Sunday, we had our annual dock closing party and 12 friends and family (and 6 dogs) came to help us do it. We usually have this event earlier in the month, but we were in Florida so we put it off until the last moment. Fortunately, we were blessed with a beautiful fall day – sunny and 70* - and the lake was still nearly at full pool – TVA generally begins the 6 foot draw down to winter pool on Nov 1. Here's a shot of most of the group.
The recipes for the gumbo and red beans and rice came from Mary at Deep South Dish - check out Mary’s blog for the recipes and more pictures.
I made a double gumbo recipe and I also used her recipe for dark oven roux and used four cups for the double gumbo – using the oven made good sense as we were running the furnace anyway and I could prep the other items while it cooked. To the gumbo recipe, I added about a tbsp of Essence and a quart of pulled BBQ chicken I had in the freezer. I also got to use some of the 3 gallons of shrimp stock I’d made back in September.
I made a triple red beans recipe and added a tsp. or so of our kicked up Emeril’s Essence for a little more flavor. I made the gumbo and red beans the day before the party and we made the rice on party day – Bev used this as an excuse to buy a rice cooker. Here's a shot of the beans before adding the sausage.
Rivershack Tavern and they’d served it topped with a piece of grilled gator sausage - I was able to bring back the same brand.
For the sandwiches, we used newly-available-at-Krogers Cuban bread, which, at 20", is about the same length as French bread, but not as wide or as thick. We sliced them not quite clear thru and removed some of the bread to create a little pocket (makes it easier for the goodies to stay on). We then made full-loaf sandwiches and let the guests slice off the amount they wanted and dress them with a choice of shredded lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, mayo and tarter sauce ala Cathy from Wives With Knives. Bev brought the bread to the grill so I could keep the fish warm.
For desserts, we had coconut cream pie, berry cobbler, brownies, and pineapple trifle.
Everything turned out really well except the rice – I think we need to read the rice cooker manual some more then practice on it. Both of Mary’s recipes were hits and how can you go wrong with shrimp and crappie. One non-fish eater even had seconds on the crappie - it's about as mild as a fish can be. I ended up using 4# of shrimp (in the gumbo), a package of andouille, and a package of gator sausage that we brought back from NOLA – I think I'm down to crawfish and boudin so something with one or both will be up next. This is Cajun food two days in a row.
Since it was 70*, sunny, and I was cooking around a hot fire, I took the opportunity to wear shorts, sandals and a tank top T-shirt for the likely last time, while others showed up with jackets on. I was perfect until the sun went behind the hill and by 6pm, I was getting downright cool. The temp sure plummets this time of year when the sun goes down.
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.