What do I get when a nice “cool patch” finally lands in New Orleans? Do I get to sip on some good, homemade eggnog while snuggling up under a blanket watching my favorite movies?
NO, I GET A FRIGGING COLD!!!!! A MEAN, BAD-AZZ COLD THAT KEEPS ME HOG-TIED TO THE BED FOR THREE DOG-GONE DAYS!! Nose running, sneezing errywhere, walking around with toilet paper under your arm just to go to the bathroom type of cold!! Spending most of my time praying that I don’t do an accidental overdose before it’s all over. I don’t do colds well, I can’t remember the last time I had one of these things, shoot.
Can’t even drink eggnog because I can’t taste it!!!! Tastebuds are ka-put.*sigh*
Maybe I’ll have better luck on the next “cool patch” of air that happens to flow down here.
With Thanksgiving a little over a week away, it’s time for me to start getting my menu together. I think I am going to stick with my traditional New Orleans style menu;
Gumbo,stuffed bell peppers, baked mac and cheese, candied yams, veggies, creole cornbread dressing, green salad(as opposed to potato salad) and a turkey of course. For dessert, I am thinking a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.
I wonder how I end up cooking so much food for only four people. The truth is, I love holiday cooking. It makes me happy to feed the people that I love and the fact that I can cook my azz off helps. I am such a ritualistic person that everyone knows once they see me break out my “girlie movies”(Steel Magnolias, As Good As It Gets, and my favorite movie, The Godfather) I am getting ready to throw down in the kitchen.
I remember my mom would start cooking the day before Thanksgiving. She would start with her gumbo and we would have gumbo for dinner that evening. Then,she’d fix all of her other dishes with the exception of the mac and cheese(gotta have that fresh from the oven) spending the entire day in the kitchen cooking and watching tv. It’s amazing how much I picked up from her without even trying.
This year, my daughter(ms. yellow jacket), wants to help me cook. I think it’s time to show her the ropes, should be fun, I know it’ll be interesting.
Well, we finally got a darn cool day down here and I am going to make the most of it while it’s blowing. I am fixing me some good, homemade, old-fashioned eggnog!! I am so grateful that I gave this recipe to my brother and SIL before Katrina hit because I didn’t remember exactly how to make it and the recipe has been in the family since the 1800’s. It was spared, because I shared. I know most folks today just go to the grocers and pick up a can of eggnog but I can’t do it. I tried it once and it had me running to the kitchen to whip up a batch.
Growing up, my mom would fix eggnog only once a year on New Years Eve. Every year, we would wait with anticipation for that damned eggnog and then, try to drink as many cups as possible because we knew we weren’t getting any more until next year. When Katrina hit and we were exiled, I found comfort in that eggnog. We were staying at an extended stay deluxe in florida and it had a mini-kitchen (it was a wonderful place to be exiled!) I was depressed being away from my kids and my home so, I would fix eggnog about every three days. I am suprised that I even want it anymore considering how much of it I drank! I am not one to put weight on quickly so that was never a concern. That little eggnog recipe gave me some similance of my life pre-K. *Just a side note, that’s how people who have experienced Katrina talk about their lives, pre-k or not. It’s not “b-k” as in “before katrina” when someone says that, we automatically know, you aren’t from this area..lol
So now, with this cold weather and my hubby and children in tow, I am going to fix us a batch of eggnog while we have some cold weather because, here in New Orleans, there’s no such thing as winter.
Since it is getting near winter (do we ever really get a winter here?) gumbo has really been on my mind lately. I cant’ wait to put on a pot of gumbo filled with shrimp, andouille sausage, crabs, and ham(yummy.)
Most times when I visit the French Quarters which is often, I frequently encounter tourists who claim that even with a recipe, they can’t fix gumbo. I have decided to dedicate some time regarding the reason why the gumbo does not come out right (since it’s too hot to fix some right now.)
The secret to a good gumbo is the roux. It is the foundation of the gumbo, you mess up the roux, the gumbo is ruined. How to fix a good roux is very easy. If you have a cookbook, just follow the directions regarding how much flour and oil to use for the roux( I like to substitute butter for the oil, it’s just tastes better to me.)
Once you have that in the pot, the only thing you have to do to ensure a great roux is JUST STAND THERE AND CONTINUE TO STIR THAT POT!!!! DO NOT MOVE TO WATCH TV, GO TO THE BATHROOM, CHECK ON FIDO OR ANYTHING ELSE! STIR THAT POT CONSTANTLY THE ENTIRE TIME UNTIL THE ROUX IS THE COLOR YOU WANT IT TO BE. That is all there is to making a good roux, babysitting it until it is done. Constant stirring and mixing until it is the desired color( I like mine a dark color.) Once you have your roux done, you can continue with your recipe and you should have you some really banging gumbo!
Because I have been getting hits from folks trying to fix a ruined roux, let me add this…you CANNOT fix a ruined roux. If you notice that the roux did not come out right, throw it out and start over. It’s just flour and oil anyway and the money is in the meat you purchase so, just throw it out and begin again. Remember..constant stirring and do not leave the pot…should take 20-30 minutes for a good roux. For gumbo, you want a dark roux.