Let the good times roll


What with all of the excitement around the city and around Chez Dietschyblossom recently, I somehow missed this site’s first birthday. It’s pretty amazing how this little blog has grown since then, and I want to thank all of you out there for your inspiration and support. As Peter Murphy once sang, “We love our audience!”

While I’ve been a bit frazzled, I did remember to plan a Mardi Gras meal for our dinner last night, a tribute to one of my favorite cities. Just like he did last year, Mike started us off with a round of Sazeracs, and just like last year I made red beans and rice, though this time around I made a few changes.

I was inspired by Leah Chase’s recipe which was reprinted in a Williams-Sonoma catalog I recently received, but I noted that her method called for a pressure cooker. Since I don’t yet have one of those in my arsenal, I went with our trusty Le Creuset pot instead. I didn’t have a chance to run around and track down some good andouille, so I used some beautiful chorizo we recently got from Tamarack Hollow instead. I sliced that up and got it browning in a bit of olive oil, added one whole onion, chopped, and softened it in the fat. I added a pinch of salt and cayenne, plus a little bit of smoked paprika and stirred them through, then added about two tablespoons of fresh thyme and one bay leaf.

sorta red beans

I had soaked some gorgeous Anasazi beans from Rancho Gordo overnight, so I added those next along with their soaking liquid and two cups of my homemade chicken stock. I lidded up the pot and let the beans cook over low heat for about an hour and a half, until the beans were very tender. I added a bit more salt at this point, as well as a dollop of tomato paste for richness, then mashed some of the beans with a potato masher and stirred everything through.

Dinner:  February 5, 2008

I ladled the beans over some steamed Carolina Gold rice, topped each serving with some sliced scallions, cracked open a couple of Abitas and we drank a toast – to the city of New Orleans, and to the future. It’s going to be an exciting year and I look forward to sharing the ride with you all.

14 thoughts on “Let the good times roll

  1. Jennifer Hess says:

    Hey, thanks! I picked up the rice at Marlow and Sons a month or so ago. I had been looking for it all over, and the Anson Mills website was only selling it wholesale at the time, but I see that is no longer the case! I am actually waiting for more of it – I ordered some (along with some of the antebellum grits) from Formaggio Kitchen up in Boston.

  2. Wow! One year already? Congratulations, dear Jen. Your site is consistenly gorgeous and delicious. I’m still amazed at the meals you manage to create on weeknights. Here’s to many more years of LND!

  3. Those anasazi beans are so beautiful, but that mottled color cooks out, right? Is there a big advantage to the flavor/texture of anasazi beans, or could I use a different kind of bean?

    Lovely pics, and congratulations on a year of inspiring food-bloggery.

  4. Jennifer Hess says:

    Mary – Thank you!

    Laura Grace – Yes, unfortunately they turn to a sort of uniform pale red. You could certainly substitute a different type of bean. I wanted to try the Anasazis out, and I loved their creamy texture, but I think any red bean would do. And thank you!

    Helen – Thanks so much!

  5. hey – ummm. let’s celebrate!!!

    i just got my rancho gordo order. the borlotti’s are soaking and ribolitta is in my immediate future…

    so many variations on that one though
    potato on not
    pancetta or not
    cabbage or not

    sigh…. decisions decisions

  6. Laura says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! I can’t even remember how I stumbled upon this site last summer, but I’ve been following it religiously ever since. It is truly inspiring–makes me wish I lived in your world. :)

  7. I gotta get some of those rancho gordos, they look incredible! Chorizo in red beans and rice sounds yummy, although the talk of Mardi Gras and N.O. reminds me that I still have some andouille in my freezer…what to do?

    Also, that’s a *great* picture of red beans and rice. How do you do it?

    Us vs. Food

  8. Happy Anniversary!!! I stumbled upon your site while searching for salad nicoise recipes. The picture was amazing. I’ve been hooked ever since!

  9. Jennifer Hess says:

    Laura – Aw, thanks!

    Us vs. Food – Definitely get some Rancho Gordos. I can’t recommend them enough. As for the photo, it’s absolutely trial and error, with a healthy sprinkling of luck! ;)

    Cee – Thank you!

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