Gumbo Day

 

Recently I have been in the mood for Louisiana style food. I made Jambalaya last week and made gumbo last night to celebrate Gumbo Day. It turned out great. This is probably the second time that the gumbo turned out perfect. The secret ingredient for gumbo is file which is Sassafras. Like any spice, file looses some flavor after it is opened. That being said. I have found that using more of the spice when it is older will give it the flavor you want.

 

To make my gumbo, I first boiled chicken thighs for about 40 minutes. Once the chicken is done, I took it out to cool and poured the broth into a bowl so I could start the “Holy Trinity”. That’s a term for onions, bell peppers, and celery in Louisiana cooking. Pour some oil in the bottom of the pan and add your vegetables. Cook them until they are just starting to soften. 

I started the roux with a half inch of oil in the bottom of a cast iron skillet and put in a tablespoon of Guar Gum for each 4 tablespoons of almond flour until the roux is thick. At this point, I added salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and file. I know most people don’t add flavoring to their roux, but I find that it enhances the flavor of the gumbo. You will need to watch your roux while it’s cooking to make sure it doesn’t burn. It will begin getting brown on the bottom so when you stir it the roux gets darker. For a chicken and sausage gumbo, I like a darker roux. If I was doing a shrimp gumbo, I would make it a little lighter in color.

Now that all the components are ready, we pour the broth back into the pan with the vegetables and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, start spooning in the roux until you get the consistency you like. I like my gumbo thick but not as thick as a gravy. Once you get the broth thickened to your preference, add in shredded chicken and sliced sausage. Season with salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and File to taste. Voila! Delicious, rich and creamy gumbo.

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Ham & Spinach Dip

Whether you are having a Halloween or New Years Eve party or looking for a great appetizer for Thanksgiving or Christmas this Ham & Spinach Dip from
Everyday Food is very tasty.

2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter
½ c. onion, finely chopped
¼ c. Almond flour
2 tsp. Arrowroot
1 ½ c. whole milk, at room temperature
¼ tsp. Paprika, plus more for sprinkling
½ c. Black Forest Ham, finely chopped
1 ¼ c. Harvarti cheese, grated
10 oz. Box frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add flour and arrowroot and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add milk and whisk until mixture has thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in paprika, ham, ¾ c. cheese and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer mixture to a 1-quart baking dish. Top with remaining ½ cup cheese and sprinkle lightly with more paprika. Bake 10 minutes. Adjust oven to broil; broil until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and serve.

Taco – Vodka – Kale Day

 

 

Today there are 3 items to celebrate: Tacos, Vodka & Kale. We do love our cheese taco shells. These are very tasty and you can put any of your favorite ingredients like catfish nuggets with tartar sauce.

 

 

 

 

Vodka is one of those alcohols that can be mixed with just about anything. Click this link for Lemon Mint Cocktail recipe.

 

 

 

We have been growing kale in our aquaponics garden. We like kale in salads or sauteed with onions or bacon. I have also tried making kale chips in a skillet with oil. That was dangerous with the spattering grease – ouch! The safest way to make kale chips is to bake them in the oven.

October – Halloween Season

The Halloween Season is here. I haven’t decorated for years but I think I will this year just because we are moving next year. I would also like to share some of my favorite Halloween recipes.  Today I will be sharing a recipe for Devil’s Ribs which I served with a pinto bean.  Sounds delicious doesn’t it.  Enjoy & stay tuned for more delicious and creepy Halloween recipes.

6 lbs. Beef ribs
15 oz can tomato sauce
1/3 c. vinegar
1 tsp. Molasses
2 Tbsp. Honey
2 tsp. Dry mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Celery seed
¼ tsp. Nutmeg
Salt to taste
½ c. water, hot
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. Beef bouillon granules
2 – 4 tsp. Hot sauce

Place ribs in heavy large baking pan.

Dissolve bouillon in hot water. Combine with rest of ingredients and pour over ribs. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees F until very tender, about 2 hours. Uncover and continue baking until ribs are browned, about 10 minutes more.

Cheese Pizza Day

I found this old recipe for a cheese pizza with a ground beef crust called the San Francisco Hamburger Pizza.  This is great for anyone on the ketogenic diet.  I mean meat for the crust and cheese on top what more could you ask.

