Tag Archives: Food

Today’s Listening in the Burbs

In my life I have been around some amazing people and heard their stories.  This man, Olivier Messiaen and a personal friend of his, Jean Langlais befriended me on a performance trip to Europe in the eighties I made. The “Quartet for the End of Time” was a piece I had heard and thought it to be way outside my boundaries both on technical and artistic aspects.  However, when I heard his and Jean’s story, they inspired me to move beyond my self-imposed boxes and explore different realities in interpretation and performance.

 

I was not aware of the life history of Olivier but I found out as he shared with me about the conditions around the composing of the Quartet and that sharing was so powerful to me that I made a decision to tackle that work.  At the same time, there was another influence in my life, a young artist named Marshall Fine, who saw the potential in me and pushed me to look outside my personal boundaries and become the artist that was trapped inside me.

There is another work that is performed a lot by Charles-Marie Widor, one of the mentors of Olivier, the Widor Toccatta.  It’s a powerful, fantastic work and every time I hear it here in Houston, I go to a different place mentally and remember.

Another composer I work with is John Rutter and I just played the clarinet for this work in Houston.

While I am in the kitchen cooking ,it’s on auto play through the house sound system!

Laters!

 

 

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Greetings from the Burbs!

Today, it is raining again here in West Houston and we are still watching those damn dams.  What does a suburban House Husband do without a Suburban?  We cook, chat and clean closets!  LOL  That gay agenda is really something.

I do have a special girl in my life, her name is Miss Lady.

A Broth for a Lady

Miss Lady is our Great Pyrenees that we inherited upon the passing of a friend.  She, like our other family members, are all rescues and we love them dearly.  She is getting up in years and has something that is endemic to this breed of dog, hip dysplasia.  I did my research and avoided costly vet bills by changing her diet.  By the way, she is about 16 plus years old and still trucking along like a teenager.

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Her diet now consists of broths that I have adapted from the Far East that provide the joint lubrication to interact with the chondroitin (Available through Amazon) supplements we give her.  To make this broth, I go to the meat markets for bones, knuckle bones, chicken thighs, beef hooves and such that would make the broth for various noodle soup dishes in Japan and China. Yes Dears!  Those excellent broths have very humble beginnings!

Nabeyaki Udon Nippon

Here is my recipe

3 to 5 pounds of bones with meat

1 gallon of water to begin

Celery tops, Carrot tops with carrots (any type of extra from regular cooking)

Set to boil then simmer on the stove, adding water as needed for about 24 hours.

What I end up with I split between her bowl and freeze the rest in Ice Trays as it is a great addition to any dish that requires bullion in it.

We love our kids and hope to keep them healthy and happy!

What else does a Houston House Husband do on a rainy day?  We write blogs!
Have a good day!

Jere!

Scenes from the Burbs

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Glorious Friday, what a day!  As we gently prepare for the advent of more rain here in the burbs, all eyes are on the two reservoirs, levees and the dams that contain the mighty waters of the accumulated rains and will they hold?  We sure hope so.

In the meantime, crab a cup of java and let’s chew the proverbial fat.  It’s time for Bacon!

This Wednesday past, I had an outing in the evening to another favorite watering hole and Mexican food emporium here in the burbs.  Out here, we have an interesting mix of the chains and family owned restaurants.  If you want to go where the locals go, follow the local crowds.  Enchiludas is where we head on Wednesday as it is biker night there and the food is excellent!

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Enchiludas is owned and operated by Pepe and Gladys, a couple that has a long history of being in the restaurant industry here in Houston.  The food is quite interesting and the new menu encapsulates the wonders of Tex Mex cuisine into a sometimes delicate art form.

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One of my faves is Ceviche. It’s not on the menu but if I am planning to go there, I call ahead and get Pepe to make it.  Then, it’s a feast of Ceviche, Queso Flamado, Chips, homemade Salsa, Margaritas and a lot of fun.  There is no pretense here, just good food and good friends.

