Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blame Helena In the Kitchen: Ginger Fried Catfish with Potatoes, Carrots and Rosemary

Today was a challenging day. After the party shot from dentist wore off and I regained feeling in the right side of my face, my stomach was in an uproar. Of course, I didn't eat this morning. My first inclination was to order out, Dominoes extra thin crispy pizza with slice Italian sausage (Run Will Robinson. Run!) but then I thought twice. Eureka. I have catfish in the freezer.

I thawed it out and the magic began. I nuked a russet potato in the microwave for about three minutes, until soft but not cooked through. I thinly sliced some carrots, onions and green peppers, along with the over-sized potato. My catfish had almost thawed by this time. I seasoned the fish with salt, pepper, cayenne, and then rubbed in the ginger. Ah the ginger; God's gift to man.

I love coconut oil. I can't stop talking about it. If  you go and play a hand of Spades, it won't burn while you're away. Hell, it may not burn while you run a Boston on your opponents. I threw the veggies in the oil, along with a tablespoon of butter for flavor. The butter won't burn in the coconut oil either, unless of course you get caught up in your card game.

While my veggies were doing their thing, I battered my catfish in flour and cornmeal, bathed it in an egg and milk bath, and then repeated the process twice. My fishies were looking pretty. I allowed them to rest while my oil heated. Once nice and hot, I submersed my fishies in the oil. I didn't even cook it 10 minutes, maybe five on each side? I removed my fishies from the oil and allowed it to rest, while finishing up the veggies. I had to throw the lid on a for a few minutes, allowing the potatoes to steam. I can't stand under-cooked potatoes.

All was done.

It was great. I garnished it with some aged Louisiana Hot Sauce, lemon wedges and washed it down with a Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA.

My only complaint: I didn't put enough salt in the flour and cornmeal mixture. I'm always afraid of over-salting my food. But in any case it was good.

I rate my meal an arm fracture (from patting myself on the back). If I'd put more salt in the batter, it would have scored an arm break.

It took me about 45 minutes to one hour to prepare the meal (without thawing time), about the same time for my pizza to get here.

I'm ready to watch Empire and go asleep.

The meal was easy on my sore teeth too.

Bon appetite!

Monday, January 26, 2015

First steps

For weeks, I've been saying I'm going to do it. I'm gonna. I'm gonna.

Well, yesterday I did it.

I went for a walk.

And look what I saw! It was one of the most beautiful sunsets ever. Beachcombers clogged the shoreline of Tourmaline Beach clicking photos. Some even brought out their professional cameras to capture to showy sunset. The mist clung to the shoreline foreshadowing our impending rain shower (not sure if you can see it in the pictures). It's strange to experience humidity here.

Now, I want to get out and walk around every day. Great start to a new year!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

NBC Thursdays vs TGIT

What the Hell???

Blame Helena runs a tight ship on Thursday nights with my TV line up. I watch reruns of Big Bang Theory from 7-8pm. Then I watch Big Bang again at 8pm. Moms at 830pm. Then it's...


That's right. Don't call me or talk to me between 9-11pm on Thursday nights because I'm watching and tweeting about Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder.

Then I watch the local news and go to bed.

But now NBC is creating discord in my world by moving Blacklist to Thursday's.

Don't play. I watch Red on Monday nights, not Thursday. They cannot be serious. Why is NBC trying to compete on Thursdays? Why not own Monday nights? Be a boss on Mondays. There's enough room in the TV schedule so the viewing public can watch their fav shows without missing another fav on another Network.

The Networks wonder why people are watching their fav's Netflix or are streaming shows. Here's a clue.

Maybe they should divvy up the week like the big grocers divvied up the nation in the 70's. That way everyone will have their blockbuster nights. The networks are happy, Viewers like me are happy. Everyone is happy.

It's no fun to tweet about your fav shows when the only one watching is you.

I'm so pissed I don't know what to do. Gee whiz.

Want to Blame Helena on Twitter? @lafleur2009

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blame Helena In the Kitchen: Pork Shoulder Bone In With Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

After 11 hours, it was finally ready. And was good. Really good. Ouch, I just broke my arm.

