Thursday, March 16, 2023

Peanut Boil History


Diana L. Bruton


When or why Southerners started boiling peanuts no one knows exactly. But good ideas have a way of spreading and, today, Southerners know how great boiled peanuts are. Not only are boiled peanuts called “the caviar of the South,” but they are also the official state snack of South Carolina. From Labor Day on into the holiday season, boiled peanuts are abundantly available at roadside stands, gas stations, ball games, festivals, and anywhere else people gather for fun.

History gives us clues about the origin and growth of the popularity of boiled peanuts.

Colonial Days:

Peanuts were first brought to America by slaves from Africa and the practice of boiling peanuts probably originated here. If there was a surplus peanut crop, field workers would hold a “peanut boil” to celebrate with shared conversation and food. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Breakfast Brunch Ideas Breaking the Fast Flavorfully

Looking for a quick and flavorful breakfast or brunch?

Avocado Toast Garnished with Deviled Eggs

 Learn how to make avocado toast by choosing from six flavorful recipes to get you started. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can get creative using more of your favorite toppings.

Avocados are versatile fruit to slice, mash, or fill. The creamy and buttery texture makes any meal better. There are plenty of health benefits to match their luxurious taste, notably their healthy mono and polyunsaturated fat content and antioxidants like beta carotene. Avocado is the star of this popular and trendy dish that still has people obsessing over it.

Mastering this simple avocado toast recipe will make breakfast or brunch more exciting. Learn the basics for preparing the base and nailing the perfect golden brown toast. Start with an essential combination, or get adventurous with six different recipe ideas I created for you. Whether you’re craving Italian flare or a classic bacon and egg combination, I’ve got plenty of options.

How to make avocado toast?
There are only two must-have components; toasted bread and sliced or mashed avocados. From here, you can keep it simple with seasonings or get more creative with various topping ideas. A large, eight-ounce avocado is enough to make two generous servings. It yields about ½ cup of mashed fruit.

Simple Avocado Toast
▢2 slices bread, sourdough, wheat, Italian or French loaf, ½"thick pieces
▢1 large avocado
▢¼ teaspoon lemon juice
▢¼ teaspoon kosher salt
▢⅛ teaspoon black pepper
▢1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
▢1 teaspoon chopped parsley, optional

We thought brunch couldn’t get any better or more delicious, then we met pancake bites. Game changer. You might think, “why not just make one big pancake?” Well, everything is better in bites! With this recipe, you can go as crazy as you want with toppings or just stick with a classic plain pancake. If you have picky eaters around, they can build their own. This recipe makes 36 bites, so there is plenty of room for experimenting. (Omit sugar, maple syrup, and chocolate chips if you are on a diabetic diet)

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons of PB2 Peanut Protein Powder
1 cup non-dairy milk (you can use regular milk if you prefer, it will just make these non-Vegan)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Dash of vanilla
Maple syrup for the dipping topping of your choice, but we suggest chocolate chips and berries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a mini muffin pan. If you want to save time, grease up 2. This recipe will make 36 mini muffins.

2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, PB2, milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla in a large bowl.

3. Fill the pan with batter and stud with toppings of your choice.

4. Bake the pancake bites for 8-10 minutes. Allow cooling for 10 minutes.

5. Serve with a side of maple syrup, and enjoy!

Mixing Bowls
Cast Iron Pan
Fish Spatula

½ cup flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
15 ounces of canned salmon
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
½ cup sweet onion, diced
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Olive oil for frying
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and cornmeal.
Add salmon, bell peppers, sweet onion, seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, cilantro, and egg. Mix until well combined.
Shape into about 6-8 patties. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Once the skillet is hot, cook the patties on each side for 2-3 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.

If you've tried this recipe, come back and tell us how it was in the comments or star ratings!

What is Salmon Croquettes?

Some might even refer to them as salmon cakes or a salmon patty, like a crab cake, but with salmon! A salmon burger, but without the bun.

Like crab cakes, seasoning is everything for Salmon Croquettes. This recipe uses a blend of garlic, cilantro (my secret ingredient!), seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce, and then pan-fried for a nice brown crisp.

Salmon patties are also great with your favorite dipping sauce. There are many homemade sauce options available, but here are some of my favorites:

Use this Sriracha Sour Cream Sauce for zest and tang.

Homemade Tartar Sauce is another option for this beautiful salmon creation.

Add fresh lemon juice with wedges or slices.

If you have kids, ketchup is a viable option as a dip for these Salmon Croquettes.


About The Author:


Jessica is the mom, wife, and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt, and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica contributes to Pop Kitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel, and more.

Jessica Gavin

A little background, I grew up in the bustling cities of the San Francisco Bay Area. Northern California is a melting pot of various cultures and cuisines, and my curiosity and appreciation for food were embraced.

