Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One Pot Meals for Justin and Jamie Parks

Facebook | Jamie Parks

My One Pot meal recipe is being created right NOW because that first grandchild of mine is 5 days past 40 weeks!!!!

Okay...for starters..

1 bag dried navy beans- have been rehydrated via the "quick start method". I rinsed the beans and added 6 cups of fresh water to the pot. They are now simmering on the stove with 2 tbsp of calle de polla, dried chicken boullion. I will leave to simmer for 1/2 an hour.

Okay sorry for the delay, I have a grandson, baby boy Landen Michael Parks!7 lbs and as purty as a boy can be!

(Justin loves green olives)

So! I added some olive oil EVOO! maybe 1/4 cup.
I chopped 4 cloves of garlic because Justin and Jamie love garlic.
AND 1 onion to keep the colds at bay. (sorry baby)
Kosher salt- 2 pinches
fresh ground pepper to taste. In my case LOTS!
20 pimento stuffed green olives diced
a handful of basil chopped
3 shakes of trappeys jalapeno hot sauce

And there you go, add water to make soup or simmer it down and ladle over pasta.
Either way it's pretty a fairly healthy and fresh meal. They liked it!

Take care , Sherry

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Beach Finds

Loggerhead sea turtle nest excavation

Above you see the working of a loggerhead sea turtle excavation.
We record data for USFWS as follows.
In the case of B-4, here are the results;

Escaped from nest-118
Alive in nest and released-4
hatched but dead in nest-1
Dead pipped eggs-0
Live pipped eggs released later-0
Infertile no obvious embryo-5
Dead embryos-0
SURVIVAL %- 123/128

FANTASTIC results for a nest that was moved to a higher elevation and then compromised by new construction engineered by a local of Pass Cristian who possibly did not understand sand compared to a clay building base. The construction crew was made to "pile drive" 70 some pilings into the sand which for nearly 2 weeks caused tremendous shaking, noise and vibrations to a nest just yards away. (In Gulf Shores we water "jet" our pilings in, quickly and with less disruption.)Fortunately the sub-contractor Rodney made the decision once the nest was shown to him, to halt proceedings for 2 days at their financial loss. Good people are often found where you least expect it, and the outcome was terrific! Thanks everyone involved!

Mama's Git Better Quick Vegetable Soup

4 cups water (add as needed)
4 TBS. Knorr Caldo de Pollo (chicken bouillion)
6 cloves garlic diced
1 lg. onion diced
1 cup baby carrots sliced
1 bag fresh from the garden frozen zuccini (or other squash)
1 lg. can diced tomatoes
1 can organic corn
1 can garbanzo beans (or chick peas)
1 bag frozen cut spinich
2 lg. red potatoes diced with skin on
1 pkg. Knorr vegetable soup mix
fresh ground pepper to taste
4 shakes of Trappey's Chef Magic Jalapeno sauce OR 1 fresh jalapeno diced (seeds & membranes removed)

Bring ingredients to a boil then simmer for 1 hour.
Feel better!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Shark Attack on Sea Turtle ?

Sadly, this Loggerhead sea turtle reached her final resting place May 31, 2009. Gulf Shores visitors reported watching the turtle float towards the beach. Dogged by a flotilla of sharks, one described as being 10 feet in length, she was dead on arrival. The carapace measured 27" wide by 36" long. The head circumference was 25 1/2" and she weighed about 200 lbs. Another magnificent animal lost, the 3rd on our "Share the Beach" area since May 1st.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sea Turtle Stampede

We were allowed to assist in releasing these Olive Ridley hatchlings at sunset. There were 2 bunches. Shown in this photo were 100 hatchling healthy and raring to GO!

The incredible race for survival begins. The ridley hatchlings are browner in color than our loggerheads and smaller, but no less lively!

Look closely now at the photo. Baby Ridley takes a breath of air.
Thank you so very much Sarah! You made our trip to Costa Rica magical. Thank you for the tour of the premises and the education you provided for our group. Peace!

