This week was hosted by Anonymous New York. Check out his/her blog. You will definitely find it interesting.
First, I have always hated cajun food and when I saw jambalaya I cringed. However, in the last year I tasted some fabulous jambalaya that my friend and neighbor Amanda made, so I was anxious to try this one to see how it measured up. You would have to be older to remember the Hank Williams' song with these lyrics, but my daddy sang it to me when I was a child.
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and file' gumbo
'Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou!
Of course some drama comes with. I love shrimp, or rather I used to. About eight years ago I became severely allergic to shellfish. So I knew I would have to substitute something for the shrimp. My friend at work, Jennifer, had already made her jambalaya and we chatted about it on Monday. In my head, I guess I thought if I were substituting sausage for the shrimp, surely everyone else was substituting as well. So when Jennifer asked me if I would like to taste hers, I didn't hesitate and jumped right in with my spoon and took a bite. The our conversation went like this.
I said, "So you used the andouille sausage in yours?"
"Yes," she said.
"And did you tell me you did put the ham in it?"
"No, just the shrimp."
"Shrimp? You put shrimp in it?"
"I'm deathly allergic to shrimp. Okay I'm gonna run to the bathroom and rinse my mouth out but if I tell you, call 911. I won't be joking."
So I rinsed and gargled and went back to my desk and drank a glass of tea and water and proceeded to eat my lunch thinking maybe I could just dilute the shrimp somehow if I put enough food and water in there with it. I did get a little dizzy feeling, and my face was a bit itchy and red, and my quad-mate said I was really pale. Then I decided maybe some benadryl wouldn't hurt and it actually helped and I was fine.
The yankee is always ordering shrimp at restaurants and our joke is that he asks if I would like to put the shrimp to my lips to see if they will plump. (The doctor suggested I do this when I had a bad reaction years ago). I always laugh and say, no I think I'll pass. And no kisses for him until he flosses, brushes and gargles! Aren't food allergies bummers?
I had one worried friend all afternoon. Jennifer was so sweet. She checked on me several times. And the next day she brought me a treat. A tube of tomato paste! Isn't technology wonderful these days. You can just squirt what you need and put the rest in the refrigerator.
Speaking of refrigerators, my new freezer on the bottom stainless steel beauty is making the loudest popping noises about every hour or so. We called the technician and he said there wasn't anything wrong. Now we have called GE and they are sending another technician out to check it.
Back to the jambalaya, I used andouille sausage and ham. We loved it. Try it!!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 ounces diced, smoked ham
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
Hot pepper sauce
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over a medium heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in the next 11 ingredients, salt through the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is done and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the shrimp and cook, covered, for 5 minutes more, or until shrimp is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with hot pepper sauce.