You might ask, why are we hanging around bikers?  Well, I’ll be honest, I would rather hang around people that are comfortable in their skins and that have my back. Enchiludas has a great policy that everyone is welcome from families to party animals and we all cohabit together in Margarita bliss for the evening.

Another favorite on the menu is the Seafood Soup that can be custom made by Pepe and the staff there that includes tilapia, muscles, crab, shrimp, octopus and sometimes even crawfish!  Enchiludas also serves up a great Crawfish boil that is not that pricey and a great bargain!

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The band that evening was a Rhythm and Blues duo that took me back to my roots in Memphis, Tennessee.  Man, these cats were cooking with gas!  Two brothers, known as the “Black Cats” with some interesting professional experiences that we shared during their breaks.

Black Cats
Other menu items that are of note include the Enchilada plates varying in price, the Burritos that are humongous, the Shrimp wrapped in bacon and embedded in a fresh jalapeno and the variations on Chorizo!  Yum Yum!

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Have a great weekend!  If we float by, grab the cooler and refill it please!

From Casa Ukitena in the Burbs of Houston.

Jere

Musical Ramblings and Visions

Today I am listening to spotify, some of my recordings and those of friends I have worked with around the world.  Being an artist is a treasure I hold dearly in my life and apply artistic aspects to everything I do.  My canvas is sound at times and I love painting with sound.  Music is my primary language and an escape from a rather hectic world.

I am in my easy chair with Ms. Ethel on my lap and the Duker vying for attention at my feet.  These are our kids as we call them and all rescue animals that just showed up on our doorstep.

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The music today is taking me back to Memphis, Tennessee, home of the blues, culture, Memphis in May, The outstanding Memphis Symphony and Germantown. It is also the home of the Rendevous and Interstate BBQ of food network fame.  header

I have an interesting history with these establishments both musically and in the kitchen.  Heck, I grew up there and love the taste and feel of the city! We have cooked side by side at many events across the Memphis/Shelby County area to the joy of many!

Enough of that about me and on to my reasons for sharing today.

There is a lot going on around the world right now. Mr. Paul Pellay is having a composition of his premiered by a highly capable Violinist.  Paul and I go back decades and he is married to a great violist, Michelle Pellay-Walker that I consider my sister from another mother.  This performance is taking place in Jolly Old England.

From Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Violinist

“At the violin, a day of rigour and joy. Bach in the morning then this. I am proud to have studied, and premiered, literally, hours of solo violin music by the extraordinary Paul Pellay, and this latest is absolutely engrossing-here’s the score, at what I call ‘base 1’ technical work. The groundwork in place, the notes in the hands and the brain, and now the real work begins. Here’s a Spotify link to Paul’s extraordinary ‘Thesaurus of Violinistic Fiendishness’. Violinists, what are you waiting for?”

Paul Pelay score

 

On the other side of the world, the the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Justin Smith, Director of Choirs at Maryhurst University is preparing from the summer.

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Stay Tuned!  Things are heating up here in Houston also!  But for today, I am relaxing before the weekend when Jody and I celebrate our 16th anniversary of being together. We were officially MARRIED in November of 2014.  We are having a casual at home BBQ where Tennessee meets Texas!  16 years ago, on April 1, I arrived in Houston to begin a life with Jody Turner. It’s been an up and downhill roller coaster ride but we are still together these 16 years later! FB_IMG_1436131882732
We would like to cordially invite you to our home on Sunday, April 3, 2016 for a Tennessee meets Texas BBQ in honor of this decade plus of being together. A lot has happened in these years and it’s time to celebrate.
Stop by for good times, good friends, good food and some all out fun!
Please pardon the house as it is now a DYI project that will be ongoing for a bit. I am also taking the liberty of creating videos of the work as it progresses along with recipes, exploring Jere’s kitchen and teaching videos for clarinet excellence.
If perchance, anyone would be considering an anniversary present, we need help on the renovations to the house!
We look forward to seeing everyone!  Recipes and menus will be here later but today, I am having fun with our mischevious kids!  