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Hatchling

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Incubating Site

Sarah's crew in Costa Rica patrol the beaches (much as we do in Gulf Shores) looking for turtle tracks, or often, in their case, watching the sea turtles lay their eggs. Once the mother leaves the nest, eggs are swiftly recovered and moved to a fenced in area where they are guarded against poachers. Here the eggs are carefully set into a new nest dug with similar dimensions as the original. An extra circular fence is wrapped around each individual nest, as you may note in the photo. The new nest is then watched and information is recorded. This large fenced in area may house several hundred nests at one time !!!!

Sweet Sarah The Sea Turtle's Friend

The pretty one on the left, is Sarah. We met her by accident on Caletas Beach in Costa Rica. She and her team mates live there, in a primitive makeshift camp miles from electricity and fresh water. They protect Olive Ridley sea turtles. These guardians are to be greatly admired.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Puerto Rican Tamales (Pasteles)

This recipe was sent to me by Chargilly. She was taught to prepare these tamales by her childrens' great grandmother who was 100% Spanish. Great Grandmother Emily (pictured here in 1977) was wed to The Puerto Rican whom she called "the devil". She used the achiote mixed with vaseline for lipstick and cheek color.


2 lbs. pork (cut into small diced pieces)
1 tablespoon adobo
1 tablespoon oregano
4 garlic cloves crushed (or 4 tablespoons of already diced garlic- my preference)
1 small onion (diced into small pieces)
1 green pepper (diced into small pieces)
5 leaves of cilantro (diced into very small pieces)
1 can tomato sauce
A small jar of Stuffed Olives (the type that have the red pimento in the middle with no seeds))she likes black)

Masa (Dough)

6 lbs. of green bananas (must be very green)We grate on board with nails poking through...
1 green plantain
1 Yautia (also known as Tannia or Tannier) - *you could leave this ingredient out if you can't find it, but it makes it yummy.
1/2 of a small/medium Calabaza (google this so you know what I'm talking about)
2 1/2 Tablespoon salt
achiote oil (I buy the red achiote seeds and cook them in about 3 cups olive oil for about 5 minutes, making sure to stir them so they won't burn)
2 tablespoons milk


Banana Leaves (they sell them in the spanish stores in the freezer section)
Parchment Paper (cut into 10x5 inch pieces)
Kitchen String



1. Brown the pork pieces in a pan (don't burn them)
2. Add the rest of the stuffing ingredients and mix together.
3. Cook until the pork is no longer pink inside. 4. Set aside and let cool.


1. In a large bowl, peel and grate the yautia, calabaza, plantain and the green bananas together. 2. Stir in the salt, milk and enough achiote oil to moisten the dough and add a little color.
3. Put the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour (good be done the day before and refrigerated). This gets the dough a little hard and it's easier to handle.
You are now ready to assemble and wrap the pasteles.....


1. Set the dough aside and prepare a work surface to assemble and wrap the pasteles. If you have friends helping you, set up an assembly line.
2. First layout a piece of the parchment paper so that it looks like a horizontal rectangle,
3.Then cut a piece of the banana leaf to put in the middle of the parchment paper. The banana leaf should be at least 8x8 inches (you may want to measure the first few and then you'll be able to eye ball it later).
3. Take a teaspoon of the achiote oil and spread it on the banana leaf.
4. Take two tablespoons of the masa (dough) and put it on the banana leaf and spread it thinly, but not too thin that you could see thru it.
5. Take two tablespoons of the filling and put on top of the dough, but offset it a little, not entirely in the middle of the dough.
6. Lift the banana leaf on one side and fold it over so that the dough folds over the filling. You should have the banana leaf with the dough inside (and the filling inside the dough) folded in half.
7. Fold the parchment paper up from one side so that the edge meets evenly over the top of the pastele. Fold or roll down the pastele (kinda of like if you were wrapping it like a Xmas present). It should look like a horizontal tamale...
8. Now take the ends and tuck them so that they meet in the middle of the pastele and flip the pastele over so the tucked flaps are underneath.
9. Cut a piece of string about 20 inches long and you want to tie up the pastele like if you were putting a ribbon on a present.
10. Set aside the pasteles you are going to eat right away. You can freeze the rest.


1. Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil. There should be enough water to cover the pasteles.
2. Boil the pasteles for 1 hour.
3. Unwrap the pasteles before serving.
Serves: Makes about 20 pasteles.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Costa Rican Mountain Sunset

From this mountain top site the ground fell away for endless acres as I scooched over the edge to snap this shot. Howler monkeys which I never saw howled below pack to pack.

