Showing posts with label jambalaya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jambalaya. Show all posts

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Welcome guest, author Laurie Cass!

Laurie Cass grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in the 80’s with a (mostly unused) Bachelor of Science degree in geology. She and her husband live on a lake in northwest lower Michigan. When Laurie isn’t writing, she’s working at her day job, reading, yanking weeds out of her garden, or doing some variety of skiing.

Laurie is offering a giveaway - see below and leave a comment!

Take it away, Laurie!


In the fall of 2013, my husband and I, for the first time ever, traveled to the great state of Louisiana. Our destination was not New Orleans, but Baton Rouge, because the reason for the traveling was to attend the American Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) conference.

The trip was research for the bookmobile cat books, but it was also a vacation. We stayed at a Hilton in a room with a Mississippi River view, and had a great time touring the capitol building, area museums, and trying a different restaurant for every meal.

One particular dinner, however, we didn’t go to a restaurant at all, because down the street from the hotel was the city’s annual Jambalaya Jam, an event sponsored by the local United Way. We bought our $10 tickets and received wrist bands that allowed us to roam and sample jambalaya from forty-odd competing teams. (I think we made it through seven.)

We had a great time talking to folks and listening to live music and headed home determined to try our hand at making jambalaya. The following is the result, non-spicy because that’s the way the female half of this partnership prefers it.

Jambalaya – Non-Spicy
3 slices         Bacon
1 lb.              Raw pork loin, cut into cubes
1 lb.              Mild smoked sausage, diced or sliced into 1/4” rounds
1/4 lb.           Shrimp - peeled and diced
1/4 cup         Water
2 cups          Onion, chopped
1 cup            Green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup         Celery, chopped
1 TB.            Garlic, minced
1 qt.              Beef stock or broth
3 cups          Water, heated
1/4 cup         Green onion, sliced
1/2 teas.        Thyme, dried
1/2 teas.        Basil, dried
1/2 teas.        Parsley dried, plus extra for garnish if desired
4 cups          Rice, long grain
For table       Bottled hot sauce

Slice bacon into a 6 quart Dutch oven and cook until fat is rendered. Add cubed pork and cook over medium high heat in the drippings, stirring regularly, until meat is heavily browned and browned bits have formed in the bottom of the pot. In a separate pan, cook the shrimp in a tablespoon or so of oil.

To the Dutch oven, add the sausage and shrimp, cook and stir for 3 minutes, then add the 1/4 cup of water a little at a time, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. This will add both flavor and color to your jambalaya.

Add onion, bell pepper and celery, cook and stir for 4 minutes; add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the beef stock, bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add the 3 cups of hot water, green onion, Cajun seasoning, thyme, basil, parsley and rice; stir well.

Cover, transfer pot to the oven, baking at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove, let stand covered until ready to serve, or for at least 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving. Spoon loosely into a serving platter if desired, but do not pack down. Garnish with parsley, serve with a side salad or green vegetable, and pass a bottle of hot sauce at the table.

Note:  We freeze the leftovers in individual plastic zip bags with about 12 ounces of jambalaya in each. When reheating, we’ll add a quarter cup or so of chicken broth to keep it moist. Yum!

I’ll be giving away a copy of the latest release in the Bookmobile Cat Series, Cat With A Clue. And, as an added bonus, I’ll include a copy of Murder at the PTA, the first book in my other mystery series, written under the pen name Laura Alden.


Facebook link

Cat with a Clue
Released August 2, 2016

Early one morning while shelving books in the library, Minnie stumbles upon a dead body. Authorities identify the woman as an out-of-towner visiting Chilson for her great-aunt’s funeral. What she was doing in the library after hours is anyone’s guess . . . but Minnie and her rescue cat Eddie are determined to save the library’s reputation and catch a killer.

As rumors about the victim circulate through Chilson, the police are in a bind over a streak of baffling break-ins. Luckily, Minnie and Eddie are traveling the county in their bookmobile, and they'll stop at nothing to find the spineless killer before the final page is turned on someone else.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


When I was young, my family moved around a lot.  No, I wasn't an army brat, I was an oil brat.  We bopped back and forth between Louisiana and Texas (oil) and Michigan and Ohio (natural gas).

I confess I didn't like moving all the time, saying goodbye to friends, always being the new girl, always managing to lose a favorite toy in the move.

One of the very good things about moving around, though, was being introduced to all sorts of food:  barbeque brisket to Tex Mex to pasties to Creole and Cajun delights.

