Friday, December 11, 2009

Shades of Age and food for life

I saw someone today whom I have loved for many years and he has become a shadow of himself. He was once a robust man full of ideas whose very presence brightened a room and wooed all within that room to his way of thinking.
As far as I can tell my beloved friend is not ill, just confused about the best path to a long and healthy life.
He is not the first person I've known or heard of who believed that nearly starving oneself will lead to longevity. As for me, the only really old people I've ever seen who were in their full senses and in control of their faculties had some meat on their bones. Not fat, just not ascetic.

I love food and love to cook and love knowing that I can orchestrate meals that are good for us.

I hope to convince my friend that good eating is good for him - and I may start with some of these recipes.

Sausage Gumbo

I know, that just sounds awful, but the lycopene in the tomatoes, cayenne and chili in the seasoning, and the general goodness of onions, peppers and celery are all good for a body.

1 bag cut okra or one pound fresh, cut into 1/2 slices
1 pound sausage links, country sausage preferably
1 red onion, diced
2 diced bell peppers
3 diced celery stalks
1 can chicken broth
2 32 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
9 tbl Wondra flour
7 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Seasoning: Chili powder, thyme, garlic salt, paprika, sage and a bit of cayenne - sea salt and ground pepper OR just get some good Creole seasoning, like Tony Cachere's and add to it.

Pour the oil in a big pot over medium high, add flour when the oil shimmers and begin whisking the flour into the oil. Make a nice roux, I've never had it take more than eight minutes of steady whisking when I use Wondra and olive oil.
Pour your diced trinity into the roux and stir to cover and cook for a minute, add the sausage, tomatoes and broth and stir again. Add enough water to cover everything and add an inch.
Now the waiting starts - simmer and stir, add Okra, then simmer and stir some more, then taste and season.
The gumbo should be done and delicious after an hour and is usually better the next day as the flavors love up on each other:)
Serve over Jasmine rice and feel good about eating good food that has lots in it that's good for you!

I just took a pot of this to my son and daughter-in-law this afternoon to keep them nourished as they celebrate their first week as parents. The scent of my gumbo gently re-heating on their stove wafted my way when I kissed my little grand-infant farewell.
I left knowing they would eat well and that my tiny Pixie infant would get the benefit of it later when her Mama nursed her.

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