Gumbo Z from Vegan Soul Kitchen
I did something kind of exciting today! (Read: not real world exciting, like base jumping, but kitchen exciting, like canning or reconstituting dried mushrooms.) Ahem. I made my own stock! And a roux! I've neither done either before, but hey, its Vegan MOFO, the perfect time for trying new (nerdy) things!
Both of these endeavors were for the purpose of making "Gumbo Z" from Vegan Soul Kitchen, by Bryant Terry. (Yeah, like I wouldn't own THAT cookbook. Come on.) Aside from the brilliant title I really love this cookbook, not just as a cookbook but also as a sort of inspirational scrapbook with cool ideas, photos, songs, and stories. And the recipes are just my style: they always have something that *snaps*, like caramelized grapefruit or hot apple cider vinegar. I sometimes read it just for fun. (And as a side note, I once SAW Bryant Terry. I was having a glass of wine at the end of a long day of Bar Exam prep at Busboys and Poets, a bar/ cafe/radical bookstore in DC and he had just finished giving a book signing, which I didn't realize until I saw him walk right by. But I was too shy to approach him as my mind was too Bar Exam-addled to say anything other than "Uhmmm, so....I like your cookbook" so I just sat there staring at him like a weirdo with my glass of pinot. So that is my Bryant Terry story.)
Anyways. When I first got the book I thought, wow, does this guy know how to complicate simple things. Like, who makes homemade broth and then spends another 2 hours making Gumbo? But you know, it was worth it! Homemade broth smells amazing and doesn't taste as salty/ carroty as store-bought, and the process of making roux is a bit of transfixing kitchen magic that every foodie should try for themselves. Every element of the recipe smelled and tasted so good, that it was actually really fun to cook although it took a while.
I fed my version (with spinach and cabbage rather than the prescribed Southern greens that I can't find in 'Schland) to my hungry and picky boyfriend and he loved it, I loved it, it was just a big Gumbo lovefest. Its not so pretty to look at, but if you've been hesitating before cooking a long or seemingly complicated recipe like this, I would reccommend that you try it! You might learn something new and surprise yourself.
Song of the Day: Janelle Monae- Tightrope