My fondest memories were weekend visits to Oakland Chinatown with the family to shop for fresh vegetables, roasted meats, and special pink bakery boxes loaded with Chinese sweets. From a very young age, I noticed how food could bring people together and create bonds – I knew that food would have a very important role in my life.

Education, My passion led me to study Food Science for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, California. During my studies, I learned about food technology and how food is delivered from “farm to fork,” focusing on providing safe and wholesome food and understanding the consumer.

Saturday, February 4, 2023


I was looking for an excellent stew to take the chill off this cold Chicago weekend.  I pulled this seasoning mix packet out of the bend, which had been there for months. I decided to try it tonight. It was so GOOD!  I have to tell everyone to try it. Mind you this isn't a commercial or a paid advertisement, I just found a brand that I'm willing to try again and again, especially for a quick hot meal.  I omitted the rice.  Since I'm on this diabetic diet.

A kickin’ culinary staple now straight from your kitchen! This easy-to-prepare jambalaya is even easier to devour with hearty ingredients and delicious Creole flavors. Yields 5 serving


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

1 pkg. Pioneer Bayou Jambalaya Meal Seasoning Mix

2 ¼ cups water

1 cup parboiled long-grain rice

1 lb. meat of choice – smoked sausage, cooked chicken, or shrimp*

Optional: ½ cup chopped green bell pepper, ½ cup yellow onion, and 1 (14.5 oz.) can dice tomatoes**

Mix seasoning mix with water in a 3-quart saucepan, and bring to a boil.

Add rice meat of choice.

Simmer covered for about 20 minutes until rice is tender.

Remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Fluff with a fork before serving.

*Add cooked shrimp during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

**Saute peppers and onions in 1 tbsp oil. Proceed to Step 1, and add the diced tomatoes before boiling them.


TSHA | Guenther, Carl Hilmar (

GUENTHER, CARL HILMAR (1826–1902).Carl Hilmar (Hilmer) Guenther, pioneer miller, son of Carl Gottfried and Johanne Rosina (Koerner) Guenther, was born at Weissenfels on the Saale River in Germany on March 19, 1826. He was one of eight children, the first of this line to migrate to America. In 1848 he traveled to New York and then to Wisconsin and down the Mississippi River before returning to Germany for a few months. Around 1851 he returned to America, landed in New Orleans, and traveled to Indianola, Texas. From Indianola he trudged the 250 miles to San Antonio beside a provision wagon. In San Antonio he heard of the need for a gristmill and flour mill in Fredericksburg, so he traveled there and built his first mill on Live Oak Creek nine miles west of Fredericksburg. He excavated the mill race with a pick and shovel and designed and made the waterwheel and gears of native woods. After a flash flood swept away an incomplete dam, he rebuilt from the ground up. In 1855 he married Dorothea (Dorathea or Dorethea) Wilhelmine Henriette Pape in a Lutheran ceremony in the first community church. They had seven children. Guenther was Fredericksburg justice of the peace in 1856. After two years of drought had depleted the crops and water supply, the family moved to San Antonio in 1859. By October of that year, on the bank of the San Antonio River at the foot of King William Street, Guenther had built the first flour mill in the city. In 1898 his mills were incorporated as C. H. Guenther and Son; the name was later changed to Pioneer Flour Mills. Guenther also established a small ice plant called the Southern Ice Company (later Southern-Henke Ice Company). He helped found San Antonio's German-English School and held membership in the Beethoven Männerchor, the Arbeiter Verein, and the Casino Club, San Antonio's first social club and theater. Guenther and his descendants constantly improved and enlarged the mills. By 1900 their 200-horsepower engine was the largest in the city. Guenther died on October 18, 1902, in San Antonio and was buried beside his wife in City Cemetery No. 1

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Crispy Baked Tofu

@ KARIN SCHWAB Photo Credit

Let’s talk about tofu! Even as a vegetarian, I don’t eat a ton of it. When I do, however, I want it crispy, and crispy tofu is an elusive beast. I’ve shared this method here and here, but I’ve gotten such fantastic feedback that I wanted to highlight it.

Even tofu skeptics love this tofu. Try it, and you will see it!

1 block (12 to 15 ounces) of organic extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari* or soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot starch
Tips for Irresistibly Crispy Tofu

1) Choose the right kind of tofu.

Extra-firm tofu is the only way to go, and I’ve found that the Trader Joe’s brand is the most firm of them all (plus, it’s only two dollars). It’s also organic, essential when buying tofu because soy is conventionally treated with fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides. Look for tofu in the refrigerated section by the produce.

2) Squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

Water-logged tofu always gets somewhat crispy. The key here is to slice the tofu into pieces before pressing it. Have you ever tried pressing a whole block or even two halves? They just sit in soggy puddles. Instead, slice them into smaller pieces to maximize the surface area. Press those, and you’ll extract more moisture—faster, too.

3) Toss your tofu in oil, soy sauce, and starch.

