Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jambalaya!

It's January in Canada people, it's cold! There is nothing better to chase away the January blues then to invite your friends over for dinner, some wine, conversation, more wine, and a LOT of laughs! Some of my closest friends happen to also live in my neighbourhood, and I love to have them all over -- between all of us we have 8 boys, and one girl -- Limefreckle Jr. calls her "the girl" as she is the only one, I think he has a crush on her (she's 5 years his senior -- he seems to have a thing for older women!)

The kids had fun, the adults had fun, Rufus had fun ---- it was a wonderful night. I wanted to put something on the stove that was easy to fix and fairly quick, although as usual we ended up eating late --- good thing I made some salsa to start. I forgot to take a picture of it surrounded by chips -- here's the leftovers, and here's the recipe:



Lone Star Salsa

4 fresh tomatoes, (peeled)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 small jalapeno peppers (seeded and chopped)
2 minced fresh garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (chopped)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 - 3/4 red onions, chopped (the amount you use is up to you)

Peel the tomatoes and quarter them throw them into your food processor. and tomato paste, minced garlic, cilantro, salt, onions and oil. Process until mixed. Add a can of diced tomatoes, and process again. Serve, or let sit for 1 hour in fridge to thicken a bit.

I found this recipe by googling LONE STAR SALSA, there are several sites that list it. If I were to make it again, I would eliminate the tomato paste -- I think it made it a bit thicker, but more "processed" tasting, not quite so fresh. I also didn't add the jalapenos, but will next time. Probably too, you don't really need the garlic powder.

The main event of the evening was Jambalaya. I found this recipe in The Pillsbury Cookbook - circa 1989 -- a book I purchased back in the day when I was learning to cook and living on my own. I think the only thing I've ever made from this book is the Jambalaya? Does anyone else do that? Buy cookbooks, but rarely use them? Anyway, here is the recipe:




2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 lb. cooked Polish sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 lb. frozen large shrimp (I use imitation crab meat instead)
16 oz. can tomatoes, undrained, diced
10 3/4 oz. can chicken broth
6 oz. can tomato paste
3/4 cup uncooked regular rice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I usually skip this)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf.

In large dutch oven, melt margarine, saute onion for 2 to 3 minutes or just until tender. Add the remaining ingredients, blending well. cover; simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. MAKES 8 SERVINGS

I cooked it all in my Rachael Ray pot that I have been coveting ever since her show came on the air. My brother found it when we were recently on a shopping spree in Buffalo, it's great, so big I fit 2x the above recipe (although it JUST fit....as you can see it boiled over, much to Mr. Limefreckle's chagrin.) He got the trusty Vim out and attacked all stains with vigor! Mr. Limefreckle is a CLEAN FREAK in the kitchen, and it drives him crazy, because when I cook, I use every possible dish, spoon, and cup available.....sometimes I do it just to watch him sweat....is that wrong?

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