Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rice Cooker Mixed Jambalaya/22 Recipes Down

Tonight's recipe, Rice Cooker Mixed Jambalaya, comes from Just a Bunch Of Recipes, and it's the product of having a well stocked kitchen. While it's not a true Jambalaya in the browning and sauteeing sense, it is an incredible dish.

"Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French (especially Provençal) influence. It consists of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat always includes sausage of some sort, often a smoked sausage such as Andouille, along with some other meat or seafood, frequently pork, chicken, crayfish, or shrimp. The vegetables are usually a sofrito-like mixture known as the "holy trinity" in Creole and Cajun cooking, consisting of onion, celery, and green bell pepper, though other vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, chilis, and garlic are also used. After browning and sauteeing the meat and vegetables, rice, seasonings, and broth are added and the entire dish is cooked together until the rice is done.

"Jambalaya is similar to (but distinct from) other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine. Gumbo uses similar sausages, meats, seafood, vegetables and seasonings, however gumbo includes filé powder and okra, which are not common in jambalaya. Gumbo is also usually served over white rice, which is prepared separate from the rest of the dish, unlike jambalaya, where the rice is prepared with the other ingredients. Étouffée is a stew which always includes shellfish such as shrimp or crayfish, but does not have the sausage common to jambalaya and gumbo. Also, like gumbo, étouffée is usually served over separately prepared rice."

This recipe called for chicken, shrimp and spicy smoked sausage, along with chicken broth. As it turns out, I had leftover turkey and turkey stock in my freezer, so I used that instead of chicken. I already had a bag of peeled and deveined shrimp in the freezer too, per written instructions by Sam himself. And the sausage? I had half a package of leftover alligator/pork sausage from supper two nights before. It all came together like the perfect culinary storm. :)

What did I learn from this recipe?
I learned that I didn't need a rice cooker for this recipe. I had one a long time ago, a gift from Michelle the Cooker, but I actually wore it out. Instead, I used my Crock Pot. It's one of those "newer" slow cookers that cooks incredibly hot, even on low, so I set it to warm in the morning when I went to work. When I got home eight hours later, the rice (which I had added in the morning) still wasn't cooked yet, even though the shrimp was done. I turned the slow cooker to low and we went to the gym. When we got home and hour later, the rice was perfect.

The entire dish turned out so well. And like good pasta or chili, the flavors are going to be even better as leftovers! This is definitely something to make again, because with just little tweaks to the meats, it can really become different versions of the same dish.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Finally Wising Up About My Jedi Costume

A while back, I went to ROFCON and actually was a part of the Rebel Legion costuming panel. We had a Rebel Fleet Trooper, a young Obi-Wan Kenobi with a professionally made costume, and me as the generic Jedi with a costume I made. And yeah, I’m just getting around to posting about it now. J

Me and the Rebel Fleet Trooper were fully dressed in our costumes. Jon (Obi-Wan) was partially dressed, on purpose, so I got to see his shirt. I also got to see the waistband of his pants. He was wearing pants with a button and a zipper, and they were full length. My have always been long, slightly baggy, capris (tucked into my boots), with elastic waistbands. I’ve actually made three pairs of Jedi pants and I’ve never been quite happy with how they turn out in the waist height. The reason they have been capris is because that was the pattern I originally found to be the correct one.

With the Jedi tunics, they are long enough that they hang down over the top of the pants, pretty much to mid-thigh length. You can’t see the waistbands. Jon pointed out that fact but did say you might want to still stay away from pleated pants.

Anyhoo, Jon had his pants specifically made for him, and during that panel, a light bulb went off above my head.

I don’t need to make my own pants, because like I just said, I’ve never really been personally happy with them, but they are functional and correct. So after the con was over and my costume was washed and hung back in my closet, my happy ass when trotting on down to the thrift store and went straight to the women’s khaki pants section.

I found two pairs of really comfy, and suitable, pairs of pants for my costume now. They are the correct color and fabric choice for my character’s costume, and I spend $10 plus tax on them. I would have easily spent that much, or more, making two pairs of pants myself. And the best thing is…I HAVE EXTRA POCKETS!

This is a big comfort thing for me…enough pockets! Last year after ROFCON, I went so far as to rip open the side seams of my first two pairs of pants to add in wonky pockets. Because again, because of the way the tunics are designed, I can be a little “hippy” (not “hippie”) as a woman with pockets and it doesn’t disturb the lines of the costume. And let’s be honest, the pouches on the Jedi belts just aren’t enough. Hell, I even re-sewed my original Jedi collar/dickey with some reinforced hems to create a pocket up there to hold my glasses when we take pictures.

Anyway, I just wanted to get it out there, to any current or future Jedi’s that your local thrift store can be a viable place to get your pants.