Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

I’ve never made any Cajun or Creole food, so I figured it was about time to experiment.  This is a Cajun-style recipe because the base of the gumbo is a dark roux and the aromatics are the trinity of onion, green pepper and celery.  This recipe is based off the “Spicy Seafood Gumbo” from Emily Ansara Baines’s “The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook,” although I added sausage, forgot to buy celery and the store didn’t have any okra.  Okra is an awesome vegetable, you should add some if you have it.  But anyways, this is a pretty easy and turned out pretty delicious. DSC_0298 Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 2 tbsp seafood seasoning, I used some crab/shrimp/crawfish boil seasoning I found at the grocery store
  • 2 tbsp Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (less if you want less spice)
  • 2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 sausage of your choosing, I used boudin sausage made of pork and pork liver
  • 1 box of rice, I used Zatarain’s brand Dirty Rice Mix

Start by boiling water for the rice and prepare per the box directions. Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Take a wild guess at what I used… DSC_0284 THE DUTCH OVEN DUH. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir with a fork or whisk.  I have this super nifty flat whisk and it rules at making a roux.  It’ll initially foam up a bunch like this: DSC_0285 So the tricky part about making a roux is that it’s so easy to burn it’s insane.  When you’re doing this part, make SURE you’re constantly stirring and watching it.  I stopped for 10 seconds to take a picture and ruined my first attempt; had the whole house smelling like burnt popcorn and you DON’T want that in your food, it’ll taste naaaasty. Just keep stirring.  Slowly it’ll start to get golden. DSC_0288 And it’ll get a little brownish… DSC_0290 Keep stirring constantly, you want your roux to be as dark as possible without having any burnt bits. DSC_0291 Keep going until it’s EVEN MORE brown.  DO NOT STOP STIRRING seriously it’s not fun to stir that long and burn it. DSC_0293 Continue reading

Summer Eats from Coast to Coast

Here’s some of the amazeballz things I’ve been eating/drinking this summer:

1.  This photo is reaaaally old but brunch here was amazing and The General Muir (http://www.thegeneralmuir.com/) is my oldest friend and future chef business partner’s favorite place to eat in Atlanta.  Highly recommended.

The Avenue A open faced bagel:  nova, schmear, avocado, grapefruit, cucumber, onion.

IMG_1745 10

2.  While in sunny SAN DIEGO for the 4th of July, I had lunch with my lovely mother at Prep Kitchen (http://www.prepkitchen.com/) in Little Italy:  to start, probably one of my favorite cocktails to date, London’s Burning.  Gin, jalapeño, avocado and lime.

IMG_2636 4

Followed up by a cold corn puree soup:

IMG_2637 4

And mussels with garlic, white wine, cream and fries:

IMG_2638 4

Continue reading

Shrimp and Grits

Sometimes I don’t understand why there are foods that I never ate before coming to Texas.  Like breakfast tacos (why are these not a thing EVERYWHERE?! I do not understand), or in this case:  GRITS.  Grits are like a big cheesy pile of delicious mush.  And when you put shrimp and gravy over them, it’s like an explosion of awesomeness in your mouth.  And turns out they’re pretty easy to make.  It was harder to FIND them in the huge ass Whole Foods than it was to cook them.

Shrimp and Grits

(based on this recipe:  http://www.annies-eats.com/2013/01/16/shrimp-and-grits/)

  • 2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • juice of a lemon
  • hot sauce (I used Sriracha because obviously – this is optional if you’re a wuss)
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grits (not the instant kind)
  • 6 slices bacon (I got the thick sliced stuff at Whole Foods)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 of a green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • a bunch of mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar

First, defrost your shrimp if necessary and peel them.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the shrimp and drizzle with hot sauce (in this case, Sriracha).

Sriracha just goes on everything in my house.

Sriracha just goes on everything in my house.

Toss all that together and set aside.

Grab your grits.  This was the only kind that Whole Foods has that weren’t instant, but I think there’s also yellow grits.

DSC_0014

Also known as polenta?! Who knew?!?!

Continue reading

Austin Foodz – the archive

So here in Austin there are one or two (or 50 or 100) ridiculously awesome places to eat.  Whether it’s a sit-down 5-courser or gracefully arriving at the window of a food truck at 2 am, the food here is simply incredible.  Here are a few recommendations (in no particular order, promise), along with some of the tastiest and most beautiful dishes (and drinks) I have been lucky enough to shove in my mouth over the past year and a half.  The following are based on photos from the archives of my cell phone, so apologies if 1. the picture SUCKS and/or 2. I can’t remember where or even what most of the components on the dish are…  Here goes nothin’

1. Franklin Barbecue (http://franklinbarbecue.com/)

Here’s what I have to say about Franklin’s:  no matter what anyone tells you, it is ONE HUNDRED percent worth the wait in line.  Seriously.  This is the best barbecue I’ve tasted EVER and as you’ll come to realize, I LOVE MEAT.

Here’s the deal with Franklin, if you don’t know (shame on you!):  they smoke a certain quantity of meat per day, and once they sell out, that’s it.  Closed.  So Tuesday-Sunday the line begins to form outside their 11th St. brick-and-mortar shop around 9:30 or 10 am, and it’ll grow and grow until the doors open at 11.  The food goes fast and typically can be gone even before everyone in line is served, so they send someone out do a preliminary order and eventually cut off the line where they guess they’ll run out.

Personal recommendation:  I like to go on Sundays, walking over from my house around 10 am with an iPod speaker and large jar of Bloody Mary or some beers to pass the time.  Bring a fold-up chair and a deck of cards and you will NOT regret it.  The brisket is out of this world.  Always ask for extra fatty because let’s be real, fattier=tastier.  Also phenomenal:  turkey soaked in clarified butter, beef ribs, pulled pork… aka EVERYTHING IS AMAZING.  If you are in the Austin area and haven’t gone to Franklin yet, you’re seriously missing out and you need to reevaluate your priorities.

Brisket, pulled pork and beef ribs with a side of beans and potato salad.  Served with raw onions, pickles and white bread.

Brisket, pulled pork and beef ribs with a side of beans and potato salad. Served with raw onions, pickles and white bread.

Brisket for daaaaays.

Brisket for daaaaays.

Continue reading