Thursday, June 02, 2005

cooking gumbo

i came up for air earlier this evening -- it should have been a relatively unstressful senior finals week for me, seeing as i have but two finals and two final papers to write (both of which i've had all quarter to do) but as you know, i am ridiculously bad at doing things without a deadline to add time pressure. which resulted in my having to write two ten page papers (having done some research for the one, and almost none for the other) between the friday of ninth week and the thursday of tenth (senior finals week). my finals schedule wound up being one final with accompanying paper on tuesday, and the other on thursday -tomorrow, at one pm.

the first final and paper have been safely completed and turned in, and the second paper has been written -squeezing blood out of a stone!- as of last night. so today was spent pretty much entirely on avoiding studying for this final final. hanging out at shum's, i decided i would make gumbo for dinner. now i'm sure everyone who's been over to my apartment knows -- i cook as work-avoidance. hence, the more work i have to do, the more elaborate and/or new the recipe i choose to cook for dinner. seeing as i'd never cooked gumbo before -despite the fact that i LOVE the dish- this would be an exciting challenge.

it turned out rather well, i think. onions and garlic and okra (ewww but integral to the dish) and celery, cooked in butter then simmered with smoked sausage and chunks of chicken pulled off a marvelous rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. everything spiced up with lovely sharp hot cayenne, and smokey-sweet paprika, and oregano-thyme-bay-leaf, salt and black pepper, and finally file powder, mixed in with ground cumin and corriander. it smelled divine while it was cooking -just adding the chopped up smoked sausage made my entire kitchen smell of gumbo. it makes me hungry just thinking about it. (you can guess what i'm gonna be eating for lunch -leftovers anyone?)

cooking soups and stews is my favourite kind of cooking, i think. it never ceases to amaze me how much fun i have chopping up stock veggies (onions, carrots, celery) and garlic and tossing them into a pot to cook; how everything simmers and the spices cook and blend and suddenly the entire kitchen -sometimes the entire apartment- fills with the warm, comforting smell of gently cooking food, promising a steamy delicious warm meal in just a little while. and it's a one-pot meal, and it doesn't take much brain power (especially when you fail to measure out spices, like i did - a splash here a splash there, taste and add more-) but occupies the hands with slicing and dicing and stirring. and not to mention having to taste multiple times along the way to make sure the flavours are balanced!

so now i'm hungry again. but it's midnight, and it's bedtime, and i have a final in just over twelve hours...


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