March 30, 2011

Simple Granola

I could have sworn Alexis posted a recipe for granola, but I cannot find it. This here recipe is a very simple granola, perfect for beginners like me, just taking the first leap into the wonderful land of granola. (I snicker to myself just typing the word 'granola' as I think of how many people must think I'm a total hippy.) I personally never buy granola, as it seems to be very expensive, and not too tasty. I never developed a taste for it until now, after my first time making it.

Being a backpacker and pseudo-hippy, it's surprising I never caught onto the granola bandwagon. Recently every single non-western medicine doctor/nutritionist/acupuncturist I've seen has told me to stop eating cereal every day, except hot oatmeal. I tried doing hot oatmeal, but I just don't have time or energy to make it every morning. As a compromise I made my first batch of granola, from a recipe cut out of a food magazine (most likely Bon Appetit).

This homemade granola is like eating a supercharged breakfast that has magically found a way to have a healthy breakfast taste more like dessert. The toasty oats and nuts mixed with your favorite dried fruit is the perfect way to start your day, or have a snack before or after lunch. It's best on top of yogurt, but you could also eat plain or with (almond) milk. If you're feeling decadent, sprinkle some on top of your waffle or ice cream.

It's easy to make, it's economical, it made me a believer, and you only need to eat a little to keep you going a long time. To cut costs even more, visit the bulk food section of your local natural food store (like Monterey Market in Berkeley) for your ingredients.
Simple Granola

What's in it
3 C old fashioned oats
1 C coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds...)
1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut (if you like that sort of thing)
3 Tbls packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C honey
2 Tbls oil
1 C coarsely chopped dried fruit (cranberries, golden raisins, cherries...)

How it's made
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Heat honey and oil together in a small saucepan on medium-low heat, until smooth and combined. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture. Toss until combined.
Spread evenly on the baking sheet. Bake until golden, stirring every 10 minutes, about 40 minutes total. Cool completely, then mix in dried fruit.
Store in an airtight container.
This recipe makes approximately 5 cups. It is a good base to start, and then alter the ingredients as you feel inspired to do so.

March 27, 2011

Pan de Elote

The time: summer 2000. The place: a leafy neighborhood in Mexico City. The food: pan de elote.

It can be a little hard to think all the way back to when I was 17 years old and first ventured into a foreign country. But it is not hard to remember how my friend bought a slice of this tasty treat from an old lady seated at a folding table in the middle of a mercado sobre ruedas--something like a Mexico City version of a farmer's market. As we wound our way through the narrow aisles, between stalls cluttered high and low with everything from fresh produce to beauty products and brooms, Giovanna stopped me and handed me a slice of this pastry.

I had never even heard of  pan de elote (which somewhat misleadingly translates as corn bread), let alone tasted it. Elote? I thought to myself, isn't corn suppose to be called maiz? But as soon as I took my first bite I had an overwhelming feeling that this was something familiar, something I'd had long ago. I really can't explain it--I guess I don't need to, but I might just have to have another slice while I try to figure it out.

Pan de elote is a sweet (but not too sweet), dense, rich "bread." That's in quotation marks because there is very little flour in this bread, and there are lots of eggs which make it creamy and custard-y. There is no corn meal, just blended, fresh corn kernels--which give it a delectably toothsome texture. When it bakes, it turns a deep caramelized brown at the edges, and that is definitely the best part. Pan de elote is not your average corn bread. It is something special. I have not found anything like this in the United States. I did come across a recipe online once, but when I tried to make it, I ended up with something like corn pudding--nothing like the pan de elote I'd eaten all those years ago.

This recipe comes from My Sweet Mexico, one of the latest and greatest additions to my cookbook collection. The author, the pastry chef Fany Gerson, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a veteran of three-Michelin star restaurants. She spent years traveling around her native Mexico collecting the best dessert recipes she could find. You have no idea!

Pan de elote is among them. And thank god for that. This easy recipe captures the sweet corn essence of that first slice all those summers ago. Though this version is slightly richer and more custard-like than I remember, I am definitely not complaining.

