October 17th, 2011


The rat can cook: Marko's Jambalaya

Although it seems to offend some furries, ristin and I enjoy vegetarian meals a few times a week. Also, I have a great love of American cooking, which is where a book like Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson comes in handy. This is very much an American cookbook and should have been marketed as such here; most of the recipes involve ingredients that are unheard of here and all of the measurements are in Imperial. Nonetheless, I've done my best to adapt the recipes for Australian conditions, and one that came out particularly well is Marko's Jambalaya. (It was originally called Veggie Jambalaya but any jambalaya worth its salt has to have chorizo sausage in it.) But I can't leave you this recipe without making a few observations about its ingredients:

Black-eyed peas: Other than a band, what are black-eyed peas? I've never seen them in the shops but I haven't yet given up hope of finding them in Australia. I replaced them with chickpeas and was very satisfied with the result.

Filé powder: I searched for this extensively online and came to the conclusion that the only way I can get this in Australia is by begging a friend to mail it to me (but see below under Old Bay Seasoning). It is only through the kindness of guma_kawauso and rally_fox that I have any hope of including this, but I know jambalaya isn't authentic without it.

Old Bay Seasoning: This actually is illegal in Australia. Not content to let market forces keep American ingredients out of this country, my nanny state had to go to the trouble of outlawing it. Not wanting to break the law, my only hope was to find a substitute: Bay Seasoning. (In looking this up, I found Gourmet Shopper also stocks filé powder, which I had missed in my searches earlier. Clearly what I said above was incorrect, but my gratitude to Guma and Rally still stands.) EDIT: It seems my information about quarantine may be out of date and you can actually get this by mail order here now.

Vegetarian sausage links: The original recipe called for vegetarian sausage links, but I couldn't insult a jambalaya like that. I'm a great fan of vegetarian cooking, but this kind of ingredient gives it a bad name, affirming the stereotype that you need meat substitutes to have a satisfying meal. In this case though, you can't have a jambalaya without Spanish chorizo sausages. Rats are proudly omnivorous!
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