Tag Archives: 37 cooks

tasso carbonara recipe

Creamy, delicious pasta

Growing up, I was spoiled rotten by my mom’s cooking. She made us amazing meals, from scratch, almost nightly. The food was so good that my brother and I would battle over leftovers, going so far as to sneak into the kitchen late at night to snag the last fajita or a serving of Moroccan chicken.

Carbonara was a lazy-night meal for my mom, and as I’ve spent the last years living on my own and then cooking for others, it’s become the same for me. Carbonara is fast and easy to prepare, but yields fabulous results every time. All you need is a little bit of pork, a few eggs, and cheese. There are fancy ways to make carbonara, but it’s just as good when you keep it simple. When I got some tasso – a Cajun cured ham – from Teet’s, it was a Thursday night and as much as I wanted to experiment, I really just wanted to get dinner on the table. So carbonara was an easy choice, especially when I thought of adding some Slap Ya Mama seasoning to the mix to complement the ham.

The sauce in carbonara results from scrambled eggs heating just enough to thicken. So pull your eggs out of the fridge to take off the chill before you do anything else. If they’re cold, they’ll take longer to thicken, and you might be tempted to turn the stove back on – not a good idea, as it will almost always end in scrambled eggs, not creamy sauce. (That has happened to me on more than one occasion. I eat it anyway – it’s delicious).

Teet’s Tasso Carbonara, as seen on 37 Cooks

  • 1/2 pound pasta, such as linguine or fettucine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces Teet’s tasso, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon Slap ya Mama seasoning, or other Cajun seasoning
  • Fresh salt and pepper to taste

Before you get started, do a little prep work: in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cheese, and Slap ya Mama seasoning. Set aside.

Set a large pot of water over high heat to boil. When it comes to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until almost done.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium. Add tasso and saute until slightly crispy and fat has begun to render. Add garlic and turn the heat down to low.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with tasso and garlic. Toss for a moment so the flavors mingle, then take the pan off the heat. Whisking quickly, add the egg mixture to the pasta. Toss and stir constantly until the eggs have thickened into a creamy sauce. (If the eggs scramble instead, exhale and eat it anyway – it will be tasty, and you can try again some other time).

Garnish with black pepper and a little more cheese, then serve and enjoy.

37 Cooks

I can’t believe I forgot to mention a fun new endeavor that I’ve been participating in. Have you heard of 37 Cooks yet? It’s this new phenomenon that’s taken the Internet by storm lately. It started when Sandra offered to share some of the two gallons of Slap-ya-mama seasoning that she’d received as a gift. It snowballed into a variety of cool cooking challenges. The latest development? We have sponsors!

Head over there and see what the 37 Cooks have been creating. You can start by checking out my recipe for green chile-chicken pot pies. They’re tasty and miniature, a winning combination. And if nothing else, just answer me this: how sweet does our dining room look in that photo?

the coconut-chicken curry recipe

Comfort food used to be your mom’s mashed potatoes, chicken soup with noodles, or maybe even macaroni and cheese from a box. It’s something traditional, familiar. It’s effortless – perhaps brought to you on the couch while you’re sick. Prepare to reboot all of your expections, because once you try this coconut-chicken curry, you will forever turn to it in times of need. Times when you need dinner ready in half an hour. Times when you need to impress a date. And of course, times when you need to indulge in something creamy and delicious that comes together fast.
This dish was inspired by traditional Sri Lankan chicken curry. We take it to the next level by making it creamy instead of dry, because extra curry sauce is a gift from the kitchen gods. You’ll start with a whole onion, sliced thin and sauteed into smoky sweet ribbons. Then you’ll add a burst of flavor in the form of aromatic ginger and garlic, coupled with garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne enough to tingle but not burn. A kaffir lime leaf, if you have one, is a great tidbit to throw into the skillet. Sliced chicken will brown in the spice mixture before simmering until cooked through. At the end, coconut milk brings everything together. The richness is tempered a bit by the addition of tomatoes, which soften enough to release their juices.
Some enjoy the dish as is, almost like a soup, but it’s also wonderful served with steamed jasmine rice.
The Coconut-Chicken Curry
Serves 2-4, depending on appetite
1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
2 onions, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1-inch piece of ginger, minced or grated
1 tbsp garam masala
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cayenne
1 kaffir lime leaf (optional)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1 cup water
1 14-oz can coconut milk
2 tomatoes, quartered with seeds removed
2 tsp salt, or to taste
In a large skillet preheated over medium-high heat, sauté onion in vegetable oil or ghee. Stir frequently until brown and . Add garlic, ginger, spices, and kaffir lime leaf, stirring constantly until aromatic – thirty seconds, minimum. Add chicken and stir to blend. When the chicken pieces are beginning to brown, add one cup of water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then turn the heat down to low and simmer until chicken is cooked through – no more than five minutes.
Add coconut milk, tomatoes, and salt. Simmer for about five more minutes. The texture will be that of a rich broth, studded with chicken and laced through with caramelized onions.
Salt to taste. Serve with white rice, if desired.

slap ya mama duck gumbo recipe

When I had the opportunity to participate in an ingredient challenge, I hesitated for approximately three-tenths of a second before enthusiastically volunteering. No, that’s a lie, I didn’t hesitate at all. I don’t often watch shows like Top Chef, but I’ve always been in awe of the chefs’ abilities to receive a mystery ingredient and then, an hour later, present a mouthwatering meal that rivals anything I could ever have imagined making. This was my chance to try.