Try pan de elote as a morning pastry with a cup of hot coffee or a glass of cold milk. Eat a slice as a snack or even as dessert. Warning: eating pan de elote may cause you to relive past adventures in Mexico. Even if you have never been to that lovely country, eating this you might experience a pleasant sensation of deja vu. You'll see.

Pan de Elote
  • 5 ears of corn, shucked, or 2 cups of corn kernels (I used the really good cans of corn from Trader Joe's. Don't believe canned corn could be good? Try it!)
  • 3 tablespoons rice flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 (14 oz.) can of condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and four a 9-inch cake pan. Slice the kernels from the corn, or drain the canned corn.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Put the eggs, condensed milk, crema/sour cream, and vanilla in an electric blender or food processor and mix to combine. Slice the butter into small pats and add to the blender. Add the four mixture and the corn kernels and blend until well-incorporated. (The mixture will not be completely smooth!)
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toopick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly, then invert onto a wire rack to cool. Cut into slices and enjoy slightly warm or at room temperature.

March 22, 2011

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

These special pancakes were a weekend morning staple when I was growing up. My mom Becky is a pro at cooking them, and after some practice in my younger years, I was able to whip up a decent batch as well. The best part of these pancakes is not the texture or flavor (both of which are super delicious), but the topping. These pancakes must and should be topped with butter and cinnamon sugar, no questions asked. So, now you can eat them guilt free. If you need a change from your typical floury pancakes (think Bisquick), then I highly recommend you try these protein-packed cakes one morning (or evening!). I should warn you they are a little temperamental and will take a batch or two to get the hang of, so don't get discouraged if they don't turn out cooked quite right the first time.
I'd also like to stand on my soap box for a minute longer to tout the glories of the electric griddle - it took me about 10 minutes to cook a full batch of pancakes, getting them all done in two rounds. Plus, heat control is a breeze. Invest in one if you haven't already. If you get the $20 version at Target, it will work! If you invest more money in one, check the coils to see if it will provide even heating.
Speaking of a full batch of pancakes, this batch of cottage cheese pancakes feeds two hungry adults.

What's in it
3 eggs
1 C cottage cheese
1/4 C flour
2 T shortening (aka butter)
1/4 tsp salt


How it's made
Preheat griddle to 350 degrees. Beat eggs lightly and add remaining ingredients. Beat until combined.
Pour batter onto griddle or frying pan, about 1/4C for each pancake. Flip once the top of each pancake is no longer glossy (it will also turn a bit more yellow). Cook on other side until firm.
This will take some practice, since it is fairly easy to burn them if the griddle is too hot, or to flip them too early if the griddle is too cool. So be patient and keep a close eye on them.
To make the cinnamon sugar, in a small bowl or container, pour about 1/4C sugar and shake in a bunch of cinnamon (you've found out my dirty secret - I never, ever measure cinnamon, no matter what.) I would guess it's about 1 tsp cinnamon to each 1/4C sugar. Mix sugar and cinnamon until well combined - if it's in a container then just shake until combined.
Serve pancakes topped with butter and cinnamon sugar mixture.

March 19, 2011

Chocolate Stout Layer Cake

This cake is from Bon Appetit Magazine online, and is very similar to the chocolate stout bundt cake I made for Lauren's birthday two months ago. Between the two, the bundt cake is definitely easier and quicker, since you don't have to trim the two layers of cake, frost in between, and frost sides and top. However, the layer cake is an excellent choice for a celebration such as St Paddys Day. I made it last night for 'day after St Paddy's Day dinner' dessert. It was delicious, especially when paired with a full pint of Guinness. In retrospect, you could probably add a bunch of green food coloring to make it even more festive, to give it a green velvet look.

What's in it
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 14 Tbl (1 3/4 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 C plus 3 Tbl sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 C chocolate stout, regular stout, or porter
  • 2/3 C freshly brewed strong coffee

  • Frosting:
  • 1 lb bittersweet chocolate (54% to 60% cacao), chopped
  • 2 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder

  • How it's made:


    • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper round; butter and flour parchment. Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water and set aside.
    • Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar in large bowl until fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in lukewarm melted chocolate, then stout and coffee. Beat flour mixture into chocolate mixture in 2 additions just until incorporated.
    • Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into cake batter to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Divide batter between prepared cake pans (about 3 cups for each); smooth tops.
    • Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool in pans 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper and cool completely.
      DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.


