Tag Archives: Fusion

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

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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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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!

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.

Continue reading Beef and Sausage Gumbo

Kentucky Butter Cake

Yes, I am a Southern boy by birth and heritage!  I make this cake usually for the holidays but am seeing how it can top off my mornings on the patio in Houston.  This butter cake is rich and yet with that morning coffee puts a cinnamon roll to shame.

The ingredients are quite traditional and yet create a masterpiece to me.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup real butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

BUTTER SAUCE
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream: 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar for about 5 minutes. When the mixture is smooth enough, blend in eggs one at a time.
Mix the buttermilk and vanilla together and alternately buttermilk and flour mixture into creamed mixture.
Pour the mixture in your bundt pan and bake for 1 hour.
Butter Sauce: In medium sauce pan on medium heat mix sugar, water and butter, bring to low boil , stirring until sugar is dissolved, add vanilla.

When cake is still very hot, leave in bundt pan, poke small holes in top
Drizzle the butter sauce over cake.  Let it soak in and you are in for a treat!
Yum Yum and with a good cup of coffee or espresso, it can be transcendent!

 

Southern Fried Pork Chops with Creamy Gravy

Well bust my buggy whip and pass the shine!

This is one of my favorite recipes that I have developed from growing up in the kitchens of Douglas Nursing Home and with my grandmother, Mimi.

I grew up in the South on the Mighty Mississippi River and this was a staple not only for pork chops but for chicken also.  The seasonings provide the taste but the buttermilk marinade gives it a moist, chewy finished chop that tops the moon on flavor.

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Ox Tails and Collared Greens

You don’t get much more into the soul food tradition than this! The oxtails used to be a throw away part of the animal but now are coming into prominence in good Southern Cuisine. I use fresh as possible and like sourcing from farm to table as I prefer to know where the foods I use come from.
5 pounds oxtails
10 pounds collard greens
10 pounds mustard greens
Salt
Pepper
Three hot red peppers
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 gallon of water to begin with

Wash the greens well in salt water. It usually takes two to three washings to get the grit off. Trim the leaves from the stems by pulling them off. I keep the stems for other uses.
Put the water on to boil with the oxtails in the pot. Add bacon or country ham to taste. When boiling, add the rest of the ingredients and reduce to a simmer for about two hours. Be sure and check the pot to add more water when needed. I sometimes use homemade chicken or beef broth to add more flavor to the dish.
When done, put the greens and oxtails in a big serving bowl and I serve the pot liquor on the side. The pot liquor is full of the necessary stuff for my joint lubrication and to cut down on that old arthritis pain. Adding fresh turmeric to the cooking pot also increases the medicinal quality of this great dish! I recommend it highly.

The Healing Power of the Arts in my Life

In the disastrous year of 2008, I suffered a devastating episode/stroke that left me senseless and helpless and very afraid. As the year passed by and recovery began for me, we moved into a new home and I began to look at my life, where I’ve been and where I was at that time. Taking a live evaluation, thinking my life was over, I finally went back to the thing I love most in life, playing the clarinet. Well, a disparity of thought at the time as I was just beginning to talk again in a perceptual way and was not totally functioning at the time, but I picked up the horns anyway and began a journey that I continue to this day. The first notes were insanely bad, squeaks, squawks and something horrendous. However, as I continued each day to do a little more, I began to get enthused, I had a focus point in my life again and something to train the brain to center and find that place of solace and solitude in the vibration of the reed against my lips and the wonderful feeling of accomplishment with each passing day. I did not have a physical therapist and being the individualist I am, pushed myself to do better and to figure out how to come back to a performance standard I dearly treasure.
Frustrations come and go, but I keep at it. Scales, Scales in Thirds (Thank You Dr. Gholson), Fingers and finger movement (Thank You Leon Russianoff), Musical Integrity (Thank You Alan Balter) and a wonderful discipline with attention to every detail of the practice and working through problems with the fingers and the vision (Thank You Mr. Marcellus). At the time, my eyes would not focus on the notes themselves and were still floating around the page and my thought processes were here and there. As time progressed, I became adamant with myself and pushed to achieve that focus of sound, timbre and smoothness of the tongue movement and the shape of the wind column, working very meticulously on even the slightest perception of imperfection in my playing.
Each day became a chore dealing with these issues, fears, anger at myself and other aspects seemed to be moving slowly, but with persistence I knew I could and would be a lot better. Suddenly, a flash of light went off in my pea brain and it occurred to me that the scales were becoming more commonplace to me and the etudes that I could hardly see were coming into focus, and thus began the major journey of recovery.
Disability, we are only disabled as we wish to be.
As a stroke Victor, The Journey Continues!