I must give Aaron McCargo Jr. of the Food Network credit for providing me with the basic guidelines on roasting my pork shoulder to perfection. First, I prepared a rub comprised of garlic, salt, pepper, minced onions and extra virgin olive oil, mixing all together, and then bathing my pork shoulder with it. I let it sit for about 45 minutes. While allowing the meat to enjoy its marinade, I plopped a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil into my cast iron dutch oven and placed it into a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven. I love coconut oil. A gentleman named Bob at Sprouts in Clairemont turned me onto it. Coconut oil seems to have many health and practical benefits, but I haven't tested them so don't take my word as gospel. You can research it benefits on and judge for yourself. However, I can testify coconut oil is a great cooking medium, for it is slow to burn at high temperatures during the cooking process.

It was time. I placed my roast in the hot oil and then put it in the oven, allowing the 'fat cap' (facing up) to get all crispy and good. After about 45 minutes, I reduced the temperature to 285 degree Fahrenheit, allowing the low heat to work it's magic. It was about 11:30am. I took a nap.

Dangit! It was 4:30pm and I'd overslept. I jumped up and went to the kitchen to prep my sweet potatoes, carrots and celery. I added the veggies to my dutch over and covered it. I returned to the living room, lied down and snuggled beneath the covers. At 5:30pm, I checked on my meal. The meat looked good, the veggies were a little tender, but it wasn't cooking as it should. I turned up the heat to 350 degree Fahrenheit and returned to my perch on the sofa to watch the Golden Globe Awards.

Within 15 minutes, my apartment filled with the smell of porky goodness. I resisted the urge to go and check on it. At 7pm, I checked and found pork magic happening before my eyes. The meat was sizzling, the veggies had softened and cooked down. I spooned out some oil (I need a turkey baster).

By 8pm I was going nuts. It smelled so good! I prodded the roast with my spoon. Could it be? It was starting to pull apart. I accepted the fact that I wasn't going to eat at a decent hour. I decided I would take it out at 10pm.

At 1030pm, I took the roast out of the oven.


The meat was falling off the bone. Although I don't normally eat so late, I couldn't resist. I tried to slice it, but the meat fell apart. I gave up and spooned some out, along with sweet potatoes, carrots, and a bit of celery. I didn't need my teeth, but went through the motions of chewing anyway, allowing the savory meat to fill and comfort me, soothing my soul.

I should have made a pot greens to go along with it.

  • Prepare your meat the day before to allow it time to marinate
  • Slow cook it overnight at 200 degrees (you know your oven, use your own discretion. I don't want you burn down your place)
  • In the morning, turn it up to at least 325 degree Fahrenheit to finish cooking
  • Enjoy a nice IPA as you while away the hours awaiting porky perfection. My pick: Iron Fire The Devil Within DIPA, checking in at a sinfully hoppy ALC 9.5.

Keep on ridin' your pork high. Porky dreams!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

IPA Living

Being a leopard at heart, I like to shuffle my spots around from time to time to keep things interesting. So needless to say, I had become bored with my traditional libations. At the end of 2014, I began to delve into the world of IPA's.


This is the best thing since martini's. Each one is different, with it's own personality and sass. And there are so many to try. IPA's aren't cheap, but they're worth the $$$.

So as a public service, I will try a new IPA every weekend and let you know what I think. I will post my reviews on my new page, What's Helena Drinking. After sampling a few IPA's over the past months, I've found I enjoy IPA's with a strong citrus note. Here are a couple of my fav's so far.

Checking in at a sexy ALC 9.5, this IPA is fresh and fruity. I enjoyed this last weekend. If the taste bud brain cells are still with me, it was a nice hoppsy brew. I welcome your thoughts.

I love this IPA. ALC 7.2, it is a psychodelic journey into IPA's. Great whether you're just beginning your IPA journey or Highlander.

Check back soon to find out the latest IPA libation to Blame Helena for. 

IPA's are a perfect beverage to enjoy while reading Le Baton Chronicles. Trust me, you're going to need a drink.