Chicken, Shrimp, and Andouille Gumbo


When cooking there are a few dishes that I am convinced can’t be made as good in my kitchen as in restaurants. Or I’ve tried to make a dish and failed every time.

Gumbo was always one of those dishes. I was just convinced that it would be 1) too much work with making a roux and 2) just not taste as good despite my efforts. Well, one day something convinced me to try a Gumbo recipe. It was from Cook’s Illustrated, which is my one recipe source that can gives me hope that it will turn out. But then it was a lightened up/healthier gumbo, so I was skeptical all over again. Anyone who knows gumbo is that “light” is not typically a word you read to describe it.

Well, don’t be skeptical about this recipe. This is not a traditional roux in any sense, but it is so much easier and the taste is spot on. I have adapted a few things based on what ingredients I have had around


Aunt Lena’s Singapore Noodles

Happy Christmas in July everyone!  I know, I know- I should stop wishing time away and enjoy the present.  Thanksgiving and Christmas will come in their own time, and I should enjoy summer while it’s still here. You’re right, you’re right (See, Mom, I can say it).  But why should I wait 6 months to enjoy some special holiday food?  While this is not an American Christmas tradition, Singapore noodles are a staple at our Christmas Eve dinner.  And they should become a staple in your kitchen too.

Singapore noodles are basically thin rice noodles seasoned with soy sauce and curry then stir fried  a bunch of stuff mixed in.  I am using the term “stuff” in the technical way here, but to be more specific: a bunch of good stuff.  Like shrimp, char siu (Chinese roast pork), ham, egg, and green onions.  It is truly delicious, and you can mix and match  the “stuff” to your own tastes.  For example, when I helped make this batch, we “forgot” the green pepper my aunt normally includes in her noodles.  Oops, what a complete and total accident. A compleeete tragedy…

I have written up the recipe how I generally like it: heavy on the char siu, shrimp, and eggs, little lighter on the ham, and sans green pepper (yuck). Adjust this recipe to make for your family’s tastes. Or adjust to your own tastes, and make your family pick around what they don’t like and search for the missing green pepper.

And now you know why you never see any recipes on here that have peppers in them. Peppers are my arch nemesis, my kryptonite, my mortal enemy. And these Singapore noodles don’t really need it to be yummy anyway.

From Aunt Lena

1 pound 50/40 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons rice cooking wine
Salt and pepper
Canola oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 slab Char Siu (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced into thin strips
1/4 pound ham, sliced into thin strips
3 eggs, lightly beaten
16 ounces rice vermicelli
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons madran curry powder, to taste
5 green onions, chopped


In a large bowl, combine shrimp, cooking wine, salt, and pepper. (If you are using frozen/thawed or limp shrimp, cover in cornstarch and let sit for 5-10 minutes beforehand; wash the cornstarch off then add the cooking wine, salt, and pepper.)

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Coat the pan with canola oil and let heat for 1 minute. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until tender. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink, about 5-7 minutes. Add char siu and ham and cook for 2-3 minutes, until warmed through. Remove from heat, pour into a large bowl, and set aside.

Heat a small skillet over medium low heat. Add eggs and rotate pan to ensure egg coats the entire surface. Fry until firm, turning once. Remove egg from pan and cut into strips. Add to shrimp mixture and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and a little bit of oil. Add noodles and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and let noodles cool slightly. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Coat pan liberally with olive oil. Add cooled noodles, stirring to coat with oil. Add soy sauce and stir to coat. Stir slowly and carefully to avoid breaking up the noodles too much. Carefully stir in shrimp, pork, and ham mixture, adding more oil if needed. Add curry powder and stir together. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until warmed through. Add green onions and cook for 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8.

Note: slice your onions, char siu, and ham in the shape of the noodles: thin and long

Hawaiian Shrimp Skewers

Summer is coming. Our family motto is the opposite of the Starks, it always feels like it gets hotter and hotter here in Texas.  With the sweltering heat comes grilling season!  Nothing is easier than slapping some meat with some sauce on a grill and calling it dinner.
Skewers are an especially fun way to grill for dinner.  Slide on some meat and vegetables/fruit, baste with some yummy sauce and then each person gets to eat their own skewer for dinner.  This combination uses shrimp, pineapple, and red onion with a teriyaki-like sauce for a little Hawaiian twist.  Delicious with the sweet sauce and the crunchy charcoal grilled outside.  Yum.
(PS- If you aren’t watching Game of Thrones, fix that now!  These skewers are a perfect dinner to eat while watching…)
From Cinnamon Freud
For the Sauce:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the Skewers:
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pineapple, chopped
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
For the Sauce:
In a small saucepan, combine apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and honey.  Bring to a boil then simmer.  Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water.  Whisk in cornstarch mixture.  Continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes, until sauce is thickened.  Set aside.
For the Skewers:
Prepare and preheat your grill.  Alternatively, thread shrimp, pineapple, and red onion onto your skewers.  Spoon our some of your sauce and brush onto raw skewers.  Grill skewers, about  6 minutes for each side.  Continue to brush with sauce as the skewers cook.
Serves 4, makes about 8 skewers

Shrimp Salad

Everyone knows tuna salad, but have you met its cousin shrimp salad?

I’m sure someone has thought up the idea of replacing tuna with shrimp before me, but I thought of this one night when I needed to use up ingredients sitting in my fridge.  I think’s it is a genius idea.

I like tuna but only eat it when a strange craving overcomes me.  The last time such a craving came over me was 4 years ago when I was a freshman living in the dorms.  At first, the freedom of getting to eat out every night at the dining halls and being able to eat as myself into a nutrition wasteland was great.  But slowly the novelty of college dining wore off, and I began to crave homemade food the dining halls didn’t have.  One day I got the idea of a tuna salad on crackers in my mind.  I had to have it then and there (even though I never ate tuna salad).  Luckily my friend had a communal kitchen in her dorm, so we made a big trip to the grocery store (a whole ordeal back then), bought eggs, tuna, crackers, and mayo.  We made tuna salad and ate it all up in one sitting.  And then we never used the kitchen again.

Luckily now I have my own kitchen and can make this shrimp salad whenever I want.  Mayo is one of life’s simple pleasures (you know you love it too), and it is combined with Dijon mustard and smashed egg yolks to coat shrimp and crunchy vegetables.  I like this shrimp salad on crackers, toast, sandwiches, or eaten straight from the bowl.  Serve warm or cold based on your preference (mine being warm).

From Cinnamon Freud

6 ounces cooked shrimp, chopped
2 eggs
4 small/medium pickles, chopped
1/2 cucumber, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Dill, salt, and pepper to taste

Place eggs in a medium saucepan.  Cover with water.  Cover with lid and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Once boiling, turn off the stove.  Let eggs sit in water with lid on for 20 minutes.  Drain and cover with cold water.  Peel over egg shell.  Coarsely chop egg white and egg yolk.
With paper towels, squeeze water out of cucumbers and shrimp as needed.  You do not need to drain the pickles because pickle juice will add flavor.  In a large bowl, combine shrimp, hard boiled eggs, pickles, cucumber, mayo, and Dijon mustard.  Season with dill, salt, and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.  Serve chilled, at room temperature, or warmed.
Serves 2-4.