Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Gumbo

Cooking saves me, every time. There's a stock simmering for tomorrow's gumbo, and it smells like heaven on a cloud in this house. I am using this Gumbo du Monde recipe; the author is articulate and passionate and seems to know what he's talking about. Plus, he can spell, for which he gets major bonus points. I have even been measuring things -- I rarely do that anymore, unless I'm baking, which is a science that requires an exacting measuring spoon. I found some Alaskan snow crab legs for less than the price of gold, and some lovely andouille sausage. (I had to go to four stores to find some andouille!) And some shremphs. I do loves me some shremphs. (Sorry -- that's a bit odd -- but it goes way back and I just can't help myself.) Ahem.

This is going to be an okra-free gumbo, which then requires the use of gumbo file (pronounced fee-lay), which is ground sassafras leaves, and acts as a thickener. And, I'm confident, imparts a most unique flavor. This is the requested birthday dinner for the aforementioned birthday boy, who, for the past year, has generously labored over my kitchen stove countless times and produced the most amazing dishes. Also on the wish list is German chocolate cake, whose remains will travel out of this house post-dinner, thank-you very much!

I'll whip up some baguettes tomorrow afternoon, and throw together a Creole green salad. It's gonna be a feast!

(My birthday wish for my son is a job....he's been looking since January. Enough with the cooking for Mom!)


  1. Gumbo always sounds great. But isn't making it without Okra a bit like making Cherry pie without the Cherries? I thought Gumbo and Okra were synonymous.

    Happy Easter Gumbo, Cro.

  2. Ground sassafras leaves are a whole new 'thing' to me. I will have to read up about them, I see. I do love the fragrances and sounds that emanate from your kitchen, T. Clear! You certainly know how to celebrate. Happy Easter to you and yours - and have a wonderful birthday celebration with your son. L, C

  3. Cro, yes, there are those who would argue that you are correct. But then, the sassafras is the compromise, and it's an acceptable one, as far as I can tell! My mother-in-law who grew up in New Orleans will be here for dinner, so I'll give her the final word.

    Claire, if you ever get the chance to go to New Orleans, jump on it!

  4. Okra is creole gumbo (i.e. African -- but that definition of creole in Louisiana holds only for gumbo), and file is cajun gumbo. That's one of the official Louisiana descriptions of these two different forms of gumbo, anyhow.

    Love, C.