As far as new food went, Louisiana was the best.  Shrimp, king cake, red beans and rice, various meats served etouffee, alligator (once), and jambalaya.  Most of those foods disappeared into my past when we moved back to Michigan, and some of them are lost to me since I became vegetarian.  Still, over the years, I've had occasion to make red beans and rice and a pretty amazing king cake.  Jambalaya eluded me.

Until now.

I don't know why I suddenly decided that I had to have jambalaya, what sent me to the internet in search of an easy and easily veggie-ized version.  But here's what I came up with.  And it was dang good, if I do say so myself.

Jambalaya Two Ways (Omnivorous and Vegetarian)

1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 large link of andouille sausage OR a Mexican or chipotle veggie sausage
1/4 c. diced onion
1/4 c. diced celery
1/4 c. diced bell pepper (any color)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. diced cooked chicken OR 2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 c. parboiled rice (I used Uncle Ben's converted rice)
2 c. tomato sauce
2 c. chicken OR veggie broth
2 tsp. hot sauce (I used tobasco)
1 Tbs. Tony Chachere's salt free seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in medium pot over medium heat.  Add sausage, onion, celery, pepper, and garlic.  Saute until sausage begins to brown.  Add the chicken and allow to brown on all sides (or black-eyed peas, which don't need to brown).  Add parsley, tomato sauce, stock, hot sauce, salt and pepper and seasoning.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 20 to 25 minutes (stirring occasionally).

Guess what?  It's our own Cleo Coyle's birthday.  
Happy Birthday, Cleo!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Screw the Roux Stew from Lucy Burdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Hayley Snow, the food critic character in DEATH IN FOUR COURSES, eats a lot of meals out in restaurants. So when she's at home on her houseboat, I imagine she prefers to cook home-style food that's not too fancy but still delicious. She cooks when she's hungry, she cooks when she's anxious, and she cooks when she wants to connect with friends. Or, for that matter, squeeze information from potential sources!

So far, most of the recipes in the back of my mysteries have come from my own kitchen. But I'm always on the look-out for something delicious that Hayley could borrow. Two years ago at a get-together with friends in Key West, we ate a fabulous meal--a sort of Creole stew crossed with a jambalaya. I just had to have the recipe and I've made it many times since. It feeds a crowd, especially when served over rice. All you might need on the side is a salad. The recipe is courtesy of Mary K Hyde, who did not like the concept of having to make an old-fashioned roux, but relished the results.

MK’s Screw the Roux Stew

*1 large onion, chopped
*2–3 garlic cloves, minced
*1 large green pepper, chopped (in this case I used several colors of pepper!)
*2 stalks celery, chopped
*½ cup flour
*1–1½ Tbsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
*28-oz. can chopped tomatoes, with juice, or crushed tomatoes
*28-oz. box organic chicken broth
*Shredded meat from 1 rotisserie chicken or baked chicken
*10–14 oz. smoked chicken or turkey sausage, sliced
*12 oz. frozen chopped okra
*¾ lb. Key West pink shrimp if desired
*Brown rice, cooked

Sauté the vegetables in olive oil until soft. (In the pictures above, I chopped fresh okra--but that's only because we grow it in our garden. A package of frozen okra works just fine. And don't get weirded out by the concept of okra--it's not the least bit slimy in this recipe, and it thickens the stew. And it's really really delicious...)

In a separate frying pan, toast the dry flour over medium-low heat until browned. Stir this almost constantly so it doesn’t burn. (This is the only tricky part of the recipe--you need to be a little patient. This step might take 15 minutes.)

When the flour is nicely brown, add the Creole seasoning. (Tony Chachere's is spicy--don't omit it, but cut back a little if you don't want that much "zip.")

Mix well and add this mixture to the sautéed vegetables in a large pot. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, chicken, sausage, and okra. Bring to boiling and reduce to a simmer. The longer it simmers, the better. If you make it the day before and let sit in the fridge overnight, it will be just that much more delicious. Add shrimp just before serving, if desired, and cook a few minutes until pink. Serve the stew over rice. (My son-in-law said this was the best dish of mine he's eaten, and he likes everything!)

"Anyone who's ever overpaid for a pretentious restaurant meal will relish this witty cozy." Publishers Weekly on DEATH IN FOUR COURSES

While you're waiting for your happy guests to arrive, you can follow Lucy on twitter, "like" her on facebook, or order the books anywhere books are sold. For example, an independent bookstore, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble!

For lovers of both food and books, check out Novel Food--a marriage of two of my favorite things!