Best Shrimp Creole

Recently, I watched on TV a food truck chef make Bread Pudding in her truck. It looked delicious and I remembered I often made Bread Pudding based upon a recipe from the following book:

I lost the book and mentioned this to Susan. And guess what? She bought me a copy.

It’s a great cookbook, a history book filled with vintage photos and “…great Creole and Cajun recipes from the city’s grand restaurants and modest cafes, from mansions and country kitchens, superbly clear directions, local cooking secrets.”

Here’s the recipe (Note: I added asparagus and I used cocktail shrimp which I added to the wok for the last few minutes:

Enjoy!

March Memories

(Introductory note. The number 8. According to the Bible, number 8 is considered to be a symbol of creation and new beginnings. God rested on the 7th day, which means that the 8th day was always a day for the new beginning. Eight is a symbol of infinity and a constant flow of energy and power. The number 8 is considered the luckiest of numbers in China and they believe the more 8’s the better. The Cantonese word for eight, which is pronounced “ba”, sounds similar to the word which means “prosper” or “wealth”. In regional dialects the words for “eight” and “fortune” are also similar. The number eight in the Bible signifies Resurrection and Regeneration. It is the number of a new beginning. Eight is 7 plus 1 and since it comes just after seven, which itself signifies an end to something, so eight is also associated with the beginning of a new era or that of a new order.)

My last post was dated March 8. Today is April 8 (Finishing this post now on the 9th.) . A new beginning. Always forward. Never back. “The past cannot bind me. The future does not limit me.”

Thinking about March.

My birthday was March 7. I celebrated my 69th year to Heaven.

69!

I am still singing this song:

Here I am with my grandchildren about to celebrate with a piece of carrot cake.

Continuing Dry January with Free Spirits.

Continuing experimenting with self-portraits.

Susan made granola.

And here is Susan and Freddy on March 17.

How delicious was the General Tso’s Chicken I made on the 19th!

It’s baked and it is so simple to make.

Here’s the recipe I based it one; I added asparagus rather than broccoli: https://theschmidtywife.com/baked-general-tso-chicken/

Maybe you might prefer a serving of Shrimp Lo Mein?

We celebrated my birthday with Danielle, Mike, Emily and Matthew on March 21 (The previous weekends were too cold to celebrate outside keeping social distance.)

We are so proud of Danielle and Mike:

And of Emily and Matthew:

I was given this beautiful Kalanchoe Double Flower plant as a gift (along with carrot cake pictured at the beginning of this post.

Family.

Susan bought a new sculpture for our yard from Cindy Polette.


And what’s a Blog post with a cute photo of Freddy?

The crocus plants bloomed on March 24.

I made a Chicken and Spinach and Onion Pizza on the 25th.

What else?

Susan and I both had our first vaccine shots.

“From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known.” ~Isaiah 48:6

This Is Me

Self-portrait. Sunday. March 7, 2021. My birthday.

This is me, too. An old resume–a direct mail brochure. It got me my first job at Hearst Magazines. My cousin, Donna, sent it back to me as a way to wish me Happy Birthday. Read her comment:

This is the front, the mail side.

Check out the stamp! 15 cents!!!

Here’s the inside of the resume:

I hope you can read it. The baseball team? That’s my Little League team; Old Salt. Can you guess which one is me? All my childhood friends thought I was going to grow up to be a professional baseball player.

In addition to what is noted on the resume I have been a lifeguard, gardener, antique refinisher, short order cook. But never a professional baseball play. I did, however, coach my daughter’s softball team!

Back to my birthday. I made an updated version of Shrimp Scampi (olive oil, butter, shallot, garlic, crushed tomato, mild banana peppers, red pepper flakes, spinach, shrimp, linguine):

Susan made us a Chocolate Cake:

On my birthday, I always remember a poem by Dylan Thomas, “Poem In October. It begins:

It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

Read more here:

It was read to me and a college friend by our English Literature professor when we were in college. This was when we were young and innocent and our hair was long and our future, like the grassy hill in Tarrytown, New York, over-looking the Hudson River, on which we sat cross-legged passing a joint, was and would be beautiful, perfect and pure, ever-changing changeless.

