February 24, 2009

New Orleans ain't so proud of me....

So the other day when I told you about the amazing fig cake, I neglected to mention the disaster that was the beginning of that meal. A little embarrassing considering we had company over (don't worry, they are good friends and are always given a fair warning that they will be used as guinea pigs). Most of my friends up here have never really had good southern cookin', so when given the chance, I like to introduce them some of my favorites. Since today most of the southern world will be spilling out huge pots of gumbo, I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you my own gumbo experience, and hope that yours will go much better! :)

I should go ahead and let you know that I really have no credentials to be cooking southern food, except for the fact that I've eaten my fair share. I grew up in north Florida, which is a combo of traditional southern types but also a lot of beachy, typical Florida people. Mom is from Tampa & Dad is from the backwoods of North Carolina. So I guess that heritage makes me half qualified. I didn't really get into my "southern roots" until I spent 4 glorious years in the wonderful town of Oxford, MS. People, you just don't get more southern than Ole Miss. If you've never been down there, I suggest you pull up next year's football schedule and book a ticket. You will be happy you did.

Anyways, I've already introduced the majority of my yankee friends (my husband was actually dubbed a "super yankee" by my best friends since he is from Canada) to things like biscuits and gravy and red beans and rice, but I thought I would do something a little more intense for dinner the other night. In the spirit of Mardis Gras, I decided to make a chicken-andouille sausage gumbo.

First off, I had to take apart a whole chicken - which I have no idea how to do. Good thing the chicken was just shredded to bits in the end because it was looking a little scary by the time I was done attempting to butcher it. I boiled the chicken down, creating a really nice stock, and then things began to get a little crazy. The recipe called for cooking oil and flour until it turned a dark caramel color. Well in about half the suggested time, mine had turned totally black (see the picture!). Ooops. Everything else went fine, but this black gunk made the whole dish taste bitter and slightly oily. It also stuck to everything and made for a serious clean-up session.

It's so disappointing when something so labor intensive and promising turns out like this. But I wanted to share since experiences like this, although unpleasant, are just part of learning to cook. Guess I have to get a little more in touch with my southern roots before I try something like this again! I'm not going to post the recipe, because at this point I don't know if it was me or it that caused the debacle, but if you would like it please let me know and I would be happy to add it for you. The one good thing that did come out of this meal, aside from the wonderful company, was some great made-from-scratch cornbread that I will share with you soon!

Hope everyone gets a big slice of King Cake today served up along side of a Hurricane (and no hangover tomorrow)!

22 comments:

sugarlens said...

I like to hear about this (mis)adventure just as much I like looking at your other delicious food pictures. I hope you have better luck next time!

And either way, I am sure your friends appreciated your cooking!

Donna-FFW said...

Its good to know other have misfortunes with cooking, too. I have many. It looks really nice though.

Maria said...

It happens to all of us:)

Jamie said...

Yes, I agree with the others - it is comforting to see that other people end up with bloopers as well! Oh well, as long as there was dessert!

Lori said...

Oh bummer. . .it happens to the best of us. I'm sure it doesn't happen often to you. Stop by. . .I have beignets cooking.

Elra said...

I can understand your disappointment, sometimes it happen to me too. Btw, that blackened (kidding) chicken-andouille sausage gumbo doesn't look as bad. In fact it look more appetizing.
Cheers,
Elra

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I love your attitude, and kudos to you for sharing your kitchen disaster. Even seasoned "chefs" have disasters! I've posted about my mixing up baking soda for baking powder-- not good! My BFF is from New Orleans. I have not had the courage to try and make my own Cajun recipes, so I plead with her to invite me over.
Live and learn-- try again, and I'll bet it will turn out just fine.
Debby

Nazarina A said...

Heh, I am not perfect either, but your pictures sure say yummy!!!

Maria said...

This is a side comment:) We used to go to the Ponte Vedra resort every summer. I loved it there!! The beach is really nice and the people at the resort spoiled us!! My husband also lived in the Jacksonville area for a couple of years. We are going to Palm Beach at the end of May for a vacation...we are staying at a resort there. Do you like that area???

Sara said...

I hate when that happens, it's so frustrating, especially when you've spent a lot of time on it.

Sharon said...

I try to make Southern food all the time and I don't have credentials either :) In any case, it looks pretty good, but sorry it didn't turn out!

Redneck Goddess said...

I love your blog - mistakes and masterpieces!!
Next time try butter and flour and mix in a little at a time. You can also make the rue, butter and flour in a seperate pan, then add in the chicken stock...
Did you put okra in it? It just ain't gumbo with out some okra! LOL

Keep cooking,I get great ideas from you!

noble pig said...

Funny but the pic doesn't look bad...just carmelized and yummy. It gets to me too when something doesn't turn out.

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Did you guys eat it. How was the taste? That's what counts right.
Anyway glad you tried and I'm sure your friends are too.

Culinarywannabe said...

Hi Sugarlens - Thanks, I might need the luck! ;)

Hi Donna - It did look pretty, too bad it didn't taste too stellar.

Hi Maria - Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

Hi Jamie - Thank goodness for dessert!

Hi Lori - Your beignets look amazing!

Hi Elra - The picture is tricking you!

Hi Debby - Thanks! I hope your friend made you some yummy food for Mardis Gras.

Hi Nazarina A - Thanks!

Hi Sara - Agreed! And the clean up stunk!

Hi Sharon - Maybe we should combine forces and see if we can come up with something good. :)

Hi Redneck Goddess - The flour idea for the rue sounds much better than the oil. Oh, and I looked for okra at the store and they didn't have any. In fact, the sales person asked me if it was a fruit or a vegetable!

Hi Noble Pig - Pictures are deceiving!

Hi Foodie - My friends actually ate it (they were being too nice), but I didn't cause I thought it tasted yucky. My husband had seconds, but he'll eat anything.

Grace said...

i'm so sorry all your hard work couldn't be salvaged--that's so frustrating! i hope you'll try again. :)

Dani Spies said...

Any good cook knows that you have to be willing to have a few misfortunes in the kitchen! I mean after all, we have to learn how to get better and you can't do that with out a few kitchen disasters!!

Chef Fresco said...

I totally understand your pain! I hate putting so much effort into a dish that turns out less than expected. Oh well, it's making us better cooks!

Leslie said...

No hangover for me! Getting that roux to the dark brown stage, just before it starts burning IS very tricky. I have yet to make gumbo, but now Im scared. lol

Katie said...

Bummer! That's shame. I hope it works out next time!

And you said you were having trouble finding Meyer Lemons? I have seen them at my local Whole Foods as well as a more "regular" grocery store...they were by the Mexican/exotic produce section in HyVee.

Michelle said...

Hey, good on you for admitting failing cooking attempts. It happens, right? Even when my recipes go well, they always go better the second time around.

Janna said...

My grandmother makes a rockin chicken gumbo, but I have NO idea how she gets the roux right. Apparently it takes loads of practice and maybe her being raised in Louisiana gives her extra special powers??

I am scared to try most cajun dishes in the kitchen. I stick to ordering them at restaurants instead...:)