surviving this heat wave + a hot jambalaya

Can we all agree that it’s TOO HOT?! It’s almost unbearable to run in this heat, but waking up early to beat it is slightly more unbearable. Lazy summer days. :)

Speaking of heat, I’ve got a recipe to match! Hot jambalaya! (Mrs. Doubtfire anyone? or am I the only one who went through a serious Robin Williams phase?) Traditionally, this dish has a certain amount of kick. Now, I don’t usually have a tongue for spicy things, but spices are one of my favorite things to experiment with. I love mixing the conventional with the unconventional, creating a fusion of flavor. We associate certain spices with various ethnic foods: basil and oregano Italy, cinnamon, anise, cardamon India, chili, oregano, cumin, cacoa Mexico. The smells remind us of the country, making us feel we are there. Spices have little to no nutritional value, but are incredibly powerful. In fact, many spices are toxic when consumed in excess. I have a first hand experience of this when I was persuaded into a cinnamon eating challenge in the dining halls junior year. I survived, but never again. This is because the plants from which these spices are derived function as defense mechanisms to dissuade predators from eating them.

Hot Summer Jambalaya:
Serves 5-6
2 T oil
1/2 red onion diced
2 bell peppers chopped
1 cup celery chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t hot sauce
1/2 pound shrimp
1/2 pound chicken chopped
1 can Cuban (or regular) black beans (sub regular if you want a less spicy dish)
4 cups homemade chicken stock (store bought works too)
2 cups brown rice
chopped basil (for garnish)
Cajun spice mix: makes about 1.5 T
based loosely from Emeril’s
2 1/2 t paprika
1 t salt
2 t garlic powder
1 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried thyme
1 t cilantro
1 t dried minced lemon

In a pot or wok cook shrimp and chicken until just done. Set aside and when cool toss meat in Cajun spice mix (start with 1 T and you can add more to taste when cooking). Pour any of the meat juices out of pot or wok and add oil. Saute onion, peppers, and celery. Add tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, Worcestershire and hot sauces, rice and chicken stock. Bring to a low boil until rice is fully cooked. Add beans, chicken, and shrimp and cook until meat and beans are warm. Serve in a bowl topped with chopped basil.

Do I get to make a wish if I get the bay leaf?

Stay cool this weekend!



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