Okra Gumbo with Sausage and Fish

My friend Mike offers us his classic gumbo recipe with okra, andouille and seafood. I wish I had gotten a chance to taste it, but the color of that roux is evidence enough that it must have been great.

This recipe was adapted from several in Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. This gumbo is a family favorite. It isn’t too spicy, has a delicious toasty, nutty complexity from the roux, and the okra keeps it from being too thin (the darker you make a roux, the less thickening power it has). It is, however, a definite time commitment. This is a recipe where you should have everything completely prepped and lain out before you start heating the oil for the roux.

Gumbo previously: Gumbo with Chicken, Andouille and Shrimp
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Butterflied Dijon Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

My friend Mike is back with another great recipe. Here he spatchcocks the chicken so it roasts faster and more evenly, keeping the white meat just as juicy as the dark. See Mike’s other posts here.

This is a relatively simple and wonderfully delicious way to roast chicken. The juices from the chicken baste the vegetables while they roast together, while the mustard and herbs de Provence pair very well. And it’s much quicker than many other roast chicken recipes! The recipe was inspired by Jacques Pepin’s “Fast Food My Way” TV series.

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Apple Celery Salad

This is a little something I came up with a few months ago when the only fresh produce I had were apples and celery. The two are a great combination, and with sunflower seeds and a quick cider vinaigrette, this has become one of my favorite sides. The apples make it a good complement to pork, but it's so crisp and refreshing, it's a good addition to any barbecue or picnic.

With Mark Bittman talking about his favorite simple salads, I figured it was time to share my new one.

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Spicy Sloppy Joes

Posts have been slow for the past few weeks, I know. Michael is hiking in the Adirondacks and I recently returned from a trip with my dad to Finland and Sweden. I got back last week and started working as a mentor at a journalism workshop for high schoolers. Helping out at the workshop also meant I got free meals for the week, so I went about three weeks without really cooking anything.

I finally found a few minutes the other night to put together a quick homemade meal. I had a little bit of ground chorizo in the freezer, so I made spicy sloppy joes by adding onion, celery, ketchup and a splash of apple cider vinegar. (A little vinegar or citrus does something to a dish so that each bite leaves your mouth watering for the next.) I toasted a whole wheat bun and topped the chorizo mixture with some sour cream to tame the spice.

It was sweet, spicy, saucy…and definitely sloppy. Even better, it only took 15 minutes to make.

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