Thursday, July 9, 2009

he just keeps getting better and better, folks

my dear husband had another birthday a week ago (and it's taken me this long to post about it...). if you remember what number was celebrated last year, then you remember what number he turned this year. if not, i'm not stirring up trouble and posting it here. :)

we celebrated at home, with shrimp and andouille jambalaya (recipe to follow) and chocolate blackberry cake (i used the chocolate recipe and added 1 carton of blackberries and some dark chocolate shavings). YUM!

the decorations were courtesy of gillian, who worked for at least an hour cutting out all those letters (which she drew freehand, by the way...i was very impressed).

the recipe for the jambalaya was given to me by some truly awesome friends, sunnye & josh. josh's mom is from new orleans, and he read this recipe to me over the phone one day while we were all still living in boston (they still live there...we don't. boo.). i am sure he was giving me the recipe to make for another of rick's birthdays. the recipe feeds 10 to 20 people, so it's incredible to fix for any big gathering.

i love my written notes on this recipe; i copied down josh's words exactly at some points. you will see once you read through; i have copied it here exactly as i have it written down (except for the confusing parts where i stop listening and try to write my own notes while listening).

every time i make this recipe, i think of them. they are friends of a very special time in our past. if only we could see them more. they are quite possibly the coolest people we have ever known. if you know them, then i'm sure you agree.

i don't have pictures of the dish because generally speaking i have found that rice, shrimp, and sausage in a combined dish does not photograph well...if you know what i mean. so why post some picture that would make you NOT want to try the recipe? you will just have to trust me. or if you have eaten this recipe at my house before, then speak up in the comments section!

here's to another year of goodness, honey!

Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya (feeds 10-20, i think more like 20)
(from La Bouche Creole cookbook)

*note: original recipe calls for 2 lb. sausage and 2 lb. shrimp, but this last time i used 1 lb. of each and it was PLENTY.

2 lb. sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces (hot or spicy sausage, andouille. i use whole foods fresh andouille, but i wrote down a recommendation in my original notes for hillshire farms smoked all-beef)
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. shrimp (popcorn size or small/peeled)
4 onions, white, chopped (i use vidalia)
2 green bell peppers, chopped (i have used red before and that is also yummy)
4-5 ribs of celery, chopped (all veggies should be chopped roughly the same size)
1 28 oz. can of tomatoes (i use diced, and don't drain them)
6 cups chicken stock, plus have more on hand in case you need it later
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. powdered cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. powdered thyme OR 1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tsp. chili powder
sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper to tase
4 cups raw basmati rice
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped (i usually leave these out b/c rick doesn't like them, and i don't think it makes much difference, but if you love them go for it!)


1. in a very large stock pot (about 10 quarts?), heat oil over medium heat. when the side of the pot is hot to the touch, add the sausage.

2. fry sausage until brown.

3. add shrimp. cook until you can smell the shrimp and it changes color (turns pink).

4. add onions, peppers, celery. cook until tender.

5. add tomatoes and chicken broth. bring to a boil

6. turn the heat up. simmer 30 minutes, uncovered.

7. 10-15 minutes into the simmer (from step 6), add the garlic, bay leaves, cloves, allspice, thyme, and chili powder.

8. taste to see how it's going. toward the end, add salt, pepper, and cayenne to your taste.

9. at the end of the 30 minute simmer time, add the raw rice. bring to a boil. keep at a boil and cook 3 minutes.

10. then turn the heat as low as it will go and cover the pot.

11. cook covered for 15 minutes at low heat.

12. take cover off and stir and assess. if it seems dry, add a little more liquid (remember you made more earlier?). put cover back and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

13. take finely chopped green onions and put in during last 5 minutes of cooking.

14. let sit 5 minutes before serving. fluff.


mrs boo radley said...

Cheers to another great year!

I love sausage.

karin said...

He is looking more distinguised as the years go by, I must say. The cake looks yummy...great idea to add blackberries. Way to go Gillian...can she really be old enough to make her own banner?!

Amelia Plum said...

looks like a very happy birthday. gillian did a wonderful job on the banner and that cake you made looks soo good.

Mrs. H. said...

Happy birthday to your husband! Thanks for this recipe - I think my husband would love it, too! And, yes, I know exactly what you mean about a picture of it! It took me forever to post a picture of meatloaf for my blog. ;-) Gillian's banner is precious - I love banners! :-)