Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Well.......

I made gumbo last weekend, and a funny thing has happened the last couple of times I've made it. I get the roux good and dark, and relatively thin, but then something happens in the end that thickens it back up again. It's almost a thick gravy consistency when it finally hits the plate; I would even describe it as gelatinous.
It's frustrating because it takes a long time just stirring the roux (step one) and once it's achieved the right color, you can't do a taste test, you just have to proceed with the veggies, stock and spices. THEN it will have some of the right flavor. But by then, you're already in an hour or two, and all of your prepared ingredients are used, so why bother.
Well, since it was all very fresh on my mind, I googled "roux too thick" and made notes from various sources on how to do it right. Here I've jotted some down for future gumbo-making. One goal, aside from remembering to read this post BEFORE my next attempt, is to make the perfect roux in 1 hour or less. I hear it is possible.

  1. If you see smoke during the roux, it's burning - turn it down or off to stop the smoking
  2. When it's time to add the liquid (warm if possible, not hot) add it about 1/4 at a time, whisk it well to incorporate (VERY IMPORTANT), let it bubble before adding more. Too much of a temperature change too fast will make it separate. That's when you wind up with a layer of brown grease floating on top
  3. If you see black speckles in the roux, it's burned. May want to start over
  4. If smoking, then burning- you should notice a consistency change as soon as it starts burning as it will firm up very quickly and start sticking to the pan. Don't cook past the color of dark chocolate
  5. blond roux = 20 minutes
  6. brown roux = 35 minutes (peanut-butter-color)
  7. dark roux = 45 minutes - 1 hour (the color of melted milk chocolate)
  8. a darker roux has less thickening power. Mr. B's ratio is more flour to fat. However since I like thin, liquidy gumbo I should probably try 1:1
  9. also suggested, after sausage, add water, bring to boil, then simmer


side note: this is the first time I used gluten-free flour. I might have blamed it for the problem, except that I've had the same problem in the past with regular all-purpose flour. So I still think I need to get serious about some of the above tips and keep trying until I get it right!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Finally, Sangrita!

A friend shared a link with my husband and me to a restaurant she said she would eat at every weekend if she still lived nearby. We had nothing more to go on than that.
So, I clicked the link, saw that it was Mexican food, only about 10 miles away, and holy cow -- they had Sangrita!!!! It became top priority.

I'm so glad we tried out Corazon y Miel this weekend!
We tried a smattering of flavors, appetizers, drinks, etc. First off bacon wrapped figs with a cauliflower something-or-other beneath, and a stuffed bacon-wrapped jalapeño over street corn salad. These were not huge, but were definitely packed with flavor. I mean bacon combined with fresh ingredients (or anything, really) is just so damn good! Our main dishes were roasted chicken on the bone that was marinated or mopped in some kind of slightly sweet (maybe honey) sauce; served over a  rice concoction mixed with roasted chickpeas, jicama, and tomatoes. And chimichurri flat-iron steak with black beans, and french fries. Chimichurri is one of the best inventions ever, and I am always floored at how perfectly it pairs with meat. All was simply delicious!


And the Sangrita was fantastic too! We discovered Sangrita deep down in Mexico, near Zihuatenejo. When you order silver tequila, it comes with sangrita- basically a sidecar of spicy and sweet tomato-orange juice, so refreshing and delicious. It is the perfect accompaniment! I need to find a good recipe for this at home.
I can't wait to go back to Corazon y Miel. Pretty sure the secret is out on this one though, will probably have to make a reservation (even for two) or get there even earlier that my preferred 6 p.m.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Not bad

For a gluten free, weeknight feast. Sautéed zucchini, brown rice, black beans, hot jalapeños and turkey taco.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Factory Burger

Sometimes I just crave a beef burger. I used to have to go make it myself to get a really, REALLY good burger. But now, I've discovered that the Happy Cow burger at our local beer joint called The Factory hits the spot. So satisfying. Just typing this makes me want to go directly there as soon as humanly possible.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Farm volunteer!

Finally, I was home and not otherwise busy on the 2nd Saturday of the month, so that I could volunteer at the local Farm! I worked there last weekend for about 3 hours in the morning. It was a great experience! So much to learn. But I'm so inspired!
I helped wash some of the smaller seedling containers for reuse. I didn't realize to reuse these, in case there is any bacteria or something undesirable from the previous plant, you must scrub and disinfect them. I replanted 59 tomato seedlings into larger pots, and put them in the greenhouse.

I recycled some dirt, recoiled drip lines, peeled dried sweet peas to harvest any good peas (seeds) for future use. I learned a little about some of the weekly maintenance work at the farm. I learned that the soil I use in my yard is probably really lacking in nutrients. I was inspired to start something edible at home! Now the question is what... 

I didn't do anything with the chickens, but I was sort of obsessed with getting a good photo of them.
I worked up an appetite.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's for dinner

I am posting a photo of this sad meal from last week. True, I did not go to bed hungry, so I shouldn't complain. But it was, just one of those sad meals. The kind where you're too tired to go to the store, and just need to put something together. Not enough ingredients to put together something that makes sense, so you grab from different cuisines and bits and pieces. and make something like this -- a pizza-dilla?
Anyway- I want to make something good tonight! I need to get inspired, maybe look at some food blogs, sunset mag, or just wander around the market until something jumps out at me.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kale, Sausage and Potato Soup

Damn I love soup! I got this recipe from the farmer at Farmstand 59 (originally from Sunset magazine). I modified as needed per what I had on hand, and it was fantastic. In fact, still eating it days later.