Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Dinner

I had a really busy week. My daughter and The Marine, as well as the Blog Tech came for an early dinner. I promised The Marine that if he came back to visit I would make gumbo. I also promised to make them a lot of food to take back with them and I sure did just that. I was so busy that I took some bad photos and missed taking some photos all together. For instance, I had the camera out to take photos of my daughter with her marine and guess what? Yep! Did not take a single one. Well, once I get talking, pretty much everything else goes right out the window.

This photo was taken just before they all arrived. I made each of them an Easter basket.

And look what The Marine brought for me! I am a sweat shirt kind of girl so I love this.

I made sure to make lots of sweet tea.

And I made Southern banana pudding. This is mid recipe. I, of course, forgot to take a pic of the finished pudding. And then when I served it, I forgot to add the raspberries and blackberries I bought to top it with. I guess that is why my daughter bought me a birthday card that said, "when people ask me what is wrong with you, I tell them you are drunk so they won't think you are just old."

We had wedge salads to start. I made ranch dressing and topped it with diced hard boiled eggs, crumbled bacon and thinly sliced red onions.

And then I served the gumbo. I loves me some gumbo and so does The Marine.

I started the gumbo by roasting a couple chickens.

Then I used the bones and skin to make chicken stock.

After simmering for hours the stock was ready.

I strained it and refrigerated it overnight. In the morning the fat layer can be lifted right off of the stock.

Then I decided I did not have enough dark meat for the gumbo so I roasted a bunch of chicken legs.

I defrosted the cracked French bread I made last week. You need bread to soak up all of the gumbo juice left in your bowl.

You start the gumbo with the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking. Peppers, celery and onions....perfect for Easter.

I always use the best smokey meats in my gumbo. Debreziner sausages are the thin ones, andouille is the thick links and on the top right is tasso which is a smokey, spicey Cajun ham.

The sausage is sauteed in a bit of corn oil to retain it's flavor while cooking.

Remove it and set it aside, leaving the oil in the pot. Now it is time to make the roux. You need a ratio of 1 cup flour to 1 cup oil. I am making a lot of gumbo here so I used 2 cups of each. Also, make sure to have all of your vegetables diced before you start the roux. I added okra but forgot to take a pic of it.

The roux starts out a very light color. It must be stirred constantly over medium heat.

You want the roux to be a dark reddish brown. This pic shows it about half way there. I don't have the finished pic because I am not a brave person. This is some very hot and scary stuff.

The moment the roux reaches the right color, turn off the heat and dump in all of the vegetables. Stir to coat the vegetables and stop the roux from browning further.

Stir in your stock.

Sorry about the blur but next you stir in some chicken demi glace.

Add your sausage, 4 bay leaves, a couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce to taste and salt and pepper. I added some Maggi too. Keep tasting until you get the flavor you want. About an hour before serving, add a couple pounds of unpeeled raw shrimp. At the same time I made a slurry with a few teaspoons of file' powder and water and added it to the gumbo. I added cocktail crab claws a few minutes before serving. Serve with a scoop of rice. Another photo I forgot to take.

We had deviled eggs too.

The Marine made this Easter very special for us. He is the best and so interesting too. We got to play with my Camaro a bit too. Can you tell how much I like him?

I can't wait for the two of them to come back soon for another visit. Teddy didn't get a piece of him either though they had an unpleasant meeting with a gate between them. It is very hard to convince people that first impressions are lasting impressions with Chow Chows. If you do something they don't like when you first meet them, they never forget it. If you ever meet a chow always remember this first rule of NEVER approach a chow to pet it, they have to approach you once they have checked you out and figured out whether they trust you. The Marine tried to pet Teddy. Teddy was not happy. She sure never changes! Thank God the Marine still has ten fingers.