Wednesday, September 7, 2011

[HOH Recipe Box]: Hurricane Gumbo

As some of you may know, we here in the Nutmeg State have just recovered from a bit of a hurricane.

[via The Day]

My typical reaction to impending inclement weather is to COOK.
Snow Storm? Beef Bourgignone.
Thunder and Lightning? Chili.
Ice Storm? Roast Chicken.

So, what to do when the hurricane's a'comin? Make Gumbo.

A few things to note about gumbo [and this particular recipe]:
  • Real gumbo has okra. I couldn't find any, so it's not represented here. Sorry.
  • Roux: The roux is the heart and soul of any gumbo - don't skimp on this step [step 2 below], be patient and wait for it to be a really rich chocolate color. My dad always said that the time it takes for you to cook the roux is the same as to drink two beers; I find this is a good rule of thumb [plan on stirring for at least 30 minutes!]
  • Sausage: Gumbo typically utilizes andouille. I'm an equal opportunity sausage lover, so whatever your preference is [or, whatever you can find in your local grocery stores] will work well in this dish
  • Added Bonus: Since I have no electricity [and haven't since Sunday morning] I feel I should note that this dish keeps well - even in a cooler! - and almost seems to get better the longer you wait to eat the second round!
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 lb. andouille/chorizo/kielbasa (whatever you like)
  • 3 green peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil + 2 tbsp.
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Tabasco
  • Salt, Pepper
To Do:
  1. Season your chicken thighs - salt, pepper, [garlic powder if you're so inclined], and brown them in 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil in your dutch oven/stock pot over medium heat. When browned on both sides [but not fully cooked], remove and set aside.
  2. Wipe out the pot [seriously, don't use the chicken fat, as tempting as it might be], and add in the 1/3 cup vegetable oil over medium low heat. Add in the flour and begin to stir. And stir. And stir. And stir.
  3. While you stir your roux on a pretty continuous basis, you can chop your veggies: peppers, onions, and celery [otherwise known as the TRINITY] should be about 1/4 inch chop. Garlic can be as fine or large as you like.
  4. Once the roux is nice and dark, add in your chopped vegetables and stir. While these are cooking down, chop up your sausage of choice [bite-sized pieces are best], and pull apart the semi-cooked chicken thighs.
  5. Once the vegetables are soft, add the meat back in, a squirt [or seven] of hot sauce, and give a bit of a stir. Let things get cozy for a few minutes. Many gumbo recipes call for the addition of raw chicken, so don't fret about salmonella - the chicken will cook out completely in the stew.
  6. Add the can of tomatoes, stir.
  7. Add the chicken stock. Cover, simmer, and in an hour or two you can reap the rewards of this fine dish you've just made. Serve over white rice, with an extra side of hot sauce.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're back!

    Okay, so we took the summer off. Can you blame us?

    We are officially back in action here at [House of Her], stay tuned for more of our regularly scheduled goodness :)

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Is your Thumb Black [like mine]?

    My thumb is black. So, if you're like me and that short, slightly fatter finger on each of your hands is not-so-very-green, then you should heed this advice. Carefully.

    It's sure great to learn new things and don't worry earth, my attempt at getting you to cooperate is NOT over. But, I've decided [with a little persuasion from the wise mother] that this year, my flowers will flourish and they'll glow and be bright with life [not death like they have in been in previous years].

    Do you know what this takes? LITTLE [to no] INTERFERENCE.

    Here's what I decided to do. I canned the window boxes [although this breaks my heart just a little] and I bought two gorgeous, full hangers for the front steps.

    Exhibit A.

    For the back porch, I did all my regular herbs [they seem to like me just a little bit], but, for lack of space, until a larger house, with a larger yard happens upon my travels, I had to, sadly, can the veggies as well. But, I purchased some more pretty pretty flowers.

    Exhibit B and C.

    I've made a decision. when I'm at the store, driving past a garden center or nursery, etc., I'm going to pick up more plants. A few here. A few there. and soon, my back porch will be a garden haven. That's the goal anyways. And then I'll be back with more [photos].

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Taxidermy. And Faux Taxidermy. AS ART.

    I have a bit of an fascination with taxidermy. You know, 'the act of mounting or reproducing dead animals for display' [says Wikipedia]. It's not technically the 'act' of the 'mounting' that I'm interested in, though. I'm more interested in the finished product. Or, really, the idea of seeing a dead animal hanging on the wall. And by 'dead', what I really mean is preserved and beautiful. That was a little long-winded [my apologies]. I think it's very interesting, as a form of art, when used in the correct room or setting.

