Cajun and Creole cooking are not something I’ve had a ton of experience with, so 7-21: Jambalaya is somewhat unfamiliar territory. I didn’t grow up eating a lot of New Orleans cuisine, other than my mother’s ill-fated attempt at making gumbo once.
It’s not a difficult recipe (quite the opposite, actually), but I don’t feel like I have a solid understanding of the difference between what makes it good and what makes it great. That’s something that comes with experience, both as a taster and as a creator.
I couldn’t have even told you that there are two types of jambalaya, Creole and Cajun. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the difference between the two is the absence or presence of tomatoes. Simply Delicious identifies this version as Creole, which is correct–that’s the version that has the tomatoes in it, which this one does. 🎺🍅
I looked around for similar types of recipes to confirm that this wasn’t just a Simply Delicious invention–and I really couldn’t find too many. There’s nothing wrong with battering beef and frying it–just don’t call it a beignet.
“It smells like weird Mexican food in here,” Jamie said as she walked in the door. She wasn’t wrong. The example image sets a rustic farm tone with the watering can, basket of red peppers, and parmesan cheese in the background. The watering can even has onions painted on it. Awesome!
When I saw that it will need reheating before eating, I decided to make this dish in a large rectangle Pyrex. I made this recipe at half size to accommodate the baking dish. I only used two onions because Simply Delicious bases the number of onions on the smaller onions that were available when these recipes were written. Two was more than enough.
19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs has been a recipe-in-the-making for a few months. I mention frequently that I often write these entries months after I complete the actual recipe, but this one actually took me that long TO complete.
Usually, these Cooking School cards don’t have too much in the way of actual recipes–often times it’s more like the card above, more recommendation than actual recipe. I’m not going to restate what they’ve written here–it’s all good advice. Jump behind the cut for some herb blend recipes as well as a DIY vinegar challenge and BONUS limoncello recipe.
“Country-Style” carries multiple definitions and connotations. The author of 9-45: Country-Style Sausage Medley surmised that a dish containing this many varieties of vegetables must be “country-style”. Chicken sausage is a low calorie option, however, it lacks the punch of flavor a good beef sausage can provide.
This dish contains a lot of vegetables already. If I had to add any other vegetables, I might substitute the cabbage for Brussels sprouts.
Chili’s, Applebee’s, Red Robin…I’ve enjoyed racks of ribs at almost every restaurant that offers ribs as a major offering on the menu. Freshly smoked ribs are a delicious delicacy. These oven baked ribs lack the smokiness of ribs cooked in a smoker. The flavor profile for 7-19: Cajun-Style Pork Ribs is influenced by the alcohol-infused marinade and the Cajun spice rub mixture.
Simply Delicious thinks these spices are fiery, however, I’ll have to disagree. Maybe I’m too desensitized to spice now, but I could have used about 30% more spiciness. I wasn’t always a fan of spicy food, but now some of my favorite hot sauces are sriracha, Tapatio, and Tabasco.
Over the years I’ve made plenty of steaks, but I don’t have a lot of experience cooking flank steaks. Jamie grew up eating carne asada–but on the East Coast, we were eating Steak-Ums sandwiches. Not quite the same, but it got the job done. 8-29: Marinated Flank Steaks was a fun opportunity to cook this recipe and get familiar with cooking a different cut of beef that I’m used to.
I have some experience with marinades so this dish wasn’t too difficult for me to attempt. It is ranked Fairly Easy after all.
This recipe, 6-29: Stuffed Turkey, is the WHOLE reason I originally decided to take on the challenge of cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year (TGV 2016)–when else was I going to get a chance to use the actual Thanksgiving recipe but on the holiday itself? I have cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before, but not in my own house, and not planned/shopped/organized for by myself. It was a fun challenge, and I have this card and project to thank for it.
Of course I made this recipe the day of Thanksgiving (Thursday 11/24), and it includes not only the turkey, but traditional stuffing and gravy as well. I cooked this in the afternoon, after making 17-5: Hot Seedy Rolls and 1-5: Pigs in a Blanket in the oven that morning.
This year’s Thanksgiving was at least 2 weeks ago by the time you’re reading this, but I hope that if you had one this year it was a nice one, and that if you’re reading this sometime in the future preparing for the current year’s feast, that yours is nice as well. Mine was lovely despite what’s been a tumultuous year, and this recipe was definitely a big part of making my first solo Thanksgiving successful. Thanks for taking time out of your day to read even just a bit of what I’ve written, and thanks for participating in my project, even just for this brief moment.
I’ve been working on this project for just under 3 years now, and I’ve got at least that long to go to attempt to finish it–thanks for giving me a reason to keep this project alive, an outlet for writing, a focus for creative energy, art to share with my family and friends, and a priceless set of memories and experiences tied to a set of stinky old cookbooks that have always meant a lot to me, and mean even more now. Thank you.