Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Aaron Weinstein and Scott Hamilton- Jazz and Jambalaya

Last night I had the privilege of listening to Jazz great Scott Hamilton (saxaphonist) at the Sahara Club in Haverhill, Massachusetts, He had with him an extraordinary group of musicians: Marshall Wood on Bass, Jim Gwin on Drums and Peter Schmelling on Piano. They were outstanding. A young Jazz violinist joined them for a few songs. His name is Aaron Weinstein. Remember that name: Aaron Weinstein. He is a man who is going to carry Jazz into the future. What an incredible musician. or,,3443934,00.html
I wrote to him this morning and mentioned that I was so impressed with Aarons... I’m not sure if I want to call it a performance- it was more of a physical/complex/energized/auditory conversation between a musical extension of himself and a musical extension of Scott Hamilton. The way Aaron could dance around the notes Scott was playing and have the sounds make sense in ways I didn’t know they could...It was brilliant. I’d love to have my children hear them play. So, Lets bring them to Maine.
I think everyone deserves a healthy dose of their vegetables- and Jazz- on a daily basis.
In addition to Jazz and Vegetables..Jambalaya is a delicious way to pass an evening. Here is one of my favorite recipes. You can substitute alligator for the Maine Shrimp if you like. With a salad and bread you've got yourself a meal!

Cajun Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya
3 pounds spicy or mild smoked pork sausage-sliced 1/2” thick
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thigh meat-coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon chicken or turkey bouillon paste
2 pounds onions, diced
2 Tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 pound tasso-smoked, seasoned pork, cubed
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sweet basil
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
6 cups chicken or turkey stock
1 1/2 pounds long-grain rice
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat parsley
2 pounds clean, peeled, raw Maine shrimp

Using a large saucepan with a cover, cook the sausage, stirring constantly. Remove from pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Pour off, and discard all but 2 T of the fat from the pan. Add the chicken and bouillon paste and cook until golden brown.
Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic; cook until the onions are translucent. Add 1/2 cup of water and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove all the brown bits. There is so much flavor in the caramelized fat/sugars in the pan.
Reduce heat to low. Add the Tasso, thyme, basil, black and white pepper. Simmer 15 minutes.
Add the stock and bring to a full boil. Add the rice and shrimp. Reduce heat to medium, stirring often. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly so there are no grains of rice sticking and burning.
Stir in the parsley. When the mixture returns to a boil, stir well to be sure nothing is stuck to the bottom. Move the pan to the unit on your stove with the smallest flame/ lowest btu- reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for at least 25 minutes. Do not remove the cover while the rice is steaming. Stir carefully just before serving to incorporate all of the ingredients.

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