Gumbo seemed like another great food to send over to Frances after the birth of her cute new baby girl. It travels really well and the brown rice is a great source of fiber.
Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo
¼ cup oil
¼ cup flour
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
4 ribs of celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
32 oz chicken broth
1 lb chicken andouille sausage, sliced
1 lb shrimp, shells removed
16 oz package frozen sliced okra
1 tablespoons gumbo file
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
cooked long grain brown rice
In a large heavy pot, on medium low heat, stir together the oil and flour. Keep stirring over the low heat until the mixture turns a dark brown but does not burn. Add the onions, peppers, celery and garlic to the pot. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook, stirring, until the vegetables get soft and translucent. Add the seasoning and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Ass the chicken broth, and sausage, shrimp and okra. Cook the soup, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp is fully cooked. Add gumbo file and salt and pepper to taste and to thicken the soup. Before servicing, stir in the fresh parsley. Serve the gumbo with a nice mound of brown rice.
A hearty French Cassolette is the best food to get you through the winter. It requires a bit of work, but you can leave it in the over to finish on its own. This version has a bit extra vegetables with the addition of the baby squash. If you don’t want to use sausage you can use duck legs, chicken legs or thighs or any other meat that will hold up to a braze in the over.
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 ½ lb pork sausage, cut into chunks
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 10oz packages of mushrooms
2-3 cups chicken broth
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 lb baby squash, cut into bite size pieces
10 sprigs of thyme
2 – 15 oz cans of white beans
Salt and pepper
In a large cast iron Dutch oven, over medium high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside. Add the sausage and let it brown on one side. Stir and let it brown on the other side. Remove the sausage and set aside with the bacon. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add the onions and garlic to the oil in the pot. Sautee in the oil until clear and translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Add the chicken broth, wine and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add the squash, thyme and beans and stir. Add back in the sausage and bacon. Mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper and taste the broth to make sure it is salty enough. Put the lid on the pot and cook in the over for 1 hour.
I was just in DC to visit my family and excited to raid my mom’s garden. Every summer their suburban yard transforms into a farm. They grow tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, herbs, strawberries, lettuce and whatever else meats their fancy. I took home a horde of tomatoes and zucchini and had no idea what to do with them. So I made strata. It is very similar to lasagna, but instead of using noodles, you use slices of zucchini.
Italian Zucchini Strata
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 links of fresh sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
4 links of fresh hot Italian sausage, casing removed
½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
15 ounces ricotta
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Sautee until they are soft and translucent. Add the sausages and Italian seasoning. Break up the sausage with the back of your wooden spoon. Chop 4 of the tomatoes and add to the sausage. Stir and cook to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
Using a mandolin or really good knife skills, slice the zucchini lengthwise to make thin flat strips.
To assemble the strata, put down a layer of the tomato sausage mixture. Layer with the zucchini, making sure that the zucchini fits together tight and there is no sausage exposed. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Then spread half of the ricotta over the zucchini and then cover with the sausage and repeat the layering process.
Slice the remaining tomatoes and place them in one layer on top of the last layer of sausage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with the mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven for an hour until it is cooked through and the cheese is golden brown.
Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Being very careful, tip the lasagna over the sink and drain out all of the excess fat and liquid from the zucchini. Cut into squares and serve.
I had some buttermilk left over from another project. As far as I’m concerned there are two preferred uses for buttermilk: fried chicken or biscuits. I love biscuits. They are super easy and a crowd favorite.
Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
3 cup flour
½ cup dry powdered milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup melted butter, divided in half
In a large bowl, with a fork, mix the flour, powdered milk, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and cream of tartar till the pepper looks evenly distributed. Add the shortening and mash it into flour mixture. Keep mixing in the shortening until the flour gets an even course meal texture and it all looks slightly yellow.
Preheat the over to 450 degrease.
Stir in half of the melted butter and then the buttermilk. Switch to mixing with your hands. The mixture will be sticky. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then turn onto a floured surface and need the dough till smooth. Roll out the dough to a ½ inch thickness and cut into biscuits with a glass or round cookie cutter. Place the biscuits onto a silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown. Brush with the remaining melted butter.
Sausage and White Gravy
1 package frozen breakfast sausage links, thawed
2 cups milk
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sage
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons milk
Cook the sausage in a large skillet. Make sure you brown each side of the link. Remove the sausage to a plate. Add the milk to the same pan, deglazing the pan. Season the milk with salt, pepper, garlic powder and sage. Cook the mixture until boiling.
Mix the flour with the remaining milk and whisk it into the hot milk mixture. Keep stirring to thicken. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Normally when I come back from traveling I want to eat the opposite foods. However though I had a lot of sushi, I still crave Italian food. Also I brought back more than 1 kilo of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
2 lbs Spicy Italian Pork Sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon capers, drained
12 pitted Nicoise olives
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
salt and pepper
2 bunches Broccolini
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Cut the sausage into bit size pieces. Add then to a large non-stick pan or pot on medium high heat. Let the sausage sit on the heat for at least 5 minutes, until it starts to brown, turn all of the sausage over and let the other side brown again. Add the garlic and sauté. Add the tomato paste, capers, olives and seasoning. Stir. Put the lid on and let the mixture cook for at least 10 minutes to meld all of the flavors and cook the sausage through. Once the sausage is fully cooked, add the broccolini, cut into bit size pieces. Stir it into the tomato sauce and cover again. Let the broccolini cook and steam for 5 to 10 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper to taste and add the Parmesan cheese. Serve with bread or pasta or a salad.