Monday, November 24, 2014

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy at White Light Night

"Mercy Mercy Mercy" by Josef Zawinul sets the tone at the Baton Rouge favorite White Light Night 2014. Orlando Henry on keyboards, Richard Bewley on guitar, Katharsus St. Arthur on drums, Miguel Hernandez on guitar performed this favorite on November 21, 2014. Video shot and recorded by Ruth Laney.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

An introduction to croquettes: Spencer style

Cecilia wandered into some area of the ‘Net discussing croquettes and she told me about them and suggested we make them for dinner. I should know better than to take menu-planning advice from a sixth-grader, but I thought it would be an interesting adventure.

First problem was to find a variation she would eat. She eats chicken and potatoes so we went that basic route for her Chicken and Potato Croquettes. See at right from

That takes care of baby, but daddy has a wildly adventurous palette and he likes spicy, savory seafood dishes. For the adults, I decided to go the smoky, seafood route. I had a little smoked salmon in the fridge, but at $12 a pound, I wanted to save it for a bagel breakfast. I decided to use a can of cheap salmon and add liquid smoke to recreate the “taste” of smoked salmon. I discovered the joys of smoked gouda when I brought fancy sandwich fixings as a birthday present for Scott. (DON’T JUDGE – Boar’s head roast beef is roses and lace in dude language.)

Salmon-Smoked Gouda Croquettes

1 cup of mashed potatoes
1 can of salmon (well, chopped with fork)
½ cup of grated smoked Gouda (I chopped it into tiny pieces)
2 eggs
½ diced onions
1 cup of Italian bread crumbs
2 TBS of lime juice
1 TBS of liquid smoke (optional)
1 handful of chopped, fresh Cilantro
Season to taste – salt, pepper, garlic powder
  1. In a medium bowl, beat one egg. Add (COLD) potatoes and combine well. Mix salmon, cheese, onions, lime juice, cilantro, liquid smoke and seasonings well. Fold into cold potato mixture.
  2. Roll the potato-salmon mixture into balls, a little bigger than golf ball size. If you're working with warm mashed potatoes, chill the balls. If you pulled your potatoes out of the refrigerator to make this, carry on.
  3. Get three bowls and place them side by side. In the first bowl, put 4 Tbsp. flour. In the middle bowl, 1 beaten egg. (If this runs out before you're done, beat another egg.) In the third bowl place 1 c. bread crumbs.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil over medium high heat.
  5. Roll the potato balls in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip into egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Place in the oil to brown. Roll them around so all sides get golden brown and crispy.
  6. (Note: I skipped this step and cooked them completed in the oil.) Once browned on all sides, transfer to an oven-safe dish and place in 300°F oven to keep warm while you finish the rest of the croquettes.
  7. (Note: I skipped this step – I hate gravy!) Once all the croquettes have been browned, stir 1/4 c. flour into the remaining oil. Stir in chicken stock to make a gravy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the gravy with the balls for dipping.
My variation for the adults in the house is above.  It’s a smoky, potato, cheese and fish treasure doubled rolled in flour and bread crumbs. I didn't have time for a side dishes or a dipping gravy. I think a pasta Alfredo or sauteed spinach would be nice next time. Cecilia had hers with Mac and Cheese and her father ate his share off a plate with his fingers – refined like wine that one!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Fishers' 'Net delivers church business tools

Effective communication tools are crucial for organizations seeking to become “fishers of men.” Empowering churches and non-profits with the right tackle box is the mission of the Fishers’ ‘Net, a business plan vying for one of the Mission Main Street Grants.

Spencer Media Solutions and Online Bayou are partnering to develop the Fishers’ ‘Net, a full-service Web portal offering Web hosting, email communications, marketing tools, print services and e-commerce solutions.

We would like to build a Web alliance of churches across the globe to ‘Net-fellowship and share communication best practices and business solutions. Through Online Bayou, organizations can use self-service products like Web hosting, email accounts or blogging. Offline services customized for churches and faith-based groups include bulletins, newsletter services and advertising/media buying.

The most ambitious venture will develop an e-tithe system that will allow organizations to use the ease of e-commerce to collect tithes, fees and donations.

Please click HERE to vote for the Fishers’ ‘Net and then share the link with others from now until Oct. 17 when the voting ends.