Something Like Gumbo

In my fridge I had some shrimp, trout, a couple of pork cutlets, and leftover rice. All signs pointed to gumbo. My mom’s friend, Jen, is from Louisiana and makes fantastic chicken gumbo. Mine does not hold a candle to hers. My friend, Kylie, learned to make proper gumbo at a cooking class in New Orleans. I did not call either of these ladies for advice and instead winged it.

I made fish stock from the trout bones and head, shrimp peels, bay leaves, a dried sweet pepper, a garlic clove, salt and pepper. For stock: cover whatever is in the pot with water, add spices, bring to a boil, reduce on medium heat, scoop off foam, and strain.

My proteins (leftover from a pan-fried meal the night before) were dredged in flour. This plus the okra’s natural stickiness served as thickener.

Inauthentic but tasty. Wash it down with an equally full and spicy red or an Abita.


pork, cut into cubes

shrimp, cut into pieces

trout, cut into pieces

fish stock

cooked rice



chili powder


salt & pepper

Preparation: In a large pot heat butter on medium-high heat. Add onions and saute. Then brown the pork. Add okra and cook until tender and sticky. Cover with stock. Add fish towards the end (it cooks quickly). Serve over rice or add it to the pot. Spice as you go. Serve with favorite hot sauce (mine is chipotle Tabasco).


We Have Some Catching Up to Do

Based on the state of my coffee table I have been having too much fun. There have been so many meals and drinks I’ve wanted to tell you about but was fully absorbed in the moment and did not snap a photo. I spent a special afternoon with a filet, pommes frites, and a glass of Cabernet Franc (and my friends) at Chouquet’s. If you enjoy a rare steak and outdoor seating go there. After lunch we grabbed dessert from Citizen Cake and enjoyed it in a nearby park overlooking the city.

The pink one is some sort of spongey cassis (black currant) flavored cake with a merengue topping. The other is a chocolate and salted caramel tart that was dense but delicious.

I feel sorry for everyone living in the Northeast right now.

Drink in the New Year

Announcement: I am starting sommelier school at the end of the month.

What is a sommelier and what do they do? A sommelier is a wine steward. Sommeliers are typically responsible for wine service, creating wine lists for restaurants, and pairing wine with food.

I have been drinking wine since I was a baby. When my brother and I were kids we drank wine at the dinner table (first mixed with water and later straight-up). In my adult life I thoroughly enjoy a glass of red after work. Even though I am familiar with and appreciate wine I know little about it. I don’t know much about how wine is grown, processed, or stored. I can’t taste delicate notes of blackberry, leather, or dust in a glass of cab. Hopefully sommelier school will help me to develop my palate for drinking and eating (allowing me to identify more subtle flavors).

My wine education began this weekend in Sonoma. I went to Gundlach Bundshu and its sister winery, Bartholomew Park Winery. At Gundlach Bundshu I did the “Classic Tasting” of four estate wines for $5. Bartholomew was cool because their wines are only available at the vineyard; they also had a small and slightly boring museum. All in all it was a lovely little day trip. Wine country is just as beautiful as I had imagined.