Day one hundred and ten

America

As my representation of cuisine from our southern neighbours, friends suggested everything from fried chicken to McDonald’s.  But I wanted to make one of my favourite dishes – jambalaya.  I have been looking forward to this day all month!  A casserole-type dish made with a variety of meats, seafood, vegetables and spicy seasoning, jambalaya originated in Louisiana and came from both Spanish and French influences.  It is thought that it was originally an attempt by Spanish immigrants to create paella with the local ingredients of New Orleans.  Any types of meat can be used and leftovers can be added, making it ideal for the Louisiana people with little resources.  There are two types of jambalaya – Creole and Cajun.  Creole – the original method – is often called “red jambalaya” for the inclusion of red tomatoes.  The Cajun version came from rural areas of Louisiana and is brown in colour (more information here).

Cooking the Jambalaya

I used one of the most famous American chef’s Jambalaya recipe – Emeril Lagasse:

Cajun Jambalaya from foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 4 ounces chicken, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, recipe follows
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a largesaucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

The recipe was delicious, although could have used a bit more seasoning at the end.  I don’t know what it is about jambalaya, but I love the blend of flavours with the heartiness of all the meat, vegetables and rice.  It’s comfort food for me.

As a side note, I’d just like to point out that it’s very late, I’ve had a long day and I hope the above made sense.  Blogging in the wee hours of the morning before bed is a sacrifice I have to make in order to balance my writing with my work, friends, family and cooking.  Sometimes it’s hard to get the motivation when the thought of sleep is overpowering my senses.  When there’s no other time to write, though, I don’t have a choice.

Tonight

Greek salad (to go with my leftover jambalaya).

Day seven

Planning a specific meal, I have learned, is very difficult with coupons.  I’m making jambalaya for my friends tomorrow night

Jambalaya

The jambalaya I'll be cooking tomorrow night - minus the sausage.

with shrimp I got on sale last month that is in my freezer.  Buying the pantry ingredients was easy, as I had coupons for those already from places like save.ca and coupons taken from the inside of rice boxes (a lot of products offer coupons inside the boxes of their products to encourage you to buy more, so look for those).  The peppers I got in a salad on coupon from one of my late-night shopping trips this weekend.  The spices I already have (I know, a little cheating, but I’m not going to go out and buy more of spices I already have as that would be wasteful).  My brother is donating the chicken to the cause in the agreement that he gets the leftovers for his lunch.  But the sausage has been the most difficult part.  I searched forever online for a coupon and was so happy to have finally found a coupon for $1 off Johnsonville Italian Sausage from their website.  But alas my one friend doesn’t eat pork!  And the only ones on sale are the pork sausages.  I couldn’t find any other sausage coupons that were valid in Canada.  I think this jambalaya will have to go without.

Searching online for coupons is a good way to find specific items, but I found is not always successful.  I’m concerned about how my coupons are influencing my choices of what brands and products I am buying.  It seems easier for me to choose the products that I have coupons for and make a menu out of that, than work the other way around like I did with the jambalaya.  Even when I’m trying to choose a place to go out and meet friends for dinner, I am influenced to go to certain establishments because they have coupons online, I’ve gotten them from flyers in the mail (more for takeout places), or I’ve found them in my Entertainment book.  I’m seeing more and more the marketing potential of coupons and how brand name companies put them out to influence potential buyers to buy their product over another.  I imagine the people who most use coupons are the same people who buy the groceries for their whole family and therefore it is not just marketing potential to one person, but to several with each coupon.  I’m definitely going to have to examine this idea more.