With temperatures the lowest they've been in a decade here, it seemed about time to warm things up in the kitchen. Why not with a flavorful taste from New Orleans? A great end to a day with a windchill close to zero!
adapted from wholefoods.com recipe
2 tablespoons safflower oil, divided
2 (12-ounce) packages pre-cooked spicy Italian chicken sausage, sliced diagonally
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green, 1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 cups rice
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 (1-pound) bag frozen shrimp, thawed, tails removed
Hot sauce for serving
In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned. Remove from pot and set aside. Add remaining oil, celery, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Cook until softened. Stir in tomatoes, broth, water, rice, thyme, salt and cayenne. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 35 minutes, stirring now and then. Add frozen okra and reserved sausage. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add frozen shrimp and continue cooking until heated through. Taste and season with more salt or cayenne if desired. Serve with hot sauce.
Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce
adapted from the Silver Palatte cookbook
1 c heavy cream
1 c milk
3/4 c sugar
1 tbs vanilla
Slice or crumble bread in bite-sized pieces into large bowl. Soak bread in milk and cream for at least an hour. Combine sugar and eggs and vanilla in separate bowl. Once bread is soaked, pour egg mixture into bread and milk mixture, stir till combined. Pour into a well greased 8 x 8 baking pan and bake at 325 F for about an hour and 10 minutes or until browned and set.
1/2 c confectioners sugar
4 Tbs butter
Whiskey to taste
Melt butter and sugar together in a double boiler over medium to medium-high heat. Once both are melted and very hot, remove from heat and add egg, stirring constantly. If the mixture gets lumpy, don't fret!* It's pretty forgiving. Add the whisky and stir till combined. Serve over warm bread pudding. Delicious!
* A trick I learned from an early Moosewood cookbook saved my tukus in college the first time I ever attempted to make a custard sauce (when preparing it for over 40 people!). Use your handy-dandy food processor or immersion blender to smooth! It's that simple, and the texture comes out perfectly!