Let me begin with this: I had big plans for this weekend.
A friend and contributor to the creative writing publication I edit was having her award-winning play produced in New Orleans this weekend, so myself and a friend were going to drive down to see it. The city was alive with the jitterings of what we could only guess were Spring Break-ers, as we couldn't imagine the Tennessee Williams Festival drawing quite so many people. Because of all the hubbub, we were forced to park a little farther away than either of us anticipated, so by the time we got to the theater, I was feeling fairly parched.
Because I didn't drive, I ordered myself a Malibu and orange juice, and my friend and I made our way to the front row of the theater, where my playwriting buddy was sitting with her family. On the way to the front, I managed to overlook the stage stairs that were directly in my path. My shin, however, did not. As I collided into the stairs, my drink went flying, ice sprang forth from my cup like confetti, and I only just managed to catch myself. And all of this happened as I realized that my boss was in attendance, as well.
I. Was. Humiliated. With all of my embarrassment, I hardly noticed the throbbing of my foot and shin until well into the show. I made it through the rest of the night purely on the endorphins of my embarrassment, and when I got home I went straight to bed.
As I said, I had big plans this weekend, among them being my boyfriend's 32nd birthday the following day. For months I knew exactly what I would do on his special day. Let's rewind to December 31, 2008. For New Year's Eve, I planned a picnic on the waterfront that included steaks, loaded mashed potatoes, chicken and sausage gumbo, and an apple and cranberry tart with whipped cream. For his birthday, I was going to recreate the evening that my boyfriend first told me he loved me, so I planned a lakefront mini-birthday party for two.
But my leg. Augh, my leg. Still, I was determined to cook a meal of filet mignon, garlic whipped Yukon potatoes, garlic green beans, chicken and sausage gumbo, and German chocolate birthday cake. I woke up at 8:30, went to the store, and spent the day cooking, despite some significant snafus. And when the time came, we had a lovely, if windy, lakefront picnic, complete with presents.
After getting over the adrenaline from my embarrassment, I replaced it with the adrenaline of trying to pull off this perfect day. By nightfall, I was exhausted and in a lot of pain. At this point I had also noticed several swollen lumps on my ankle, shin, and foot.
Today, my boyfriend took me to the urgent care, where after 2 hours of waiting and about ten x-rays, we found out from the doctor that I appeared to have a hairline fracture on my fibula, running parallel to the bone. In order to be sure, the doctor planned on sending it off to a radiologist, but in the meantime, I would be subjected to a giant black boot (and no, not a fabulous and stylish pair of new kicks) and a set of crutches that make my bedroom smell like a hospital.
I've just received the phone call from the doctor that my injury is not, as they suspected, a fracture, but I will be booted and crutched for a week to ensure I don't further damage myself with epic levels of clumsiness. At least the boot will protect me from 15-lb kitties walking over my leg in the middle of the night, right? Still, that doesn't quite make up for the other cat, who rubbed his teeth on the bumpy, skid-free bottom of my boot for five agonizing minutes today. *Shivers*
What this epic tale of falls and chocolate cakes is meant to tell you is that it may be a little while before I'm able to start blogging as much as I would like to. I've had a lot of ideas for foods I would like to try my hand--and whisk-- at. Alas, it will have to wait.
Now, an update on the CAKE VS. PIE BATTLE ROYALE!!!!!
I've been thinking a lot about the line up and the terms of the proposed Cake vs. Pie battle royale (with cheese). However, looking over some of the brackets made me realize that some of these head-to-heads are just ridiculous. Birthday cake vs. fruitcake? Pshhht, please! So I've revised the line up, and here's where it stands.
Boston Cream Pie (Oh yeah, I'm shaking things up! Look at a BCP and tell me that's not a cake.)
Chocolate Flourless Cake
Molten Chocolate Cake
Wildcard--Tres Leche Cake
To bring my fall story around full circle, I was planning on making the coconut cake to go up against the German chocolate cake for the first bracket on the Cake side of the battle, but with my injury, I just can't get to the kitchen to make the coconut cake. Thus, I'll be putting the battle on hold for a little while. When I get back to it, I will be offering samples at work once a week, so many of you will have a chance to put in your vote.
In the meantime, here is the recipe for the Chicken and Sausage Gumbo I made this weekend. Let me preface this recipe by saying that there is no wrong way to make a gumbo! This is a quick and fairly simple recipe based on the one handed down to me by my father, who was born and raised in da' bayou.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (total) of onion, bell pepper, and celery, diced**
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 32-ounce box of low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water (not pictured)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) of the following seasonings:
Old Bay seasoning
Dash of hot sauce, to taste
1 chicken breast or two chicken tenders, diced
Two sausage links, sliced (my brand of choice is Conecuh smoked sausage)
1. Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a small sautee pan until it starts to ripple. Carefully add the flour and begin to stir. Cook over medium to medium low heat until the roux turns the color of a chocolate-peanut butter mixture. YOU MUST STIR CONSTANTLY THROUGHOUT THIS ENTIRE PROCESS!!!
2. Meanwhile, in a 3-quart saucepan sautee the onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Once the roux is ready, pour it onto the sauteed vegetables and mix until they are coated.
3. Add the chicken broth to the pot along with the water, add the bay leaf, and allow the mixture to come to a simmer.
4. Once the mixture has come to a simmer, add your seasonings. Seasoning your gumbo is a matter of taste. The measurements I've provided are simply a start to your gumbo, so please feel free to add as much as you like. There are no limitations. Next, add the diced chicken and sliced sausage and allow the mixture to simmer for at least 15 minutes.
5. Finish the gumbo with a dash of hot sauce, to taste, and serve it over rice. Enjoy!!
**At some supermarkets, you can find pre-diced mixtures of these three ingredients in the produce section. If you can find it, go for it! Mine was $3, and with the current cost of bell peppers, it was well worth it!