Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Ham follow-on #2: Split Pea and Ham Soup

Paul | December 27, 2015 in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

Split Pea and Ham Soup
Servings: 12 | Difficulty: Easy


1 ham bone
1/2 pound ham chopped
1 lb. bag dry split peas
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups, plus 2 quarts water
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 lb. carrots cut into 1/2″ pieces (baby carrots cut in thirds work well)
1 can evaporated milk or 1 cup light cream
1 tablespoon flour
salt and white pepper to taste


Empty package of split peas into a colander or sieve. Sort through, removing foreign matter and imperfect peas. Rinse well.

Soak peas for two hours in 2 cups water. Discard any floaters.

Cut any remaining ham off the ham bone, reserve.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté minced garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until garlic is golden, but not brown in color.

Add ham bone, paprika, split peas, soaking liquid, 2 quarts of water, and bay leaves.

Bring to a boil for 1 minute; skim.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour. Skim, then stir.

Remove cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Skim again.

Remove ham bone and bay leaves. Pick any meat off the ham bone and add to reserve.

Process soup using an immersion blender. Add carrots.

Simmer soup for 30 minutes.

Remove one cup of liquid.  Whisk flour with liquid.  Add back to soup.

Remove one cup of liquid.  Puree with frozen peas and stir in to soup.

Stir in milk or cream.

Remove any fat or gristle from reserved ham. Chop roughly (to about the same size as the carrots) and add to soup.

Cook 10 minutes, or until soup is at desired consistency.

Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Add additional paprika, if desired.


I hated this soup as a kid, but have learned to love it, especially with paprika.  Adapted from the recipe on a bag of split peas. I can’t even remember the brand.

Ham follow-on #1: Creamy Grits

Paul | in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

I’ll leave making ham with red-eye gravy up to the viewer.

Creamy Grits
Servings: 4 | Difficulty: Easy


1 cup grits
4 cups milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon course ground pepper
1 stick butter


Place ingredients in a pot.
Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook partially covered until thick (about 20/30 minutes).
Stir often!!!


From the Colonial Charleston Kitchen “Mixed Grits” bag.
℅ Steve Dowdney
POB 363, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465

A somewhat backwards Xmas Eve dinner

Paul | December 24, 2015 in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)


Due to last minute popular demand (read my father-in-law), I’m making ham this year.  So all  the sides got changed around as well.  And I’m making the Harsha Family Midwestern Oyster Stew, guaranteed to be delicious even when you’re not near a coast.  I’m near one, but TRADITION!

The rest of the meal is Marion Cunningham’s Ham recipe (no, not the one from Happy Days, this one), Scalloped Potatoes, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Lemon Green Beans. Kinda Easter-y, but so is the weather.

Happy Holidays.


Harsha Family Oyster Stew

Servings: 4 | Difficulty: Easy


8 ounces oysters canned
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 pinch saffron optional
1/2 cup celery sliced very thin
2 cups milk hot
salt and black pepper to taste
paprika to taste
1/4 cup sherry


Put 2 cups cold milk in a saucepan on low.  Add white pepper and saffron.
Stir occasionally while preparing oysters.

In another saucepan, simmer celery in 2 Tbs butter until tender.

Add Worcestershire sauce and oysters, with their juice.

Heat just until oysters begin to curl.

Add hot milk with saffron and white pepper, plus remaining butter.

Bring to simmer, season with Sherry and salt and pepper.

Serve steaming in bowls, garnished with paprika.

Notes: Adapted from Oyster can, per family guidelines.

Mardi Gras is 4 March. Get baking!

Paul | February 16, 2014 in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

King Cake

Source: Paul Harsha



1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
31/2 to 41/2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 stick butter cut in slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons more
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 egg slightly beaten with a tablespoon of milk
1 small plastic baby

Poured Icing

2.5 cups confectioners sugar
2-6 tablespoons milk
juice of one lemon (.25 cup)


1. Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes, then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for 10 minutes until yeast bubbles up.

2. Combine 31/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt and sift into a large mixing bowl.

3. Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and using a wooden spoon, combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to beat 2 minutes or until dough can be formed into a medium soft ball.

4. Place ball of dough on floured surface and knead, gradually adding up to 1 cup more of flour. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.

5. Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow dough to rise in a warm place for about 11/2 hours or until it doubles in volume.

6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, lemon, vanilla, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Mix well.

7. Combine sugar and cinnamon, set aside.

8. Coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside. After the first rising, place the dough on a floured surface and punch it down with a heavy blow.

9. Roll the dough out 30 inches long and 10 inches in diameter. Spread the cream cheese filling across the center of the dough, leaving an inch free at the far edge.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mix.

10. Starting at one long edge, roll the dough to form one long cylinder. Bring the two long edges together and seal all sides completely. Place on the buttered baking sheet, seam side down. Shape the dough into a ring.

11. Cover the completed ring with a towel and allow it to rise for 45 minutes or until it doubles in volume.

12. After the second rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the egg and milk wash. With a knife, slash the top of the cake at even intervals.

13. Bake 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and hide the plastic baby in the cake.

14. Poured icing: Combine ingredients until smooth, adding more milk if it’s too thick. Spoon icing over top of cake.

15. Decorating: Immediately sprinkle on colored sugars, alternating between the three colors.

16. Serve in 2”-3” pieces.


  • You can add a layer of raspberry jelly on top of the cream cheese.
  • Microwaved Pilsbury lemon frosting (thinned with milk) also works for a poured frosting.


