Note to self: when shopping for groceries after work, if I come across a container of frozen gumbo in the seafood section and think “hmm that would be something different and EASY” remember it will have to be “doctored up”.
Now, mind you, the plastic container that I put in my grocery cart was not just any frozen gumbo. We live in a port city and have access to lots of fresh seafood, and this was from a local seafood shop known for their tasty gumbo.
So I bring it home and, while putting away the groceries Friday evening, I mention to my husband, “what do you think about gumbo for dinner tomorrow night?” I had already read the deliciously easy directions on the lid: allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight and simmer on the stove. That was it. I had picked up a loaf of bread from the bakery for dipping and we would have a salad with it and….
“Well okay, but how are you going to doctor it up?” My husband asked.
“We still have some frozen shrimp out in the freezer that we need to eat. I always like to give it more shrimp. And you could sautee some onions and celery to put in it. And don’t forget to make some rice.”
Well okay. Peeling the shrimp would be the most time consuming part. But it WOULD make it taste better and we DO have shrimp in the freezer just sitting there. So okay. He’s right.
Saturday morning he was already gone to work when I got up and found this note on the kitchen table:
His little way of helping me out. Aw, thank you honey! Because thawing the frozen stuff (usually the meat of course, and he is a MEAT and potatoes man) has been my nemesis. Apologies if I didn’t use the word nemesis correctly, but you know what I mean. Thawing meat just takes way too long, I don’t think it should be done in a microwave, it often just wears me out. Did I mention that my husband has to have meat with every meal?
Now listen, sometimes (often) he helps out with the cooking. Many times when he has the day off I will get a text that says “I’ve got dinner” and will come home and not have to do a thing. Or like the other day, I had planned to make meat loaf (“honey what do you think about meat loaf for dinner tomorrow?”)but ended up staying after school too long and as I drove home was racking my brain for something else to cook, unsure if I could handle thawing out that frozen ground venison at almost 4:30 pm. But lo and behold, I walked into the kitchen to find the meat almost 100% defrosted in the sink. HALLELUJAH! So you see, checking in with the husband about cooking plans CAN be a big help!
But back to the shrimp in the sink. I took the gumbo container out of the fridge and put it in the sink as well. Overnight thawing in the refrigerator NEVER works, does it? I went out about my day, went to exercise class, did some writing, then it was time to peel the shrimp. Fortunately, one of the skills my mother did teach me was how to peel shrimp, so I’m able to do it pretty quickly. De-veining the shrimp is the most difficult part, if anyone has any tricks to de-vein shrimp please let me know!
I sautéed the chopped onion and celery in a bit of olive oil, then added it all to the gumbo in the pot. By this time the husband was home from work and he doctored up the flavor with some spices from the pantry, including his “go-to” spice that he puts on EVERYTHING:
The loaf of wheat bread went into the oven for 15 minutes at 350 which gave it a nice, crusty top. I set out a dish of olive oil mixed with some Herbs de Provence for dipping, made two salads, poured the Rex Goliath chardonnay and voila! We had gumbo for dinner!