Cuppa…cuppa!

rouses coffee

Since by my very nature I am pretty energetic, I don’t rely on several cups of coffee in the morning to get me going.  One is enough and that one is now Rouse’s delicious coffee & chicory.  Since arriving in New Orleans this is the coffee our son-in-law brews every morning…..to perfection.  Add some raw sugar or stevia and a bit of half ‘n’ half to create a little cup of heaven!

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Chicory is an herb that flaunts a pretty blue flower when in bloom.  But the root of the plant is where the magic is.  Louisianian’s began using chicory to stretch ground coffee when naval blockades cut of the port of New Orleans during the Civil War.

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Long known for its medicinal uses to cleanse the liver and heal gout, chicory was first grown and used to brew healing tea in Egypt.  It spread to France years later and made its way from there to New Orleans.  The taste is a bit different from other coffee but I have become addicted to the slightly sharp flavor.

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Enjoy some coffee with chicory and have a beignet!  It’s a wonderful way to experience a bit of New Orleans, wherever you may be!  If you’re a reader in Coastal Georgia ask Dan, the manager at The Market at Sea Island for the special coffee and chicory blend this wonderful shop offers!  You might even ask him to see if the bakers at The Cloister might make a few beignets!

 

It’s No Card Game

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New Orleans has long been known as a mecca for music.  From jazz to rap, you’ll find it here.  Last Saturday evening we visited a local establishment, The Recovery Room, just across Jefferson Highway from the Ochsner Medical Center.  I’ve long wondered about the place and what it might be like.  My curiosity was cured when we walked into exactly what I expected….the perfect local hangout, pool tables and all.

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We went to hear the band of a friend play and we were not disappointed!  Five Card Stud performed some of the best classic country music I’ve heard live in a long time.  Lead singer, Daniel Rongey, has a George Strait quality that the famous songster even commented on when he heard Daniel perform years back.

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Other members of the band include Jason Schell, also of “Refried Confuzion” fame, Clay Diamond, Ron Clark and Matt Hughes.  The group provided toe tapping music that would defy anyone to just sit still!  We heard a bit of the blues, some classic rock ala The Allman Brothers band and a ballad or two to slow things down.  The band also performed several of their own compositions that impressed us all.  Five Card Stud is definitely helping keeping country music alive and kicking in NOLA!

Here’s a sample of the band’s work if you’d like to have a listen!  I suspect we’ll all be hearing more about Five Card Stud!  Visit their website here:  http://fivecardstudlive.com/…Like them on Facebook too!  If you’re in New Orleans and want to hear Five Card Stud live you’ll find them at Rivershack Tavern 8/28 at 8:00pm and at Colby’s Cocktails on the 29th at 8:00 pm as well.

Coliseum Park

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New Orleans has a charm unlike any city I have ever visited.  Our decision to move here has left me homesick for the smell of salt air and the comfort of friends, but new beginnings, or so I’m told, are a good thing.  Within this historic city are many parks graced with old oak trees, draped with Spanish moss.  Palm trees and plenty of other vegetation flourish in this hot, muggy climate.  I’m always reminded of a Tennessee Williams story when I feel my skin begin to glisten with moisture as I walk out the front door.  It’s different than the climate on the island but a climate I am familiar with having grown up in the Houston area of Texas. I also wonder how people survived this place before the invention of air conditioning.  Maybe that history of survival is what enriches the lives of lifelong residents?  They do possess a joie de vivre like none others!

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Mr. T. and I discovered Coliseum Park while walking to pick our granddaughter up after school this past week.  It is a quiet park, except for the lone trombone player who practices his scales under the shade of an oak tree….note after note with plenty of repeats and starting over!  Music is definitely the heartbeat of this city.  I have never been in a place where a band or musician can be found on any corner and certainly in a park like this.

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The fountain is cooling as we wait for the school bell to sound and the gates to open as throngs of students begin to gather in the large school yard area.  I am reminded of the inner city schools in New York City as little smiling faces recognize a parent, friend or grandparent there to greet them at the end of a long day.

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Miss E comments that the nail polish on my toes matches the crepe myrtle blossoms that have fallen on the sidewalk as we make our way to the fountain where her grandfather sits waiting for us.  Of course I had to take a picture to share with you all.  New beginnings!

 

Simple Sundays

I love this video.  It is beautifully narrated by Brother David Steindl-Rast, words that he wrote himself.  Each time I view this video I am reminded that each day is a gift.  Even if I am down simply sitting and opening my heart as Brother Steindl-Rast recommends has such a profound effect on me.  This is my first post from my new home in Louisiana.  I’ve got a lot to share and stories to tell.  It’s good to be back!  Wishing you all a good day, filled with gratitude!  Enjoy the precious little girl and her special message as well.

On The Move…..

