Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How About That

Well, the Jambalaya turned out not bad.  A little too spicy for Kristin but...damn was it good.

So, what's Jambalaya?  Jambalaya is a sort of...ragu, I guess?  And it depends on the style; you can do either Creole or Cajun.  Cajun has less tomatoes and more heat.  But basically, it's tomatoes, a mixture of meats and seafood, the appropriate spices (depending on style), some broth, the "holy trinity" (green pepper, onion, celery) and rice.  You basically cook everything together in one pot, and it comes out great because the rice consumes much of the liquid.

As far as meats go, it can be any kind of poultry or pork.  Seafood is generally shellfish.  It's also optional; as long as you have a mix of the meats, seafood or both, it works.

An alternate spin on it is using pasta instead of rice.  You just put the pasta right in when it's boiling and let it cook.  Uses fewer dishes, and the consistency is still pretty damned perfect; I didn't even need to strainer.

Now, I added my own spin to it by throwing in some basil and, on a whim, kidney beans.  Either way, I have enough to feed an army.  If you like spicy food, it's damned good.

I've also just revamped the recipe by cutting it in half; my current recipe made enough to feed my whole family, so...yeah.  And it's rediculously filling...I thought my chili was that robust!

So, for next time:  Instead of broth, a tallcan of dark beer.  Half of everything but the seasonings and veggies.  Half the chipotle.  Half the pasta.

So, that's the Jambalaya out of the way.  All I have left is to make Huevos Rancheros and some sort of vegatable concoction for Christmas Dinner and my food docket will be clear for other things.  Like chili.

Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Dutch Oven

Today is the day that I embark on my quest to make Jambalaya On Linguine.  Or something slightly more snooty...However, that's not today's topic so much as an announcement.

Today's topic is...Christmas morning breakfasts, actually. 

Christmas morning breakfast is, at least to me, as important as the dinner.  Mostly because it involves the family the gathered at the table.  This will be the second year that Kristin and I have been together (anniversary #2 next Tuesday), and it will be our second Christmas morning breakfast together. 

When I was single, I did Christmas AM breakfast with my parents and siblings, and Dad would usually make Egg Foo-Yong, or Eggs Benedict...whichever one we didn't make, we'd usually have on New Year's Day.  But I gotta say, my Dad makes killer Egg Foo-Yong.

Last year Kristin and I did Eggs Benedict, and it was good.  Not my best (I'm finally getting the texture the way I want it), but it wasn't all that common.  Now I make EB once a week to change up the spice mix to find that perfect balance, so it's not going to fly this year.

So, the plan this year?  Huevos Rancheros.  The colours are nice and festive and I can only dodge a promise for so long.

Now, for the uninitiated (this includes me), Huevos Rancheros (or Rancher Eggs) is basically fried eggs served on corn tortilla shells topped with salsa.  It can be served with guacamole and/or some sort of bean concoction.  Some people add rice on the side.

So, there's no meat or rich sauces, but I can at least excercise my heat demons.  Notice I said exercise.  I love heat.  It doesn't necessarily return the sentiment, but it can make a good dish frickin' great.

The way I'll be making it will be fried eggs topped with salsa on heated tortillas with guacamole and a mix of kidney and refried beans.  Anyone who knows my cooking style knows that nothing I make is ever that simple, so I'll leave what I actually do with all of that to your imagination. 

I have the recipe all planned out, so it will only be a matter of getting the ingredients and putting it all together.  Then "Yummy, yummy! In my tummy!" and "Please, sir.  Can I have some more?".