Sunset and Pizza

On Friday Susan and I watched a beautiful sunset in our backyard and while we watched a beautiful and delicious pizza cooked in the oven.

I make a pizza almost once every week. The dough recipe is from Mark Bittman. I have made hundreds, all a little different: eggplant, calamari, meatballs, asparagus, corn, jalapeno peppers, etc.

This one above had chicken, mushrooms, spinach and red onion on it. And cheese and sauce! YUM!

What Would Jesus Do?

That’s what Sister Helen asked.

Susan and I were watching a documentary called “Sister.”

SISTER is a one-hour documentary highlighting the work of death penalty abolitionist Sister Helen Prejean. The film examines the life and influences of Sister Helen and delves into the evolving role of Catholic nuns in America. This poignant piece follows Sister Helen (best selling author of Dead Man Walking) as she counsels and fights for the stay of execution of Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip.

Sister Helen Prejean grew up in the Jim Crow South, joined the Sisters of St. Joseph at the age of 17, and emerged to become the leading voice against the death penalty in the USA.

Sister Helen’s awareness of social justice came even later, when she attended a talk by an activist nun who noted that Jesus’ message about the poor is that they be poor no longer. That their fate was not God’s will, and that just praying for people was not enough. Social justice, the nun said, meant being involved in political processes, because doing nothing was tacit support for the status quo.

What stung the most, Sister Helen said, “was the realization of how passive I had been.” A year later, she moved into Hope House, a Catholic service ministry in a New Orleans housing project. She was 42 years old. And a year after that, she would begin writing to a death row inmate.

“There’s this thing of how you discern God’s will in your life,” Sister Helen said.

Sister Helen’s latest memoir “River Of Fire” came out in paperback in 2019.

When you accompany someone to the execution, as I have done three times as a spiritual advisor, everything becomes very crystallized, distilled, and stripped to the essentials. You are in this building in the middle of the night, and all these people are organized to kill this man. And the gospel comes to you as it never has before: Are you for compassion, or are you for violence? Are you for mercy, or are you for vengeance? Are you for love, or are you for hate? Are you for life, or are you for death?

All of this got me thinking about purpose–my life’s purpose.

I do believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography.

But after watching this documentary I wondered what else am I doing to be more like Jesus?

There is my volunteer work with 3rd and 4th graders. Unfortunately this came to and end with the beginning of the quarantine one year ago. Note the date on the above school photo. March 4. One year ago today. You can read about the impact Susan and I had on these children here: https://brucebarone.com/2017/09/26/what-a-wonderful-world/

We pray we can continue with this work again someday soon.

Beauty. Children. Community. Working to make the world a better place.

welcome to march

Listen To The Lion.

Are you familiar with this song?

Listen:

Reading from Wikipedia:

“Listen to the Lion” has been said to rank amongst Morrison’s greatest work. “During the 11-minute voyage, he sings, shouts, improvises lines, delays and omits them, until he symbolically re-creates the sound of an unleashed lion within himself. It remains a considerable achievement.” (Johnny Rogan)[5]

“Listen to the Lion” was one of the 1001 Songs written about in the 2006 book by critic Toby Creswell who says in part: “Listen to the Lion has almost no words, just the phrase ‘Listen to the Lion inside of me’…He sings the phrases like an incantation, sometimes desperate and longing for love and at other times boasting of the power of his passion; and then at other times he sings in despair that these emotions have brought him nothing but ruin. He doesn’t need to speak, there’s nothing more to be said…”[6]

A sequel to this 1972 song was included on Morrison’s 2005 album, Magic Time that was entitled, “The Lion This Time”.[7]

During the November 2008 concert performances at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California, Morrison used this song as an encore after the live Astral Weeks song performances. It has been listed under a new extended title of “Listen to the Lion – The Lion Speaks” on the track listing of the live album Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl. In a January 2009 interview, Morrison said: “I wanted to end the Astral Weeks set with ‘Madame George’. I wanted to tell people at the end these songs are a ‘train of thought’ and leave it at that. I think ‘Lion’ is a song that is all me, as well, so I ended with that…It’s a song I guess about me—probably the only one about me.”[8] Also showing the magnitude of this work to the composer is the announcement that Morrison’s new record label will be entitled Listen to the Lion Records.[9

