I usually use the leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make enchiladas, chili or tacos. This year… Turkey Gumbo!
The thing about gumbo is that you have to start with roux. The thing about roux is that you have to stir constantly … for a long, long, long time! And the thing about stirring constantly, is that I hate having to do that!
Several years ago I received an automatic pot stirring thing-a-ma-jiggy, called the StirChef Saucepan Stirrer. It has sat in the box and never been opened … until yesterday, when I made this gumbo. I’ve had it so long that the batteries that were included – were corroded.
Guess what, I should have left it in the box. It was useless. It only fit into the smallest of my saucepans and the paddle turned so slowly, seriously ridiculous!
Here are some of the reviews I found on Amazon:
“I spent one dollar on this at a thrift shop and I still feel like I was ripped off. It is no surprise they are already out of business. The thing doesn’t even fit on all but one of my saucepans.”
“I just set this up for the first time to make a roux… what a joke!
It fit the pan and that is THE ONLY thing that was a positive. As soon as those worthless paddles hit that hot oil and flour, they began to dissolve!”
“Attaching the StirChef to my new 4qt saucepan, I turned it on to stir some chopped vegetables for 10 minutes at low heat. After about 4 minutes the flimsy plastic blades began to melt, adding an interesting but unwanted taste to the vegetables.”
Evidently this lame product is a collector’s item of some sort. On Amazon it sells for nearly $90 new and $60 used. Mine has only been used once. I’m willing to sell it for a mere $45.99.
Any interested buyers out there? No? OK, maybe you’ll be more interested in my Gumbo recipe.
November 30, 2013 1 Comment
It has only taken me a week, but I’m finally getting back to you with the second recipe using those polenta scraps from the Polenta Pesto Bruschetta recipe I gave you a week ago today.
This is almost the perfect “layer and bake” recipe, all you have to do is brown some Italian sausage. Although, you could easily make this dish even more convenient by omitting the sausage, thereby creating the perfect Mindless Meatless Monday Meal.
Dave was out-of-town when I made it, but Connor was home for the night, so meat was called for. We enjoyed the spiciness that the sausage added.
Italian Polenta Bake
Polenta trimmings from this recipe, or a tube of prepared polenta, cut into rounds
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
8 ounces hot Italian sausage, cooked
1 1/2 cups purchased marinara sauce
2/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
September 16, 2013 1 Comment
As I mentioned a few days ago, I make it my mission to clean out the fresh food in my refrigerator before we go out of town. The easiest way to do that in the winter is to make a soup and the easiest way the rest of the year is to make pasta. I call this “garbage” pasta, because I’ll put any and everything in it.
This particular time, I had a partial box of cherry tomatoes plus fresh heirloom tomatoes from my garden. In addition there were partial bags of green beans and sugar snap peas. I always have garlic and onion on hand, so those always start the dish.
The first step is to get a big pot of water boiling. Add salt and blanch vegetables such as the green beans, sugar snap peas, asparagus, snow peas, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower for a couple minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove them and have a big bowl of ice water ready to drop them into – to stop the cooking.
Once they’ve cooled down, drain and set aside.
May 27, 2013 1 Comment
Here is a quote from yesterday’s post:
“So back to the drawing board. I hope to have it down by tomorrow and post the recipe and my success.”
What I hoped to have down was the recipe for “The Rebel Within” from Craftsman & Wolves, a restaurant in San Francisco. “The Rebel Within” is a buttery, cheesy, sausage flecked muffin with a soft-cooked egg in the center. The egg yolk in the muffin should be soft and runny with the oozing yolk dripping like liquid gold onto the plate.
The muffin is named after a Hank Williams III song. Williams is the grandson of the legendary Hank Williams and the son of Hank Williams, Jr.
So, the big question is… did I get it right? Was I successful? Was the liquid gold running onto my plate? No. No. and No!
I really wanted to name this post “Muffin Extraordinaire” but it’s honestly only “Muffin Almost There.”
I developed the recipe by using the blueprint of the muffin that I found on the restaurant’s website. It’s a tongue-in-cheek blueprint with a hint of what ingredients to use, but it has no real portions. At least it gave me a starting point.
First, I tried soft poaching the eggs for 3 minutes in simmering water and then shocking the cooked eggs in ice water, as with THIS method. But once the muffins were baked, the yolks were firm, not even close to runny.
The second go-round, I tried only poaching three of the eggs for one minute and shocking them in the ice water. I cracked the remaining three eggs directly into the bottom layer of batter in the muffin tin.
I imagined that the 1-minute poached eggs would work and that the raw eggs would run all over the place and make a mess.
Once the muffins were baked, I anxiously cut into one of each type of muffin. The result? Exactly the same as the first time around. The yolks were cooked firm. The raw eggs did not run and make a mess, as I anticipated, they were firm right in the center of the muffin, just as the poached eggs were.
Even though the yolks didn’t turn out as I had hoped, I am going to share the recipe I developed while trying to get it right, because even without runny yolks, the muffin is AMAZING! Wonderfully scrumptious. Somehow the muffin is dense, yet still fluffy and fabulously flavorful.
Instead of naming my version “The Rebel Within” I shall name mine “The Easter Egg Within.”
January 31, 2013 7 Comments
Before Connor packed up his belongings and headed back to school, I made him a special going-away breakfast.
Good luck in school, sweet boy, study hard and have fun! xoxo
August 28, 2012 5 Comments
Back in early June, I told you how I was going to join a CSA. Well, I did, and I was able to pick up a box of fresh Crooked Sky Farm produce every Thursday morning for the past eight weeks. What fun it was to be surprised by the bounty I received.
