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Archive for October 12, 2014

FOOD HOLIDAY: Easy Gumbo Recipe With Swanson’s

Gumbo is a Creole soup from Louisiana, thickened with okra pods. “Gumbo” is an African word for okra.

Okra came to America with the slave trade and was introduced to the Southern white population by African cooks. As with all recipes, there are regional variations and different styles of gumbo.

You can toil for many hours to make your gumbo, or you can make this one quickly to celebrate National Gumbo Day, October 12th.

Made with Swanson Louisana Cajun Flavor Infused Broth, it delivers the taste of New Orleans when combined with your chicken, sausage and vegetables.

Prep time is 25 minutes, total time is 1 hour, 25 minutes. Serve it at your next get-together.

RECIPE: EASY CAJUN GUMBO

Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 pound fresh andouille sausage links*, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 extra large onion, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  •    

    gumbo-with-andouille-sausage-swanson-230

    It’s gumbo time! Photo
    courtesy Swanson.

  • 1 carton (32 ounces) Swanson Louisana Cajun Flavor Infused Broth
  • 8 ounces (1/2 of a 16-ounce package) sliced frozen okra (or fresh if you can find it—about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • Optional: hot chile sauce to your desired level of heat
  •  
    Serve With

  • Hot cooked rice (traditional) or other grain
  •  
    *To save time, you can substitute 1 package (12 ounces) fully-cooked andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, for the fresh sausage. Then, skip Step 1 below, and stir the cooked sausage in with the broth in Step 3.

     

    swanson-louisiana-cajun-broth-230

    A great starter to make easy gumbo. Photo
    courtesy Swanson.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 tablespoons oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the sausage from the saucepan and drain on paper towels. Do not pour off the drippings from the saucepan.

    2. REDUCE the heat to medium-low. Stir the remaining oil and the flour in the saucepan. Cook for 30 minutes or until the flour mixture is dark brown, stirring occasionally.

    3. Stir the onion, celery and pepper in the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the broth, okra, chicken and sausage and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
     
    MORE GUMBO RECIPES

  • A gumbo recipe from Chef Emeril Lagasse
  • A gumbo recipe from Chef David Venable
  •  

    CAJUN VS. CREOLE: THE DIFFERENCE

    Some people think of Creole cuisine as “city food” and Cajun cuisine as “country food.” But to eyeball the dish and tell its provenance, here’s a simple trick:

    Creole cuisine uses tomatoes and Cajun food typically does not. That’s how to distinguish a Cajun gumbo or jambalaya from a Creole gumbo or jambalaya.

    “Creole” referred to people who were born to settlers in French colonial Louisiana, specifically in New Orleans. In the 18th, century Creoles were the descendants of the French and Spanish upper class that ruled the city.

    Cajuns, on the other hand, emigrated from the Acadia region of Canada, which consisted of present-day New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. They settled in the swampy region of Louisiana that is today known as Acadiana; their name, “les Acadians,” became shortened in the vernacular as “Cajun.”

    Enjoy a deeper discussion at LouisianaTravel.com.

     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOUP IN OUR SOUP GLOSSARY.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Fall Mocktail

    Two days ago we presented an extensive drink menu for a Halloween cocktail party. But what do you serve the non-drinkers and the kids?

    Fall mocktails, of course. You can find many of them online.

    For starters, here’s a recipe full of fall flavor: apple, cinnamon and ginger, courtesy of Reed’s Ginger Brew, which has a portfolio of ginger beers from plain, in different strengths, to cherry and raspberry.

    RECIPE: APPLE GINGER MOCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • Reed’s Spiced Apple Ginger Brew or other ginger beer
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Optional: splash of grenadine for color
  • Ice cubes
  • Cocktail option: 2 ounces apple schnapps (liqueur), applejack or Calvados (apple brandy)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a tumbler with ice. Pour in Spiced Apple Ginger Brew and optional alcohol.

    2. STIR with a cinnamon stick and serve.

       

    cider-mocktail-reedsgingerbrew-230

    Looking delicious: a fall mocktail of ginger beer with apple and cinnamon notes. Photo courtesy Reed’s Ginger Brew.