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Ta Ta for now and have a great day!

Jere

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Edamame Hummus

I took the plunge today and experimented with Edamame as a base for some spectacular hummus!  It turned out fantastic with a few tweaks from me.

I got the idea from a blog on wordpress to expand my horizons in the kitchen yet again and it has paid off.  I made mine a bit on the spicy side and added fresh tomatoes to it to create a different texture.

I do not have the flat bread to serve it with but living in Texas, I do have the taco chips.  Go figure.

This is my recipe and there is another great recipe from Alton Brown here.

To make this fantastic starter, I took one pound of Edamame, already shelled, and put them in the food processor.  I did not see the need to cook them as I like the full probiotic value these miraculous beans have to offer.  I processed them down to mush with additional EVOO and some Chili infused EVOO along with some chili powder that I made from Santa Fe chili’s.  Add the fresh squeezed lemon juice, three cloves of garlic, honey along with salt and pepper and there you have it!

Don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen!

Recipe

1 pound shelled Edamame

1/3 cup EVOO

1/3 cup Chili Infused EVOO

3 large cloves of garlic, smashed and added to the food processor

3 tablespoons of sugar or honey

2 lemons, juiced with a scant teaspoon of lemon zest for extra punch

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put it all in the food processor on high and let it spin!  You may have to add a little more EVOO to get it to the right consistency but it is worth the effort!

Carpe Diem!

Sakura Sakura!

It’s Cherry Blossom Time in Japan and DC. Actually around the world! If you have never been to Japan, I feel for you. It’s a beautiful country full of life, vitality and culture.

The yearly excitement awaiting the announcement of Spring begins when the Cherry Blossoms begin their path to blooming and when they do, life stops for a space of time. The festivals are amazing, full of friendship and kinship.

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I had the great joy, from the seventies as a young Marine to present day, of experiencing this rebirth of nature. It’s absolutely amazing!

To begin, here is a traditional performance of the Japanese Folk Song, “Sakura Sakura”. Relax, have a cup of green tea and perhaps some Umeboshi or a full plate of Oshinko, Japanese pickles along with a light addition of Poke or Ika Yaki!

Nabeyaki Udon Nippon
Nabayaki Udon from Nippon in Houston

By the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Nippon Japanese Restaurant in Houston, Texas is my go to place here for the authentic experience!  It’s now in the second generation of a traditional Japanese family owned restaurant here and it’s wonderful.  If you are in Houston, be sure and stop by.  Tell them Jere sent you.  The Uni is fantastic as is the shashimi.

 

From many of the masterpieces of the koto house, Michio Miyagi is a musician that represents Japan, promotional video we produced this time “Sakura Variations” As the first step. This work is composed in Michio Miyagi is 1923, very as timeless classics even now about 90 years have passed since a popular work. To represent the Michio Miyagi of the music world, please watch a performance by the Miyagi Orchestra volunteers. In winter, the “Spring of the sea” as the 4th we plan to up the promotional video. Please stay tuned. Miyagi Soke Facebook: Facebook.Com/miyagimichio Twitter: Twitter.Com/miyagimichio Web: Www.Miyagikai.Gr.Jp

Ah, the inspiring music of the Koto! The Geisha Houses are still active and quite relaxing. Taking a stroll down the Ginza or in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is a nice place to be also during this time.

