Bridget used to be known for her homemade red beans and rice.

This is New Orleans, and every Monday we citizens clamor for a nice steamy bowl of the good stuff.

Today’s not Monday, but we were really craving red beans, so here we are.

About a year ago we discovered Blue Runner Red Beans. Sorry Bridget, you just got served.

Yes, these beans are in a can, but after a little Blake Magic, they certainly don’t taste like they do.

I cube some turkey sausage and brown it in my enamel stock pot. When it’s browned, remove it from the pan.

Chop an onion and 2 stalks of celery and cook it in the pot with the sausage bits in the bottom. When the onions are see-through, add 1/2 cup hot chicken stock, scrape the bottom and reduce for a few minutes.

Add 2 large cans of the canned red beans. I season them with Kosher salt and some Tony’s.

Serve over rice.

It may be a carnal sin to enjoy canned beans as much as homemade, but believe me, you’ll never know the difference.

Creamy, Earthy Mushroom Soup

September 18, 2007

Hello Blake Makers! Before I talk about these amazing looking mushrooms, I wanted to let you know that there are some changes a-comin’. New design, new features, and maybe a few surprises.

Separate the stems and caps from 2 large portobellos, 1 package of creminis and 1 package of shitakes. Set the caps aside.

Let’s make a mushroom stock.

Chop the stems. Chop 1 yellow onion. Chop 1 carrot.

Add 1 tblsp. butter and 1 tblsp. olive oil and saute’ the veggies with 1 whole sprig (stem) of thyme until everything starts to get soft.

Add 6 cups of hot water after that and bubble high, then bubble low for about 30 minutes.

In a separate pot, saute’ 2 chopped leeks in 1/4 lb. of butter. When they soften, and maybe brown a little, add in all the mushroom caps (chopped).

Cook them until they’re all cooked down and maybe a little brown.

Add 1/4 cup of flour and cook for about 1 minute.

De-glaze the pan with 1 cup of white wine, and then add the mushroom stock (strained).

Let this all bubble away for about 30 minutes.

At the end (about 10 minutes before serving), add 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup half and half, and 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley.

S&P to taste.

I need to work on this recipe. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tasty, but it’s missing something. I’m thinking hot sauce, creamy goat cheese or sour cream. Maybe a protein. I’m sure round 2 will be even better. I’m also sure Day 2 soup will be even better, too.

Tonight you get a little something different from me. No big, beautiful picture. No heady delicious overload. I just have some things I want to say, and since this is my blog, my forum, my soapbox, indulge me.

So it’s almost midnight and I can’t sleep. Bridget and Chopper are snoring beside me. I’m not making this up, as soon as I wrote that sentence, Bridget rolled over and inaudibly mumbled something to me in her sleep. I think it was a curse. The laptop screen is probably bothering her, but she’s too sleepy to put up much of a fight. Take her, Sleep, take her!

My heart is racing. I’m really excited. I think it’s because I finally realized what it is I want to do with Blake Makes, and maybe even my life. I love this blog. And it’s obvious that I love cooking, but I also love what I do for a living. I’m in marketing and I just started my own marketing firm, Killian Interactive (KI).

The KI site is pretty sparce and generic at the moment, and I think it’s because I haven’t quite found my voice, yet. That’s all changing now. I want KI to do very cool, creative, new things. I want to do mostly things online. I’d love to work with food companies (restaurants, stores, manufacturers, etc.) to build communities online around their products. That’s it. That’s my big idea.

Now, I’m going to make it happen. Blake Makes an amazing life.

I’ve got a list a mile long of things I have to do for KI. I’m working with a business counselor who is the best. Mark my words, this will be the best money I will ever spend. She is helping me clean house, both literally and figuratively. It’s going to take some time for me to get it all sorted out, but once I do (give me 3 weeks), I’ll be ready to WOW.

I could probably rant for hours, and fill up a few feet’s worth of screen here, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll leave you with my latest discovery, Open Source Food. They’re not going to know what’s hit them. I’m about to fill their belly with Blake Makes food. It’s the perfect second home for me.

It seems fitting that I’m sharing this with you in the wee hours of the night. Read it (or re-read it at this point) in a whisper for full effect. This is my catharsis, my outlet, my love. Thanks for listening. Night night. bk

Ina‘s done it again. Is there nothing she can’t cook? Is there no recipe she can’t make absolutely delicious?

These spaghetti and meatballs will make you weep.

The meat mixture is superb, but the sauce is what makes it. It’s deep. Taste it and you’ll swear you’re in the Godfather movie.

Fry the meat balls in 1/4 inch of an olive and vegetable oil mixture over medium high meat. You don’t want to cook them through, just get some color on them (on all sides).

Chill them to help them keep their shape.

After you’ve cooked all the meatballs, drain the oil from the pan, but keep all the brown meat bits.

Cook the onions and garlic until tender, then splash in the wine. When almost all the wetness has gone, add the rest of the ingredients.

We ate this in front of the T.V., which I had to pause so I could savor every bite.

I really can’t say enough.

For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blake Makes Videos Are Coming

September 9, 2007

I made cupcakes the other day. I had to sift the powdered sugar for the icing. The sugar went every where.

This is how it goes. Cooking gets a little messy, but the ends justify the means. Here’s a taste of what we’re cooking up now. We have a few more rounds to go to get the recipe just right, but I can’t wait for you all to taste it. Enjoy!

I love my bamboo steamer.

September 6, 2007

I love my bamboo steamer. Some of you may remember Chinese Week where we made a lot of Chinese food. I bought this steamer then.

Tonight I made broccoli in it, but I usually steam potatoes for mashed potatoes in it.

It’s so easy. It’s so primitive. Boil some water in a wok. Place the bamboo steamer on top. That’s it.

I swear sometimes bamboo cooks faster than the microwave.

See the previous post for recipe.