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Gizzard Gumbo

This recipe is based on one from Justin Wilson, a Cajun cook who used to appear on TV. It’s simple and very rich. This is a dish I don’t serve to guests. Most people don’t really know gizzards and it seems like a dirty trick to invite someone to dinner and then serve them food they may not want to venture. The idea of having guests is to serve, not force your own ideas of great food. Imagine my surprise tonight to wander upstairs to the kitchen for a second helping and find my daughter and her new friend slurping down the gizzard gumbo. I didn’t even know anyone was here. I may have to rethink my position on the whole gizzards and guests idea.

Start by making a roux of 10 Tbsp. butter, melted and 10 Tbsp. flour, stirred into the butter. Roux is the basis for many sauces. Butter provides a way to disburse flour as a thickener into a liquid so that it’s not lumpy.

Simmer the roux over low heat, stirring very frequently, until it is a rich brown color.

Add 1 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 cup chopped parsley. In Cajun cooking they call the onion, pepper, and celery combination the holy trinity. It’s the Cajun version of mirepoix.

Let it saute for a while.

Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup cold water and 2 cups white wine. Place back over heat and add 2 cups water. Stir well.

Add 1 cup chopped chicken gizzards.

Try to get your hands on real Anduille sausage (a Louisiana spicy link sausage).

Add 1 lb. sliced Anduille.

Stir in 1 tsp. hot sauce (like Tabasco) and 2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce. Add about a tsp of salt. Let simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. Check the salt before serving.

File powder is ground sassafras. This is not a necessary component to the dish, but it surely makes it authentic.

Sprinkle file powder in the bottom of your bowl.

Add some rice to your bowl. I love jasmine rice and use it for everything. Regular white rice is fine.

Spoon the gumbo over the rice and stir to mix everything together in your bowl. Enjoy.

Gizzard Gumbo

Ingredients for Gizzard Gumbo

10 Tbsp. butter

10 Tbsp. flour

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 cups white wine

3 cups water

1 lb. chicken gizzards

1 lb. Anduille sausage (or other Polish style sausage)

1 tsp. hot sauce (Tabasco)

2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce

Salt to taste

File powder, optional

Prepared rice (stir 1 cup rice into 2 cups boiling liquid and let simmer, covered, on low heat for exactly 25 minutes–don’t peek, don’t stir, just let it simmer with the cover on for exactly 25 minutes)

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Chicken Enchiladas

I really like this dish. The original recipe called for frying each tortilla in oil, which I have done many times. As far as flavor goes, I don’t see much advantage to doing it that way. This way works just fine and is much faster and less messy. It’s probably better for us, too. I don’t see why you couldn’t use a low-fat cream cheese for the filling and a fat-free Half n Half instead of cream if you wanted to.

Stir fry 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast (or use leftover chicken meat) with 1 cup chopped onion. Be sure that chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add one 7-oz. can diced green chiles and 8 ozs (1 package) of cream cheese. Heat and stir until cheese is melted.

Spread filling down center of a flour tortilla and roll up.

Place rolled tortillas into a greased 13 x 9″ baking dish. I’ve tried using a spray-on oil, and it works, but is so slippery that it’s hard to deal with.

Continue filling and rolling tortillas until you’re out of filling, which makes 10-11 enchiladas.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese: Monterrey Jack, Colby, cheddar, or a combination of them.

Pour cream over all, about 2/3 cup or more.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Serve with favorite salsa.

Ingredient List

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 cup chopped onion

1 7-oz. can chopped green chiles

8 oz. (1 pkg) cream cheese

10-11 flour tortillas

1-1/2 cups shredded cheese: Monterrey Jack, Colby, cheddar, or combination

2/3 cup cream

Beer-Batter Halibut

Beer Batter

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. soda

1 cup beer

1 egg

Stir dry ingredients until mixed, then whisk in egg and beer. Whisk until smooth. Let stand while you prepare the fish. I think the batter will cover about 2 lbs of halibut. Start with one batch and either make more or throw away the leftover.

Cut halibut into 1″ chunks, approximately. Dredge halibut through flour, you’ll probably need about a cup of flour for this.

Deep fry in batches at 375 degrees until golden brown. I deep fry in canola oil using an old Fry Daddy that I bought at a garage sale. Drain on paper and serve with cocktail sauce or tartar sauce or lemon juice or malt vinegar or nothing at all. Delicious!

Heat oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients with egg and beer.

Whisk until the batter is smooth.

Take the skin off the halibut. Today I used two pieces this size.

Cut the skinned halibut into 1″ approximate chunks.

Dredge halibut in flour before dipping into batter. I put about a cup of flour into a 1 gallon bag and place 8-10 pieces of halibut into it and shake the bag. Then I remove the pieces and put them into the batter, making sure each piece is coated.

