25 September 2017

Sloppy Loos 2

I don’t make this often, but every now and again, I get a hankering for a food from my childhood–Sloppy Joes.  Sloppy Joes were a staple food at my school’s cafeteria.  I swear we had it every week!  Like square pizza, it was a food to look forward too.  Gelatinous red spilling out of a soggy bun, not even Manwich quality, but Good Lord it was good; either that or I have rose-tinted glasses taste buds.

Now I’m a bit more discriminating about my food choices (sorry Manwich, even you don’t make the cut), but on occasion I still crave this messy meal.  So I’ve tweaked a few recipes that I’ve tried over the years and have come up with this one to feed my family of four.

I hope you enjoy!

Sloppy Loos (because “Hey!  Why not name a meal after yourself?!”)

Serves 4 or more

Approximately 1 pound of lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup chopped bell pepper (yellow or red)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons prepared mustard
1 ½ tablespoons vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat cook the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, and garlic until the beef is browned and the onion and bell pepper are tender. Drain and discard the fat.

While the ground beef mixture is cooking, combine the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar in a separate bowl. Stir to combine.

Pour the ketchup mixture over the drained ground beef mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

Spoon onto hamburger buns, rolls or other bread of your choice.  I typically, use potato rolls, just because I like them!

For a truly American cafeteria-style meal serve hot with baby green lima beans and macaroni and cheese. YUM!

Blueberries and Biscuits

LAURA-SURFACE - blueberry preserves

For the past four years, the children and I have made an annual pilgrimage to the blueberry fields to pick blueberries.  The heat of late Spring, air thick and heavy cut through with an occasional blessed breeze, and the lazy drone of buzzing bees greet us in the fields.  We know that our hour or two of labor will be well-rewarded in the meals ahead.  And if our energy and resolve wane (which it occasionally does), a handful of blueberries popped into our mouths always picks us up.

This year, with little time to research,  but needing respite from the tedium of unpacking our belongings, I searched the internet for a nearby blueberry U-pick.  I found one quickly, but it was hours away from our home.  Surely there had to be something closer.

One thing I’ve learned in all of our moving is that there is just as much to do in the rural areas as in the cities.  The only difference is that you have to work a bit harder to find it.  There just aren’t clearing houses of information on the internet that allow for “one stop shopping” so to speak.  The local newspaper, word of mouth, the occasional flyer in the grocery store window, these are still the main methods of communicating culture.  It works for the locals, not so much for the new kids on the block.

Undaunted and imagining a year without our homemade blueberry preserves and frozen morsels of goodness from the freezer, I persisted with my internet search.  I was going to find blueberries in central Louisiana, whether we got to pick them or not.  Playing with search terms, I finally found the magic combination that produced a Facebook page for Gulf Coast Blueberries near DeRidder.  I called the telephone number listed.  They were open.  They had blueberries available.  But no, it was not a U-pick.

Fearing that we would miss out on the Season’s bounty, I reserved multiple gallons of berries and scheduled a time to meet them at their “yellow barn”.  When the children and I arrived, the wind was blowing in anticipation of a passing shower.  The owners were friendly and encouraged the children to run out into the field, pick some berries and, of course, eat them on the spot.  As the shower came and went, we huddled under the shelter of the barn and chatted.  We made new friends.

So while we didn’t get to spend hours in the field this year, we did get to spend an enjoyable hour with wonderful people.  The children did get to eat berries straight from the field and we did get to make a year’s supply of blueberry preserves and stock our freezer for winter!  We also got to enjoy our bounty with an evening meal of blueberries and biscuits.