Thanksgivingness

I'm rarin' to go.

I woke up early-ish and managed to get sucked in by the programming on the Food Network on the subject of Thanksgiving. I just managed to catch the vaunted Emeril make a lumpy pumpkin creme brulee and burn his turkey. (Hee!)

Anyway, as a service to humanity here are my Thanksgiving recipes, all in one easy to access lump.

http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/thanksgiving-101-syllabus.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/thanksgiving-101-soup.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/thanksgiving-101-salad.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-turkey.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-potatoes-ormake-me.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-stuffingdressing.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-pie.html

and for people to see exactly what it all entails:

http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/better-late-than-ever-part-1.html

I reiterate that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday in spite of the fact that I (and Numbah One Son, as my sous chef and food processor/stand mixer switch operator) have to sling out foodstuffs for a regiment of friends and relatives.

This year NOS wants to have more of a hand in the roasting of the turkey. So, we invited his best pal's family (his best pal's mom was TFBIM's best pal) for Practice Thanksgiving. Pretty small scale stuff, a turkey breast in lieu of a turkey so large that it may be safely said it has a fuselage, equivalent amounts of mashers/stuffing, and pecan tartlets instead of a big ol' honkin' pie.

It's good-funny to see NOS wielding a Japanese Chef's Knife. I had managed to score a 5" Cuisinart one for $8! So I had to spring for it. It's actually pretty useless for anyone with a ring size over 6, but it's ideal for a bright lad of 9. We have to be clandestine when exercising his knife skills because other members of the family--and I'm not naming names, mind you--would have a conniption, fit, seizure or wind up rolling on the floor, twitching and foaming freely from every conceivable orifice because "9 year olds shouldn't even be in the kitchen."

But then again, I have always have issues with acquiescing to authority, etc. and I do whatever I want.

One of those rules which I cheerfully disregard is the one about giving spicy food to kids. While I was grocery shopping earlier in the week, I managed to find for-real Andouille* sausage and that got me inspired to cook something I hadn't in forever. Gumbo. For those not up to speed, gumbo is a sort of soup from New Orleans and it evolved from the bouillabaise brought by the French settlers, as filtered through the kitchens manned by the slaves also brought by the French settlers. It's one of those general categories of foods rather than a specific and strictly codified recipe. It usually contains some sort of poultry or game, some sort of cured pork and some sort of seafood. But it may omit one or two of these. It may be thickened with okra ("Gombo" in West African parlance, whence the name comes.) or roux or powdered sassafras leaves (filé). It may be thin or thick, dark or light.

Anyway, Wednesday's version was a pretty simple affair: Andouille, Scallops & Shrimp.

Here ya go.

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper or poblano pepper (depending how hot you like it, the poblano will be slightly hotter)
1/4 cup chopped celery
6 garlic cloves, mashed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
10 oz andouille sausage, sliced 1/4"
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup shrimp broth (made with 2 cups water and the shrimp shells)
2 teaspoons Creole/Cajun seasoning**
24 uncooked small--think spoon-size--shrimp, peeled (save the peels!) and deveined
12 oz scallops (bay or sea or calico, whatever is fresher)

Sprinkle flour over bottom of heavy large pot. Stir flour constantly over medium-low heat until flour turns golden brown (do not allow to burn, about the color of a light caramel), about 15 minutes. Set aside flour into bowl. Heat oil in same pot over medium heat. Add vegetables and sauté until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and bay leaf; stir 1 minute. Add sausage and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes, then add browned flour. Add tomatoes with juices, broth and Creole seasoning. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently.

Add seafood to pot and simmer just until seafood is opaque in center, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a bottle of Tabasco to provide additional heat to those who like it that way. This is traditionally served with white rice. If you have leftover rice, you may stir some of it in. Otherwise, just mound it on a shallow soup plate and spoon the gumbo around it.

For dessert, we made Bananas*** Foster:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
6 ripe bananas, peeled, halved and sliced lengthwise
3/4 cup dark rum or bourbon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter foam subsides, lay the bananas in the pan and cook on both sides until they become slightly soft and brown, about 3 minutes. Remove. Off the heat, add the liquor and deglaze pan. Back on the heat, add the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir until the sugar completely dissolves, about 2 minutes. OPTIONAL: Tip the pan slightly and carefully ignite the alcohol with a long kitchen match or kitchen lighter to flambe. Cook down until the liquor/sugar is a thin syrup (it will thicken further as it goes on.)

