Eula Mae Dore gained fame as a Cajun cook on Avery Island, Louisiana, home of the McIlhenny Family and Tabasco sauce. A self-taught cook, she managed the Tabasco commissary with her husband, and cooked for the island’s residents, visitors, owners and employees for more than 50 years. Her cookbook Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen preserves recipes and a column in The Times Picayune on her death in 2008 preseves tidbits of her Cajun kitchen wisdom including
- Don’t add chopped or minced garlic when cooking dishes such as gumbo, stews, or smothering vegetables. Rather, put the whole clove, peeled, in the pot and let it cook until it melts or becomes very soft. The garlic flavor is then a little milder, almost sweet.
- Don’t ever rush a roux, and always go a shade darker than you want because, once you add vegetables, the roux pales a bit.
I’m looking forward to trying her Tabasco Cajun Seafood Gumbo.
V is for Vegetarian Green Gumbo
When it comes to vegetarian gumbo, my favorite is Gumbo Z’Herbes (pronounced Gumbo Zav), often called green gumbo. The darker the roux, the more greens, the better. A rich roux doesn’t need carrots or corn, peas or parsnips to be vegetarian, just the Holy Trinity – bell pepper, celery, onions – and plenty of greens, kale, collards, turnips, spinach. For New Year’s in 2015 I cooked Gumbo Z’Herbes for the first time using this authentic meatless recipe from Saveur travel magazine. I loved it. Plus, it’s a favorite with my vegetarian son. I’ll cook it again this New Year’s as I tally the 15 new friends I made in 2015 from the 15 greens in that gumbo. I know it’s supposed to be a Lenten dish, but why wait for a good bowl of gumbo?