queelez: A series of blue gears against a white background (flying ship)
[personal profile] queelez
So, I turned twenty-one, finished the semester, and upgraded to a paid account on livejournal. Yay!

In celebration, I'm going to start a meme! Hopefully this will catch on. Maybe it won't. The meme is simple, you copy/paste the following questions and answer them.

What is your favorite thing to cook? How do you cook it? Are there any particularly interesting stories about cooking it--the first time, a large disaster, a great success?

There's a lot of foods I love making. My family's Alfredo sauce recipe is super easy and super delicious. I can make a mean baked brie, with cranberry sauce, roasted almonds, and a pastry shell. But overall, I'm going to have to go with my Jambalaya recipe.

See, last September, I went back to college and moved into this awesome townhouse with an equally awesome kitchen. I spent the first few weeks cooking my usual signature meals, but then thought that I should honestly start to push my culinary boundaries. I flipped through my cookbook and came across a recipe for Jambalaya. It was completely different from what I had made before--I'd never even used rice in a meal yet--but looked super tasty. It turns out, Jambalaya is very tasty, and...pretty easy to make! (You pretty much put everything in a pot--meat first, if it's frozen--and cook it until the rice is done).

For the most part, I use the same recipe every time, the one in the book. I've made one substitution, though, and like to add a couple things. So! My recipe for Jambalaya is as follows!
Vegetables: There are three that are absolutely essential: Bell peppers (I usually have one red and one yellow/green), onions (one or two medium/large ones is enough), and tomatoes. (I usually use a large can of stewed/whole tomatoes, and dump the entire thing in. Adds a bit of flavor). I've also done a bit of green onion and zucchini before, but not every time.
Meats: Here, you've got some flexibility. You can easily do a vegetarian Jambalaya--and I have, and it was great. However, if you want want to be awesome, you'll include some meat. The original recipe called for frozen "Brown and Serve" sausages. I've only used them once, because they were fucking terrible. Ideally, you should go with Andouille sausage, but summer sausage will do in a pinch. I also like to add shrimp in, but typically don't get the chance to--shrimp is expensive, yo. I've been toying with having chicken, but that'd include swapping out either sausage (which is essential), or shrimp (which is delicious).
Rice: You've got to have rice, and you've got to have broth. Whether the broth be chicken, beef, or vegetable doesn't matter (I use chicken, unless it needs to be vegetarian). For jambalaya, you want to have the same amount of broth as you do rice. A cup and a half is usually good, but if you want to have a lot of leftovers, bump it up to two cups.
Spices: Spices are the most important part of Jambalaya. Salt and pepper are obvious enough, and I'd toss in a fancy sort of pepper, as well--paprika is good, so are red pepper flakes. Chili powder is a bit too much. Haven't tried cayenne, but I don't see any reason why it would suck. I like to add some rosemary, and maybe a touch of dried basil. I usually pass on oregano, which I've always associated with more Italian dishes. Thyme is essential. Always include thyme, unless you're allergic. Garlic is also good. Mince a piece or two, drop it in, and you're in business. Make sure to put the spices in early; they need time to sink into the meat properly.
Graham's Additions: A couple handfuls of dried cranberries make Jambalaya even more awesome. I also like to have some (maybe about half a cup) juice--either apple cider or some sort of cranberry juice. If you do that, though, make sure you decrease the amount of broth you put in by the appropriate amount.
Preparation: Cut everything up. If the meat is frozen, drop it into the bottom of a big (and I mean big nonstick pot/skillet and let it cook until very much not frozen, and starting to cook. Dump everything else in--at this stage, it should be pretty liquidy, with the rice at the bottom of the pot. Bring it to a boil, then cut the temperature and simmer, stirring often, but not quite constantly. When the rice is done (which will be when a) most of the liquid is gone, and b) you have a small spoonful of rice and it feels/tastes done), the entire meal is ready. Serve and enjoy.

Date: 2011-05-19 11:25 am (UTC)
ext_3257: (com | i think you're a little amazing)
From: [identity profile] bessyboo.livejournal.com
So you will be making this at my place this summer y/y?

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