Now, you just need to toss your tofu in a bit of oil (just 1 tablespoon for the whole batch), tamari or soy sauce (for some flavor), and cornstarch or arrowroot starch. The starch makes the edges extra crispy and irresistible (I got this idea from The Kitchen).

Cornstarch vs. arrowroot: You might be wondering which starch is better. Cornstarch is a more processed ingredient, but it yields the crispiest results. Arrowroot is less processed and works well, but the outer covering can become slippery and strange if you add tofu to a dish containing a lot of moisture (like curry).

4) Bake it.

Spread your prepared tofu in an even layer across a sheet pan. Don’t worry if your tofu fell apart as you tossed it. Bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Boom! Perfect tofu.

Why Bake Your Tofu?
Some swear by cooking their tofu in a skillet, but it never turns out well in my cast iron skillets. It sticks, and the crispy bits end up sticking to the pan, a tofu tragedy. Plus, it requires more oil, and you don’t need much oil to get crispy tofu.
When you bake your tofu, you give it time to develop crispy edges and warm, pillowy insides. It’s simply the best.

@ KARIN SCHWAB Photo Credit

@ KARIN SCHWAB Photo Credit

Uses for Crispy Baked Tofu
If you want to infuse your tofu with more flavor, I recommend adding sauce after it’s baked rather than marinating it. Why? Water-logged tofu isn’t very good at absorbing flavor (something I always suspected, which was confirmed by Deborah Madison via Serious Eats).

So, bake your tofu in the oven to crispy perfection, then cook it in sauce, or drizzle sauce on top. This tofu is perfect for tossing into any recipe with Asian flavors or any recipe that could benefit from some hearty vegetarian protein. For example, it would be great in my Thai red curry or green curry.

You could replace the eggs in my kale, coconut fried rice, and Thai pineapple fried rice with this tofu. It is fantastic, with peanut sauce drizzled on top in any form. (Fun fact: my crispy tofu and peanut sauce collide in my cookbook!)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the tofu from sticking.

To prepare the tofu: Drain the tofu and use your palms to gently squeeze out some of the water. Slice the tofu into thirds lengthwise, so you have 3 even slabs. Stack the slabs on top of each other and slice through them lengthwise to make 3 even columns, then cut across to make 5 even rows (see photos).

@ KARIN SCHWAB Photo Credit

Line a cutting board with a lint-free tea towel or paper towel, then arrange the tofu in an even layer on the towel(s). Next, fold the towel(s) over the cubed tofu, then place something heavy (like another cutting board topped with a cast iron pan or large cans of tomatoes) to help the tofu drain. 

Let the tofu rest for at least 10 minutes (preferably more like 30 minutes if you have the time).

Transfer the pressed tofu to a medium mixing bowl and drizzle with the olive oil and tamari. Toss to combine. Sprinkle the starch over the tofu, and toss the tofu until the starch is evenly coated, so no powdery spots remain.

Tip the tofu bowl onto your prepared baking sheet and arrange the tofu in an even layer. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing the tofu halfway until the tofu is deeply golden on the edges. Use as desired.


This blog post is all about celebrating good food—natural, sustainable food that delights the senses and nourishes the body.

 Kathryne is a self-taught photographer and cooks from Oklahoma. She started this blog in 2010 and named it after her canine sidekick, Cookie.

Thai Red Curry with Vegetables

Homemade Thai red curry recipe with vegetables! So much better than takeout.  You know dinner is good when you want to eat it for breakfast. Speaking of, it’s 10 am, and I’m writing with a happy belly. This Thai red curry made a fantastic meal last night and an even better breakfast this morning. It’s warm, comforting, and perfect for cool days. It’s a little rich, too, but so full of vegetables that it doesn’t feel too indulgent.

Thai red curry ingredients

I’ve been meaning to try a red Thai curry based on my green curry for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally did. It’s the best curry I’ve ever had, restaurant versions included! Yeah, I said it.

Bonus? You should be able to find everything you need for this simple curry at a well-stocked grocery store.

Thai Red Curry, Tips. The secret to making excellent Thai curries is to use plenty of aromatics, like onion, ginger, and garlic. Choose full-fat coconut milk for its richness (you won’t regret it!). Stirring in just a little bit of rice vinegar and sugar adds complexity.

Readily available store-bought Thai red curry paste adds characteristic Thai flavor; bonus, the Thai Kitchen brand is vegetarian. You can make your own if you’re so inclined, though. Feel free to change up the vegetables, as long as you slice them, so they’re all pretty small and about the same size. You could try broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, diced butternut, or sweet potato (which will probably require a longer cooking time), sliced zucchini, and/or yellow squash.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Grandma's Cooking Recipes Jerk Lemon Pepper Salmon

 Ayour Haloui

Ayour Haloui

jerk lemon pepper salmon 


1 or 2 pieces of Salmon (about 1 ½ lbs)

2 T Butter

1 T Peanut or Canola Oil only

1 lemon sliced

Roasted vegetables (Sea rodeo under, ‘Vegetables’)

2 T Jerk Seasonings (blend)

1 T Salt

1 T Black Pepper

½ T Chile Powder

¼ T Red Pepper Flakes

¼ T Paisley

2 tap Papdka

1 T Thyme

1 T Cinnamon

½ Nutmeg

½ All Spice

1 T Brown Sugar (diabetic diets omit brown sugar)

Lemon Pepper Seasoning:

1 T Salt

1 T Cracked Black Pepper

1 T Lemon Zest


Fleet skillet to Mien add butter, Peanut, or Canola oil.