Tokyo Imperial Palace
Cherry trees of the Imperial Palace “dry street (dry as)” pass-through in the spring of introduction to the general public. Was for the first time published, about 75 connecting from Sakashita Gate Kitanomaru Park to near the dry Gate 0m. Inui street bloom 76 cherry trees, such as Yoshino cherry tree in the spring. Until now, New Year and the Emperor Reborn except for the general Sangha production date, generally was not able to pass through it is. Open to match the full bloom of the cherry blossoms will be the first time. Cherry Blossom In Imperial Palace (Tokyo) The Imperial Palace, Where Their Majesties The Emperor And Empress Reside, Is Situated In The Center Of Tokyo. The Palace Is Surrounded By A Water-Filled Moat And Tree-Covered Grounds Of Nature Within The Bustling Metropolitan City. In Commemoration Of Umbrella Kotobuki Of His Majesty The Emperor, Opening To The Public Is Performed According To Imperial Palace Inui Street In Spring. Inui Street Has 76 Cherry Trees And Is The Perfect Place For People To Experience The Beauty Of Nature.

In Japan, time progresses and for an updated version of this very traditional folk song, enjoy!

Rin ‘- Sakura Sakura ((Sakura Sakura)) Instrumental

For those in the United States, get thee to our nations Capitol for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival!

I apologize for my absence as of late but I have been dealing with some health issues. Coming up is my take on Japanese Cuisine, Culture and my life there and here in the States. It’s wonderful being an artist and having the opportunity to travel the world as a performer and teacher.

Scenes from a Kitchen…Mine!

I thought it would be great to begin sharing how I set my kitchen up and have on hand the things I need.
To begin, these are pictures of creations from my kitchen that I serve at home and professionally as a Chef, Caterer and Party planner.
I wear many hats and take pride in what I do. The adverse diversity in my life leads to some creative ideas and this represents the ideas becoming reality!

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My travels around the world have opened me to some great experiences. This is a starting point today.

Carpe Diem!

The Man In The Penguin Suit

A small introduction to this series. This is my life story about growing up with divorced parents in the fifties and dealing with being a prodigy. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoy telling it.

The Man in the Penguin Suit is about my life as a back up and pit musician for various on and off Broadway shows and as a freelance recording and performing artist.

This story is also being published here.

Jere

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OH, this is where the fingers go!

Act One, Scene One

I was born in a small town in Tennessee. My mother said that when I was born there was a football game and the band was playing. She also said that the football team had just scored a touchdown and the band was playing the fight song. What an interesting way to be born! Word filtered out over the City that Margaret DeShong had a new grandbaby and life changed.

Mama and daddy took off in another couple during their junior year in high school to Corinth Mississippi to get married. Imagine that! Well things heated up and they happen to not tell anybody they were married until mother started showing with me. I think she might’ve had morning sickness or something when they finally had let the cat out of the bag and boy did life change then.

Well I began life as a product of two people much too young to be married and least of all children. My parents had just graduated from high school and were separated when I was born. I began my life in the court systems of Gibson County, Tennessee. People have asked me how later in life I knew so much about the legal system in the United States. The answer lies in my being in an out-of-court fortitude for two decades and dealing with attorneys along with men in black robes. By the time I was a teenager I knew the ins and outs of every courtroom in Gibson County and West Tennessee. Here’s an interesting way to grow up and back then,in the 50’s, it was unusual to have a single mother.

When I was five years old my mother had another child, a brother whom I’ve never met but perchance might someday. It’s ironic that my mother was also adopted and raised by two loving parents who also embraced me. Seeing that my brother was not particularly welcome at the time and living in a small town, we had to move. That move took us to Memphis Tennessee where we lived in East Memphis not far from Second Presbyterian Church where I grew up. Growing up Presbyterian was kind of interesting as that is where I also went to school at Presbyterian Day school. There isn’t much I don’t know about the Presbyterian Church or the system of government in the church and that’s something I’m quite proud of. I was also fascinated by Mrs. Robertson playing the organ every Sunday. To me it was humongous and I started taking piano lessons at the Berl Olswanger studio in Memphis. I was also exposed to a wonderful choir and talented musicians of the Memphis Symphony, some of which attended church there and my love of music was ingrained for life.

