Monday, September 20, 2010

Food brings us together

We went to the fair tonight. It was the typical (I guess) fare of food. You know the type- cheese on a stick, corn dogs, indian tacos, turkey legs, funnel cake, caramel apples, fried pickles, lemonade, and my favorite the German Nuts.

The booth for the beautiful Bavarian Nuts is in the exhibition hall closest to the petting zoo. The smell of sweet and spicy nuts fills the hall. They are full of warm flavors like cinnamon, brown sugar, and the roasting process brings out the wonderful earthy flavor. The pecans literally melt in your mouth.

When we found out two or three days ago that we would be going to the fair, I automaticaly thought, "I would love some of those spicy nuts."


So we went into the exhibit hall and my nose perked up and immediately pointed to the end of the room.
I'm not ashamed to say that like a child, I pushed and prodded and pulled my sweet, tolerant, and understanding hubby to the point of no return. We passed all of the outragous jewlery and Ed Hardy clothes. We made it past the funeral home booth, and I think possibly a musical cowboy.

We were there. My nose took in the full embrace of the heavenly smell. I opened my eyes and the proprietor's eyes met. Ryan tried to move on, but I held my ground! Smell doesn't give you calories, but I must admit I wasn't worried about calories!

All of a sudden in the midst of my aroma euphoria, I heard the proprietor say "I thought y'all moved to Europe or something?"

We had sold him one of our mattress sets in May of 09'. We talked to him about what we had been doing, and asked about his cutie kids.

Best part is that I got a free sample, and then...

and then....

My sweet, wonderful, crazy awesome husband bought me a paper cone of warm roasted almonds and pecans!

I love that hubby of mine!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Comfort food and beginings.

If you have read my very first blog post you know about my most distinct memory of food. A pig name Sally and an Uncle named Ben. A match made in heaven!

I haven't ever told you though where my true love of cooking started. One of my greatest cooking influences, my Papa Fouse!
We would go and stay with them, and papa would make pancakes, Biscuits and Gravy, BBQ (he made his own sauce), and so much more!

On Saturday mornings at 10 am, he would watch Justin Wilson without fail. They kinda look a like. Well maybe not a ton.

Anyhow, JW was the first chef that got me interested in cooking. I remember how he would say "One teaspoonsfull, I want to be sure I don't lies to people about the teaspoonsfull, there you see." Cause he put it in his hand. Or "I gar-on-tee it". Did I mention he's awesome!

Ok so I didn't use the "holy trinity" of Cajun cooking, celery, pepper, and onion.
I did use onion and garlic. So this may not be the true authentication of Cajun Gumbo, but it was very good!

What I used:

Leftover turkey (you could probably use one chicken cut into pieces)
Smoked sausage (you should use Gumbo (andouille) sausage if you can find it)
4 strips of pepper bacon 
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped garlic clove
3 cups water
3 cups of broth
4 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Louisiana hot or tobasco sauce
  salt to taste

Start by cooking the bacon in the pot that you'll be making the Gumbo in. Once you've cooked the bacon and it has rendered most of its fat take the bacon out and turn your heat to low. Start adding the flour to the pot slowly.
You want to make sure that as you add the flour you get all of the lumps out before you add more flour. It should resemble a custard when your done...this is because you are also adding broth as needed to help it stay a bit moist.
When you have a nice brown roux (about 5 minutes) thrown in the onions and garlic and cook them for another 2-3 minutes, keeping in mind all the while, that you need to keep your roux moist.
Here is a video on how to make a roux that might help you if you are a virgin rouxster (hehehe):ROUX

To this mixture add the worcestershire sauce and the hot sauce. Stir!

Start adding the water and the rest of your broth. Stir, Stir, Stir. Make sure that all of your roux and liquid get completely and thoroughly mixed. Once they are mixed add the wine.  

Taste it and if you think it needs salt add some, if it needs more pepper sause add some!

Now add the meat (exclude the bacon).

Let this come to a boil and then simmer for about an hour.
Here is the kicker you have to put this into the fridge and let the flavors meld! I would really actually recommend this for any soup, but especially the Gumbo!

I know that probably some of you are saying this isn't true Gumbo. You are kind of right. I made this to suit my family. Personally I would have added File' already and okra, and some wonderful rice!
Instead I put out a pot of rice, fried the okra, and left the file' on the table along with extra hot pepper sauce. This made for a happy family.
Someone once told me that Gumbo is like Minestrone You add everything but the kitchen sink.

All I know is that this was my first time making Gumbo and I will be doing it again. It was comforting like bread pudding and and warmed the soul like a good bourbon. I can't wait to do this again without stipulations from others! 

Friday, September 10, 2010

My weakness....In Amarillo

I'm stuffed to my eyeballs; filled with my favorite soup in Amarillo.
Everyone knows where to get it...this lovely soup. MyThai...Toom Yum Noodle Soup!

Oh I love it. It is a stinky little piece of heaven. The beautiful pinkish, for it was a bit pink with chili today, broth is spicy and sour. The huge bowl (literally bigger than my head) is filled to the brim with ground pork, thin sliced chicken, lots of noodles, bean sprouts, lemon grass pieces, and two shrimp. 

I'm slightly uncomfortable right now. I ate the WHOLE thing....well, not quite the whole thing, all the stuffs and some of the broth.

It's become a beloved tradition in this odd sort of place in our lives that we meet with our dear friends the Underwoods and Sandy for lunch on Fridays when we are in Amarillo. Melinda and Sandy work together in the Medical District, so we always go to MyThai because it is close and fast!

I know what they will order and they know what I will order! It's a favorite. I don't do that at other places, just order 1 thing over and over and over, but I love the soup. And I might add that I have tried other things there, and some are good, I just love the dang soup.

Actually let me give you another soup of thiers that is also on my favorites list there. Thai Coconut soup. The broth is silky smooth with a hint of spice and lots of wonderful coconut flavor. It's chockfull of chicken and green onions! YUMMY!

So, "Wheel of Morality turn, turn, turn. Tell us the lesson that we should learn. Lesson #7: try the soups." Hahaha, Animaniacs, but really if you don't want stinky try silky!

If you read this then I would like your input! Do you have a great soup that you love? Any good french onion recipes? We are getting closer and closer to soup season, and it's time to share your favs with others! Please and thank you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Can you smell it. Bright and a bit pungent as well.
I love Garlic. No matter what you do to it!
Roast it! Sauté it! Mince it! Shave it! Grate it! Slice it! And of course Fry it!

Ok did I mention I heart <3 the Garlic!

I had to use it in a recipe this last week. My mother-in-law, Donna, had this new kitchen tool that she wanted me to try out. It's a garlic roller, but not what you would normally think of as a garlic roller.

What it does; well it does what it does with peeled garlic cut into smaller pieces.
Let me just show you the pictures.

Garlic in! 

Roll, Roll, Roll, With all your might kids, Roll the dang snot out of the dang Garlic!
Done! Not bad! It was however more work than just slicing and mincing myself. All together I give this a D. If you like to invoke the help of children then it might be a C at best. I would say don't waste your moolah on this gadget.

Roasted Root Veg and Butternut Squash! YUMMMY!

1 butternut squash peeled and cut into 1" pieces
2 Red Onions
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 lb. of potatoes cubed into 1", I used a white and rather creamy type
Carrots, in thick strips, about 1" wide
Parsnips, in thick strips, about 1" wide
Turnips, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
3 sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
(I do have to recommend HIGHLY the fresh, it's just better)
Sea Salt (or Kosher Salt)
Fresh Ground Pepper (again just better)
Olive Oil (enough to coat all of the veg)
1 cup of broth

Heat the oven to 450* F. and Roast the veg for 30 minutes. Take it out and let it rest for 10 minutes. Turn the oven to 350* and add 2 ladles, or about 1 cup of broth. The type of broth is your choice. I had chicken on hand so I used that. Turn all the veg around to coat in the broth.
Put back in the oven for another 20 minutes. If you like your roasted veggies to be a little crispy you will want to keep them in about 5-10 minutes longer than that!
They are done, enjoy!

This recipe has been modified from one I found in a Magazine.