Jambalaya – The Cure for Odds and Sods

I usually try to be very good with using the ingredients on hand in an efficient way.  Pick a protein and do a few meals with it, that sort of thing.  Once in awhile we go overboard with different things to eat and suddenly I’m faced with several things that need to be used up if we don’t want it all to go to waste.  This week I opened the fridge to be faced with a chicken breast, some kielbasa, and rabbit sausage.  What to do, what to do.

I’ve never been to New Orleans but I love the food and music.  There is a sense that corsets were never as tight as they were up here.  There is a great spirit to the food and music.  It’s on my bucket list to swing by.  🙂  I do love a good jambalaya and thought it would be perfect to use up the different proteins in one dish.  It is also a very easy dish to throw together on a week night when there are sports and school meetings.

Our pepper plants are still going strong so I grabbed a few hot peppers to use.

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I chopped up half an onion, several cloves of garlic, the peppers, and the meat.   In a skillet with hot olive oil I sauteed the onions and garlic for a few minutes then added the peppers and the meat.

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While this was cooking I sliced several tomatoes from our garden that are in the good cooking stage.  In other words, not good and firm for salads but perfect for stewing.  Again, didn’t want them to go to waste!

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I added about a cup of chicken stock and brought it to a simmer.  Then I added a couple of teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, some oregano, and a cajun seasoning mix.  Stir and simmer.

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I cooked some mushroom and herb rice pilaf almost to being done and then added it to the jambalaya to absorb the flavours and finish cooking.  Then it is ready to serve.

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The flavours were hearty but not heavy on the stomach which was good as my son had to dash off for an evening of running round.  🙂

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Crêpes – The Savory Side of Life

Crêpes are a treat we do once in awhile for dinner.  My husband enjoys making them and a few years ago we bought him a crêpe pan.  It also gets a lot of use for my eggs so it was a win-win.  🙂  But I’ve always been impressed that he could make these.  I was also lulled into a false sense of “how hard can this be?”.  So I decided I would give it a go last night.  Parts of it are really easy.  But I quickly learned it takes practice on the actual cooking of the crêpe.  Fortunately we only need 4 good ones as it was just the two of us.

As crêpes are extremely versatile we have fun with sweet and savory.  Generally we stuff ours with some sort of filling.  I wanted two savory fillings this time round.  I bought some rabbit sausages for one filling and chose a lovely apple for the second.  The recipe I used for the batter was from the book Crêpes – Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Home Cook by Lou Seibert Pappas.  Interesting fact from the book crêpes comes from the Latin word crispus meaning crisp.

The batter should be made about 2 hours before the actual cooking and it can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.  You can use a blender, a food processor, or a whisk.  We use the blender.  In the blender I place 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup water, 2 Tablespoons of melted butter, 1/4 tsp of salt, and a cup of flour.

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Blend for 5 seconds.  Take a rubber spatula and scrape the sides then blend for a couple of seconds.  That’s it.  You don’t want to overwork the batter.

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Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.  For the rabbit filling I chopped up a couple of garlic cloves and some baby portabello mushrooms.  I removed the rabbit sausage from it’s casing and tried to chop it up into small pieces.  Wasn’t that easy.  In a skillet with hot olive oil saute the ingredients to brown the rabbit meat.

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Add a splash of dry sherry and some lemon thyme.  Let that simmer to cook through.  For the next filling I chopped up some sage and apples.

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In a small skillet I melted about a tablespoon of butter and sauteed the sage in it for a couple of minutes.  Then I added the apples to cook.  I wanted the apples softened but not mushy.

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I set aside the fillings and got the batter ready.  Heat a dry pan until hot.  Here is the first tricky part.  You want to rub a bit of butter onto the hot pan.  If you do it too much the batter goes all wonky and won’t spread out.  Because our pan is about 9″ wide we use 1/4 cup of batter at a time.  Remove the pan from the heat and then spread the batter around the pan.  It needs to be poured in then tilt the pan about until it is coated.

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Once the sides start browning and the crêpe can be easily lifted with a spatula flip it over and cook for about 15 seconds to finish off the top side.   Remove and place on paper towels to cool off.  The next tricky bit I encountered as having a pan too hot.  You can end up with a jelly fish shape.

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Cute but not right.  It should look a bit like this:

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Once all the batter has been cooked it is time to stuff them.  And crêpes not used can easily be frozen for another time.  I set the toaster oven to 375F/190C because we need to melt cheese.  For the apple filling I placed a few slices of brie in the center of the crêpe and topped with the apples.

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Fold like a burrito and place in the baking pan.  I scooped the rabbit filling into the center and topped with freshly shredded Jarlsberg.

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I put the rest of the cheese over the two crêpes with the rabbit.  Can’t waste any cheese!  🙂

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Bake until the cheese is melted and it is ready to serve.

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The apple ones came out really blurry so I only have the rabbit ones to show.

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The possibilities for fillings are endless with these.  And it is a delicious way to have dinner.  🙂