Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Rebecca's 22nd Birthday!

I had a very nice 22nd birthday, made sure by friends and family! On Saturday, Michael and I went to Logan and my mother bought some clothes for me and also took us out to Texas Roadhouse to eat. Michael made me get on the "saddle" that they reserve for the birthday people, and everyone yelled "Yeehaw!" for me. It was funny and interesting :)

On Sunday, The Black side of the family came over to our apartment for cake and ice cream. We had a full house of 3 children and families playing and running around!

The ice cream was Cookies and Cream flavor, my favorite. We still have some left in our freezer and we're trying very hard to find ways NOT to eat it!

I got an assortment of wonderful gifts from the Black side of the family, including this beautiful scarf from my sister-in-law Jennifer. I must confess, I LOVE SCARVES, and this is a new favorite! It's soft, pretty, and blue, a color I have always been fond of.

My birthday weekend was finished by a spicy meal of homemade jambalaya. I'd been dying to make it from scratch for some time, and this was a perfect excuse to get cooking! I actually had real Andouille sausage to use in the recipe, as I brought it back from our trip to Louisiana in July. The spice, heat, and flavor of the authentic Cajun sausage made all the difference. All in all, it was the best birthday I could imagine for my first year of marriage! Relaxing, fulfilling, beautiful, and yummy!

Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya
(Adapted from Emeril Lagasse 2002)

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound of andouille or kielbasa sausage (cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless white and dark chicken meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 pound country ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 bay leaves
3 cups medium-grain white rice
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped green onions, green tops only
1/2 chopped fresh parsley
  1. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven, or large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 3/4 teaspoon of the cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are very soft, 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles, until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Season the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. Add the chicken and the bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until browned, about 6 minutes. Add the ham and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the stock, stir to combine, and cover. Lower the heat to low and cook without stirring until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, without stirring for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the green onions and parsley, and serve immediately.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
- Andouille is hard to find outside of the South, I just use kielbasa and it tastes fine. 
- I sometimes like to add shrimp, so depending on allergies/preference, you can too. Just reduce the chicken by 1/2 lb. and add 1/2 shrimp instead. 
- This is really good served with homemade crusty bread and a salad. Finish off with some bread pudding or pecan pie and you have an authentic Cajun meal!

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