    • Place chopped chocolate in medium heatproof bowl. Combine whipping cream and espresso powder in medium saucepan. Bring cream mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Pour cream mixture over chopped chocolate; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Chill chocolate frosting until slightly thickened and spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours (or for quick chilling, place frosting in freezer until thickened and spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes).
    • Using serrated knife, trim rounded tops from both cake layers so that tops are flat. Place 1 cake layer, trimmed side up, on 9-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round, then place on rack set over baking sheet. Drop 1 1/4 cups frosting by large spoonfuls over top of cake layer; spread frosting evenly to edges with offset spatula or butter knife. Top with second cake layer, trimmed side down. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.
      DO AHEAD Can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let cake stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours before serving.

    March 16, 2011

    Spiced Layer Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

    Childhood birthday traditions never die. There will always be something special about the cake your mom used to make for you on your birthday (even if it came from a box). No one can take that away from you. When Mark was little, his mom made him a spice cake on his birthday. Now whenever I ask him what kind of cake I should make for him, it always comes back to spice cake.

    One year it was a firecracker apple spice cake---which turned out to be actually a little spicy-hot which took some getting used to. It was different, but quite amazing once you got over the shock of it. This year--surprise!--I ended up making another spice cake for Mark's birthday. We briefly considered having a maple cake, but you know a birthday wouldn't be a birthday without a little tradition.

    In the end we went with a spice cake adapted from Cook's Illustrated. I added a little bit more spice, made it a layer cake, filled with with maple whipped cream and added maple cream cheese frosting. Maybe it's just me, but I'm pretty sure you can never go wrong with maple. Add maple cream cheese frosting to my list of favorites. You know I am a sucker for cream cheese frosting, but this really was fantastic.

    Don't just trust me on this one--try it! You might inadvertently create a brand new tradition for yourself.

    Spiced Layer Cake with Maple Filling and Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
    For the cake: (I used slightly rounded measurements for all the spices and the ginger.)
    • 2  1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for cake pans
    • 1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground gloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 large eggs at room temperature
    • 3 large egg yolks at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1  3/4 cups sugar
    • 2 tablespoons molasses
    • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
    • 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (I like using the butter wrappers for this) and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Combine spices in a small bowl and set aside.
    2. Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a small, light colored skillet or saucepan over medium heat until melted--1 or 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling the pan constantly, until the butter is light brown and has a nutty aroma, another 2 to 4 minutes. Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly for another 15 seconds (this allows the spices to "bloom"). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
    3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks and vanilla to combine. With a mixer, cream remaining 12 tablespoons of butter with sugar and molasses at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl a couple of times during mixing. Reduce to medium speed and add cooled butter and spice mixture, ginger and half of egg mixture. Incorporate and scrape down sides before adding the rest of the egg mixture.
    4. Reduce to low speed and add one-third of the flour mixture. Add half of the buttermilk and mix until just incorporated. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the rest of the buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl and add remaining flour mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter a couple of times to incorporate any remaining flour.
    5. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans. To remove air bubbles from thick batter, drag a butter knife through the batter in both pans in a zig-zag motion. Tap both pans on the counter a few times as well.
    6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack.
    7. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen. Put both cakes on a parchment lined pan and freeze for about a half an hour. (The cold cakes are easier to work with.) Using a long serrated knife, cut the top off of one of the cakes, creating a flat surface. Place cut cake on a large plate. This will become your bottom layer.
    For the maple whip filling:
    • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
    • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
    1. Chill mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer. Pour whipping cream into bowl and beat on high speed until it forms soft peaks. 
    2. Add maple syrup and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
    3. Spread a thick layer filling on bottom layer of cake. Top with remaining cake.
    For the maple cream cheese frosting:
    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
    • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces and softened
    • 1  1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
    • 3/4 cup chopped and  toasted pecans
    1. Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add maple syrup, vanilla, maple extract and powdered sugar. Beat until well combined.
    2. Scoop out most of the frosting onto the top of the cake. It is easier to spread the frosting without picking up crumbs if you have a lot to work with. With an offset spatula, spread frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Coat sides and sprinkle top of frosted cake with toasted pecans.