From the batter into the deep fryer. Don’t overcrowd it or the pieces will stick together and/or it won’t cook well.

Lift the pieces out when they turn golden, just a few minutes.

Put the pieces onto paper to get rid of excess oil. I use a paper-lined bowl.

Yeah. Yum.

Tortellini Salad

This is another dish I make frequently when I’m in a hurry. There are no specific ingredients, just a description. I buy fresh tortellini, any flavor or size package, from the deli section of the grocery. Prepare it according the directions on the package. While that water is boiling, fry up about a pound of Italian sausage, either bulk or links. If using links, slice them once they’re cooked . . . or before cooking. The goal here is to try for pieces of vegetables and meat which are of the same size as the tortellini. Don’t ask me why, it just seems to be more pleasing to the eye. Once the sausage is cooked, remove to a large serving bowl. In the same frying pan as you cooked the sausage, heat olive oil and stir-fry onion, pepper (bell, Anaheim, whatever kind seems good to you), garlic, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, parsley, and/or cherry tomatoes (or chopped tomato flesh). Once the vegetables are sauteed appropriately, add them to the sausage in your big serving bowl. Once the tortellini is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add tortellini to the bowl. Add a can of sliced black olives and a can of artichoke hearts (or cooked fresh or frozen). You don’t need to have all these ingredients all the time. Make a vinaigrette of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. When I made this dish the other night, unexpected visitors showed up and I couldn’t keep them out of the tortellini long enough to make the vinaigrette so I just splashed balsamic vinegar over the top and then drizzled olive oil over all, stirred it around and served it to rave reviews. It’s really not a fussy dish. Serve with garlic bread. You’ll be the toast of the neighborhood, or at least the toast of the house.

Cook 1# Italian sausage and place in large serving bowl.

Stir-fry in olive oil all, or some, of the following ingredients: zucchini, yellow squash, parsley, garlic, cherry (or chopped regular) tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, pepper (bell or Anaheim). Add a can of sliced black olives and artichoke hearts.

Add to the sausage in the serving bowl, along with cooked tortellini. Drizzle with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil vinaigrette. Stir. Serve. Tastes great with garlic bread.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Crisp is a simple “first fruits of Alaska summer” dessert. Yummy!

Mix together 5-6 cups chopped rhubarb, orange zest, 1/3 cup orange juice, 3 Tbsp. quick tapioca, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1 pint sliced strawberries. Let stand 15 minutes.

Pour into a buttered 9 x 9″ baking dish.

Mix together in a separate bowl: 1-1/2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter. Sprinkle over rhubarb mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until browned and filling bubbles burst slowly.

Tastes great topped with whipped cream, milk, or ice cream.

I made quiche today because my time to cook has been so sporadic that I wanted to make something that could be thrown into the refrigerator when finished, yet would make a nice lunch or light dinner without any further preparation. Quiche is basically a custard pie. If you have an uncooked pie crust and eggs and cream (or evaporated milk for you Bush types), all the other ingredients can be whatever you want. The basic custard proportions are 1 egg to 1/2 cup cream. Today I made two 9″ quiches and used 6 eggs and 3 cups cream. I’ve made quiche using canned salmon, ham, cheese, or broccoli. There are a lot of different things you can put into it. I have another recipe for quiche which calls for smoked salmon and uses cream cheese. Some day I’ll make that and post pictures/recipe. It’s sublime. For now, you get this.

Quiche

Quiche

4 Tbps. butter

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup sliced onions

2 handfuls asparagus, trimmed (tips kept longer than stems for even cooking)

1 garlic clove, minced

6 eggs, beaten

3 cups whipping cream

1/2 tsp. sugar

Salt and pepper

2 9″ unbaked pie crust

1 cup cheese, shredded (any kind)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Saute mushrooms in butter until nicely browned, remove from skillet and set aside. Saute onions, asparagus, and garlic until onion is transparent and asparagus is cooked al dente. Set aside. Mix together eggs, cream, sugar, salt, pepper. Prepare pie crusts into pans and distribute mushrooms and asparagus mixture evenly across the crusts. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Pour the egg mixture over all. Place pies into oven and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes. A knife inserted into pie should come out clean.

Saute mushrooms in butter until nicely browned.

Saute onion, asparagus, and garlic. Distribute evenly across pie crust, along with sauteed mushrooms.

Sprinkle evenly with shredded cheese. I used a Monterrey Jack/Cheddar blend.

Mix together eggs, cream, sugar, salt & pepper. Pour over the other ingredients in the pie crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 300 degrees and bake 30 minutes more. Remove when knife inserted into center comes out clean. Can be served hot, warm, or cold.

Didn’t last long

What kind?