Tag Archives: seafood

Rice, Pickles & Fish Chowder


Is anyone out there Rice Challenged?   By this I mean – I can not cook rice on the stovetop. I have no idea why – its like a mental block.  We eat rice all the time so Thank Goodness for my rice cooker.

How did this happen?  I used to make rice on the stove top all the time – never had a problem wild rice, brown rice, basmati, jasmine – whatever!  I don’t understand how it is that I can make a 3 course  sit down dinner for  20 without batting an eyelash, but without my trusty rice steamer – plain ‘ol rice either crunchy or watery ?

The other thing I am totally challenged with is making pickles – don’t ask me – somewhere along the way I have lost my ability to make my own pickles so now I just steal  am given pickles by my Mother In Law.  (ya!) I figure if these are my two biggest challenges in the kitchen – no big deal – there are always ways to avoid them!  Hubby makes great rice!  My rice steamer and plenty of local pickle makers around for me to get my pickle fix on with!

Do you have any things that challenge you in the kitchen – that really shouldn’t?  Share!

My recipe today is our Dinner from last night – Fish Chowder – and o sooo good!

(sorry about the crappy picture quality – I can’t find my good camera) ahoy – ya ever been to sea Billy?…..Hearty Fish Chowder

Ingredients:
1/4 c butter
1/2 large Onion – chopped
1/2 each of a yellow and orange bell pepper – diced
4 dashes cayenne  pepper or Louisiana type hot sauce
3 cup fish stock
3TB (1.5oz) lemon juice
1 – 2 LB Basa Fillets
100 g shrimp (thats all I had add a LB if you have it!)
Any other seafood you want to add – scallops etc
3 cups white potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
2/3 cup chopped cooked bacon (or we use extra lean bacon style ham)

Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins

Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins

2 cup 1% milk
1 – 12 oz can (370 ml) evaporated milk
1 tsp sea salt
1tsp black pepper
1 cup frozen corn
Method:
Fish or Shrimp Stock:  
Peel shrimp – add tails and peels to a saucepan filled with water, 1 large green pepper quartered, tomato (optional), 1 onion quartered, about  1TB thyme, any fish bones or skin you may have or if you are not using shrimp in the recipe – open a can of salmon (packed in water) and pour the salmon water into the sauce pan and add 1/2 a can of salmon to your stock, Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour or longer. (Hint:  make extra and then freeze it in 1 cup sections – those mini snack bags hold a cup).

Method for Fish Chowder:   In a large stock pot – melt butter, add onions and peppers and cook until soft.  Add fish stock and bring to a boil, add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add fish/seafood, bacon, and lemon juice, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add milk and evaporated milk, salt, pepper and hot sauce.  Simmer for a few minutes add frozen corn and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Serve with homemade cornbread muffins for a heart comfort food meal!  EnJOY

I love hearing your feedback – let me know what you think!

From my Kitchen to yours Happy & Healthy Eating

Joy

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hey y’all – it’s Gumbo!


Some of my loyal followers here know that I worked a couple of Blues Festivals (Southside Shuffle & Kitchener Blues Festival) over the summer with Mississippi Queen Foods.  If there was anything I learned while working with the Mississippi Queen  a.k.a Connie  herself is that if your going to serve southern to a bunch of BoozeHounds  I mean Blues Fans it had better be good – and if its good people will LOVE it! I tried my hand out at making some Gumbo myself last weekend and have the pictures to prove it 🙂  and damned if I don’t think it tastes pretty freaking awesome!

But first the lesson part of today 🙂  What is Gumbo exactly anyway?  Gumbo is a soup/stew that typically contains 3 different meats,  or whatever you have, with a base is made from a roux,  the “Holy Trinity” of onions, green peppers and celery (the base to a lot of  creole or cajun dishes).  It usually contains Okra, Andouille Sausage (spicy pork sausage native to the N’awlins area) and seafood. Gumbo was born on the plantations where the slave owners would throw the slaves the “scraps” and thus Gumbo was born (hey I didn’t say it had a pretty beginning!) .

When I decided to try my hand at Gumbo I didn’t have any filé (ground Sassafras leaf) which is used as a thickener & to add flavour,  instead I used okra as a thickener.  (If you are wondering where you can buy the filé or other southern groceries here in Canada – take a look at the MQF – General Store.)
The first thing I did was start my stock – you can use chicken stock or water, but I was making my gumbo with shrimp and was peeling them anyway so I went ahead and made my own shrimp stock.

