What I am cooking

Shrimp Deer Gumbo

I value my time in the kitchen as an art. Making dishes for the family to provide great nutrition and a way to pull us all together at the end of the day for happy healthy conversations around the table (we actually sit at our raised bar). As a mother, I believe we all aim for such. Even knowing each ones way about it is a little different, looks a little different, we are all still making art. Our family depends on us to stay alert, be true to ours selves, speak freely, walk in obedience and make that safe place for them to come home to at the end of the day. Although, somedays we've been home way to long because as a stay home mom it's what's required of us. Home all day some days! 

Recently a customer of my husbands brought him a box full of okra. This box of okra has brought in several opportunities for the kids and I stand around in the kitchen with my husband preparing to cook fried okra. I don't know about you but me being a southern girl I am all up on top of eating some fried okra. Over the years I've stirred clear of cooking fried food as well as not eating it. Bring home some okra and I'll be more than happy to okay it. Yeah, let's do this. Let's fry some okra like no bodies business. 

After several of nights cooking fried okra, I still had a lot left so I pondered what I could do with it. I started thinking about a patient who came in the dentist office one time where I worked years ago. She brought the dentist some gumbo. All I can remember about it was the okra in it. For some reason it stood out in my mind more than anything. 

So, it was on. I was on a mission to cook some gumbo using up some of the okra. 

I begin looking at recipes online and in the Bell's Best cook book my moms friend gave me when I got married. I like to look at several different recieps coming up with my own. A lot of times I might not have what one recipe calls for or my family wouldn't touch an ingediant with a ten foot poll from another. 

I browned 1/2 cup of flour in a black iron skillet first. 

My youngest daughter cut 2 stalks of celery, 1 green bell pepper and I didn't have a fresh onion so I used some already diced from the freezer. The recipe I was looking at called for one large white onion. Well, we at the Murphy Lodge like onion but not that much onion. 

I begin putting my chicken stock, garlic salt, thyme, creole, and bay leaves in together. 
I used the entire box of chicken stock. A double dash of garlic salt. 1/2 teaspoon of thyme. Approximately 2 teaspoons of creole, see picture above, that's how much. I am not real big into measuring stuff. I do a lot of guess work. It's kinda like when I paint. Most want to follow the rules using certain techniques etc. Man, I just jump in getting the job done. Lastly, I used 3 bay leaves, picking them out before served.  

I whisked the already browned flour in.

The night before we ate deer snack sticks for dinner. I know a big winner meal! Some days you have those make do meals, right. All in all those darn things were good. These two links were left over. I didn't see any reason in letting them go to waste. Opting not to pull more sausage out of the freeze I put this stuff to good use. Let me just tell you it was perfect!   

I didn't have a can of tomato paste, tomato sauce or diced tomatoes on hand. Instead, I had a can of tomato soup. Which I hardly ever use but for some reason I picked it up for something never using it. 
So I used a can of tomato soup replacing the other types of tomatoes. 

Once the tomato soup was mixed in I put the bell pepper, celery, onion and sausage.
I let this simmer on medium while cleaning the kitchen. As I was standing at the kitchen sink I begin thinking about why I decide to cook gumbo. Bham! It hit me okra. I forgot the okra. Oh my goodness! The whole point of cooking the gumbo was to use up some of the okra. My youngest daughter graciously cut 8 or 9 okra for me which made about three hand full'. 

Here above are the recipes I looked at along the way kinda making up my own recipe for what I had on hand. 

Closer to serving time, I got my jumbo size shrimp out of the freeze. I cooked them in a pan by themselves with a small amount of water, olive oil and I brushed some of the gumbo on them. 

Then garnished the shrimp with parsley and green onions. 

Look at that y'all. My mouth is watering just by looking over these pictures. I fixed this small bowl as a sampler before my husband got home. The picture above I sent in a text message to him. I typed "if pictures could taste". Yum!

1/2 cup of flour 
2 stalks of celery
1 green bell pepper
1/4 cup white onion
 double dash of garlic salt
 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
Approximately 2 teaspoons of creole
 3 bay leaves
1 1/2 cup sliced deer snack sticks
1 can of tomato soup
3 hand full of sliced okra
17 jumbo shrimp
parsley and green onions garnish 

Do you measure when you cook?
Do you sub ingredients out?

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