Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Creole Red Beans

“It’s a hobby, but it’s almost a passion,” a newspaper once quoted Cajun cook Fr. George Wiltz, SJ, as saying about cooking. “I read cookbooks like novels.”

Fr. George Wiltz,SJ is the director of Montserrat Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas. As house director, he sees to people’s spiritual needs. As cook, he takes care of other needs as well. Fr. Wiltz recalled recipes from his Creole upbringing in Louisiana when he was a young Jesuit drafted to cook at residences on Sunday nights or holidays. Here’s one of his favorites.

* 2 lbs red beans
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 2 lbs andouille sausage (turkey sausage works as well)
* 2 cups chopped onion
* 1 cup chopped green pepper
* 1 cup chopped celery
* 2 tbsp minced garlic
* 1/2 cup parsley
* dash of tabasco
* 1 tsp oregano

Soak beans in water overnight, keeping covered with water; drain and rinse. Put in a crock pot with the olive oil. Roughly chop sausage and sauté it, and then sauté the green pepper, onion, celery, and garlic as well (don’t let the latter burn). Put all in crock pot and add the last ingredients. Pour in enough water to cover everything. Cook on high for approximately 4 hours for soft beans; cut back time for firmer beans. Leave cover of crock pot cracked a bit to allow for evaporation to bring out the flavor better. Serve over white rice. Serves 10-12.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Dragonfruit Dessert Presentation

This is not a recipe post. This is a demonstration of the ingenuity and creativity of Filipinos. This dragonfruit desert was the final course in a luncheon in my honor, given by her excellency Ambassador Virginia Benavides, the Ambassador of the Philippines to Brunei. The cook is Filipino. The ice case was done by putting water inside a balloon and almost freezing it for 22 hours. The hollow portion was created by unfrozen water and a hot metal plate. Simply amazing!