Seafood, Sausage, and Chicken Gumbo

YIELDS | 8-10 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 40 MINS

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This is a southern, classic Creole dish. It is piquant, satisfying and full of sausage, shrimp, chicken and vegetables. The dark roux binds it all together with a deep, rich flavor and the okra adds an earthy, starchy texture. Be sure to use a large enough pot because this recipes make a large batch that won’t last long! Serve with hot, cooked rice and warm, fluffy cornbread.

INGREDIENTS

* 1⁄2 pound bacon, chopped
* About 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
* 3/4 cup all purpose flour
* 2 celery ribs, chopped
* 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
* 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
* 1 large jalapeno, minced
* 5 garlic cloves, minced
* 8 cups fish or chicken stock or a combination of both
* 1 (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes with juices
* 1 Lb frozen cut okra, do not thaw
* 1 tsp chopped thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 heaping teaspoon cayenne
* 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
* 1 Tablespoon black pepper
* 1⁄2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
* 6-7 scallions, chopped
* 1 lb andouille sausage, 1⁄2” slice. If the sausage is larger in diameter then slice 1/2″ and slice in half
* 1 lb chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces.
* 1 lb raw shrimp, rinsed, deveined and tails removed
* Big bowl of hot, cooked long grain rice

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cook bacon in a very large, heavy pot (preferably cast-iron), over medium heat, until browned but not crisp. Transfer bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the oil and the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook the roux, stirring constantly, until well browned to a shade of dark peanut butter, 15-20 minutes. Do not leave the pot because it will burn-promise.
3. Add the tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, onion, jalapeño and garlic and cook for a 2-3 minutes.
4. Add stock, okra, sausage, chicken, thyme, bay leaf, cayenne, salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.
5. While the Gumbo simmers, make the rice.
6. Add the parsley, scallions, shrimp and cook, stirring, until shrimp is just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.
7. Stir bacon and simmer until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaf.
8. Serve with hot, cooked rice.

NOTES

Happy Eating!

Salsa Verde

YIELDS | 6-8 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | NA

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This sauce is amazingly versatile. The anchovy gives it a rich, deep flavor and the fresh parsley and lemon brighten it up to blend well to serve with steak, poultry, grilled fish and vegetables. I make extra and use it as a condiment during the week.

INGREDIENTS

• 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
• 2 or more, to taste, anchovy fillets, rinsed and coarsely chopped
• 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 3/4 cup tightly packed flat leaf parsley leaves.
• 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine the anchovies, garlic and capers and blend into a paste using a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor you can use a blender or mortar and pestle too.
2. Add the olive oil and parsley and pulse into a purée. Season with a few good cranks of freshly ground pepper and additional salt if necessary.

NOTES

Double Duty Recipe: Savory Rice. Add two generous tablespoons to a few cups of warm basmati or brown rice and sprinkle with 1/4 fresh parmesan cheese, gently mix and season with freshly ground pepper.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Mussels with Tomato, Wine and Herbs

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

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I grew up watching my dad make mussels a few different ways but this Provençal recipe is my favorite. It is my go to recipe when I want a no fuss, yet festive meal. This dish makes a beautiful presentation but it is the taste of the garlicky, herbaceous broth and succulent mussels that create the memories. Bonus: kids tend to like them too. Serve with a crisp green salad, crusty loaf of bread and a good chardonnay. Nothing closer to heaven!

INGREDIENTS

* 5 pounds fresh mussels
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* 4 plump garlic cloves, minced
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped, about 1 cup.
* 2-28 oz cans whole canned tomatoes, coarsely chopped
* 1-6 oz can tomato paste
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, optional
* 4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried
* 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced or 1 teaspoon dried, be sure it is finely chopped
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/4 cup tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley plus more for garnish
* 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* Large loaf of warm, crusty bread, optional but really worth the calories

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Remove beards from the mussels, scrub the mussels and place in a large colander and rinse well. Let drain fully. Discard any mussels that are partially open or have cracked shells.
2. In a large pot or dutch oven with lid, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes and then add the garlic and stir for 1 minute more or until fragrant.
3. Add saffron, pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, salt and pepper and stir to blend the flavors. Add the wine and bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes to cook off some of the alcohol. Add the tomato paste and stir until blended.
4. Bring the heat to medium-high, add the tomatoes and their juices, mussels and parsley and give the mussels and tomato mixture a good stir. Cover and cook until all mussels are opened, about 4-6 minutes, remove from heat but keep covered and let sit for 2-3 more minutes.
5. Pour the mussels into a large serving bowl (or serve in pot). Sprinkle with additional Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with a warm loaf of crusty bread and a crisp Chardonnay.

NOTES

When our meal was finished and the kitchen was clean, I would scrub the shells and give them to my son, Adam, when he was young. He would plop them into the bath tub and pretend he was at the beach. We did the same thing with clam shells too.

Salmon BLT with Avocado and Chipotle Mayo

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 8-10 MINS

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This takes the BLT sandwich up a notch. The spicy chipotle mayo mixed with the cool bib works perfectly with the bacon and salmon. Pack it all into a soft, flaky croissant and you have the perfect sandwich.

INGREDIENTS

• 4 fresh croissants, sliced lengthwise but not all the way through
• 8 slices of bacon, cooked to desired crispiness
• 4 – 4 oz salmon fillets, skinless at least 1/2” thick
• 1/3 cup mayonnaise
• 1 canned, chipotle pepper in Adobe sauce
• 4 Bibb lettuce leaves
• 1 medium ripe tomato, sliced into 4 slices and then cut in half
• 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into 8 slices

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Line baking sheet with parchment or coat with a little olive oil and bake salmon for 4-6 minutes for medium rare, 6-8 minutes for medium. Remove from oven and let cool
3. Cook bacon to desired crispiness and drain on a plate lined with a with paper towel
4. Dice chipotle pepper and add it and it’s sauce to a small bowl and add mayonnaise. Mix thoroughly add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
5. Open the croissants and spread the mayonnaise chipotle mixture evenly on both sides. Starting at the bottom of the croissants add 1 piece salmon, 2 Slices avocado, 2 slices bacon, 1 bib lettuce leaf.

NOTES

Happy Eating!

Salmon with Avocado Salsa

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

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Avocado and salmon are a near perfect pair. Add fresh tomato and lime for an easy to make, beautiful dish that tastes even better than it looks.

INGREDIENTS

• 4-6 oz pieces of salmon
• 1/2 Tsp cumin
• 1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
• 1/2 Tsp onion powder
• Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Avocado Salsa:
• 1 avocado, peeled and diced
• 1/2 small red onion, diced
• 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
• 1/2 Tsp red pepper flake juice of 1 lime
• 2 Tbsps olive oil
• 2 Tbsps fresh cilantro, chopped, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
3. Place the salmon on a lightly greased baking pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Combine spices in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the salmon.
5. Bake for 13-14 minutes for medium rare and 15-17 minutes for medium.
6. Remove from oven, place on serving platter and spoon salsa over the fish.
7. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.

NOTES

Lox & Bagels Tower

STORY

I share this tip with you because every time I serve lox and bagels in this way, I receive compliments. A friend of mine was giving away this display piece which I get gladly took off her hands. You can find two tiered serving pieces like this at almost any home goods seller or even at your local thrift shop. Look for a serving piece that comes apart for easy cleaning and storage if possible. You can always duplicate this design by using a smaller plate on top of a larger plate and separating the two with a ramekin or a small jar. Use your imagination to create all sorts of displays for your entertaining adventures.