Rinse salmon and pat dry. Pour a drizzle of oil over it. Season all sides with your Jerk and Lemon Pepper seasonings.

When the butter is melted and beginning to brown, and the pan is slightly smoking, gently add salmon Sear for 2-3 mins. The Salmon should be somewhat charred after flipping.

Next, place Salmon and sliced lemons in light grease. Oven-safe dish. Broil on high on the center rack for 8-10 mins until cooked thru. Splash with lemon juice immediately once removed roasted veggies are.

Number of Servings: 2-4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Personal Notes: PRO TIP: This method is called pan searing. Make sure your butter begins to brown before adding.

Salmon. This will give the salmon that charred seasoned coating.


Saturday, January 7, 2023

How to Eat to Live- 2023

 At the end of 2022, I was diagnosed with diabetes and was immediately given insulin injections to bring my A1C down.   I have a family history of diabetes but lived all my adult life with the threat of it lingering over me, but I controlled it with diet and watching what I eat. The ending of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 have changed my life substantially. So this year will be a journey and blogging about dishes that teach us how to eat to live. 

Book Overview - I remember having a copy of this book in the 1980s, and I prepared food for my family and practiced cooking around recipes that encouraged good diets. 

Do you want to eat delicious food that allows you to lose weight and keep it off permanently without hunger or deprivation? Do you want to throw away your medications and recover from chronic illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes? Do you want to maintain good health, live longer, and enjoy life to the fullest? If you said yes to any of these, then the Eat to Live Cookbook is for you. Through his #1 New York Times bestselling book Eat to Live, Joel Fuhrman, M.D., has helped millions of readers worldwide discover the most effective, healthy, and proven path to permanent weight loss. Now the Eat to Live Cookbook makes this revolutionary approach easier. Filled with nutritious, delicious, and easy-to-prepare recipes for every occasion, the Eat to Live Cookbook shows you how to follow Dr. Fuhrman's life-changing program as you eat your way to excellent health.

Book Overview
Despite what you might have heard, diabetes is not a lifelong condition. It does not have to shorten your life span or result in high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, or other life-threatening ailments. In fact, most diabetics can get off medication and become 100 percent healthy in just a few simple steps. 

 The End of Diabetes, Dr. Joel Fuhrman shows how to prevent and reverse diabetes and its related symptoms and lose weight. The End of Diabetes is a radical idea wrapped in a simple plan: Eat Better, End Diabetes. While the established medical protocol aims to control diabetes by limiting carbohydrate intake, monitoring glucose levels, and prescribing bottomless doses of medicine, Dr. Fuhrman believes this long-standing approach to fighting diabetes is wrong--and possibly fatal. 

Designed for anyone ready to enjoy a healthier and longer life, Dr. Fuhrman's plan is based on a single formula: Your Health Future (H) = Nutrients (N) / Calories (C). According to Dr. Fuhrman, foods with a high nutrient density turn our bodies into the miraculous, self-healing machines they can be, resulting in significant weight loss, improved health, and, ultimately, the end of diabetes and other diseases. In engaging, direct, and easy-to-follow language, The End of Diabetes supplies the science and clinical evidence to prove that diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are not inevitable consequences of aging. Instead, they are reversible and preventable. This simple and effective plan offers great food, starts working immediately, and puts you on a direct path to a longer, better, fuller, disease-free life.

Friday, December 30, 2022


My sister Diana sent me this recipe, and we went back and forth about what she puts in her Gumbo and what is traditional. I haven't used succotash and cut okra in my Gumbo, but some folks like it that way. It can be made with all sorts of ingredients. If you aren't a pork eater, just omit the pork tenderloin. Some cooks use lean beef and prepare this dish in the same manner.

READY IN: 35 mins



1  lb  pork tenderloin

 nonstick cooking spray

1  tablespoon butter

2  tablespoons all-purpose flour

1  cup water

1 (16 ounce) can of stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 (10-ounce) package of frozen cut okra

1 (10-ounce) package of frozen succotash

1  beef bouillon cube

1  teaspoon black pepper

1  teaspoon  hot pepper sauce

1  bay leaf


Sliced pork into 1/2-inch cubes. Spray a large Dutch oven with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat until hot. Add pork; cook and stir for 4 minutes or until pork is browned. Remove the pork from the Dutch oven. Melt butter in the same Dutch oven. Stir in flour.

