Gumbo and Other Gobbledygook

Gumbo

Please hover for the full effect…

This past week I spent an hour of my life developing a roux the color of chocolate mahogany. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Gumbo worth eating is gumbo worth cooking properly from the ground up.

As I stood over an antique cast iron skillet stirring (and stirring and stirring…), flavors from the past subtly mingled with my present day quest for soul food. Regional food. Food rife with history.

Did I mention flavor?!!

(Quick aside: cast iron is the ideal vessel for making a deep, dark roux.)

Standing over the stove also gave me time to consider how I’m doing “life” at the moment — or how I might do it differently. (I love cooking, if for nothing more than the uninterrupted thoughts and unsolicited advice.) There’s a lot of therapy in an hour spent on roux done right.

This coming week I’ll be heading to Minnesota for a visit with family, snowbound though they may be, which means I’ll be breaking out the BIG winter coat before I leave Oklahoma. (Shiver me timbers!) Thank goodness I grew up learning how to “layer.”

Which brings me back to Gumbo.

The depth of this dish was intriguing, inspiring, and entirely sensational! I heartily recommend this recipe for starters. (Thank you, Queen Jeanne!) I took the liberty of adding shrimp to the mix, along with bay leaves, thyme, and chopped tomatoes ala Alton Brown’s Shrimp Gumbo recipe (my hero) on Day Two of my eating enjoyment extravaganza. No such thing as too many cooks in my kitchen; the more the merrier!

Which brings me back to “life,” et al. At the moment, I have no idea what direction my blog will go in the coming months. Part of me wants to write exclusively, while another part says “break out the camera and share that food photo with the world.” (Never mind the lack of bokeh or background props…) A third part teases music, music, music. Don’t ya just love possibilities?

Maybe after I visit the frozen North my thoughts will become crystal clear. There’s nothing like being smacked in the face by 40 below to weed out what’s important and what’s not. (Survival of the fittest, and all that…)

In the meantime, I’m gearing up for Gumbo Round Two next week (it’s that good!) — plus, I’ll need a lil’ Southern fortification before I head out.

My wish for you on this day is to live life warm and wonderful — or at the very least, flavorful!

Enjoying a multi-layered life,

~ Kim

© Kim Bultman and a little lunch.

24 thoughts on “Gumbo and Other Gobbledygook

  1. I have heard so much about gumbo but have not ever found the right recipe – until now! :D
    Thanks for the link!
    And blog about what feels right? It doesn’t necessarily need a certain path :)
    Whatever you write about it wonderful!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • Uru, it would be cool if you could develop a vegetarian version of gumbo from this. (No pressure there… ha!) Let me know what your creative mind comes up with, and thanks for the encouragement to blog about what feels right. xo

  2. I’m excited about this recipe. We just returned from NOLA where my daughter had some distressingly bad gumbo. And it was in a really great restaurant too. Maybe it just wasn’t to her taste? The roux was so dark as to be pretty much burned. Black gumbo.
    anyway, this looks much more palatable and now I’m on a mission to change her gumbo perspective.

    • Bernice, this recipe actually takes it to that “blackened” stage, which is how a lot of folks like it, but I prefer mine a little less dark, too. I cook it until it’s “reddish brown,” take it off the heat, keep stirring until it’s cool (it continues to cook for awhile — don’t stop stirring!!!) and during that time it darkens to a nice “chocolate mahogany” color. Good luck changing your daughter’s mind about gumbo!

  3. Kim…what frontiers lay out there for you…so many talents and directions that you can pursue…I love the earthiness of your words, the soul inspiring message…yes, cooking is therapeutic, and slow food,cooking like this boholicious roux (and, I can smell and see the gorgeous mahogany chocolate hue) give much more than just nourishment for the body. Enjoy that trip to MN…you so deserve it, and what a change of venue does for our thinking…the adventure awaits you in so many ways!!! ~~peace & nameste always your…ally

    • Ally, for some reason I “channeled” your Mama in your comment and as I reflected on my stove-top tenure, coaxing that roux to perfection. Good things come to those who wait. She’d be so proud of you now! Here’s to warm memories (and warmer climates) once I return from the frozen North, LOL! xo

    • Shirley, I was so tickled by your comment that I read it out loud to my hubby. :) (He grinned!) You have his “seal of approval” — and mine — anytime! Yup, I’d love to be neighbors. xo

  4. Dear Kim,

    Your gumbo looks like such a wholesome and hearty meal.

