Category Archives: Cooking and me

Gumbo for me Gumbo recipe


One of my favorite meals is Gumbo. I’ve come across some good Gumbo. I’ve come across some gumbo you wouldn’t feed to a pig.shrimp and oyster gumbo

So I searched for the perfect recipe to start me off. There are some key ingredients I know make a meal taste great. So if a recipe has garlic and onions, I know I’m headed in the right direction.

I came up empty handed. I just wasn’t finding the right seasoning I know would make a perfect Gumbo. Then one day many years ago as I was watching the Food Network a show called Food 911 came on with Tyler Florence. He was rescuing a family who needed to improve there Gumbo recipe for a group of friends and family they were having over.

As I watched the show I could tell from the technique and the ingredients that was it the recipe I had been searching for. After the show I immediately got online to find the recipe.

I will say after 5 years I have tweaked the ingredients so much that I can say I have my own recipe. But the recipe below is the exact one for Food Network. I believe in making it your own, know matter how good it maybe. We all have individual taste.

P.S. The one thing that makes this recipe so great is you have to make a roux. Most of the people I know who have made Gumbo have never made it with a roux. They just put some okra in a pot with seafood, water, some old bay and gumbo file and call it a day. Gumbo is more then that and Tyler Florence got it down.

Ingredients

Shrimp Stock:

  • 1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, with heads and shells
  • 1 blue crab
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 lemons, halved and squeezed

Gumbo:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound okra, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves striped from the stem
  • 2 quarts Shrimp Stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds reserved peeled shrimp
  • 1 pint raw, shucked oysters (about 20 pounds unshucked)
  • 3 cups cooked long-grain white rice
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley and green onions, for garnish
  • Crusty French bread
  • Fire Water, recipe follows

Directions

To make the shrimp stock: Peel the shrimp, and toss the heads and shells into a large stock pot;
refrigerate the peeled shrimp until ready to cook in the gumbo. Add the
crab, onion,
bay leaves, thyme, cayenne, Old Bay, and lemons to the pot. Cover with 2
1/2 quarts of cold water. Allow the liquid to slowly come to a boil, and then lower the heat. Gently simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered, skimming any foam that rises to the top. Strain the stock into a heatproof container or another pot to remove the
chunky solids; at this point you should have about 2 quarts of flavorful broth to use in the gumbo. Cool until needed.

To make the gumbo, you must start with a roux base: Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot. Just as the foam subsides, add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk to prevent lumps – it may lock-up like cake frosting but just keep stirring through it. Cook the roux until it’s the color of a walnut and smells equally as nutty, this should take about 15 minutes.

Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and okra (if it ain’t got okra, it ain’t gumbo!); season with salt, cayenne, and Old Bay. Mix in the tomatoes,
bay leaves, and thyme. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring now and then,
until the vegetables are soft. Pour in the cooled shrimp stock and stir
to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the gumbo is dark and
thick. Toss in the shrimp and oysters, cook about another 15 minutes;
adjust seasoning.

To serve: Ladle the gumbo into shallow bowls and pile some rice in the center. Sprinkle the parsley and green onions over the top. Pass the French bread and hot sauce at the table.

Link to recipe: Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo with Okra

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Flower Feature: Tulips


Tulip, 2005 Floriade, Canberra

Image via Wikipedia

Tulips came in my garden this year red and as lovely as ever. I
wanted to cut them and put them in a vase but I just couldn’t. They
were the only early blooming flowers I had this year and they made it all to nice
to step in my back yard and see color.

Tulips are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs.
Depending on the species, tulip plants can grow as short as 4 inches or as high as 28 inches. The tulip’s larger flowers usually bloom on scapes or subscaposestems that lack bracts. Most tulips produce only one flower per stem, but a few species bear multiple flowers on their scapes. The showy, generally cup or star-shaped tulip flower has three petals and three sepals, which are often termed tepals because they are nearly identical. These six tepals are often marked
near the bases with darker colorings. Tulip flowers come in a wide
variety of colors, except pure blue (several tulips with “blue” in the
name has a faint violet hue).

Read more: Wiki Tulip

Fascinating facts about Tulips

  • Tulips belong to the same family
  • The word “tulip” is descended from a Persian word “dulband” — which led to a Turkish word “tülbent (turban, like the hat) — which led to the Latin “tulipa”.
  • The most popular tulips are the red varieties. The most famous tulip is said to be “Queen of the Night” — a tulip that is almost black (it’s actually a very deep purple).
  • Tulips should be planted in the fall.
  • Tulip bulbs can be “forced” into blooming by storing them in a cold place for 12-16 weeks — even the refrigerator.
  • There are a bunch of recipes that use tulip petals: as cups for mousse, accents for tuna, for salad dressing, and little dishes for appetizers. There’s even a recipe for tulip wine, which is apparently “a lovely white”.

Read more: All Over Albany

So as you may now you can cook with Tulips. How interesting. Below is a recipe.

