Southern Gumbo (Gluten-Free)

I’ve been craving a really good bowl of gumbo. The ones that I made in the past all had wheat flour as the base for the roux. I decided to experiment this weekend and try making it gluten-free.

I am so glad that I did. And so was my family who got to eat the results.

Here’s what I have come up with.

Southern Gumbo

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour mixture (I’ll share mine at the end of the post with a separate recipe)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 onion diced

2 ribs celery diced

3 cloves garlic

 1 28oz. can whole tomatoes with juice

2 cups sliced okra, fresh, frozen, or canned, just not battered

1 tsp thyme

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

hot sauce to taste (I used 5 drops and it was mild but tasty, perfect)

2 pounds shrimp ( or chicken, sausage, ham, fish, scallops, or any combination of any of these)

2 tbsp file powder (this is ground sassafras leaves. You can find it in the spice section. If you can’t just leave it out, but to use it is authentic and lends that something that just makes gumbo)

A good gumbo begins with a good roux. This is the base and foundation of all the flavor and you can not rush it. It takes about 15 minutes from start to finish and you have to stir it constantly. It will be worth it. I promise.

Melt the butter in a heavy dutch oven over low heat. Add the flour mixture and whisk constantly. The point here is to brown the flour until it is the color of brewed tea. A dark caramel brown. Do not stop stirring. Do not leave for a moment. If you go past dark brown into burnt, throw it out and start all over. This is the most important part of the whole dish.

Once your roux is dark caramel add the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, okra, and garlic. Continue to saute over low heat stirring 4 or 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and give up some of their liquid. Add the tomatoes to the pot squeezing the tomatoes to begin breaking them down or processing them in the blender with their juice before adding them to the pot.

Add thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. If using chicken or sausage add it now.  Cover and simmer over low heat 45 minutes to an hour.

Add the shrimp and file powder if using.  If using fish or other seafood add it now. Simmer 5 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through. You don’t want to overcook the shrimp. Just pink and then you’re done.

Serve over white rice with file powder and hot sauce at the table.


Gluten-Free flour mixture

This is a good all purpose flour mixture. Use it where you would use plain all purpose flour in the same proportions.

24 ounces brown rice flour (I make mine in my blender)

20 ounces cornstarch

22 ounces potato starch (not potato flour)

24 ounces tapioca starch

6 teaspoons xantham gum

Mix until well blended and store in an airtight container. Can also be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.


March 29, 2010. cooking. Leave a comment.

A Vist to the Orthopedist

 I injured my ankle a few weeks ago by stepping into a hole that the chickens had made to wallow in.

This morning I went for a follow-up appointment to the orthopedist. He reviewed my MRI results and them we talked about my options:

1. a really painful shot in my ankle

2. a cast for 4 weeks (uh, no)

3. exploratory surgery with no guarantee of finding the cause of my continued pain (once again, are you kidding?)

Seeing as how #s 2 and 3 are not going to happen unless I have no other option I went for number one, a really painful injection with a really long needle directly into my ankle via the top of my foot.

Let me just say this, if I had to choose between the cortisone shot and having my tooth drilled, I would truly have to give it some serious thought first.

I am hoping that this works and that I can return to a normal life in 3 weeks. That’s when I get to go back and see if I can come out of the orthopedic boot that I have been wearing for everything but showering and sleeping.

Wish me luck.

March 15, 2010. Notebook. 2 comments.

Post UFE Menstrual Cycle 2

I know that I said things would get back to normal around here, but then I went and broke my ankle and pretty much the wheels have fallen off anything and everything.

I also promised that all the girly-talk about body functions and such was done, but I need to share just a little more about how things are going post ufe.

I had my second menstrual cycle this week.

It started with almost no cramping prior to the big event. So much so that it actually crept up on me. I actually went to the calendar and started counting because I just knew that it was too early for this to be happening, but it wasn’t.

Before the UFE I would cramp and spot for at least 2-3 weeks before the beginning of my period. This month I had mild cramps that started the night before and lasted less than a day.

Before the UFE I would spot heavily enough to need protection. This time, no spotting AT ALL.

Before the UFE my period would be heavy enough to require changing my super or super plus absorbency protection within an hour for at least the first 3 days and then the same level of protection was needed for 2 more days that was changed every 4 hours or so. Regular absorbency was only used during the last “spotting” days of my period. This time regluar absorbency was all that was required for the entire time. I started with the supers, only to realized that I really didn’t need them except for the first night for overnight.

The improvement has been amazing. I hoped for a lot less than this. The interventional radiologist said that I can expect to see improvement for 6 months after the procedure. I would be satisfied with the level of improvement that I have achieved to this point. If things get better than this, I really don’t know how.

I am soooo glad that I decided to give this a try before resorting to a hysterectomy.

March 13, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.