Friday Lyric Quiz, No. 471 (The Fleur De Lis Edition)

Pickpockets and Loose WomenI just returned from a long-overdue trip to New Orleans, which has always been my home-away-from-home.  Mom grew up there, and Dad’s hometown is about an hour up I-55, so both my grandmothers were there for much of my life, and many aunts/uncles/cousins remain. It’s pretty much the perfect city in which one can have free lodging.  The food, the laidback attitude, the architecture, the spirit of its residents.

This trip was a little unusual. Because I tend to bring historically significant meteorological phenomena with me wherever I go (record snowfalls, an end to weeks-long droughts, etc.), it went without saying that New Orleans was destined to suffer record-setting low temperatures.  And then my cousin’s house — in which I was staying — lost heat for the third time in a month, despite the system being brand-spanking new.  So there wasn’t a lot of Quarter time.  Or shuffling around.  I ate nary a proper beignet. But plenty of seafood and Abita and good family time was had.  And I need to get a spring or fall trip on the calendar.

In light of my recent adventure, and to peripherally support the Saints before they take on the Seahawks (at home) in the playoffs tomorrow, today’s quiz features songs that reference The Big Easy.  Number 2 is an absolute gimmee. Actually, I shall dare say a lot of these are easier than most.  Maybe because all of the songs have been around since the early ’70s?  ‘Twas a popular time to try rhyming things with “Orleans.”

Answers to Friday Lyric Quiz #471 [scroll down for last week’s answers]

1. “Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields, sold in a market down in New Orleans” (early ’70s)

2. “He met Marmalade down in old New Orleans” (mid-’70s)

3. “Deep down Louisiana, close to New Orleans, way back up in the woods among the evergreens” (late ’50s)

4. “It was the summer I turned eighteen, we lived in a one-room, rundown shack on the outskirts of New Orleans” (early ’90s)

5. “My father was a gambling man, down in New Orleans” (mid-’60s)

6. “Well, I read some books,  and I read some magazines, about those high-class ladies down in New Orleans” (early ’70s)

7. “Thumbed a diesel down, just before it rained. It rode us all the way to New Orleans” (early ’70s)

8. “I’m on my way to New Orleans this morning, leaving out of Nashville, Tennessee” (early ’70s)

9. “Halfway home, we’ll be there by morning. Through the Mississippi darkness, rolling down to the sea” (early ’70s)

10. “Pumped a lot of ‘pane down in New Orleans” (late ’60s)

Answers to Friday Lyric Quiz #470 [Winter Weather]

1. “Love is a bird, she needs to fly, let all the hurt inside you die”(late ’90s)
Frozen, Madonna

2. “From the coastline to the city, all the little pretties raise their hands” (mid-’70s)
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Bruce Springsteen

3. “Seasons change with their scenery, weaving time in a tapestry” (mid ’60s, late ’80s)
Hazy Shade of Winter, Simon & Garfunkel/The Bangles

4. “We, used to be, just like twins, so in sync” (late ’00s)
Hot N Cold, Katy Perry

5. “You’re digging for gold yet throwing away, a fortune in feelings but someday you’ll pay” (early ’70s)
Cold as Ice, Foreigner

6. “Step from the road to the sea to the sky, and I do believe that we rely on” (mid-’00s)
Snow (Hey-Oh), Red Hot Chili Peppers

7. “Well, maybe just a cigarette more … Oh, never such a blizzard before” (early ’60s)
Baby, It’s Cold Outside, Various

8. “I’m the burning bush, I’m the burning fire, I’m the bleeding volcano” (early ’80s)
She’s So Cold, The Rolling Stones

9. “Gonna take her home cause she’s over romancing, don’t wanna hold hands and talk about her plans alright” (mid-’00s)
Cold Hard Bitch, Jet

10. “She bit my lip and drank my warmth, from years before, from years before” (mid-’00s)
Love Like Winter, AFI



‘Hoppy’ New Year (In Which I Cook for Good Luck)

Eating black-eyed peas with rice (also called ‘Hoppin’ John’) on New Year’s Day is a tradition among Gulf-Coasters; it’s said to bring prosperity and luck in the new year.  It’s yet another tradition in my family as well, as both Mom and Dad have Southern roots (Mom was born and raised in New Orleans, Dad was born in Mississippi and then relocated to a town north of NOLA before high school).  So I spent much of this afternoon smelling the unmistakable scents of black-eyed peas (the legume, not the Fergie, who probably smells of Electric Youth perfume, urine, and Jack Daniels) simmering on the stovetop.

Sometimes, in prior years, I forget to secure my BEPs in advance only to discover the stores are out of all varieties – canned, dried, what have you. This year, I had a bag of the best kind – Camellia brand – sent to me lovingly by my cousin.  How lucky for me! Indeed, just thinking about cooking up a pot is already working for me.

I also had a challenge because I wanted to make a meatless version. The old-school recipe uses ham hocks for flavoring, and I haven’t eaten pork in 3-1/2 years.  My Mom’s new take on the recipe employs a smoked turkey leg for the seasoning meat, but I’m trying to avoid eating too much poultry as well.  So after a good 30 minutes of Internet research, I found this vegan recipe that sounded like it contained enough seasoning to be tasty. I had to deviate a bit (which I typically don’t like to do on the first go-round of a recipe) due to some ingredient constraints.

I started by soaking the peas for several hours. This is a controversial practice but I typically feel it can’t hurt if one has the time.   Added them to a large pot with water and spices (thyme, a bay leaf, oregano).  I also added some veggie bouillon cubes for added flavor (and sodium – boom).

In a separate skillet, I sautéed what’s known in New Orleans and beyond as ‘The Trinity,’ or minced onion/celery/bell pepper.  Similar to mirepoix (just swapping the bell pepper for carrots), this trio of veggies provides the base for many Creole dishes.  Garlic got added a little later. (No jalapeno as the recipe called for because I didn’t have one.  I also used green pepper instead of a mixture of yellow and orange).

Once the veggies were nicely browned and tender, they  got added to the peas. At this point I added more basic seasoning – sea salt, ground pepper, Sriracha, crushed red pepper.

And last, as per the recipe, I added a cup of brown rice right into the simmering pot. Mom always cooks the rice separately and dishes out the Hoppin John over it, but even she said the traditional preparation calls for it to simmer together. And hey – it saves washing another pot.

End result – while I slightly missed the flavor and texture of the meat, this was a worthy (and healthier) substitute. Which is damn good, since I’ll be eating leftovers for days.  So thank you, Vegan Chef!  I will be back.

Finally, the accompaniments.  Typically one serves collard greens, which my palette can take or leave and they didn’t have any at my neighborhood market anyway. Corn bread or muffins are also a popular side, so I cheated with a box of Jiffy, which needs only one egg and one-third of a cup of milk.  And why there’s my trusty polar-bear Coca-Cola that helped me along today with its sugary high-fructose-corn-syrupy goodness.  Side note: I just learned from Real Simple that it’s better if you let ingredients come to room temperature before using them for baking.

And so I did just that. Voila. 

And in unrelated news, here is one final holiday tradition to leave you with that I forgot to share last week.  Every time I head home for Christmas, Mom has outfitted my bed with this decades-old Christmas Fozzie Bear, accessorized with a New Kids on the Block button.  Just ’cause. Happy 2012, everybody!