Sunday, February 21, 2016

Disneyland's Blue Bayou Gumbo Recipe ~ My Take

Taste and smells can take us back to great memories, which is one of the reasons I like to make recipes from places I've visited. I title this 'My Take" because I live in a small town where certain ingredients fall under the 'exotic and impossible to find' or 'hard to find and crazy expensive' categories. So I try to find a balance between the actual recipe and the best I can do with the resources available.

There are many gumbo recipes, but the little starter sized bowls you get at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland, located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, has always been my favorite.

I made this for a big group, but list the recipe for 4 servings here, but have added in some things I learned as well as substitutions I made.

This recipe is made in three parts and takes a good amount of prep, so plan to do much of it in advance.

Cajun Spice
 2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
2 teaspoons granulated garlic ( I used garlic powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (I left out)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Cajun Rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon diced white onion
1 tablespoon diced red pepper
1 cup medium grain white rice
1 3/4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon Cajun spice.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add rice, stirring to coat in oil. Toast rice, stirring frequently, 3-4 minutes.
Add vegetable stock and Cajun spice, stirring well. Cover pan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cook 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is completely absorbed. Fluff with fork before serving.
Since I have rice issues, and I was making for this for a bigger crowd than my rice cooker could handle, I made the rice in a crock pot. Who knew! Super easy. All you do is coat your crock pot bottom and sides with butter, add twice as much liquid as rice, then cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Perfect. I followed the directions with roasting the rice, etc., then put it in the crockpot. I was amazed how well it worked out.
Chicken Gumbo
1/2 cup unsalted butter (I always use salted)
1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs diced. ( I don't like thighs so used chicken breast instead)
1/2 cup Tasso ham (what? I don't know what this is so used regular ham steak)
1/2 cup diced Andouille sausage (not easily found in my little town, so just used a smoked sausage)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons Cajun spice
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced okra (my store only had a giant pre-wrapped container of fresh so I bought frozen)
1/4 cup diced tomatoes (skinned, seeded? didn't specify so I just used canned)
1/4 cups chopped green onions for garnish..

Melt butter in a dutch over medium-high heat. Add chicken, ham and sausage and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, stirring to combine.
Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Remove meat from pot with slotted spoon, reserving fat in pot. Place meat on a large plate and set aside.
Add flour to fat in pot, whisking to combine. Cook until mixture turns golden, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in Cajun spice.
Return meat to pot, stirring well to combine. Slowly add stock, whisking vigorously after each addition until mixture is smooth.
Add okra and tomatoes. Simmer, stirring frequently, until okra is tender, about 10-15 minutes. (Okra story!  I hate okra. The slime is just too much. So I thought that if I took out the slimy center and chopped the rest of it real well and rinsed it a bunch that would help. Nope..oozy mess all the way. While researching this, I discovered that the slime actually works as an additional thickener. That it did. Still, I'm leaving it out next time)
Ladle gumbo into bowls and top with a large spoonful of rice. garnish with chopped green onions.
This is just delicious and very close to the original. So close I can almost see the fireflies and hear the banjo. If you don't know what this means, then you need a trip to Disneyland.








Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Disneyland Hotel ~ Afternoon Tea

There's a fun new offering at the Disneyland Hotel. Steakhouse 55, the classic upscale dining room at the Disneyland Hotel has begun serving Afternoon Tea from 12:00 - 3:00 pm, currently offered only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Once you step into the elegance that is Steakhouse 55 you'll wish you had Lady Mary's wardrobe from Downton Abbey.
There are 3 options to choose from and include:
Traditional Scones, Tea Sandwiches, Desserts, Teas & Herbal Infusions. Priced at $50.00
You receive all of the above plus Sparkling Wine (Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvee Brut), salad and 2 Farewell Truffles. Priced at $65.00
Traditional Scones, Tea Sandwiches, Desserts , Teas & Herbal infusions and kid friendly drinks.
You are allowed to sample as many teas as you'd like. Out favorites were Eros (an orange citrus) and Mountain Berry. I wish we'd tried them iced as well as hot. Along with your tea service are every accompaniment you can think of, including rock sugar sticks with a Mickey head on the handle.
We chose the Premium option. The wine was good and the salad refreshing. Then the main event was presented on a tiered tray with scones at top, sandwiches in the middle and desserts on the bottom.  This tray was for two adults.
To add to the fancy factor, you are also presented with three toppings for your scones; Preserves, Devonshire Cream and Lemon Curd.
The scones were fresh and flavorful, and I had to make sure and use up every bit of the toppings.

Sandwiches included one with cucumber, one salmon based, a tomato and mozzarella one, and egg salad. I passed on the salmon, but the others were delicious.
Dessert offerings included chocolate dipped strawberries, fruit tart and tiny French macaroons. I didn't think there'd be enough for a true lunch but ended up taking a box of the desserts back to the hotel.

The child version is very similar, but the scone is Mickey head shaped, and sandwiches are bit more child focused.
To send you on your way, you receive a sweet little box holding 2 truffles.
This is a very nice and relaxing break from the hectic-ness of the parks, and was enjoyed by all.