    March 7, 2011

    Vegan Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

    No, don't go! Really, these cupcakes may be vegan, but they are also one of the best cupcakes I've ever made (and I am a cupcake making machine). You might think "Why would I eat a cupcake that is healthy?", and I am here to tell you these cupcakes are not only not healthy, they are next level delicious. Plus, there is something about cupcakes that makes everyone happy - the people who bake them and the people who eat them. It's akin to going to Disneyland, or Christmas in July. Recently I finally got my hands on my friend Michelle's copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World so I could make her vegan cupcakes for her birthday. I was pleasantly surprised how easy these seemingly complex cupcakes were to make, and required no special ingredients to veganize them (like arrowroot or a dried-up newt). The cake was moist and dense, holding it's own under the mint 'butter cream' frosting and dollop of chocolate ganache on top. Like I said, decadent. Your vegan and non-vegan friends will love you for making these cupcakes.
    Vegan Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
    ~Print Recipe~
    What's in it (makes one dozen)
    For the cupcake:
    1 C soy milk
    1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    3/4 C sugar
    1/3 C canola oil
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 tsp mint extract
    1 C flour
    1/3 C cocoa powder (regular or dutch)
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt

    For the butter cream frosting:
    1/4 C shortening (preferably non-hydrogenated)
    3 C confectioner's sugar (sifted if lumpy)
    1/4 C plus 1 Tbl soy milk
    1 1/2 tsp mint extract
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    small drop green food coloring

    For the chocolate ganache:
    3 Tbl soy milk
    1/3 C semisweet chocolate chips

    How it's made
    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tray with 12 paper liners.

    Make cupcakes:
    In a large bowl, combine soy milk and vinegar, whisk together and set aside a few minutes and allow to curdle. In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients (flour ->salt). In the large bowl with soy milk mixture, add and cream together sugar, oil and extracts until foamy. Add dry ingredients in two batches, mixing with beater in between until smooth. Pour batter into paper lined cupcake tin, filling 3/4 full (evenly distribute to make 12 cupcakes). Bake 18-20 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Cool on racks.

    Make butter cream frosting:
    In a medium bowl, cream shortening for a few seconds to soften. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and a splash of the soy milk, and cream until smooth. Repeat with remaining soy milk and powdered sugar until smooth and buttery. Add the extracts and coloring and mix until incorporated. At this point I recommend putting the frosting in the freezer or refrigerator, to chill it before frosting the cupcakes. This helps the frosting hold its shape on the cupcake. When frosting is sufficiently cooled, put in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe onto cupcake, from the outside in, leaving an edge around the rim to show the chocolate cupcake below. Once all the cupcakes are frosted, place in freezer or refrigerator to set the frosting.

    Make chocolate ganache:
    In a small sauce pan heat the soy milk until just about to simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until melted and incorporated. Allow to cool to room temperature (you can put in fridge or freezer to speed this up). Spoon a dollop of ganache on the top of each cupcake, being as precise or haphazard as you like. You could even use a fork to drizzle, depending on your style. I used a cookie scoop to plop them on top. Stick cupcakes in the fridge or freezer one last time to set the ganache.

    You can also top with any decorative candy you choose. I recommend Mint Newman O's, green M&M's, sprinkles, mint chips, or a sprig of fresh mint. Or keep it simple and stick a candle in it, for a special occasion.

    March 6, 2011

    Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash

    This Cook's Illustrated recipe has in my repertoire for some time. I've been meaning to post it for, I don't know, the last few years or so. It's easy, relatively quick, and exceedingly delicious. It's rich and sweet and better than candy as far as I'm concerned. That being said, I don't make it all the time because the butter and the brown sugar probably outweigh the benefits of eating squash with dinner. (I have tried this with less butter and sugar and it is great that way, too.)

    You do have to be careful what you pair this with, since it is a sweet and decadent side-dish. I've made a meal of nothing but this and sauteed kale and been thorough satisfied. Whatever you decide to make to serve with this, I do hope you try this recipe. It is technically still winter, so make this while you still can. Before you know it, spring will be here! Hip, hip, hooray!

