Monday, February 23, 2004

My latest kitchen exploits

For no other reason than it sounded like a tasty meal, I decided to make red beans and rice for Sunday's dinner. First I had to buy a stock pot, which I got at Bed, Bath, and Beyond on Saturday afternoon (along with a coffee press--more on that later). Then, on the way home, as I was reviewing the ingredients for the red beans, I realized that a) I needed lots of chicken stock, and b) I had old chicken bones in the freezer from which I had long planned to make stock but lacked a stock pot. Since I now had said pot, I made my own chicken stock on Saturday night. It sounds more exciting that it was. We did find time to go out for dinner with friends and entertain them at our place for a few hours, and I only got up every twenty minutes or so to skim the fat. The stock turned out OK, a little bland, but there was plenty to use.

Sunday night was the main event. I used one of Emeril's recipes for the red beans and rice, complete with the ham hocks and sausage. It was surprisingly easy. Everything went into the pot, covered with the stock, and it simmered for about two hours. I also made the cornbread that James baked for the Super Bowl soul food feast. Liz gave the entire meal an "A," and her criticisms were constructive as always. She likes a sweeter cornbread, so I'll add a little more sugar next time (and maybe some chopped jalapenos) and while the sausage and pork were delicious, the beans and broth didn't have much flavor. James makes this dish all the time, so I'll ask him what he does to make it extra tasty. I put some hot sauce in my bowl and it kicked things up the requisite extra notch.

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