     

     

    reeds-spiced-apple-4-pack-230

    Reed’s seasonal six-pack. Photo courtesy
    Reed’s Ginger Brew.

     

    WHAT IS GINGER BEER

    Ginger ale is carbonated water simply fllavored with sugar and ginger flavoring. Ginger beer, on the other hand, is brewed for deeper and more complex flavors and a sizzling ginger “burn.”

    The basic recipe combines ginger, sugar, water, lemon or lime juice (for an acidic pH balance) and the ginger beer plant, a fungus that contains specific yeast and bacteria that aid fermentation. Other live cultures can be substituted, including brewers’ or bakers’ yeast, lactic acid bacteria, kefir grains or tibicos, another culture of bacteria and yeasts.

    Brewers can add citrus zest, cayenne pepper and other hot spices, and blend-ins from nettle or dandelion beers.

    After a few days of fermentation, you’ve got ginger beer, effervescent with natural carbon dioxide (as in the fermentation of beer).

    Ginger beer originated in England, where it can be made with an alcohol content of up to 11%, or with no alcohol at all. In the U.S., it is typically found as an alcohol-free soft drink.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Halloween Or Thanksgiving Bundt Cake

    The best seasonal bundt cake is a pumpkin bundt. Here are two versions, one for Halloween and one for Thanksgiving.

    You can use:

  • A special Nordicware pumpkin bundt cake pan
  • A single conventional bundt cake pan (for a shorter cake)
  • Two conventional bundt cakes, to approximate the style of the specialty pumpkin bundt pan (it won’t be quite as round)
  •  
    Next, pick your flavor. While chocolate and lemon poppy cakes are always popular, think seasonally:

  • Apple cake (see yesterday’s recipe for Apple Streusel Bundt Cake
  • Carrot cake
  • Cranberry-orange cake
  • Maple cake
  • Pumpkin cake
  • Sticky toffee cake
  •    

    pumpkin-bundt-cake-nordic-ware-230

    For Halloween, it’s a pumpkin or a jack-o-lantern. Photo courtesy Nordic Ware.

  • Spice cake (Nordic Ware makes a delicious Caramel Apple Spice Cake mix)
  •  
    If you’re making a two-bundt recipe, with the special pumpkin bundt or a traditional bundt, you can bake two different, complementary flavors (apple and carrot, chocolate and spice cake, for example).

     

    pumpkin-bundt-leaves-nordic-ware-230

    For Thanksgiving, it’s a pumpkin plucked
    from the pumpkin patch. Photo courtesy
    Nordic Ware.

     

    RECIPE: HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN BUNDT CAKE

    Ingredients

  • 2 bundt cakes (1 if you want the “short version”)
  • Vanilla frosting, tinted orange (here’s a buttercream frosting recipe, or use royal icing or other favorite, such as caramel frosting [recipe below])
  • Vanilla frosting, tinted green
  • Ice cream cone for stem
  • Optional: black icing or cake decorating gel for jack o’lantern face.
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BAKE the bundt(s) from your favorite recipe or a cake mix. Cool.

    2. MAKE or buy vanilla frosting. Reserve 1/4 to tint green; tint 3/4 of the batch orange with food color. Mix equal parts of yellow and red food coloring to make orange. For a darker blood orange, add more red. For a lighter pumpkin orange, use more yellow.

     

    3. ASSEMBLE. Add a light layer of frosting in-between the bundts to hold them together. Don’t extend to the edge of the bundts; the frosting should not be seen from the outside. Insert the cone as the stem. If you like, you can fully frost the cake and draw a jack o’lantern face on the side of the Halloween bundt. For the Thanksgiving version, pipe some green leaves and tendrils instead.
     
    RECIPE: CARAMEL FROSTING

    This recipe was adapted from one we found in Southern Living (September 2005). You can make a plain caramel frosting, or add pecans and/or coconut.

    Ingredients

  • 2 cans (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1-1/2 cups chopped, toasted pecans
  • Optional: 1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a 3-quart saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring continuously, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture reaches a pudding-like thickness.

    2. ADD optional ingredients: pecans and coconut. Remove from heat. Let cool and frost the cake as shown in the photos above.

      

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