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I’ve promised all of my readers that I’ll include you in the move we are making.  Today is the day.  St. Francis awaits wrapping paper and just the right box so that he arrives in New Orleans safe and sound, ready to take watch over my garden there when it gets going.  One thing I can say about moving is that IT IS A MESS!!!!!  There are no other words to describe it.  Tension mounts at times and tempers flare when someone stubs their toe into a box, but we are all holding each other up and hanging on for dear life!

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There are no more meals being prepared in my kitchen.  The refrigerator has been thoroughly cleaned and prepared for loading on the truck.  I cannot believe how many bits and pieces of things there are!  I’ve always believed that the last 10% of packing is the worst and I know that to be true now.  I don’t know what I would have done without the help of my dear friend, Evelyn, aka Angel Face by Mr. T.  She has been miraculous!

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So our adventure is about to begin.  I’ll be posting as soon as things settle down a bit.  I will continue being The Permanent Tourist and cannot wait to share my new home with you!  Stay tuned!

 

Simply Amazing!

I’m sharing the video I had scheduled to play this past Sunday.  As luck would have it my site has been in transition and I could not access it to get my post ready.  But I think you’re in for a treat today.  I had no idea that Condoleeza Rice plays the piano.  When a friend shared this video on Facebook the other day I thought it was one of the most beautiful renditions of “Amazing Grace” that I have ever heard.  I had to do a post and let all of you hear it.  This song is good for any day, especially when one is up to their elbows in cleaning and packing!  I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday and enjoy the music!  I’m living in a state of grace as more and more opportunities open up for me as we head for The Big Easy!

A New Day….

Well, the site isn’t completely finished but I’m able to write a post….at least I think I am.  It’s late coming out this morning, but better late than never, right?    I’m finishing packing and cleaning, getting ready to leave on Friday.  How could it have happened so quickly?  My posts for the next few days may be sporadic, but I realize how much I truly love writing this blog.  And it helps me feel a great deal of comfort to know we will not lose our connection!    It’s grey and drizzling on the island….perfect weather for staying in and getting things done!  I’m about to begin the grand adventure of being The Permanent Tourist in a new place.  I can’t wait to start sharing it with you!

 

A New Bridge to a New City….New Orleans

MiMi & Me….the recipes

Here you go!  If you loved the photos you are going to go crazy over the flavors that combined to make each of these dishes something extraordinary.  Let’s begin with the Socca.

 

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Socca with Caramelized Onion, Mushrooms, Artichokes and Cashew Cheese

Socca is a light chick pea dough that is somewhere between a frittata and a thin pizza dough.  We did not include the rosemary in the dough, but sauteed it with the caramelized onion and mushroom mixture.   It was delicious!

1 cup chickpea flour
½ cup olive oil
1 ½ tbsp. minced rosemary
¾ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Whisk together flour, 2 tbsp. oil, 1 tbsp. rosemary, salt, and 1 cup water in a medium bowl until smooth; cover and let batter sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Pour the mixture into a heavy cast iron skillet and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until the Socca is “set”, no liquid remains.  This will take about 10-15 minutes.

For toppings:

2 sweet onions, we used Vidalia because they are in season, peeled, cut in half and then into thin slices

1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced

1 can of artichoke hearts, drained

Cashew Cheese mixture (go here to learn MiMi’s methods:  http://www.leafycafe.com/)

To caramelize the onions, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the sliced onions and let them cook, stirring every few minutes until they are slightly caramelized.  Add the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of fresh, chopped rosemary leaves if desired.  Top the cooked Socca with this mixture, cut into wedges and place a dollop of the Cashew “Cheese” mixture and a segment of artichoke heart on each piece.

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Zucchini Carpaccio with Blackberries, Beets with Cashew Cream, Watercress and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1 large zucchini

1 bunch fresh watercress

2 beets, peeled, steamed until just tender and thinly sliced

Cashew Cream (go to http://www.leafycafe.com/ to contact MiMi for her recipe)

1 box of fresh blueberries

Wash the zucchini well.  Cut off the ends of the zucchini, leaving a flat surface.  Take a sharp vegetable peeler or mandoline and slice lengthwise, making long, thin “ribbons”.

Wash the watercress and place on a serving platter.  Sprinkle the blackberries over the top and then pile the zucchini ribbons in the middle.

Place a teaspoon of the cashew cream on one slice of beet and top with another slice.  Place these around the edge of the watercress.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1/4 cup good pomegranate juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

grey salt and coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon local honey

Whisk the juice and olive oil together with the seasonings and honey.  The mixture will thicken slightly.  Pour over the salad and serve.  Note:  we snipped fresh chives from my herb garden to sprinkle over the beets and add a bit of color.  Growing your own herbs is so easy.  I recommend it over the type you find in the store.