    I mean, how perfect do these deer look? The animal printed textiles make it. And the cricket print? These people are really obsessed, huh?

    How about this bird sanctuary. Can you really look at this and say, in completely honesty, that you don't want an owl displayed in your house/apartment/condo?

    So what if you have quite found the right spot in your home? Or, maybe you don't have the right space for a taxidermic display.

    Well. We've got options for you. 

    There's quite a selection over at Williams-Sonoma...

    Urban Outfitters has a couple of options. 

    For a measly $98 [or so measly when compared to the real stuff], the Deer Trophy Wall Sculpture is perfect.

    And, for a slightly lower price and drastically different look, check out the Giant Cardboard Taxidermy, for $52.

    And never, ever forget Etsy! Check out this AWESOME orange Moosehead for $125. 

    So, there you have it. Faux Taxidermy, at it's finest. I still swear, when I find the right space, I'll have a deer hanging on my wall. Beware. Until then, I'll stick to the fake stuff.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    [HOH Recipe Box]: Garbage Salad

    Do not be alarmed, fair readers - the name of this dish should not deter you from reading further.

    Garbage Salad is, in my life anyway, the stuff of legends. My mother has been making it for as many summers as I can remember, and I look forward to the first garbage salad of the season - without fail - each May. It's not for everyone (my esteemed pal Dena is no fan), but for those of you who think it might be up your alley, you simply must give it a whirl.

    1 lb. regular pasta (NOT whole wheat, has to be plain, and some sort of short macaroni style - whatever you fancy).
    1 package frozen green peas
    1 pt. cherry/grape tomatoes
    6-8 hard boiled eggs
    2 cans chunk light tuna in water
    1 c. mayo (or so, depends on how moist you like your pasta salad)
    Salt and Pepper

    To Do:
    1. Set water to boil, do the pasta thing as per usual.
    2. When the pasta is pretty much cooked, dump the bag of peas into the pasta water (with pasta still in it) to quickly thaw/cook them. Strain pasta/peas and run some cold water over to bring the temp down and avoid overcooking
    3. Hard boil eggs (I like the 10 minute method - cover eggs with cold water, set on high heat to boil and once they start boiling shut the heat off and let them sit for 10 minutes - never fails)
    4. Halve your tomatoes (makes for easier forking)
    5. Drain tuna, separate with fork into mixing bowl
    6. Combine everything, starting with a little over 1/2 c of mayo and adding gradually to desired creaminess.
    7. Salt and Pepper to taste.

    Sure, the ingredients are totally pedestrian. Sure, it may be close to some other tuna macaroni salad you've had before. Sure, the combination of eggs and tuna weirds some people out.

    None of this matters. Garbage salad is summer cookout perfection on a plate. Serve it up for your next bbq and I guarantee you'll have many, many fans.

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    [Glorious Friday]: Memorial Day Weekend

    Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of Summer.

    Summer! Beach! Barbecues! Sunburns! Driving with the windows down!

    I'm planning to celebrate this momentous occasion with a little barbecue for some friends on Sunday, but mostly by finally planting my vegetable garden. [From what I understand, Memorial Day is pretty much the last weekend that you can plant and still see some results! Talk about making a DEADLINE!]

    Tim and our favorite horticulturalist friend Robert, planting our very first veggie garden last Summer

    Last year was our first season with a real, official vegetable garden, so we've learned from our mistakes and are looking forward to oh-so-many tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplant...

    How are you celebrating this Memorial Day?

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Jewelry making

    So I've been spending some time creating jewelry lately. Namely earrings. And I must tell you, It's been very therapeutic. I've been saying for, [let's just say] a while, that I'll open a store on Etsy and I haven't quite gotten there, BUT, my inventory is growing, so perhaps in the near future?

    Anywho. On to the real stuff [enough of my chitter-chatter]. What do I make and how do I make it? I hammer metal. My mother took a class a few years back and she taught me and now, it's my preferred method of jewelry creation [it does let out a bit of aggression as well].

    So, I start with wire.

    And I cut the wire [and shape it].

    Oh, and these are my tools. My wire cutters. My hammer. And my wire shaper.

    So after shaping the wire, I hammer it.

    So that it looks like so.

    And then I play with different beads and different ear wires. And make a variety of different styles.

    See here. 

    And here.

    My earrings are for sale at Pinc! in Downtown New London. Visit awesome store owner Kim Pettey!!!