Gumbo is a native dish of Louisiana, and it is perhaps the most famous dish. Gumbo means, “all together” or “all at once” as in the expression gumbo ya-ya means everyone talking at once. The term evolved from the African “kingombo” or “ngombo,” okra, a vegetable used to thicken and flavor the dish.
SHRIMP AND CRAB GUMBO
2/3 cup oil or bacon drippings
1 cup flour
3 pounds okra, cut
3 large onions, chopped
2 cans (8 ounce size) tomato sauce
1 dozen raw crabs, cleaned
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
1/4 large bell pepper, chopped
3 pounds raw shrimp, peeled
2 pounds crab meat
2 quarts water
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
In skillet make roux using oil and flour. Cook until it is chocolate brown color. Add chopped vegetables and stir until wilted. Transfer to large gumbo pot (not iron, as iron will make okra turn black). Add water and bring to a boil. Add seasonings, okra, and tomato sauce. Boil for approximately 1 hour. Add crabs, green onions, and parsley; continue boiling for about 20 minutes. Add scrimp 2-3 minutes after crabs. Just before serving add crab meat and oysters. Serve over hot fluffy rice in gumbo bowls.
Variation: Omit okra or tomato sauce. Instead of seafood, use large hen, wild ducks, geese, turkey carcass, or other type meat. Cook until tender.
PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 (6-ounce) packages white chocolate squares or white baking bars, chopped
3/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Line 8-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges. Butter foil; set aside.
2. In large saucepan, heat sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter over medium heat until just bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in white chocolate until smooth. Immediately stir in peanuts and vanilla.
3. Pour into prepared pan; spread evenly. Cool. Cover and chill 2 hours or until firm. Use foil to life out of pan. Sprinkle with additional chopped peanuts if desired. Cut into squares. Store covered in refrigerator.
Makes 64 pieces (about 2-1/4 pounds.)
This is a pie recipe that I am happy to share with you. It’s one of my best. I made it decades ago for my three young children; Stephen, Bruce and Linda. They liked it as well as I did. This pie is easy to make.
CREAM CHEESE PIE
1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust
1 pkg. (8-oz) regular cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whip until stiff:
1/2 pint whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar
Fold cream cheese mixture into whip cream mixture. Put in pie crust and chill.
SWEET PEACH PANCAKES
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more if needed
2 to 3 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
Sorghum, cane or maple syrup, for accompaniment
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a bowl. Combine the milk, egg, and butter in a large liquid measuring cup. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk jut until combined.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Heat an iron skillet over medium heat and lightly coat with canola oil. Add 2 peach slices, then ladle 1/4 cup of batter over the peaches for each pancake, cook only a few at a time.
Cook until the bubbles on top burst and the bottoms are golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan as necessary. Transfer to a warmed serving platter.
Serve hot or warm with sorghum, cane or maple syrup.
Makes 16 pancakes.
Grits are a common breakfast plate in the Southern US states where they are usually eaten with salt or cheese and never sugar unless you want a firm talking-to from the locals or an accusation that you don’t appreciate or understand the wonders of grits. Grits are also common, however, in East Africa where it is called Ugali and in southern Manchuria where it is called Gezi. The word “grits” is a derivative of the Old English word “grytta,” which means a coarse meal of any kind. No matter the name, grits are a wonderful and delicious way to start the day.
Grits are basically coarsely ground corn that makes a sort of maize porridge. They are prepared simply by boiling the grits into a porridge or until enough water evaporates to leave them semi-solid, depending on your preference.
CHEESE AND GRITS CASSEROLE
4 cups boiling water
1 cup quick cooking grits
1/4 stick butter
6 to 8 ounces of shredded sharp cheese, according to taste
3/4 cup milk
Bring water to boil, slowly add the grits, stirring until done, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and cheese and thoroughly melt. Place eggs in measuring cup and fill with milk to make 1 cup. Beat and add to grits mixture. Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
Serves 6 to 8.
MEXICAN QUESO FRUOLES DIP
1 (15-ounce) can refried beans
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) package jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Combine refried beans and cream cheese with an electric mixer. Spread in an 8-inch round Pyrex dish. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips.
New Orleans is famous for a lot of different meals – chief among them is the traditional rice dish known as Jambalaya. While various ingredients in Jambalaya can vary from chicken, sausage, seafood, or any mixture of the three, the bold flavor and perfect spice is always present. The Dictionary of American Food and Drink states that the dish was born late one night when a traveler arrived at a New Orleans Inn long after dinner had been served. According to the story, the inn’s cook, a man named Jean, was told to “balayez,” or “throw something together” to feed the man. The results were delicious and the name later evolved to “Jambalaya.”
NEW ORLEANS STYLE JAMBALAYA
2 pounds smoked sausage, 1/4 inch slices
1 large diced onion
1 medium diced green pepper
4 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
3 cups white rice
1 package dried onion soup
2 tablespoons Tabasco
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
5 cups water
Cook sausage until browned. Add onion, pepper, celery, garlic, and saute’ until tender. Stir in rice, soup mix and seasonings. Add water and cook until rice is tender, about 45 minutes.