First, we lunch: The blogosphere seems to be littered with recipes for pulled pork, pork carnitas, BBQ pork sandwiches… it was enough to drive a girl mad. Or at least drive her to the market for a pork shoulder roast. Braised in beer and spicy mustard for 3 hours, the pork basically shredded itself. With homemade cabbage slaw and pickled jalapeños on hand… well, you can guess what came next. I warmed two corn tortillas in the oven and set to work devouring these.

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The dishes from lunch not finished drying on the stove (a little known use of the pilot light), I’d already started on supper, utilizing the one open burner.

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Sole and Sausage Gumbo [serves 4]

Printable recipe

2 T canola oil

1/2 red and 1/2 yellow bell peppers, cut into 3/4″ pieces

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 celery rib, cut into 1/2″ pieces

2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

1/4 t cayenne pepper

salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 lb spicy kielbasa [or andouille sausage], halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/2″-thick half moons [I had turkey kielbasa in the freezer]

2 T flour

4 c chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth [if you aren’t using low-sodium stock or broth, be careful with the salt – kielbasa is very salty]

2 thyme sprigs [or ~ 1/4 t dried thyme]

3/4 lb [12 ounces] fresh sole, fillets rinsed and patted dry

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 T flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

In a large saucepan, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the red and yellow bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic and cayenne. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top of the sausage and vegetable mixture, and stir until evenly coated. Add the chicken stock/broth and thyme, simmering over moderate heat for 10 minutes.

Add the sole fillets and scallion to the saucepan, season lightly with salt; simmer, stirring, until the sole is opaque and cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Discard the thyme sprigs [ignore this step if using dried thyme]. Stir in the parsley and serve immediately.

I had leftover white beans in the fridge and threw those on top. An extremely satisfying at-work meal. Nothing fancy; it was delicious. Thoughts for next time: swap seafood stock for chicken stock and rice in place of beans, for a more authentic NOLA-style gumbo. And chopped okra! A sorely under-appreciated fruit.

In other news, I had an early a.m. meeting with my General Mills preceptor and an Assistant Marketing Manager in the cereals division – which has a fully stocked 24-hr cereal bar for its employees… all cereal, all the time. Following our chat was debriefing and an Americano at the Caribou inside GM World Headquarters [next to the D’Amico and Sons, salon, bank, post office and gift shop]. It’s like a tiny village. So, I’m thrilled to finally have my assignment – top secret, of course; tons of great ideas swirling around my head!

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