Cook and stir until the mixture is dark brown but not burned. Gradually whisk in water until smooth.

Add pork and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove bay leaf before serving.


Tell us how it came out or how you tweaked it, add your photos, or get help.


Ever know exactly what to make after a hard day’s work? Us either. Take the guesswork out of dinner with these sure-fire meals, delivered right to your inbox.


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Big Charlie's Gumbo

GUMBO RECIPE- My sister Diana Bruton shared this recipe with me. We were having a discussion of what goes in gumbo and various ways to prepare it. 

This is a basic gumbo recipe with a lot of added flavor. You can omit the stew meat or add something in its place. I recommend you serve this recipe over rice, like many other gumbo recipes. I like to add crabmeat to this hearty soup as well. Serve over rice with crusty French bread. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe by Eric Bernabe  Updated on September 12, 2022

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 3 hrs 30 mins

Total Time: 4 hrs

Servings: 10


2 tablespoons butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chopped onion

¾ cup chopped celery

1 pound okra, chopped

¼ cup butter

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ pound cubed beef stew meat (Optional)

8 cups water

1 (16 ounce) can of whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped

1 ½ teaspoon white sugar

1 ½ tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 sprig of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 pinch salt

½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 pinch of ground black pepper

1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

½ pound crabmeat, flaked

1 pound medium shrimp - peeled and deveined

½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

½ lemon

file powder (see Note)


Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, onions, celery, and okra, constantly stirring, until golden brown. Set aside.

In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat, combine 1/4 cup butter and flour. Cook, constantly stirring, until the roux becomes chocolate brown. Stir in the vegetable mixture and stew meat. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender and meat is evenly brown. Stir in water, tomatoes, and sugar. Season with parsley, thyme, bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add shrimp, crabmeat, and andouille to the stock pot. Stir in hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Remove the seeds from the lemon and squeeze the juice into the stock pot. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves, sprinkle with filé powder, and serve over rice.


Filé powder can be added off the heat to thicken the gumbo. It may become stringy and unpleasant if added while the gumbo is still cooking. Fil é powder is ground sassafras leaves. It is available in many supermarkets.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022


Edited by Grammarly by Alpha Bruton, 12/26/2022, My daughter Jazmin Bruton Davis, cooked Gumbo for Christmas day, passing on tradition.


by Stanley Dry

Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo

Of all the dishes in Louisiana cooking, gumbo is the most famous and, very likely, the most popular. Gumbo crosses all class barriers, appearing on the poor and wealthy tables. Although ingredients might vary greatly from one cook to the next and from one part of the state to another, a steaming bowl of fragrant gumbo is one of life’s cherished pleasures, as emblematic Louisiana as chili is of Texas.

Gumbo is often cited as an example of the melting-pot nature of Louisiana cooking, but trying to identify the dish's origins and evolution is highly speculative. The name derives from a West African word for okra, suggesting that gumbo was originally made with okra. The use of filé (dried and ground sassafras leaves) was a contribution of the Choctaws and, possibly, other local tribes. Roux originates in French cuisine, although the roux used in gumbos is much darker than its Gallic cousins.

Dr. Carl A. Brasseaux of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, who has written the definitive history of the Cajuns, found that the first documented references to gumbo appeared around the turn of the 19th century. In 1803, gumbo was served at a gubernatorial reception in New Orleans, and in 1804 gumbo was done at a Cajun gathering on the Acadian Coast.

Today, the gumbos people are most familiar with are seafood gumbo, chicken, and sausage gumbo. But that merely scratches the surface of historical and contemporary gumbo cookery.

Lafcadio Hearn’s La Cuisine Creole, published in 1885, contains recipes for several gumbos made from various ingredients—chicken, ham, bacon, oysters, crab, shrimp, and beef, among them. Some of the recipes are made with okra, others with filé. Although there is no mention of a roux in any of the recipes, some call for adding flour or browned flour as a thickener.

2nd Edition 

The Creole Cookery Book, published by the Christian Woman’s Exchange of New Orleans in 1885, calls gumbo making an “occult science” that “should be allowed its proper place in the gastronomical world.” A New Orleans gumbo, the book maintains, “can be made of scraps of cold meat or fowl, a few oysters, crabs or shrimps, and, with a couple of spoonfuls of well-cooked rice, is a very satisfying and economical dinner.” The editors include several recipes for gumbo, one of which incorporates filé (spelled “fillet” in the book). All the ingredients are useful, natural, and utterly harmless to men’s health; read about medicines' potency prices. Some recipes are made with various greens and herbs, but curiously, there is no mention of okra as a gumbo ingredient, although the book includes three recipes for okra soup.