Crayfish Étouffée

Paul | March 3, 2013 in Family,Food,Recipes | Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

Adapted from “Cooking with Entergy”
Serving Size: 4


The Entergy original started with 1.5 sticks of butter, had no garlic or tomatoes, and different seasonings.  I made it more like my grandmother’s… but may put the butter back.


1 stick butter
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 pound crayfish, peeled (frozen works fine)


1. Melt butter in a dutch oven.

2. Stir in onions, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté on high until vegetables start to soften — about 10 minutes.

3. Add green onions, parsley, and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft and translucent — about 5 minutes.

4. Add flour and seasonings.  Stir to incorporate. Cook another 1-2 minutes.

5. Add crayfish and tomatoes.  Reduce heat, cover, and cook 10 minutes.

6. Place a mound of rice in the center of each plate and pour étouffée around.  Garnish with additional parsley, if desired.


Oscar’s Crayfish Dip

Paul | June 3, 2012 in Family,Food | Comments (2)

Tags: , ,

Crayfish Dip

Recipe By: Oscar Levy
Serving Size: 12


3/4 pound Crayfish tails, chopped (frozen works fine)
1 bar Cream cheese, cut in 1″ cubes
Tony’s to taste, at least a teaspoon
1 splash lemon juice
1 dash tabasco


1. Put cream cheese and 2/3 of crayfish in blender.  Blend until smooth and creamy.

2. Blend in seasonings.  Adjust as needed.

3. Pulse in remaining crawfish.  Should be slightly chunky.

4. Serve with crackers and cornichons.


Tony’s is “Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Seasoning”

There’s a cat in there somewhere

Paul | March 20, 2011 in Family,Fun | Comments (0)


Stewie, I think

for Lundi Gras: my Gumbo recipe

Paul | March 7, 2011 in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (1)

Tags: , , ,


1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup flour

6 cups chicken stock
1/2  cup dry white wine
clam juice (optional)

Olive oil, as needed
2 pounds chicken thighs (I use bone-in, then skin and debone after I sauté them)
2 lb. Andouille sausage, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 lbs. fresh or frozen okra, finely chopped
Cajun seasoning
1 can tomatoes, peeled, diced

1 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3 fresh bay leaves

2 tablespoons Lee and Perins
5 tablespoons chopped parsley
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

(optional) 1 1/2 lbs. shrimp, shelled, deveined

Cooked rice
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
hot sauce, to taste


1. Make a chocolate roux.  Heat oil in heavy skillet until almost smoking. Add flour a little at a time, stirring constantly, until mixture is the color and consistency of melted chocolate (about 15 minutes). Set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium stockpot, add fresh okra, season lightly with salt and pepper and Cajun seasoning, and saute until lightly browned.  Add 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil if needed.  (If using frozen okra, place on baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned, about 20 minutes, then saute as directed.)  Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, about 30 minutes, until okra is no longer slimy.

3. Sauté sausage in 1 teaspoon olive oil in a Dutch oven, until browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Do not wash pan. Add more oil, then sauté chicken until browned.  Remove from pan, let cool, then skin and debone if needed.

4. Add chopped onions, chopped bell peppers, and chopped celery and cook until onions are soft and translucent, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.

5. Add roux, garlic and cayenne and stir until mixture is well blended and onions are golden-brown, 5-10 minutes.

6. Transfer okra mixture to pot.  Add wine and 3 cups broth and stir.  Add parsley, thyme, bay leaves, worcestshire, and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer 1 1/2 hours.

7. Discard bay leaves. Add sausage and chicken and 3-5 cups stock. Adjust seasonings. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

8. If using shrimp, season lightly with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. Add to gumbo and simmer, covered, until shrimp are pink and curl up.  10-15 minutes.

9. Adjust seasonings. Serve over rice. garnish with green onions.

Rev. Storm Schadenfreude

Paul | March 1, 2011 in Family,Fun,Politics | Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

I know I shouldn’t take pleasure in this, but after years of having Rev. Storm and his church harass me and my friends during Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence (shouting at us, holding signs telling us we’re going to hell, video taping inside bars, etc.) this article from the Times Picayune fills me with pure sweet joy.

Southern Decadence protest leader booked with masturbating at Metairie park

The Rev. Grant Storms, the Christian fundamentalist known for his bullhorn protests of the Southern Decadence festival in the French Quarter, was arrested on a charge of masturbating at a Metairie park Friday afternoon.

grant storms 2.jpg
The Times-Picayune archive: The Rev. Grant Storms is hit by confetti as he leads his anti-Southern Decadence parade in the French Quarter in 2003

Storms, 53, of 2304 Green Acres Road in Metairie, was taken into custody at Lafreniere Park after two women reported seeing him masturbating in the driver’s seat of his van, which was parked near the carousel and playground, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office report said.

The first woman told deputies she was taking her children to the playground and parked next to the van at about noon. As she was walking around her own vehicle, she noticed the van windows were down and the occupant was “looking at the playground area that contained children playing, with his zipper down…,” the report said. The woman noted that he was masturbating and quickly ushered her children out of her car.

[more here]

Let the good times roll

Paul | February 24, 2011 in Family,Fun,Music | Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,