Mar 12, 2013


I've recently become semi-obsessed with Sherlock Holmes once again. I say "once again" because there was a time when I would read the complete run of Holmes stories from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle every few years. I was generally into contemporary authors when I was growing up. But we had a bound copy of the 4 novels and 50+ short stories that were written by him about Holmes, and a full set of bound Charles Dickens novels as well. And when I had nothing else to read, I would turn to these to re-read. Over and over again. The Holmes stuff never took that long, so I read those probably a dozen times or so.

But it's honestly been about two decades since I've read them. A lot of that has to do with me reading much, much less than I did when I was a teen or in my early twenties. That's kinda sad. Non-stop availability of just about anything I want to see streaming-wise has also been a big problem.

But problem solved! Well, at least in the Sherlock Holmes situation.

I watched the first season, ahem...series, of the BBC Sherlock production a year or so ago, and I loved it. Starring the immensely talented and oh-so-British-named Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, it's an extremely watchable contemporary update of the Sherlock Holmes stories. But I forgot about it until about a week ago. So I jumped into Series 2...and then watched all 6 episodes over again. Just because I could. I highly recommend this series.

Then I went and found Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows someplace, and I watched that too. And, since it had been awhile since I had seen its' predecessor, Sherlock Holmes, I watched that too. These are the Guy Ritchie films starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law. Much, much different than the BBC series, but a lot of fun with Sherlock portrayed as more of an action hero.

And I didn't stop there. I had been hearing some good words about the American TV adaptation, Elementary. Mostly from this guy. Another contemporary update, this one stars Jonny Lee Miller as a former Scotland Yard consultant living and recovering from addiction in Brooklyn. Oh, and they made Watson an American. And female. Portrayed by the always wonderful Lucy Liu. Sure...why not.

So last night I gave it a try. And after one episode, I'm probably hooked again. Except I haven't been able to find anyplace that streams the earlier episodes from this first Season. Our cable company has the last 5 aired episodes (some re-runs) On Demand, but that's it. So that sucks. I thought it was going to be on Hulu Plus, but it's not. Durn.

I am NOT going to be happy if I cannot satisfy my Sherlock fix with Elementary. I may have to go back to, gasp, reading!

Any other Sherlock adaptations out there I should be watching? Zero Effect, starring Bill Pullman and Ben Stiller was loosely based on Sherlock, but it was a lot of fun. So I'm up for anything. Hit me.

Mar 7, 2013

Chicken Chili with Black-Eyed Peas

Fergie, amirite?

No, not those Black-Eyed Peas. I'm talking about the food. The legume. The main ingredient in Hoppin' John. Those black-eyed peas. And they've recently become one of our new favorite foods. As in yesterday. Yup...that recent.

I was whipping up a batch of chicken chili (see an old recipe here) and I usually add some small white beans to the mix. But I happened to see a bag of black-eyed peas right next to them at the grocery. So I says to myself "Self, howzabout you give them black-eyed peas a shot instead." Then the old woman next to me in the grocery aisle gave me a snide look and went in search of manager or security guard. So I moved on.

Cooking the black-eyed peas is as simple black-eyed peas. You give them an overnight soak in some cold water, or you can do a quick soak per the instructions on the bag. But that's only if you are one of them lazy sumbitches. You aren't one of them lazy sumbitches, are you?  Then rinse the beans and give 'em a once through to make sure there aren't any stones or anthrax capsules hidden amongst them. Then simmer them in some vegetable broth for around 45 minutes or so. Or until just tender, but not mushy. I used 4 cups of broth for a 16 oz bag of beans. This left the cooked beans in a just a bit of delicious beany veggie broth. Is beany a word? Not beanie. That's a silly cap. Hmm...

Anyway, the beans tasted delicious just as is. Didn't need to add any salt or pepper or anything. Just delicious beans in a light broth. This would have been a delicious meal unto itself. Except...

White Chicken Chili

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 lb mild chicken sausage - removed from casing
  • 1 lb fresh tomatillos - cleaned and roughly cubed
  • 1 large green bell pepper - diced
  • 1 large white onion - diced
  • 4 celery stalks (include the leafy part) - diced
  • 3-4 jalepeno peppers - seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp green curry paste
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • juice of 2 limes
 - Brown the ground chicken and the chicken sausage. Separately or together. It doesn't matter to me and it didn't matter to them. Make sure you break up the meat from the chicken sausage with a spatula or wooden spoon. Set aside.

 - In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and then add the green curry paste and heat for a minute or so to release the delicious flavor and aroma. Add the green pepper, white onion, celery and jalepenos. Simmer on medium-low heat for a few minutes. Until the onions get a bit translucent. Add the salt, white pepper, red pepper flakes and allspice and give it a give mix. Simmer for another minute or so.

 - Add the tomatillos, cilantro, chicken broth, lime juice and the cooked chicken you had previously set aside. Give it all a proper mix and get a nice little boil going. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for around an hour or so. The tomatillos should cook all the way down and leave you with a thick, delicious green sauce.

 - This is when I would normally say that you should now add the cooked beans to the chili and cook for a bit more. But the chili on it's own tasted awesome, and so did the black-eyed peas. Instead, I served the beans as a side dish to the chili. In the same bowl. Kinda like this:

Not sure what that shadow is there at the bottom. My nose?
Made all with fresh ingredients, this mother-fucker tasted like it was handed down from heaven by the baby Hay-zoos himself. I started alternating spoonfuls at first. One spoon of chili. One spoon of beans. But I was soon just scarfing the whole thing down like a prisoner huddled over the bowl, gripping the spoon like a weapon in case anyone rolled up on me. was that good.

Everyone go out shopping for ingredients and make this over the weekend. You kitchen will smell wonderful and you will most certainly thank me once you have begun putting it in your tummy.

That is all.