Glad you guys were as excited about the fact that I got to feed a giraffe as I was! I mean, how often do you get to do something like that? I love fun little adventures like that!
Speaking of little adventures… yesterday was the Chinese New Year! I had plans for a giant feast like last year, but Christopher woke up super sick so he nibbled on crackers and sipped gatorade while I made a quick chicken stirfry for myself and tea eggs (a recipe I will share as soon as I get a chance to take a picture of the eggs today) for us to snack on this week. And speaking of things to celebrate… tomorrow is Mardi Gras! So I thought today I’d share a couple of our favorite Cajun recipes.
First up, my mom’s homemade jambalaya recipe! I can’t promise how authentically Cajun it is or isn’t, but I can tell you how delicious it is! This is the recipe I grew up eating and it is my absolute favorite!
1/3 cup oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb chicken, diced
2 lbs smoked sausage, sliced in 1/4″ pieces
12 cups chicken broth
2 cans tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp basil
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp salt
1 (400 grams) bag small shrimp
4 cups uncooked rice
Sauté onion, garlic, peppers in oil. Sauté chicken in onion mixture. Add sausage and saute a couple of minutes. Add broth and tomato paste. Add seasonings. Mix well. Bring to boil then add shrimp. Bring back to boil then add rice. Turn down heat and simmer over low about 20-25 minutes or until rice is done.
And while I’m sharing my mom’s recipes… I’ll share her Low Country Shrimp Boil recipe too! She and my dad live close to the beach now so they get great fresh seafood! She has had plenty of opportunity to perfect this recipe!
Low Country Shrimp Boil
1/2 lb. Keilbasa smoked sausage/ per person
1/2 pound medium raw shrimp in shell/per person
3 small red potatoes/per person
1 ear of corn/per person
4 tbsp salt
4 cloves of garlic
Old Bay or Zatarain’s Seasoning
1-2 crabs per person
Boil about a gallon of water in a large kettle on stove or outdoor cooker. Season water with salt, garlic, and Zatarain’s flavorings along with the juice of 2 lemons. Add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add sausage and corn. Bring back to a boil. When potatoes are almost tender, add crabs. Bring to a boil, then add shrimp. Cook only a few minutes until shrimp are just done – they will be pink in color. Drain and pour into a basket or onto platters.
And finally, from Cat Cora via Oprah… I give you Jerk Rubbed Pork Chops!
Jerk Rubbed Pork Chops
4 pork loin chops, thin cut
1 lime, juiced and zested
2 tbsp preferred Caribbean jerk seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Note: I didn’t have Caribbean Jerk seasoning on hand so I made some using: 1 tbsp dried minced onion, 1/2 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tsp crushed dry thyme leaves, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground allspice, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1. In small bowl, mix lime zest and lime juice with jerk seasons and oil. Rub both sides of pork chops well with mixture and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Place pork chops on hot grill set to medium-high heat, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, running over once until brown on the outside and slightly pink inside.
3. Remove from heat, garnish with lime edges and cilantro and serve immediately.