Tag Archives: sausage

Daring Cook’s Challenge: Gumbo

14 May

I’ve never been to New Orleans. That’s sad. I’ve wanted to go to New Orleans for as long as I can remember. My Dad used to promise that some year we would go to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras. Yeah, well, that didn’t pan out so well.

A lot of things come to mine when you hear or talk about New Orleans. Obviously, Katrina is a big one. But I’m talking about GOOD things. Delicious things.


Po Boys.



King Cake.


All these things are foreign to me. Well, except the beignets and po boys. Those I’ve had. But nothing else. The cuisine in New Orleans makes my mouth water. I keep telling my husband that I want to go to New Orleans for our next vacation, but he doesn’t like to listen to me. ::shakes fist::

Thank goodness this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge was Gumbo because there happened to be a Gumbo recipe in my new cookbook, Slow Cooker Revolution from America’s Test Kitchen. I love this book. I love my slow cooker, but let’s face it, sometimes you throw something in the slow cooker and then fish it out, sometimes it just doesn’t taste good. It’s an amalgam of something. Don’t get me wrong, there are other times I put something in the slow cooker and it turns out AMAZING. Slow Cooker Revolution’s recipes are a little more involved than just throwing ingredients in the slow cooker and letting it do it’s magic, but believe me, the extra steps are WORTH IT.

Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced (seeds and stems removed)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, minced (seeds and stems removed)
  • 1 celery rib, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I substituted using chicken base and boiling water)
  • 1.25lb andouille sausage, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 12oz frozen cut okra, thawed and patted dry
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • dried parsley and red pepper flakes for garnish
Place oven rack in lowest position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add flour to a Dutch oven over medium heat and stir constantly until it begins to brown. Take off the heat and whisk in the oil until smooth. Cover pot, place in oven and cook about 45 minutes.
Remove pot from oven and whisk roux to combine.
Stir in onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, thyme and cayenne into roux and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened, about 10-12 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth, making sure to scrape the edges and removing any clumps. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then carefully transfer to slow cooker.
Stir in sausage, okra and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place the chicken on top of the slow cooker ingredients. Carefully push the chicken down until it is just covered. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours on low.
Once the chicken is tender, carefully remove the chicken and shred. Once the stew has settled, remove any fat from the surface. Remove bay leaves. Add shredded chicken back to slow cooker and stir in and let sit for 5 minutes.
Ladle into bowls, and add scallions and garnish.

Restaurant Review: Tasty Burger

3 Feb

Did you know that Tasty Burger was named after the movie Pulp Fiction? Even one of the burgers pays homage to the movie, the Big Kahuna Burger. If you don’t remember which part of the movie it’s this part:

Jules: Hey kids! How you boys doin’?
[to man laying on the couch]
Jules: Hey, keep chillin’. You know who we are? We’re associates of your business partner Marsellus Wallace. You do remember your business partner don’t you? Let me take a wild guess here. You’re Brett, right?
Brett: Yeah.
Jules: I thought so. You remember your business partner Marsellus Wallace, don’t you, Brett?
Brett: Yeah, yeah, I remember him.
Jules: Good. Looks like me an Vincent caught you boys at breakfast. Sorry about that. Whatcha havin’?
Brett: Hamburgers.
Jules: Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast. What kind of hamburgers?
Brett: Ch-cheeseburgers.
Jules: No, no no, where’d you get ’em? McDonalds? Wendy’s? Jack in the Box? Where?
Brett: Big Kahuna Burger.
Jules: Big Kahuna Burger. That’s that Hawaiian burger joint. I hear they got some tasty burgers. I ain’t never had one myself. How are they?
Brett: They’re good.
Jules: Mind if I try one of yours? This is yours here, right?
[Picks up burger and takes a bite]
Jules: Mmm-mmmm. That is a tasty burger. Vincent, ever have a Big Kahuna Burger?
[Vincent shakes his head]
Jules: Wanna bite? They’re real tasty.

Ok, so I don’t actually know if Tasty Burger is a homage to Pulp Fiction, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The location of Tasty Burger is in a former garage/gas station/shop. The inside is really open, thanks to the huge windows. There’s a pool table in the corner, and they play cartoon network on one of the TVs. They have a pretty good selection of beer and wine, and for reasonable prices. They even have a college student special, which I believe is a cheeseburger, fries and a PBR for something like $10.

I really wanted to try one of their tasty shakes, but decided to be good and instead went with a Raspberry Lime-Rickey ($2.50).

It was very refreshing, and went great with my burger. Hubby and I decided to share some fries with sausage gravy ($5.00).

These.Were.FABULOUS. You could tell they were hand cut, because they were crunchy and perfectly fried. The sausage gravy? Oh my goodness gracious. Nice chunks of sausage and creamy gravy. It was just amazing.