Rancho View from Above the Clouds

I don't see anything like this where I reside Gulf of Mexico! We have nary a mountain in our L.A. (Lower Alabama) beach area!

The rancho we were visiting in Costa Rica sits atop one of the high mountains of the Nicoyan Penninsula. The property has views of the Golpho de Nicoya as well as the Pacific Ocean. We were above the clouds!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Orange Beach, Alabama Christmas Boat Parade Winners

Thanks to Captain Craig for a trip on the high seas and to the Orange Beach Chamber of Commerce for hosting such a FUN event!
And, we won, in the 32 foot and above power boat catagory!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fried green plantains

vegetable oil
green plantains
baggie or saran wrap
sea salt

Peel and slice green plantains in 2 inch sections.
Cook in hot vegetable oil, flipping once to soften.
Remove cooked plaintains, place on cutting board.
Wrap in plastic wrap and smash flat with your handy rock.
Place flat plantain sections back in hot oil and fry, flipping once until golden brown.
Sprinkle with sea salt

Serve with one of the salsa recipes below.

Tamale Salsa, cooked Columbian Variety

The following salsa or sauce mix is used in the making of the tamales below.

4 onions, thinly sliced
3 heads of garlic smashed with rock
3 to 4 cups water
1 large sweet or bell pepper, diced
1 chili pepper, diced
6 cubes Maggi de Pollo boullion
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Combine and cook to thicken in saucepan.

Mama Zeneida says this is a base for many "sauces", to make spagetti sauce, simply add tomatoes.

Tamale Recipe Columbian Style

The tamale recipe that follows took 2 days to prepare. Thus, I will spare you the paring, soaking boiling and straining of the dried corn kernels and will recommend using store bought Maseca, or Masa, found in the flour section of you grocery store. Just follow instructions on the bag.

Banana leaves
masa mix (for this you will need water or broth, 1 tsp. baking powder, 2/3 cup lard or crisco, 1/2 tsp. salt)
1 lb. partially cooked pork roast
1 lb. chicken pieces complete with bones
3 sliced potatoes
3 sliced carrots
string, twine or banana leaf vein

Begin by harvesting a dozen large banana leaves. Then, carefully draw them over a wood fire. Passing the leaves over the flame should soften the leaves without charring them. Any soot is to be wiped off with a damp cloth. Lay out 2 or 3 torn or cut sections of banana leaves (apx. 8 to 12 inch rectangles or squares). Overlap the pieces and get ready to fill.

On the center of the banana leaves place a large dollop of masa, a chunk of pork, a piece of uncooked chicken, a few potato slices and a few carrot slices. Add another dollop of masa and the onion salsa mixture. (recipe to follow)

When the filling has been placed, roll the banana leaves lengthwise, as if it were a burrito. Fold one end up, then hold with the folded end on the table while tapping the ingredients down. Fold top end down to make a packet which you will tie with sisal/string/banana leaf vein. Tie 2 packets together.

The packets must be boiled in a huge pot over a wood fire, or on your stove in a huge pot of boiling water. Boil for 2 hours!

After 2 hours, remove from boiling water and set out to cool slightly. Cut the string, open the banana leaves to reveal a wonderfully cooked meal.

Killer Columbian Salsa

While in Costa Rica, our host, Big Tom, thought we women folk would enjoy a Tico tamale tutorial. Well, we did enjoy it, but who knew it would take 2 days! Mama Zeneida is from Columbia but apparently the tamale making process is same or similar to the Costa Ricans', as is this cool but HOT salsa.

Mama Zeneida's Recipe for Killer Salsa

First, as pictured, grind 2 hot chili peppers with course sea salt. Use your favorite rock or other grinding apparatus.

Combine that seasoning with the following in a medium sized bowl.
1 huge tomato, diced small
1 onion, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro,chopped fine
1 garlic clove, diced
fresh ground pepper to taste
another large pinch of course salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup ketchup
1 lemon or limon squeezed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

If you can, let the mixture sit in the fridge to meld flavors.

This is fantastic atop fried green plantains!