Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Family, Gumbo & a Taste of Southern Sun in Foggy Portsmouth

With the upcoming holidays
and the much anticipated
birth of my nephews child on
the horizon...
Family has been much on my mind..
...so, I start the pictures this week with
an old and cherished picture
..my two lovely sisters and our Mama...

To the outside world we all grow old.
But not to brothers and sisters.
We know each other as we always were.
We know each other's hearts.
We share private family jokes.
We remember family feuds and secrets,
family griefs and joys.
We live outside the touch of time.
~Clara Ortega

I also want to say
"Congratulations!"
to a "Great"-Nephew
& his Cohort's
for a
Championship season!
With the weather turning cooler..
(who am I kidding..the pond was frozen this morning!)
Gumbo season has begun!
A few Gumbos later there has
been an interest voiced for
instructions on
How to make a Roux..
and a
Gumbo..
To make a Roux:
First start with equal parts
oil (or butter)
& flour...
over a medium flame..
(turn that heat down...
high won't get it
there quicker...
it will just burn it..)
Constantly stir it..till you reach
your desired color..
each recipe will call for a
different color..
from blond to a deep chocolate..
It will NEVER fail that your
phone WILL ring...
so, keep it on the counter..close at hand.
1 cup canola oil , 1 cup flour
over medium heat



just starting to smell the nutty fragrance











blond roux...the color of sand paper








medium colored roux





Chocolate..but not the darkest..
(this was a tricky feat..
to make a roux, not burn it
and take pictures!)
Lets make a Gumbo:
( forgive the fact pictures were taken
during different gumbo batches..
i.e. different pots to get to the end
with a finished gumbo.)
Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
First you start with a
Chocolate roux
It is best to have
all your ingredients chopped and ready
before you start
your roux.
Then your "trinity"
1 1/2 to 2 c onion ,chopped
1c celery, chopped
1 c green bell pepper, chopped
(a little more or less of these ingredients
would be fine...
make it your own..)
Add trinity to your roux and
saute' till onions are tenderAdd 1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
3 bay leaves
(I tend to be somewhat
heavy handed with the bay leaves!)..
The bay leaves will be removed at the end..
before serving....
or , like in my family..Education is a must..
teach.."Don't eat the bay leaves!"
They are a bitter chew..Chicken should have been boiled and picked apart..
I always use breast & thighs..
here depending on what you have
and how many you want to feed depends on how much you put in..
anywhere from a couple of breast and 4 thighs..
to what ever..
Save your homemade broth..
(water you boiled the chicken in)
its better than store bought for adding at the end.

Now, add a bag of frozen Okra..
or two if making a large
pot for many.
(here I will tell you...
that among the Cajuns, okra is
only put in the seafood gumbos.
However , in my family, it "ain't"
Gumbo without the okra!)

Add your chunked up 1lb. smoked sausage..
if you are in luck and live where
you can procure some good
andouille sausage this is
great !
Add 6cups chicken broth (at least)
skim fat
and simmer...a few hours
Serve over rice with file' powder
on the side
so each may add his own
for thickening..
Note: Put left over rice in with left over gumbo..
it's even better the next day!
This past week had more grey days than
bright and sunny...
Saturday , Michael and I got up to
fog and drizzle..
there had been a
coastal flood alert for times
of high tide.
And
an emergency :
"Frizz" alert for all day!
I had seen adds on t.v. for a new store in town
called
"The Christmas Tree Store"
and needless to say was very excited!
To borrow a memorable line
from the movie classic
"The Christmas story"
"I like Christmas"
So, off we went
to wander about with the hoards of
bargain
Christmas decor shoppers!




Oh boy, did I have fun!
Then with the Christmas store behind us
we headed to down town Portsmouth to the restaurant
"Muddy Rivers Smokehouse"
Michael has been there before and reported to me that
"They have sweet tea"
Here it is midday and the fog still holds on
with
determination!






















When we enter Muddy River Smokehouse
I feel as if we had said
"Beam me up Scottie"
for we could have been in any
B-B-Q joint in Alabama, Georgia,
Mississippi or Louisiana...
don't forget "Virgil's" in N.Y.C.
Blues were emitting from the
speakers,
large chalk boards on the walls
carried the menu..
along with the special
fare of the day...
Racks of ribs...of all kind
Meatloaf..
Chili..
Vegetarian Chili..
(Carrie take note of the above
as well as below)
Fried Pickles..
all kinds of soups, salads, starters,
sandwiches, baskets,
plates & platters..

Over the counter the hanging lights were
made from small garbage buckets..
(sounds weird..but quite cute!)
the walls were painted deep red.
In the middle of the dinning area two large
post had been disquised with paper mache' (?)
to resemble trees..
and from their far up branches hung..
now get this..
"tree hair!"
(spanish moss)
Red checkered table cloths
covered the tables
with metal buckets holding
menus, napkins and such.
Oh, how I felt at home!

Our waitress came to the table to ask
what we would like to drink..
In less time than it takes a heartbeat
Michael and I sang out
in two part harmony
"SWEET TEA"
mmmm, mmmmm, GOOD!

back out on the road again..
a little bit of Southern sunshine
went with us in our hearts!
Going toward the house we
decided to take a look at
the beach.

the fog continues its tight hold
across the land..
..and across the sea..








Sandpipers avoiding the surf
Sea gulls avoiding the surf





the fog stayed all day!
A complimentary menu
was brought home from the
Muddy River..
on front was a
Brief History of Portsmouth.
Settled in the early 1600s, the name Portsmouth was adopted in honor of the colon's founder, John Mason. He had been captain of the port of Portsmouth, England.
In 1679, Portsmouth became the colonial capital .It also became the refuge for exiles from Puritan Massachusetts. When Queen Anne's War ended, the town was selected by the governor to host the 1714 Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended hostilities between the Native Americans and the English settlements of the area.
The first known Europeans explored the area in 1603. It was first called Piscataqua, then Strawberry Banke because of the wild strawberries growing beside the river. The settlement was located here for trade between upstream industries such as logging , and the port prospered
Fishing, lumber and shipbuilding were principle businesses.
In 1774, Paul Revere rode to Portsmouth warning that the British were coming. The harbor was protected by the fort, the rebel government moved the capital city inland.
The city's architecture reflects it as once one of the nations busiest ports and shipbuilding cities.
Some of the more substantial homes are now museums. The heart of the city contains stately brick stores and townhouses, built after devestating fires, the worst fire in 18113 when 244 buildings were burned.
The city's shipbuilding history has a long relationship with Kittery, Maine, across the river. Although John Paul Jones boarded at the Portsmouth house which now bears his name, his ship, Ranger, was built in Kittery.
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, established in 1800 as the first Federal Navy yard, is on Seavey's Island in Kittery. The base hosted negotiations which lead to the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth that ended the Russo-Japanese War.


guess who?

Boo stalking a bird
on the deck!
Now, thats a lucky bird...

..and this morning the sun is back..
Boo & Bo
think its a good time for a nap in the den!
Next week Michael , Chloe and I
will be taking a little trip south..
We plan this time to go through Pennsylvania
and see what we can see in that direction..
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving
and I hope y'all get to spend some of it,
if not all , surronded by loving family and friends.