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Pasta Puttanesca

If you know Italian food you may be familiar with this recipe and its origins.  I chose this because I knew that we would be doing a lot of cooking and I needed a main course that would be fine simmering a bit while the other courses were prepared.  Not to be crude, but this can be translated to read “Whore’s Pasta”.  The story, as it was told to me, is that these gracious ladies of the evening would start this sauce in the morning, go about their work and then have it ready to eat at the end of the day.  If you have a better story, by all means share it…..please!

1 box Quinoa gluten free spaghetti

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup pitted chopped Kalamata olives

2 tablespoons capers

1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound organic roma tomatoes roasted (cut the tomatoes into thirds, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with grey salt and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours)

3/4 cup chopped organic, baby spinach

1/4 cup grated Parmesan, if desired.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the garlic, parsley, olives, capers, oregano, red pepper and tomatoes.  Saute for about five minutes.  Add the spinach and saute until just wilted.

Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the tomato mixture.  Serve in pasta bowls, sprinkled with parmesan cheese if desired.

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Berry Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream

1 pint of blueberries, mashed slightly with a fork and mixed with 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch or corn starch to thicken

1 pint of strawberries, sliced

8 sheets of phyllo, thawed

1 can vegetable spray

1/4 cup organic sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 can Coconut Cream, frozen and thawed to separate the liquid (Note:  save the liquid to use in a delicious smoothie)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place one sheet of phyllo, folded in half on the parchment.  Spray with vegetable spray and sprinkle with the sugar & cinnamon mixture

Repeat this method until all eight sheets of phyllo dough have been used.

Leaving an edge of 1 1/2 inches, place the blueberries on the top of the dough and place the strawberry slices over them.  Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture

Bake until the pastry is crisp and golden brown….about 20 minutes.

For the Coconut Cream, separate the solid cream from the liquid at the bottom of the can.  Place the solid cream in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer or immersion blender fixed with a whisk attachment.  Blend until thick and creamy adding 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract and a tablespoon of organic sugar.  Spoon this over the top of each bowl as you serve the tart.

Any leftovers make a mighty fine breakfast.

In closing, I really enjoyed my time in the kitchen with MiMi McGee.  She is full of creative ideas for healthy eating…..I learned so much.  Please “Like” her “Leafy Cafe” facebook page and visit her website: http://www.leafycafe.com/ to learn more about what she is cooking, writing and promoting.  She’ll be happy to share the recipes in this post with you when you contact her and you’ll make a great friend!  MiMi is someone to follow, I have a feeling you may be hearing more of her on national television as she spreads her winning personality and approach to a delicious, healthy plant based diet!  Here’s to you Chef MiMi and to many more cooking adventures together!

 

 

 

On Island Time…

Barbara Kraus

Barbara Kraus

Now that the lazy days of summer time are here I’m officially on island time!

vegetable garden

This is the time of year when life slows down a bit.  My flower gardens are thriving.  Our vegetable garden is beginning to bear fruit.

Tiffany Carroll Mosley

Tiffany Carroll Mosley

Late afternoons spent on the beach provide a peaceful time to relax and enjoy friends.

horses on east beach

You never know what you may see there….is that horses I see in the horizon?  Why yes, the tide was out and they were riding on the sand bar just off the coast!

Heart Full of Wisps

Heart Full of Wisps

Life is simpler in the summer.  Although I suffer through the heat and humidity there is a feeling this time of year that cannot be found during the hustle and bustle of the school year.

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It gives me time to breathe, to be grateful for this beautiful island I am so lucky to call my home and a time to regroup before another busy fall begins.

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Life on an island can only be explained in one way……perfection.

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Mighty Magnolias

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In late spring and early summer magnificent Magnolia trees begin to blossom on the island.  Their gigantic, rich cream colored blossoms appear like oversized cups, drinking in the warmth of the sun.  When I was growing up in Texas, my Mother would float Magnolia blossoms in a large crystal bowl, placing it in the middle of our dining room table.  They always seemed so elegant in my eyes, filling the room with their heady fragrance.

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But there is much more to the Magnolia than mere decoration.

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This tree has been in existence, in some form other other since before the appearance of bees on the planet.

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In ancient China, only the Emperor could have a Magnolia tree.  To be given a root from the Emperor’s tree signified that the recipient was receiving royal favor.

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The Magnolia has many medicinal qualities as well.  Chinese medicine uses the bark to keep the life force flowing effectively as well as to help with digestive problems.  The dental community has taken recent interest in the Magnolia since it appears to prevent the formation of bacterial plaque.

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To dream of Magnolia’s symbolizes beauty, grace and elegance as well as protection.

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Magnolias symbolize nobility and perservance.  They have weathered ice ages, the creation of mountain ranges as well as Continental drift, still rising to stand regally over nature.  The state tree of Mississippi, and a symbol of strength and endurance throughout the South….long may they reign!