What made the challenge so exciting was the secret ingredient: Slap ya Mama Cajun seasoning. I’ve had New Orleans on the brain lately. After a few weeks of researching the best eats that the city has to offer, it was fun to come up with my own Creole creation in here in Atlanta.
My kitchen is constantly stocked with items that caught my eye during random shopping trips. It wasn’t a difficult decision to incorporate a frozen duck that I got a few weeks ago – and not only because my roommate keeps asking pointedly, “So when are we going to eat that duck?” I bought it at the Asian market and was dismayed to see, when I got home, that the package read “For Stewing.” I had been so excited at the low price that I neglected to notice it wasn’t labeled as a duckling. We can only assume that it was a grown-up duck that would require braising to become delicious.
Gumbo would be a perfect way to ensure that my duck cooked till it was fall-off-the-bone tender, but it would also be crazily delicious. With the addition of smoked Andouille sausage and shrimp and served over rice, the Slap Ya Mama gumbo became one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Smoky, spicy, and delicious, it’s the kind of meal that you will crave. It produces the kind of leftovers that become a 2 am snack, fixed as soon as your stomach finishes processing the first round.
I start with a whole duck. Carving a duck is very similar to carving a chicken, except duck has more fat. Just use a sharp knife, feel for the joints to slice through, and you’ll be fine.
Making duck stock while the roux simmers is a great way to use the extra duck parts – wings and bones – and boost the flavor of your product. I make a light stock here and some would even use water instead. But if you’re a detail-oriented home cook, you’ll enjoy boosting the flavors of your dishes. And besides, any leftover stock can be used to make soup, or simmered down to become the base of an unbeatable sauce for another dish.
The hardest part of making gumbo is achieving the bravado required for the gumbo to darken up to the Cajun standard, which is “the color of dark chocolate” according to Emeril Lagasse. After you’ve spent an hour rendering duck fat and gently stirring it into a roux, the fear of burning is great. It’s very tempting to call the roux a roux when it’s golden brown, or even chestnut brown. All sources advise you to let it go as long as you can. 
Slap ya Mama Duck Gumbo with Andouille Sausage and Shrimp
serves many… at least 6-8

Slap Ya Mama Seasoning – hot
1 duck, whole
1/2 c flour
1 onion, diced
2 green peppers, diced
1 c okra, sliced
1 c celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp salt
A few sprigs fresh thyme, or a tablespoon dried
2 bay leaves
2 large links Andouille sausage, sliced (about 3/4 lb)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and rinsed
Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, carve the duck into serving pieces: two wings, two leg quarters, two breasts. Trim off as much of the fat as you can. Reserve the spine and rib cage. Then, using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breasts.
Next, make stock. Place the duck wings and body into a stock pot. Just barely cover with water. Allow to come to the barest simmer, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.
While the stock is cooking, in a Dutch oven on low-medium heat, render the excess fat that you removed from the duck. When the pieces do not give off any more fat, remove them. Turn up the heat to medium. Season the duck pieces with Slap Yo Mama, then brown the legs and breasts until golden. Remove the pieces from the Dutch oven and reserve on a plate.
Now we’re going to make a roux. You should have about a half-cup of golden liquid duck fat remaining in the Dutch oven. Add a half-cup of flour to this and stir constantly until the roux is dark brown. All of the Cajun cookbooks advise letting it go until it’s mahogany-colored, almost black. See how brave you can be. This will take at least thirty minutes.
When the roux is as dark as you can stand for fear it will burn, add the vegetables (green pepper, okra, celery, onion, garlic). Stir occasionally until vegetables have softened a little. In the meantime, remove the duck pieces from the stock and skim or strain until clear.
When the vegetables have softened, add about six cups of stock to the pot. Add the thyme (tied together with twine if using fresh), 6 tsp Slap Yo Mama, bay leaves, and salt. Then add sausage slices. Stir everything really well to make sure that all the roux has been absorbed into the stock. Then raise the heat to medium-high. Let everything come to a boil, then bring back down to a simmer.
Add the remaining duck pieces and allow to simmer uncovered for at least two hours.
Remove the duck pieces from the gumbo and, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, remove the skin and debone. Slice the meat into rough chunks, then add back to the pot along with the shrimp. Let simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Salt to taste.
Serve with white rice.

To see the rest of the Slap Ya Mama challengers, check out the official blog here