This weather stuff is crazy! We went from rain and newly formed rivers in the yard to the 70's with shorts and a T-shirt last weekend. Then we get hit with sleet and a small crop dusting of snow. I don't have all of these different types of clothes for three different seasons in one week. I don't know what to expect next, but I just wish it would be consistent. The dogs normally have no problem when you ask them if they want to go outside, but now they have to investigate the situation before they even come close to walking out the door. I am home alone for a while as the rest of the family headed off to their hometowns to do their own things. This gives me time to bond with the dogs and celebrate peanut hour in the evenings! HaHa! Once our house sells I will get to hook up with my wife in Dallas. All kidding aside, we had some good family time as Matt came home from La Tech for a few days during Mardi Gras break along with Janet and Tyler being here as we celebrated their birthdays at Genghis Grill. Where is everyone headed for Spring Break/Summer Vacation this year? If you need some help, I know a cool travel agent. He keeps telling me that cruise vacations and all inclusive resorts are hot right now. I think I need to give him a call. I am getting hungry! Let's go cook something! As a foodaholic and a social networking junkie, I have had the pleasure to meet some really cool people online who love food and are willing to share their recipes. One of those very special people is Toni Patrick Cox from Ruston, LA. Not only is she a great cook she is a very nice person and a football junkie. Football and food, what could be better? During the Super Bowl she made Sausage/Chicken Jambalaya and she was kind enough to share her recipe with me. I have to tell you I was blown away. I have not been very successful with making this Creole/Cajun dish, so I was super excited to have an authentic family recipe to try. I have not personally met Mrs. Cox yet, but I hope to one day soon when I travel to Ruston to watch my son Matt play football at La Tech. You know me by now as I always have to check out the history of what I am going to make. Jambalaya originated in southern Louisiana by the Cajuns around the bayou where food was scarce, as opposed to the richer part of Louisiana. The word is said to be a compound word of Jambon from the French meaning ham, and Aya meaning rice in African, as there were many slaves in the Louisiana at the time. Common belief is that it originated from the Spanish Paella, which has also transformed in the United States to a dish called Spanish rice. Jambalaya is a bit different many times as it incorporates seafood, ham, link sausage rounds and chicken, although it doesn't have to have all those ingredients. It can be made (separately or all together) with ham, chicken, sausage, fresh pork, shrimp, duck and oysters, to which is added shortening, rice, onion, garlic, pepper and other seasonings. There is a Jambalaya Festival and World Champion Jambalaya Cooking contest held annually in Gonzales, LA and it attracts area cooks who have spent years perfecting the art of cooking and seasoning this Creole delicacy. Gonzales, LA is called the Jambalaya Capital of The World. Let's get this cooking adventure rolling! The prep work needs to be done, but grab two beers to drink during the process first. Cut a medium onion to a medium/small dice; chop your celery and green onions into a small dice as well. Then chop your parsley. Don't chop it down to fine as it will cook down some. Then take your smoked sausage of choice and slice it. The chicken breast is next as it need to be cut into cubes. You know the size you like to eat. I think everything is ready to go. I am using a 5 quart ceramic coated cast iron pot. Turn the heat to medium high, add a little oil and fry off your smoked sausage. Remove the smoked sausage and drain on paper towels. Next you take your cubed chicken breast and cook in the sausage drippings like a stir fry. Once your chicken is browned, remove and set aside. Now take the remaining vegetable oil and add to your pan. I know the oil sound like a lot, but it is not. Take your onions, celery, parsley, green onions and sauté for several minutes. Then take your long grain rice and sauté with the veggies for a few more minutes. Now you add one box of chicken stock, chicken, sausage, a 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes, bay leaves, cayenne pepper and creole seasoning. Simmer over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, Then cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the rice is done. I have to tell you that I made this recipe with no one to share it with. My wife is not very happy! I could not wait to eat. It smelled awesome, it looked awesome and it blew me away. This is what I call the ultimate comfort food. I am in heaven and I am on the floor because I ate too much. I cannot even walk to my bottle of wine! I cannot tell you how good this is. I am so awed with how super delicious this is. You will have to make it and shoot me a note after you get back up off of the floor. I bet you will fall in love with it as much as I did. I paired this incredible recipe with a crusty French baguette and nice bottle of 2007 Red Willow Sangiovese from the Columbia Winery in Washington State. Just one quick side note to the recipe as I added more cayenne pepper and one serrano pepper diced to the recipe. It also called for a 13 ounce can of chicken stock, but it was actually one box of chicken stock. Mrs. Cox, I cannot thank you enough for sharing this recipe with me. It will remain in my family forever. I know I was supposed to make dessert as well, but I will save your bread pudding recipe for another day. I hope you to will try this recipe out and I bet you will be satisfied with how awesome it is. Make sure and invite your family and friends over and make it a big party! I truly appreciate all of you who are reading and following. Please leave me a comment sometime so I know who is reading. Send me a recipe and I will make it. I would be honored if you share this blog with a friend. Find something you enjoy and just do it! Life is way too short! Have fun and smile! You never know what tomorrow will bring! Until next time, "Cookin with John" will be playing with some more food ideas to share with you!
PS: I learned a new word the other day! It is called Cruisitude! My travel agent told me about it.
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