Monday, October 3, 2011

Recipe: Seafood Gumbo with a Secret

I love to make Seafood Gumbo as my big wow meal for guests. I have relatives that call and say; we are coming in a month you better make a pot of Seafood Gumbo. I get extra giddy when these relatives that grew up eating Seafood Gumbo tell this little cowgirl from Wyoming/Idaho that I make the best gumbo they have ever had. What might be the truth is that I am the only one they can flatter enough to make a pot for them when they come to town. Whatever the truth is, in the end they get a pot of Seafood Gumbo when they come to town.

I always put some type of fish, clams, crab and shrimp in my Seafood Gumbo. What is fresh at the market determines the exact nature of the seafood that ends up in the pot. The day I made this batch they had live crayfish and some blue crabs. I prefer our West Coast Dungeness to eat but the flavor of the blue crab is hard to beat in gumbo. I have to confess that I am not a huge Crayfish fan but how can you not put fresh Crayfish in a Louisiana Seafood Gumbo if it is available? They ended up being so sweet and delicious that I will make sure I make a pot of Gumbo anytime I see live crayfish at the market. But the crayfish that is not my new secret ingredient. My new secret to great gumbo is dried scallops. I had some in the cupboard so I threw a few in the pot. It added a Smokey earthiness that could not be beat. So no matter what is fresh at the market I will also drop in a couple of dried scallops next time I make gumbo. Just about any Cantonese cook would tell you that a pot of soup is always better when you add dried scallops, why would Gumbo be any different?

Bon Appetite!

¼ C butter
¾ C flour (more or less) really depends on how much the butter absorbs
I melt the butter and then add the flour. Stir constantly until dark brown and the roux smells nutty. This is at least 20 mins.
Add to the roux
3 C of the holy trinity chopped (celery, onion & green pepper)
If you want more flavor -add shallots, a leek, couple of green onions, jalapenos and some garlic
Add 6 C of low sodium chicken stock (you can always add back in salt it is really hard to take out)
Cook over slow heat for at least 4 to 6 hrs
3 Med dried scallops (soak in warm water for about 10 mins before adding)
Add red pepper to taste
Hint-I make the gumbo up the day before and then I store it in the fridge and heat it up for a couple of hours before I add the seafood
4 to 5 lbs of seafood-use a variety that your family likes, I recommend fish, shrimp, clams and crab at the minimum but make it for your family’s taste
Serve with White rice and File Gumbo

Saturday, October 1, 2011 My favorite new website is a great site because it has aggregated several sites that make sense for home buyers and home sellers to check out.

I know is geared towards buyers but sellers will want to make sure they know what potential buyers will find when they type in their address.
For Example, I just found out there are 10 registered sex offenders in my neighborhood within a mile of my home, and only 1 sex offender in the neighborhood of the last house I owned. That is information I would have liked to have had when I sold my place in Palo Alto and bought my place in Mountain View.

Interesting Facts I just learned about Mountain View, CA

15% of the houses built in Mountain View were built after 1990; I would have guessed that number was 5%!

34% of the housing available in Mountain View is Single Family Homes; I would have guessed that number was higher.

11% of households speak Spanish at home and 60% speak English only. Again, I would have guessed that the number of English only speakers to be much lower.

Mountain View's unemployment rate is lower than the national average. Thank you Google!

Mountain View's median household income is just over $92,000.00 and the median family income is just over $117,000
61% of the population has a bachelor’s degree and 49% of the population over 15 is married.

But my favorite factoid is….

Of the percentage of regular church goers in Mountain View, the 3rd most popular religion is LDS. Now that is not something I would have guessed either.

Use and tell me what you learned about your neighborhood and city!