Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

I remember going on trips to New Orleans with my parents when I was a child. I will never forget going to a very authentic Cajun restaurant near Bourbon Street. Since the place did not have a child's menu, my parents ordered me a bowl of gumbo. I looked in horror and in disbelief at the large crab claws, oysters and shrimp shells floating around in my bowl. My dinner looked like it was going to make a run for it back to the sea. Now days I would give anything for a wonderful seafood filled bowl of gumbo. It is hard to beat Cajun cuisine. From the sauces, fresh seafood, étouffées, jambalayas and beignets, I love it all. 

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 stalks celery, finely diced
1/4 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 pound fresh Gulf shrimp, peeled
1 -2 andouille sausage, cooked and sliced
1 cup white rice cooked according to directions 
1 Tablespoon Gumbo File
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 cup of canned diced tomatoes 
3-4 green chives or onions sliced for garnish
1 container chicken broth
1 container fresh okra, sliced 
salt & pepper to taste

1/4  cup flour
4 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet on medium low heat. Slowly add in flour. Stir constantly until roux is a caramel color. If the roux starts to stick to the pan add more oil. For a thicker gumbo, add more flour.


Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot. Add garlic, onions, celery and bell pepper. Saute until tender. Add gumbo file, thyme, Tabasco and salt and pepper. Pour in chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. In a small bowl, ladle out 1 cup of the hot broth. Slowly incorporate the cooked roux. Pour back into the pot. Turn down to a simmer. Add  shrimp and sausage. Cook 30 to 45 minutes. Serve with cooked white rice. Garnish with gumbo file and green onions.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Very honored and passing on the Blog love

A big Thank You goes out to at Cackleberry Cottage for awarding my blog with the Liebster Blog Award. You literally made my day. 

Liebster means "dearest" or "favorite" in German. I now have the honor to pass the award to FIVE up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.
They may then pass it on according to the following rules.

1. Choose 5 "up and coming" blogs to award the Liebster to. They must have fewer than 200 followers.
2. Show your appreciation by linking back to the blogger that gave you the award.
3. Post the award on your blog and list the bloggers you are passing the award to.

I have to be honest, I read a lot of blogs so narrowing down the selection is difficult. Without further adieu... The bloggers are:


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Foliage Follow-Up January 2012

It was a beautiful day to get out in garden and snap some photos for Foliage Follow-Up hosted by Pam Penick at Digging. We haven't started landscaping yet, so this will give me a good idea of needs to stay in the garden and what might have to go. 

These Crinum Lilies have been in this garden for 30 years plus. They were a pass along from my Grandmother. These have such sentimental value to me so these are definitely staying. 

This is another pass along from my Grandmother. I love the delicate white flowers on it. I don't have an ID on it, so If anyone knows the name I would love to know it. Here is another picture of it.

I have a ton of Four o'clocks coming up from seed. They seem to love the cooler weather. They are starting to take over so some of them might have to go.

The impatiens I planted in a container this past summer are also loving this cooler weather. They seem to be doing well with neglect.

I planted this coral vine this past summer. I love the heart shaped leaves on it. 

Also planted this past summer was a bottle brush bush. There haven't been any blooms, but I still love the foliage. It kinda reminds me of an olive tree.

The diamond frost is still going after a long, hot summer. Here it is peeking through a spider lily.

I love this firecracker plant/bush. It is huge!! No blooms this past summer, but I love the fern like look of it.

This plant was difficult to get established, but now it seems very happy where it is.  Unfortunately, some of it might have to go. Here is a wide shot of it.

Gotta love annuals for some color. I love the gray and pink color on this kale.

Thanks for joining me in a walk around my garden. We have a lot of work to do this spring.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Texas Chili

 For some reason I associate chili with cooler weather. Maybe chilly = chili?? For a while, I used the pre-made  chili starter, you know, the one that comes in a box with all the spices, but I noticed it was missing something. I realized that I had never made chili from scratch, so I decided to give it a try. I came up with my version of Texas chili. How long has it been since you've had a big, steaming bowl of Texas chili? Well, that's too long! - Sorry, you knew I had to go there.

Texas Chili:

1 1/2 pounds, grass feed ground beef, (I used the 90%)
1 can kidney beans, (you can make this sans the beans if you like)
2 cans tomato sauce
1/2 onion, finely diced or microplaned
2 cloves garlic, finely diced or microplaned
2 1/2 cups beef broth
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/4 cup beer  
1 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 cup masa incorporated into 1/4 cup warm water
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large soup pot, add ground beef. Cook until meat has browned (3-5 minutes). Add finely minced onion and garlic. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add spices, tomato sauce, sugar and beef broth. Bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes on simmer. Add beer and beans and cook 10 more minutes. Mix masa and hot water in a small cup, add to chili. Top with shredded cheddar and diced onion.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Finch Fest Part 2

The finch fest is still in full swing, except now the American Goldfinches have decided to join in. There are usually around seven to eight birds on the feeder at one time. I normally refill the feeder every week, but lately it has been more like every couple of days.

I've also had the pleasure of watching a female Rufous hummer at the hummingbird feeder. Normally, I take my feeder down, but there is a woodpecker that is a sugar addict and can't get enough of the sugar water. I first spotted the Rufous on December 11th. I think there might even be a second Rufous  visiting the feeder. Could this be a sign that we are in for a very mild winter in South Texas?