Shrimp Stock

Peel shrimp for gumbo, add peels to a pot of water with a roughly chopped/chunked  onion, a green pepper and a tomato (I used organic ones from my local farmer, Svetec Farms but any will do).  Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until you need it (at least an hour or so), when ready to use, pour stock thru strainer and disregard veggies & peels.

Here’s my recipe!

The Joy of Gumbo (come on – I haven’t made a “Joy” reference for a long time!)

You will need:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 LB chopped  lean bacon (pay more and get the less fatty ones – we use side bacon)
  • 2 cups chopped okra (wash, cut stem off and chop

  •  1 LB spicy pork sausage
  • 10 tomatoes chopped
  • 1-2 Jalapeno’s chopped
  • 1/2 c butter – melted (or lard 0r bacon fat! yikes!)
  • 2/3 c  all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups or so chopped onion
  • 4 green onions – chopped
  • 10 small green peppers diced finely

  • 2/3 c celery chopped
  • 2 TB parsley
  • 3 TB minced garlic
  • water
  • 8 c Shrimp Stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 10  dashes Louisiana Hot Sauce (or cayenne pepper sauce)

  • 1 Tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 1/2 LB peeled uncooked shrimp – large sized
  • 1/2 LB peeled uncooked shrimp – small

Cooking Equipment:

  • stock pot, sauce pan, frying pan/skillet, strainer

Method

Gumbo is an all day process – or ideally overnight – leave yourself lots of time!
Time saver hint:  Use a food processor to shred or chop your veggies except okra and tomatoes.

  1. Brown the sausage in the skillet – preferably use andouille sausage but if you are here in Canada its harder to get – I used a hot pork sausage, removed it from the casing and added cajun spice to it.
  2. Once the sausages are browned, discard the fat in the skillet, drain sausage meat on paper towel and set aside.  Add bacon to skillet and. cook until well done.  Remove to paper towel and set aside.
  3. Stir the okra into the hot bacon grease and saute for about 5 minutes,  drain the okra in a colander and discard the bacon drippings.
  4. In saucepan, add okra, jalapeno and tomatoes over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer the okra mixture for about 10 minutes.
  5. In a large stock pot, melt the butter (or lard)  over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion, green onions, green pepper, celery, parsley, and garlic until the onion begins to turn brown.
  6. After about 10 minutes, remove the vegetables but leave the butter in the pot
  7. Pour a glass of wine.  (you’ll be standing in one place for a while – might as well enjoy it)
  8. Stir in the flour, reduce heat to low, and cook the roux, stirring constantly, until it darkens in colour (anywhere from carmel to a milk chocolate colour).
    30 to 45 minutes.
  9. Whisk in 2 cups  of water or stock
  10. Do not the roux burn.
  11. When the roux is the correct colour, Raise the heat to medium; stir in salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and bay leaves, bring the mixture to a
     boil and stir in the sausage, bacon, okra-tomato mixture, and 6 more cups of
    stock.
  12. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer the gumbo, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened and the flavors are blended, about 45 minutes.
    Stir in the shrimp, and simmer until they turn pink and opaque, 6 to 8 more minutes. Discard bay leaves and adjust the seasonings, if desired, before serving.

Optional Step but I recommend.  

  1. If you can stand it, let the soup simmer for a few hours skimming fat/grease off the top every so often.  Personally, I like to refrigerate it overnight and let the fat form a layer on top, it can then can be easily skimmed off in the morning.

I serve this with Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread Muffins /Loaf. (Yes- I know its a stone and not a cast iron skillet – I couldn’t find my skillet- I sprayed the stone and preheated it previous to adding the batter, it worked pretty well)

Interesting to note: In Mississippi style southern cornbread there is no sugar or honey, the sweeter version is more popular in the north.   I make and prefer the unsweetened classic version but I had extra jalapeno’s so I them in.

You may wish to use filé or offer to anyone that wants a thicker gumbo (although this is pretty damn thick!).  You can substitute the meat ingredients however you wish,  chicken, catfish, crabmeat, crawfish, etc

Try it!  En”JOY” <grin> it and let me know what you think!

I recommend The Bayou Butt Burner Hot Sauce or Melinda’s Habanero Hot Sauce! ( you can order it online from MQF!)

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Till next time y’all
from my kitchen to yours,  happy & healthy eating

Joy