recipe

Jambalaya


I just moved again, my fourth time moving in the past four years. This is exhausting only because there's constant re-adaptation to a new kitchen, which is actually a real thing. I don't know how electric burners work?? Why does the oven light go on and off?? Just how cold IS my freezer? Also, because I've always lived with other people, everyone else always provided all the culinary hardware, which means that I've been getting inventive. 
Did you know you can actually shred cheese with a vegetable peeler? 


(Like a fool, I forgot to take pictures, so here is my brother and some nice pink skies.) 

Anyways, I made some jambalaya so fine that I thought I had been kidnapped as a baby because actually I MUST be Cajun.

This explains everything!

The real thing about jambalaya, is that you can adapt it to all your personal cravings.
After reading several recipes it appears that most people don't put shrimp in it?
But my mama always puts shrimp in her jambalaya, so I did too.
You can make it on the stovetop, or in the oven or both (I did both.)
You can add okra, or not.
You can add sausage or not.
You can make your own cajun seasoning or not.
It's great.



Mostly I liked making jambalaya, because it made me feel at home, and feeling at home is suddenly a rare and special thing. 
Lately, I find myself asking questions such as, do other people make a place a home?
Is home just where you feel safest? 

Sometimes, when these questions are too much, I sit in my small green bathroom, and watch a trail of tiny black ants crawl from the east end of my bathtub near the faucet to the west end where I keep my shampoo. 
I like the ants, because the ants are not concerned with questions of home or place or belonging. 
They just keep walking. 

The point is. 
This jambalaya is worth you time. It will make the air smell thick and rich and spicy. 
It will bring you back to the tactile, real version of yourself. The part of yourself that only exists in the HERE NOW.  
But mostly it tastes really good. And fills you up. 

You will love it. 

And I love you. 


XOXO



Jambalaya 
via AllRecipes.com 

These are guidelines, adapt as you please. 

2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
10 ounces andouille sausage, slices into rounds
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) can crushed Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 cups uncooked white rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a large heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the sausage and chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning. Saute sausage until browned. Remove with slotted spoon, and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and saute chicken pieces until lightly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

2. In the same pot, saute onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until tender. Stir in crushed tomatoes, and season with red pepper, black pepper, salt, hot pepper sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in chicken and sausage. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in the rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. (I actually ended up putting my Jambalaya in the oven at 375 F, for about half an hour because my electric burners didn't seem capable of cooking everything evenly for a long period of time.)


Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans

Beloveds, 

I'm officially eating kale. 

Kale is such a thing. 


It's a super food, apparently. It's hipper than arugula, better for you than chard, and way more exciting than lettuce. 


Why kale?

Well, my sweet darlings. 

Being an almost 20 year old is really bizarre and complicated sometimes. And if kale will make my life more hipper, more better and more exciting, I am so down.  

Also, Fleetwood Mac lyrics have officially become my life. There's this line from the song "You Make Loving Fun" that pretty much sums it up: 

I do believe, in the miracles, but I've a feeling it's time to try
I do believe, in the ways of magic, but I'm beginning to wonder why





Right now I like to think that my official eating of kale as well as my official return to running and dance will be my miracles. 

I've a feeling it's time to try. 

COME AT ME FEBRUARY. 


xoxo 


Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans
from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

This is really good. I forgot some things, like the cheese and pecans. But by all means. Do it. Go crazy. XOXO 

Salad
1/2 cup pecans
8 ounces kale (recommended varieties, Tuscan, Lacinato, Cavolo Nero, Black)
4 ounces radishes
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled

Dressing
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white white vinegar
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons honey 
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spread the pecans on a tray. Toast them for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing them once or twice to make sure they toast evenly. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. 

Wash your kale and let it dry on spread out kitchen or paper towels. Then, with a knife, remove the rib from each stalk, leaving long strips of kale leaves. Stack the leaves in small batches, roll them tightly the long way, and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. Add the kale ribbons to a large salad bowl. 

Thinly slice the radishes, and add them to the bowl. Coarsely chop the pecans and cherries and add them as well. Crumble the goat cheese over the top. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish, and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss the salad until it is evenly coated with dressing. This salad is great to eat right away, but even better after 20 minutes of tenderizing in the dressing. 


Tomato Sauce

I like it when songs perfectly fit into the rhythm of your life. 