    I also find cooking to be wonderfully therapeutic, especially if there is a glass or two of red while chopping up the veges and standing behind the stove. Better still if Ella is singing a few Gershwin numbers in the background too. I’d ‘slave’ over the stove all day :)

    • ChopinandMySaucepan, a nice red (or whatever’s on hand) enhances the cooking experience exponentially. Adding Ella Fitzgerald to the mix could only make it better! Hear, hear for exquisite vocal renditions of favorite songs. (Yup, I’d slave over the stove, too!) Somehow I think we’re on the same wavelength, kitchen-wise and music-wise — and ribeye-steak-wise. Enjoy every flavorful moment!

  5. You know I’ve always wanted to try gumbo but been afraid of it being too spicy for me & it seems that every restaurant around here takes it to the ‘burn the hairs out of your nose” level. I can see where I could ease that up with the list of ingredients & love the addition of the shrimp.
    I think you have a great blog – your photos and posts are very enjoyable. But, I understand taking a pause now & then to see where you want to go. You can really tell when someone is posting about something they love rather than just going through the motions.
    I know I had a terrible time just publishing my first blog since my idea was really to just sort of document some recipes for my daughter. Then I realized how so many of those recipes brought back memories and stories. I’m the one at Christmas who tells & retells everyone exactly where and why each ornament came from & now I think my daughter could retell the history of each.

    • Diane, the nice thing about this recipe is that “heat” is added as a garnish, not as a mainstay. (By the way, I’m a liberal dispenser of hot sauce on my serving!) I agree, it’s noticeable when posts become lackluster. My sister mentioned recently that she sensed I’d lost my “verve” and “voice” in recent posts — again! (It’s happened several times over the years… aarrggh.) Somehow I “felt” that, but it was a TRUE observation, and I relished it for all it’s creative worth. ‘Tis better not to post at all than to bore folks to tears with redundant musings, lol! ;) I’m looking forward to coming back with vitality — or at least clarity (and Charlie’s Chocolate Hazelnut Cake following my trip to the frigid North, I might add — just in time for the next IMK and my birthday.) THANK YOU for your wonderful comments… much appreciated. xo

  6. Good luck in Minnesota. I have some readers in Minnesota and they’ve been telling me what a horrendous winter it has been. I hope the weather warms up for you! What a lovely looking recipe! xx

    • Charlie, my Mom calls regularly with “weather reports.” (According to my son, the snow drifts at the edge of her driveway are 15 ft. high… what have I gone and gotten myself into?!) Glad you enjoyed the recipe… and no need to say “stay warm” in your corner of the planet. (!) I’m really looking forward to coming home and making your chocolate hazelnut cake (I’ve been hoarding the ingredients for weeks, lol!) and God bless your Minnesota readers!!!

  7. Hey Kim: I just returned from my trip to California. Ahh, temps in the 60′s, family, good eats, great fun. So glad you made gumbo. I agree, I do not like my roux quite so dark but yours looks delicious! I was shocked to return to 9 degrees so soups and stews are definitely on my agenda. As far as direction goes for you, I absolutely love your writing, beautiful photos and insights into life and living. I am a fan of all. Have you returned from Minnesota? I just got back last night. I better get writing and cooking! Sending love your way, Jeanne

    • Jeanne, I’m still thawing out from my trip (!) but I appreciated the beauty (and wherewithal) of those who brave the Northern climes as a matter of course. (Can’t believe I was one of them, lol!) Thank you for your encouragement on my writing et al … truly grateful for that — and Oklahoma’s warmer temps! Take care.

      P.S. The gumbo was so fantastic, I made a second batch before I left and shared the flavorful bounty with friends. They loved it, too!

  8. Shoot! I wondered why I had lost touch with you then I realized I am no longer getting your email updates! I am resubscribing so if you see a new one- that’s me. Again :)
    I love this post and would LOVE to share it on EdibleIndy.com. Would you mind if I did? Just a preview with link to read the rest.
    I hope you are well :)
    HT

    • Elizabeth, I just got back… am settling in and savoring “home time” before I jump back into blog world and online activities. “Balance” is my current mantra. :) Glad you liked the gumbo… so, so good!

  9. The shrimp looks good. The polish sausage–not so much. Like the post but probably won’t be trying this one. I hope you write a “Cooking Mystery.” If you add a cat as a main character, you will have a bestseller.

    • Catherine, gumbo is sort of an acquired taste ;) but I’ve left out the sausage from time to time and the taste didn’t suffer. No worries about not trying it! I didn’t eat lutefisk when I was in Minnesota and that’s practically the State food, lol. (Every dish is not for everyone!) I like your idea about a cooking mystery! Hmmmm… and smiling about the cat. :)

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