Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

Spending Mardi Gras time with pots and pans

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It is Mardi Gras. Last trip to NOLA was right after 2020 Mardi Gras and right before the pandemic made its presence felt. We couldn’t go to NOLA this year, but we decide to bring a few of our favorite things home.

Like me, you probably make jambalaya and gumbo at home and it never tastes anything like it does in Louisiana. These are everyday dishes, and when they don’t turn out right, you gotta ask yourself why. The reason is simple and a bit sad. No one here in Bay Area makes tasso and andouille like they do back there. So, this February, we decide to set aside the anxiety that comes from counting our carbon footprint and order in some. We followed the online ordering recommendations from Serious Eats article “Missing Louisiana: 8 Ways I Bring the Bayou State Home” and ordered in Tasso, andouille, and boudin from Best Stop in Scott.

And then we followed Chef Paul Prudhomme’s jambalaya and gumbo recipes from “Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen, Cajun and Creole classics” – he starts the particular episode with this welcome message “I am glad that you decided to spend some time with me and my pots and pans.” How utterly charming, no? Title of this blog entry is an homage to Chef Paul. His dishes turned out just as we remembered them from New Orleans. The tasso and andouille were beautifully smoky and not salty, making it easier to add in quantities that Chef Paul recommended. We also made a cajun spice blend recipe from Serious Eats. Again, the trick in the spice recipe is to keep the salt low. Chef Paul likes his food spicy hot, and since we were making food for friends, we substituted the hotter chili peppers with milder ones like Korean red chili pepper powder, Gochugaru, and Kashmiri chili peppers, deggi mirch.

We finished consuming the regular boudin even before we got around to taking a photo! It was heavenly. The crawfish boudin was much lighter by comparison, and very savory. The tasso and andouille were beautifully flavored, you could eat them directly without being reminded of a salt mine.
We paired our cajun cooking with a polenta, almond flour and (blood) orange cake by Ottolenghi and home made citron marmalade.

The marmalade was ultra small batch made from tree ripened citrons. A friend gave us a few to try. Citron are one of the roots of the citrus family and lemon and lime are derived from citron. While not common here in US, they are common in Italy. The citron is low in acidity and the rind is thick and fragrant – imagine Sichuan peppers without the heat and numbing qualities but the sharpness at the back of your throat. Citron acidity is mild enough that they can be used in salads. For the marmalade, we started with peeling the rind, and chopping up the fruit. The rind went through three quick boil (5 min) and rinse cycles and then chopped up finely. Then, the fruit and chopped rind were cooked with sugar (2/3rd by weight) briefly and then pectin added to set the marmalade. We could have added ginger, but we wanted to check the flavor of the fruit on its own. The final marmalade turned out exceedingly bright and flavorful.

Roasted brussel sprouts topped with kale (yes, it is massaged!) in southern buttermilk dressing and a soft boiled egg for breakfast.

Written by locomotoring

February 22, 2023 at 9:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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