I like it when the lyrics are what you would have written, if only you had known how to say it. Like this one

I like this time of year, because things are wrapping up. 

I like this time of year, because suddenly it's all about conclusions and twinkle lights and endings.

I like this time of year, because people make a lot of top ten lists, and a lot of top twenty lists, and a lot of top fifty lists. 

I might make a top ten list.  

I don't know. 


I want to make a top ten list of moments that I do not want to forget. 
There are too many. 
I don't want to forget all the doughnuts and the one drink too manys and the 3ams and the kisses and the hands out of windows in fast cars and the learning how to write songs and the clouds and the walks in the morning and the being bored and the being busy. 
Mostly though, I do not want to forget how beautiful everyone is. 
Everyone is so beautiful. 

My roommmates stood around me and ate this pasta. 



They are so beautiful. 

It was a top ten moment. 

I don't want to forget. 

xoxo

mary 

Tomato Sauce

This is no work. 

Take 3 cans of nice canned tomatoes. Add a hunk of butter. How much depends on how nice and rich you like your sauce. Chop an onion. And combine it all. Let it simmer for a while. Until the onions are soft. Ideally for about an hour or more. If the sauce starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, simply add water. When the onions are soft your can add cream if you're feeling luxurious. Salt and pepper liberally. 
Combine with cooked pasta and crumbled goat cheese. 

Apple Tarte Tatin

Isn't it strange when you look around at all the people in the world, and realize that every single thing that they're wearing, they chose to put on that day. 
Isn't that insane? 
Clothes are perhaps one of the only things that people have any real control over. 
Dressing up is a way to be empowered. 
This Apple Tarte Tatin is like your Little Black Dress that shows enough cleavage so that you feel voluptuous but not slutty.  
It's perfect and easy going and classy. 
It's simple. 
It's divine. 
It goes with everything. 
And everyone loves it. 

Sophia Loren 

Distressing Facts in Life Part I: Many people do not know what an Apple Tarte Tatin even is. 

 

Basically it's apples that are cooked in butter and caramelized sugar until they almost have the consistency of jam. It's a slice of beauty. 


Do yourself a favor. 
Get classy. 
Get the Little Black Dress out. 
Make Apple Tarte Tatin
Exercise some beautiful control in your life. 

Apple Tarte Tatin
via SmittenKitchen.com

6 medium apples (I used Pink Lady apples and they were oh so good.) 
Juice of half a lemon
6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) butter
1 1/3 cup (266 grams) sugar, divided
Puffed pastry, chilled or a single Pie Crust

A 9-inch ovenproof skillet, heavy enough that you fear dropping it on your toes


Peel apples, halve and core apples. Once cored, cut lengthwise into quarters (i.e. four pieces per apple) and cut a bevel along their inner edge, which will help their curved exteriors stay on top as they rest on this edge. (You can see this beveled edge here.) Toss apple chunks with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup of the sugar. Set aside for 15 minutes; this will help release the apple’s juices, too much of them and the caramel doesn’t thicken enough to cling merrily to the cooked apples.
Melt butter in your skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle in remaining 1 cup sugar and whisk it over the heat until it becomes the palest of caramels. Off the heat, add the apples to the skillet, arranging them rounded sides down in one layer. Lay any additional apple wedges rounded sides down in a second layer, starting from the center.
Return the pan to the stove and cook in the caramel for another 20 to 25 minutes over moderately high heat. With a spoon, regularly press down on the apples and baste them caramel juices from the pan. If it seems that your apples in the center are cooking faster, swap them with ones that are cooking more slowly, and rotate apples that are cooking unevenly 180 degrees. The apples will shrink a bit and by the end of the cooking time, your second layer of apples might end up slipping into the first — this is fine.
Preheat oven to 400. Roll out your puffed pastry to a 9-inch circle and trim if needed. Cut four vents in pastry. Remove skillet from heat again, and arrange pastry round over apples. Tuck it in around the apples for nicer edges later. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Once baked, use potholders to place a plate or serving dish (larger in diameter than the pan, learn from my messes!) over the pasty and with a deep breath and a quick prayer, if you’re into that kind of thing, unmold the pastry and apples at once onto the plate. If any apples stubbornly remain behind in the pan, nudge them out with a spatula.
Eat immediately.