Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Featuring Frederick Douglass

This is Black History Month and I would like to share some of the inspiration stories of African American that has encourages myself, families, friends and other individuals to follow their dreams and achieve their goals.

Frederick Douglass known as the “father of Civil Rights movement,” for his impassioned arguments against slavery. Frederick Douglass spoke with such clarity and precision that many could not believe that he was a self-educated former slave.
As a child, Douglass bribed Caucasian boys on the docks of Baltimore to teach him to read. His quest for knowledge was so strong that he eventually amassed a personal library of more than 10,000 volumes.
Escaping from slavery in 1838, Douglass became a zealous fighter for human rights, including women’s rights. After Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Douglass dedicated himself to organizing African American military units to fight for the Union. For his significant contributions to his country, Frederick Douglass was later rewarded with diplomatic post in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Here is a simple recipe for chunky vegetable soup using ingredients that you have on hand. This is easy to make and can be served as a starter or as a main course. Don’t worry if you don’t have every vegetable listed; this soup recipe is very flexible. Use whatever you have on hand.

1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons oil
8 cups water or vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet potato or rutabaga, diced
1 white potato, diced
1 cup green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup fresh peas
1 cup chopped cabbage, kale, collards, or other green
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried herbs (thyme, rosemary, tarragon, savory, etc.)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
salt and black pepper to taste

Place onion, celery, carrots, and oil in large soup pot. Sauté 10 minutes over medium heat until onions are soft.

Add water or stock, garlic, potatoes, beans, and vegetables. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Add remaining ingredients except parsley, and seasonings. Simmer 10 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Remove from heat. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and black pepper.

Don’t forget the corn bread.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

WHAT'S COOKIN' (Oxtail Stew)

Tired of people asking you what are oxtails? Oxtails aren’t really from the tail of an ox, they are beef steer's tail and have a delicious rich and distinctive flavor and excellent for stew. Like most stews, oxtail stew is best slow cooked for several hours. My father remembers when he was growing up and eating oxtails. He said it was considered a special dish for dinner because it was beef. Ox tail cost pennies a pound and you would need 3 or 4 pounds to make a meal. Now they are considered choice cut- hard to come by and expensive. He figures that the "government" finally caught on that it was soul food and they drove the prices up on the beef tails, just like what happen to pork when it received the name soul food.


1 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 cubes beef bouillon
10 cups water
6 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup oil
3 pounds beef oxtail
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup cornstarch dissolved in ½ cup water

1. Place celery, garlic, tomato paste, bouillon cubes, and water into a large Dutch oven; stir until the tomato paste has dissolved. Add peppercorns and bay leaves, place over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oxtail and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove oxtail from hot oil and place into Dutch oven. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the skillet, reduce heat to medium, and cook the onion until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes; add to oxtail.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper, recover, and continue to cook until the oxtail is tender, but not falling off of the bone, about 30 minutes.
4. Remove oxtail pieces and place into a serving dish. Dutch oven and return to a simmer. Thicken with cornstarch dissolved in water, simmer for 1 minute until thickened and clear. Pour sauce over the oxtail.

Oxtail should be ready when a knife slices easily through the meat. It should not be overcooked otherwise it will fall off the bones and go stringy - and if not cooked long enough it will not come off the bones easily enough. I normally find 4 hours cooking is just perfect.
Like most soul food, sitting overnight in the refrigerator, then rehearing for dinner the next day they are even better, this is what we call good eat’n.

WHAT'S COOKIN' (Red Beans and Rice)


This is my husband favorite dish. Every Monday in New Orleans is "Red Beans and Rice day" and his mother would cook a big pot full, the addition of Smoke Sausage
originated in the southern section of Louisiana. The Red Beans are delicious with or without the smoke sausage.

1 pound Red Beans
1-2 pounds smoked neck bones
2 pounds of Andouille or Kielbasa Sausage
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 large bay leaves
2 tablespoons chili power
1 to 1 ½ Tablespoons paprika
salt and black pepper to taste
4 cups of cooked rice
Soak beans overnight, or about 6 hours, in enough water to cover all beans, drain water, then cover with fresh water. Let beans remain in this water until ready to cook.
Clean smoked neck bones (there is a brain stem that runs down the neck of the pig), When the bones are chopped, the stern can be found in the channel-like opening, remove it.
Boil the bones on until they are ½ the way tender using enough water to cover, through the boiling period maintain this level of water.
Add the onions bell pepper, celery and minced garlic.
Add all seasonings except salt. Drain water from the beans add to pot and cover.
Cook at medium heat for 30 minutes, reduced heat to simmer and cook until the beans are tender. Be sure to check for seasoning and add salt.
Meanwhile slice the smoked sausage in 1" to 2" pieces. Place in baking pan in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, drain off and discard the fatty liquid.
Add sausage to the pot of beans and neck bones. Continue to cook until the beans are fully tender when pierced with a fork, skim off all visible fat.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009


February was chosen for Black History Month because of its historical significance-both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass celebrated birthday during the month.
President Lincoln changed the future for Black Americans with the Emancipation. Douglass, born into slavery in 1818, was the nation’s foremost 19th century African-American spokesperson and leader in the civil Right


The tribute to black history is rooted in the work of scholar
Carter G. Woodson, Ph.D. In 1926, Dr. Woodson introduced Negro History Week in an effort to focus national attention on the great achievements of Black people throughout American history. In 1976, as part of our nation’s Bicentennial celebration, this weeklong observance was officially designated Black History Month.


This is Black History Month and I would like to share some of the inspiration stories of African American that has encourages myself, families, friends and other individuals to follow their dreams and achieve their goals.


It’s another month, this year is moving right along, and I’m still writing 2008. The weather is warm outside and sometime filled with gray sky, this is a good time for warm your bones dinners. This month I would like to share some of our One-Pot meal recipes, that has been pass down to us. My father great grandmother told him the story of one-pot meal, he said during slavery the corn rations which were sometimes the only food allotted to the slaves, unless they were given the "leftover" and "undesirable" cuts of meat from their masters. Slaves would supplement their food with wild game and fish pulled from the streams. Squirrel and possum figure among the meats used, catfish, trout, and shrimp among the fish. The women worked in the fields or up at the big house, 16 to 18 hours a day they were often too tired and didn’t have time to make a full meal. Most food requires the use of only one pot, so they served one-pot meals to their family know as "good times" food. The evening meal was a time for families to get together. The big pots became a meal for both body and soul. It was during the meal that the oral history was re-told, forbidden religious ceremonies held, family and friends visited. If you have any question or clarification, I would love comments this will help me create a place were you would enjoy returning to.