Andy Whitman, a Paste reviewer called this song, “the quintessential Van Morrison moment, the most thrilling and thrillingly strange soul music—in all senses of the term—ever recorded. It’s the sound of a man casting off all earthly bounds and battering down the gates of heaven.”[10]

Jay Cocks commented on the song: “You can hear Morrison courting this muse in the Pentecostal growls and incantations of Listen to the Lion on his 1972 album Saint Dominic’s Preview…”[11]

In his article on Morrison in the 1976 edition of the Rolling Stone History of Rock and Roll, critic Greil Marcus wrote, “Across 11 minutes, he [Morrison] sings, chants, moans, cries, pleads, shouts, hollers, whispers, until finally he breaks away from language and speaks in Irish tongues, breaking away from ordinary meaning until he has loosed the lion inside himself. He begins to roar: he has that sound, that yarrrrragh, as he has never had it before. He is not singing it, it is singing him.” [12]

Robert Christgau‘s review of Saint Dominic’s Preview uses this song to point out that vocals are sometimes more important than words: “Listen to the lion,” he [Morrison] advises later, referring to that lovely frightening beast inside each of us, and midway through the eleven-minute cut he lets the lion out, moaning and roaring and growling and stuttering in a scat extension that would do Leon Thomas proud.”[13

It’s a classic. A favorite.

Welcome to March.

As they say, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.”

Go create. Love. Build community.

adventurers and explorers

Susan and I were watching Rick Steves “France’s Loire: Valley of a Thousand Chateaux.”

It was a fascinating show illustrating both the beauty and opulence of the castles. Some of the castles facts are staggering:

  • The biggest château in the region, Chambord, is huge — six times the size of your average Loire palace, more like a city than a château. It’s surrounded by Europe’s largest enclosed forest park, a lush game preserve teeming with wild deer and boar. It began as a simple hunting lodge for bored blue bloods. But starting in 1518, François I — with the help of 1,800 workmen over 15 years — made a few modest additions to create his “weekend retreat.”
  • Only 80 of Chambord’s 440 high-ceilinged rooms are open to the public — and that’s plenty. To see what happens when you put 365 fireplaces in your house, climb up to the rooftop and wander through a forest of chimney spires.
  • When the Revolution hit, in 1789, many palaces were trashed — some were even burned to the ground. But many survived. Some were lucky. Some had fast-talking owners with friends in high places. And others, like Cheverny, had a reputation for being good to their workers. And back then, a big part of château life included hunting — and still does. The marquis hunts twice a week in season. Feeding time for his hounds is 5:00 daily. The hounds — half English foxhound and half French Poitou — get worked up knowing red meat is on the way. The master moves them out, and spreads out the feast. The excitement is palpable. The trainer, who knows each of the 70 dogs by name, opens the gate and maintains discipline as the dogs gather at the concrete table. It’s an exercise in canine control. Finally, he gives the signal…and its chow time.

Susan asked me if I ever thought of living during another time as we watched the show. And I answered “I don’t think I have ever dreamed about living during another time. I am happy here and now.”

“But what about doing something in another time, Bruce?”

“Oh,” I said. “I think I would have enjoyed being an explorer, an adventurer. Margo Polo. Magellan. Francis Drake. Daniel Boone. Lewis and Clarke. Howard Carter. Jacque Cousteau. And if I was a woman: Isabella Bird, Sacagawea, Amelia Earhart, Nellie Bly, Beryl Markham. To name just a few, Susan.”

As I thought about adventure and exploration, I came to the conclusion:

“I am an explorer. I am an adventurer.”

On every hike I am always on an adventure. Here at Mt, Evans outside of Denver, Colorado:

When I work in my garden, I am always an explorer. Here, look at the beautiful black swallowtail butterfly I found in my garden:

If you listen you can hear the hummingbird’s wings as it hovers over a zinnia in my garden:

Look at the spider web I found in the park down the street from where we live:

Helen Keller said: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

I choose adventure!