I really enjoyed my first year of piano learning the notes learning the sounds and playing by ear. I used to dream even at that young age of playing at Carnegie Hall one day. My grandparents bought me an upright piano and it was placed in the living room far far away. Our house on Goodlett was gigantic to me and it even had a maid’s quarters in the back. This was in that timeframe of the 50s and 60s, the time of the civil rights movements across the United States. Yes I was raised by Willie Mae and her sister. Have a lot of fond memories of them. My grandmother was involved in the bridge club and my mother was a working single mom. My grandfather was a traveling shoe salesman and was gone a lot during the week. So my practice time was in the afternoon playtime lasted about 45 minutes when dinner began and time for studies. Life seemed grand to me for a while.

As I grew older, about seven or eight years old, I began to wonder why I didn’t have a father around all the time and started questioning my mother about why daddy does live with us. I could not understand why he was in Memphis in college and I went to see him at the Sigma Chi house all the time. Every other kid I was in school with, their mother and father lived together so why don’t y’all? That’s when I first begin to realize that things were a bit different and I had to adjust. I did have some of the kids picking on me at school asking where my father was as it was unusual to them for me not to have a father. I took it to heart and began to delve into the music more along with the books. Music became my escape, my safety zone, my safety net. Practicing took me away from the realities I did not want to face.

It’s very interesting to me that later in life when I became a professional musician at the age of 11 there was something inside me that wanted to come out and I spoke to the music but it was vocal, organ, piano and later on clarinet. Thanks to the work of Ms. Turner, I became the youngest member of the chancel choir at Second Presbyterian Church when I was in the seventh grade. And thus began another aspect of my life.
I was quite happy singing in the choir as it was a dream come true for me. There I was in the chancel area, on stage, and I could watch Mrs. Robertson play the organ.

About a year later, I could finally reach the pedals on that wonderful instrument and I began to play the organ. I had already been playing Bach on the piano and after the Stainer book on organ technique, I graduated the Bach chorales, figured bass, and that unique collection of organ works by Bach. I thought this is fantastic! About that time, during the ninth grade, there are some problems at home and I decided I wanted to see what it was like living my father and he had just become married again. It was an easy making the change in fact it was a fight between me, my father, my mother, attorneys and the judge. Interesting memories and feelings from that time.

One good thing that happened with move and back and forth was I picked up the clarinet, sax and flute. My first teacher was a gentleman named Mr. Robert Hodge. He was the band director for the junior high he came across during the time of integration. He is a wonderful man and an interesting person very dedicated to his craft and come to find out was a jazz artist! More about that later…

I was back and forth during that ninth grade year in school, between Memphis and Milan as it was different to me actually living with my father. I knew my parents loved me in some way and I expected the same thing I saw with my friends and their parents. However it wasn’t that way and I did not understand why. Was I not good enough? Was I a bad kid? What am I doing wrong? All questions of a young teenager.

I sometimes feel I grew up before my time as I was always hanging out with adults and felt uncomfortable with the kids. I spent a lot of time practicing the organ and the clarinet also reading. I began to collect books, kinds of them. I liked biographies, world history, Civil War history, American revolutionary war history and the occasional lower book. I dated a lot, became engaged, dated long-distance, and still the music. My grandmother Douglas, better-known as Mimi, purchased a Thomas organ for me, the Lawrence Welk Deluxe like Bob Ralston played on the show. I was adamant practicing the organ and piano along with playing with Mrs. Foster at the nursing home. She could not read a note of music but boy can she play at the age of 80. We put a lot of duets together and even got a picture in the paper! Seem like fun times of going to school, working, going to the lake and living life so to speak. There were good days and bad days at the times and sad times and even though daddy and I had our differences there was a bond of some type.

