Sunday, 10 July 2011

Soulful Food for the Soulful Ladies

I got inspire by the fact that the two lovely ladies who were joining me for dinner last night had spent the past year in America. Not exactly in Southwestern America, but nevertheless I decided to go for a New Orleans inspired menu. I have had this craving for Jambalaya, although I would never normally eat it, especially because you would not get it in Helsinki.

Jambalaya is one of the most distinctive dishes of the Louisiana Creole cuisine, which is a blend of French, Spanish, Portugese, Italian, Greek, Native American and African influences and the general Southern cuisine. This jambalaya is a "red jambalaya" or a New Orleans jambalaya - since the closer you get to New Orleans, the more tomatoes there is in the jambalaya.

So I got inspired by recipes from Budget Bytes and decided to make Jambalaya and Oven Roasted Corn with Honey Chili Butter. For the corn I did it pretty much by the Budget Bytes recipe. It's refreshing to cook something else than burgers from the Northern American cuisine. Here in Europe we often forget how diverse and colofrul the different Northern American cuisines are. For the chicken I used ready roasted chicken breast and leg from the butchers, but this recipe is perfect for leftover chicken roast. This is the sort of recipe that you can add in pretty much anything. Remove the prawns if you're afraid of the meat and seafood combo or add some different coloured peppers and celery if you like. Actually celery should have been in this jambalaya, since it is part of the holy trinity - onions, bell pepper and celery as a base of a dish, in the ratio 1:2:3, similar to the French mirepoix.


1 roasted chicken breast
1 roasted chicken leg
3 small chorizo sausages or a 30 cm piece
180 g frozen prawns
4 garlic cloves
1 green pepper
2 red spring onions
250 g long grain rice
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
350 ml water
1 tin chopped tomatoes (200 g)
a few handfuls of fresh flat leaf parsley
salt and black pepper

Slice the sausage and cook in a large pot (I used a tagine dish) until cooked. Add the green pepper, spring onion and garlic cloves and cook on low heat until soft. Add the shredded chicken meat. Let cook for a while and then add the frozen prawns. When the prawns have defrosted add the tomato paste, cayenne pepper and the rice. Let the tomato paste caramelize and the rice to toast. Add water and diced tomatoes and let it simmer until the rice is cooked (approx. 30-40 minutes). Add salt and black pepper to taste once the rice is cooked. Stir in the chopped parsley and serve.

Me and Miss D tried a new sushi place in the city centre. Itamae Sushi is a small place next to the thai restaurant Tamarin in Forum. We both had the same set 10€ menu that included three salmon nigiris, two inari nigiris, one ebi nigiri, two kappa makis, two California rolls and two very suspicious maki rolls - I think it was crab meat in thai red curry. For the price it was quite good. The fish tasted fresh, but the thai crab thingy maki rolls really were a disappointment. Also the rice was not exactly what it should be. Would go again for a quick lunch, but wouldn't say it is one of the better ones in Helsinki. Plus you had to pay for tap water! Umeshu in Töölö is my local sushi restaurant and still my favourite, although a bit too expensive for my budget.

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