Hubby got the Zum Zum Hog Dog ($8.00) which was served with mustard and sauerkraut. It was seriously the BIGGEST hot dog I have ever seen. And it was also really tasty. 100% beef and the kraut was slightly tangy and the mustard coplimented the hot dog very well. Needless to say, there were leftovers.

I got the Big Kahuna Burger, because I love Pulp Fiction. When you get a burger, you have a choice of an all beef patty, turket burger, or veggie burger. I went with the stadard beef burger, and it was served with a tangy teriyaki sauce with grilled pineapple and onions. I added a little (ok, a lot) of Sriracha sauce and basically consumed the whole burger in about 5 minutes. It was very juicy and the teriyaki sauce was delicious and not too sweet.

We opted out of dessert this time around because we were absolutely stuffed. But next time I go, I’ve definitely going for a shake! If you haven’t checked out Tasty Burger, DO IT NOW!

Tasty Burger on Urbanspoon

Sausage & Cheese Quinoa

30 Jan

I introduced my husband to the wonders of quinoa a while ago. He had never heard of quinoa before. I don’t even think he knew how to spell or pronounce it. I think the first time he saw it he thought it was some dried form of couscous.

My friends, if you’ve never had quinoa before, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. I have never seen something so versatile. Quinoa can be eaten at any time of the day. You can have it for breakfast. Or maybe you want to have a light lunch. You can have it for dessert. Or you can have it for dinner like I did.

And quinoa isn’t just a side dish. It is the main character here. The star of the show, if you will. Front and center, it’s all about the quinoa.

Did I also mention that quinoa is one of the healthiest foods you can eat? It’s got a lot of protein, essential amino acids, dietary fiber, is gluten free and is easy to digest. Not to mention that it is very filling and will keep you full for a long time. You pretty much can’t go wrong with it.

After I made this quinoa dish my husband said, and I quote, “Feel free to buy and make quinoa whenever you want. It’s really good.”

If I haven’t sold you on quinoa yet, then by the time you finish reading this recipe, you’ll be a convert for sure.

Sausage & Cheese Quinoa

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa*
  • 9oz fresh spinach
  • 1 cup sliced gouda
  • 2 links of cooked turkey andouille sausage, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil

*If you want to learn how to cook quinoa, click here.

In a large saute pan heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is nicely browned. Add in the spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add in the sausage and stir for another 2 minutes. Add the quinoa and the cheese and stir until the cheese has been distributed evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and add more sliced cheese to the top because it’s that delicious. Garnish with some dried parsley.

If you want to make this vegetarian, just take out the sausage! I would recommend adding more cheese though, or combining 2 different cheeses, to make the dish more interesting.

Stuffed Zucchini & Why Farmers Markets are Awesome

3 Aug

I love Farmer’s Markets. They make me really happy. Just knowing, 100% that I’m supporting local businesses makes my heart go a-flutter. I’m always insanely jealous of cities that have huge public markets, such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Seattle. When I visited Toronto I was in awe of the St. Lawrence Market and when I visited Borough Market in London I was just so JEALOUS that Boston didn’t have ANYTHING close to that.

Well, HALLELUJAH because Boston seems to FINALLY understand the need for a public market a la the locations listed above. It is in the inital planning stages, and won’t be opened for at least another year or two, but hey, at least we’re finally GETTING somewhere. Read the story here. If you are interested in helping support the creation of a year round public market in Boston, you can find more information here.

Anyway, I am lucky to have a Farmer’s Market right across the street from my office, so every Tuesday and Thursday I load up on fresh fruits and veggies (and occationally bread and cheese) and go to town on them. I recently spotted these beauties:

and I was VERY excited to bring them home and cook them up. I hollowed them out, stuffed some cous cous and other assorted items, stuck it in the oven and BAM! Amazing and healthy dinner.

Stuffed Zucchini

  • 4 Globe Zucchini *
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 chopped red onion
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cooked chicken sausage links (I used spinach and feta)

*Note: I used only 2 globe zucchinis but I had enough filling left over that you could easily make 4 of them

First, take your zuccini’s and hollow them out. Don’t scrape too much of the meat out, but make sure you at least get rid of all the seeds. Discard the innards. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook the zucchini for 15 minutes.

While the zucchini is cooking get everything else together. Combine the chicken broth, and butter into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir in couscous and remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.

In another saute pan, coat with extra virgin olive oil and add the garlic and stir until the garlic is slightly brown, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the onion and pepper and cook an additional 3 minutes, until soft. Add the sausage and stir until the sausage is warmed through, maybe another minute or 2. Grab a medium size bowl and combine the cooked bits and the couscous. Add the lemon juice, rosemary and tomatos and mix together.

Stuff your zucchini with as much filling as possible.

Stick it in the oven for another 15 minutes. I served mine with a side of arugula salad with tomatos, onions, and balsamic vinegar. It’s definitely one filling meal!

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