves 6-8, leftovers are yummy and the rest freezes well.
Now, you can gussy the dish up with other ingredients; but, to me that’s like putting a suit on a monkey: you can certainly do it, but why would you want to? Advice? Try it my way first before you decide to confuse the dish. Thank you, Philipe

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

                                                               C. Ray Nagin
Phil laMancusa
He came on like gangbusters. Native son of the seventh ward and Treme who went to college on a baseball scholarship, took a BS in accounting and became a CPA. He took jobs around the country and landed with COX communications where he rose, at thirty three years of age, to Vice President and General Manager in 1989 with a pay of $400.00.00 a year.
He was active in city, state and national politics as a lobbyer and functioned well at the local level, performing with many civic organizations; he also had irons in the fire in many local business deals, a shrewd operator. At forty-six years old entered the New Orleans political scene by announcing his candidacy for mayor. He touted himself as a poor son, born amongst us in Charity Hospital and as a business leader would take the city to a new level. He was elected mayor in 2002.
Katrina came in 2005 and the mayor lost his effectiveness. He holed up at City Hall and rarely ventured out to see to his constituents well being. He did make a forceful rant against the Federal Government on WWL radio with an impassioned plea for help and a demand for assistance.
He narrowly won a second term with two thirds of voters still displaced and helped to contribute to the city’s slow progress on a path of recovery. However, it appears that he was working both sides of the street; wire fraud, conspiracy, bribery and money laundering got him a trial and a sentence in the slammer where you’ll find him today. He remains a lesson in greed, ineptness and showmanship bravado. His release is scheduled for May 25, 2023

                                                 Mitch Landrieu
Phil LaMancusa
            What can you say about Mitchell Landrieu? Politician and lawyer; son of a mayor, brother of a senator, one time deputy Governor and State representative; present mayor of New Orleans. First ran for mayor in 1994, narrowly lost in 2006 and took two thirds of the vote to win it in 2010.
            The city was left with a hundred million dollar shortfall thanks to the previous administration (C. Ray Nagin). He placed a hiring freeze on the police department and crime rates rose as police ranks dwindled.  He did things to beautify the city that our visitors will notice and left other parts to wither. He over saw the removal of city monuments (statues) that represented personages that were pro slavery and a minority of radicals on both sides of the argument disrupted the city with protests that took an additional portion of our police department from other duties. His infrastructure projects have cost money and have inconvenienced citizens. He is very adept at using federal monies for city projects and one of his gaffs is known as the ‘streetcar to nowhere’ on Rampart Street.
            Landrieu is a career politician and is a staunch advocate for juvenile justice system reforms; he also is a fiscal conservative actively working on and repealing an Orleans parish ‘amusement tax’ (2% of gross sales) and as a career politician is widely regarded as someone who has his eye on Washington D.C.
            He has reached term limits as a mayor and leaves the city with mixed viewpoints of his legacy. As mayor, he has done nothing wrong.
                                                            The Next Mayor
                                                         Phil LaMancusa