There Can Never Be Too Much Good in a Ribeye with Sauteed Zucchini But Can There Be Too Much in People? (Part One)

“Good morning, Mr. Candy,” Darcey said as she walked past the large, colorful house three blocks from her own home in New Orleans’ Vieux Carre.

“Good morning, Darcey,” the old man replied. Mr. Candy sat in his wheel chair on the front porch each day. He always seemed glad to see them. He seemed especially fond of Kelli, Trent Marshall and Darcey Anderson’s three year old daughter and she of him. Even now she went running up to the old man to give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek, a gesture that always seemed to delight him.

Kelli looked anxiously at the front door. Sure enough the old man’s daughter, Lottie, appeared. She had inculcated in Kelli an expectation of a warm plate of freshly-baked cookies to show up about this time. The child wasn’t disappointed.

“Hello, Darcey,” Lottie said, brightly. “And I know what you want, young lady!” She held out the tray of cookies to Kelli.

“You can have two cookies, Kelli,” Darcey said.

“Looks like you’ve been doing some shopping, Darcey,” Lottie said.

“Yes. We’re headed to Alaska next week. There were a few things we needed for our trip.”

“Can I help you with those packages?” Lottie asked.

“No, thanks. I can handle’em. We don’t have far to go.”

“Well, anytime you need someone to look after Kelli, don’t hesitate to call on us,” Lottie continued. “You know we just love her to pieces.”

Lottie was always so friendly, so helpful, Darcey thought later as she chopped zucchini and onion in the kitchen of their home on Governor Nicholls street. Sometimes she wondered if the woman was too sweet. There were strange things going on New Orleans. Things that made one suspicious of what at other times would be ordinary common courtesy.

Darcey was preparing sautéed zucchini and onions to accompany the ribeyes she had bought for dinner. Her mother, Betty, and Ivy Ford, Trent’s surrogate mother would be there for dinner. The three women and Kelli would fly out of New Orleans for Anchorage.

Darcey Anderson’s Sauteed Zucchini and Onions

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ounce zucchini (about half a pound), sliced lengthwise & then crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces

1/2 onion, chopped

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 tablespoons soy sauce

salt & white pepper to taste

In a heavy skillet, heat the butter and olive oil.

Saute the zucchini, onion, and mushrooms in the hot oil and butter until they soften and begin to brown. It should probably take three to five minutes.

A ribeye resting on a bed of sautéed zucchini, onion, & mushrooms.

Add the wine and soy sauce along with salt and white pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

Continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are well browned, two or three minutes longer.

Serve as a bed for your favorite steak.

As we say in New Orleans, Bon Temps!


Darcey Anderson’s Sausage Ragout

Darcey Anderson’s Sausage Ragout

October 22, 2018 – Like me, Darcey Anderson, my fictional character in The Empty Mint Mystery and the soon to be released Neighbors and Other Strangers, was born in northwest Louisiana.  As a child, she ate the food prevalent in that part of the world.  Fried chicken.  Pork chops.  Fried catfish.  Black-eyed peas, collard greens, and corn bread.

The dishes of south Louisiana also found their way to the Anderson table.  Gumbo.  Red beans and rice.  Jambalaya.  Crawfish etouffee. Oyster and shrimp po’ boys.

When I was still a boy, my parents moved us to Alaska.  There we remained faithful to the southern food we loved but we also quickly began to enjoy the bountiful seafood of the Northland.  Salmon.  Halibut.  King crab.

Darcey was introduced to new foods when she attended the Interior Design School in London and, after graduation, moved to San Francisco.  Like me, she never lost her love of southern food but enthusiastically embraced the dishes of the other cultures with which she came in contact.

San Francisco’s most iconic dish, of course, is cioppino, that delightful seafood stew created by Italian fishermen many decades ago.  You can find Darcey’s cioppino recipe posted on my author’s blog, gordonparkerbooks.com/blog/.

On this evening, Darcey was also thinking Italian.  But pork, not seafood.  More specifically, a sausage ragout.  A spicy stew with hot and sweet sausages, hot and sweet peppers.  And to bind it all together with a touch of silkiness, a little cream cheese swirled into the finished product.

This is excellent served with the pasta of your choice.  Darcey prefers rotini.

Note:  Darcey Anderson might be a fictional character but her sausage ragout is for real!

Darcey Anderson’s Sausage Ragout

3 links sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1 inch slices

3 links hot Italian sausage, cut into 1 inch slices

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, minced (or any hot pepper)

2 roasted red peppers

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 14-1/2 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup parsley, minced

Salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup cream cheese

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet or braising pan.  When the oil is hot but not smoking, put in  the sausages.  Stirring occasionally, let the sausage cook until all the pieces are nicely browned.

Add the onion and jalapeno.  Cook until the vegetables have softened and are beginning to take on color, about five minutes.

Toss in the roasted red peppers and garlic.  Stir to combine all the ingredients.  Continue cooking for another three or four minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes and red wine along with the parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Let the ragout simmer on moderately low heat for about half an hour.

Sausage Ragout

Taking the pan off the heat, swirl in the cream cheese, continuing to stir until it has melted and is combined with the finished ragout.