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Alice’s Spicy Split Pea Soup


1 pound dried split peas

2 ham shanks (or 1 ham hock and 1 pound of diced ham)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup finely chopped yellow onions

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup finely chopped carrots

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons thyme

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

8 cups water

Cover with water (2 inches) and soak peas 8 hours or overnight in large pot.  Drain peas and set aside.

In large pot over medium heat melt butter.  Add onions and cook stirring frequently until nearly translucent.  Add carrots and celery and cook until soft (about 3 minutes).  Add garlic and cook stirring for 1 minute.

Add ham shank and ham and cook stirring until ham begins to brown.  Add drained peas, salt pepper, pepper flakes.  Add 8 cups of water, bay leaf and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium low heat until peas are tender. (1-1/2 hours).  Add more water as needed.

Remove bay leaf and discard.  Remove shanks, separate meat from bone, dice ham, discard bone and return ham to pot.

Serves 8.

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Cajun Shrimp Recipe

1 stick butter

1 stick margarine

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 TBS ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground rosemary

1 tsp hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

1 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2 large lemons

2 lbs. shrimp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Melt butter and margarine. Thinly slice one lemon and juice one lemon.  Mix the ingredients except for the lemon slices and the shrimp.  Put about 1/4 cup of the mixture in a baking dish.  Layer the shrimp and the lemons.  Pour the remaining spice mixture over the shrimp.  Leave about 1″ of headroom in the baking dish.  Bake uncovered until the shrimp are done, stirring every 10-15 minutes. (Depending on the size of the shrimp this takes around 30-40 minutes.)  Serve with a crusty baguette and lots of napkins.

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Keeping or Losing Your Marbles

Four couples came to the marathon marble tournament.  Shooter and amber had been a team for a long time and had competed for their marbles which they kept in one large canister and although each competed, Shooter entered more tournaments and contributed many more clearies than Amber’s cat’s-eyes.

Dusty and Precious had been a team almost as long as Shooter and Amber but Precious didn’t like what marbles did to her manicure and almost never competed or won a round. Since Dusty travelled and competed he kept almost all of the marbles in his traveling case while Precious received a few choice orbs from Dusty which she kept in her favorite music box.

Lucky and Nott were neighbors of Shooter and Amber and had been in almost as many competitions. Almost all of their marbles were kept in a shoe box that they had found when they first met. A few competitions ago Lucky was given a coffee can full of Aggies when his father retired from marble competitions. Although Nott didn’t much like the coffee can and encouraged Lucky to use the shoe box, Lucky kept those Aggies in his coffee can. Shortly after Lucky’s dad retired, Nott’s mom sent her a large UPS package with her substantial collection of blue clearies. Nott didn’t like the cardboard UPS box and put the clearies in the shoe box with the other marbles the team had accumulated.

Biz and Ness were first attracted to each other because each was proficient in the marble ring and each had accumulated a significant bag-o-marbles. Biz kept his in a leather bag with a drawstring and Ness kept hers in a silk sack that smelled of perfume. Before going to the tournament they talked with their marble coaches and decided to write up a “pre-tournament agreement” so that they would know what would happen with the marbles they intended to win at the tournament. To make sure that there were no misunderstandings between the two they made lists of their Aggies and steelies and all of the rest of the spheres in their bags. Sometimes Biz would let Ness use some of his marbles but, their respective marbles always went back into his leather bag or her perfumed silk sack after the competition.

The marathon marble tournament was long, tiring and tempestuous. All of the couples were worn out and they each decided their marble competition partnerships were irretrievably broken. What else was there but for each of them to take their marbles and go home.

Shooter told Amber he should get the more numerous clearies because he put them in the canister. Dusty claimed the travelling case and insisted that Precious could only have the marbles in the music box. After all, Precious had never won any marbles. Nott insisted that he and Lucky were a team and needed to divide up all of the marbles even if Lucky got the first pick. Biz and Ness got out their copies of the “pre-tournament agreement”.

Unfortunately, Shooter and Amber, Dusty and Precious, and Lucky and Nott couldn’t agree how to divide up their marbles. Since they were each at odds, they petitioned the tournament referee to divide the marbles. After the referee heard from each couple, he made decisions for Shooter and Amber, Dusty and Precious, and Lucky and Nott, but not Biz and Ness.

Shooter and Amber each got one half of the clearies and cats eyes. Precious got her music box contents and half of the traveling case while Dusty got the other half of the travelling case, but nothing from the music box. Lucky got one-half of the shoe box and her coffee can of Aggies while Nott bid goodbye to half of the clearie collection nestled in the shoe box. Biz and Ness already had an agreement. Biz kept the marbles in his leather bag, and Ness kept the marbles in her silk sack. They didn’t need the referee.

What happened next? Biz and Ness went onto compete in many more tournaments each summer, spring and fall. Shooter gave up competitions, and went onto skeet shooting. Amber took Shooter’s unused marbles and gave half to their grandchildren. Precious and Dusty continued fighting with the referee about the quality of marbles that each were allotted at each subsequent marble tournament for many years. Lucky sold her marbles on e-bay and moved to American Samoa. Nott was never seen or heard from again.

Originally published in The Steamboat Local

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Klauzer’s Pork Green Chili


2-3 pounds of country style pork ribs, cleaned, cut into bite sized pieces  (retain the trimmed pieces), can use pork shoulder roast, pork loin, etc.

1 medium yellow onion  diced

1 medium white onion, diced

15-20 Anaheim, Big Jim, or similar large green chiles, cut to size (one large can drained and cut will substitute)

Spicier chiles to taste (red Hungarian are great, can use jalapenos)

Several cloves of garlic, crushed and diced

About 1 teaspoon of ground Mexican oregano

One heaping tablespoon of Menudo seasoning

1/3rd bottle of Spice Islands chicken stock base (not boullion)

2 cans chicken stock

White pepper to taste [about ¼ teaspoon]

Approximately ¼ cup of flour for thickening

Salt to taste

Clean and cut the pork, put trimming pieces into heavy pot and render. Remove trimmings.

Sauté onions in the pork fat until almost translucent.  Add garlic and pork.   Sauté.

Add chopped chiles, 2 cans of chicken stock, oregano, menudo seasoning, chicken stock base, and pepper.  Heat over a medium burner until hot then turn down to low temperature and simmer for about an hour.

Make a roux of flour and water, using a tablespoon of flour.  Stir into chile mixture making sure that the flour mixture blends into the liquid until desired thickness is achieved.

Add salt to taste (be careful, there  is salt in the stock base. I usually use about a teaspoon, you should salt and taste in 10 minutes.)

Let the mixture simmer for 2 more hours.  Simmering for a long time will not hurt the mix.  Try not to let it boil.

Copyright 2002 Randall Klauzer

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