Sunday morning was anything but lazy. We were up at the crack of dawn and finished staining the outside trim on the house - and yes, it was a WE. Finished by 9:20 AM, we were left with lots of time to just chill out the rest of the day - though I use the term "chill out" tongue in cheek since we've yet to turn the air conditioner on. The rest of the day we spent making whoopie pies - yup, they're in the freezer. I've got 2 dozen left to make and we'll have enough (maybe) for my guy's Human Resources class. Hey if you can't baffle them with B.S., surely whoopie pies will do the trick.
As for dinner, we're on a roll enjoying some Southern Cookin'. We were lucky to find some great looking frozen crawfish at Fry's Tangerine Crossing and and the perfect way to enjoy them is in a gumbo. I'd never had crawfish but GMan's certainly caught and cooked his share of them. I guess they are somewhat prolific little things and can be found in certain rivers in Oregon. Of course I can't give you any names or locations or he'd have to kill me - I sure don't want to give him a reason, ya' think?
Thank goodness he was here to help make the gumbo or I would never have known what to do with the little critters. Once thawed, he cleaned them and all I had to do was add them to the pot at the last minute. They look alot like miniature lobsters, don't they? He also prepped the onion, green pepper and celery for me. Aren't I just the luckiest?
Now...as for the main course, I know you'll all think I'm nuts to be making a gumbo when the heat is back on in Tucson, but I've made it alot since we've been here. This particular recipe is a combination of a bunch of recipes I've used...kind of all our favorites put together into one, so while I'd like to give someone credit for the inspiration, I can't point out anyone in particular...maybe the greatest influence is Emeril from his book "Every Day's A Party".
It does demand standing over the stove for a minimum of a 1/2 hour making a roux, but honestly gumbo is really, really worth the effort and there's no way to make it without making a roux first. It's not hard - all it takes is time, a glass of wine and/or a good book, music, a wooden spoon, a heavy pot - cast iron preferred, and equal parts flour and oil. Make sure your temperature is set at medium low to medium and stir, stir, stir. Watch for any backsplash, because roux when it's cooking is the kitchen's version of napalm. Get some on you and not only will the language be horrible, the burn will hurt like blazes, so be careful. You'll see from this recipe you cook the roux until it is a chocolate brown - somewhere between milk & semi sweet. Then you can get on with the cookin'.
To the gumbo police what I've done with this particular recipe is likely a sacrilege, but I think you should do whatever makes you happy and hang the regional rules and regulations. Download Seafood Gumbo Personally we like andouille sausage in our seafood gumbo, so its there along with shrimp and crawfish. Had I really been thinking I'd have bought some oysters, but I will when we do a repeat of this in Oregon, and believe me, there will be a repeat. Can't wait to make it with FRESH seafood and just caught crawfish, never mind cook with a view of the Yachats river in a kitchen that's under 95 degrees. Now that will be blissful!