Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Super Bowl, uh, I mean, the "Big Game"

It's Super Bowl Sunday, and that means anyone who has coughed up the dough will be allowed to call it the Super Bowl. Everyone else must call it the "Big Game".

Since the Super Bowl will be broadcast on NBC this year, NBC news has the opportunity to turn the Today Show and all their other "news" shows into Super Bowl infomercials. They have already started Saturday morning with on-site reports from Tampa featuring Jenna Wolfe and Al Roker. Keith Olbermann has been broadcasting "Countdown" from Tampa all week.

MSNBC will be featuring the "Predator Bowl", a marathon Doc-Block of "To Catch a Predator". I must admit Predator is one of my favorites, and I will probably be catching a few episodes while I'm smoking my ribs and waiting for the Big Game to start.

I don't have much interest in who wins. I don't like either team, but to give credit where credit is due, I watched in reluctant amazement as the great Larry Fitzgerald tore up my beloved Eagles in the NFC Championship game. So I will be leaning toward Arizona, if only to see what Mr. Fitzgerald can do to the Steel Curtain.

I do not look forward to listening to John Madden prattle on about how great the Cowboys are, as he always does, no matter who is playing.

On the menu: baby back ribs, buffalo chicken tenders, other assorted snacks. Check my iReport page later in the day for a full report.

I am hoping the The Boss, during the half-time show, brings out the legend, Pete Seeger, to do an encore rendition of "This Land is Your Land", with ALL the lyrics, like they did at the Lincoln Memorial before the Obama inauguration.

Enjoy the game!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Pay It Forward" - Not a Bad Idea

I was in Dunkin Donuts this morning, buying my weekly two bags of whole bean coffee, that I brew every morning in my Cuisinart grinder and coffee maker.

The woman behind the counter, as she was ringing me up, told me I was entitled to a free medium coffee. I turned to the guy behind me on line, and asked him if he wanted the free coffee.

It was just a cup of coffee, and it didn't cost me anything, but the guy couldn't thank me enough, and the Dunkin Donuts people were gushing about that God will do something good for me today.

Anyway, I walked out of there feeling pretty good. So, when you get a chance to help somebody, no matter how small it may seem, do it. You'll feel pretty good.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Red Beans & Rice - a New Years Day Tradition

Do you smell that? It's ham hocks, son. Nothing else on the world smells like that. I love the smell of ham hocks in the morning!
It is a New Years Day tradition for me to make Red Beans and Rice. Southern tradition calls for black-eyed peas and some form of pork and greens to bring good luck in the new year. I have nothing against black-eyed peas, but I like red beans better, so that's what I have stuck to for the past few years. Substitute rice for greens and I have my very own tradition.
My recipe is derived from the Prudhomme Family Cookbook and includes red kidney beans, smoked ham hocks, andouille, and what the great Justin Wilson used to call the "holy trinity" - uh-yuh, sell-ray, and green peppah. Until recently, andouille was not easily available in New Jersey, sow in the past I had to substitute kielbasa, but thanks to Emeril and Johnsonville, I can now use the real thing. New Orleans natives may not agree to the validity of Johnsonville andouille as "real", but where I live it will have to do.
It's a fairly simple process, soak the beans overnight, dice and sauté the onion, celery, and peppers. When the vegetables are cooked, combine with diced andouille, beans (drained), and ham hocks. Cover with just enough water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about two hours. Remove ham hocks, separate the meat from the bones, put the meat back in the pot and continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until the mixture reaches your desired thickness. Serve over rice.
Your kitchen will smell amazing!

What are your New Years Day food traditions?