The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook, published in New Orleans in 1901, includes recipes for various gumbos. The principal ingredients are chicken, ham, oysters, turkey, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, beef, veal, soft-shell crabs, shrimp, greens, and cabbage. Some of the gumbos are made with okra, others with filé.

                                                    The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook,

Traditionally, gumbos have been divided into two large categories—those thickened with okra and those concentrated with filé. According to some accounts, okra was the preferred thickening agent for gumbo before refrigeration and freezers. At the same time, filé was a substitute used only in the off-season when okra wasn’t available. That sounds plausible, but I’ve also found references to dried okra as an ingredient in 19th-century gumbos. By drying okra, cooks could use it in their gumbos year round.

In some respects, putting gumbo into okra or a filé category is still valid. Still, a brown roux is the only thickener for many cooks, and filé has virtually disappeared from their recipes. Often roux-based gumbos incorporate filé, and to my taste, they are the better. Filé is used both for thickening and for flavor. It is usually added to a gumbo before serving or at the table. Many okra gumbos also incorporate a brown roux, and some roux-based gumbo contains a small amount of okra, often cooked until it virtually dissolves.

If all those variations aren’t confusing enough, there are raging controversies over what constitutes a proper gumbo roux. Roux, of course, is flour that has been browned in oil or some other fat. Both cooks and eaters have their own opinions on how dark the roux should be and how much should be used in gumbo. There is no agreement on these matters, as anyone who has tasted gumbos from different cooks can attest.

An excellent place to sample an astonishingly wide range of gumbos is the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff, held each October in New Iberia. A few years ago, I interviewed contestants about their gumbo philosophies. As for the preferred color of the roux, answers varied from the color of a brown paper bag to dark chocolate. So, too, for the desired thickness of the gumbo. A local banker aimed for a thin gumbo (“gumbo juice,” he called it), while another cook’s ideal thickness was between rice and gravy and a stew.

Although the New Iberia event requires that contestants cook their own roux on-site, the rest of us are more relaxed. For some years, commercially prepared groups have been available and are a great convenience item. Dry roux consisting of only browned flour is also commonplace on grocery shelves and is popular with those who wish to reduce fat consumption. When using either, I’ve found that it’s preferable to dissolve them in hot liquid before adding them to the gumbo pot.

Contemporary gumbos are made with all manner of ingredients in a variety of combinations. Seafood and non-seafood gumbos are two primary types, and they may be made with or without okra. But some gumbos include ingredients from both the land and the sea. Duck-smoked sausage and oyster gumbo is one delicious example. Some cooks add hard-boiled eggs to chicken and sausage gumbos, and quail eggs find their way into other versions. A very atypical version is the Lenten gumbo z’herbes, which is made with various greens.

Seafood gumbos often include crabs, shrimp, and oysters. Shrimp and okra gumbo is a perennial favorite, as is chicken and okra gumbo. Chicken and sausage gumbo is trendy, and in the households of hunters, ducks and other game birds often wind up in the gumbo pot. Turkey and sausage gumbos frequently appear during frequently appear and Christmas holidays. An unusual but delicious combination is a gumbo of steak, smoked sausage, and oysters. Some cooks use ham or tasso in their gumbos, and others use fresh sausage instead of smoked. The possible combinations are virtually endless.

One ingredient that does arouse controversy is the tomato. Some cooks use it in their gumbos; others wouldn’t be caught dead putting a tomato in theirs. In that respect, the situation is analogous to jambalaya, where the question of the appropriateness of tomatoes is a burning issue. Tomatoes are often found in okra gumbos, but I’ve had roux-based seafood gumbo containing tomato. I don’t have any hard evidence to back this up, but in my experience, gumbos containing tomatoes are more common on the eastern side of Bayou Lafourche than they are farther west. I am for tomato in okra gumbo and against it in non-okra gumbo.

One point everyone can agree on is that gumbo is always served with rice. But that was only sometimes the case. C.C. Robin, a Frenchman who published an account of his travels in Louisiana in 1803-1805, reported that gumbo was served with corn meal mush.

A contemporary variant of that theme is the experience of Dr. Monty Rizzo, a New Iberia physician and an excellent cook who hunts game in Africa. On a safari in Tanzania, he taught the cooks to make a gumbo with the doves his party had shot that day. The cooks had already proved their soup-making skills with a cream of peanut soup and a Cape buffalo tail soup, but the gumbo was unknown to them. There was no rice in the camp, so the cooks served the gumbo with corn meal mush. It was such a hit that before the trip was over, they made it again, this time without Dr. Rizzo’s supervision.

For some reason, gumbo is one of those dishes that men often make. It has some of the same appeals as game cookery or barbecuing and is a favorite dish at hunting camps. The event has a heightened significance when men who cook only occasionally make gumbo. Some men use the phrase “build a gumbo” to describe their actions, and the occasion demands a good supply of iced beer. If there is an audience, so much the better. On the other hand, for women and men who cook daily, making gumbo is more routine, if not less important.