Tulip recipe

Ingredients

    • 1 1/4 pound(s) thin fresh asparagus
    • 2 large pesticide-free red or other color tulips, rinsed and drained
    • 1 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
    • 3 tablespoon(s) water
    • 2 teaspoon(s) finely grated lemon rind
    • 1 teaspoon(s) butter
    • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Cut or break off woody ends of
    asparagus and discard. With vegetable peeler, peel lower half of each
    asparagus spear. Pull petals off tulip stems; cut and discard 1/4 inch
    from bitter base of each petal where it was attached to stem. Slice
    tulip petals across into 1/4-inch-wide julienne strips; set aside.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil
    over medium heat. Add asparagus and sauté 2 minutes. Add water; cover
    and cook until water evaporates and asparagus spears are crisp-tender —
    about 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon lemon rind, butter, salt, and pepper,
    and sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in half of tulip petals.
  3. Transfer asparagus to serving
    plate; sprinkle with remaining tulip petals and remaining 1 teaspoon
    lemon rind. Serve immediately.

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Pina Colada for me please.


Piña Colada from @roysroy SF restaurant. cc: @...

Image by christinelu.china via Flickr

I love a good alcoholic beverage. My moms favorite drink is Pina Colada. This is the kind of drink you have on a hot day and you go into your backyard or on front porch and have a seat. Relax your body while you sip and let your mind wander away to a tropical island.

I have this book called The Complete Bartender. It’s a book that has recipes to just about every drink you can think of. I love to look in this book before visitors come over and see what I can put together. This book has everything to; stocking your bar, barware and glassware, measuring, garnishes, party planning, frozen drinks, low-calorie drinks, beer, wine, etc. It’s the guide of all guides.

The book is also categorized a-z and by the alcohol you would like to use. So either way you will find what your looking for.

New and exciting drinks are my thing. When I go out I often will try something new. I went out about 3 weeks ago and had a drink called Cris Piss. I know that doesn’t sound appealing. I asked the lady what it had in it and she said “a bit of everything”. When I lady walked up beside me to order some drinks from the bar, she asked what I was having, so I told her. She shrugged her face and said “no thank you”. But it was alright. It’s good to try new things.

So here is the recipe for Pina Colada if you didn’t know.

1 1/2 oz. light rum

1 oz. cream of coconut ( Coco Real cream of coconut)

2 oz. canned pineapple chunks

2 oz. pineapple juice splash of cream

1. In a blender, combine light rum, cream of coconut, canned pineapple chunks, cream and 3 oz. crushed ice

2. Blend at medium speed for 10-15 seconds, or until smooth

3. Pour into a goblet or a large wine glass

4. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice or a pineapple spear

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Im in coupon land.


My latest hobby of sorts is couponing. After watching Extreme Couponing, I decided I would have a go at. It’s not that it’s new to me I’m sure everybody has used a coupon or two in their lives.

Back in 2002 when I had my little girl and shopping for food became a necessity. I thought the idea of collecting coupons was the ideal thing for a parent to do, wise spending, calculated shopping and organized meal planning. I got me a coupon organizer and well I never used it.

I used to be on top of it back in the day being a stay at home mom and all. I had a monthly meal plan, a categorized grocery list and back then I had my palm pilot so I calculated everything down to the penny. But couponing didn’t play a roll. I wished I would have continued cause I know I would have saved.

So now I’m trying my hand at it again, the only problem is there is too much information on coupons out there. Not to say I don’t think abundance is bad, but come on here. There are a million websites for coupons that are pointless, sites leading you to the same link you had click on, a thousand video’s and articles.

This is what I’ve picked up thus far about couponing and it aint so easy.

1. Print out all store coupon policies (read an understand each one)

2. Purchase a box, coupon organizer, binder and card holder inserts

3. Stack your supply of coupons (from newspapers, printable coupons, email subscriptions, mail, family and friends, store blinkies, in-store coupons, etc

4.Learn the coupon language

5. Gather a few individuals to help you sort through the madness

6.Get your local grocery store ads every week

7. Sign up for store reward cards

8. Strategize your grocery list to coupons and sales

9. Spend hours going around gathering up all your savings and deals

Now this is what I’ve gathered and this list isn’t fun, but I’ve already started and I’m going to see what can be done about simplifying the list. They say once you get the hang of it, it’s easy. So far I’ve spent hours clicking on links, subscribing to product sites, printing and cutting coupons. And I’m still not understanding how exactly I’m going to be able to catch all the savings.

A list of coupon sites I’ve visited

Saving Star
Coupon Mom
Smart Source
Coupon Network
Coupons
Grocery Coupon Cart
Printable-coupons.blogspot.com
Mommy Saves Big

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Nutrition has gotten a simplier.


Can you remember the days of the nutrition pyramid and not really understanding the logic. Well those days are behind us Today Michele Obama  introduced a new icon for nutrition. One that is simplistic and like “duh” how come no one else thought of that in all these years, the “plate”.

When I saw it on the news I couldn’t believe it. Finally we are moving towards simplifying things instead of overwhelming people with a long draw out description of something that would need a lot of explaining. I think the idea is very straight forward and understandable. Now a person can just look at a plate and see what should go on it and about how much, just from the picture alone.

The new graphic is split into four sections: fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins, with a small side of dairy.

This is a positive step forward to teaching children in the future about healthy nutrition. Even a kindergartener can get the picture.

For more information on the new nutrition guide go to >>>http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

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