For the last four weeks of the eight, there was fresh corn. Corn is one vegetable we never get tired of. This is one of the many “easy-breezy” dishes I created to use up all that corn. Of course, many a night, it was plain old corn on the cob, always a wonderful summer-time treat!
August 12, 2012 3 Comments
On Saturday, I was supposed to post the scallop and chorizo recipe I served at the Thursday night “Dirty Book Club”. I forgot – but no one seemed to notice. No harm, no foul. Since you didn’t appear to be waiting with bated breath, how about I delay it a tiny bit longer and tell you all about my pretty flowers and trophies?
Above is a photo of the flowers I gave to Dave for Father’s Day. I was about to arrange them in regular old vases, when I remembered that I had just seen peonies and other flowers in trophies at the gorgeous home of my friend, Shelia. Yes, trophies, so much more manly than vases. Especially when you consider that Dave won the golf tournament he played in over the weekend! I wish they gave out trophies at the darn club, but I think he’ll just get club or store credit. That sucks, trophies are way cooler!
The two tall trophies hold peonies and sunflowers from Trader Joe’s. They are replicas of vintage trophies. I bought them online at Antique Farm House.
If they are offered for sale again, I’m going to get at least one more – OK probably two – can’t help it, I love them!
The small loving cup is a true antique and holds dahlias and lavender sprigs from my garden.
Oh, and it was exactly one year ago today that my baby girl moved to San Francisco. Time Does Fly! I miss her dearly but am so excited because I just booked tickets for Connor and I to fly off and visit her in just six short weeks!!! OK, no more delaying… it is recipe time…
June 18, 2012 4 Comments
Connor and I went to the Scottsdale Old Town Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. I got him all excited to go, telling him that we could split one of Eugenia’s heavenly croissants from the Essence Bakery Cafe booth at the market and then we’d go Barrio Queen for breakfast afterwards. Who could resist once they’ve seen this breakfast menu?
Con got up early on a weekend day and we left the house at 7:20. Only two problems – the Essence booth wasn’t there on this particular Saturday and Barrio Queen doesn’t open until 11:00. What an utter letdown!! We ended up eating a very nice meal at The Breakfast Club, but it certainly wasn’t the same as Chile Verde Con Huevos or Chilaquiles from Barrio Queen!
Oh well, at least we bought cute round zucchini at the market and I did my best to make it up to him by creating this meal for him on Sunday.
June 5, 2012 4 Comments
A few weeks ago I filmed a TV segment with Scott Light of NBC Channel 12 EVB Live. The segment is called “Wednesday’s Child.” Scott now fills the shoes of longtime, now retired, Channel 12 anchor Kent Dana, who started the monthly segments more than 20 years ago. “Wednesday’s Child” is a profile of special-needs children available for adoption thru AASK, Aid to Adoption of Special Kids. In a 2009 interview, just before Kent Dana was to be inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame, he said, “I’ve profiled over 1,000 kids over the years, and close to 80 percent were adopted. That show really changed lives, and it was a fun thing to do.”
It was fun for me to do too. You may recall that I am good friends with Tram Mai, Scott’s co-host on EVB Live. Tram had mentioned to Scott that I was adopted, so he asked if it would be all right to ask me a few questions about that during my interview portion of the segment. I, of course, said it would be absolutely fine…. but then I met Robby…
The first people to show up to my house that morning were three women from AASK, including the two videographers. Next came Robby and his foster dad. I fell for Robby the second I saw him. My heart just melted as we talked and then even more so as we cooked and hung out afterwards.
Scott and a couple more people from AASK came and we got busy with the filming. The shoot was of Robby and I cooking together in the kitchen. He was so sweet and interested and curious and polite and sweet, oh I already said sweet. He had wonderful manners and insisted on helping me clean up. Then, as the adults all gathered to figure how and where to shoot the interview portions of the segment, Robby and I played a little Foosball outside on the back patio. I’m pretty good – but he beat me. Next, Scott came out and Robby beat him too. He has so much joy and confidence for a child who has not had it easy and who as been shuffled around.
You might think that AASK is only for kids with physical, mental, or emotional special needs. There are any number of needs that make a kid “special” and in Robby’s case all I could see that made him “special” was that he is 12 years old, not an infant, who is up for adoption. You can check out Robby’s AASK profile HERE to see what I mean, this little boy stole my heart! Oh, and we made the Lasagna Soup recipe you will find below – just take a look at the list of foods he likes. I didn’t know a thing about it until about an hour ago when I pulled up his profile to write this! That just makes me smile.
The segment will run sometime tomorrow on EVB Live between 4:00 – 5:30 PM. I am dreading it a little bit though, because after Robby and his foster dad had gone, while Scott was interviewing me alone, I broke down. I don’t know how much, if any, of that they will show, but I’ve never cried on camera before. What if it’s the “ugly cry” as Oprah calls it? I have no idea how they will edit the interview. Channel 12 doesn’t do any of that portion, they just provide Scott and the airtime, AASK does the rest.
Oh well, it is what it is, that sweet boy and the position he, and so many other children like him are in, just breaks my heart. So if the segment has any impact and helps him get adopted by a loving family, any old ugly cry is worth it!
February 21, 2012 1 Comment
I love everything about this meal. There is very little prep, only minutes of hands-on time, and only 1 knife, 1 microplane, and 1 pan to clean. You pop it in the oven, set the timer, and go about your business.
I wish I would have created this fabulous recipe, but alas it was the lovely Nigella Lawson. I have a few minor revisions. For instance – the addition of one of my favorite ingredients – smoked paprika. Enjoy!
February 20, 2012 4 Comments