The fourth-annual Bourbon by the Bay is coming to the Cotton Warehouse Float Barn (916 Conti Street) Sunday, Nov. 15, from 2-3 p.m. Prepare for a staggering sampling from over 25 bourbons and whiskeys. You’ll need the heavy hors d’oeuvres to balance the booze. Eat well because there is also a craft cocktail contest featuring some of Mobile’s finest mixologists as well as a selection of wine and local brews.
VIP guests will have access to a “priority space” with special presentations from distillers, paired gourmet food samplings and high-end bourbon tastings.
Regardless of the ticket you hold, you’ll enjoy the silent auction and live music by Fat Man Squeeze. Tickets to this event are $125 per person or $200 for a pair. VIP tickets are $175 each. Visit bourbonbythebay.com to get yours today. Be sure to read about the COVID protocols for this event. I’ll see you there.
Dauphin Way United Methodist opens pumpkin patch
It’s a Mobile tradition, and many wondered if it would happen this year, but the Dauphin Way UMC pumpkin patch is alive and well. I saw the pumpkins with my own eyes this past Sunday as the familiar field at the intersection of Dauphin and Catherine transformed from parking lot to happy space.
It opened a little later than planned due to a truck shortage, I’m told, which can be blamed on the perfect storm of coronavirus and hurricane aftermath. But not even the 2020 curse could stop those pumpkins from making their way from New Mexico to the Port City.
Open every day until Halloween, you’ll have time to carve one, watch it rot and carve another two or three. Grab your blue blanket and convince your best friend to help you spot the Great Pumpkin. Our holiday is saved!
Red beans and rice: to soak or not to soak?
I’ve been updating my red beans ritual. Mainly I’ve been looking for a way to cut down on time. This, of course, boils (pun intended) down to whether you are using dried beans or canned. With dried beans, you must remember to soak them overnight, usually Sunday evening, and even after a dozen or more hours in the drink, they still take longer to cook than their canned relatives.
I’m not interested in following everything to the letter of the Cajun law. To be honest, neither are the Cajuns I know. If I can shave a little time or money here and there, I’m willing to at least try to omit a step.
If my 10-year-old wants red beans and rice on a Monday night, he probably won’t tell me until he’s on the way to school. In that case, I’m unable to be the purist I’d like to be. Don’t let anyone tell you canned goods won’t make a good pot. I’ve refined my methods to battle the ticking clock and have had wonderful results. Some in this household say better results.
I grew up having kidney beans in our RB&B. Others may boo and hiss at the idea, but there are some heavy hitters who will back the use of kidney beans over the rounder, smaller red beans. I’ll give you a list of names if you’re feeling defensive. You can even mix the two, as I’m about to show you. This is the quickest recipe I’ve developed for an otherwise all-day affair. Of course, like soup, it’s better the next day, but Tuesdays are for something else.
2 strips of thick-cut bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery with leaves, chopped
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups of chopped ham (with the bone, if you’ve got it)
1 pound Cajun or andouille sausage sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 27-ounce can of Blue Runner Creole Cream-Style red beans
2 15-ounce cans of kidney beans, drained
1 cup of chopped fresh parsley
Sliced green onions
A Louisiana-style hot sauce (Louisiana “red dot,” Crystal, etc.)
In a heavy pot over medium heat, render the fat from the bacon. Remove the bacon and eat it. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and sweat them for five minutes. Add garlic and ham, cooking another five. Next comes the sausage for a couple of minutes followed by the beans. Add water to just barely cover and crank up the heat.
Once you reach a rolling boil, drop the heat to simmer and cover. Stir occasionally, but let it cook for at least an hour. Add the parsley and cook a few more minutes.
Serve with green onions and hot sauce over cooked rice.
The cream-style beans prevent needing to mash half of your dried beans with a spoon. It’ll be creamy enough.
For sausage, I know many of you are Conecuh fans, as am I. They make a fine sausage for the grill. Hall’s Sausage is the better choice for red beans. Their Cajun Smoked Sausage is tough to beat, with the grind and casing I prefer in this situation. I’m also a fan of Country Pleasing Green Onion Sausage out of Florence, Mississippi.
You’ll also notice there was no Cajun or Creole seasonings nor salt added. The ham was salty enough, as were the canned beans. I cannot tolerate over-salted food. It’s an easy mistake to make when salt is already a part of your ingredients. Let the natural saltiness come through and add to your own bowl if you wish; same for your hot sauce.
I hope this saves you an hour or two. My family seemed to enjoy it. I think yours will, too.
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