Monday, May 8, 2017

Gumbo Love

by Lucy Buffett
Grand Central 2017
303 pages    Cookbook

My husband and I (as well as other family members) have fallen in love with the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area of Alabama. This year, we were visited twice a day by a pod of dolphins—maybe 10 or 12 of them. We missed them for a couple of days when the wind changed, but then just as we had packed up to go home, I went out to the deck and there they were, frolicking in the water, biding us farewell. The most heartwarming moment of a  glorious two weeks.

One cool and rainy evening, we made our way over to LuLu's, a place that we had missed on our two other stays in the area. I knew about it because I had read and reviewed Lucy Buffet's first cookbook, LuLu's Kitchen. We had a delightful supper, toured the gift shop, and looked at all the recreational activities available, including a boat dock. It is a great place.

I used the LuLu's Kitchen cookbook several times on our vacation to guide our seafood meal creation, and one night even made shrimp and grits. I was so proud. Buffett's cookbook, Gumbo Love, is a worthy sequel to LuLu's Kitchen. Her gumbo is the signature dish of the restaurant, and her retelling of the "creation" story is a delight. The book is beautifully designed, filled with pictures that made me nostalgic for the Gulf Coast and seafood for every meal!

She shares her philosophy for life and for cooking in a chapter called Ten Grateful Ingredients for a Bright Life and a Happy Kitchen, and then she shares the ingredients that you need to operate a Gulf Coast kitchen—like how to make Roux and Creole seasoning. Of course, you have to have fresh seafood, caught that day.

The cookbook portion of the book begins with dessert recipes—don't you just love it! Most recipes, dessert or otherwise, has a full page picture with it, which I have come to enjoy as much as the recipes, themselves. I found three or four recipes I plan to try out soon, including a great looking watermelon and feta cheese salad, southern fried creamed corn, chicken bonne femme, strawberry cobbler, and of course, gumbo.

Here is the recipe for Lucy's Spicy Shrimp Ceviche, which looks absolutely fabulous.

2 pounds poached wild-caught Gulf shrimp
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
¾ cup peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber
1 teaspoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus ¼ cup for serving, if desired
Juice of 5 limes (about 1 cup)
Juice of 2 lemons (about ½ cup)
Juice of 1 orange (about ½ cup)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced (optional)
2 limes, quartered (optional)
1. Chop the shrimp into thirds or bite-size pieces, or leave them whole if you prefer, and place in a large bowl.
2. Add the red onion, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeño, garlic, ginger, cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, salt, white pepper, and sugar and stir well.
3. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. While the mixture
marinates, occasionally turn the container to evenly coat the shrimp in the liquid.
4. Transfer the shrimp and liquid to a glass bowl to serve or divide among eight martini glasses. If desired, garnish with avocado, cilantro.

Excerpted from the book GUMBO LOVE by Lucy Buffett. Copyright © 2017by Lucy Buffett. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved. Image credit: Angie Mosier. Lucy's headshot: "Chandler Williams of Modus Photography.

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