Mother was my party animal in my Auntie Mame. She was a single mother of the 60s and 70s and she were that as a badge of honor. She had a good job, supported herself and me, and like to eat well and party. When I would go see her in Memphis it was always a fun time yet there was an undertone always. It took me a few decades to figure it out as mother events of my life but I did that’s a story for another chapter but suffice it to say I graduated high school with the help of Don Farmer and many nights my nose in the book trying to stay sober.

I began my high school music career playing the organ professionally and clarinet in the band. Mr. Robert Hodge was the jazz band director and boy was he tough! I don’t think any of us realized that he had been around the world seemingly and played with some of the greats that we only dreamed about meeting. I believe it was our junior year when he took a group of us up to meet Count Basie and his orchestra. I remember shaking his hand and him asking Robert if he brought his horn. The Count was a very unique man and I did not realize that our paths would cross again. I have to say that Robert, even though he was tough, was very thorough and made sure we knew all her parts and how to read jazz rhythms and jazz licks. He turned out a kick ass band!
I didn’t find out until years later when I was playing with Ray Charles and it came to Georgia my mind. You probably know that song, is one of his most famous. Well, I was in Memphis playing lead clarinet for a pickup orchestra job during Memphis in May with Ray. The rehearsal was that morning and when they came in he sat down piano and started playing. After he got his fingers warmed up and started rehearsal, it got to the song Georgia and well I started playing the clarinet. I wasn’t nervous and I played the best I could. He stopped the orchestra, looked my direction and said “That’s got to be a black clarinet player!” I responded, “No Sir, Mr. Charles. I am white but my first teacher was Robert Hodge!” His response, and I quote “Count Basie’s lead tenor!” Yes Sir! That was an eye-opening experience for me as I could not believe this connection it may just from my sound after Mr. Hodge being so difficult so hard on us. Looking back I learned a lesson there, never take anyone for granted as you never know their history unless you ask and they want to share.
I have to say that growing up between a major metropolitan area and a small town was quite an adventure. I actually had two sets of friends, one set I was around a lot and another set I knew on the fourth weekend of the month and six weeks in the summer. One of the aspects of growing up this way has given me itchy feet and letting the grass grow under my feet for too long makes me anxious to be someplace else a lot of the time. The results of this will be explored throughout this tome of my life’s adventures. Some say I have never met a stranger. Well, that holds true because I am usually the first to say Hello to anyone and carry on some type of conversation.
Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat for a bit!

Shrimp Ettouffee ala JK

Ah, the joys of New Orleans! I have to admit that I have an affinity for this cuisine as I was raised on the Mississippi River which connects North to South and runs through Memphis. Growing up, I had the best of the city and the country, a bit like in the movie “A River Runs Through It”. Couple that with a good John Grisham novel and there you have it. Court Square in Memphis was a nice relaxing place in the middle of downtown, close to Symphony Hall and right across from Goldsmiths which Is now Macy’s.
Times change, people grow and I have the memories. When I begin to prepare this dish, I think of Willie Mae, our maid, that raised me in Memphis, Beale Street and a nice laid back afternoon.

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Beef and Sausage Gumbo

Way down yonder in New Orleans, the gumbo be good! I been making this gumbo for a long time and it good. So good in fact that it don’t take no hot sauce because it be plenty spicy.
There is a difference between Creole and Cajun cooking. The Creole is a combination of French, Spanish and American Indian cuisines and was developed in New Orleans. The Cajun style is from the bayous of Louisiana.
First off, for any good Creole or Cajun dish like this one has to make a good roux. The standard is one to one on the oil and the flour. I use everything from bacon grease, corn oil to butter and even use some of the fat from the roast in this one to give it an extra punch. To make the roux, I use a black cast iron skillet on medium to medium low heat. Heat the oil and for this one I used ¾ cup of oil to ¾ cup flour. The oil was a mix of bacon grease, beef fat and corn oil. Stir the mix frequently or use a whisk for about 30 minutes and don’t try to speed it up. It should be a medium to dark brown for that extra flavor.

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