Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dive Into A New Book

Kauai Forest Preserve
In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, 
and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia."
Charles Lindbergh

While waiting for spring to show up (which really means for the snow to go away so I can be outside more) I thought it would be a good time to "dive into" some new book titles I have been wanting to read.

Since I recently enjoyed Stacy Cordery's  biography of Juliette Gordon Low  I was intrigued by finding her other book Alice  I know many authors have written about the outspoken, incorrigible and charming Alice Roosevelt Longworth but I personally knew very little about her. Cordery is very meticulous in her research. I learned she was given more access to the personal papers of Alice Longworth just like she had for Juliette Gordon Low than most authors in the past.
Alice occupied center stage in political and social life of the nation for 70 years. She certainly was a multidimensional woman who was charming, intelligent and quite outspoken. One aspect of Alice's life that intrigued me was while Alice was married to Longworth at the age of 41 she had a daughter Pauline. But the baby's real father was a senator named  William Borah.  Alice had a rather on and off relationship with her daughter. Pauline died in her early 30's. Alice spent the best portion of her old age raising an orphaned granddaughter named Joanne Sturn.   
The book is also a period piece of a time in history I enjoyed learning more about.

Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo has written a non-fiction book about one of the twenty-first century's hidden worlds in India. She spent over three years researching the economic inequality of the people of Annawadi. Her book behind the beautiful forevers is a look at the impoverished residents of a Mambo slum that is located next to a luxury hotel and the airport. The book raises questions of economic greed, police  abuse and corruption through the eyes of the people. Boo writes a documentary that often reads like a novel. The author shows empathy for these slum residents as they strive to rise above what seems like impossible odds to me. It is one of those books where its hard to even fathom people living in such conditions. Many questions are raised after reading this well documented book. Finding answers to the questions looks to be difficult. 
Cook's notes:I have discovered that Jambalaya has its own Wikipedia website. On further reading I found out there are a variety of opinions (depends on what region you come from) on what makes a truly authentic Creole or Cajun recipe and how the dish is served either with rice in it or over rice. Lastly, how much hotness to add to the dish(Cajun seasoning) is all about personal preference. 
Options include type of sausage, rice and seasonings used and the addition of shrimp.      
The word jambalaya comes from the Provencal word jambalaia which means mish mash or mix-up.  I did find common agreement that it originated in the Caribbean and it is made with three parts: meats/shrimp, vegetables and stock with rice. 
Some of the recipes called for using a slow cooker and putting all ingredients together including uncooked chicken and sausage and cook for 4-6 hours. I opted for stove top method and cooked the sausage and chicken in advance. My thought was too much grease would be in the sauce. 
This recipes serves 6-8
I used this box of rice which added just the right amount of flavor.

  • 2 small cooked chicken breasts chopped 
  • 1 large piece of Andouille sausage cooked and sliced
  • 1 box of rice (pictured above)
  • 2 TB. butter
  • 1 can of chicken broth low sodium (14.5 oz.)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes basil, garlic, oregano (14.5 oz.)
  • 1/2 can tomato paste (3 oz.) 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. prepared garlic (comes in a jar)
  • 4 celery ribs chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • optional 1/4 lb. cooked shrimp  
  • Saute onion, pepper, celery, garlic in 2 TB. butter 5-8 minutes or until tender
  • Add in broth, water, canned tomatoes, tomato paste. spices, chicken, sausage and box of rice 
  • Simmer on low 40 minutes (covered)
  • If adding shrimp add in last 15 minutes of cooking time
  • Be sure to remove bay leaf before serving :)

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