Recipe: Easy Gumbouffee

Recipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net

From the mad-scientist test kitchen: Gumbouffee

What’s that smell? Is that success or the huge pot of Gumbouffee?

My friends, it is both. Although it felt a little like mad science, the recipe for this semi-homemade dish turned out to be oh-so-delicious.

Like we talked about in Friday’s post, store-bought spice mixes are convenient, but they don’t deliver when it comes to authentic flavor and texture. Mainstream products are “good enough” to get by when you’re craving Southern food, but what if you want great?

We combined widely-distributed Louisiana-made products, additional seasonings and a few vegetables. The result was a savory etouffee-meets-gumbo.

The best part about this recipe is how easy it is. Even those who don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen can create an authentic Southern dish. No roux-related stress, no major time commitment. Just a fun, tasty meal with real Creole texture and flavor.

Total time spent in the kitchen was less than an hour, but the Gumbouffee tasted like it had been on the stove all day.

We used catfish in our recipe, but chicken, Andouille sausage, shrimp, crawfish or all of the above would be just as tasty. You could even add okra or diced tomatoes to make it your own. Follow these easy steps and you, too will be saying this sauce is c’est si bon.

Gumbouffee

–       1 box Tony Chachere’s Creole etouffee mixRecipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net
–       1 box Zatarain’s gumbo base
–       1 pound catfish, cut into large bite-size chunks
–       3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
–       1 large yellow onion, chopped
–       2 cups celery, choppedRecipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net
–       2 cups green bell pepper, chopped
–       ½ cup green onion, chopped
–       8 cups water
–       1 Tbsp Emeril’s Essence seasoning
–       1/4 cup blackened seasoningRecipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net
–       6-8 cups cooked white rice

Directions
–       Mix catfish pieces with blackened seasoningRecipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net
–       In a large pot on the stove, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium setting
–       In small batches, cook seasoned catfish until almost done, remove from pot and set aside
–       In the same pot, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sauté yellow onion, celery and bell pepper until onion becomes slightly translucent
–       Add Zatarain’s and Tony’s spice mixes, stirring to coat vegetables
–       Gradually add 8 cups of water while stirring frequently
–       Add Emeril’s Essence seasoning and catfishRecipe: Easy Gumbouffee | StayingSouthern.net
–       Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes until catfish is cooked through, liquid should coat the back of a spoon
–       Serve over cooked rice, garnish with green onion. Feeds 8-10 people

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Etougumbalaya? You work on the name, I’ll work on the recipe

cajungrocer.com

cajungrocer.com

It’s Friday and during Lent, that usually means fish is on the menu.

Tonight’s kitchen adventure features a little Cajun ingenuity and catfish.

While boxed spice mixes for gumbo, jambalaya and etouffee are easy to find outside the South, they come up short when it comes to flavor, texture and authenticity.

One dark and stormy night, it was time for dinner and we were without a plan. And hungry.

It's all about using what you have to your advantage in the kitchen | StayingSouthern.net

The red beans hybrid. In the words of Emeril Lagasse, “BAM!”

My husband and resident kitchen whiz dove into our stockpile of Cajun dry goods (yes, we have a shelf devoted to this).

He combined boxes of gumbo base, etouffee mix and red beans seasoning mix along with the Cajun holy trinity of fresh onion, bell pepper and celery. A ham hock and a couple bags of beans later, and we had a savory, authentic pot of red beans and rice. Sometimes you just have to use what you have to your advantage.

Tonight, we will make another attempt at combining store-bought Cajun favorites.

A few more seasonings, catfish and the Cajun holy trinity will make appearances in this recipe.

A few more seasonings, catfish and the Cajun holy trinity will make appearances in this recipe.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, catfish GumboJambaToufee. Or Gumbatouffee. Or Jambotoufee. Etougumbalaya?

You work on the name, I’ll work on the recipe.

Stay tuned to find out how it turns out and the full recipe!

Happy Friday!

Spanish moss attracts more than just Southerners

There I was, standing in the checkout line at WalMart in Bend, OR.

I looked like a Creole doomsday prepper with a grocery cart full of canned goods; mostly black-eyed peas and French cut green beans. I live in the sticks. When you live way out of town, you have to stock up on certain necessities – my household is never without black-eyed peas.

We do silly things sometimes when we miss home. | StayingSouthern.net

Spanish moss is a perennial epiphytic herb. It is not Spanish, nor a moss, but a flowering plant.

Two checkout lanes over to my left, I saw a woman about my age. In her cart, I spotted a MiracleGro package that said, clear as day, “SPANISH MOSS.”

My heart stopped.

My thoughts began to swirl:

She must be from the South.

Only someone who is desperately homesick for the South would try to grow Spanish moss in this high desert climate. Maybe I should try it in my garden this year.

She looks really happy and smiley. And she’s curled her hair and wearing a lot of eyeliner. Yep. Definitely a Southerner.

She probably just moved here from South Carolina and misses home.

We do silly things sometimes when we miss home. | StayingSouthern.net

(janeluriephotography.wordpress.com)

Hmmm. She might not be very bright if she plans on hanging Spanish moss from Ponderosa pines. I won’t hold that against her. We do silly things sometimes when we miss home.

And boy, do we.

I heaved my cart full of canned goods out of line and pushed it over to the woman.

“Excuse me, miss?” I said.

She interpreted my salutation as a request to get out of my way. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said as she began to wheel her cart backwards.

“I am just wondering… Are you trying to grow Spanish moss here?” I asked.

She worked for a daycare and this week’s craft project was constructing fairy houses. Apparently, fairies have roofs made of Spanish moss. They must be Southern, too.

“Oh,” I said.

I retreated back to my checkout lane.

It’s true – we do silly things sometimes when we miss home, like approach strangers in WalMart. But in my defense, in the South, asking a complete stranger about their gardening plans is perfectly acceptable. Southerners go on living like they are in the South, even if they’re not.

We do silly things sometimes when we miss home. | StayingSouthern.netMy attempt to find a kindred Southerner may have been thwarted, but it won’t stop me from being just as friendly in the future. It also won’t deter me from possibly building some small, Spanish moss-covered houses to attract Southern fairies.

How to Write a Thank You Note (and why you should)

In this era, steeped in technology, it’s hard to sit down and hand-write a thank-you note when sending a text, tweet or email is so much easier.

Those forms of thank-yous might be immediate, but they’re hardly as personal as a penned note in the mail.

My mother and her sister exchange thank-you notes practically every day, even though they live less than a mile away from each other. They write cards to one another for things as simple as a good chat during a power-walk around the neighborhood or bringing a quiche to Sunday brunch.

It’s easy to feel like thank you notes are wasted on those who don’t write them at all. But, it’s been my experience that showing appreciation is never lost on anyone.

A thank-you note is a tangible experience. Think about it: what do you do when you see an envelope that isn’t a bill or a pre-approved credit card? You smile. You enjoy the feel of the unincorporated envelope and the hand-written address. Then, you open it… and smile again.

A quality thank-you note should read like this:

Dear _________ ,

1. An expression of gratitude for the kindness/gift/presence.
2. How thoughtful it was/how much it was appreciated.
3.  A mention of the future: When you will be seeing each other again and how lovely it will be.
4. Another brief expression of appreciation, closing salutations and the author’s signed name.

Send one of these and people will remember you for the lengths you go to express your gratefulness. The thank you note is possibly the easiest way to create a positive, lasting impression on anyone.

Good manners and gratitude know no zip codes. So keep on writing, because nothing makes a person feel appreciated like receiving a hand-written piece of mail, sent just to say “thank you.”