Friday, June 3, 2016

LuLu's Kitchen: A Taste of the Gulf Coast Good Life

**Complimentary products received in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions are ours and ours alone**

About the book:
Updated with a new introduction and amazing photography, the bestselling, self-published cookbook by Lucy Buffett (chef sister of Jimmy Buffett) includes amazing recipes from her destination restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Like her brother, Jimmy, Lucy Buffett celebrates freedom, relaxation, and seaside decadence in her own art -- cooking. This previously self-published book (formerly titled Crazy Sista Cooking) has sold over 70,000 copies without marketing or much trade distribution.

Packed with more than 120 signature recipes from Lucy's famous Gulf Coast restaurant, LuLu's, WITH LOVE FROM LULU'S KITCHEN is the next best thing to being there. Tucked inside are humorous stories, and plenty of wit and wisdom from Lucy's own kitchen. The book features party menus, Buffett Family favorites, and lots of telling it like it is. Renowned novelist Tom McGuane contributes engaging essays that blend smoothly with the spicy dishes and distinctive drinks. 
Recipes include soul-satisfying Southern delights like West Indies Salad, Perfect Fried Shrimp, Blackened Grouper Sandwich, Garlic Cheese Grits, Silver Queen Succotash, and Heavenly Fried Crab Claws. And there's a whole chapter on 25 specialty drinks, including "Bama Breeze" and "LuLu's Painkiller."

About the author:
Lucy Buffett is a restaurateur of the award winning, fun-loving LuLu’s which serves more than one million guests a year at two locations, one in Gulf Shores, Alabama and the other in Destin, Florida. Lucy has also been recognized for her tireless work on behalf of sustainability and the environment. However, the greatest passion of this self-proclaimed gypsy rebel and reluctant entrepreneur is cooking good food for the people she loves. LuLu's Kitchen: A Taste of the Gulf Coast Good Life (formerly Crazy Sista Cooking) is her first cookbook and is full of recipes and stories that made her restaurant the famous destination it is today. You can find more information on Lucy at

My thoughts:
Featuring mouthwatering food photography and entertaining anecdotes throughout, LuLu's Kitchen is my new favorite cookbook!  Lucy's cookbook offers up lots of seafood recipes, but plenty featuring other southern favorites.  I mean, she has an entire section of recipes and tips for grits y'all!  If you want a true southern staple cookbook, you can't go wrong with LuLu's Kitchen!  It's the perfect addition to every home cook's library:)

Check out some of the recipes you will get in this lovely book:

LuLu's Summer Seafood Gumbo
Excerpted from LuLu’s Kitchen: A Taste of The Gulf Coast Good Life (Grand Central Life & Style; April 2016) by Lucy Buffett 
Makes: 25 Cups
3 pounds medium shrimp, heads on
2 pounds claw crabmeat, picked for shells
4 crab bodies, if available
4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped in their juice
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 green bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 medium head celery, coarsely chopped including leaves 
2 ½ pounds okra, fresh if available, cut in ¼-inch pieces, or frozen cut okra, thawed
¾ cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
1 cup all-purpose flour
8 cups shrimp or seafood stock, heated
2-3 teaspoons salt, or to taste 
1 tablespoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons dried thyme
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons LuLu's Crazy Creola Seasoning™ (page 14)
2-3 tablespoons LuLu's Perfect Pepper Hot Sauce™
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups green onions, finely chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Dehead, peel, and devein shrimp. Reserve heads and shells for later use. Pick through crabmeat carefully for shells. Refrigerate shrimp and crab until ready for use. 

Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Drop tomatoes carefully into boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool. Skins will slip off easily. Remove cores and coarsely chop tomatoes over a bowl to retain as much juice as possible. Set aside. (If using canned tomatoes, I cut them up in eights.) 

Place chopped onions, bell peppers, celery, and okra in separate bowls. Set aside. 
To make the roux, heat vegetable oil or bacon grease in a 10-quart heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, gradually add flour, whisking continuously. Continue to whisk roux , adjusting heat as necessary to keep from burning. This may take 25-35 minutes or until your arm feels like it is about to fall off and the roux is a dark mahogany color. Be careful; if the roux burns, you will have to start all over again! 

Carefully add chopped onions to roux and continue stirring with a large wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes. Onions will sizzle and steam when they hit the hot roux so caution is advised. Seasoned gumbo cooks have roux battle scars on one or both arms. 

Add bell peppers and continue stirring for another 2 to 3 minutes; add celery continue to stir constantly for another 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture should now resemble a pot of black beans. 

Add tomatoes and stir well. 
Slowly add the heated stock. 

Add salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, bay leaves, oregano, basil, Creole seasoning, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well. Bring gumbo to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour. 

Add okra and bring back to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat again to maintain a slow simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or a day (until okra has lost its bright green color and is cooked down like the other vegetables). If gumbo gets too thick, add a little water. If too thin, continue to simmer uncovered. 

At this point, you can cool the gumbo. It's always better the day after it has been cooked, although I've never had a complaint when I served gumbo the day I made it. Remove from           heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then place pot, uncovered, in an empty sink. Fill the sink with water and ice around the stockpot. Stir gumbo every 15 minutes to move the liquid to facilitate cooling. Gumbo will spoil if cooled improperly. (At the restaurant, we have cooling cylinders that look like baseball bats that are frozen and placed in the middle of five-gallon stockpots.) When completely cool, refrigerate it, uncovered, for a couple of hours before placing it in an airtight container. 

Reheat gumbo slowly to simmering. Thirty minutes before serving, add green onions, parsley, and lemon juice. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add shrimp and crabmeat. Mix well. Cover and turn off heat. Let sit for at least another 15 minutes while seafood cooks. It will stay hot for a long time. Adjust seasonings and serve over cooked white rice with French bread and butter. 

LuLu's Rum Punch
Excerpted from LuLu’s Kitchen: A Taste of The Gulf Coast Good Life (Grand Central Life & Style; April 2016) by Lucy Buffett 
Makes: 1 drink

1 ounce Captain Morgan ® Original spiced rum
½ ounce Myer's ® dark rum
½ ounce coconut rum
2 ounces sour mix
1 ounce pineapple juice
1 ounce cranberry juice
Splash of grenadine, optional
Cherry and fresh tropical fruit to garnish

Fill a tall glass with ice.
Add spiced rum, dark rum, coconut rum and sour mix to glass.
Add equal portions of pineapple and cranberry juice.
Add a splash of grenadine if you like it a little sweeter.
Stir well.
Garnish with a cherry and fresh tropical fruit, such as orange, lemon or lime slices, or pineapple wedge.

Get the book and enjoy!

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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