I’m convinced that part of gumbo’s virtue, besides its deliciousness, is that the dish is very forgiving of the cook. Measurements do not have to be exact; ingredients may be changed to use what is on hand, and unless the diners are so set in their ways that they can’t appreciate change, the result will be pretty good.

Consider the options as outlined in a gumbo recipe that appeared in the New Orleans City Guide, which was published in 1938. It is a basic recipe for a gumbo made with crabs, shrimp, and oysters. At the end of the instructions is this advice:

“Okra may be used in place of the filé, but it is cooked with the gumbo. The basic recipe is the same, but chicken, veal, ham, or a combination of veal and hambone can be substituted for crabs and shrimp. After Thanksgiving and Christmas, the left-over turkey may be made into a gumbo with oysters.”

Stanley Dry is a writer, SFA member, and gumbo lover. You can see more of his work here.


Stanley Dry is a writer, SFA member, and gumbo lover. View his work here:

2021 Looking Back, Looking Forward


October 18, 2021, in Orlando, Dani's Birthday Dinner

October 18, 2021, in Orlando, Dani's Birthday Dinn

Monday, December 26, 2022


1 cup coarsely chopped onion
½ cup diced green or red pepper
1 –cup sliced celery
4- Tablespoons peanut oil
1 16-0unce whole-kernel corn
1 16-ounce stewed tomatoes
1-Teaspoon salt
¼-teaspoon black pepper
1/8-teaspoon cayenne paper
1 -10 ½ ounce package of frozen sliced okra

In a 3-quart saucepan, sauté onion, green or red pepper, and celery in oil for 5 minutes. Add corn, tomatoes, salt, and black and cayenne papers; cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add okra; cover and simmer 10 minutes longer. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
 Servings 8
 Author Terry Walters

1 cup uncooked wild rice
3 cups water
3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
2 celery stalks chopped
1 large green bell pepper chopped

3 cups cooked kidney beans
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
1 ½ cups diced tomatoes with their juices
2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon arrowroot dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
6-8 dashes of hot sauce
½ cup chopped scallions

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place wild rice and water in a pot or rice cooker. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered until water is absorbed (about 40 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Fluff with a wooden spoon when cool.

Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes in a bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and spread in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes or until caramelized and soft (time will vary depending on the size of the cubes). Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven over high heat, brown onion, garlic, celery, and bell pepper in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil until soft (3 minutes). Reduce heat to medium. Add kidney beans, thyme, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and stir. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, and vegetable stock and stir to combine all ingredients. Submerge bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add roasted sweet potatoes to the soup and stir in dissolved arrowroot. Simmer for 2 minutes longer, then remove from heat. Discard bay leaves and season with hot sauce.

Place a spoonful of rice in the center of each soup bowl, ladle gumbo around the rice and serve topped with chopped scallions.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Family Thanksgiving Dinner 2022 at Jazz's

Jazmin's Thanksgiving Dinner Plated


 Turkey Wings Creole Injected 
Cornbread Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Mustard Potato Salad
Cheesy Mac and Cheese
Mixed Collard Greens
Glazed Sweet Potato with Marshmallow
 Apple Cranberry Cider Vodka Cocktails

My daughter Jazmin hosted "Thanksgiving Dinner" this year in her new home. This is the first of many as she celebrates the holiday season and gives thanks for now being a landowner. For dinner, she prepared everything from scratch. All the dishes were superb. I had seconds and then crashed from the "idis."  or waiting all afternoon to enjoy her cooking without ruining it eating lunch. It was well worth the wait. 

Funny, we were so anxious to get to dinner, pray and eat that no one took pictures of the presentation table. There was a fabulous bouquet of flowers that had a height and was the star of the wet bar island.

Our family had so much to be thankful for that we all reside in one state now and could be together this year. That we are all present after the worse pandemic in the history of mankind. Amazingly, we all survived. I am most grateful for seeing my family come together to celebrate 2022. 

Turkey Wings Injected 

Turkey Wings Injected 

 You have to have these three bell pepper, celery, and onion.

Cornbread Stuffing 

This is THE best Southern cornbread stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving. It's rich, savory, and flavorful without using a pound of butter. This traditional stuffing recipe needs to be on your holiday table!

Favorite holiday food of all time? Mine is stuffing, hands down. What could be better than a pan full of carbs? Bread AND cornbread with a rich, savory, buttery, herby flavor that only comes around once a year? Pass me a fork!
Southern cornbread stuffing is one of those Thanksgiving dishes that never seem to have a recipe when our family makes it, but it always turns out absolutely delicious. Like, the best. And I have always wanted to share the absolute best ever cornbread stuffing with you for Thanksgiving, so I set out to find (or build) our family recipe. Turns out, there's not one. But I've finally recorded my favorite recipe for traditional Southern cornbread stuffing without using obscene amounts of butter.

