Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Michelle Obama, Paula Deen, and Deep Fried Snickers

I could have kicked myself for missing Michelle Obama cooking fried shrimp with Paula Deen on September 20. Not quite the same but still worth a look, I saw Mrs. Obama's post up at BlogHer called "Our Many Hats:
No matter where we live—no matter our race, our socioeconomic background, or our political party—we women wear many hats. We’re daughters and sisters and moms. We’re professionals and students. We run errands and do laundry and shop for groceries. And to get it all done, we have another skill that we rely on. We’re jugglers. (Michelle Obama at BlogHer)
She posts over there sometimes.

Getting back to the Food Network interview, I found this video from Extra at YouTube about Michelle's appearance on Paula's Party. I was curious to see the mother of two and presidential candidate spouse maneuver through a kitchen with Deen, who's always entertaining. Paula said Mrs. Obama seemed very comfortable amongst the pots and pans.

I wish I could find the actual show, but it's not up at the Food Network. I wonder if Paula took any flack for having Michelle on her show.

People Magazine also had a piece about Michelle Obama's appearance on Paula's Party. The magazine reports that the potential First Lady talked about cooking seafood gumbo for Barack Obama while they were dating:
Want to know the way to a man’s heart? Try seafood gumbo – it worked for Michelle Obama!

"It was an impressive first attempt ... I must have really been in love," Michelle Obama told Paula Deen of her attempt to make seafood gumbo – including lobster, shrimp and mussels! – on an early date with future husband Barack Obama. "No, I haven't cooked it since." (People)
That's a cute story. The Obama marriage, btw, has been called a benefit to his possible presidency that isn't examined enough.

I went looking for Michelle's seafood gumbo recipe (I do after all live in gumbo land), but I couldn't find it online. However, I saw multiple references to the Deen appearance and also this piece at MenuPages that links to articles about politics and food.

Looking for Michelle's recipe, I recalled that my friend from AuthorsDen, Mary Lynn Plaisance who lives down here in Cajun country, shared a filé seafood gumbo recipe on that site a few years ago. Here it is (Browsers don't like the accent "e" character. The word "filé" in the recipe is pronounced feelay. Filé is a spice made from ground sassafras and is an ingredient in the recipe below):

Seafood Gumbo


3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped bell peppers

1 cup chopped celery

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon minced garlic

8 cups shrimp stock

6 gumbo crabs, broken in half

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 pound lump crabmeat, picked from the shells

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 teaspoon cayenne

3 cups cooked white long-grain rice

Filé powder

(Filé is a spice that's pronounced fee-lay and is made from grounded sassafras leaves)

Directions: Make your shrimp stock by boiling the shrimp before you peel them for the gumbo. The water that is left from the shrimp boil is your shrimp stock. Have this ready before you begin the roux.

1. Heat the oil and in a large cast-iron Dutch oven or stock pot. Add the flour and stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon, cook to make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate, about 25 to 30 minutes.

The roux is the most important thing in Cajun cooking. A roux is the brown mixture of flour and oil. You can smell that aroma for blocks! Neighbors know that something good is cooking at your house.

2. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and salt. Cook, stirring until soft. About 5 minutes should do it. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the stock and mix to blend with the roux.

3. Add the 6 jumbo crabs that are broken in half, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Add the parsley , cayenne pepper, shrimp and crabmeat and cook for 10 minutes.

4. Your gumbo is ready~!

5. To serve, spoon rice into the center of the serving bowls and top with the gumbo. More gumbo than rice. Sprinkle the file powder over the gumbo to taste. The gumbo should be served like a soup. That's why you want more gumbo in the bowl than rice.

6. EAT with a spoon like soup.

7. (optional but recommended)

Serve a potato salad and French bread with gumbo. SO GOOD!

Yields .. 6 to 8 servings. To feed larger groups, double or triple ingredients accordingly

NOTE: If you don't like seafood, make a chicken gumbo. Substitute chicken and smoked sausage where the seafood is used. You now have yourself a chicken gumbo.
I don't think Michelle made filé seafood gumbo for Barack, but it's the type of seafood gumbo I prefer and Mary's recipe is similar to mine.

I rarely watch Paula Deen because I don't want to get into cooking the delicious recipes she features. I've got enough trouble with keeping down weight as it is. I saw her show with Tyson Beckford, the caramel cake and the caramel fountain. I think I gained 3 pounds watching that episode, which reminds me, another topic of discussion during the Deen interview was Michelle's great figure. Mrs. Obama says she keeps in shape with exercise.

I was reminded that Michelle Obama was on Paula Deen's show while reading Jason Linkins's post "Fake Michelle Obama Interview Fascinates Blogosphere." Apparently some right wingers have been fooled by a phony report that Michelle Obama called up African Press International (totally bogus) and railed about stories against her husband. Some people will swallow anything, no matter how ludicrous.

Linkins, btw, calls Paula Deen "one of the most ridiculously lovable hosts of the Food Network." He's right about that. I wonder if he has problems minding his waistline.

Deen said that if the Obamas make it to the White House, she'll cook for them and one of the dishes will be "deep friend Snickers". See what I mean? You gain weight just listening to that woman.

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