Sunday, September 04, 2011

hello, fall.

Fall is definitely in the air . . . while we've had goofy days that are hot and humid, generally, the weather is cooler, the nights are darkening earlier, and it's starting to feel like the seasons are changing. I'm not complaining -- fall is my favorite season, and I'm happy to see the end of the stifling, humid, stuffy weather. Wee!

To counteract the cooler temperatures, I thought it was time to start cooking warmer foods! (And this dish is downright hot!) Adding a few sliced chipotle Field Roast sausages and extra cayenne to "Smoky Red Peppers 'n' Beans Gumbo" from Veganomicon made for a spicy, warming dinner last night!

From the moment the butter hit the hot pan, (and I did de-veganize this recipe, since I had butter but not margarine on hand,) I had a feeling this recipe was going to be a winner . . . and I was so right! Using local onions, local garlic, local peppers, local okra, and home-cooked kidney beans, this dish screamed flavor and nourishment every step of the way. I kept urging the pot along, wishing everything would just cook FASTER, so I could hurry up and eat already! :) As I said earlier, adding the sausages and several hefty shakes of cayenne upped the spice quotient enough that I didn't need extra hot sauce; if you are sensitive to spicy foods, I'd definitely leave the cayenne out if you are going to add spicy mock meats. (One can always augment at the table, right?) Although this recipe yields a ton, I'm certain it will only get better as it sits, and the hearty stew-like gumbo will certainly freeze well. If leftovers last that long!

One more note . . . this recipe calls for a half-teaspoon of liquid smoke, and liquid smoke is one of those ingredients that just scares me a little bit. It is so strong, I'm always worried it will overpower a dish and kill my taste buds. However, that is not the case with this recipe! I'm certain I would miss the liquid smoke if it wasn't there, but in the finished dish, I couldn't even detect a hint of "excessive smokiness" that I usually find in recipes containing that ingredient. Measure carefully, and enjoy the finished product! :) I know I did.

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