1 lb. Ground beef
1/3 c. chiccarones, crushed
3/4 c. tomato sauce, divided
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 c. finely minced onion
¼ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. Dried oregano
butter
1 c. grated Mozzarella cheese
4 anchovy fillets, optional
12 black olives, sliced
¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
½ red bell pepper, in strips

Combine the meat, chiccarones, ¼ cup tomato sauce, egg, garlic, onion and seasonings. Blend lightly but thoroughly.

 

Butter an iron skillet. Place meat mixture in it. Mold to form pizza base. Shape a rim all around to keep the sauce from spilling out. Spread the remaining tomato sauce, anchovies, olives and Mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and more basil and oregano. Garnish with red pepper strips.

Place pan in 400 degree oven. Bake approximately 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through.Let rest a few minutes before cutting into wedges.

Fajita Day

I posted my fajitas back in June without realizing that today is Fajita Day. Just the other day I once again was hungry for fajitas. I had sirloin in the freezer and some onion but no peppers. That meant when we were out and about at the beginning of week we picked up a red & yellow sweet bell peppers. Voila!  Steak fajitas. Yummy!  Best part they are quick and easy to make.

Chili Cheese Pie

With today being National Cheese Day, I will share this recipe that I whip up once in a while: Chili Cheese Pie. This is something I make when I want something cheesy and greasy.  Combine an equal amount of ground beef and chirizo, brown it, add green pepper and onion. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne for a kick. Add diced chilis and cilantro. Place in a baking dish

and cover with a thick layer of cheddar cheese.  

Then make a batter from flour, baking powder, just a little sugar, milk, egg, salt & pepper and pour on top of cheese.  

Bake until crust is brown and it is warmed through. I usually bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  These pictures are the first time I used coconut flour in this recipe. Obviously I wasn’t paying attention as it got a little browner than it should have.  But it was still delicious.

Happy Memorial Day

First off – Happy Memorial Day. Take this time to remember those that have given so much so we can have the freedom we enjoy.

Today is also Coc Au Vin Day. This is basically French for cook in wine. This classic recipe slow cooks chicken in red wine. Even though I made this in the slow cooker and it was edible, I probably won’t do it again. It was not that tasty and there was actually more onions than anything else. Below is the recipe from Ina Garten that I tried if you want to cook a classic French meal.

2 tablespoons good olive oil
4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
3 to 4-pound chicken pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
½ large yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
2 cups good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
3 tsp. thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Cook bacon over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the crock pot/slow cooker and continue to brown until all the chicken is done.

 

 

Add the carrots, onions, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned.

 

 

Add the bacon, carrots, onions, garlic and any juices that collected in the pan, Cognac, wine, chicken stock, and thyme into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

 

 

If you would like a thick sauce, in a medium saute pan, mash butter and the flour together over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Add to the stew. Add the frozen onions and mushrooms. Let stew cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Garlicky Pickled Veggies

Today is Garlic Day and Amaretto Day. I couldn’t find Amaretto at my local grocery which makes it a little hard to make a drink for Amaretto Day. So I will share this recipe for Garlicky Pickled Veggies from Better Homes and Gardens. I made some adjustments to the recipe because I didn’t have quart jars. At the beginning of April, I mixed everything and put them into two half gallon mason jars. After waiting the week needed for the pickling, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a great way to pickle any vegetables you have around. I will probably put more garlic in next time I make it because the garlic in this batch is sort of overpowered by the red pepper flakes. These pickled vegetables are great as an appetizer or on a veggie tray for company.

3 c. cauliflower florets (1 head)
2 med. Red bell peppers, seeded & cut into 1: pieces
12 oz. Green beans, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
2 med. Carrots, cut into 1/2” slices
1 med. Onion, cut into thin wedges
4 c. vinegar
2/3 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. Salt
12 garlic cloves, smashed
1 ½ tsp. Crushed red pepper

 

In a large pot, combine vegetables. Add enough water to cover. Bring to boiling. Cook uncovered, 3 minutes, drain.

 

In another large, nonstick, heavy pot combine 4 cups water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to boiling, stir to dissolve sugar.

 

Pack vegetables into hot-sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2” head-space. Add garlic and red pepper evenly between the jars. Pour hot vinegar mixture over vegetables, maintaining the 1/2” head-space. Wipe jar rims; screw on lids.

Let cool 30 minutes. Chill for at least 1 week before serving. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 month.