Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sunday Songs (on Saturday)

Because it is St. Patrick's Day and because I had the opportunity to hear this very talented singer last weekend and because she is from Ireland and because you should hear her too....although live is soooo much better....Maura O'Connell!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Virginia,The Home Of My Heart

I have lived in Virginia most of my life...and even before that I was only 30 minutes away.  I think that I have said before...about my city and my neighborhood...why would anyone want to live anywhere else?  I live a block away from an amazing city park, a half mile (maybe) from James River and the James River Park, 5 minutes from downtown Richmond (with all it has to offer), and the view driving over the river on the Lee Bridge is absolutely amazing.

But there are also lots of wonderful adventures to be had just a few hours Virginia.  Last weekend we visited Staunton.

About two years ago someone told us about  Mockingbird...a music venue in Staunton.  When we came across a Groupon Getaway at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel there, we snapped it up and checked out the schedule at  Mockingbird.

We arrived about 6 p.m. and checked into the hotel.

These pictures were taken from the hotel window.

Our Groupon package included a $10 coupon at Shenandoah Pizza...which turned out to be a great place in downtown Staunton just two blocks from the hotel and Mockingbird.

The music was wonderful.  Maura O'Connell has been a favorite for years and it was great to finally hear her in person.  The venue is a listening room with amazing acoustics.  The only problem was that we wished she had played longer.

Saturday morning we used the $20 coupon (another part of the Groupon package) in the hotel restaurant...a very nice breakfast buffet. Then I dragged Bill through Staunton checking out antique shops...there are many.  If I had more time....and was alone...I would have filled the car.  But as it was I only brought home these.

The payback was hiking up the very very very steep hill to Mary Baldwin College so that we could take pictures of the campus.  Bill likes pictures of college campuses (Craig College Counseling LLC).

We plan to return.  Our next trip to Staunton will include a play at Blackfriars Playhouse....

and another visit to Mockingbird.  Looking forward to it.

By the way...the title of this post...Virginia, The Home Of My Heart?  It is the title of a song written and sung by our very , very talented friend, Susan Greenbaum.  Check out her new CD,  This Life.  You will be glad that you did.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Songs

In January we heard our friend, Greg Trooper, play great music at In Your Ear Studio downtown.  A few weeks later we heard Cheryl Wheeler play more great music at Ashland Coffee and Tea.  We had the chance to hear Robert Earl Keen a few days later but got lazy...I hate it when we do that.  So, tonight, I will share a little Cheryl (her song, Sylvia Hotel) and Rober Earl (Todd Snider's song, Play A Train Song)....and then later I will share something from the wonderful singer that we heard two nights ago at The Mockingbird in Staunton, VA.

Happy Sunday Night!!!

Turkey Gumbo

Officially it is called "Leftover Thanksgiving Gumbo"...and that is what it is.  Once a year I make turkey gumbo from the leftover Thanksgiving turkey using Justin Wilson's recipe from his book Homegrown Louisiana Cookin'.

Actually, I call it Angel Food.  It just may be my favorite thing to eat....and believe me I love food....all food.  But this is just absolutely wonderful.  So to mourn the last container which has been taken from the freezer for dinner tonight, I will share.

My brother is responsible for this.  He has been making turkey gumbo longer than I have.  He also makes rabbit gumbo...and probably other kinds of gumbo.  But he lives in rural Virginia and has friends who give him things to eat that I don't have access to.  He also gave me Justin Wilson' cookbook.

This is the recipe.
Leftover Thanksgiving Gumbo

1/2 c.. oil or shortening or bacon drippings                          3 c. okra, sliced 1/2 inch thick (optional)
1 c. all-purpose flour                                                             1 lb.  smoked sausage or andouille sausage,
1 c. chopped onion                                                                      cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 c. choped green onions                                                       Any leftover turkey meat
1/2 c. chopped bell pepper                                                     Louisiana hot sauce or ground cayenne
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley                                                         pepper to taste
1/4 c. chopped celery                                                             1 T. worcestershire sauce
1 gallon stock, more or less, made from leftover                   Salt to taste
1 T. chopped garlic
1/2 t. crushed dried mint (I don't use this)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat, then add the flour and make a dark roux (I like mine between milk chocolate and dark chocolate color).  This can take as long as 45 minutes.  To the roux add the onion, green onions, bell pepper, parsley, and celery, stirring after each addition, and cook until the onions are clear.  Add 1 cup of the stock and stir well to form a thick paste.  Stir in the minced garlic, then the remaing stock.  Stir in the mint, okra, sausage, and turkey.  Season with hot sauce, worcestershire, and salt;  stir to mix well.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Serve over cooked rice sprinkled with file if you didn't use the okra.  Can be frozen.
Makes 6 to 10 servings.

In my last batch I added extra chicken that I had on hand.

This is the beginning of the roux.  I had a long way to go.

And here is the finished product ready to go in the bowl over rice.

It probably doesn't look like much to you...but I really is amazing.