This is the quintessential cornbread stuffing recipe that comes to mind with mentions of Thanksgiving (at least for me!). It's homey and savory, full of flavor from herbs, aromatic veggies, broth, and butter. It takes a little time and prep work, but it's easy to make. And the results are SO worth the effort, especially for Thanksgiving dinner. And a little bonus? It's a little healthier than many recipes!

Not that stuffing for the best food day of the year needs to be healthy, but this stuffing is better for you without sacrificing flavor or coziness. This stuffing uses just a bit of butter (3 tablespoons for a whole pan, which is not much comparatively) and derives a lot of the delicious savory flavor from broth and aromatics. My homemade cornbread, which uses whole wheat flour, can be even better for you.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 package (8 ounces) of unseasoned stuffing mix
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Ground Sage
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Thyme
  • Cornbread - IMO, homemade is best! You'll want to make some at least the day before you plan to make stuffing. I use my healthier cornbread recipe.
  • Bread - Really, any type of bread is acceptable. Sandwich bread, whole wheat bread, French bread, whatever you have. I typically save the butt ends of my bread loaves and any bread I won't eat before it goes wrong in the freezer for stuffing later.
  • Onion, Celery, and Garlic - Classic flavoring elements in any good stuffing recipe.
  • Parsley, Thyme, and Green Onion - Lots of herbs for so much flavor! You can add any other you like, such as sage or rosemary.
  • Butter - Not too much, just enough for a classic rich flavor.
  • Eggs - They help bind everything together.
  • Broth - I use my homemade chicken broth or low-sodium store-bought broth

  1. 12-image collage showing steps for making cornbread stuffing.
  2. Cube the bread and cornbread and let it get stale, either by leaving it on the counter overnight or by toasting it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  3. Chop the parsley, thyme, and green onion. Add the stale bread and cornbread to a large bowl with the chopped herbs.
  4. Chop the onion, celery, and garlic.
  5. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook until slightly softened.
  6. Add most of the broth to the saucepan with the onion mixture (reserving about ½ cup). Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  7. Pour the onion and broth mixture into the bowl with the bread and gently stir to coat.
  8. Whisk the eggs with the remaining broth, salt, and pepper. Pour into the bowl with the bread and stir to coat everything evenly. If the bread still looks dry, add a little more broth.
  9. Spread the stuffing mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Cover and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove the cover and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

 Mustard Potato Salad

3 pounds medium russet potatoes
1cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
4 hard-boiled eggs, 3 chopped and 1 sliced

Cut each potato in half. Cut each potato in half. Place in a large pot and cover with 1 inch of water. Add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer until fork tender all the way through, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Let cool and then peel and discard the skins. Run a knife through them until they are cut into bite-sized pieces.

Mix mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, and onion powder in a small bowl. Pour over potatoes and mix in well. Add relish, celery, onion, and the hopped eggs. Mix in. Could you add salt and pepper to taste? Top with sliced egg and sprinkle with paprika. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

 Mixed Collard Greens

Photo by Sue Lau

Cutting or tearing into bite-size pieces

This is how collards grow in the garden before picking.
1/2 pound smoked turkey  ( diced, about 6 thick slices)
 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
 1/4 pound smoked ham (chopped, optional)
 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
 1 container (32 ounces) of chicken broth
 1 bunch (2 pounds) of fresh collard greens, Turnips washed and trimmed
 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Step 1
Cook turkey in a heavy 10-qt. Stockpot over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until almost crisp. Add onion, and sauté for 8 minutes.

Step 2
Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.

Step 3
Stir in half the broth and the remaining ingredients. Cook until the desired degree of tenderness, keeping an eye on the liquid level and adding more as needed. I rarely add more than half (16 oz). It should have a layer of liquid at the bottom but not be soupy. I usually cook for about 45-60 minutes.

Cheesy Mac and Cheese

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
8 ounces of cheddar cheese, cubed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the flour, cream, half-and-half, sour cream, egg, mustard, cayenne, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until smooth.
Drain pasta. Transfer to a greased 2-1/2-qt. Baking dish. Stir in cubed cheeses. Top with cream mixture. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° until bubbly and golden brown, 30-40 minutes.

Vodka is essential to a well-stocked home bar. The smooth, easy-to-quaff liquor plays well in classic cocktails like martinis, gimlets, vodka tonics, cosmos, and all kinds of other fruity libations from frappés to spiked lemonade.

Cranberry Apple Cider Sangria

750 mL red wine
3 cups apple cider (soft, non-alcoholic)
1 cup cranberry juice (unsweetened)
1/2 cup triple sec (or other orange liqueur)
1/2 cup honey (*, or 1/2 cup simple syrup made by heating equal parts of sugar and water over medium heat until dissolved)
1 cup frozen cranberries (or fresh)
sparkling water (to top off)
1 cup green apple (freshly diced red and/or cubes)
cinnamon sticks (for garnish, optional)
Order Ingredients

Resource Credits: