Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Why does Mardi Gras sound so much more attractive than Fat Tuesday?

Since it was my day for dinner co-op, I decided I needed to do something for this holiday that I don't actually celebrate. I actually kind of think the idea of Lent is cool. Sometimes I've done it, mostly not. but I've been craving seafood lately and this seemed like a good excuse.
So, we started with the idea of Shrimp gumbo... but apparently I can't move the photos from my facebook to here so...

Anyway, we have a few people who don't like seafood (Mom), so I started out with some sausage that Meg had left over and cut up some chicken too, so that those people would have some food. My "research" showed that anything that runs, walks, swims, or flies can go into gumbo as long as you use a roux to set it. The recipe then suggested sauteeing okra "until the slimy strings stop forming". I thought, "hmm, let's just add spinach instead." The recipe called for oysters, shrimp, and crab, but I am cheap and crab is expensive right now, plus I didn't want to shell it and I didn't want the fake stuff. I figured with the chicken and sausage, oysters and shrimp would just about push us over the top on meat, which would be perfect considering the day. Next, I threw in some onions, garlic, celery, and carrots all diced up to sautee with the meat.
Once that cooked down, I put some in the other dish before adding the oysters (canned) and shrimp (tails on) and letting that cook. Next came canned tomatoes, the spinach, a couple bay leaves off the tree, vegeta (special eastern European seasoning that Elise introduced us to) some seasoned salt, salt, pepper, some water and pour the roux in once the other stuff has a chance to heat up. It was kind of a lot of work, but worth it.
I repurposed the leftover spanish rice from the night before into my version of dirty rice to serve it over.
I must admit, by the time I ate it, I could almost imagine I was sitting in the dim gaslight of Papadeaux (which is the closest I've been to New Orleans).
We had some toasted asiago bread and brie to go with.
Okay, I have to admit there was a flaw to my menu. I had already bought the cabbage to make cabbage crunch salad, and of course, that has a bit of an asian flair, but whose to say they don't have asian chefs in N.O. who wouldn't do the same thing. Thanks to Lauren and Mom for stepping in to put the salad together while I kept adding continuous ingredients to the gumbo. (It wouldn't be dinner at our house if someone didn't burn the almonds or the toast.)

My conclusion:
Dinner tasted good, but I'm not sure I have the patience to do that on a regular basis. I seem to have been choosing labor intensive dinners lately (frying tortilla bowls for the taco salad on Monday). It's probably the bounce back from pneumonia February.

I will try to get the pictures on here. I should know better than to use my phone, but I couldn't find my camera.
Then Mom had a watermelon that she balled to share, yum!