    Roasted Acorn Squash
    • 2 medium-sized acorn squash
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
    1. Adjust top oven rack to 6-inches from element. Pre-heat the broiler.
    2. Cut each acorn squash in half. Scoop out all of the seeds and strings. Make sure to really get all of it out or the glaze will not seep into the flesh of the squash . (This step is a little onerous.)
    3. Place the four halves in a large microwave-safe glass bowl, such as a Pyrex. (The open halves will be facing the sides of the bowl.) Add a little less than 1/4 cup of water to the bowl, then cover the bowl tightly with a couple layers of plastic wrap. Poke 4 small holes in the top for the steam to vent. Microwave for 10-15 minutes, or until the squash offers no resistance when poked with fork. Carefully remove from the microwave. Open the plastic wrap of the side away from you to let the steam out.
    4. Place halves face up on a tin foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Cut lines criss-crossing the squash (this helps the glaze sink in and makes the squash taste better!).
    5. Heat butter, brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small pot over low heat on the stove. Whisk occasionally, until it dissolves. Divide mixture evenly over the four squash halves, making sure to coat every inch.
    6. Broil until brown and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
    Serves 4

      March 1, 2011

      Mardi Gras Gumbo

      I usually don't think much about gumbo, but lately it's been on my mind. Mark and I happened upon a little jazz bar/restaurant last week and on a whim we decided to stop in. It was happy hour, so we each ordered a pint of a Washington state unfiltered pale ale and some food. I got half of a turkey sandwich (it was mediocre) and a cup of soup. Except instead of soup, I asked if I could have the gumbo. Our waitress didn't see why not, and soon enough she sat it down in front of me.

      Maybe it's because I didn't have much by the way of expectations, but this gumbo took me by surprise. As soon as I had a bite, I regretted not ordering a huge bowl of the stuff. It was thick and hearty, with big chunks of tender chicken and spicy andouille sausage. Softened okra, onions and bell peppers mingled with rice to form a perfect savory creole stew. By the time I had a few bites and shared some with Mark, it was almost gone! I lingered over the remaining spoonfuls, savoring the flavors for as long as I could.

      I immediately decided to make some gumbo, so I could get my fix. I scoured my cookbooks and googled away. I found a few different versions and took what I liked from each one. Traditionally, gumbo starts with a roux. One recipe called for a cup of oil, into which you stirred a cup of flour and then let it brown. I decided to skip this step (and the calories), though I did not want to sacrifice flavor.

      I was not disappointed. This version combines the best ingredients from the various recipes I came across. If I were to do it again, I would include chicken--either instead of, or in addition to, the shrimp. I used some flour to thicken the broth, but it wasn't quite as thick as I wanted it, so I added a little cornstarch, too. You could use either one, both, or neither, depending on how you like it.

      Mardi Gras is March 8th, so you might as well put some beads on and whip up a pot of gumbo to celebrate! Mmmm, my favorite kind of celebration.

      Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo
      • 2 teaspoons olive oil
      • 1 pound andouille cooked sausage (or other spicy sausage)
      • 1 large white onion, chopped
      • 1 bell pepper, chopped
      • 3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or more to taste
      • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, or more to taste
      • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
      • 2 teaspoons Cajun/creole seasoning, or more to taste
      • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
      • 5 cups chicken broth
      • 1 cup rice
      • 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
      • 1 (10 or 12 oz) package frozen okra
      • 3 tablespoons flour
      • 3 tablespoons water
      • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
      • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
      • 1 pound cooked shrimp
      • 1 to 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with a little water (optional)
      1.  Heat oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
      2. Add onion, bell pepper and celery and spices to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. add chicken broth and rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer 20-25 minutes, until rice is cooked. 
      3. Turn heat back up to medium. Add can of tomatoes, okra and the sausage and stir to combine. In a small bowl, mix flour and water. Stir in 1/4 cup of broth, then add to the gumbo. Cook, stirring occasionally until okra is hot. (You can turn the heat down at this point and let it simmer for awhile to let the flavors meld if you want.)
      4. About 5-10 minutes prior to serving, stir in green onions, parsley and shrimp. If the gumbo is not thick enough, add cornstarch mixed with water at this point. 
      5. Serve with a crusty rustic bread and a cold beer.