Divide the ice cream among dessert bowls. Gently lift the bananas from the pan and place 2 pieces on the ice cream. Spoon the syrup over the ice cream and serve immediately.

-J.

* That is the sausage typical of the New Orleans area, a product of the "Cajun" (Acadian) French refugees from Nova Scotia. It's rather spicy and very yummy.
** If you want to make your own, this is my recipe:

3 tablespoons sweet unsmoked (i.e. plain) paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons hot & smoked paprika
5 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder

*** Sorry, Australia. I'm not rubbing it in, I swear. You know I'd go to my tree and mail you some if I could get it past Customs.

Comments

MsCellania said…
This corks it.
Next Life I am marrying a man who cooks.
daysgoby said…
Gumbo without okra! Now this is a recipe I can get behind!
Yommy. (Or would that be Yombo?)
Badger said…
There is no such thing as gumbo without okra, regardless of whatever fusion crappe y'all are used to over there on the fringes of Paradise(tm). If there's no okra, it's just SOUP, yo.
Joke said…
Badge,

Take it up with the New Orleaninians. (In a former life I was engaged to one of them.) Okra gumbo is wildly distinct from filé gumbo which is wildly different from plain (i.e. roux-based) gumbo.

But they're all gumbo.

-J.
Yeah, well, I was really getting into your whole North American weirdness of thanksgiving groove there and you had me well past the odd but makes-sense spelling of 'gombo'...

but you HAD to go and bring up the bananas, didn't you?

Which are, by the bye, still about $12 a kilo or !@#$$# $28 per pound. Whatever that equates to in your Disney money.
Joke said…
I suspect corruption at whatever gummint agency is in charge. AU$28/lb. for bananas is utter, unbridled madness.

Ovah heah they're ~AU$3/lb., for those benighted bastids who don't have a tree or two in their back garden.

-J.
Stomper Girl said…
Wow, this all looks and sounds so good I can almost smell it from here. I may even have a go at the maple pecan pie as can usually manage not to mess up baking assignments, and it looked divine.

Why are mashed potatoes heretical with Thanksgiving Turkey? and, why then does it look like (last year) you serve(d) them anyway?

Also, (recent reader of your blog) have spent the last 3 weeks trying to work this out and I'm stumped.
The F... B... You Married?
Funny Blonde?
Famous Broad?
Fabulous Bride?
Joke said…
SG,

TFBIM = The Fabulous Babe I Married.

The heretical part of the mashers is the way in which I prepare them. Most methods avoid (or try to avoid) shearing open the potato's cell wall, thereby releasing starch, because that can make the mashed potatoes stiff and pasty.

I, instead, seek to shear open those same cells because that way additional dairy flavor (butter, cream, evaporated milk, buttermilk, or whatever) may be infused without resulting in something runny. This is best done in a food processor and 99.999% of people in this world consider this sheer heresy.

Now you know.

-J.
Stomper Girl said…
Thankyou for that clarification! I'm all for extra dairy goodness in my mash.
--erica said…
You lost me at "a Practice Thanksgiving".
Poppy Buxom said…
Holy shit, those are some expensive bananas.

Up here in the semi-frozen north, where the only people with banana trees keep them in a glass house, located, on their spacious grounds, somewhat apart from their ordinary house--probably near their coachhouse and/or guest cottages. But these people need not concern thee and me.

At any rate, around here, as long as you aren't growing them yourself, bananas are .89US$/lb., or for those of you who are numbers-challenged, eighty-nine cents a pound.

However, the price of kangaroo meat? Appalling!
Joke said…
Erica,

The impetus behind that was to give NOS something to heave in the oven.

-J.
--erica said…
my kids have the stomach flu.

"heave" is such a wrong word to use.

OH. thank you for finally clearing up the TFBIM thing.
Joke said…
Ooops.

M'kay. Place in the oven.

-J.
I think heave works ;)

Happy to trade kangaroo meat for bananas. Saw some lovely little rolled roasts of kangaroo in the supermarket yesterday. Still cheaper per kilo than the Bent Fruit. Some weird people here just refuse to eat the national symbol.
L. said…
What wines will be be consuming sir?
Joke said…
I'm still waiting for the wine list, those @#$%ers.

Now that I think of it, I may get off easier paying the $__ corkage fee and supplying my own...

-J.

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