Archive for May, 2012

Made a quick bruschetta dinner using tomatoes and parsley from my dad’s garden in Louisiana with some garlic I had on hand and French bread I brought back from Louisiana yesterday. Makes me want to get my property quicker so that I can plant tomatoes next spring.

Here’s all it took:

Diced 2 tomatoes and 2 cloves of garlic, chopped a fist full of parsley, added a little sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, drizzled in some olive oil, mixed them all together and let sit for 5-10 minutes, while I toasted 6 French bread slices with olive oil brushed on them. Top after the bread cooled for a few minutes.

Read Full Post »

The Longest Mile

It’s just a concoction of shaved ice and flavored syrup, but snowballs from the stand on Olive Street in Thibodaux are served with  memories rich and full of flavor.

The stand has gone by many names over the years but the product has always remained the same. Shaved ice and sweet syrup in dozens of flavors. A snowball, we call it. The uninitiated call them snow cones.

As a kid, it was one of the places I could tell my mom I was riding my bike to and she wouldn’t worry (too much). My mom worries a lot, so just a little worry was a good thing when I was growing up.

I had a yellow 20-inch bike with a black “banana” seat and butterfly handle bars. When I first got it at age 10, the handlebars were high up. By the time I abandoned it at 15 for cars and trucks, the handlebars were low, easy-rider style.

The trek to “Tank Ya’s” snowball stand was a high point of a hot summer day. It involved crossing two fairly busy streets, Walnut Street (which later was renamed Tiger Drive), and Hickory. The ride seemed like forever, though it was probably 15 minutes at a leisurely pace.

Though the list of flavors was long and varied, I always asked for the same thing. “Cherry, please,” I’d say. The machine would start to chug, then the ice would sing as it gave up shards to the metal cup below. The old man who ran it would mold that into a little paper cone, lather it with syrup and hand me my snowball saying, “Tank ya. Next.”

I’d sit there and eat the top off so it wouldn’t spill while I rode, usually getting brain freeze as I tried to gulp it down too fast. I’d get a few bites at a time as I rode home to Julia Street,  wadding up the paper cone and throwing it on the side of the road like everyone else did when I was done. Mission accomplished.

I went to the snowball stand yesterday afternoon. Same place, a little smaller than I remembered it as a child.

It was a slow afternoon, only three people ahead of me in line when I got there. “$2 Cherry, please,” I said when it was my turn. The machine chugged and the ice sang as before.

“I used to ride my bike here when I was a kid,” I said to the young lady making my snowball.

“Gaw, really?” she replied, making me feel kind of old a week or so before my birthday. “I grew up on Jefferson Street and walked here,” she said.

Nowadays they come in a styrofoam cup with a spoon and a straw. I sat in my air-conditioned car and ate the top off so it wouldn’t spill on my drive back to Julia Street. No brain freeze. With age comes wisdom.

“I wonder how far this really is from home?” I thought as I turned on my GPS unit. 0.75 miles. It seemed much longer when I was a kid. I was back on Julia Street in 2 minutes. I wish I’d brought my bike.

Read Full Post »

No cable required

I talked about my efforts to live cable and satellite free in earlier posts. I’ve been without either cable or satellite for more than six months now. My desktop computer has an HDMI  plug which allowed me to watch all of the football bowl games on ESPN3.com (free with my internet service) as well as a variety of programs from CBS.com and Hulu on the big-screen TV.

Most of the time, though, I watched streaming video on my 19-inch HD monitor in my home office. For the big games, I’d tote the PC to the living room and then carry it back to the office once the game was over. For a time, I plugged my netbook into the PC port on my TV. But every time I traveled, I lost the settings for my TV and had trouble getting it to work with the TV when I got back home.

With baseball season in full swing and a new online subscription to MLB.tv, I decided to get my birthday gift a little early and sprung for a refurbished Acer Aspire computer from tigerdirect.com for the TV.

The shipment came in yesterday and it was the easiest computer installation I’ve ever done. Unpacked from the box, removed all the protective foam, plugged the PC into my TV’s HDMI port and turned it on. It booted up fine and I started configuring it for my needs: setting up the firewall and anti-virus software, internet access and a Mozilla Firefox browser.

I was so excited to find a decent computer for $315, that I failed to notice that it didn’t have wi-fi built in like my other Acer. So the day before it arrived I bought  Netgear N150 USB wi fi adapter. I set it up with the computer and found that it wasn’t fast enough for the baseball game i wanted to watch. So I traded it up for an N600, which works like a charm.

I looked at all of the adapter boxes out there (like Roku, Apple TV etc.) and I heard good and bad things about them. You could categorize the cons as this: It doesn’t work like a PC does. So I figured, instead of needing “apps” and monthly subscriptions, why not just use a PC.

I already had a wireless keyboard and mouse, which really made this easier, too.

So far the only downside is that I can’t read the type on a web page from across the room using HDMI. I’ll give the TV’s PC port a try this weekend and we’ll see how that goes.

Read Full Post »

I’m a day late getting this done, but I celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a jambon quesadilla with pickled jalapenos. I got the idea from Pati Jinich, host of Pati’s Mexican Table on PBS. Her show follows America’s Test Kitchen on the Nashville PBS station at 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. I was just starting to think about fixing lunch when her episode on Quesadillas came on.

Ham and Cheese Quesadillas

She described quesadillas in terms I could understand, likening it to grilled cheese sandwiches in the U.S. The whole show is dedicated to a variety of different quesadillas. And although she noted the name comes from a combination of the Spanish word for cheese and tortilla, they don’t always have to have cheese in them.

The first one she made was called Ham and Cheese Sincronizadas with Flour Tortillas. The name is a lot more complex than it sounds. It’s ham and cheese on two flour tortillas. I could do that. So I did.

  • Spread a little oil (I used canola) on a skillet (I have a cast iron griddle) over medium heat
  • Place one flour tortilla on the griddle, then spread shredded cheese (I used pepper jack) in a thin layer over the tortilla
  • Top with ham. Since I was working with small tortillas, one slice of ham covered it.
  • As lagniappe, I added some pickled jalapenos between the cheese and ham.
  • Cover with the second tortilla.
  • When the bottom tortilla gets golden brown on the bottom, flip the quesadilla and brown the other tortilla. The cheese should be bubbling when you’re done. (Don’t use low-fat or no-fat cheese, though. It doesn’t melt well.)
  • After that, you can cut it in half, quarters or eat it whole.

No mustard. No mayonnaise. Best ham and cheese sandwich I’ve had in a while.

Read Full Post »